Even going to the launderette is more fun as a female. Doing errands never seems like a chore to me any more. They represent stepping stones toward reinforcing my femininity during my transgender transition, and frequently give me the chance to meet new people -- or reintroduce myself anew to people that knew the old me.
This morning, after I washed my bed sheets and pillowcases, I packed the two comforters into my car to drop off later at the local launderette. During this first year living full time as a girl, I was only at the launderette three times. And the owner Rob, who I know, was never there any of those times. On those three occasions however, I did run into his manager Isabelle. She knew me as Frank, but recognized me as Fran and commented on how good I was looking.
I had assumed she would have told Rob "Guess what?" she didn't.
When I entered the launderette, Rob was standing near the front. "Hi Rob" I said, "haven't seen you for a while." He squinted his eyes, looked me over, and I could almost hear his brain's engine doing double-time trying to figure out who I was.
I could tell from his face that he remembered me, especially my voice, but he couldn'tt place it, exactly. Then I said, "Sisco?," offering him my last name. He replied with a beaming smile, "Oh Wow! Very different!"
I immediately replied "Thanks!" -- putting a compliment in his mouth, to which he said, "Yes, very good," making me feel like ten million dollars.
After we talked a bit about websites and advertising, he entered my order and asked if I wanted to change my name in his computer database, or if I just wanted this order to be entered under my wife Lorrie's name. I said I'd rather use my own account, but to change my name by dropping the "k" off Frank --- it's Fran, not Frank."
One backspace and voila! I'm my new me in an additional place. Rob asked how my gender change has been so far, especially when meeting people who knew me previously as a man. I asked if he wanted to hear a quick story, triggered by my hearing my wife's name a minute ago. He said, "Please tell me."
I proceeded to share a short version of a story about meeting my friend Jack for the first time as a female five years ago. As a financial person, I attended a broker-dealer three-day conference every year, held by the firm with which I was associated.
That particular year, I decided it was time to 'out' myself to the 700 people in attendance. And so I drove down to Washington, D.C. with no male clothes -- not on me or in my suitcase. While driving to the conference I called a few contacts whom I thought would be there, to set up appointments and perhaps dine with in the evenings. I left a voicemail for Jack: Hi it's Fran Sisco, I look forward to meeting up with you at the conference."
Jack was a partner in a law firm I rented space from several years earlier. He and I had adjoining offices and got quite friendly. We talked a lot about his problems dealing with an upcoming divorce, and my issues with my daughter, so we were somewhat intimate friends.
Now he was a senior executive in an oil and gas drilling company that was exhibiting at this broker-dealer conference. When I arrived, the evening trade-show was already underway. I looked for Jack's booth, and there he was; standing with three others talking to attendees. I held back for a few minutes until he was clear, then walked up to him smiling and said, "Hi Jack. How have you been?"
He smiled back, cocked his head, and said, "I'm sorry, do I know you?" I replied, "Yes!" In the moment I had almost forgotten that I now looked very little like I did when we last saw each other. "Jack? Sure you know me ... its Sisco!"
He hesitated a moment, then blurted out, "Oh, of course! You're Frank's wife!"
I nearly choked with excitement that he thought I was my wife, who is a beautiful blond and very feminine. After all, for many years she was the woman I've tried to emulate.
Then I said, "No, Jack. Its not Frank's wife. Its Frank! Less the 'K', now Fran." Jack's eyes almost popped out of his head. He looked at the others around him and said, with a broad smile, "Meet my old friend, Fran! I could feel the top of my head brushing up against the twenty-foot high ceiling.
And so it goes, just another day in A Girls Life!