For the first time in my adult life, I am going out in a dress tonight.
Sure, I’ve worn dresses as a gag or a joke. This time? It’s for real. I’m going to a party where the first part is black tie. I am… dressing appropriately.
My mother would be so proud.
Well, okay, perhaps she would not have approved of the knee high black boots but… they do look good on me.
I am going to put on make up. Ben helped me pick out the right colors yesterday at the store. At first, he kind of slinked over, embarrassed to be at the make up counter. Then, when I reached for a fairly neutral lipstick color, he perked up.
No, Mom. You should go for a statement. Candy apple red. He picked up the brightest red lipstick he could find.
Uh… no, Ben. This isn’t drag. This is to look nice.
He started picking up different eye shadows and holding them up to my face, finally choosing what I hope is a great color.
Are your going to use blush? He started to go over the different colors.
No, I’m still pretty tan from Florida. I don’t think I need blush…
Well… he picked on out anyway, it couldn’t hurt.
I thought this was a Barbie party, he said.
It is, but you go in black tie. I wore a tux last year. I thought I’d surprise the guys and look… nice this year.
Are you doing Barbie?
No. I’m doing Ken. I won’t need any make up for that. Well… a little eyeliner but that’s it.
I think you should do Barbie, he said. You make a great woman.
Uh… thanks, I said.
I’m often struck by my conversations with my kids around gender, gender identity and appearance at the ease they have with my trying out different roles.
As long as I don’t do it at the school, mind you.
In this last year, I have started to drift towards a more feminine look. My hair is the longest it’s been since I was in high school. I have bought jeans not two sizes too big but ones that actually fit. The same for shirts. Understanding my fear has made me more comfortable to be a woman.
Tonight is a big step. Of course, it’s somewhat tongue and cheek. It is a party where halfway through everyone changes to drag and does a lip-synch routine. All the guys know me well enough to know I never do this. I take the spirit of their party seriously and am pushing the envelope. Trying something new, being a little outrageous.
Okay, really outrageous.
Ben will help me with all the final adjustments. Partly because he’s comfortable with it but mainly because he sees it as his duty to make sure I don’t make a fool of myself, thus him.
I’m not sure how it will feel to teeter down my front walk to the waiting car in high heels. I’m not sure how it will feel to put on make up in a serious way, not to be silly but to look… good? But I’m going to find out.
Tonight, I’m going to dress up.