Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jenn/Zack: Holiday in the Heat

It began with a DM (and I don't mean Daryl/Magda, haha...)

A few days after my last post, as David and I were preparing to take our Christmas Holiday to Lena's Beach House in Florida, I got messaged on Instagram by a stranger asking, "Are you Valerie's photographer friend?"

I raised an eyebrow. I haven't done too much photography lately, only to keep Zack's client base up. I was enjoying it, and with Zack's help on photoshop I was pretty decent at it, but I didn't have the energy to go out and find customers, or the financial need thanks to Lena's bank account. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear that Tyler/Valerie and I were "friends" but I really wasn't sure why she was shopping me around... but I was intrigued, so I answered, "Yes... who is this?"

"My name's Alexa, nice to meet you! (Val told me you might recognize the name hehe) I'm looking for a photog to partner with for my account."

Alexa -- as in Ryan's Alexa? As in the girl Tyler, like... cuckolded?? My better instinct was to stay the heck away, but my love for drama commanded me to pursue. It'd be like meeting a character from your favorite reality show. I told her I wasn't really available in December, but maybe... maybe we could meet up in the New Year. She said that would be fine.

After that, I started browsing her feed, and it made me almost wish I hadn't agreed to meet her, at least not without serious consideration. I started scrolling, and scrolling, and found myself mesmerized by this girl's... everything. Her face, her features, her body, her style. The part of me that's a girl was both jealous and impressed by her hair, her makeup, her clothes. But there's another part of me now... one that's more interested in the curve of her hips, that glint in her eyes in that close-up where she's looking over her shoulder... her coy smile, the seemingly perfect soft line of cleavage between her breasts. It was this simultaneous feeling of both wanting her life, and maybe... wanting her in my life.

I got this sinking feeling I was in trouble either way. I didn't know if I should be putting myself in a room with her. I mean, I know I'm strong, and committed, but why put myself in a situation where I'm going to be... like... lusting after a woman who isn't my boyfriend? (Boy, that's a hell of a sentence!) David is jealous enough, why give him a reason?

When David got home - seemingly tired and worn out from the office as always - I told him about it, I was very up front. Not about any attraction I may or may not have had to this girl, but about the job offer and how I had agreed to meet with her but was thinking of reconsidering. I showed him the Insta feed.

He raised an eyebrow. "Wow," he said flatly. "She's pretty hot, huh."

Like it was nothing. Like he couldn't recognize this, like, goddess on the screen. Maybe he's been desensitized by porn, or by being female.

Finally, after a bit more scrolling, he tosses the phone aside. "Yeah, you're not meeting this chick."

I raised an eyebrow - excuse me? Don't you trust me? Never mind the fact that she is also known to be in a serious relationship. We can handle ourselves. This could be a good project.

He says, what do you need a project for? Why can't you just do your own thing?

Suddenly, my resolve doubled. Why doesn't he just say it - he doesn't trust me with other women, or other men.

I said, who was he to tell me who I could or couldn't meet? And he said he was my boyfriend, that's who, and I said really because you haven't acted like it recently, and he says is that a crack about my manhood, and I say no it's a crack about your behavior - you don't act like we're in an kind of relationship.

He says, oh, me providing for you, giving you a place to live, buying all your meals, paying for everything, that's not enough? I say tell him it amounts to being a kept wo/man and it's boring and not emotionally fulfilling. He says if I'm bored I can leave anytime.

I almost did it. I was so angry - my summary really does not do justice to how I was feeling in that moment but I'm not interested in reliving it for the blog's sake, if that's okay.

For a variety of reasons, I didn't. Storming out isn't my style - I'm more a "stick to it and get it resolved" type, but that's very hard when emotions get inflamed. But for a few moments I was thinking, to hell with this, enjoy the rest of your life.

But we're stuck with each other. I can't leave him now, not like this, or else something really stupid might happen. have to watch over him. And yes, part of it is... I'm so embedded in his Lena-life I'm not sure I would be able to survive right now.

Not a great reason to stay in a relationship I guess but there you have it. I have faith that, when this is all sorted out, he'll be the person I love again. We got over the fight, although the core issue - my interest in meeting Alexa and pursuing a photography project - was unresolved. I had a sinking feeling I was going to let him have his way on that one, and I wasn't happy about it.

The next day we went to Florida. We had a few weeks to ourselves over the holidays. Our only obligation was Christmas Eve Dinner with Lena's niece and her fiance, which promised to be awkward, since what little family Lena has doesn't really know she's taken up with a 25-year-old. I asked if David wanted me to excuse myself for the night, and he said no - Lena's a grown woman, and nobody should judge her.

We had a good first few days frolicking in the sun. It was fun, but still very chaste. David wasn't comfortable showing too much skin, although I tried to convince him to get in the spirit of the vacation, while still dressing age-appropriately. We were walking along the beach and happened to pass a pair of women in bikinis. I didn't really look - seriously! But David let out a sight.

"What?" I asked, a note of irritation in my voice - I was prepared to be accused again, and rehash our fight.

Instead he surprised me, "Wish I looked like that."

I was puzzled a sec. "Like what. Her?"

I looked back at the woman - her bikini bottom riding up her well-toned butt. Then I looked at David in his modest, flowy sundress with the deep yet modest neckline.

"I mean, if I have to be a chick, why can't I... you know? With the perkiness and the curves and the... everything!"

In that moment, I saw how trapped he was. Men, and society in general, are conditioned not to see women above a certain age as having value... even ones who are wealthy as Lena Howard. Even if they have kept their looks as well as Lena Howard!

"You don't want her life," I said thoughtfully, "Yeah, she's hot, but she probably lives at the gym and counts every carb she breathes near. Doesn't drink, doesn't stay out late, constantly moisturizing. You should be happy."

"Well, wouldn't everything be easier for us if we looked like that?"

I raised an eyebrow. "How do you mean?"

He shrugged. "I'd feel sexier, you'd find me sexier..."

"I find you sexy," I said matter of factly.

He huffed, "How could you find me sexy?! I've seen you look at other women, and I don't look like them."

"I... don't know! I don't know how it works. But it's the same as being attracted to men, I think - you just... feel the spark."

"Oh, and you feel the spark?"

"I do! If you'll let me," I smiled.

He rolled his eyes. "You think all this is sexy?" he held out his arm and indicated some loose flab.

"I don't care about that. Everyone's got flaws, and you inherited an overall great body. Lena Howard is a beautiful woman, and you have a beautiful soul."

He fell silent as he considered what I'd said.

I asked, "Do you find me sexy?"

With extreme hesitation, he said "Yyyyyyyyyess....."

"So we don't have a problem."

"If you really found me sexy, you'd want to have sex more."

I rolled my eyes. "You're thinking like a man, honey. I respect your space too much to push you into it."

"So, you really don't mind that we've only had sex once in these bodies?"

"I didn't say I didn't mind. I said I respect you." I wrapped my arm around him and kissed the top of his head.

Next was the niece's visit. I'm sure Julie means well but she wasn't even prepared to give me a chance. She had her eye on me from the start, looking for reasons to criticize me as a partner for Lena. I was on my very best behavior, making great conversation, but she was uninterested.

