Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jordan/"Deirdre" - We're not a couple!

I just read Annette's last post, and, Christ, she leaves it looking like Benny and I are fucking or something. We're not. Period, end of story.

Still, it is kind of weird sharing a room with him whenever Kareena stays over. Part of it is because he doesn't exactly look like me any more. It's been two and a half months since he and Annette moved in, and he's actually stuck to the exercise regimen he set out, dropping something like thirty pounds. He doesn't look cut or ripped or anything, but his face has gotten a little narrower so that it looks a bit more like my brother's than my own at times. He doesn't have abs yet, but he also doesn't have man-boobs any more. His legs look totally different.

It's fucking unnerving, actually. It's been two and a half months. Figure another six or seven before we go back, and what will he - and then I - wind up looking like? I'll be myself again, but, not. I mean, I see him talking to girls in the park, and they aren't reacting the way they do to me. Annette says it's just sort of being in a transitional stage - that he looks non-threatening but there's a hint of something they like becoming visible. And while my first reaction to that was a pretty reasonable "screw you", I get really jealous seeing it sometimes.

Because, you know, I never really thought of myself as fat. I wasn't skinny, and tended to buy XXL t-shirts, but I always felt fucking normal. Those assholes who grunted when they stood up or overflowed into the next seat on the subway, they were fat, not me! But now I'm watching someone who looks like I should dropping the weight, and while on the one hand I tell myself that I could have done that if I did nothing with my day but run laps around Central Park, and I chose to do more important things, I want that body.

For myself. Not, like, on top of me or shit like that. I was kind of worried about that being the case at some point - I've read enough on this blog and talked to enough others who have switched sexes that I'm sort of bracing myself for my body betraying me on that subject, but I don't think it will be from looking at Benny. Just... Too fucking weird, right? No matter how much weight he loses, he's still going to look like me, and even if he or Annette or someone were to convince me that it wasn't gay, it would still be incestuous or something.

It's not just Kareena being around that has had us having to play house a little, though. Annette didn't mention it, but we might be watched.

The real Ravi doesn't post on here any more - he's right into being Gary - but he does email me, every once in a while, trying to get me to come down to Baltimore and join everyone in the "pretend I'm who I look like" thing. Not so much for a while - maybe he's started fucking that skanky ex and decided not to mess with it - but he emails me every once in a while to say what's up with Deirdre's family like I really care. If he's going to do that, he might think to include the private investigator!

For real. The four of us were coming out of a movie the other night and I had to piss because of Deirdre's tiny friggin' bladder (I'd already seen the bit at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy anyway), and some guy grabs my arm while I'm coming out of the restroom, saying that Deirdre's parents had hired him to track me down and bring me "home"!

Not an usher to be found as I started flailing and kicking at him, doing way less damage than I really should be able to, and saying something along the lines of how he couldn't do this. A few more people came toward the restrooms, but either turned away or decided to just mind their own business, at least until Benny showed up.

He didn't beat this guy up - even as himself, Benny may have worked out and gotten in shape, but this asshole did it like it was his job. Still, he managed to disentangle us and stand in between, and when the guy repeated that Mr. and Mrs. O'Connell had hired him to bring their daughter back, he pointed out that I was a "grown fucking woman" who hadn't been kidnapped or anything like that, and if I wanted to be here, that was my decision. The guy asked if he didn't think Deirdre's parents were owed an explanation, and he said, sure, but that didn't mean they could send someone to collect. He pulled me in toward him, and I kind of didn't fight it, and by that time Annette and Kareena had shown up, so the guy decided to back off and probably report his progress to his clients.

What the hell is with people thinking they can kidnap me just because I want to live my own life the way I want? I wrote an angry email back to Ravi when we got home, and he said I should be telling this to "my" parents, but what if they take that as me attempting to "reach out"? At any rate, I've got my eyes out to see if this guy is still watching me or Benny or anyone, and I really hope I don't have to rely on him coming to my aid again like that. It was weird. - Jordo

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Annette/Ravi: Kareena

I've got a huge crush on my girlfriend.

