Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Christmas Party Just For Girls!

Well..........OK, there were some boys there; three to be exact. I'm speaking of course, about my trans-gender support group's annual Christmas Party. I wasn't even sure if I was going to make it. For several days in advance, all of the weather reports were calling for a winter storm to blow through the region on that very day. I'm an East coaster, but I don't live on the coastal plane, where the weather can be significantly different. I live in the Piedmont, less than thirty miles from the mountains. Get me to a spot where the trees aren't obscuring the horizon, and I can see the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winter temperatures here, average 5 to 10 degrees F lower than in Richmond, so a winter storm blowing up the coast is nothing to laugh at. It often means either snow, sleet, or worst of all, freezing rain. Fortunately this time, it turned out to be just a snow event, and not a very significant one at that.

Just the night before, I went to our December support group meeting. No snow that night. Our November meeting was the first meeting, where the temperature had dropped into the 40's, so I got to wear my brand new black hooded, zip front coat; a lovely little wool/cashmere/nylon blend coat, with a banded, and button trimmed waste line, and cute little faux fur lined hood. Friday night, it was even colder, so I pulled out my red, double breasted, button front pea coat. I put it on, and looked at my self in the mirror. Oh God! It was so pretty, and it made me look so girlish! I just couldn't believe it was really mine! I loved that coat from the first moment I laid eyes on it in the J C Penney catalog, and I was determined to have it! So, out came my credit card, and down went my info over the internet, and a week and half later UPS delivered it to my door!

Underneath that gorgeous coat, I was wearing a mallard colored cardigan, with a matching leopard print attached blouse, a pair of light stonewashed jeans, and black pointed toe flats. With my black leather bag slung over my shoulder, I exited the back door, and jumped into my bronze quad cab pickup truck, for the cruise on into Richmond. Close to an hour later, I pulled into the parking lot behind the clinic, where our support group meets. I entered the building and went down the steps to the basement. Before entering the conference room where we meet, I stopped off in the ladies room to remove my coat and brush my hair. I love ladies rooms! Mens rooms are purely functional, but ladies rooms often have a lounge area, with a vanity and plush seating. The ladies room at the clinic was no exception. In addition to the normal plumbing, it had a lounge that was carpeted, with two sofas and a mirrored vanity, encircled in lights.

After brushing my hair and checking my makeup, I proceeded to the conference room, where the social hour was still underway. Slim pickings on the pot luck that night, so I settled for a piece of cold greasy fried chicken breast, a few crackers and pieces of cheddar cheese, and a paper cup filled with Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Pepper. Good thing I ate a small PB&J before leaving the house! I had just finished my Chicken breast, when Madam President convened the meeting. She had arranged a large number of folding chairs in a semi-circle in the center of the room, and was imploring us to to leave the safety and comfort of our seats behind the tables. I have slowly grown to like Madam President, although I'm sure she doesn't know it yet. I have to admit I was intimidated by her at first. She is about 32 year old, and unlike me, supremely confident. She is also quite bossy, and very direct, but she is a good hearted woman, with out best interests in mind. She and a few other girls, virtually run the entire organization on their own. That night one of them had arranged for a lesbian lawyer, they met at our weekly lesbian bar gathering, to come and address the group about what kinds of legal services she could offer. She was in her early thirties, and had partnered with other lesbian lawyers from the public defenders office, to form their own practice, that specialized in, but was not limited to GLBT concerns. She was absolutely wonderful! Very intelligent, very accepting and compassionate! She told us she and her partners practices all aspects of the law, and were more than willing to offer free consultations, to determine if they could help us with a whole range of legal issues, and not necessarily gender related. She also discussed and answered a multitude of questions concerning trans issues, and current laws that effected us, as far as employment, discrimination, and marriage rights went. Unfortunately she told us, that living in one of the most conservative states in the country, our rights as transsexuals are extremely limited, if not completely non-existent. A very interesting meeting. One of the best I have attended.

The next day it was time to prepare for the Christmas Party. The big question was, would I be able to go, or would I not? It was a 45 mile ride into a neighboring county, and the weather report was iffy at best. They were calling for snow from about noon, until nine PM. Fortunately, there was no forecast of sleet, or freezing rain, and snow was only expected to accumulate from to 1-2 inches. After eating lunch, and watching the snow fall outside my windows, I hopped on my stationary bike, and pedaled like a woman possessed for a full hour! Nothing like a good aerobic workout to relax you, and give you stamina for the rest of the day. Afterward, I showered and shaved with my brand new Braun Series 7 Pulsonic foil shaver (High marks for that device!). Just my face though! I took sweet Sarah's advice , and thoroughly epilated my entire body, early the day before. About the Series 7 Pulsonic; it is a bit pricey at $200 +, but it gives an excellent shave, for an electric. Not a bad investment!

