Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Girl Trip: The First Day

So, a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how I was planning to take a trip in 24 hour girl mode. Well, those of you who have been paying attention might have noticed it's been five or six days since I've put up a new post and there's a good reason for that. You can't write on a phone. At least I can't. My texts are 80% gibberish if I'm not paying attention. Anyway, yes, the reason I haven't been posting is that I've been without my computer because I was taking my Girl Trip!

That's right! I just spent the last four days in girl mode 24/7 (except not the 7 because it was only 4 days). And I had fun, learned a lot, and came to a good realization about myself and my gender and my future. As there were four days, I'm breaking these posts up into four parts, one for each day.

Here we go....

Well, the plan was take a flight from New York to Charlotte, NC where I'd pick up a rental car and then drive down to Columbia, SC where one of my good friends from high school and college lives. And my plan was to do this entirely in girl-mode. That's right, I'd bring nothing with me but dresses and live the entire time as a woman.

My flight was Friday and on Wednesday I was ready to cancel everything because of how terrified I was. The South? I grew up in the South and I left it for a reason. That reason was that it is kind of full of well, Republicans and Christians and rednecks. This is true. There area also nice people and cool people and good food. So, why not head down there. I screwed up my courage as best I could and planned to return to the South from whence I had come, only this time to rock the South as Faith.

Recently, I came out to my friend Bethany from high school. We were good friends in high school and hung out in college, but since have really only been Facebook friends. But I was able to share my gender confusion with her and we reconnected, with me giving her makeup and fashion advice to boot. We planned a whole weekend of shopping, food and girls' nights.

For my first step, the day before my flight I went and got a mani-pedi. For the past few months I've been growing my nails out and got them to about 5mm past my fingertips. Typing has been annoying, but my nails have never looked better. And while I looked through all the colors of polish, I went with...red. Honestly, I just like red. It's classic. I had thought about going with pink for a change, but just couldn't do it. But, I did go for a bright, fire engine red.

Manicure with a suitable Brooklyn background. 

The pedi segment of the mani-pedi. 

Also I got a new pair of sandals. These sandals would become the bane of my existence. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday morning, I got up and got ready. Put on my bra and boyshorts (I refuse to type the word "p*nties." I hate that word. That and "plump."). Put on my dark green LOFT dress, did my makeup and busted out a brand new wig, fresh from the package.

Please. No pictures. Ah, who am I kidding. 

Now that I was ready, it was time to hop in a cab or call and Uber and that's when the butterflies in my stomach started doing that thing where a butterfly flaps its wings and climates change. I didn't want to leave the door. I certainly didn't want to leave the door, lock it behind me, hop in a cab to the airport and fly to friggin' South Carolina. I was all nerves. It wasn't too late to cancel the trip. Sure, I'd be out the money for the flight, but the flight was cheap. Oh my god.

But, almost on autopilot, forcing my frontal lobe to override the fear-generating amygdala, I did leave the house.

Pictured: Leaving the house. 

Within only a few blocks, I managed to hail a cab and get in, headed toward LaGuardia Airport (LGA as they call it).

In the back of the cab, terrified as hell. 

In the back of the cab, my first thought was "What the hell am I doing!?" Am I really doing this? Am I going to take a trip to the South while dressed as a girl? Am I doing this for four whole days? This is the South that used to beat me up and call me a faggot. The South where people hunt and go muddin' (that being driving a truck through the mud for the fun of it). Am I really doing this? What the the hell am I doing? Should I go just ask the cabbie to turn around? Should I head home again? I could have a whole weekend to just relax in NYC.

But no, I got to the airport, paid the cabbie and checked in for my flight. Then, I prepared myself for security. What's funny is that I literally had a nightmare the night before about going through the TSA. Then I awoke from that nightmare and just lied there in bed for an hour before going back to sleep, nervously worried about getting through the TSA. Would they take me away to a little room and strip search me? Would they open my bag and pull out my breast forms in front of everyone? Would they ridicule me for going through and showing them my male ID?

I made a sort of deal with my fear-inducing amygdala. If the TSA gave me a hard time, I could back out of this crazy, insane idea for a trip and head back home to safety, comfort and security.

So, I checked in on the little computer, printed out my boarding pass, got my boy ID ready and then got in the security line.

The first TSA agent was the one checking IDs and boarding passes. She was a pretty African American lady in her early thirties. She looked at my boy ID, looked at me, smiled and said "I think you look much prettier now," then let me through. I smiled back and then head up to the x-ray scanners and the backscatter machine.

I put my purse and my backpack in the little plastic bins. I had decided not to check a bag, but rather do all carry-ons. In my backpack was my makeup, which I wasn't worried about because it's mostly powder. Sure, my foundation is a cream and my mascara is liquid, but mostly it's just powders. Also, I had my padding, which consists of foam and silicon gel. Actually, I had put all my padding in one pocket of the backpack, just to make any would-be search easier.

The TSA agent did say "Miss, step forward" and I steppped into the back-scatter machine, put my feet on the yellow feet stickers and held up my hands as directed. As I stepped out, a female agent felt my back by my bra, I guess the metal bra clasps showed up, and then let me move alone.

But, no search of my bags was needed. My Kate Spade purse, backpack and shoes went right through the screening process with no issues. I picked them up off the conveyor belt, put my shoes back on and headed into toward my gate and found a spot to sit and hang out.

Me at the airport.

Oh, Fiorello La Guardia, thanks for defeating Tammany once and for all. What a nice airport they named after you. 

