Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tori C: Wonder Woman

Sometimes I feel like a superhero without any powers. Unless you count a nice set of breasts as a power (as some do.) The way I came to be who I am seems like something out of an old comic, something Stan Lee might've come up with if he was feeling especially perverse. Mild-mannered John Clifford spends a night in a cursed inn and wakes up with the ability to menstruate! Sigh.

I was considering getting out my "Sexy Robin Hood" costume again, but since I'm feeling more like a girl this year than last, I thought I'd try something different. And by different, I mean "feminine without being slutty."

We settled on a trio of comic heroines, at my insistence. Well, I would've picked the Wonder Woman costume without either of them going along with the theme, but they did want to theme it up, since I was going to actually go with them this year. Raine went as Supergirl, and Sara as Robin. I guess at various points there have been female Robins, but it seems weird to market it in an official manner. Then again... Sexy Robin Hood last year.

Actually, due to the chill, I wore some black tights under my star-panties... appropriately enough, Wonder Woman herself recently got some pants, although actually explaining this to people was tricky, so I let them chalk it up to not wanting to freeze my ass off.

It was nice to go out with the girls and dance and have fun and escape my own private relationship drama. Even though Leo and I hook up twice a week or so, we're still not comfortable with the idea of being in a relationship with each other, so we just leave it at that. I have to admit, every time I leave his place, I do feel guilty about participating in this without any real emotional investment. I'd love so much to have sex with a guy I felt I could spend time with.

A little while after our last meeting, Buddy dropped me an e-mail. It was long and rambly, but the gist of it was how much he missed spending time with me, and he felt there was something between us, and maybe I might like to try a long distance relationship. At least until he got back to Philly.

I was reading it, feeling this odd sense of excitement and disappointment, not unlike the feelings I first felt after transforming (as miserable as it was to transform, I can admit at least a little part of me thought how cool it was that this was even happening. Those were fleeting moments, but they happened.) How awesome, this guy I actually kinda like really does want to spend time with me, even after I was so bipolar toward him in the Spring. But all this experience with Leo has made me really want a physical relationship. Settling for long distance is something Cliff (the guy, not the, uh, remainder of him in me) would have settled for. It's selfish as hell, I know, but I'm not willing, right now, to put myself through the strain of long distance. I don't even know if I'm mature enough to handle it, or if I might get drunk on my own self-confidence and take his absence as a license to flirt, to shop around, hurt him even more than I already have. I mean, am I making any sense? Is it wrong to want to protect him this way? Or am I just a bitch?

I'm a bitch. I feel like one, anyway. I know how hard it is to be a man with bad luck with women and I still play that part instead of doing what I wish a girl would've done for me. I've got him twisting in the wind right now, saying only that I'm not willing to jump into something long distance... not that I'm not interested in him, and most definitely did not tell him that I'm currently having my needs satisfied.

Oh, Leo. I never know where I stand with that guy. He's not rude or mean or anything, he just seems so indifferent. I think this has already carried on longer than either of us expected it to, and maybe he's getting bored, but neither of us seems to want to stop. It's like... I used to work in this computer store, and every Thursday I'd oversee a shipment of hardware, and I'd make chit chat with the delivery guy, but I didn't want to go drinking with him, just wait until the next week to say hey what's up. So routine.

Well, when I put it that way, it seems totally unhealthy. And now Sara and Thom are fighting and spending time apart, while Raine and her Guy are getting more serious, the whole dynamic of our group is shifting.

So last night, the Halloween party, was a bit of measured chaos, where two of us were looking for guys but not looking to hook up. We found them, we danced, it was all pretty innocent. Then Thom showed up as Batman and they got back to pawing at each other, and suddenly it was like the last year hadn't passed, and I was back to being lonely Cliff in Tori's body. I was so disappointed in the evening... like, it wasn't a bad night, but I was just so emotional, that instead of calling Leo, I called Buddy, and we talked for an hour. And the question of starting a relationship never came up, we just talked. I swear, if I had some balls-- I mean guts, that is-- I would've just told him I'd be willing to try. But right now I'm not willing to give up what I've got and try something new. I suck at this.