Before the meal was even done, Julie laid into the both of us, me for supposedly using her wealthy aunt for her money, and "Lena" for not putting her money to better use. I was too annoyed to speak, but David got up in her face, saying it was none of her business what two adults did with their time or money, or bodies for that matter. Julie left in a huff.

The evening proceeded tensely, but I began to feel very warmly toward David again after that. There was my man, defending my honor. But he was also the woman who kept me at arms length. Or so I thought.

After dinner, we were watching a movie in the screening room. We're cuddled up nicely, it's a bit like old times. David has been using some of Lena's body washes and other products and the smell is really driving me crazy. I'm fidgeting trying to ignore what's going on in my pants. He's very still.

"You know..." he finally says, pausing the movie, "I feel like we're under the microscope. People are starting to talk, in Lena's circles. It's like, gossip."

"Really," I sighed.

"Yeah. It's not just Julie. It's people on the board who've seen me Facetiming you. It's people in Lena's clubs. I guess the secret's out."

"Uh huh..."

"I mean, if we're already convicted... we might as well do the crime, right?"

"...Excuse me?"

"Wait here."

He dashed off, as nimbly as a nearly 50-year-old woman could. With purpose, moving like I haven't seen him do since being Lena.

"David?" I called out, when he'd been gone for a few minutes.

"Hold on..." he called back.

I got up to search, but he must have heard me lumbering because he called out "Don't move!"

Finally, he called out "Okay, come to the bedroom!"

I made my way slowly over. This had to be a trick, right? Two days ago we were back to barely-holding-hands. And now?

I went to the bedroom. No David. The light in the ensuite clicked on.

He appeared, bathed in soft light from behind. He was dressed in a sexy black bra and lace panties. I've never seen him voluntarily wear anything like that.

"I bet you've been waiting," he said, putting on an eerie impression of a sultry, seductive voice.

"I..., have..."

"I've been thinking about this a lot," he said. "You like this, don't you? You think I'm sexy?"

"Um... yes," my voice cracked nervously.

"This will make you happy? This is all you want, isn't it?"

"Um... only if you do."

He took my hands and placed one of them on his breast and one of them on his ass.

"We've wasted so much time, Jenn. Make me want it. Make me like it. F*** me hard."

"David I..."

"Now, Jenn!" he hissed, planting a deep kiss on my lips.

"Are you drunk?"

"Haven't had a drop," he said breathlessly.

That was true as far as I knew - which is unusual.

"Why are you doing this?"

"Because our vacation's almost over and it will be back to the real world soon. And you deserve it."

"Okay," I said - still a little skeptical but starting to get "in the mood."

And then we did it. I climbed on top of him and he played his part to a "T", moaning and screaming, perhaps a little too vocally and graphically for my liking, but in the heat of the moment it really egged me on.

I mean, I could have done without him squealing "Oh my God I'm f**ing a guy!" But at lease he seemed to be enjoying it.

He must have liked it more this time, because it became a pattern. We found our rhythm and made love every night for the rest of vacation, and well into our return in January. He looks so good beneath me... and on top of me... and one time in front of me.

I haven't ended up meeting with Alexa yet, although it 's in the back of my mind. Things are just so good now that I don't want to rock the boat.

Which... is kind of stupid, when I say it like that.

Oh, man. I'm still in trouble.

-Jenn/Zack

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Daryl/Magda: Not for Tourists

I was a bit surprised when J.T. suggested we do Times Square on New Year's Eve; I'd kind of expected it to be the sort of thing a longtime New Yorker like him dismisses as being for tourists and newbies, but apparently not.  Rather, it's in the category of things that are too good to be surrendered to the tourists, although folks aren't necessarily combative about it. 

It is, in a lot of ways, one of the most true representations of the life I've fallen into as J.T.'s girlfriend.  There's something kind of fantastic everywhere, especially with regard to music, cameras you learn to ignore, noise, tight quarters, and your own little bubble inside them.  There was some of that in Chicago, but not to the extent there is here.

And in Chicago, he was Elaine and more or less anonymous beyond being generally sexy.

He doesn't exactly attract paparazzi right now, but it was the sort of night where we bumped into strangers, at least to me.  He knows a fair chunk of the people in the entertainment press around here, and a few wanted a quote about what he had planned for the New Year, which was a good chance to plug his play.  He hand-sells it a bit too, when someone recognizes him and asks what he's doing now.  It's not exactly top-tier show business, but it's kind of neat.

The chilly, damp weather kind of had me dressed up in weird layers, though - little black dress for the after party, but also thigh-high boots and black pantyhose because it'll be cold, and then a coat to cover everything up.  By the time the ball drops, I'm really questioning all of this - not only is this my first time being on my feet in heels for such a long stretch, but I felt pretty stupid wearing an underwire all night when the top of my dress was underneath my coat. 

Still, the heels make it easier to kiss to ring in the new year, and when we wind up in one of his co-stars' apartments, it makes for a bit of a ta-da! moment when the girls finally come out.  Not that anybody aside from the other women of a certain age and maybe some of the gay guys really act impressed.  I'm honestly not sure what that's about - maybe they find me kind of campy when I start talking hip-hop and video games or express a strong preference for Android over Apple - but it's kind amusing, especially when someone has talked to me under the assumption that I must own an airline rather than work for one to have a boyfriend so much younger than my apparent age.

That goes away once I'm a couple drinks in - I still notice people looking at me kind of funny, but I care a bit less - and it turned out our hosts had a karaoke machine.  Magda's voice isn't write the instrument I had as myself or Elaine, but I suspect that makes it more fun for everybody.

It was almost 5am by the time we got home and I could take off my shoes before ditching the dress and taking off that bra.  I gave my breasts a bit of a heft after that ("boy, you guys are demanding!"), then stopped and prodded a bit more before walking to the bed where J.T. was already half-asleep.  I climbed up and straddled him.  "Hey, squeeze my tits."

"If you insist."  He reached up and started fondling, until I grabbed one wrist and guided it.

"Not like that.  Like you're trying to find something.  You know how they're supposed to feel better than me."

He gave me a weird look, but gave my right breast a harder, less pleasant squeeze, then shook his head.  "Feels normal to me."  We joked a bit about my breasts feeling normal, which led to a little playing while I was already on top of him.

I had a hard time shaking the feeling, though, poking around every time I changed clothes, getting worried whether I thought I could feel anything or not.  I googled "breast self-examination", tried that, and then after a couple days I made an appointment for a mammogram, which was today.

The radiologist was friendly, actually trying to talk me out of it at first, saying that they actually don't recommend the procedure for women as young as me these days, at least not as a matter of course, and I smirked at how I don't hear that very often.  I still said I wanted to be sure, and she shrugged and led me into a room.

I guess I was lucky to have a woman examining me in teems of it being more comfortable, although maybe a male radiologist would have speed me enough not to go through with it.  Initially, it was just a surreal experience, as I took off my shirt and set my right breast on a shelf.  The doctor lowered another, and I squawked a bit as it started to compress the tissue.  She looked at me and asked if I was okay, because the closer they can get the plates together, the better the image will be.  I said I was just a bit surprised and tried to tough it out, but I wouldn't be surprised if the plates only got a half-inch closer together before I said that was okay.  She nodded, went behind a screen, and hit a button.

