Feb 7, 2010

Southern Comfort

Mrs. Bellejambes and myself have had an awful lot going on lately, and as all consuming as the smoldering tire-dump fire of Cross Dressing can be, its flames have not licked too too closely to home. “Petra” has been the girl in the room that we both know is there, yes, but we have been polite and/or patient enough to not aggressively engage her. Additionally, neither of us really have a nicely indexed Operators Manual for this whole thing, so we have not fully grasped this nettle, so to speak. Circumstances recently allowed for a circumspect how-do-you-do last night though. Allow me to share.

I received a note a little while back from Giselle at
Pink Essence advertising a planning session / social gathering wrapped around the 2010 Southern Comfort Conference and throwing out an invite to all so inclined. Another Angel of Mercy, JoAnn, who I met this past December at a local Yahoo! T-Girls chapter booze-up reached out too. JoAnn, and her superbly supportive wife, Cyndi, expressed a real hope that I might introduce my superbly supportive wife to the sorority. Mrs. B welcomed the opportunity for us to both present, and learn what we could.

There were some logistical issues in so far as we also had an invitation to a birthday gathering for a friend. Mrs. B suggested we do both events en femme, and do you know, I very seriously considered really going out there. Our friend, and her social circle would have not have been freaked out or put off by the presence of a Cross Dresser. Very liberal set, creative, artsy, and even supportive of heterosexual people too. Broad minded indeed, and the birthday girl herself usually does have broads on the mind. The setting for the party was a completely beautiful lounge room at a grand hotel here in Atlanta, the sort of room I am sure to have run a tab in in a past life.

“Seriously honey, we can just say that we are going to a costume party”, said my wife …

Perhaps with a Carmen Miranda pile of fruit on my head we could pull off the costume party thing. Technically, whatever we wear is a costume, but presenting en femme is a very real thing for me. No-one who meets “Petra” could believe for a moment that my appearance is a one-off, just-for-fun thing. So no, not just now. I am not yet ready to link the known me with the less well known. The thought is out there though now, yes? Very complex and compelling calculus associated with that move that we together will want to put some real thought to in the not too distant future.

The Southern Comfort Conference is a feather boa of an entirely different shade though. This annual, three day TG/CD confab has been gathering steam without any help from me for 20 years now. I toyed with the idea of attending last year, but not being out at home, and with the
sad flooding of said home that week, hopes were derailed. SCC is a big event, bigger each year, requiring a good amount of plotting and planning. Committee chairs, content providers and other helpful types spent the long Saturday working out the details and planned to reward themselves and provide comfort to others after the labors with a little party.

Mrs. B dropped me off at the Crown Plaza just before 8 with the promise to return when the happy duties were done at the vaguely more straight mid-town event she pulled duty for. The smart doorman saluted and held doors for the girl in the lace skirt, short coat, dark sheers and killer pumps, and having a few minutes to spare I thought to sit for a quick bracer in the lobby bar just to get my bearings.

Miss Kitty, Christie, Leslie and Paige welcomed a 5th wheel to the table, confirming for me that I was clearly visiting the correct Crown Plaza. Leslie had handed me a drubbing at a pool table some time ago, so it was sweet to see a familiar face. Paige was introduced as visiting from my hometown, which is more than a couple of counties away from Dixie. Naturally I took soundings about where exactly she lives and breaths, and about this I am not joking: Paige lives today 50 yards down the road from my very first address, way back in the mists of time. Tiny old world.

The party was busy and getting busier by the moment as we and the gathering crowd flocked in. JoAnn introduced me to a few of the ranking officers. I gave assurances to Cyndi that, yes, Mrs. B would be attending presently, hopefully, necessarily in part because I had the wrong shoes for the long walk home.

I happily lost every bit of self consciousness engaging in small talk with a tall beauty hailing from Cocoa Beach. When one meets someone from Cocoa, one presumes, correctly often, that one is in the presence of a rocket scientist. Lift-off, genuine stuff, and years later still electrified by the work of exploding people into outer space and returning them safely to our tiny blue orb. I am an Apollo child and a freak for this stuff. Lost her name in all my excitement, I am a cad too.

Lexie, Verna, Lida and too many to recall helped me enjoy the evening very nicely. At peak I would guess the room to have housed 30 or so people, transitioned, transitioning, transmasculine, transmaried and just generally making the trans run on time. Leda, in from Boston told the tale of getting called out at Logan for the odd contents of her carry on bags. The breast forms it seemed drew some x-ray attention and caused a degree of mortification on the way through to the boarding gate. That would be a moment not soon forgotten no doubt.

I am a bit of a recluse, and usually a little suspicious of people with whom I have a lot in common. I really have not felt much of a need to seek out the company of fellow Cross Dressers. I have always had strong convictions that I am not alone in my habits, and so do not need a heap of validation on that front. But it is nice, and therapeutic to share time with nice normal people in an easy social setting.

Mrs. B is a bit more naturally sociable and engaging then I am though, and threw herself nicely into the pool upon arrival a couple of hours and a few glasses of wine later. She really is magnetic, and as flawed a husband as I am, I am never not proud of her. There is no artifice in her, completely open and available to the person whose attention she has. Attention comes easily too, she stands out in any room and it doesn’t take people long to figure that the beauty is much more than skin deep. Tory engaged her in a long chat about Greg Mortenson, a real hero to my wife. Tory volunteers her time and energy to supplying Mr. Mortenson’s
foundation with pencils and other tools of literacy which really captured Mrs. B’s enthusiasm.

I peeled off while Cyndi and my wife had a more private commiseration about the complexities of marriage in general, and the specific complexities of being married to the likes of, well, the likes of me. I believe it was a good evening for all. We still have our complexities, but seem to have the wherewithal to tame and tend to them.

I believe a special, awesome bravery required to be “out”. I am not out. I camouflage with clothing, conceal with cosmetics and call myself by a different name. There is no public linkage between my halves. My wife went commando. She is out. I hope to join her some happy day.

Have a Super Sunday. Go Saints.


Jenny said...

Very liberal set, creative, artsy, and even supportive of heterosexual people too.

Petra love, you almost owe me a new keyboard. What a fantastic quote, I must remember never to read your blog while drinking a cup of tea again.

Leah said...

That is great! I love reading this adventure. And I'm so proud of Mrs B. And my hats off to you my friend.

Have a great Sunday! And yes, go Saints!!!

Nikki Fatale said...

Lady Petra,

This sounds like splendid outing! Looks as though the lights are brightening on your pathway to absolute happiness.

My complements to Mrs. B for her grace and eloquence. You my dear are very lucky, for the support of a spouse while dealing with these issues cannot be replaced.

Set YOUR course & speed and worry not what others are doing, as one shoe does not fit all feet. Some of us don’t need as much validation as others.

My Best To Both Of You,


Couture Carrie said...

The more I learn about Mrs. B., the more I love her! So cool that she suggested you go en femme to those events. What a wonderful partner!

Thanks for your amazingly sweet comment on my post today, darling Petra! Happy Sunday night!


Leslie Ann said...

I adore the way you describe Mrs. B. What a profound love you have for her.

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