Sorry for ranting. I'm all over the place. I've been composing this post over a whole evening while taking care of trick or treaters.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bryan: Good Times, Bad Times

I haven't posted here since way before Todd and I got our bodies back. I used it as sort of an outlet when I was stressed out being Ellie and when I got my own body back the last thing I felt like I needed was a shoulder to whine on. No disrespect to Todd, because everything that happened with Alia, and the Erica LaFleur situation, he had a lot on his mind. So despite living under the same roof, he and I kind of drifted apart for a year.

Maybe it was the Crystal situation. I don't know how you guys feel about the way he told it... reading his old posts, I feel like I mainly got a fair shake. It's not like I always wanted to nail Alia, and having Crystal in her body enabled me to do that. I had literally never thought about it until Crystal showed up and we just sorta connected.

I'll spare you the details of how it happened. It started out as me just keeping an eye on her, and eventually it occurred to us that we might make a nice couple, and realistically I was probably the only person she could date without everyone going insane (her, Todd, and probably real Alia.)

It was probably the healthiest relationship of my life. She cooked and cleaned and I tried not to seem like a kid she was taking care of, but like, a partner. She made me want to be better. We both had steady jobs. It was a real damn adult relationship. But as Todd said, we both knew the detail: it was temporary.

I couldn't bloody well convince her to stay in Alia's body. I told her I wouldn't mind meeting the real her, but she was adamant that that not happen. I kept asking her why, but she wouldn't clarify for me. I pushed the issue a bit more, and we fought a bit toward the end, but I always made amends because the last thing I wanted to do was lose Alia's body along with Crystal. When she left, we were still on good terms, but the relationship was over.

It's been hard, though, being around Alia, especially when she's with Todd. A couple times, I've accidentally called her "Crys," and then felt like an asshole, even though she assures me it's an innocent mistake. The weird thing is, partway through my relationship with Crystal, she insisted I call her "Alia," just so that I didn't slip in public. I didn't want to go along with it, but Todd and I had the same understanding when he was Aunt Anne Marie.

My one salvation is the band. We don't have a name yet, but Todd and I have been rehearsing a lot lately. We don't have a drummer, since most of our drummer friends have scattered, some already in bands, some giving up music or moving away. That doesn't stop he and I from jamming on Zeppelin ("Good Times, Bad Times,") Metric ("Gimme Sympathy,") Third Eye Blind ("Semi-Charmed Life") and Hollerado ("Americanarama,") as well as a few originals we've been workshopping.

So anyway, here's what's happened. With Todd and Alia getting back together, the social circle has sort of firmed a rift, and on one side is the happy couple, and on the other is me and Shelby, Todd's co-worker, who was hanging out with us a lot before and after Alia got back. Eventually, she and I just started hanging out on our own, since getting the four of us together would probably just be too awkward. In fact it was a little awkward just to get a cup of coffee with this random 19-year-old so soon after my break-up with Crystal, but she's actually quite cool. We were out by Queen's Park the other day, having some coffee, when I started talking about Crystal in veiled terms. I actually used her real name, to differentiate her from the situation she thinks I'm going through with Alia and Todd.

See... I have her number. Well, a number. I have some contact info for Crystal, acquired when we were first looking into her background and I found out she was from Cleveland Heights, not Shaker Heights. She doesn't know I have it. She'd probably be pretty pissed if I used it. But I keep it on a card by my desk and I look at it often, wondering if I should call. I told Shelby this. Her advice:

"The past is the past, man. You've got to move forward. If it isn't meant to be, don't worry. There are plenty more women out there." I gave her a look, and she hastily added, "Not me, though. I have a boyfriend." Oh.

But the last thing I found out is... she drums. Oh, chick drummers.

Seriously, though, I asked if I could hear her sometime, and if maybe she'd consider joining up with me and Todd. She said she'd think about it, since she's been meaning to get a regular thing going with someone. Why not us, eh? Maybe if we have a drummer, we'll get gigs, and things will start being awesome. I have yet to tell Todd about this development.

-Bryan

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tori C: Real life intervenes

Life is tough and unfair. You don't have to tell me that. For the last year, I'm the one it's been unfair to. But lately, things seem to have leveled out for me, or at least reached a tentative agreement.

I had been complaining about being stuck in my routine (and about losing Cyndi as a friend) until acquiring Leo as a non-committal sexual-relationship-partner-type-thing. It's added the level of thrill that my life's been missing since, well, way before I was a girl.