I settled down in the waiting area and took the opportunity for a few selfies, but then after a little bit, headed to the bar for a beer. For years, a beer before a flight was a tradition of mine. Once, I even went to the airport, checked in, got through security, then went straight to the bar for a beer. As I was about to down it, I realized it was 10:30am. I drank it anyway. It's tradition.

This time it was 12:15pm and my flight started boarding at 12:30pm. And I was Zone 2. Whatever zone boards first, I know I'm not in that zone. My zone has always boarded last. That's just how it is an an air-peasant in 2015 America. I don't even know how to get in Zone 1. I think you have to save the President's life or something.

So, I sat down at the bar, ordered an $8 pint, which you had to purchase via an iPad, and texted my friend Christin.
Liquid courage gets me through the day. 

We had the following conversation:

Faith: Hey babe! I'm at the airport now. Flight in one hour.

Christin: Yipee! So what's your travel itinerary, plans, etc?

Faith: I'm headed to South Carolina. This is my trip where I'm going as Faith the entire time. In the cab ride over I as like "Am I crazy? What the hell do I think I'm doing?"

Christin: No, you're not crazy at all. You are being your authentic self. You are living freely. It's beautiful.

Faith: I hope so. It didn't help that the screen in the cab was showing makeup and clothing ads full of beautiful women. Real confidence booster there, cab!

Christin: Well those kind of ads suck ass for all of us women.

Faith: I am super terrified about this trip! Almost asked the cab to turn around. Now I'm thinking that I don't have to get on the plane.

Christin: You are getting on that plane LOL! And you will send me a selfie of yourself sitting in the plane seat!

Yes, Christin, this is me on the airplane. 

"What is up with airline peanuts?" - from my 1991 standup routine. 

Just happy to not be in an Emergency Exit Row. That's too much responsibility for me. 
Yes, I got on the plane. I tried to take a few selfies, but there was a 20s-ish guy next to me and I didn't quite want to draw attention to myself. 

Luckily, the flight attendant also called me "Miss," which made me happy. And an hour and a half later we were in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once the doors were closed, I just settled in and relaxed as best I could. I was travelling as a woman and it was working!

I got off the plane and the first thing I did was hit the ladies' room in the airport. I had to pee! After I had done my business, washed my hands and checked my makeup, the Charlotte bathroom attendant (yes, they have bathroom attendants) wished me a good day. Okay the bathroom was okay. I had managed okay in the South thus far.

Let me just say one thing real quickly...some Conservatives and assholes think that transgender women are just using women's restrooms for a sexual thrill or just for the fun of it. Fuck them. Fuck them with a chainsaw up their bum. Fuck them. For me it's terrifying to use a busy women' s restroom like that. I just want to get in, pee, wash my hands and get out without any trouble. That's it. I'd love a single use restroom. But luckily I didn't have any trouble in the bathrooms at LGA or Charlotte.

Well, I do like selfies, so I took a few:

Me in the Charlotte Airport (with the flight status thingy to prove it!)

From there I headed over to get my rental car. I was so happy that I wasn't getting weird looks in the airport. As far as I could tell no one was paying any real attention to me. I wasn't getting that "Why's this dude wearing a dress in the airport" looks or anything.

So, then I headed up to the rental car counter. The rental car lady from Alamo was super nice and even got me a higher quality car for the same price (just her being nice). She looked at my boy ID and boy credit card and didn't make any comments and treated me super politely. It was nice. I knew heading in that there were a few times I would have to present female but show my boy ID to people and I worried about that. But the lady at Alamo didn't react at all and was super polite and professional. Remind me to write a letter to her superiors to commend her.

Faith DaBrooke: Motorist 

Yes, I do need glasses to drive .It's safer that way. Would you rather me be less nerdy or pedestrians die?

It's about a two hour drive from Charlotte to Columbia in the late afternoon, but it was mostly fine. No real traffic. I even managed to stop for a Chick-fil-A sandwich (yes, they are so delicious that I will forgive hate). 

It wasn't long before I got to Columbia and found my friend Bethany's house. I parked the car, headed up to the front door and met my high school friend, for the first time as a woman. She was totally awesome as was her husband. There was no issue, I was just their guest.

That first night we just chilled out, opened a bottle of wine and got caught up.

Enjoying the spare bed room (a thing we don't have in NYC) 
They have wine in the South? I might just be able to make it four days!

Perfect bathroom lighting for selfies. 

So, a couple bottles of vino verde and I was ready to hit the sack. What were my thoughts on my first day travelling in the South as a woman? Well, for the most part it was just entirely normal, like how being in NYC is as a woman. Everyone treated me politely, no one gave me any shit, no one was rude to me, no one gave me weird looks or anything. Does that mean I pass for a genetic woman in the South? It might just.

Either way, I'm 700 miles from home, I've got nothing but dresses in my bag, and no matter what I'm spending the next three days as a girl

Day one seemed to have gonna pretty okay. I got through the TSA security with no trouble, I navigated Charlotte's airport with no issues, I rented a car with no problems. I think I'm doing okay. Let's see what day two has in store.  

You can also check out my whole exciting trip!


  1. That was great to read! :)

    You really did step outside! And really got on the plane! :D

  2. I loved your story Faith. I especially liked the comment from the TSA agent.

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  4. I had a similar experience with TSA. I tried avoiding the male TSA agent but his line moved faster. He asked "how are you" I replied, "Terrified" He asked "first time flier" I replied "no" I have flown over a million miles, but this is my first time as a woman". He replied "Don't worry, you look fine". I wanted to hug him but thought better of it. I have flown many times since with no problems.

    1. That's great that you've flown problem free. That's been my experience too. Hopefully it'll stay that way...fingers crossed.