There are plenty of things I haven’t done as Savannah. It was only a couple months ago that I went to a major Long Island shopping mall with a TS girlfriend to browse the various anchor stores. I considered that major event as a win in the “Savannah is normal” column. Long gone are the days of worrying about what patrons and passersby may think of me as I try on a pair of clearance 4-inch heels in the aisles of DSW. It has been years since I went into a fateful 7-Eleven to use the ATM, braving the harsh fluorescent lights, the floor to ceiling windows that faced the parking lot, and what I feared would be appraising and judgmental clerks and customers.
After each milestone, I realized that most people are either accepting, tolerant, distracted, or too wrapped up in their own lives to care that they had just crossed paths with a transgender individual. Mind you, I live in a major metropolitan hub in the Northeast. I cannot speak for other cities and towns around the United States of America, but I can advise you to be confident, positive, and mindful as you venture out into the world.
The latest thing I had never attempted was dressing as Savannah in a women’s swimsuit for a pool party/BBQ. In addition, I was to be surrounded by other crossdressers who were planning on wearing women’s swimsuits to the party. I hadn’t intended to dress enfemme that day at all, worried about the heat and pool water chlorine melting my makeup away and leaving me as a monstrous goopy mess. But as the day approached, more and more of the gurls advised that they were going to break out their long-hidden swimsuits for this momentous occasion.
I was now faced with several dilemmas. First, I wanted to be Savannah if the other men were dressing as their feminine selves. I don’t have many opportunities a month to be Savannah, so I try to take advantage when an event arises. Second, I worried about my girlfriend’s comfort because she had never seen me dressed in a women’s swimsuit before. She doesn’t want me to shave all my wonderfully masculine chest hair just so I can affect a more feminine form. Also, she had voiced that she wasn’t sure how she would react to me being in a women’s one-piece swimsuit. Would it be awkward? Would she feel uncomfortable around me, even with the other male partners wearing swimsuits? Lastly, I worried about how I would look in the swimsuit. I can be very self-conscious about my appearance. I think I have nice legs, but I still worry that my legs will be hairy or blotchy. I don’t want to embarrass myself – or my girlfriend, by extension.
What to do? My girlfriend and I spoke about how we felt about me dressing. She wasn’t sure how she would react but strived to be accepting because she knew that me being Savannah for the afternoon would make me happy. I bought myself a bathing suit, along with a skirt, that I felt would be appropriate for the occasion. I bought my girlfriend a new swimsuit as an anniversary gift and so that that she knew that I appreciated her and her support. I conferred with one of the other wives of the party-going group to get her take on how she felt about her own husband dressing as if he was going to sun-worship on the beach.
In the end, the attitude was “let’s try it and see how things turn out”. I could always bring guy clothes to wear if my dressing as Savannah became too overwhelming, troublesome, or problematic. All the while, we will be surrounded with understanding and supportive friends. We will all be stepping onto a sundeck for the first time to face this new experience together. As we venture into the unknown, we all hope to discover what the new normal is for us and our partner. We look to be brave against fear and the unknown, hopeful that this will just be another opportunity for us to realize that our worry was all for naught.
I did, in fact, go to the BBQ/Pool Party with my new black one-piece bathing suit. The irony is that it rained most of the day. But we did get an opportunity to hop in the hot tub for a little bit. All of the men wore their one-piece bathing suits (one even rocked a bikini), and my girlfriend and one of the wives dressed to get wet, too.
It is still something that my girlfriend and I are working through, but I have confidence in saying that the day went well and everyone had a good time. The bathing suits were just a small part of the experience.