I’ve never really had an experience out in society that has shaken me to the core of what it means to be me. What it means to be an out and proud transsexual. What it means to be a person who dresses for a certain amount of attention. What it means to be a colorful person, even if that color is bubblegum pink.
I’ve lived in something of a micro society of fetish clubs, “scene” people, fashion iconoclasts, burlesque performers, and just plain weirdos and freaks. I like that, and I’ve always surrounded myself with those type of people. But yes, I do live in the real world and obviously I dress down a bit if I’m just out and about. I mean, I don’t want my ass kicked, right?
So yeah, this is a typical selfie of me “dressed down”. In most public settings I still dress pretty sharply. I can also dress down even more, if say, I’m engaging in something like working on a car or doing yardwork.
ok, yeah, I admit, i'll try to maintain sexiness while having my arm deep inside a tranny. And by that I mean a box full of gears.
Sorry, as much as you’d like to think so, I don’t dress like a rubber fetish doll when I’m mowing the lawn. But in society at large, I do play the part -just a teensy bit- of a bimbo. Because I like the attention. Now whether people see me as trans at that point I don’t know. I think usually I’m viewed as a pretty girl who pays attention to her looks. I like looking sexy and feeling sexy. But maybe I have a warped idea in my head of what that means. And maybe that has nothing to do with being transgendered.
But somehow, between my cozy alternative lifestyle, and what I had agreed to do this past weekend, someone maybe should have told me at least the basics of how I should have dressed. You see, I went skiing!!
Oh look, I fell down. I'm so stupid. Looks like my top unzipped a bit more..
Yay! My ski bunny outfit! Y’all remember this one, from like 2006, right? Yeah, I tailor-made this all, because in my perfect world, every single piece of clothing will be something I designed. And I’ve gone skiing a few times in this outfit, until it turned out the ski jacket was too tight to be practical, so it got replaced by a real actual ski jacket, but otherwise, yeah, Ski Team Barbie. Hey, Barbie can do anything, right?
When I have skied in this outfit, and gotten looks and even a few unsavory comments by douchebag kids (“Halloween is in OCTOBER!“), but always shrugged it off. Usually these were some of the smaller ski resorts and later on in the season when it was warmer, so I just laughed the catcalls away, figured I gave them all a ski trip to remember.
But yeah, maybe I should tone it down a few notches, I thought. So this past weekend’s variation of the ski bunny outfit would be blonde, less so with some of the furry bits, and then for some reason I added a fur hat (from “Diamonds are Hard”) that was about 12 miles in diameter. But yeah, I heard it was going to be COLD this past weekend, so I wanted to be warm, right? Basically without the ski coat it looked like this.
Yes, that's a Hello Kitty phone case. Bimbo thing.
And I admit, this looks like it’s coming along pretty good right now. I’ll be the height of fashion on the slopes, right? And I was going with a group of cool people (but not like crazy exhibitionists), so the times at the ski chalet were going to be a fun combination of cooking, eating, and getting warm.
The ski chalet was really nice, and actually not that much more expensive than a hotel. I’ve actually learned through travelling that the way to do things is to rent fully furnished condos or apartments. You’d feel like you were staying in someone’s home, you just had more things to do, and all the cookware and cutlery and everything was there ready to use. Nice chairs, 2000-year old skis on the wall. A perfect ski chalet. I only regret not bringing my proper camera and hammering out a new ski bunny shoot… and it already had beer in the fridge leftover from the last tenant!
This chalet was the home of the worlds smallest large screen flat tv
The place had this really homey touch though when you looked at pretty much everything, it was all furnished from stores like HomeGoods and nothing there had any real sentimental value. Which I guess is perfect if you own a chalet that you rent out, because you don’t want antiques or heirlooms to be stolen. So far, so good.
