My wife and I had been invited to join our good friend "Mrs Kate" to celebrate a significant birthday in Manchester on the Saturday.
Whilst my wife continues to be very supportive of Emma, she has reduced the number of times we go out together as she still feels uncomfortable. However, this occasion was one which she wholehearted wanted to join me in and so with our “story” established we left our youngest mid morning on the Saturday to drive up to Manchester.
The idea was to drop some stuff I was selling at a friend’s in St. Helens on the way and book into The New Union mid afternoon. On arrival, the room was not quite ready and so as we were enjoying a quiet drink at the bar, when who should join us but Di who was also staying at The New Union.
When given access to the room, we unpacked and my wife made her way into town for some shopping whilst I got ready. The weather was warmer than I had expected but I decided to go with a long t-shirt top over my stone washed jeggings and favourite mid height heeled shoes. On top I had my black ¾ length coat which is very warm. Ready, I made my way up to the café in Debenhams where we had agreed to meet, just another woman amongst the throngs of shoppers.
Meeting up with my wife, I sat down and we enjoyed a cuppa and some fruit cake whilst organising where we wanted to go and what we needed. My immediate requirements were a new pair of glossy patterned tights for the evening whilst my wife was looking for some replacement needles for her cross stitching hobby and some gel inserts for her heels. Ideally I had wanted to visit the Mac store but as money was tight I knew I would spend too much there so refrained. We did however spend an pleasant hour wandering through the clothes section at Debenhams, examining dresses, tops, coats and skirts for both of us. We find it very useful to be open and truthful about clothes and we both take great delight in picking out clothes for each other and respect each others comments.
However, as time was moving on, and money was tight, we both found what we wanted and then made our way back to the hotel through the crowds of workers and shoppers on their way home. Again, no issues with the rest of the world, I was taken as I presented.
Back at the hotel, whilst Jackie went up to get ready, I sat and had a beer during which Dianne came down ready for the evening and introduced me to Katherine, another friend of hers.
I then joined my wife to get ready whilst Dianne ad Katherine made their way up to Taurus where we were to join them later.
For the evening, despite having brought three different alternative dresses, matching shoes and bags, I resorted to an old favourite a sparkly LBD and matching heels over which I wore my genuine rabbit fur coat (E-bay bargain last year)
Make up refreshed and darkened for the evening, a slick of lip gloss and squirt of perfume, we gingerly made our way down into the bar and then up Canal Street to find our friends. My wife looked stunning as we popped into Taurus but didn’t see them (we later found out they were in the alcove), followed by Velvet where my wife got chatted up by a guy as we were looking for Di and Katherine. It was quite funny listening to the conversation whilst standing there next to Jackie in my heels etc!
Moving on we finally came across Mandy and Tina as they were walking up the street and we decided in the absence of any agreed meeting place to drop into Churchill’s where we enjoyed a bottle of wine between us.
It was good to have the opportunity to chat as it had been a while since Jackie had been out with me as Emma and all too soon we had to up sticks and make our way to the venue where we were eating – Velvet.
On arrival we found Di, Katherine and Bev and her wife there already and so with fresh drinks awaited the arrival of birthday girl and Kate which duly happened.
The bar was very busy and standing in 3” heels not quite so much fun as its’ made out so when seats became available, we made a beeline for them. Shirley and Kate both looked stunning and with all of us in a party mood, the rest of the evening looked like it was going to be good.
Making our way carefully down the steel spiral staircase to the restaurant was, as usual, fun, wearing a tight dress and heels adding to the “excitement”
Taking our seats, cards and pressies having been handed over, "Mrs K" handed out little badges and masks to get us in the party spirit, mine was Miss Boozy! – is someone trying to tell me something!
The food as usual was very good and the “low fat deserts!” something to die for.
As the night was young we decided to visit Spirit first where we met up with the girls again after I had revisited my room to change my shoes and leave my fur coat behind.
For some reason the atmosphere in the village early on appeared quite threatening with lots of groups of guys wandering around the “village” and there was quite a lot of verbal comment. Probably Man United having been at home didn’t help. Nevertheless, we didn’t let this detract from our enjoyment, we just were somewhat more careful than usual.
Gradually our friends made their way from Spirit until myself and Jackie were left sitting on one of the beds on the mezzanine floor. We took time to have a great chat about just about everything. My wife and I for the first time since the night I was attacked, actually held hands and cuddled. This was a massive step for my wife in accepting me as Emma out and about and both of us felt really comfortable.
(The night I was attacked, my wife had for the first time since going out with me as Emma held hands – I know it doesn’t sound that great but believe me this was a massive step for my wife and I, and she thought (wrongly in my opinion) that this lead directly to me being assaulted that night.)
From Spirit, we sauntered across to Eden’s where we continued cuddling and chatting until a young girl on an adjacent table beckoned us over to join her and her friends. She was an 18 year old hairdresser from Manchester and we passed an enjoyable hour answering questions, chatting and generally getting on really well with no unease whatsoever. Her young friends and herself were totally accepting and showed a genuine interest in us. When you think she is only a year older than our youngest daughter! We took advantage of educating them which I believe they were largely ignorant of in the first place. Jackie and I smiled as we fielded some of the standard first time questions and the fact that we were happily married with three daughters didn’t fail to impress on them that any preconceived perceptions they may have had were not necessarily correct.
Before moving on finally to Napoleon’s, I needed the loo and entering in front of another girl grabbed the one available toilet much to her “disgust”. Having finished my business, I washed my hands, repaired my make up and brushed my hair at the mirror before being joined by the girl who had followed me in. She smiled and laughingly commented that following me in she thought I was a woman but was cool about it and asked me if she could borrow some lip gloss. She was a 21 year old who confessed that, whilst she touched up her lips and I refreshed my perfume, she was trying to ditch the guy she was with.
Rejoining my wife, we briefly had a chat before we parted company and walked over to Napoleon’s. By now it was well past 2am and my wife was buzzing. We rejoined our friends downstairs for a chat and final drink or two.
Getting up to buy a round of drinks I bumped into Justine at the bar and we caught up with life etc (we last met at Sparkle though we keep in touch via facebook) and the fact that she and her wife now had a baby to look after.
Finally as the clock was approaching 4am we bade our farewells and made our way back to our hotel and sleep.
Jackie has since then reiterated how she had a really wonderful time out and about with Emma and all our friends and we have penciled in further dates for us to both go out. The fact that Jackie has been able to embrace me and allow me to engage in normal physical signs of affection whilst out as Emma is a massive step forward in acceptance and one I really appreciate.
4 years ago