Getting out of a car without flashing the world is not easy when you have very long legs and have decided that it's warm enough to break out the floaty number. Oh the tribulations of the oversized!
Last night brought an unexpected chance for an evening out presenting female, as my wife was at a friend's place the same evening as a regular t-girl gathering at a very nice restaurant pub near Reading. So a quick phone call to my friend Dawn, and we piled into the Rollerskate for a blast down the motorway.
There is something I still find incongruous about doing something like going to a pub that is normal for me as a scruffy bloke, yet as a woman. It makes me laugh as well as the satisfaction of presenting the way I feel, to look down and see this girl, where there used to be this bloke. And when I pass unnoticed in broad daylight it just gets funnier. I'm glad it works that way for me, knowing other people in my situation who to my mind look a million times better than me yet who are gripped by terror at the thought of venturing beyond a safe space, my just seizing the moment and going with it is infinitely preferable.
Last night's gathering was a chance to dress up a little. Or more to the point, dress up, but not a lot. One of the fortunate things about our community is that you can almost never be overdressed, but it pays not to overdo it. As always my outfit had to pass the "would a natal woman like me wear this" test, and I hope with a knee-length summer dress, smart LTS jacket and no heels I didn't draw attention to myself. There was another "These people must be really unobservant!" moment on the way into the pub, but I guess the blokes with their eyes on a cool pint of Stella Artois just didn't give us - a tall woman and her old lady friend - a second look on their way to the bar.
It is always something of a smack in the face to remove the trappings of femininity after such an outing. I needed last night badly having spent the last week or two in something of a state, but every time going out as girl becomes a little easier to do and putting it away afterwards becomes that little bit more of a wrench.
Driving back home through town the car was surrounded by wheeling seagulls in the orange sodium light. The tourists and revelers leave discarded food everywhere and our feathered friends turn up after hours and clean it all up most efficiently. To be honest I was glad of them, they took my mind off more annoying matters. Gulls are not birds you want to get on the wrong side of, but close-to in flight, especially on an atmospheric evening in a near-empty town centre, they are quite a sight. I wish I could call them up to banish the girl blues at other times.