02 April 2009

Changing Clothes

Tonight I am doing yet another thing that I'm most likely doing for the last time in my current life.

It's really exciting: I'm swapping out my fall and winter clothes for spring and summer ones. I don't know whether I'm simply getting older or whether the task grows every time I perform it.

Actually, a bit of both. I can't believe how many articles of clothing I have--even after getting rid of some. Never in my life did I imagine I would have so many vetements. I know there are people who have far more than I have. Still....

OK. Now some of you hate me for living up to the worst stereotypes about women. Well, it just happens that we have that perogative, according to what the culture expects of us.

Oh, no....Do I sound like an academician? Oh well.

I don't think I had so much clothing even in the days when I had a wardrobe for Nick and a wardrobe for Justine. It seems that as I started giving Nick's clothes away, Justine's clothes multiplied. In addition to all the stuff I've bought, people have given me one thing and another. The thing is, nobody's given me anything I hate. Some things didn't work for me, and I gave them away. But for the most part, they've suited me well.

An example is the black cardigan/bolero jacket my mother gave me. It's one of those things that goes just as well with a pair of jeans as it does with a dressy skirt and blouse. Any time I wear it, I get compliments. One of my colleagues at work decided immediately that she liked my mother when I told her that Mom gave it to me. Elizabeth borrowed it from me when I stayed with her in Istanbul.

Then there's another jacket of similar length, but of entirely different material, that a friend gave me. And scarves from co-workers. I could go on. If I'd known people were going to give me so much, I would've bought about half as much as I did.

Or would I? Shopping has definitely become more fun since the switch. Clothes are a more sensual experience now: There are all kinds of colors and textures that I can wear now. Of course, women's wear isn't as well-made as men's duds are.

I remember now a suit I had--for a long time, it was my only suit--that went in and out of style three or four times. My teaching clothes used to consist of courduroys and cable knit sweaters--or, if I had a meeting, a button-down shirt with a blazer--in the fall and winter, and chino-type pants and button-down shirts (sometimes in plaids or stripes) when the weather was warmer. And, when I wasn't in those clothes, I was more often than not in my bike outfits.

Back in those days--which, though still recent, seem more and more distant--I would sooner consent to live burial than to "dress up." Even though I probably had fewer ties than the average man of my age, I never wore most of them. And, at the time I started my transition, I had a pair of wingtips that I'd never worn.

Now I am often complimented on the way I dress, and I enjoy it. Anita, my landlady, today commented on a particular outfit of mine she really liked. It consists of a just-above-the knee wraparound skirt in a "medieval" design that is somewhat more complex than checks but not quite a plaid, in shades of lilac, royal blue and gray; a bolero-length jacket in lilac with piping in a darker shade of purple. I wore it with a pair of gray tights and a pair of boots came to just below my knees. "You looked soo good in that," she said.

The occasion of that remark was a TV show she saw this morning. Hosted by Maury Povich, it featured female-to-male transgenders, who don't get nearly the attention we, the male-to-females, get. "They looked so good. One of them should be in men's fashion ad," she enthused.

Well, I try. People say I dress well. Now all I need is a body that looks as good. All right, you say that nobody needs a good-looking body. But who wouldn't want one?

On another tangent again. Just like this entry is. I stopped my packing and unpacking to do this. It's funny that such a seemingly simple task can take so much time.

Now I'm wondering whether some of the clothes I'm packing won't fit me after the surgery. Will my body change that much, if at all? I've heard of some trans women who gained or lost a lot of weight after their surgeries. Of course, if I had to choose either, I'd choose the latter. If I'm going to be a goddess, I don't want to be Juno. And I love the paintings of Rubens, Fragonard and Titian for the colors and the moods create. The lines, forms and shapes are appealing, too--but not on my body!

My therapist, doctor and everyone and everything else I've consulted say that the surgery shouldn't change my personality or my likes and dislikes. Still, I wonder whether I will still like, or whether I'll feel differently about, some of the things I'm packing-- not to mention other things in my life.

Back to work!

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