Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cliff/Tori: Some warning would've been nice!!

I have been having a bitch of a day.

It began with blood. Enough to make me realize exactly where it was coming from. Fuck my life. Needless to say it took me by surprise. I've been Tori for a few weeks now, I guess I should have realized, but that was seriously the furthest thing from my imagination. Maybe I was expecting a little more warning beforehand, or maybe I didn't recognize the "signs" but either way - fuck!! I can't even bring myself write the word because it's so humiliating. So I fled to the washroom to find whatever I'm supposed to use, and stashed my laundry in the machine, and while I was freaking out, I got a phone call from one of the places I applied to work, a coffee shop.

I wanted to say "Are you kidding me? I can't leave the house like this!" but I guess that's not really an excuse, is it. They wanted me to interview today, and I'm not really in a place to say no. I had just over an hour to get myself ready and get down there, thanks to my tendency to sleep until 11 since being here.

So I rushed through a quick, gross shower, tried blow-drying my hair for a while before deciding it would dry naturally on the way over there, and tried to focus on dressing myself. When I first got here I separated Tori's clothes into things I would feel comfortable in (t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, and jeans) and stuff I didn't want to touch (tight tops, things that revealed a lot of cleavage or bare skin, skirts, lacy underwear.) I went braless at first, then gave the bra a try and decided I liked it and maybe I wasn't giving too much of my manhood up if I wore one, especially if I was wearing a white top.

My point is, to look presentable I had to go through the second category. Not that I was baring cleavage, it was a white button-up blouse and a knee-length black skirt, because it was humid as hell out there, and pants would've kept me warm.

So I bit the bullet and went into a fully female costume for the first time.

It was... weird, walking around town, a purse slung over my arm, skirt flapping around my legs a little bit... I felt really, I dunno, out there. It was a pretty odd feeling, I don't know if I'll wear the skirts again if I can avoid it. But what was worse when I finally ended up at the place, my hair had frizzed out pretty bad. I guess humidity does that to Tori. I should have brought a hair tie or something. Maybe there's some kind of hair stuff I'm supposed to use? I'm clueless.

So with all this frantic stuff in mind - plus I hadn't eaten all day - my head was elsewhere through the interview, while she's asking me about Tori's experience waiting tables and doing hair, why "I'm" no longer a hairdresser, and I'm just all like "Oh you know, I made some decisions, it wasn't for me, I want to find something new" just really unconvincing. I sounded like someone who had gotten fired and wanted to cover for it (which is true - Tori had a bit of a falling out with her last boss, which puts me in an awkward place listing her as a reference on my resume.) I really don't think I got the job.

So by this point it's after 1 PM and I'm starving so I go to a sandwich place and order myself a nice big Philly Cheesesteak, and about halfway through I'm realizing how badly I overestimate Tori's stomach. I shouldn't be surprised, she's a pretty slight girl, but damnit I was enjoying that sandwich, I would've liked to finish it!

So while I'm sitting there, being mocked by this meaty bastard, I hear a buzzing sound in my purse. Tori's cell phone. I hate answering that phone but in this case it was important. It was my number.

I try to deepen my voice, to no avail. "Hello?"

"Hullo, is this John Clifford then?"

"Uh, yeah," I grunt in my most masculine way. I don't know why... I'd already written about my situation in my letter.

"I'da called you sooner but your phone was outta juice." I'd forgotten my charger before leaving for the trip. "Damn strange situation we find ourselves in, eh mate?"

I agree that it is and he starts telling my about himself. His name's Willy Taylor, originally from Birmingham, England (which explained the crazy accent he had on) but came to America to find work. I asked what he thought about temporarily living my life and he said he'd do his best. "You're in computers, yeah? That was my line at one point. I'm a bit of a renaissance man myself, I think I might be able to manage." That was a relief.

He assured me repeatedly that he intended to help me fix myself so we could go back the way things were. He laughed, saying "From the sounds of things you got hit a wee bit worse than I did." I grumbled at that. It's still not funny, and I don't like being pitied.

The way I see it, it shouldn't matter who you get transformed into... it's only right to want to go back, back to what you know, back to what's safe, right? Back to what's familiar.

Well. I was glad to get that settled, so there was some positivity today. The reality of someone else living my life has started to wash over me. I feel like I'm going to want to talk to him a lot.

So after I got off the phone with him, I wantered around town a little bit and called Alia to see if he wanted to hang out or something, but he was busy. I got home after 4 and the place was a bit of a mess, and Mae was lying on the couch eating yogurt. I looked at the place and groaned, knowing that for whatever reason I was gonna be the one asked to pick up the place. Hearing my groan, not knowing the Cliff-thoughts that were going behind it, Mae called me a bitch (or rather, told me "not to be a bitch") and I just shook my head and went back to my room.

Seriously though. FML.


Anonymous said...

The "period" shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise. If you have read through the blog, others whom the inn has changed from male to female have mentioned the experience, and Tori ought to have a calendar somewhere among her personal effects that has her cycle marked.

I'm getting the impression that you're still somewhat in denial about this whole thing. While you have acknowledged that your body has in fact changed, you seem to be dragging your feet as much as possible with respect to adapting to your new body and new role. Ignoring or resisting the reality of the situation isn't going to change it. The more you put off the need to learn and adapt to your new reality, the more likely it is that you'll be forced to do so on the fly -- such as when preparing for the interview -- and the more conspicuous you will look as a result.

Perhaps it would help to view the task of living Tori's life as a job, as an distasteful but necessary responsibility. Don't look at it as "losing your masculinity". Instead, "be a man" and do what has to be done -- time to "roll up your sleeves", "hold your nose", and get to work!

Anonymous said...

It would still be a surprise when it actually happens. It was one thing to be aware that it will happen and another thing entirely to experience it for the first time. I think Cliff's post was very honest and reasonable for a first time occurence.

Todd said...

Anonymous 2 is pretty much right. Nothing can prepare you, as a man, for that first time, whether you're expecting it or not. Not to mention, Anonymous 1, even if Tori had left Cliff a diagram of when to expect a visitor, it'd be off by a few weeks due to the effect of the inn.

But you're right, number one, about how resisting the reality not changing it. The menstrual thing really hammers that point home. But it takes time. I was a zombie for the first few weeks, and was only really getting settled around the time I made my first post last October. scared of my body, its habits and wardrobe, of this strange man I had to share a bed with. It was too intimidating for me to immediately dust myself off and say "Well, here we go." It took time to adjust, and I'd say Cliff is still well within that bubble.

Cliff's a little lucky - she's got some control over what to do next, as far as getting a job and stuff. All I had was "be a mom," which was such a ridiculous proposition at the time. But it's a good opportunity to find out what you really are.

Man, sometimes I wish I'd been around to share some of those early memories, but it's all a blur now.

Cliff said...

Yeah. Pretty much.

Anonymous said...

I was perhaps a bit harsh in my earlier comment (#1, above), but I was addressing it more toward the title to Cliff's entry than to the actual content.

As for the rest... Darren is the only other person to post on this blog who has shown the same degree of resistance to adapting to his new role, but his resistance was more in writing than in action, because he still had to go out and do Jamie's job, and that required dressing and (to at least some extent) acting the part. I thought maybe some blunt talk would light more of a fire under Cliff. I apologize if I crossed a line.