Mar 10, 2010

Further Conversations with Liesl

I will now take up my nice chat with my new friend where it was left teetering on a conversational cliff yesterday. If you missed that post, what follows will make even less sense than my usual ramblings. God help us all. So scroll down to catch up please. The very efficient or epically lazy amongst you may choose to click here.

“Hey, I shouldn’t be so rude. My name is Petra. Nice to meet you. What’s your name?”.

“I’m Liesl, nice to meet you”.

Nice handshake. I had to comment on her name;

“You know you are the second Liesl I have had a total crush on now”.

She didn’t catch the reference just then, and I volunteered Sound of Music. I really did have, and maintain to this day a healthy Liesl crush. Nice Austrian girl, well-to-do family, you just know she had a pair of Wolfords on for the rainy gazebo scene with Nazi Youth-Boy. Clearly, tragically, I would have been way better for her than Rolf, but Captain von Trapp would have set the dogs on me.

“You know, Liesl ... Sound of Music Liesl… ”

“Oh yeah! my parents loved that movie. I was named after her" (still clearly distracted, searching for words).

Petra … where does Petra come from?”

“Well kind of close to my guy name. Unique enough too. I just liked the sound of it”.

We small talked, off topic for a couple of minutes, where are you from, what sort of work pays the bills and etc. Liesl then went back to her original driving curiosity;

“How long have you been doing this?”

“O, god, it goes way back. Forever. I have really only been active, I mean, public at this for a couple of years, but its been with me forever”


“Yup, forever. Sears Catalog day was big stuff for me. I would spend hours. I just felt like I had to know more about …. everything that had to do with women, what you wore, how you dressed, just how you were different than me. I must have been seven when it started. Forever.”

“So, … why?”, smiling.


“You know … (top to toe hand gesture, again) … why?”

Here I found myself reaching for words with the same futility as Liesl was earlier in the conversation. I am still miles from why. I truly don’t know why. I tried:

“It feels good. It is a challenge. It is a little bit of theater, and I used to do a lot of acting, so this keeps me in it. It is special. But why? Why it feels good to me, and it might not feel like anything to someone else, that I do not know Liesl”.

She had not really ever stopped looking at me, even as our discussion became less halted and awkward. She was doing the little head shake of disbelief here and there that I could only interpret one way: She was still surprised. She was surprised that she had no inkling that she had been sharing a tiny, crowded little room with someone she assumed, and had no reason to doubt was a woman. Just a smartly dressed gal looking for the next pair of shoes.

If she had been trying on a pair of shoes that did not look so good, I would have been polite, and kept my mouth shut. If you cannot say something nice, say nothing at all, right? Especially about shoes. And Liesl would not have met her first Cross Dresser.

Minds open, change and grow one at a time. One minute, Liesl did not know or suspect that “this” happens, often, and has forever. A few minutes later, she knew this, and she knew as well that she could have a warm, civil, open talk with a Cross Dresser, after getting some really sound advice about shoes.

I gave her a little hug, said so long, and with a nicely whetted appetite, went off to lunch.

I have since gathered some thoughts on the encounter that I will post up here tomorrow.


Tights Lover said...

Wow. What a story. I loved reading it.

The 'why?' question is always such a tough one to answer. When something seems so natural, it can be difficult to put the reasoning into words...

daisychain said...

I instantly like you after reading your marmite comment on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I will risk making a comment even before seeing your collected thoughts on your encounter...

It is nice when we rock people's worlds and shake up their thinking, but it only works well with someone who cares more about truth than judgment...

Bravo to the nines for your comfort and ease at being out and about... especially for part-time girls, this is often a stressful and self-conscious time.


Leah said...

I'm so proud of you my dear friend... you handled everything with effortless grace and elegance. Bravo!

I can't wait to read about your analysis about the encounter. xoxo

Petra Bellejambes said...

@TightsLover - I am going to take a swing at "why", or at least why "why" is useful, or worth reaching out for tomorrow.

@DaisyChain - I like anyone who likes Marmite and just don't care who knows it. Nice to have you visit here m'dear.

@CDJanie - fine point as always. More points go to Leisl than I. She had no reason to be on her toes and receptive. Imagine if we all were sponges and not stones (that is my first Spartacus bathtub scene reference btw. Hope you like it).

@Leah - Grace and elegance I certainly aim for, but it always takes an effort. It was fun, and very real and immediate, but as the conversation was going on, I knew I just had this one chance with this one person. We both had to make an effort to get to it right. I think we got it.

Thanks all!

Treacle said...

You have a gift for the story. I can picture everything in my head just so.

As an aside, my very first girlfriend was named this was a pleasant reminder of her too. :-)

P.S. I've changed my domain...please don't forget to update your bookmarks to Thanks.

Petra Bellejambes said...

@Treacle - got the bookmark updated but I'm damned if I know what I will do with my "" lower back tattoo though.

Low rise jeans are just entirely useless to me now.

You are fixed in the blogroll now.

xxoo - Petra

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