If you’ve been keeping up with my blog recently, then you know (3) things:
- I abhor gender stereotypes and arbitrary, societal norms.
- I am a transgender bisexual.
- Shopping for clothes that “fit” (in every aspect of the word) is.. difficult.
Tonight, I’d like to keep things simple, so for the next 15-20 minutes, I’ll be drafting a refreshingly brief post on the clothing bit. I could honestly, easily summarize this post with just one word: success. But that wouldn’t be nearly as interesting, would it?
Chris and I grabbed burritos for lunch this afternoon (@Chipotle.. they’re carrying tofu now, you know!), and afterwards, I dropped him off at home so that he could take a nap while I continued on to Whole Foods to collect a few days’ worth of groceries. Before heading over to Whole Foods, however, I had two fun side missions in mind:
- Check out the clearance rack at Urban Outfitters. Ohemgee, I know, they’re soooooo flipping trendy. But this is the no judging zone, you guys.. alright? I totally dig their style. I also hadn’t stepped into the store for several months now, so I knew that the inventory would be fairly new (to me).
- Find my dream wallet.
We’ll talk about #2 later. First: Urban Outfitters, perusing the trendy clearance rack. Check. Here we go.
I parked, walked inside, and marched upstairs to peruse the men’s sales racks. That’s right; marched. #noshame. Kidding.. I actually tried to be really casual and inconspicuous about it.. but not overly so. 🙂 Once upstairs, I found, in a toss-up area that was precisely in-between the designated men’s and women’s clothing racks (very gender-neutral territory), an androgynous looking, over-sized black coat. It resembled a trench coat (which I’ve been noncommittally desiring for a few years now), and it was love at first sight. I pulled it off of the rack, traced my fingers along the material, and then narrowed my eyes and bit my lip slightly as I fumbled for the price tag; there was none. Well, at least buying it isn’t totally outside of the realm of possibility yet, I shrugged to myself.
“Hey,” I approached a sales rep on the floor, “any idea what the price is on this cool jacket?”
She took the jacket from me and scurried off for a few minutes, returning again to report that she had not been able to locate a price, but that the front desk would be able to collect that information for me when I was ready to check out. “They’re really busy right now,” she apologized. “Oh, that’s totally no problem!” I shook my head (nbd). “I appreciate it.”
I descended the stairs and moseyed my way over to the dressing area. About 6 women (aka, teen-aged girls) were standing in the line in front of me, talking to each other loudly, and with each of them wearing identical pairs of denim shorts, earthy-looking flip flops from Mountain High Outfitters and either over-sized sports T’s or racer back tank tops. There was a single sales rep manning the dressing area, and he fluttered about constantly, taking names, counting items, opening doors and asking “So did anything work out for you?” over and over again, like a broken record on repeat.
Once I was next in line, the sales rep, with discarded clothing hanging from both of his arms, caught my eye. I held up my hand immediately and tilted my head to the side. “Dude, take your time. No rush.” He smiled a silent thank you and then rushed to empty his arms.
“Alright,” he approached me a moment later, “how many for you today?”
He led me over to a dressing room and grabbed a black marker (which had been clipped on to a neat, metallic-colored dry-erase board) with his right hand.
“What’s your name?”
I didn’t even pause. There was no hesitation. I knew that he was going to ask me this. I had known, during the last 4-5 minutes of waiting and observing, that he was going to ask.
“My name is Jace.”
“Jace?” He repeated. I nodded. “And that’s J-A-C-E, right?”
I smiled. “You’ve got it.”
“My name’s Curtis, Jace,” he offered kindly, opening the door and setting my jacket onto a hook in the wall. “Let me know if I can help you with anything.”
I closed the door behind me and then willed myself not to cry. Instead, I smiled into the mirror. Jace.
Long story somewhat shorter, Jace bought the cool, over-sized black jacket, and for a whopping $19.99. When I was ready to check out, the reps at the front counter spent a good twenty minutes trying to track down a price for the item. “We’re so sorry for the delay!” they apologized repeatedly, manually recording other paying customers’ card information (with their card-processing system down, the front of the store was becoming increasingly crowded; the area surrounding the registers was full of commotion and just bustling with activity). “Seriously, I don’t mind waiting,” I reassured them each time. “I love the jacket. I’m happy to wait.”