After shaving, it was time for make up. No problem there. I had everything I needed, was well versed in what needed to be done, and wasn't worried about a thing. Soon my makeup was done, and I liked the way I looked. I had a plan as to how I wanted to dress, but unfortunately, a plan is just a plan, and reality often throws a monkey wrench into the works. I was going to wear one of three different red sweaters, a mid calf length black, red, and green plaid, pleated skirt, and black 3 inch heeled, knee high boots. The trouble was, I had never tried the skirt on. It was still in its original plastic plastic bag. I know! Be prepared! A lesson I should have learned in Scouting! So give me thirty lashes with a wet noodle! I deserve it! Anyway, out it came, and to my disappointment, it was not only a tight fit, but it was wrinkled, and in dire need of ironing. Now time was short, and I wasn't about to iron a new pleated skirt, just before I had to drive 45 miles to a party, so after panicking, running in circles, and crying hysterically, I pulled myself together, and scoured my closet for an alternative. I settled on a black denim pencil skirt, that stopped about one to two inches above my knees, a very pretty red, scoop necked 3/4 length sleeve sweater, with ruffled cuffs, and a white lace trimmed, pintucked, attached blouse, for a layered look. A poinsettia and ivy wreath pin, adorned my upper left breast, and miniature Christmas tree ornaments hung from my ears. I looked into the mirror and thought, "Hmmm.....not bad!"

The snow storm that was still gong on, had dumped an inch and a half or snow, so my elegant 3 inch heeled, knee high boots were of no use, when clearing the snow from my truck. Fortunately, I had a pair of flat heeled Toe Warmers boots, that I could wear until I arrived at the party. Much better for driving in too! I tucked my elegant 3 inch heeled boots into a silver carry all bag, that I got as a bonus from Clinique, and laid them on the passengers seat, to put on when I arrived at the party, and with my pretty red pea coat on, I took off for the party.

Driving down the road in a snow storm at night, is reminiscent of the closing scenes of the old Star Trek series, and also of some older screen saver programs. The headlights illuminated the snowflakes coming at me, and I felt kind of like I was traveling through space at warp speed. As I got closer to Richmond on I-64, the snow stopped and turned to rain. I turned South at the appropriate time, exiting I-64 and entering State Route 288 witch crossed the James River into Chesterfield County. R, the girl who was hosting the party, lived about 15 miles farther south. I had looked her address up on the internet a few days before, and was confident I would have no trouble finding it. Of course looking up an address on Gooogle Maps, and actually navigating your way there in the dark, is a horse of an entirely different color! I exited Route 288 onto Route 76, just as the Google had instructed me to, and from there I proceeded to Brandermill Parkway and made a left. From there I proceed Southward, to a road named after a number, of a certain type of deciduous tree. A piece of cake, I thought! What I hadn't counted on, was trying to read street signs, on roads with no street lights, on a pitch black night! As each new street was approached, on came the bright lights! Approaching drivers were probably cursing me, for being an inconsiderate idiot, but I couldn't help it! I have Sixty-one year old eyes, that just don't pick up the detail anymore, especially at night. Eventually I found the road with the deciduous tree moniker, and made a left turn onto it. The road is configured in the shape of a P, so if you enter it, and proceed ahead, it eventually intersects itself, making it even more confusing in the dark. I drove around the P once, and thought I was on the wrong street, so I made my way back to Brandermill Parkway, and took a left, hoping to find the right deciduous tree name road further on down, but soon I was about to exit the subdivision altogether, and I realized I needed to to do a roundabout, and re-explore the the road I had been on. So, once again I headed back to the P shaped road, and suddenly the house I had looked up on Google Maps street view, popped out in front of me. At the same time, I saw Madam President exiting her vehicle, directly in front of the same house. I knew then that I had found it, and I found a parking place across the street and down a house or two, and so I pulled in, stopped and changed our of my Toe Warmers, to my fashionable 3 inch heel boots, and on to the party I went.

R, the hostess, answered the door, welcomed me in, and pointed to a closet where I could hang my coat. She warned me in advance that it was pretty full, and advised me to just shove everything aside, to make room for my coat. I opened the closet door, and laughed silently! It was packed full! I took off my red pea coat, found an unused hanger, and shoved my arm deep into the tightly bundled mass of coats, hoping to shove them aside, to make room for my own coat! I shoved, and I shoved, but the bundle of winter coats would not yield! Soon I was working up a sweat, and I silently said "Fuck it!". squeezing my coat between two others I shoved it in as hard as I could, and as soon as the hanger hooked over the closet rod, I slammed the door shut, hoping it's contents would not all come tumbling out on me!

Having secured my coat in a closet, about to explode from having too many coats, I collected myself, and proceed on into the party. A lovely girl named Silvia, who had driven all the way up from North Carolina approached me, and introduced herself. I didn't recognize her from any of our meetings, and she told me that she rarely attended them, because she lived so far away. Virginia is backward in many ways, but sometimes North Carolina makes Virginia look like a bastion of liberalism.

I walked into the kitchen and saw Sophie , who blogs here as well. She was looking positively resplendent in her long black skirt, black and white checked blouse, pearls, and dazzling electrified heels, that lit up, and sparkled, as he sashayed about the party! Kudos, Sophie!