Then we repeated it three more times, getting both top-down and side-to-side images for each breast.  It hurt like hell, just another example about how guys can be real wimps about pain (I initially typed "pussies", but that hardly seems right).  I winced a bit putting my bra back on afterward.  It was going to hurt if they were hanging, but I guess I have a bit more to learn about wearing the right underwear for the occasion still.

The doctor was able to show me pictures fairly quickly, and assured me there was nothing out of the ordinary, although there was a fair rate of both false positives and negatives - was I sure I'd felt a lump?

I immediately felt embarrassed.  "I, uh, guess maybe not."

"You sure?  Tests are one thing, but a woman knows her body."

Not necessarily, I thought.  I felt a weird sort of shame with that, like I should know my body better, or should have grilled Magda and Lindsey on this, so that I wouldn't think a bruise from bumping into something while wearing too tight a bra or something like that might be cancer.  I felt like apologizing to this doctor for wasting her time.

J.T. tried to look unconcerned when I got home.  "How'd it go?"

"Healthy boobs.  Sore, but healthy.  Be glad you were to young for this when you weren't yourself."

"True that, though it's not like Elaine's cramps were any picnic."

"Word.  Don't miss that.  But, man, today was something.  It's one thing to laugh off people because they don't know the real you, but this was kind of real, y'know?"

"Yeah.  I'm glad you're up for it."  He kissed me on the forehead, gently.

"Thanks.  The guys who won't get here for a while don't know what they're in for, but I guess that's what happens when you actually become a woman, and not just a guy visiting that sort of life."

-Magdaryl

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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Tyler/Valerie: Bad timing

I didn't go out and make plans for New Year's Eve but being that I have found myself in the body of a 25-year-old something was bound to happen. A few days before the 31st Maddie and Charlie persuaded me not to get in the way of holding a party at our loft. Not that I could have stopped them but they wanted my blessing and,if possible my participation (read: cooking, house-mom duty.) I said sure, but I needed help with something.

I needed sex.

Okay maybe it's an exaggeration to say I needed it but it was definitely a strong urge. After my meetup with "Cyn" I counted backwards and realized how long it had been since my ill-conceived tumble with Ryan and decided it was time to get back out there... at least for a night.

I was actually a little confused by my sudden need. I've gone long stretches as a woman without sex before - my whole time as Lauren, months as Judith, nearly my whole first year as Valerie. Maybe my desire to abstractly get laid by a man, without having one in mind, was a sign that I'm truly female, and hetero to boot... or maybe it actually makes me a guy who possesses a vagina and is attracted to men. How should I know.

The pursuit of sex has of course changed since I was fully male. Now all I have to do is stand still and - sorry to sound conceited but it's true - someone will want to sleep with me. The problem is it's easy to turn down these offers because, well, men are men. It's easy to find flaws and assume you'll find a better one eventually. Hence you find yourself six months down the road growing cobwebs between your legs. (Kidding, I dust regularly.) Anyway, to that point, I haven't met a good man in a long time. Technically ever, when you consider Ryan was a cad, Rafe was anti-commitment, and Josh impregnated another woman.

And sure, maybe my standards are high, but I deserve to be wowed. I'm a catch. (I've decided that most men would never admit it, but they'd prefer a woman with a man's brain.)

So I must really have wanted it, to want it in spite of all the potential for disappointment, frustration, and the host of other reasons women can be deterred from casual sex. My sudden needs were really eroding my commitment to my standards. But it was only going to be one night.

My ultimatum to Maddie: find me a guy I might potentially want to sleep with or I'll invite Rafe.

She brought me a guy named Erik, a friend of her boyfriend's. His online presence showed he was a clean cut, harmless type. Didn't exactly light my fire, but no red flags. I agreed to meet him. If he could string a few sentences together he would have a very good night.

The party was... what it was. I looked good. I curled my hair into nice wide ringlets and wore a low-cut clingy dress that shows off my assets but still looks appropriate for a house party,(assisted by an insane date night bra I have never worn before that felt like scaffolding) and tights. I busied myself hostessing since, at my age, getting hammered with twentysomethings is something I have reservations about. I did drink a bit to make sure I had the necessary courage. Erik seemed unaware he was there to be my plaything and kept his distance at first, but there was little else for him to do since Maddie had brought all the same people they usually hang out with, and Charlie had brought all her gay friends, which I think a made a vanilla guy like Erik feel a little out of place.

Eventually, Maddie said to him, why don't you keep Val company in the kitchen? He made some feeble attempts to help with what I was doing but I indicated it wasn't necessary and worked to break the ice. He was a little shy, which was simultaneously cute and irritating. He said he liked to travel, and had been through Europe, which I know is a cliche but at least gave us something to discuss. I had another glass of wine and started closing the physical gap by touching his arm. He responded by going right for the kiss. Points for enthusiasm. I told him he could meet me in my room. It was only 10.

I went to the bathroom. I had started feeling strange an hour or so before but hadn't had a chance to investigate because I was busy and it didn't feel urgent. But once I got in there I pulled down my panties and found, yes, my period had showed up a few days early. That kind of explained the horniness, actually. One of these days I will get truly

I hissed a "Damnit!" and threw my underwear in a nearby hamper. I groaned in frustration. As a man I had had period sex within a committed relationship many times but you can't spring that on a guy you just met. Plus I now felt dreadfully unsexy.

I put in a tampon and went to my room, where he was sitting on my bed, as casually as a guy who thinks he might get laid.

"Hey," I somberly informed him, "So... this is awkward but I just got my period. We can, uh, still do some stuff, and I'll understand if sex is off the table."

He looked at me for a few moments, clearly weighing his options. I seemed to be the only single straight girl at the party, thus his only real opportunity to get laid - which I vividly recall 25-year-old guys being wired to pursue at any cost. Still, you can always count on the male discomfort with menstruation to ruin a party.

He shrugged, "Lets, uh, see where it goes." That was very polite.

We made out for a while. It was fun, but the creeping sense it was not going to culminate in anything spectacular for me kind of flattened the experience. I took my top off and let him plsy with my tits (god, they all love my tits. They can take em!) And presumptuously unzipped his jeans, I guess just to see how I might react.

Oh what the hell. It was almost midnight on New Years. I wrapped my hand around his johnson and began to play gently (what do you know, I know my way around one of those things.) I could hear music in the other room. I decided if he could go the length of a song without ejaculating or doing that awful thing where he pushes my head towards it, I would give him oral.

He made it.

I'd never done it before. On the one hand it seems like something you should keep for someone you really like, but on the other it was like something you can do when sex is off the table and you don't want to ruin the moment. An investment, kind of. At first I felt silly. Like I had lost my last shred of manhood and put myself in a position of pleasuring a guy without getting anything back. As if this was the moment there was truly no going back, like I haven't decided that dozens of times in the past year - I'm a woman, and sometimes women do this. the fact that I didn't hesitate probably shows you where I'm at.

But I had a lot of time to think while I was down there. Was it pleasurable for me at all? Was it anything close to what I'd hoped for? No to both. But undignified? Not that either. There was no shame to what I was doing, because we were both consenting adults and I wanted somebody to have a good time. But even after that, I still really needed sex.