Weird thing to write, no? I laughed out loud when I said it to Benny, but I think that's good. The week when I don't find myself saying something that sounds ridiculous is the one where I get genuinely worried, because that means that being a 25-year-old Hindu-American man is in some way normal for me.

Getting back on point - Ravi mentioned Kareena Milothra once or twice in his posts, mostly to say that she was originally the one he was going to be at the Trading Post with, but for her grandmother falling ill back in Mumbai. She wound up staying there until her classes began anew - she's a helpful person and wanted to be with family after the funeral, as one does - and was so busy after she got back to New York that we initially didn't get a whole lot of time to see each other.

Still, she makes an impression. The first time she stopped in to say hi, both Benny and I stumbled a bit. She's tall, lean, a smidge or two lighter-skinned than I am, though not close to Jordan's current paleness, and she speaks English with this accent that is half Mumbai and half English boarding school and all to die for. If she ever wears makeup, then I kind of resent how good she is at making it invisible versus just envying her being gorgeous. Benny and I have come up with a new way to drive Jordan nuts, which is to have long, sexy talks about how an evening would have gone if she had stayed at the Inn, and differing positions or something meant I wound up turned into her and he into Ravi - almost a required condition of the game,as he tends not to give the idea that he could have become a girl much thought. It got a bit uncomfortable when I acted one out by kissing him on the lips, although he said Jordan's freak-out watching almost made it worth it.

I'm kind of glad it didn't work out that way, though, because then I likely wouldn't really have met her beyond just exchanging useful information via email. She finds my "new" interest in Doctor Who a bit surprising, but it's fun because she really likes Peter Capaldi - he reminds her more of the old-school version that her dad introduced her to - even though I don't think the old guy is a patch on Tennant & Smith. She's really sporty - apparently I have picked up right where Ravi left off in her ongoing quest to educate her fiancé on the greatness of soccer and cricket (i.e., nowhere), but she's also become a big Knicks fan. And since our busy schedules don't intersect much (side note: I would make a terrible med student, and I'm not sure whether "gross stuff" or "sixteen-hour days" would be what does me in), there hasn't really been that much time for her to notice I'm acting weird.

Or to do much in the way of fooling around.

Ravi assured me via email that I wouldn't have to do that much anyway; apparently she comes from a fairly conservative family, enough so that if an arranged wedding raises the hundred feminist flags in her head that it does in mine, she doesn't show much outward sign of it. It's still kind of weird, though - we'll wind up holding hands on the subway, and it doesn't feel quite right to have the larger one, or she'll give me a quick peck and I feel kind of awful about not being the guy who she means to kiss. It feels nice to cuddle on the couch, though.

Bedtime gets weird, on the other hand. As much as I've gotten used to being out in the city by myself and not being scared, she's been staying over a lot, and the first time she saw Benny's sleeping bag she wanted to know what was up. I think I stammered something about winning it in a contest at work, but even though she's apparently modern enough to share a bed with her husband-to-be when her family is thousands of miles away, she probably wouldn't have been cool with Benny being there too. After the first time he barged in and freaked Kareena out (I think some excuse was made about him being drunk), I started leaving the sleeping bag in the living room unless she wasn't in. That's the signal for him to bunk with Jordan, which made him kind of throw a fit. As you might expect, he doesn't give one good small damn about whether Kareena wonders why "Jordan" has the couch and "his girlfriend Deirdre" has the bedroom. That hasn't happened in the last couple of weeks, though, after the night that it just didn't make sense to put on an act after the four of us stayed up until two-thirty playing Yahtzee (we are exciting!). I'm not sure what their arrangement is those nights, but I guess they can live with it.

She's been a fun addition to everything going on here, at least, even if it does mean that we're spending way more time pretending to be who we look like than we used to. Here's hoping we don't get lost in it!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Meg/Tasha: Try the eggs.

