Monday, December 8, 2014

Seeing Old Chums

I have been blessed with friends.

My Wedding Party 1993.  L to R: M***, R, DrD, Me

One of my friends has been around since elementary school.  A few others from high school.  Most of this old group of friends learned about my transition via a video I sent them.  A few, like R and DrD, learned in person.

Saturday November 29 was a cold day, and I worked.  However, that night would be a new first. Many of my old friends would be meeting Sophie for the first time.  One of them was R.

I was quite nervous.  Most of these guys were star wrestlers in high school and/or college, as well as being typical guys: football, beer, scratch scratch, BUUUURP!  But they've also been very loyal friends.

So why was I so nervous?

I was nervous because in some ways I wanted their approval, but I was pretty sure I wouldn't get it.  Why do I need their approval?  After all, I'm 48 years old and hardly see these people anymore.  Hell, I've hardly seen them since moving to Baltimore in 1994, and even less after moving back to PA in 2003.  We are scattered now- all around the country.  And I don't have the money to jump on a plane on a whim.

So we see each other usually once or twice a year.  We call these events "Chum Con", and the past few have been to honor our friend Big Al, dead now these three years.  (I wrote about that in my TG Forum column HERE, calling him "Bob."  The eulogy I wrote for him is HERE.)  We always toast to his memory, and usually with good scotch.

This time we toasted with beer.

I wasn't last to arrive, but next to it.  I went into the lobby and asked about R's room number, and the woman at the desk looked me up and down, then called up to the room.  I was told they would come down to the lobby.

And why is that?  Did R not want his kids seeing a TG?  Was he embarrassed for me?  Or was it that the rest of the night would be spent at a side room of the lobby, drinking and playing cards?

I was dressed in jeggings and boots, and wore a cleavage bearing top under a cardigan.  I'd darkened my makeup from my usual work look.  I wanted to give them all possible feminine cues.  I knew it was going to be a rough night for everyone as far as pronouns and proper names.  And I was right.

We sat and talked and four of us played euchre while the others sat nearby and we all talked.  Only one of them asked me about being TG.  He had recently fallen and suffered a severe concussion.  I asked him how his head was.  He said "Fine.  How's yours?"

I replied.  "Fine.  Finally."

So we drank (I didn't drink much as I had to drive) and played cards and the conversation centered around wrestling and former coaches we'd had as well as a music video that R saw the day before and was singing over and over and over and over.

I felt out of place.  I was the only woman there but that shouldn't matter: these are old friends after all.  But it DID matter.  I felt the tension.  People were a little uncomfortable, especially at first.  And, as I said, pronouns and name were an issue.  But I expected that and didn't get bent out of shape over it.

I stayed five hours, then it the party broke up.  There were early morning planes to catch after all.  One of the group, "Prime," left an hour earlier.  Before the rest of us left, we posed for a couple of pictures.

"Dayum Dayum DAYUM!"

And the night Ended.

And I'm still uneasy.

Why?  It went better than expected, after all.  These very manly type guys were respectful and made an effort.  So what possibly could be wrong?

I have an uneasy feeling that my time with this group is limited.  After all, I'm no longer "one of the guys."  I'm a Woman.  To add to that, I'm Different.  They respect me, but that doesn't mean they'll keep me around.  But this is probably all in my head, and me over-thinking the thing.

One of my friends' son spent the time with all of us.  He was turning twelve.  As the night ended, one of the guys said to him "I really hope you have friends like this."  And that stuck with me.  I HAVE these friends.  These people were one of my considerations before I went full time and told everyone about who I truly am.  I really wondered how they'd react.  Now I've seen it.

I am blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome photo! Bunch of clowns :P

    I won't say, "Don't worry", because you're like me, if you can worry, you will...but don't worry too much :)

    I love that coat by the way, it's for adventures!