"Hey," I said, "If I get you a condom, would you consider it?"

His grunting stopped and he paused to think. "Can we... do anal?"

"Uh... no." I sighed, and finished him roughly with my hand. Here's a kleenex, see ya. In hindsight - not that I would consider it, but I could have let him down gently.

I rejoined the party and kept my distance. He wasn't so bad, the whole experience just soured my night. Maddie was oblivious, but Charlie was amused. We ended up talking for a few hours as the party wound down.

She laughed when I told her he had balked at the offer of period sex.

"I've never had that problem," she said with a wink.

"Don't rub it in..." oh, poor choice of words. We laughed.

The new year began. The search continues. And my thumb hovers over Rafe's name in my contacts. He's not good for me in the long term, but he knows his way around...

-Valerie/Tyler

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Tyler/Valerie: So this was Christmas...

Now that I have a couple of free minutes though I just want to let you know how I am... tired! Holy smokes y'all, I have had to work extra-hard to pay the rent on my new place, and it ain't even that great. I really appreciate what Ryan was doing for me with the last place even if the environment wasn't so healthy, and, well, all that other shit that went down between us. But I'll always know that the motivation for the breaks he was giving me was, well, what it was, no matter how much he denies it.

November was already busy enough. I moved in with Maddie and her sister Charlie, who I hadn't met or seen prior to moving day. She showed up with just a duffel bag, which made me already like her since she reminds me of me - someone who travels around without much of an agenda and is happy to float through life, and I mean that as a compliment. America's a great country to just drift through, and honestly I wish I was brave enough to get out on the road as a woman the way I was as a man.

Seeing them together, they're definitely two sides of the same coin... the disorganized, chaotic, sarcastic Charlie and the tidy, friendly Maddie. They bicker, but in real sisterly way where they have each other's back if someone else were to step on their toes. And then there's their appearances... they have the same genetic code, the same face, the same body essentially, but they do very different things with it - Maddie with her long ombre hair and makeup, Charlie with her short, boyish shag, piercings and tattoos. One favors dresses and tights, one wears jeans and men's tees with comic book characters on them.

Given all that... I mean, I'm not a total hayseed, I've been around. Based on everything about her, I wasn't all that surprised when my guess was confirmed abd found out Charli is a lesbian. It did make me feel oddly self-conscious about being around her - like, what does she think of me? Just some "straight girl"? I don't style myself as someone who was born a man and spent many years happily dating women... I can't even "come out" to her about that because it's not really part of my backstory as Valerie. Maybe I just want credibility for not being as "vanilla" as I seem, for all the things I've seen, and done... and been.

But there hasn't been a ton of time to dwell on that anyway. It's not like I've been home a lot.

Between 8 hour days at the coffee shop and sometimes 6-hour events with the caterer, I was on my feet for almost the whole month of December, and when I did get a day off the last thing I wanted to do was shop for Christmas presents. Having time to sit and think about the season just made me feel alone and awful because, well... look at where life has taken me. I never, ever felt bad about leaving my "real" family behind (except for Carrie, who I'm so lucky knows where and who I am, but it's not like we visit much, and we go weeks without texting) but the season really underscored some of the negative feels that go along with my situation.

I mean, I have Valerie's family, and they're nice "normal" Upstate New York people. They want me to know they love me and care about me and wish I would come "home" for Christmas, but I really wasn't feeling like intruding. When I started getting Christmas letters - forwarded from my old address because of course I forgot to let Valerie's mom know I moved - I began to feel guilty that I had taken this girl's place and was taking all the love and togetherness she was supposed to be having and flushing it away.

Of course, it's not really like that. I didn't take Valerie's life. I was perfectly willing to give it back, but she felt that Cynthia's suited her better. But I'll always feel like part of that was charity. I look at all the potential she had in her original life, which I'm doing jack-all with, and think, is there anything she could possibly be getting as Cynthia that was worth this arrangement?

That was the theme of a long, drunken, sobbing voicemail that I left her a few weeks before Christmas - I was at the end of my rope, wondering what the fuck is even going on in my life, and thinking about how it's not too late for us to switch back next year if she wants.

When she responded, she was, um... very understanding. She's had some thoughts of her own but somehow feels free of regrets. On the family question, her thinking is, yes, she misses them, and she tries not to feel bad that she will never see them again as herself, but she tries to look at it as if she decided to move to another country for work or something. As long as she can keep in touch with me, she'll never lose them.

From there, we organized a few meet-ups where she helped me do my Christmas shopping and prep me for the holidays. Last Christmas I was freshly jilted at the altar, so any weirdness in my behavior could be explained away. Now, I'm just... me. Me being Valerie. So I'm pretty well expected to give gifts and join in some holiday fun, and hey I've faked it before, as Lauren and Judith. I can do it, I just haven't been in a position where I'm setting up relationships with these people for the rest of my life. I wanted some guidance from her as to how to behave, and yet I know that part of me being Valerie permanently is, however I am, that's how "Val" is now, and everyone around me just has to get used to it. Still, knowing all the backstories helps: which topics to avoid, which relatives have drama with others, and of course being warned about the 15-year-old second-cousin who hasn't gotten the memo that you're not supposed to look at your relatives that way. 

"Cyn" is doing well, amazed at how her new life seems to fit her like a glove. Loves being around the kids, has freedom to do as she pleases... and even her "Man" and her have gotten pretty close.

"I mean, we haven't decided what the future holds just yet," she said, delicately choosing her words, "...But we discovered fairly quickly that we each seemed to be what the other was looking for. He's supportive and considerate and funny, and I've always seen myself as an "old soul" so the age difference - whatever it actually is - doesn't bug me. Plus, he's hot! A silver fox!" A man with the heart of a woman... isn't that what every gal wants?

She looked down at her ring - technically just a prop but obviously meaningful to her - "We've toyed with the idea of going all the way and having a kid of our own... is that weird?"

I said, in our world, nothing's weird anymore.

I did pretty well at the family visit, nodded along with the old memories, tried to come up with good excuses why I haven't been around much this year, and made promises (probably idle ones) to be more available in 2019. I tried my best to accept that this love was not for me, but that didn't mean it wasn't nice to receive. And to marvel a bit at the fact that I'm now the kind of person who appreciates a nice makeup kit as a Christmas Gift. (I don't wear a lot of makeup but I do enjoy mascara and eyeliner.)

There was one gift that really gave me pause, and it came from Valerie/Cynthia herself. At the end of our shopping and gabbing, she produced a small white envelope. I was a little dismayed because I hadn't thought to get her anything. She said not to worry about it, and asked me to open it in front of her.

Inside was a check.

I'm not going to tell you how much, but it was sizeable.

I raised an uncomfortable eyebrow. "Um... is this, like, payment for Cynthia's life? Because I really can't accept anything like that..."

"No, it's... well, it's a gift that I'd always wanted. Something I was never able to give myself. After Josh and I were, uh... settled, we had talked about getting me some... surgery."

"Surgery?"

She pointed at my chest and cleared her throat.