I noticed a shift in Tyler's mood this past Sunday when we met for our usual brunch. He was drumming on the table as if he had some song in his head only he could hear. He seemed to have a bit more pep than usual. I'm not saying the guy's a sad sack, but he's got enough on his shoulders that I usually forgive him for being in an unenthusiastic mood.

"What can I say?" he said as our plates arrived, "I feel like I'm finally making it work."

"Uh huh?"

"School's going okay, the play's fun, I'm even getting along a bit better with Lauren's parents now that I'm out of the house more often. Things are just... clicking, lately, as much as they could be expected."

"And your little friend?" I asked.

"Hm?" he forked some eggs into his mouth, "Who would that be?"

"You know," I said, sipping my coffee, "That Mark kid."

"Oh, you know," he said, averting his eyes to the parking lot out the window, "I handled it. I was straight up with him and he, uh, seems to have gotten the message."

"You handled it," I repeated.

"Yeah," he insisted.

"Just like that, you explained yourself, and now he's over you. That simple. It's over."

"Sure," he said, "Why not."

I took a bite of my grapefruit, then said, "Just like how I told you I didn't want to date anyone when we first met, and your feelings for me evaporated."

The sound of cutlery dropping on the table. He sat back and folded his arms across his chest. His eyes were as angry as I've ever seen them. I felt like I had made a mistake, but it had to be said.

"Careful," he said sourly. I could tell he was trying to deepen his voice, to summon "Tyler" from deep within "Lauren."

"You know how guys are sometimes," I said, somewhat venting my own experiences, "You tell them no, and even if they respect it, it's not like it flips a switch and turns them off you. It takes time, and I'm just warning you here, it may take more than one 'handling.' This isn't like some jock who just wanders up, tries his luck, and mutters bitch under his breath when you turn him down. This guy feels like he knows you, he's working with you, he has a lot of face time with you. I don't think he likes Lauren, I think he likes you. You have a responsibility to act in a way that doesn't lead him on, doesn't make him feel like you're playing hard to get or that you might come around if he's patient."

"Why is that my responsibility?" he said indignantly, squirming in his seat.

I knew he knew the answer, but I said it anyway, "Because guys suck. They're kinda great sometimes, but they suck so much more than they're great. And until you get your old body back, they're not going to leave you alone."

"Don't mention my old body," he said bitterly.

"If I were in your position," I said, "I might have told Mark I was a lesbian. Or transgendered, even. I mean your exact position, not if I was personally trying to... yeah. That's basically the truth for you."

"Yeah," he sighed, "But it isn't the truth, is it? It doesn't feel like the truth."

I waited for him to elaborate on that, but he didn't. He pushed his half-eaten plate away, saying he was now too annoyed to eat. "Tell me something good," he said. "Tell me about things with Wade." I smile, now that we're at the part of the meal where he feigns interest in girl-talk.

"Things are... goooooooooood..." I start to say, drawing out the last word with uncertainty. I'm always wary of playing up the good times with Wade due to the imbalance in Ty's and my situations. But if I overcorrect and complain too much, he starts to wonder why I bother. I think it helps that, the more Ty has spent time with Wade, the more he seems to reluctantly approve of him. He might even like the guy more than I do.

Not hard to see why. Wade's a grown man with no romantic interest in Tyler, because he's got me. Ty is a little older, mature and a bit smarter than Wade, (certainly more worldly since he's been through this, not to mention various other experiences) but the two seem more or less equal and have even found a bit to bond over. Wade's in that sweet spot of being able to treat Ty basically how he wants to be treated, without the baggage of knowing who he really is.

For my own part, it's a good thing I don't like him more, because that could be trouble, but to be honest... things are going well. He's actually noticed how I've been kind of down about this waitressing thing and how I wish I could be doing something else with my life. He offers suggestions, he offers sympathy... it's sweet.