Anyway, this was up in Sugarloaf, ME, which apparently is the biggest ski area/mountain east of the Rockies. And the friends I was staying with were a bit more serious skiiers than I. They had all the right tech-y gear and cold weather stuff. Go-Pro cameras on their helmets and heated ski boots and layers upon layers of Gore-tex and godknows what that stuff is even called these days? Thinsulate? I don’t know anything about these things. I’ve never picked up a ski magazine and I’ve never had anyone take me shopping for proper ski gear. Yes, I have a decent set of real skis, which are pink (sadly the only way to get pink skis made them a “Just Cause”/breast cancer thing- ahem- more about that later). And a while ago I found a proper ski jacket at a thift store, and got really excited because it was pink and white, so I could trade up from the Ski Bunny one I made which was really too tight anyway.
So Friday, we didn’t ski because it was in single digits all day and 20 below overnight. We did go to a spa at the resort where for the one and only time in my life I have had to walk barefoot in a bathing suit, in single degree temps, all to get to an outdoor jacuzzi. This weekend would turn out to be a weekend of sensory experiences, if this was BDSM, you’d properly call this temperature play.
Sorry, I have no pictures of the jacuzzi night, though sitting in a hot tub all nice and toasty while the tips of your wet hair gets frozen is something everyone should experience. I do like having some luxuries in life. I think everyone should.
So Saturday was supposed to be the warm day. As in like positive numbers in the double digits.
Alas, all these layers make me look fat. Waah!
So this is what I had thrown together feeling proud of myself for wearing an actual ski jacket (I know that because there’s a pocket made especially for the trail map). And we got to the bottom of the mountain and I saw this.
Would it help if I said this picture was pointing straight up?
Now I know how anti-climactic this must look. Especially to you people out in Colorado. But trust me. That mountain was at least 17, 18 miles high. and the wind was whipping down at hurricane force winds. I actually hadn’t gotten my lift ticket yet, and my friends bundled themselves up with 4 or 5 layers with every piece of exposed skin covered. As we’re slowly approaching it I’m slowly lagging behind with my nose and mouth uncovered.
I’m not skiing. I can’t do this.
I thought this out loud, and then said out loud to my friends as I think they knew I wasn’t properly dressed for this. It wasn’t so much that I had brought a knife to a gun fight. I had brought a barely sharpened crayon to a battlefield.
And then I started to descend into something of a panic attack, and I suddenly noticed how stupid I looked. Sugarloaf is a pretty fucking serious ski mountain, for people who treat the sport pretty fucking seriously. And I was showing up, looking for all purposes like a cartoon character, or at the very best, the pink member of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
At least theres no snow on that mountain.
What the fuck am I doing? Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING? I thought.
So my friends went all up the lift. I actually hadn’t told more than 2 of them that I wasn’t skiing, but I think they knew there was no was I was properly dressed. They had some iphone app where they could mini-GPS each one of them and they had like seriously cool ways of getting in touch with each other, though I soon found out that I had no cel phone reception. When you look at the cool stuff serious skiiers have, you start to realize it’s a sport of the well to do, because to survive in this climate you basically need a spacesuit suitable for exposure on the surface of Mars. Either that, or as one of my friends said, you go low-tech. Like eskimo.
I bopped around outside for a bit, feeling very, VERY noticeable. Like I don’t think I could’ve passed myself off as a super cool snowboarder or anything. If you were going to ski today you needed to dress for survival. And when it comes right down to it, I’m just too fragile. Throw me down in too many situations and I’d probably drown, panic, freak out, whatever.
I briefly stopped in the store for a bit. I considered that maybe if I purchased some real ski pants (not pink, let’s say stick with white and tone the pink down a few notches), then maybe I could still muster up the courage to get a lift ticket and do a few runs. Then I realized there was no dumping that enormous fur hat, which I was in all seriousness wearing for warmth (and well, for fashion too, albeit my fucked up retro 60′s idea of fashion.).
Whatever would I do? I could already see the stares I was getting from people. And not just stares, GLARES. And looks of some sort of disapproval. Like I was some kind of- and I hate to use the word, but I’m from Massachusetts – “re-tahrd“. I figured my best bet was to go to the bar in the lodge, find a quiet corner, and hope that my friends find me when it gets too cold.
This is an actual picture of me actually freaking out at that time, but keeping it way wayyyy in.
Oh what’s that? zero cel phone reception? Well, let’s just guess that there ain’t no way they’re not going to spot me out of the crowd.
And so I went to the bar, ordered the biggest, deepest beer I could and for the next couple of hours, pondered my existence.
