Sunday, 17 April 2011
First meal out post-op
This was in the middle of five long hours away from home, beginning at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and I was still bubbly. But by eight o'clock I was flagging badly, and glad to let Fiona waft me home to restore my tissues. As a first evening outing it was however a great success. And I can only get stronger and better able to last the course.
Mind you, the stamina and energy of some people amazes me. A---, who came out of the Nuffield only five days previously, was eager to take up her social life again as if very little had happened, and had actually asked me whether I'd like to come over for a long leisurely afternoon's Sunday meal this weekend, with herself doing the cooking. This was sweet of her, but I had to refuse: first, I wouldn't have lasted the afternoon, my personal energy level being far less; second, I can sit upright now, but firm dining-table seats do make me uncomfortable (as eventually happened at the Sawadee with R---); and third, she should be resting bigtime, not wrestling with pots and pans and woks in the kitchen - although of course that's entirely up to her, and I didn't say anything strong about that aspect, but it was really the biggest thing in my mind when framing my response. Well, I suppose we are all extremely variable, and each person is different, and no recovery goes the same, but when I think that it was three weeks before I ventured away from my front door, well, I do think now that people must have thought me a right wimp! But I needed my rest, and the dividend seems to be very good healing, so far as I can tell.
It was so nice to get back to a 'normal' kind of evening outing, and indulge in some people-watching, as you do. Or let yourself be watched! R--- and I seem to pass very well nowadays, especially R--- (she's a year ahead of me), and we have no fear or concern. Indeed, we had a tableful of young natal girls next to us, and another just behind, and there was nary a puzzled look, although I caught one girl looking at my Prada handbag!
At one point a very tall young lady came in, although that was the only remarkable thing about her. She was clearly making an enquiry about having a table later on. R--- had a good look at her, and thought she might be trans. It was more a feeling than anything particular about her, because her look was perfect in every way. I didn't have such a clear view. I reckoned there might just be something about her when I saw her face in profile, a slightly strong jawline maybe, but if she was trans then she'd had jolly good facial surgery, for she was very pretty. And her build was willowy and girly in every respect. Perhaps she moved without quite the right kind of 'flow' - but then she was very tall, and that might have something to do with it. And R--- pointed out that she wasn't glancing about her as she moved, most women seeming to use their eyes like radar when walking - but maybe she'd taken her glasses off and everything was out of focus, which could account for the fixed stare that never met anyone's eyes. She came back a little later with the boyfriend, and we had a second scrutiny. No, it still wasn't certain she was trans: at least that was my view. But I trusted R--'s intuition.
Now you musn't think we go in for tranny-spotting, but it does often seem to be the case that others of our kind catch our attention. It's involuntary. We know, even if the general public does not. But we scrupulously observe the unspoken etiquette: we do nothing to indicate recognition. We don't want to blow their cover, so to speak. And we hope we get the same thing in reverse. After all, all trans people who have made a successful transition deserve a reward for all the personal grief, cost, and sheer hard work they must have put in to achieve what they are now. It just isn't on to blow their identity away with a mistimed and public greeting, however well-intentioned.
I must say, there were several natal girls - and older natal women - in that restaurant, and outside in the street, who wouldn't pass strict physical tests for femininity. But they were fine. Ergo, R--- and myself were fine, as is every trans person who can blend in moderately well. And despite my words above about 'knowing' when you see a trans person about, I would bet good money that we encountered trans girls that evening who were so natural, so well-absorbed into ordinary life, that we didn't spot them at all, and never would in a million years.
That's the goal: a place in ordinary life.