On our way to launch before Christmas I was agonising over my gifts for my wife. You see, I had bought her two skirts (among other things), and I had either just realised or she had just noted that hardly ever wears skirts.
“How come you hardly ever wear skirts?”
“I wore one for your birthday.”
“Yes, you did. It was nice.”
“I don’t like them.”
“But they look nice.”
“Well, it’s not that I don’t like them, I just hate wearing stockings. I hate how they feel.”
“Stockings make your legs feel so smooth.”
“Just because you like them…”
“To each their own.”
She loved the skirts by the way.
Not long after, I was out with one of my children, driving around to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. This particular child appears to be aware that I am transgender. This is a matter of perception from comments in conversation, and also observation of who just did the laundry and what frillies might be on the line. Just a theory, because we have never discussed it. Though he did once ask for my advice on gender because, “you are the LGBTQ in the family.”
“Oh, my driving today,” I said with exasperation at the crazy traffic and another near miss from an even crazier driver cutting me off.
“You’re channelling your inner woman,” came the reply. Okay, I will admit to delight in being noted for having an inner woman. I did have to give a lecture on sexism, however. Daddy’s prerogative!
We’ve been having such discussions a lot at table lately…because dating has begun. I don’t recall ever having such conversations in my household. Not once. I barely recall having sex education at school, which had nothing to do with pleasure and all to do with procreation. And, “watch out, you’ll get her pregnant, and then your life will be ruined,” was the fear tactics…that and graphic videos of gonorrhoea and syphilis that seemed to have arrived just after the arrival of colour in film. In other words, scary and very stiff.
On Christmas day, my SO gave me a nice pink and white tin full of a very feminine range of beauty products. My children were deathly silent.
“You like that brand, right?” she said. I recall one of my children making fun of me for having a body cream that helped with stretch marks.
“Yes, I do,” I said. “It smells divine.” I was also remembering a time when I got into a colleague’s car in a suit and tie on our way to an important meeting, and remembering the smell of the body cream was so feminine and so strong that he had to open his window.
Just before the holidays I had occasion to go to the gym with a very dear friend for a deep workout. I wore hot pants. She was amused. She was also astounded by my assertions that nobody in my family was aware that I wore “women’s clothes” or at least some item (s) of female attire nearly every single day.
“How could they not know?” she asked.
“Separate bedrooms, separate bathrooms,” I said, “the key to a happy marriage.”
At any rate, after a punishing session on the rowing machine I was headed down to my shower in a pair of equally skimpy shorts (and t-shirt), feeling rather ripped and proud of myself for the exertion.
“Nice shorts Dad,” said one child.
“Thanks,” I said. What else can you say?