After a few more failed attempts at keying in the skew number for the item, the brunette cashier approached me and tossed her hands up (in a “beats me” fashion). “Alright — soooooo apparently, this item no longer exists in our inventory. How does $19.99 sound?”
“SERIOUSLY?” I exclaimed. “Uhhhhh yes. That sounds great. I’ll take it.” I would have paid double.. honestly, probably even triple. I really, really liked this jacket.
Soooooo I’m sure you’re curious; here’s a pic of my cool new chaqueta:
Black, plain, and wonderful. Moving along.
2. My dream wallet
Why, exactly, are we calling it a “dream” wallet? Because I’ve always thought that wallets were oh-so-very cool but didn’t have the guts to go out and shop for one, let alone buy one and carry it around. Thankfully, all of that ungrounded anxiety and conditioned self-consciousness is in the past. Good riddance.
Purses are also a permanent thing of the past, as I transitioned from carrying a purse with me to toting a totally gnarly backpack around roughly 9 months ago (pictured below). Backpacks are A. way cooler than purses and B. can carry a whole lot more than your average-sized purse can. Why doesn’t everyone just use a backpack?!
Anyways, after leaving Urban, I popped into Belk and one of the “Hey! You look like you could really use a makeover. Let’s do it; it’ll be fun!” people smiled at me. Before even allowing myself to become subjected to her spiel, I quickly smiled and asked: “Could you please point me in the direction of wallets? Men’s wallets?” I clarified.
Her eyes widened knowingly. “Oh, yes dear.. straight into the very back there.”
I knew that I would know the second that I saw the right one, and I did. Fancy that. Love at first sight; some don’t believe in it. I always will.
I left the store, proudly toting my neato burrito backpack on my person and carrying my new, sleek and simple, tree trunk brown wallet with me.
So today was, in a nutshell, great. That’s it. No deep subject matter, no ranting, no rambling, and no whining in this post. This was just me sharing some of the light and good stuff in life. I should try to do that more often. In summary, this afternoon, I affirmed two things:
- I am allowed to shop in the men’s clothing section at any store that I want to go shopping in. On whose authority? My own. Ooooooooh, burnnnnnnnnnn.
- My name is Jace.
I’ve already received inquiries from multiple people on this one (#2), so I want to go ahead and address this FAQ:
Q: Rose, will you ever formally (legally) change your name to Jace?
A: Nope. Do I want to? Yes. Of course I do. I would love to be known and referred to as Jace; it is the name that my soul responds to. However. Uno: I’m married; therefore, I’m taking my partner into consideration. Dos: I work in a professional environment where I’m already “established” as a female coworker named Rose.. so I’m also taking that into consideration. Reason numero tres: The social security office is already uber busy and I really don’t want or need to add to their workload. IJS.
Same answer to transitioning (surgery, hormones); for those curious, that’s not in my game plan right now. It honestly probably won’t ever be. I’m satisfied by the simple things in life.. the small adjustments that I’ve made and stands that I’ve taken. To name a few: refusing to shave, wearing my boy clothes, keeping my hair short, my personality authentic, and – occasionally, to the unknowing stranger – stating that my name is Jace. I like to think of it as a nickname. I love to think of it as a nickname. As as side note, I really wouldn’t refer to myself as a 100% untransitioned transgender; I would say that I’m, more so, transitioning in my own way.. in mild ways, mostly.. and in ways that make sense to me and in ways that help me feel like a whole, happy, and comfortable human being. That’s what it’s all about.. right? We’re all transitioning; straight, gay, transgender or otherwise. Women who put on make-up every morning because they feel “incomplete” without it, and men who work out 4 times a week because they feel inferior and demasculinized if they don’t.. look, I’m totally playing on stereotypes here, but you get the point; we’re all working in typical and not-so-typical ways to craft our most unique, authentic, and honest selves. We all want to look and feel our best and to, most importantly, feel comfortable in our own skin. And that’s precisely what I’m doing.
Before closing, I’d like to thank the MULTIPLE PERSONS who commented on my post, privately messaged or texted me, saying that they would be willing and happy to come clothes shopping with me in the men’s department (for moral support). I had all of you there with me today; my eyes were NOT dragging across the floor like they were earlier this month. I meandered down the aisles with confidence and enthusiasm and a curious eagerness.. like I belonged there. Like I was just some random and unremarkable dude trying to find a cool t-shirt to wear during his next gig. It was progress. It was euphoric. So thank you.