Thursday, 18 March 2010

A grand day out.

Yesterday I got sired a couple of times by the same person in the most emphatic way.

We had a cultural day out in the big city and took a friend with us. It was a bit like a military campaign with four venues three people and conflicting interests. As driver and the one who knows their way around the city of Edinburgh quite well I provided a drop-off and pickup service to separate and coagulate us throughout the day. We all got together for a show of photographs from the early days of Antarctic exploration, fabulous old prints from the Queen's collection in a really beautiful exhibition space at Holyrood Palace. If this was the general standard of exhibitions life would be greatly enhanced, 10 out of 10 for this show. The after a convoluted zigzag in three dimensions through the old town and just about everywhere else we finally got Julie off at the Royal Scottish Academy, a show I would normally have gone to see since I used to be a vice president of one of these societies but today it was my job to stick with M and visit and other photographic show.

As soon as we arrived at the next gallery we headed to the cafe and a quick lunch. It was during this time that M suffered what looked like a mini stroke but soon recovered and carried on as though nothing had happened though looked a little agitated for a while. M is one of the few people who knew me before the facial hair started to arrive in my early 20s, we met at some photographic function in the city when I was about 19 and a student at the University and he had just returned from a year's study at a photographic college in California at the tail end of the 1960s. He had noticed me before because he worked in the audiovisual department in the photographic shop where I had become friends with the owner and without anybody ever actually making an agreement acquired an infinite line of credit, the guy knew that I had always paid him first when I got each terms lump of cash then I paid my rent and starved if necessary afterwards! If anything M was more hippyish than me with his bead necklaces and bracelets and delicate shoulder bags, we got together immediately at the photographic event because we were so much younger than nearly everyone else and left together to walk home chatting. Everytime I said well I have to go this way he seemed to stick with me and by the time we were standing in front of the building where I had a one-room apartment we had become good friends with shared interests in photography and cinema. I asked him where he lived and he pointed to the building across the road where he too had a one room apartment. Soon we became good friends spending many evenings at the cinema together. At first I had a suspicion that he might be gay since nearly every guy whoever spoke to me was gay and was after something I wasn't interested in providing. As it turned out he provided the perfect evidence of where his interests lay when I took up with a girl and he couldn't keep his hands to himself! Words were said and he disappeared in a huff for a couple of years only to reappear with a well-off wife who could keep him in a life of great comfort! We became great friends again even though his wife hated my girl! I have heard him say to people that I am his best friend but clearly he hasn't been looking closely for a long time, I could blame the partly on the cataracts he has just had removed! Now he has better eyesight than he can never remember and use it yesterday to spot the studs in my ears hence the mini stroke.

What does it take for some people to notice their friends have changed? I have removed a full dark beard from my face which in itself has subtly softened, the face is now framed with the long hair I have always had that it is now delicately shaped by a hairdresser at the first time in four decades, for the past decade the long nails I've always had have sported a vast range of colours and finishes from my collection of nail polish and little adornments of rings brooches and occasional bracelet have appeared along with ever more feminine female clothing. None of that had any effect but two little golden ear studs with sparkly red centres finally did the trick!

Part of yesterday's deal was that M's wife would cook a meal for us all for our return, and we had a fine time except for a couple of exaggerated "sirs" dished out with the food, clearly this is all got under his skin and has caused some irritation and consternation. I look forward to what he is going to say to me in the near future. One thing is sure the siring has to stop!

A strange dream where cats were lying on top of me while I slept, I never have cats in dreams!, was disturbed by the telephone ringing. Julie tried to transfer it to the carrier about the house phone but got defeated by the technology, it was the doctor's surgery trying to tell me that they had sent a prescription to the local pharmacy for me to collect, I just hope it's not for something like paracetamol!

That's just over five weeks for a letter to be written and travelled 90 miles east, the Victorians could do it better hundred and 50 years ago and it would only have cost a penny to send a letter! The last 2 1/2 weeks had started to get to me, annoyance and a little anxiety put me on edge wondering if they would ever get this simple procedure in place, I know when I feel bad like this, I can measure it with a set of scales! My gentle weight loss had not just flat lined! Looks like a new chapter in the adventure begins ...


  1. How exciting for you.
    I bet you cant wait to get to the chemists!

  2. I think that your friend has to get used to the idea. Perhaps he's a bit upset that you haven't confided in him before.

    The post was much better in the past. We've got hundreds of postcards with 'pick me up at the station tomorrow afternoon' - they wouldn't have written that if there wasn't a good chance of the card getting through in time.

  3. I went through a period of self feminization back in the late seventies and early eighties, where I grew my hair and nails out, tweezed my eyebrows, and wore clear nail polish. My friends were generally silent about the obvious changes, except for once, when one guy asked if I was wearing eyeshadow, which I was, along with some brown mascara. By the mid eighties, when I realized I didn't have the social or vocational support, or any of the other necessary resources to transition, I slowly retreated back into the closet. When I had grown my beard back, one of my friends finally commented that he was much more comfortable with the way I looked, and said that I looked really weird before. I felt it was just the opposite. I loved looking feminine but always felt a little paranoid, because I could sense how uncomfortable it made other males. Females were generally ok with it, or at least indifferent, but many males were visibly shaken by my feminine appearance. Homophobia and sexism are deeply rooted in many males, even many who are quite liberal otherwise. Sad.

    Melissa XX

  4. Some people you can hit them along side the head with a baseball (cricket) bat and they will not notice the changes. I think perhaps they just do not want to see, perhaps because of the meaning behind the changes that they subconsciously recognize. An individual I used to work with and saw on a daily basis took three months to notice I had shaved my mustache off.

    Best wishes for the chemist visit!

  5. I resisted the urge to just rush to the chemist so as not to be disappointed if they said it was not in stock, I am sure it will be there by tomorrow when they will get stuck on without a moments hesitation.

    I am sure that many have noticed and wondered, they just don't know that I am open to answer any questions! The guys , even though they are not typical macho males do have a reticence to talk about personal things, I have tried them and failed. Why don't the girls say something? We do a lot of cheek to cheek stuff so they must know something major has happened.

    Post used to come the same day sometimes!

  6. What a wonderful way of writing you have, Caroline. I loved the story about your friend, M. I do hope he is OK.

    Have you ever wondered if M could be trans? I have a friend, much as you describe M. He recently grew his hair out, really long, after retiring from work. I did not know him when I was young, but it would appear we have similar interests. We now live oceans apart and I will probably never know for sure.

    The fact that M was attracted to you, as a friend, but obviously not gay, is suspect. In my younger years, I had gay guys all over me but, alas, I had absolutely no interest. Nevertheless, and I suspect this continues to this day, I seem to attract gay men. I suppose that is due to the feminine side showing through, even though I try to hide it. Perhaps that is the case with M also.

    I do hope M is OK. A mini-stroke, if that is what really happened, is no insignificant event.

    Calie xxx

  7. Calie, glad you like my posts.

    Tomorrow I shall be visiting M for an Easter brunch with his daughter back for a visit from abroad, between us we shall work out how he is, she has been worried that he is not exactly following his doctors orders and I have given up cajoling.


Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

I can be contacted on the email found on my profile page.