“Why do I do this crazy shit I do with my over the top presentation?
Is this my gender presentation too? What’s with the hyperfeminity? Have you looked at how fucking ridiculous you look Tara?
Why didn’t someone say “you’re going to wear THAT Tara?”. I mean, I like to support of my friends, but maybe someone should’ve suggested something more practival to keep me from making a complete fool out of myself. (It turned out that one of them did suggest wearing more layers, but none of them said a thing about my uber-pink and white fur trim fashion choice)
“What the hell is wrong with me? What is it in my head that’s broken, so that I show up looking like this, in a place where I’m feeling very unwelcome. Like seriously, this could go really bad. I mean, I guess I’m not going to get beat up, there’s simply too many people, but if I pulled this stuff off in Alabama, I’d probably be hate crime-killed.”
And sitting there for a while, I had a real good look around at my surroundings. I finally got to a place where I wasn’t being gawked at, and everything became so clear. The place inside was whiter than the snow outside. Hundreds of people were in there and all, middle to upper class caucasians. Not a single person of color. I saw a sprinking of Asian people, but that was just a tiny drop in the bucket against a sea of folk that could look like they all came from the Bush family (Hmmm, Kennebunkport is around here somewhere, right?)
Now I’m sure these preppie white folk are quite pleasant, and I’m sure none of them think they’re any sort of racist or anything, but for me it took stepping out of that comfortable, affluent, New England box, to see things from a different persective.
Now I’m not going to go into detail or make any opinion on why people of color don’t ski (you can read articles about that). And duh! -even though I’m clearly white- I stood out as some sort of circus freak who wasn’t taking this whole skiing thing seriously. Whether people identified me as as some sort of non-straight person, or some sort of hallucination, I don’t know. I think at best, maybe they thought I was some sort of blonde bimbo (and yes, at some point allow me to write at length on the subject because my opinion on it is probably not what you think it is).
And I suppose I should use some caution when I talk about “white privilege”. There’s all sorts of privileges and advantages that all sorts of people have. I mean, among transsexuals, I probably have more of an advantage because of passability, (and yes, the color of my skin) but then there’s things about me that put me at a disadvantage against other transsexuals that transition at an earlier age. The thing about privilege is that you don’t notice it when it’s there. You have to be outside of it to notice that it exists.
I was sitting at a table alone, and another woman sat down beside me and later on a husband and some other white people came around. And she was quite pleasant, and struck up some conversation with me, though I didn’t really want to talk to anyone. It turned out she also found it too cold to ski and based on a few things she said about when she went to college, she was a good 10 years older than me, and in fantastic shape. And I’m looking around at all these people who will risk breaking their limbs and getting frostbite as a pastime and wondering what the hell is up with this. I mean, skiing is sort of a sport for the affluent, I guess?
Now I’m not saying these folks are “The 1%” that Occupy Wall Street goes on about. I honestly haven’t been paying that much attention to the whole Occupy movement. Maybe they’re more the upper 10%. I suppose the real 1% go skiing in Switzerland. No wait, the real 1% go skiing on a virgin trail right out of a helicopter. Oh wait, no, that’s James Bond. In any event I started to piece together a few things about these people.
There people ARE well off, and they probably don’t really know life in any other way. These are the people who are in good physical shape, They have things called gym memberships. What’s that? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one of them in the last 10 years. They can be 50 years old and in fantastic shape. Everyone here is attractive, pleasant. No one is fat, no one is a social outcast.
Even though skiing is a sport that can be done fairly affordably, there was enough ski gear around just sittng around unlocked, my first impression was “isn’t anyone worried about that getting stolen?”. Now of course, how good are stolen skis? They probably only fit one person so it’s not like you’re going to take off with them and then be able to use them on your own. And hey, I’m all for a place where you can leave $2000 worth of ski stuff just sitting outside, but to my low middle class roots, it just struck me as weird. Its sorta like a valet parking lot full of Italian sports cars and the keys are all in the ignition because everyone already has an Itialian sports car.
Yes, I was a stranger in a strange land. I do enjoy skiing, but I can’t say I like any of the people there. I mean, I could and should, but compared to all the people there, I’m like some sort of anarchist, y’know. Stirring up the pot with my pink barbie wear. And then it struck me.
