Taking an opportunity, probably not going to repeat itself, I have spent the last week as Emma and just about pushed all the boundaries as far as possible including a number of firsts.
Monday 5th July – travelled up to Manchester in Bob mode, booked into New Union for the week, had my ears pierced at Claires, 3mm gold studs. Got changed, Bob’s clothes went back to car. Stayed in the vicinity of the village for the evening consuming far too much wine and feeling the consequences much later.
Tuesday 6th July - up at 9am, dressed and walked into town to do some shopping. Then at noon had an appointment at Transfixed for the application of a set of acrylic nails and a pedicure. Back at the hotel, I took my car and drove over to visit my friend Chrissie in Warrington where we shared a pizza and had a good chat before I made my way back to the New Union for midnight. Disco at the New Union on until 2am, chatted up several times and then to bed.
Wednesday 7th July – up early decided to wear longish floaty Per Una strappy dress with a lightweight blazer and strappy heels for my day out in London. Walked up to Piccadilly Station and into the concourse, feeling a million dollars and attracting no adverse stares etc. Boarded the 9-35am train to Euston and sat down next to a young woman in my reserved seat. The train was 100% full and certainly no place for anyone who had doubts about themselves. Some two hours into the journey I touched up my make up as we were approaching Euston only to see the young woman do the same. A nice shared moment.
At Euston, Sue met me and we sat down for a quick coffee and cake whilst agreeing the itinerary. You may recall from recent posts that until 3 weeks earlier when she joined me out in London she had not been out in daylight before. Now she was almost a “veteran”
We took the tube which was an experience in itself, hot, sweaty and whilst standing in a crowded car, subject to all sorts of close contacts! and made our way to South Kensington to visit the V&A and in particular the Grace Kelly exhibition. As a size 16, I felt somewhat overawed at the size of the dresses she had worn and quite envious. Whilst strolling around or sitting, several girls surreptitiously included ourselves in their photos of the exhibits! Why not ask us, it would have been simpler for them – as if we would have minded! Sitting in the courtyard enjoying an ice cream cone without any sideway looks, comments etc was pretty cool. Not really about passing but one of being accepted.
From the museum we had a stroll around Harrods, some refreshments before finishing the afternoon with a tasty meal in a Bistro, just in Soho before getting a taxi back to Euston for the 9pm return train.
The train was busy but not packed and I relaxed and enjoyed the return journey. Back in Manchester for just after 11pm, I met up with Kate in Napoleons for a night cap or two, before returning to my hotel somewhat tired out but still on a high.
Thursday 8th July – up late, organised a few things, dressed and then walked over to the car park for my car. On the way, a guy stopped in his blue Mondeo and asked me if I wanted a ride! – 10-45am in the morning outside the village! My response was succinct to say the least.
I then drove over to York for the day having arranged to meet up with Amanda, this being her 2nd trip out, albeit close to home. I stopped off at Hartshead Services to freshen up and have a coffee before arriving at York and taking advantage of the park and ride scheme, boarded the no 7 bus into York.
I met up with Amanda at the railway station and we proceeded to the National Railway Museum where, after having refreshments, we spent a pleasant and informative afternoon wandering around. As we were making our way back up to the railway station, a woman behind me commented to her young daughter “aren’t the lady’s stripey shoes nice!” I can’t begin to describe my feelings as I ascended the steps into the station, nor the broad grin across my face.
Unfortunately, Amanda needed to get away at 5pm and so, after her departure, I proceeded to walk into York where I took a stroll along the walls and up to The Shambles and did a bit of shopping before catching the bus back to my car and driving back to Manchester arriving back at the hotel for 9ish. Got changed into an LBD and then had a few drinks up Canal Street, an hour in Via where I was chatted up by a girl who insisted on calling me gorgeous and wanting to dance with me – how could I not be flattered! Luckily I was rescued by my good friend Jayne before repairing to Napoleon’s where I met up with two of the guys I had been chatting to earlier in The New Union returning to the hotel for the disco till 2am once more and retiring to bed.
Friday 9th July – up early, dressed and had a full breakfast at Velvet’s before realising just how warm it was and returning to my room to get changed. This time in stretched white jeans and t shirt sitting outside the New Union, I clocked numerous girls arriving for Sparkle and some making those tentative first steps; whilst sipping a cold beer. I met up with Sue who had travelled in Bob mode for a quick chat and a drink before she left to book into her hotel. I then I walked into town and – yes, you guessed, did a little bit of shopping before meeting my wife off her train at rush hour in Piccadilly. Walking up to the station, I thought there might be some trouble as I got mixed up with a gang of 15 guys just starting out on a stag night! But they didn’t notice me in their midst and instead turned their attention to two girls walking towards us instead.
Stopping off at Taurus on the way back to the hotel, we sat and sipped a white wine and enjoyed a nice snack before getting back to our room and getting ready for the theatre. We got a taxi to the Opera House where we saw Spamalot. What a superb show and a great experience, we, both dressed in our best. Not sure nor did I really care what the guy next to me thought as we took up our seats in the front circle. Walking back to Canal Street from the other side of Deansgate in 4” heels was something I won’t forget in a long time but again we experienced no adverse comments as we joined the theatre goers exiting the theatre and making their way back across Manchester.