It wasn't long before the girls started noticing my more upbeat attitude and quickly called me on it. It had been hard keeping the whole affair secret from them. It isn't that I didn't want them to know. I didn't want it getting back to Cyndi, but it seemed pretty obvious that if I told them "If you ever see Cyndi, don't tell her I'm screwing her ex-boyfriend." I just didn't want to deal with any of the possible outcomes of this being public knowledge. Didn't want Leo hanging out with us, didn't want them judging me for having casual sex, didn't want them to question why after a year of lack of interest in the opposite sex, I was suddenly happy to jump into this... and in one particularly paranoid, unlikely scenario, them realizing somehow that I was really a guy having sex with another guy.

(I'd like to reaffirm once again that it's been many months since I've thought of myself as "really a guy." I may be a guy again someday but I'm really not anymore.)

When I admitted it to them, it was with a lot of explaining and doubling back on myself. "It's not serious, you guys, we're just fooling around, we don't want to date or anything." They pointed out, rightly, that "I" had tended to fall hard for guys, very quickly, and that "keeping it casual" was not really "my" MO. (Which begs the question of what, exactly, she and Rob were supposed to be.) Raine in particular was judgmental in that even though she knew Tori could be mercurial toward guys, the "old Tori" at least pretended like a fling could be a permanent relationship. Sara defended me by saying at least I was being realistic. They then proceeded to compare notes on Tori's past relationships, their own past relationships, their current relationships, and a lot of other stuff I'm not properly informed about. In the end they agreed, more or less, that I wasn't doing anything wrong, but that I should prepare myself in case this ends badly. I told them I already was.

Jana and Ken got married yesterday. I want to write down all the hectic stuff that went into it from my side, but really it's just typical wedding stuff. Dress-shopping was a pain since this was the first time I've had to look for something formal. I got a nice, peach dress that billowed nicely in the autumn breeze... I looked rather pretty in it, if I do say so. The family and I all went in on some kitchen essentials for the Bride and Groom.

I was unexpectedly emotional at the reception. Looking over at Jana in her white dress, and her bridesmaids, I began to wonder if this lays ahead in my future. If I'm stuck as Tori -- which sometimes I remember is not yet the case -- it would logically be possible somewhere down the line. If I met the right guy. But it wasn't that long ago, including post-transformation, that it all seemed utterly impossible that I'd ever find anyone. I was sort of resigned to loneliness. The idea of someday trying on a while dress was both comforting and terrifying.

The day brought with it all sorts of stresses, including inebriated groomsmen looking to score with their buddy's emotional, technically-alone. I found protection with one of the bridesmaids, the only single one. We shared stories of dating disasters, which I mainly drew from Tori's diaries.

I told her I was seeing someone, sorta, but that it wasn't serious enough to want to bring him to a wedding. She grinned and said she knew what I meant.

I had actually made plans to meet up with Leo after the wedding, and I probably could've used it, but something got in the way. See, what I didn't mention is that for a while now, I've been in contact with Buddy. He had kept putting off replying to me, apparently out of nervousness (how sweet... and typical of him) but he finally got his wits together (with a glass of Jack Daniels) to reply. His work had brought him to Baltimore, 2 hours south of here, and it was possible that some weekend he could come back for a visit.

"Some weekend," as you might guess, turned out to be last night.

I had intended to visit with Buddy for only a little while and then go off to hook up with Leo, but Buddy and I got back into our "first date" rhythm and I suddenly really liked being around him again. He told me funny stories about people he'd met as a "nomadic graphic designer," and ribbed me about staying at the call center when I "obviously had better things ahead of me."

I felt the need to keep my fling with Leo out of it.

We even caught a showing of The Social Network (very good!) and got coffee before he admitted he had to get back to his friend's place to crash. I offered him my couch.

There was just a hint of an implication in that.

He declined, either being a gentleman or oblivious, insisting he had to get his stuff together and head back to Maryland in the morning, and he "knew how much I liked sleep" (this was a conversation we had long ago.) I hugged him goodbye, pressed him against me... and every inch of me was urging my lips to kiss him, but it didn't happen. I felt like he probably wanted it too, but the Leo thing, the wedding, my hormones... I'm maybe a bit too mixed up right now to take that kind of risk.

But it's really already destroyed my comfortable balance.

I was so put off that I texted Leo saying I wasn't feeling up to meeting that night. He simply said "fine."

Fine indeed. But I think things won't be fine much longer.

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