These are the people I’ve hated since I was a kid. The people who spoiled their kids, when I had to grow up along side of them and not have the things the other kids got. Also, the people who have “first world problems“.
Spoiled, oblivious to hardship. I hesitate to use the word “overachievers” because how can you overachieve when you’re born into privilege and success, and going to college is a certaintly based on your parents having saved up money so you can go to a good school. There’s no over-achieving if you’re following a pretty rigidly designed ciricculum for success. These are all the Tom Cruise’s from Risky Business and Ferris Buellers. I thought the preppie had died in the 80′s but I was wrong. (oh shit, I just dated myself)
And I’ve known these people. These are the people I’ve hated since I was 8. Worse still, these are the sort of privileged entitled, white folk that were my ex-partner’s dreadful family.
Now without going to deep on a tangent about my ex-partner, let’s just say that she herself had some unique qualities and abilities about her that made her a black sheep of her family but she came from a family where all the kids were spoiled (though her probably the least), always had a house completely stocked of food (like they were prepared for a nuclear war), the teenagers left messes around the house for the cleaning service to clean up, and I don’t think any of them ever had to buy a car on their own, and they all got big gifts for graduation, dated cheerleaders, etc.
Plus the Dad ran a business of hundreds of employees so none of them really had to worry about ever getting a job, because, hey! dad will give them one. They were affluent southern New Hampshirites, whatever that means.
The minute I met my ex’s siblings, I realized how much I fucking hated them. I mean, personality wise there were probably a bit of a blank slate, and I guess they get some points for being civil to me (a transsexual to whom they must’ve had a teesny idea of what i do for a living) because I was their big sister’s girlfriend, but if I was stuck in the room with them, there was never, ever any conversation at all.
Never. At all. I remember one of them was interested in cars, and I thought maybe my cool old collection might interest him. But alas, no, I think his interest was just so that he could have a cool car and attract slutty girls. Alas, no hope. In any event I hope they all accomplish absolutely nothing of consequence, at all. All the girls in the family were brought up to pretty themselves up to get good husbands, and the guys in the family were just idiots. Yeah, no love lost there.
But looking back, I figured it out. I was an embarassment to them. An embarassment to their very rigid world, and their establishment ways. And looking all around this room what I saw was this same Establishment. Can I put a capital E on that? I dunno if it’s The Establishement. It’s something. I guess it’s how the world works and if you’re born into it you can work that system.. I wasn’t really born into it, though my family had branches that were pretty affulent /Republican/religious/assholes.
And then I started to feel pretty fuckin rebellious. I started to feel pretty damn good about myself. And how, with the exception of maybe a couple of snowboarder dudes with like spikes on their helmets, I was feeling pretty good about being different.
Then a band of Dave Mathews look-alikes started playing, and they started playing covers, starting with a Huey Lewis song. Damn, this place was square. And people started getting up and dancing to some horrible 80′s song they were playing as well.
Oh geez. Give me my artists, give me my rebels, give my my iconolasts! Give me my fucked up, friends with imperfect lives where everything isn’t laid out for them in the easiest route possible. Give my my friends with multicolored hair, tattoos and mohawks. Give me the people I gravitate to, the ones who take the difficult road.
Well the point got driven home so stellarly when the woman next to me actually said something vague to her friends about money that to my ears sure sounded like she was complaining about having too much money. And I just swigged a bit more of whatever shitty big 20 ounce of beer I got, and like a nature show host, gleefully watched the American Preppie in their natural habitat.
It also turned out there was some sort of breast cancer fundraiser event going on there. Which was very ironic seeing as the night before a few of us back at the chalet were talking about how screwed up the Komen Foundation is, as far as a charity goes. But these folk near me talked glowingly about it, and I made up some half-assed and not particularly well thought out story about being involved with it (“Hey, Why do you think I’m wearing pink, I mean, seriously?”), until they asked some questions that I didn’t know the answer to, and I quickly deflected the subject.
I’m a pretty shitty liar, and a bad actress.
