There has been a new dress code statement issued at my job. Because of this, and because I’m now a little larger than I was a year ago, I’ve needed to replace some clothes. (I think they’ve all been washed by now.)
Luckily, there is nothing in the new dress code about gender congruence in the clothing in which we’d need to present. I’m fairly certain at this point that I’m gender-fluid, but that I don’t present in extremely feminine clothes at work, because the reactions of men when I wear that gear make me uncomfortable. My uncomfortability when presenting femininely is not based in myself. My uncomfortability is based in the responses of others, and that in itself makes me a poor candidate for gender reassignment.
And hey! I can say that now, because I’m pretty certain it’s true, now. I’m no longer giving up benefits that I might want or need. If I ever did start to live — chemically — as male, I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t be upset at being a late transitioner. (In this I’m thinking about Aaron Devor, who was one of the writers who influenced me when I thought I might have been TG.)
As regards work, I also don’t want to have to fight in heels. I did discover today that a flared skirt doesn’t restrict movement like some of my other skirts, and so if I were to wear a short skirt to work, the flare is better for ease of self-defense.
I also now officially own two dresses. 🙂 And I now know what I’d say to people when they mistakenly assume that I identify as a woman…especially now that I know that there are two definitions of “woman”:
- a female person
- a person who identifies with a gender normally associated with cis and trans females (but not trans males)
I fit the first, but not the second. My psychological identifications cross the lines of apparent sex. What I can do if I see that people are assuming that I fit #2 above (like when they start talking to me about Amazons, like I care) is point out that because of my sex, a lot of people assume a lot of things about me which are so off-base, that it’s best not to rely on them at all. I don’t have to mention any of the keywords which may apply.
And because of not boxing myself into either a cis- or trans-normative dialogue, I’m free to do and wear what I want, regardless of worrying about what gender I’m being seen as. This may not be so clear after I get a blazer and tie, which I really want to do as well, but I’m planning on keeping my grooming “clean” for work (I think it’s expected), and so it may still be apparent in restrooms that I’m not physically male.
Or I could just talk. 😛
What’s coming more apparently to me these days, though, is that my mind is slightly masculinized, and so is my body (naturally so — my ovaries were previously producing too much testosterone), so dealing with things like the acne and the hair in male places could be a metaphor to help me deal with my mind.
I did find this one really cute awesome jacket the other day which hid both my belly and chest, but it was $60 and had to be dry-cleaned. And it was linen, so of course as the first person who tried it on, I crinkled up the sleeves, and they would have needed a press cloth to iron back out again, and I couldn’t have worn it to work because my job is physical and dirty, and I was like, “you know what? Forget this. I was into it before ‘dry clean only.'” Would it have been so hard to make it out of something which could have been washed?
I just didn’t want it quite that badly, plus I couldn’t have worn it either to work or to the studio. All of my school days next semester include studio art classes, and M let me know the jacket was too casual for a job interview, so I was like “where am I going to be able to wear this?” It’s not like I go out on the town or anything. I mean, if I were going on dates, sure. But I’m not, and nor am I really pushing myself to do so, or expecting to do so (though…the option has arisen, recently). Funny how that didn’t even enter my mind…
I did, however, get a shirt which will be relatively good with a tie — after finding out that the one I initially wanted (bright teal Supima cotton) was $30 instead of $17 (oops). I did give away the tie D gifted to me a number of years ago, as it wasn’t really “me.” It was nice to practice with, and to take my first terrified steps into public with, but after a few years bumping around in my closet, it was pretty certain that I wasn’t too attached to it and that I probably wouldn’t wear it — especially not after it got dusty. Pinstripe grey just didn’t say much to me — other than “Dad supports me” — but Dad’s still here, and he’ll help me buy a better tie next time. 😉 I guess I could have kept it for sentimental purposes, but really, I wasn’t going to wear it again.
I do look really dapper in a shirt and jacket, though — even out of the Womens’ department. Right now I’m on the lookout for a good blazer, since I now have a shirt which has a collar close enough to wear with a tie. And then there’s the awesome Mandarin-collar shirt I found, which is really cool. I’m not sure how that one will work with a jacket, but I think it will work with a casual one.
M also talked to me about not wanting to pressure me to buy Womens’ clothing (I didn’t feel pressure, not from her, at least), but after having cross-dressed for about two decades (I wore my brother’s and dad’s old clothes in my youth), I’m kind of tired of my clothes not fitting. Right image, but won’t button over the hips, or pulls down when I squat… This is the reason I went for “Womens'” clothing this time around, in addition to the fact that they’re just clothes, and that I’m recognizing at this point to what extent large corporations (which, I would think, would be run or highly influenced by conservative men) determine what clothes the populace will wear, and what’s appropriate clothing and marketing for “men” and “women” — a reason why XS clothing appears in Womens’ and M is the smallest size often found in Mens’, regardless of the fact that large women and small men exist.