"It was just always in the back of my mind, but there was so much to consider, never a good time, and better uses for the money. And it would have had to be after we started our family. Well, now I have the money, and the family, but not the need, so I thought... this would be a good way to use my good fortune. Take the money. Don't use it for that if you don't want to, but know that it's on the table. The money is yours."

I was dumbstruck. I could hardly bring myself to accept it, but Cyn wouldn't take no for an answer. I'll admit the idea had occurred to me in moments of frustration, that it would be nice to reduce my size a little. Decrease my pains, maybe work out more as a result. Stop dipping my tits in every condiment on a table. I'd have to put myself through the stress of buying a new wardrobe. I don't know. It was a fantasy, and one I didn't indulge in much because I was only borrowing this body and now that I have the opportunity it feels wrong to do anything to reshape this body, even though it's mine. But I have the money and the suggestion that, if I don't want that, I can do as I please... just be aware this is a one time offer.(Believe me I would never dream of asking Val/Cyn for a handout. Not my style.)
Lots to think a out heading into this new year, that's for sure.

-Val/Ty

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Simon/Joy: Save the Date

I guess the way a couple of things have been going, where I find myself today was kind of inevitable, but it still catches me kind of flat-footed.  It shouldn't - I didn't just have it dropped on me without warning - but I've kind of been in denial.

As you see, I haven't been back to the Inn this summer; Brian has been getting treatment as me back home, and though he lost one testicle, and has subjected the other to who knows what, he's been making progress since, and was declared cancer-free in October.

Obviously, you don't get there alone, and he told me about all the doctors and nurses and such, and, yeah, I did notice that one nurse came up a lot.  I even caught that they were getting kind of close, but didn't much worry; he figured it would drop off after he was well.  Brian's been doing a good enough job of keeping me in the loop that he'd tell me if this seemed to be getting serious.

Except he apparently didn't realize.  They were having dinner to celebrate a good check-up and he just blurts out "we should get married".  No having this thought earlier and checking with me, or realizing that he should back off, but just this instant, casual proposal that she accepts and that he easily talks himself into.

He calls me after, saying it just sort of happened, but now that it has, it feels right to him.  My first instinct is obviously to tell him no, try and sell him on the benefits of giving me my real life back, but I think - do I really want to go back to that life, my career stalled out and missing a testicle?  Maybe I don't want to be Joy forever, but getting life back to being my life sounds like something even worse than just spinning my wheels, and that's not me.  So I wish him well, shave my legs, put on a miniskirt, and go have some fun with my girlfriends - my happiness isn't tied to that old identity!

Of course, I can't be sure it's tied to my current one, either.  I had Thanksgiving with Joy's parents, and they're reminiscing about their first few, with a pre-school Joy irate that they didn't have a proper Thanksgiving dinner like her friends.  it was the first time, they said, that they truly realized that they were raising an American child as opposed to raising a child in America.  It was a cute story which would have been even cuter if I was responding about not remembering it because it happened when I was four rather than because the person involved was dead and I was pretending to be her.

That's not usually a huge deal for me, hanging around with Joy's friends or talking to her family in Facebook or whatever - it's a challenge to make sure they don't think there's something weird about me and keeps me sharp.  In a house where there a bunch of photographs of her and where I'm supposed to be relaxing, it gets under my skin a bit more.  Still, I felt like I'd shaken it off by the time I got back home to San Diego.  Got back into my life connecting people with apartments, finding a nice beach-side bar at the end of the day, letting myself be chatted up but not meeting anyone I wanted to see for the evening that week.  The usual.  Then I got home on Friday, and there it was in the mail.

The "Save the Date" card.  Because people getting married are so fucking excited that they can't just ask you once.  They've got to call you, stake out a date on your calendar, and then send you a formal invitation.  Now, I don't think I get particularly volatile or anything when I've had a couple cocktails, even with the low body weight, but somehow seeing that just destroyed what (safe to drive home) buzz I had left, and I needed it back and went for the vodka.

A lot of it.  It's been a while since I was as hungover as I was when my phone buzzed to wake me up the next morning so I could pick Iain up at the airport.  I kind of looked like shit, but I figured a shower would get me pretty close to human and telling him to take an Uber would have led to him asking questions I didn't feel like answering.

Truth be told, it kind of just put off the inevitable.  We spent that Saturday having a ton of fun, but then he mentioned some pre-me thing about Joy, and I held it together for a while but must have seemed kind of withdrawn afterward.  Fortunately for me not wanting to explain things, Iain is still basically a dude and presumed that my lousy mood was due to this being his last visit to California for a while.  Which, admittedly, does kind of suck, but maybe not as much as he thought.  I said, no, I was just going through some other stuff, that there was a lot of people who didn't want me for me, and then there was this stupid wedding save-the-date, which I shouldn't even care about but why is something just coming together for him?

He was sweet, of course, and probably figured that some other guy had gotten handsy because that was the last time something had really had me shaken.  That hasn't happened more than usual lately, but I didn't say anything; it was getting late, and I didn't want him feeling nervous about touching me if this was the last sex we were going to have.

But that did come up the next evening, as I was giving him a lift back, and some sort of estrogen surge had me tack "what are we even doing" onto "so, what comes next?"  Like, some stupid part of my female brain had to know whether he liked this version of Joy or if he was just having a nostalgic lay every few weeks.  Probably really wanted to hear something like "oh no, you're so much more confident and capable than ye were when I first knew ye, and it makes ye even sexier!", but I had to settle for "I really like ye, and these jaunts have been the highlight of my trips to the West Coast."

Which, hey, is still pretty good, although it still sounds like we're probably more or less done as a regular thing.  At least, for almost a minute.  Then he says "why don't we move in together?  The family estate is bloody enormous, and it doesn't really make sense with just me and Dad there.  And you know he's been eager to meet you."

"I don't know...  That's such a big--"  I had to hit the brakes, which dumped the purse I'd set on my lap after paying the last toll onto the floor, and after an obligatory "oh shit!", I started shaking my head.  There on the floor were five sets of keys, my birth control prescription, tampons, a bottle of red hair dye that I had been planning to surprise him with before I drank myself to sleep, and all sorts of ridiculous crap.

"What I saying?  I'm Joy Fucking Kershaw.  I do things I would never have thought of doing all the time!  It's my entire goddamn life, and now when a guy offers me a chance to leave all the garbage in my life behind to live in a fancy manor house because he likes me, I'm going to say no?  That's not me!"

Iain looked shocked that I said that, but as soon as we were stopped at a light he leaned over, turned my head to the side and kissed me.  I let him and returned the favor, long enough for us to get honked at when the light turned.  I giggled, dropped him off, and received another long kiss before he made his way to the gate.

When I got back home, what I had just agreed to hit me all over again, but I caught a look at myself in the mirror.  I looked cute, as usual, but there was a bit more to it; my hair was a mess, my wide-necked t-shirt was exposing a shoulder, and I took myself aback.  I didn't look like I was trying to be anyone else for once - not Simon, not the original Joy, not even the sort of person I thought I'd be if I'd been born this girl.

This, I thought, is what Joy should be:  Pretty.  Wanted.  Always on new adventures.  And easily able to find a man who will look out for her.