Back in the village, we stopped at Edens and relaxed in some of the comfy chairs, joined some while later by the “usual gang” including Steph and Sue, Kate, Mrs Kate, Bev, Di and Claire. Whilst the others later split up and went there separate ways including Napoleons, my wife and I decided to have an early night and were in bed for 2am.
Saturday 10th July – Sparkle – The big day once more dawned hot and muggy. Topping off the spray on tan on my legs, I slipped into my River Island denim mini skirt and t shirt top. Amazingly, my wife agreed to walk with me this time (not like when I wore the shorts last year!) We made our way up the street and into Sackville Gardens where we met up with Dave and Teela and then a number of our other friends. At the last minute I had been asked by Teela from Transpose to help out with the fashion show at 3pm and so in preparation, we walked over to Taurus where we had a few drinks and a bite to eat before returning to join the other girls at the back of the stage. I had two changes of clothes, appearing firstly in a glittery pink “Abba esque” style pair of flares and top and then as a naughty Policewoman in tight black miniskirt and white blouse and a 12” truncheon and pair of handcuffs!
Along with all the girls, we had a tremendous time, once the music was playing my nerves disappeared as I strutted my stuff in front of the watching audience, my wife right there in the front row, enjoyed the show and my contribution.
We picked up a few of the acts and then made our way back to Taurus where we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with good friends, Tina and Mandy before returning to our room to get changed and back to Taurus for our meal. We then made our way once more to Eden’s where we met up with our friends and sat outside on the boat enjoying a drink or two. Liz and Mary joined us. Unfortunately, my wife decided she needed to get to bed at 1ish and I escorted her back to her room before rejoining the others. We then made our way to Napoleon’s but it was that hot and crowded, I turned back and returned to The New Union who had a disco on until 3am.
On the way I was talking to a woman when this idiot came up to me with his fingers in his mouth feigning a “you make me sick” sort of gesture and so I dealt with him appropriately. The woman I was with was equally scathing about the guy’s attitude and I bade her farewell as she rejoined her boyfriend.
At the New Union I met up with two women from Salford and when the disco ended, they wanted to know where they could continue and so I accompanied them back to Napoleon’s which was a little less hectic by now and we enjoyed some dancing and a few drinks, joining Liz and Mary until their departure followed by myself at 6-30am when I made my way back to my room and succeeded in waking my wife!
Sunday 11th July – back to Bob. Packing our cases, we decided to stay for a while, leaving our luggage in the reception at the New Union. Wearing a t shirt, jeans and heels, we spent the last few hours sipping cold drinks in the warmth of the day and then met up with Tina and Mandy, decided to go up to Taurus where we treated ourselves to Sunday dinner. It was at this stage that I realised that Transfixed didn’t seem to be open which was where I was planning to remove my acrylics. Luckily, Jackie was able to get up to Superdrug just before they shut and purchase the necessary solvents and then re joined us where we continued drinking and chilling on the boat at Eden’s whilst I removed my nails one by one. As Mandy and Tina were going to see The Ladyboys later in the evening, I made use of their room at the Ibis to get changed in and then picked up the car, loaded our cases and got on the road finally at 7pm, arriving home for 9-30pm, the end of a particularly exhaustive but enjoyable week.
The following post in response was from Lucy - my answer follows
A typically wonderful post Emma.
So where do you feel you "are" now? The boundaries have been pushed, almost all the virgin territory occupied. On this board there was recently a fascinating discussion about where the T journey takes us ( in your case everywhere!). On the one hand there is the "whats the difference between a TV and Ts? Two years, brigade. On the other, there are those ( i am one) who think that if you take the shackles off ,it is possible for some to find a personal equilibrium short of full transition ( although for some there is no choice and it is a necessity).
What have you learned from being FT for a week?
an interesting question and one which worries my wife though not myself.
I have always felt that I am on a slippy slope one which starts as Bob at the top and transitioning at the bottom.
I am currently held in place someway down the slope by my love for my wife, my children and of course the need to earn money. They are indeed major stabilizing influences in my duel life.
I love being a guy too much to just give it up, especially as I can enjoy being Emma when I want to (within reason and in accordance with the jointly agreed rules that my wife and I drew up when I told her about Emma)
Yes, I did enjoy being Emma for a week and yes I do want to do it again, circumstances permitting. There are many other normal things to do as Emma, but I am not greedy, I am very lucky to have an understanding wife and don't intend to ruin that relationship with my selfish wishes.
What have I learned - well that despite everyone's desire to pass, being accepted is probably more important for those of us not naturally gifted with feminine traits.
Once you realise that most people are not by choice confrontational, then you are in essence free to go about your business as you please. I am continually surprised to find how easy it has been to talk to women and partners - strangers, I encounter on my travels and how interested and accepting they are. In some ways I feel by getting out and about and meeting people I am doing my bit to explain who we are and counteract some of the negativity we have come to expect from the mainstream press.
My friends will testify that I am a fairly gregarious (gobby) girl and so perhaps this is my destiny! My accomplishments since speaking to Alina that very first time about my dressing in September 2008 and going out for the first time in daylight (since I was a teenager) later that October is perhaps testimony to those who are currently struggling with going out that the world is out there waiting for you and once out, there is no stopping you.
5 years ago