After a while I spied my friends coming in from what must’ve only been a few runs, and one was having some sort of dizzy spell when she came in. I think it was the shock of coming in to the warm room from the extreme cold, but she got better and we went upstairs and we all watched the bland, safe rock band dazzle us in their medicore selection of inoffensive hits from the 80′s and 90′s. Which hey, I don’t expect cussing in songs or someone to take a extended Casio solo, but please could someone breathe some life into this band?
The news came in from my friends that it was like a negative -20 wind chill at the top of the mountain, and had I skiied down, I’d be peeling frozen skin off my nose. Either way, I’d probably fuck up my skin in a permanent way. It soon because apparent that I had not in fact chickened out, but that I had made a wise decision.
And so it was back to the chalet for a yummy dinner and to warm ourselves up on the wood stove. I really do love that chalet, and I’d totally go again, but just when you thought a place was safe for diverstity, there was one last bombshell.
You know when you’re hanging around with people of the same ethnic group, and then some dood just drops a bomb that he can’t stand fill-in-the-blank and you are more offended that he thought just because you’re in the same group, you’re not going to call hiim out on his racist bullshit?
In the rented chalet, with all the “homey touches”, was a metal ring in the bathroom, where a bunch of postcards had been hole-punched to be on the ring, like you could read them while sitting on the throne.
<Might I add that there was a sticker for “Sunday River”, a competing ski resort, stuck to the inside of the toilet bowl, so every time you pooped, you pooped on Sunday River. Oh, brainless ski-jock humour.>
Anyway, mostly they were Christmas cards, and I think it’s something of a tradition to send out Christmas cards with your babies or children on them, you know, just to rub in how perfect your kids or or some stupidity. You know, those wonderful family values, right? And there was this gem.
If any card should’ve been taken out of the deck, it should have been this one. (Which btw, wasn’t mailed to Maine, but to their other address in greater Boston) There was also another one the same douchebag dude had written from a far off country that was borderline racist. Suffice to say, this one went right into the wood stove! Crackle crackle burn!
Now even though someone wrote it to the people who own the house, I question their wisdom of keeping it out and visible. It’s kind of like posting a little sign saying “Homos not welcome”, right? Or is it the fact that it was overlooked, even worse in that sort of assumtion that “there’s no gay people out here in Maine” (you know, because they’re all pushed waaaaaaay out to the end of Provincetown, right?).
In any way, disturbing. And though I might like to make some sort of inroads into this sort of society, maybe I’m better off on the outside? I mean I don’t know what I would turn into if I did this seriously. I mean, I’ve dated a few guys who were wealthy douchebags and though I managed to fool them for a little while, eventually my lower-middle class borderline povery level upbringing came out, and they always had this attitude like “if you have had problems in you life you couldn’t overcome, than they’re your fault.”
And the thing is, I know how I sound. I just sound like a bitter person. Like what if I met someone who was wonderful, would I hold their affulent or privileged background against them? I mean, I shouldn’t, but when I meet people whose lives are too perfect, it’s always going to make me see red, but I’ll try to be better about it.
And that basically wrapped up my wild and crazy ski weekend of no skiing whatsoever. And in all likelihood, I will go skiing again. I do find it to be very fun. And I might even buy some of the right ski gear and maybe even make an attempt to blend in a little better. I may at some point actually open up a magazine that says “SKI SOMETHING” on the cover and see if there’s a way to still pull off the barbie look while being functionally warm on the slopes, because I do enjoy skiing. In fact, I may even stay in that same ski chalet if the opportunity came up, that is, if I was going to Sugarloaf.
And I was left wondering what was said of me after I left the table where those other people sat, you know, the ones who complained about having too much money.
“What was the deal with that girl in the pink?” “What was she wearing?” “Was that a tranny?” (if that even crossed their minds at all), I do know in some way I made their ski trip memorable. I mean, I doubt anyone didn’t notice me at that resort. But they all made an impression on me and maybe reinforced what I am and why I do it.
Which I still don’t know why that is. But yeah, I’m gonna make a mockery of y’all, whether you like it or not.
On second thought, I should’ve worn huge bunny ears. Or maybe I should’ve just worn this. Yeah. That’d work, just without the nipples…