I guess it's not that feminist, but so what?  I'd always known that girls were naturally looking for what I'd just been offered, and they couldn't even see it as commendation for what is had taken away.

So, yeah, I'm moving to Scotland in the new year.  Big yard sale at the end of January - save the date!

-New Joy

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Jenn/Zack: 180s

It has been such a hectic month, going all the way back to Pete's Halloween party. For my part I was 100% excited to meet more people like us, mingle, network, whatever you want to call it. I don't think we all wanted it to be a big therapy session or anything but it's nice to be able to share your experiences with someone who understands

Take Magdaryl for instance. Both he and my David had their manhood exchanged for a female model with somewhat more... mileage on them. But despite that commonality, it seemed like Darryl was the last person David wanted to talk to. The second last was Tyler, who has impressed me with his/her growth over the time I've read this book, adapting into their new role and getting out into the world as Valerie. David, of course, didn't want to talk to anybody who views the "Curse" of the Inn as anything but a true curse - something to complain about and sulk over.

Personally, I found Ty fascinating and after a few drinks he/she opened up about some of the details that got left out of the blog about him/herself, her love life, and some of the possible directions they'll be taking in the new year. Of course I also pressed for more details about Rafe and Ryan and whether there was any other romance on the horizon.

Beyond that, we also talked about out "gender" situation - Pete and Annette had issued those stickers allowing you to declare your name and preferred pronouns. I reveled in the fact that I got to be a "she" for the night, but Tyler had noticeably lacked one. He chalked it up to being "old fashioned," which is to say skittish about things like that. Not that Tyler doesn't "get" the gender-spectrum thing, but he had some really interesting insights into ways that we transformed-people might be outside of it - that when he is in a woman's body is feels like a woman, but calling him a "he" isn't wrong either... and I guess he's just too "old fashioned" to accept "they" as an alternative. So it's like... call her anything.

Take a guess who was least impressed with the length and energy of my conversation with Tyler - David, who stood pouting by the liquor half the night, looking fetching in an androgynous suit with his hair pulled back. I had tried to wave him over to join the conversation but of course he declined. Like I said, he clearly was not interested in talking to someone who had positive things to say about being female.

Of course there was more to it than that. On the car ride home (in Lena's beautiful Lexus!) he laid into me - "How could you spend so much time talking to her? Did you see how much she was flirting with you? Were you trying to fuck her? Because I could tell she was trying to fuck you."

Writing it out like that makes it seem a lot more confrontational and angry than it was, but it was really said in a sarcastic, light tone. Still, I did not enjoy hearing such accusations. Like, excuse me, it was just an innocent conversation between two people. Just because one happens to appear to be an attractive young woman doesn't mean there's a sexual undertone to all of it. And what does that say about how David thinks of me? I can't talk to guys at the gym because he's worried I'm attracted to them, and I can't talk to women because he's worried I'm attracted to them?

Newsflash, I said, I'm not out here trying to sleep with anything that moves. I can see the difference between a polite convo and a flirt, and there was really nothing flirty about my chat with Tyler. If there was, why would I have tried to get David involved? I just wanted some info and guidance from someone who's "been there" and yes, a little juicy gossip because I'm an old hen at heart. Big whup.

I have told him time and again that I am attracted to one person and that's the person he is inside, no matter his outside appearance and I wish he could see it the same way.

David was unimpressed and we had a chill between us for days.

Then one night he had a late conference at work. I should tell you that David doesn't exactly like Lena's work, but it more or less takes care of itself - or Pete takes care of it for him - and he just gets to be a figurehead and sit back and watch Lena's bank account grow.

But he's also indulged in some of the perks of the "high life." Going out to "business dinners" or cocktails to which I'm not invited -- not a good look for the 45-year-old company founder and president to be seen with her 20-something "boytoy." So I sit at home and occupy myself and try not to worry - and definitely not being jealous.

But on this night, it's different. He's texting me. He's obviously drinking. He's being affectionate, calling me his Jenny-Bear and saying he misses how we used to be. He tells me how right I am about only loving the person inside. I tell him we can still be that way and he says maybe, maybe.

Midnight, he comes in. I'm getting ready for bed. He swaggers in - like the man I know he is - and drops his purse on the couch next to me.

He leans down and kisses me.

This isn't the first time I have kissed "Lena Howard's" lips, but it's only happened a few times when one or the other of us kind of got caught up in a moment, and it's always been met with a recoiled "yuck" reaction from David, and me trying to suppress how much that hurts. So knowing this, I start to ask why, and he puts his fingers to my lips. "Shhh, don't talk. I want this, I want this now." I don't know if this means that later he won't want it or if he's permanently crossed some kind of threshold. I'm totally unprepared, and I think of saying I can't because I'm not ready. But he's running his hands over my body and "little Jenn" perks up, and before you know it I'm "ready for action."

I just keep saying "Are you sure, are you sure? You can say stop anytime--" because I want to be good, I want to do this right, and I really did not expect him to do a total 180 on the physical affection thing. Not this soon, if at all. I worry that alcohol is playing too much of a part, but I can tell he's at least cognizant of his actions. He keeps shutting down my reservations... looking back, it's like he was taking a "now or never" approach.

He paused only once, as we were making out, to note that my stubble was scratchy. I said that if I knew this was coming I would have been clean-shaven, but he says "No it's fine. You're a man. And I'm..."

He doesn't finish the thought. We get back to making out.

Clothes are stripped - a beautiful silk blouse on the floor. My boyfriend is in his bra - a fancy if somewhat matronly one. But it's sexy in its way. I'm surprised by my reaction to Lena's nude body. Of course it's far from a perfect, perky young thing. Far from the body I had. I'm conflicted as to how attracted I am to it, because on the surface I see its flaws, but they don't stop me at all. In a heartbeat, those "flaws" become attractive features.

Something about all of this - the newness, the reversal of roles, heightens the sexiness about everything. My boyfriend sitting on my lap, grinding against my... my stiff crotch. My hands find the bra clasp. I hesitate for a moment, but he whispers "Yes!" I flick the hooks away like a natural.

We permit each others' hands to roam each other, thirstily taking it all in. I play with his breasts and stroke his neck and shoulders and back and hips, encircling around where I know will be my final destination if it keeps going. And he does the same, and I wonder how ready he is, if he is trying to prepare himself, trying to see what he's "supposed" to be seeing in Zack's body. I wonder, and hope, that he's undergone the same mental flip I have, where those things that might have recoiled him months ago, are now things he yearns for. I hope it, and I fear it.

My belt is unbuckled. He can tell through my pants that I'm at full attention but he's never seen in in person. A moment of panic - what if he sees it and it's too "real"? Too much?

He reaches into my waistband and fondles me. His reaction is surprising... he lets out a low, Beavis and Butt-Head like chuckle, like "Huh huh huh," which sounds very strange coming from this "lady."

Before I know it, it's out in the open. My eyes bulge out at seeing what it looks like in his hand - how much more of it there is when his dainty fingers are clasped lightly around the shaft, than mine. I'm also surprised at how readily he took it in hand, how good he is at handling it. But of course, I never had my own to practice on - he's "done this" before, in a sense. Amazing how suddenly without warning he'd gone from literally "get that thing away from me" to all-in.