And yeah, I’m…thinking that I’m an indigo or pewter kind of guy, navy if it came down to it. I’ve worn black for so long that I really do think I’d like to break out of that, especially where it comes to jackets, and I would really like natural fibers. That is, I don’t want another of those slick plastic-feeling black jackets that you get for job interviews when you don’t have money. Black is nice for combat boots and dance clubs (I used to have a black halter top which was really cool…until it began to biodegrade like the Junior’s top it was), but where it comes to…something as principally impactful as a dress jacket, there are so many other possibilities. Maybe black just feels too generic to me, now. I’m not sure.
With more gender-variant material on the market, too, there is more diversity in Womens’ clothing, so I may not have to go for a Mens’ jacket and deal with the poor fit or get radical alterations for my hips and waist.
Otherwise, in my life…I’m thinking about rearranging my freakin’ books and my art and beading supplies. I’m not sure at this point what will go where, but today as I was getting dressed and putting on more than basic jewelry for the first time in months ([!] due to realizing I’m genderfluid and not just exhibiting denial of being TG), I found a couple of bracelets I’d made out of seed beads and cord. The one I wore was actually really nice…it made me think that maybe I should get back into the jewelry-making again. (I stopped, partially, because I know being a non-commercial jeweler is a hard path — it’s hard to make money at it.)
This is especially as, during the last two phases of one of my career-planning assistants, I repeatedly received “Jeweler” as my top hit (where it came to careers I was suited to). I wasn’t even aiming for that, seriously.
I make “craft jewelry”; the two pieces which really stood out to me were macrame bands which I had made via my own pattern, which in turn I found out by screwing around with beads and cord. The same thing has happened to me there which happened to me with weight training, though: I get into it, I get really good at it, and then I start wondering why I’m doing it or what the benefits will be, and I freeze up and stop.
Particularly with the macrame…I’d have to make really nice stuff (which I have) in order to stay in business, and I would not be able to get away with underselling myself. Most of the cost of a bracelet like the one I wore would be charged for labor. Granted, I did use really nice materials — including raku and borosilicate glass. And I obtained the bits, coordinated them, and I knotted them together by hand. That…that might be worth $30-$40?
This is probably the least I’d need to compensate myself for my time and expenditures (profit would be put back into the business), though I’m sure there’s some way to make it faster and easier that I just haven’t tried yet (like threading on all the beads first). But seriously, I looked at this little gem and I’m all like, “I was really doing some nice work,” and “yes, I would pay $45 for this, if I found it somewhere, because I’d never find it again.” The question that stopped me before was whether I wanted to produce something which is primarily centered around beauty and femininity.
I mean, it’s like, how do you sell that, you know? It’s not like you can tell people “this will make that handsome guy notice you,” because that’s not a guarantee, even if it is a hope. And then what about people who are not traditionally heterosexual women, you know? Genderqueer or transgendered people or other people who were assigned male and want to be beautiful? Bisexual and lesbian women? I can help; I certainly can. The question is what am I actually doing? What am I doing and why am I doing it, and what is my drive?
Essentially I used to believe that I was doing it because I wanted to experience everything good as a person who was assumed to be a woman (and thus granted permission to be feminine), as I could. Then I assumed that I was doing it out of a desperate drive to find anything about being female that I liked. But maybe that wasn’t the right story, you know? I’ve mentioned at work that the drive to weave stories out of partial information will really screw you up if you can’t turn it off, which is the primary reason I stopped writing stories.
But maybe I actually am feminine, at least some of the time, and I like it and I want to spread my like of it, and assist others who haven’t had the same training, or who haven’t developed the same skills, you know?
Would I be a craft jeweler? Or would I be an art jeweler who just works in craft materials?
In any case, I’m sure this will be fertile ground for a series of posts — right now, though, I should really get some sleep…
P.S.: And oh right! I almost forgot. I need to get a cup bur so that I can smooth 18g earwires, so that I can make feminine jewelry and wear it, and not have my piercings close up because of the gauge of the wire being smaller than the gauge of my piercing.
This is probably an untapped market, as well…I can go up to 14g, but it takes at least two months to get to the point where I know for certain that I can do that and not tear my piercing. Taking the jewelry out early and wearing a smaller wire allows the piercing to partially close, so it isn’t ideal to wear both standard and large-gauge jewelry at the same time.
Good, good. I’ll have stuff to think on for tomorrow — and note to self, the computer room is probably better for beading than for art!
See you on the flip side —