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.
|Please. No pictures. Ah, who am I kidding.|
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.
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.
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.
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.|
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!)|
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|