I'm fully disrobed first. He's still in his panties. We have a moment where we look at each other like "What do we do now?" At first I thought it was understood that he wanted to go "all the way" but there was this moment of hesitation, to be expected I guess but how do you overcome that.

I get halfway through asking, "Do you still?" and he gulps a quick yes, just... let's go to the bedroom already.

Maybe it's showing off a bit, but I left him up and carry him. Will this make him feel like "a woman" in a bad way, or a good one, I wonder?

In the bed, he's under me. Our momentum is stopped for a little bit when we encounter a little embarrassing issue... there was some, er... dryness. Lena is not exactly in the prime of her life, and this is nothing she nor David should be embarrassed about, it's just a reality of life for women over a certain age - an age much younger than Lena's in many cases.

In that moment, I had to think fast. If Lena happened to have anything on hand that would aid with this, I would have to take a break from what we were doing to tear up the condo to find it and risk ruining the moment. There are other ways to improvise but given the urgency I didn't want to ask David to provide any saliva. So I took matters into my own hands... or rather, my tongue.

Readers, I really never thought I would find myself in that position. I have to admit, if I had not been so aught up in the moment I would have balked, but I had found myself in a potentially once-in-a-lifetime position. David had already shown he could shed his inhibitions (alcohol would have helped me too) and I was very, very turned on, to where I would do virtually anything asked of me. Of course, he didn't ask - I really don't think he would have expected or even wanted it. But once I set myself face-first between his legs, I could see an instant change in demeanor... from tentative to "Oh God, yes!"

I had to spend a little more time than I wanted to down there, but it was certainly worth it in the end and had the effect i wanted. Again I had to ask a potentially mood-ruining question: "Are you... ready...? For my..."

He responded by throwing a condom at me.

I struggled to open the package, so he helped me, and rolled it on for me. By then, pretty much all the blood in my body was located between my legs. It was like there was a non-stop buzzer going off in my head screaming "TAKE CARE OF THIS NOW."

I pushed myself into him - perhaps less delicately than he or I would have liked, but again, it was a caught-up-in-the-moment thing.

It felt... incredible. Simply like two parts that were meant to couple. I've always wondered how it feels for guys... it was a lot less, erm, "pressure" than I thought it might be? Certainly less firm than my own hand... like a perfect delicate kiss.

It took me a moment of adjusting to figure out how to "move." I don't think David realized that he, too, could have moved if he wanted to, and probably would have found it pleasurable, but maybe he was a little lost. I would have liked to really take stock of the moment and appreciate where we were, and really take my time, but... there was that buzzing in my head, saying "Go! Go now!" Craving instant pleasure. The Man's folly.

All I had was the knowledge of how I liked it as a woman, not really taking into account what was most practical for me as a man, so after trying to pace myself gently I began to find my rhythm and thrust my hips faster and harder, overtaken by my own urges, as I heard David's soprano voice moaning in pleasure, egging me on, panting, losing control... I tried to stay quiet and focussed and not let out any unappealing grunts that might remind David exactly what was going on. But in that moment - dare I say it in this age of complicated genders - he was truly "female," enjoying a pleasure that he could not previously had imagined. And I think, loving that he had enjoyed it.

I tried - I really did try - to pace myself, but it was just not possible. Neither of us wanted it that way, but neither of us really realized how short the fuse was going to be. Suddenly, almost without warning, I erupted into the condom, while David was still moving with me. I let out a weak groan, and slowed my motions to a standstill, hoping he would understand what had happened and I wouldn't have to say it. I wanted to keep going - I wanted to be able to keep going. I wanted to show him exactly what was possible, but I fell short, and not long after, my body kind of... gave out from under me.

"I... I'm sorry..." I sputtered once it had become clear why the abrupt stop.

"It's, uh... it's okay..." he said, catching his breath.

I laid there for a second, experiencing a few aftershocks of orgasm, still inside, until he muttered, "You can, uh, get it out now" with a level of bitterness I recognized as the David of the last few months.

I sighed sadly and gingerly did as he asked, rolling over to the side of the bed.

"I think I could uh, go again soon."

"Don't worry about it," he snipped coldly. I felt worse than ever. It was like I had one chance to show him we could still be great this way and I blew it. I felt a fear in the pit of my stomach that the opportunity would never come again. And post-coitally, the last thing I wanted to think of was the pressure to perform again. I was drained.

Then, as if sensing how hurt I was, how guilty I felt, he tried to offer some comfort:

"It was... better than I thought it would be."

Meekly, I said, "I'll, um... I'll do better next time."

"Yeah," he sighed. "No worries."

I rolled over and held him in his arms. He didn't pull away but he didn't really embrace it either.

Since then, sex almost gone back to bei g the Forbidden Word it was before, and hes resisted any attempts I've made to ask about his experience, find out how he feels, what he liked or disliked. I'd live to discuss the xomplicated delights and contradictions of female sexuality with him and reassure him thatit can take time to adjust even after you've decided that's something you'd want to do. But anytime I bring it up, he waves it off - some other night, maybe, when he's "into it" again. That upsets me, because I feel like if I had done better the first time he would be more eager, but my disappointing performance is only reinforcing his resistance to pursuing this. And you can't really get better without practice. So I don't know. It stinks.

I tell myself I'm taking it too hard. The obsession with orgasms is more male than female and I could tell I was givig him pleasure. I just wish we were as connected as we once were. I still don't even know the reason for his one-time-only interest in sex to begin with!

-Baffled Jenn

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Daryl/Magda: Mismatches

If you're going to get changed into a different person, and it looks like there's a good chance you'll stay that way, there's a certain logic in moving away from both your real hometown and where your new identity lived, and to someplace like New York City.  Many large cities would probably do the trick, I suppose, but New York is so big and is such a hub that I can do things that might get noticed in other cities without much question.  It may be something as small as sitting down at a lunch counter in Harlem and having some fried chicken without much more than a little side-eye, or nobody at the movie theater caring about a weird double feature.  They'll let you be.

We were initially kind of worried about that when J.T. and I started going out, especially since he was kind of famous at one point, but there were some pictures taken, a couple websites that tried to frame a cougar narrative, but, eventually, it sort of became no big deal.  Older woman/younger guy is unusual, but seeing we dig each other makes it something of a non-story.

And we do like each other.  For a while we thought it might just be the thrill of the new or unusual, but I've been here for a couple months, and it hasn't always been complete fun, we've become really comfortable together, and good.  He was kind of nervous about me moving in at first, but it works, and we both look forward to how our weird schedules intersect.

Unfortunately, his rehearsal schedule didn't line up well with Pete's anti-Halloween dinner, which was aggressively come-as-you-are because folks like us don't need another level of make-up, costuming, and play-acting.  He isn't really sure he belongs at that sort of thing anyway, having just been someone else for one cycle and then dropped back into his life like it hasn't happened until I showed up.  Not that everyone who came is in my boat - Annette came, although to be fair, she's 22 and basically spent all he college years as someone else, so most of her friends from that period are Inn people.

