There was no way I was going to wear skinny jeans on a day so hot and humid. My plans for the weekend had gone awry with train problems from the restrictions and so I suddenly found myself alone at home with little to do. I had to get out of the house. That was the only option. I love working from home but, much like an office, you kind of don’t want to be there on the weekend – especially a super hot weekend. Message to Mum, ‘Do you want to walk down to the sea if I come down?’ It wouldn’t be an afternoon of sitting there wondering whether I should spill my entire heart about everything about my gender identityand then find a reason not to, I just wanted to see her and have some time out for the afternoon.
The thing is it was such a proper full-on genuine British summer day that I just wanted to wear my denim shorts. You know, the ones with the turn ups, lovely soft stitching on the back pockets and the odd discrete blue crystal whether pocket studs would normally sit. They’re also the shorts that I’ve worn to the death with pocket linings that have split and hold nothing more than hopethat they’ll survive another wash. But I love them so much. They were the last pair in an outlet shop and in my size that I bought several years ago and if I could get another pair right now I would.
I still wanted to feel light weight and the one t-shirt I wanted to wear I’d not seen for a couple of weeks. I was hoping it hadn’t fallen out of a bag or something and lost forever but I pulled a big clump of clothes out of the cupboard and within a few seconds I’d spotted it. It had got crinkled into ball amongst the other clothes but in the humidity I imagine it would self iron in a matter of minutes.
Like the shorts I have a love for this t-shirt. It’s white with a purply yoga style pattern print on the front and has the cutest cropped short sleeves and a hint of a tailored shape to it – it was also cheap. ‘I’ll wear it.’ But I felt like I needed a shirt to go over it to keep the sun off a little. I didn’t want to wear anything heavy or long so I went back to the wardrobe and unhooked a pale blue plaid shirt with equally cropped short sleeve much like the t-shirt but with a short loop of material on the shoulder than can be hooked onto a button on the inside of the sleeve making it even more cute. These were unhooked and I’d forgotten about them. It was also much more of a tailored-cut curving in at the waist and back out towards the hips and it was shorter than my t-shirt so it saidsomething. I’d not worn it for quite some time so it was perfect.
I finished off with some pale ankle socks just incase my legs got sun burnt and so any suntan line would hopefully be below my ankles. I chucked everything I needed into my shoulder bag, pale material purse that I’ve openly used for the last year, spare masks, water, a coconut lip balm and stood in front of the mirror tying my hair up into a high ponytail to feel as cool as I possibly could before leaving.
It was probably the most feminine I’ve looked on a visit to my parents house since a holiday abroad. Was it a step too far? No. This was about wearing something I really fancied wearing that day so just do it.And yes, it was a little further than I normally felt comfortable with, I’ve worn them all around my parents, just not in that combination, but why not push the boundary a little more. Not for some statement but so I can feel I can wear something I really want to wear. It wasn’t like I was turning up in a dress.
I jumped in the car, key in the ignition, ‘should I put on a little eye liner?’
‘Don’t be stupid.’ I thought, this isn’t about having ‘that’ conversation, at least not today. Today was the rarity that I really wasn’t in the mood for that. I was already feeling quite low and dejected about my femininity this week for a whole bunch of on-line reasons and so today was just about feeling myself and this was just about right as it was.
When I got to their house nothing was said. I was wondering if there would be a look or something but I guess they’re used to it. I mean it’s been so gradual with me feeling more confident with some of the things I wear. I mean it’s probably been done over the course of ten years so it’s no surprise if they don’t even notice.
My Mum and I left the house and headed to the town, probably to find somewhere with a coffee and a view of the sea. “Your hair is looking good.” she said. She’s always loved my hair given I’ve kept it long and as she said today how lucky I’ve been to have kept it at my age.
“It’s so curly today.” I’d forgotten. I’d been for a run in the morning and a dose of humidity and sweat makes it more curly than if I’d been playing with a pair of heated tongs for an hour. Essentially a ponytail of curls and ringlets falling towards the centre of my back.
We arrived at a suitably chosen cafe overlooking the sea with a sporadic few paddling in the mill pond of water with only a few ripples when a yacht sailed by some way from the shore. We ordered at the till. I’d not eaten lunch and so I ordered a snack. I thought we might take them with us ‘to-go’ but with little shade outside and nowhere suitable to eat and drink along the beach the lady at the counter said “Would you like a table upstairs on the balcony? We have a wedding going on in the back so you’ll need to walk past the chef.” it sounded fun and a balcony for lunch in the shade would tick every box.
“Yes, we’ll eat in, that sounds great.”
“Emma.” she said, calling over the young woman that had been clearing a table, “Would you show these ladies to the balcony. Thanks.”
I looked at my Mum and expressed a smile with my eyes because my mouth had been hidden with a Covid face mask. At that moment I realised, with help from the mask of course, that my clothes did actually express themselves with femininity and said something about how I wanted to express myself. It seemed to be the tonic I needed for the end of this week. We followed the woman to the maze of stairs through the building, and as we were told, passing the chef who was busy cooking in a side room. My Mum chatted to the woman while we were finding our seats but nothing had been corrected.
I wondered how my Mum would react. I know I didn’t want aconversation today but if anything was said then it wouldn’t hurt. But nothing was said to me, not at the time and not after lunch. Not to me at least. Only later one when she was speaking to the lady from the counter just before we left and they got into a conversation about where we’re from and so on, “well my son is from…” A kind of correction hidden within conversation I suppose. Either way there is nothing like a gender identification to brighten up a week when you’re at your lowest about your own ability to pass – even if it is only short lived.
Until next time.