A bit later, while talking to Silvia in the living room, I persuaded her to take a few pictures of me, in front of the Christmas tree. She did her best God love her, but she wasn't familiar with my camera, so the pictures I had hoped to show you of myself, were essentially unusable. I wasn't much better at operating my new camera myself. I took two pictures of Sophie, but I forgot to activate the anti-shake and the flash. The pictures that came out, were so dark and orange, they were essentially unusable. I was able to brighten one up enough to send it to her, but I will allow her to decide whether or not to post it.

After several misguided snapshots, I finally figured the camera settings out, and snapped a fairly good picture of Silvia, and Dani, who is one of our groups officers.

Overall the party was fairly subdued. Mainly because no one was drinking any alcohol. I would have been much more relaxed, and gregarious with a few drinks in me, but with a 45 mile trip home in unpredictable weather, and the Virginia State Police hiding in the bushes alongside the road, I decided to stay sober.

A couple of the members were very talented singers and electric guitar players, who graced us with some fairly spectacular blues numbers, that were very good indeed! In fact they were excellent, and I remember commenting to one of the other girls,about how good I thought they were! One of the newer young girls, who looked adorable by the way, in her black sleeveless sheath dress, plays the bagpipes in a highlander band, and she treated us to Christmas carols on her pipes! Definitely a first for me! What a sweet confident young girl she is!

No Christmas party would be complete without food, so our hostess and her helpers provided us with ham, turkey breast, green beans, cornbread stuffing with apples and
raisins, whole cranberry sauce (the best!), chocolate chip, and peanut butter cookies, and chocolate and vanilla cake. Yes, I sample a bit of each, and it was yummy!

After three hours of standing around in 3 inch high heeled boots, it was time to go. Madam President reminded me to retrieve my ornament, from the Christmas tree! She and the other girls who had prepared the house for the party, painted the names of all the members on the Christmas tree ornaments, and every one got to take theirs home.

After retrieving my ornament, and placing it securely in my purse, I took on the task of extricating my red pea coat, from the overloaded and about to explode cloak closet! Fortunately, no hideous incidents ensued! I donned my coat, slung my bag over my shoulder, and bid my farewell to our hostess and a few others, then made my way out to the street, and into my truck. I made it about halfway around the P shaped block, when suddenly I realized, I couldn't feel the pedals! With 45 miles of tricky road to drive, I knew instinctively that this would never do. I stopped in front of a house down the block, and put the truck in park. Then I unzipped my fashionable high heeled boots, and swapped them for my comfy Toe Warmers, and gained an instant relief, and probably a much safer drive home!

I hope all of your have happy Christmas, or holiday parties to attend. Here's wishing you all, a very Merry Christmas, and a joyous wonderful new year!



caroline said...

Really enjoyed your novel about the girls christmas party, is it available in hardback or just as a download?

With all the snow forecast I thought it was going to be like Stephen King's The Shinning where the cute girl in the sexy pink top gets stranded by the snow in a spooky hotel and...

I especially loved the part where the heroine pretends that she can't operate her camera so that we are teased about how she looked in her party gear.

Santa needs a request for sat nav so that in future episodes of Party Girl there is more space for the party and some more pictures.

This has trumped any party I am getting to go to you lucky thing!

Caroline XXX

Amy K. said...

I'm glad you had a nice time, and got there and back safely. Too bad about the botched photos. Your outfit sounded positively charming!

I always put on the high beams while driving in the snow, exclaiming, "Warp speed, Mr. Sulu!" Or, I could go Next Generation and spout out, "Warp 8. Engage!" ;)

Darn those p-shaped roads!

xoxoxo :)

Amy K. said...

PS - I adore that headband in your opening photo. It really adds a nice touch of color. :)

Lucy Melford said...

I would have liked to see a couple of photos of your complete outfit, even though your description was very good!

It was certainly worth the effort to turn out on such a night. I attended a party like this last year, and it made all the difference to my Christmas, which might otherwise have been rather a sad one.


Jenny.J said...

Sounds like you had a great time, and like Caroline said, when is the first edition to be released?
Shame about the pix as it would have been nice to see your outfit.
I did mention to you about taking your older camera with you as this new one has created lots of problems so far.....
some of us girls across the pond do sometimes offer sound advice lol! but not too often.
Love to read your stories,
take care Jenny xx

alan said...

When I got my Nikon I took the manual to work to read on my breaks, then came home each night and went through it again finding each button and setting...it's still smarter than I am sometimes!

Glad you got there and back safely and got to enjoy the party!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Shame I missed the party!

Two Auntees said...

Am so glad you had a great time at the party, if I could high '5' ya I would. Smart move to change footgear on the way home. That night will be remembered for a LONG time. Congrats, girl.

Leslie Ann said...

Now aren't you glad you stuck with the support group despite early misgivings? Sounds like a lovely evening.