What can I mean? We all think about or dream about trying to come out, don’t we?
Several opportunities came together recently that made it possible for me to do something for the first time. Although I’ve had multiple occasions to be out and about, they were all very anonymous. There was nothing out of the ordinary–driving, getting gas, walking outdoors, and going through a drive-thru. But just recently, I got very, very brave and decided to try something completely different.
My wife and I had recently purchased a dual power recliner-you know the ones. After a couple of weeks, one side (mine) quit working. We called the store from where we bought it and they agreed to send out a repairman to fix it. As it turns out, they were coming on a Friday, which is the one day I usually get time alone to dress, since I’m still in the closet where my wife is concerned. Bummer!
But wait a minute. What if I dressed anyway? This repairman doesn’t know me, know my wife, or really know anything about us. The chance that I’d ever see him again isn’t very likely. I enjoyed imagining his face and his reaction on his arrival. So now I agonize over this idea, thinking about what could go wrong and what if any possible repercussions may occur. There is certainly some risk, but the idea is so enticing that I find it easy to dismiss those concerns. I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to do it!
Friday arrives, and due her knee problems my wife asks me to drive her to work. This is both good and bad. She won’t be able to come home early, but now I will be pressed to be properly ready for the repairman. Can I still make this work? We’ll see! Off we go to get her to the office, and I race back home to finish dressing. I’m already partially underdressed, and I have discreetly laid out my chosen outfit at home to save time. This consists of white skinny jeans, a shell pink cami, and a coral red long sleeve cotton blouse (by the way, there’s a picture from that day on my page.) I also have my blue 2″ block heel loafers and some color-coordinated jewelry set out. I add a little padding to make my jeans look better. But to do this right, I also need to do my makeup!
Although I’ve been practicing, this can be a slow process for me to get it right. Today, I’m 15 minutes from start to finish—a new record! I race to my dressing room, add my forms, throw on my outfit, and start fastening my jewelry. He’s due any minute! A quick brush of my wig, slide it on my head, and sure enough the doorbell rings. I slide my feet into my shoes, take a quick check in the mirror, and I’m off to answer the door.
Now I must confess; I’m having second thoughts at this point. Is this really a good idea? Probably not, but I feel committed to seeing it through. I open to door and there’s a youngish man standing there in his store-labeled work shirt. He says, “Hi, I’m Steve from_______. You must be D____(my wife’s name).”
I kind of expected some hesitation or maybe embarrassment on his part under the circumstances, but no, not a moment of surprise or uncertainty from Steve. I, on the other hand, laugh from relief at being mistaken for my wife. I had to stifle that laugh, could he really misidentify me as female? Unlike many of you beautiful ladies, I couldn’t believe that being this close would convince anyone to truly think I’m a woman. First of all, I’m about 6’3″ barefoot, and now I’m wearing 2″ heels. Nevertheless, I correct him with, “No, I’m Brenda, won’t you come in?”
From there, Steve is the perfect example of providing great customer service. He asks me about the issue, tells me he’s pretty sure how to fix it, and gets to work. As he’s doing this, I remember my wife also asked me to see if there’s anything he can do about a spring noise she sometimes hears. Once he fixed the recliner malfunction, he asks me to show him what I mean, which I do by sitting (very daintily) on the seat so he can hear the gentle sprung sound.
Keep in mind, we have been conversing all along, him telling me about similar issues from this manufacturer and making polite comments about our furniture and decor. I’m thanking him for his kind compliments and trying to show interest in the work being doing. Any invisible observer would find the whole interaction to be typical. I have completely settled into the role of a housewife dealing with a minor issue. It’s hard to convey how normal this entire time felt. I don’t know Steve’s mind or what his experiences have been, but without hesitation he treated me as a woman in the most natural and polite manner possible. And in doing so, he gave me a gift beyond price, and one that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my days.
As he thanks me for my business and starts to leave, I ask him to wait a moment while I get my purse. I quickly grab a $20 off my dresser and put it in the purse. I then take it back out and hand it to him, thanking him for his great service. After a polite back and forth, he accepts the $20 and leaves, saying in the process, “Have a great day, ma’am. Let me know if that gives you any more trouble.”
I close the door; take a huge sigh of contented relief, and the smile on my face just grows and grows. I couldn’t have imagined that morning going any better than it did. My confidence got me through it and is now infinitely greater than before. It doesn’t matter whether Steve marked me or not. Whether it was just his composure, my presentation, or some combination of the two, I was left feeling totally vindicated with the risk I’d taken and the decision I’d made to be this me for the occasion.
To me, there’s something special about not just being an anonymous woman/CD out in public somewhere where I can ignore the glances, the stares, and the whispered asides. To welcome a completely unknown person into my home, even though the situation is somewhat controlled, and then be treated as the woman I feel myself to be has opened up a whole new level of confidence in me.
I have been inching out, testing myself and my presentation into where the world can see me, at least that little bit I can allow myself to show. I have yet to have any negative reactions or comments. I went one step further and brought the world into my private space. There are many of you that have outed yourselves to others–at home, at work, socially, and professionally. But for this girl, who has only peeked out of the closet, who is even in the closet with her wife, it was a monumental event. I opened that closet door, and for the first time invited someone in.
So that should be the finish of this article, right? Well not so fast! After that confidence boost, where would that feeling take me? Keep an eye out for part II of, “My First Time…In?”