She was one of the first to get to the function room Pete had rented, enthusiastically helping decorate; I imagine they love her attitude at whichever publishing company is exploiting her as an unpaid intern.  She taped Pete on the shoulder and broke off to say hi and asking if I wanted a name tag, which was more complicated than usual - between the standard "Hello, My Name Is ____" and the "My Pronouns Are ___/___" that has apparently started gaining use,  she customized them to include "Also Known As ____".  Hers said "Annette", "Ravi & Benjamin", "she/her"; Pete's said "Pete", "a bunch", "he/him".  I opted for "Daryl", "Magda", "they/their". I half expected them to tell me to choose a side, but Annette said anybody being a jerk about how someone else identified was getting kicked out.

Pete gave a little chuckle as she went back to decorating.  "Never thought Millennials and their political correctness would make a bit of sense, but in this case..."

"Dude, you do know that I'm not actually this old, and she's, like, whatever we're calling the generation after that, right?"  Not wanting to get into that, I looked down and raised an eyebrow.  "Wearing heels to your 'come as you are' party, huh?"

"Am I?  Holy shit, I am!  I swear, April's feet have been deformed by long hours in the Executive Assistant uniform to the point where I walk around my house on tiptoe and boots with a couple extra inches feel normal.  But I guess it beats being short.  I'm not quite Tylerie tiny, but every inch counts."  I was kind of surprised he picked up my play on Tyler's names, but apparently it tickled him.

He asked how I was enjoying Magda's job, and I shrugged.  "It's not really what I want to do with the rest of my life, but it's something I can do for now.  I kind of like punching a clock rather than working long hours to make an impossible deadline, too.  At least for now.  How about you?"

He shrugged.  "Young, old, man, woman, black, white, asian, I'm apparently the glue that holds an office together.  Speaking of which..."  A matching couple was filling in their name tags, and Pete brought me over to introduce us.  "Daryl, this is Jenn and David; guys, this is Daryl. Or Magda.  'Magdaryl'. It's up in the air right now."

That immediately clicked with the man in the skinny jeans and blow-dried hair.  "You're the one dating J.T.!  I had such a crush on him when I was in junior high!"  She suddenly realized how she must look.  "Not the usual person to say that, huh?"

"You'd be surprised."  I turned to her date, wearing a much looser pair of jeans and t-shirt, hair gathered into a ponytail at the base of the head rather than higher-up.  "Don't be jealous; J.T. is very much taken."  I extended a hand and David grabbed it kind of tentatively, maybe not sure how to process the flurry of names Pete had thrown at him along with the camisole under my White Sox Jersey.  I want wearing makeup but did have hairpins in, so I was sending some mixed signals.

I thought he and I might have something to talk about, given our similar age and sex changes, but he didn't seem to like he wanted to; honestly, even though I as talking sports and action movies and the like while complaining about bras and heels, I think he saw me as too close to the worst way he could see things going for him.

Jenn wasn't really negative, at least; as much as she clearly either hadn't stated thinking like a guy or was relishing the chance not to, she complained less and lived vicariously more.  She had plenty of questions about where Tyler got his shoes and apparently listened to a lot of the same podcasts as Annette. 

We all mingled a bit, but never really got far from one another - Pete has a pretty decent contact list of Inn people, but even in New York, there weren't enough for the size of the space he rented, at least that could do this kind of Halloween party (or were in the mood for it).  I'd kind of hoped to make some contacts that might give me a chance to maybe find a new career, but that didn't really happening.  Eventually I ran back into Jenn, who had had a few.  "This is the weirdest party I've ever been to.  So many girls and it's a complete sausage fest!  Shouldn't it be, like 50/50?  Or 25/25/25/25, cause some folks stay the same, generally speaking?"

"Well, I figure those guys just shrug and deal with it, right?  They know what they're doing and don't have to reach out.  I don't know why there's not more girls who became guys here or on the blog and stuff, though."

"Oh, trust me, most of us are not going to complain about bosses suddenly listening and shorter bathroom lines and clothes that have actual useful sizes."  I turned around and saw a cheerful-looking guy with a somewhat unruly Afro but a big smile; his name tag said "Juliet", "Jonah", "he/him".

"Well, when you put it like that..."  Jenn probably would have expanded on it, but David came over and was clearly ready to be done for the night, so they left.

Juliet waved and said they probably had the right idea.  "I bet your legs are staying to run down like my brain is."  She wasn't wrong, so we headed out to grab a snack (another great thing about New York is bakeries open until 3am).

It turns out we are kind of opposite sides of the same coin, me a young black man who became a middle-aged white woman, her a white woman in her early fifties who changed to a young black guy by choice.  Apparently she and her husband visited the Inn a few years back and made it back to their old life okay, only to have him go off on a "business trip" this May that left someone else in his body to explain he was leaving her for someone else, as someone else - apparently they'd been carrying on this affair for years and found the perfect new lives to claim.  She despaired, and then when she found out through another Inn person she knew that Krystle was putting this boy's body for sale--

"Please tell me you don't refer to black men as 'boy' or just casually talk about them being for sale."

"What?  Oh God, no...  At least I don't think...  I didn't mean that!"

"It doesn't matter what you mean, it matters what people hear.  You've gotta be real careful - just because you may still think like a white woman and talk about white woman things, coming out of that mouth, it's gonna sound like you're making fun to some people."

"I guess.  Hardly seems right."

"Welcome to being black in America.  I miss a lot about it, but..."  I suddenly felt pretty bad about finishing that sentence; as much as things in my real life can be unfair, I kind of feel like escaping them by becoming white is a cheat, and don't really feel grateful for it.

"Hm.  Well, I guess that's the karmic price for getting a chance to start again in college.  Not that being black is a price!  Ugh, I'm not so terrible at this when I don't have to think about it.  Or am I?"

"You probably are, but don't worry too much.  I was a giant nerd who didn't fit in either, and I turned out okay enough for J.T."

"But did you have to deal with this?"  She pointed at the mop of hair on her head.  "I let it grow out because all the cool black people when I was growing up in the 70s did this, but it just won't behave!"

"When did you last have a trim?"

"I don't know, two or three weeks ago?"

"Yeah, you're gonna want to find a barber you like and go every week.  It doesn't take that long, and if you just sit and listen while you wait, you'll get a pretty good education on being a black man."

"Sounds like this education could be more expensive than the college one!"

"Well, just think of what you're not spending on makeup, bras, pantyhose..."

"I guess.  Well, I did decide I wanted to do things differently.  But fair warning, I'm going to call you a lot."

I said that was okay, but she hasn't yet.

By the time I got home, J.T. was on the couch, watching TV.  "How was Curse Club?"

I say down and put my feet on his lap for him to massage.  "Kind of fun.  Weird having everyone treat me like I'm one of the ones who knows what he's doing."

"She's doing, based on last night."

I took the name tag I'd removed and folded in half out of my purse.  "They're doing, based on this."

"I'm not sure I approve of you going to parties where they don't think of you as a woman.  Does that make me a bad Inn Person?"

"Nah, I like that you know who you are and want me to feel as sure, although I kind of like not being sure.  Makes us special."

"Well, I guess opposites attract."

I thought about joking about "Junah" (portmanteau nickname a work in progress) then, but things were heading in a fun direction, so I just said "I guess so" and leaned in for a kiss.

-Magdaryl

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