The bedroom stuff is... a business transaction we both benefit from. Sometimes Ty seems like he wants to know about it, but I know he really doesn't.

I changed the subject again to the weather, a favorite subject of his - he can't stop talking about how cold and dreary it's been around here, and sometimes he seems irritated by that - a quick glance at the weather app indicates it's about 80 in Alabama - and sometimes it seems like a fun novelty to have to wear overcoats. He has a particular bit of material about how excited he is to wear long sleeves and layers and have nobody second-guessing his motives. "Scarves!" he laughs, "Who the hell knew?" Um, every woman, sweetie.

I tell him dressing my body is proving problematic. I haven't been as "good" as he has, putting on a bit of booty-weight since we got here. I'm sorry, there's a little curvy girl in me and she wants cake sometimes. I half-thought it would just go to my breasts anyway (not that that would be preferable.) I tell him he's lucky to be so consistently thin, and he admits that's convenient, but we both know there's more to it than meets the eye. We're just not talking about it. Meanwhile between us, half a plate of eggs grows cold.

I asked if he wanted to go jeans-shopping with me and he consented... after all, what else does he have to do?

Sure, he rolls his eyes, but I see him getting nice and cozy with the sales racks. Having learned how to dress Lauren-ish, he's looking to expand, maybe even redefine. He just doesn't have the money to do so. At the very least, it's clear he looks at shopping as a "feminine" activity he is in some way obligated to try learning. He's not, but it's cute.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tori: Doubts

Some nights I look over at the Boyfriend and I wonder what I'm doing.

He's fine, I'm fine with him, but I'm not nuts about him like I'd like to be. He's good enough company, and the sex has gotten consistent, but there's always a catch. He doesn't love to go out, so we've settled into this really easy routine that appeals to the introvert in me, but makes me a little restless. When I was a guy, I was probably like him, but from this angle I can see why women might not have liked that... and I've changed so that I like being out with people. He says "Go ahead, I'll be here" when I broach the idea of hanging out with my friends, and I feel guilty. We're stuck in this "three dates a week" period, when in other relationships by now I've been eager to see a guy every night of the week.

I try to incorporate him into my life more... we bicker about stuff like that, and I tend to relent since we're both after the same thing. I think about breaking up with him sometimes and trying my luck again, but I just don't have the energy to get back out there... I'm getting some action, why mess with the system?

At the same time, how many times can I convince myself to try to make it work before I give in? Am I just going to settle?

A few weeks ago we had that little blow-up about me leaving some property at his place. Then the issue sort of came back up again the other night when he mentioned his lease was up in November. He's on the outs with his roommate - they work opposite hours so they're constantly tiptoeing around each other - and he doesn't love his neighborhood, and hey, I've got a two-bedroom to myself since Raine moved in with her boyfriend (my promotion allowed me to swing it but it's kind of tight.)

I didn't know what to say. A few weeks ago the guy didn't want me to leave tampons at his place, now he wants to move in with me? We haven't even known each other 6 months, and they haven't always been hot and heavy, you know? This is big.

My gut reaction was no... it's crazy, right? Too soon? But then I started going back and forth. Is this just me giving too much credit to my doubts? Just keeping him at arm's length, trying to preserve this awkward limbo of a relationship instead of going all in? Playing it safe instead of just facing facts that I'd rather be with some other hypothetical person?

I told him I'd think about it, but I was sure to mention it really felt too soon. He kinda sulked about that but tried to backpedal saying it was "just a thought."

What am I doing? I don't like him enough to move in with him, but I'm happy to keep sleeping with him? I let him wrap his arms around me and sometimes I just want to break free, and sometimes I want him to keep holding me forever.

I need a sign.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tyler/Lauren: Mark

So I was invited to this party on Friday night by my friend Mark, who I've gotten to know since signing up to do tech stuff for this theater production of Oklahoma. We've worked closely enough together that I feel like he's an alright guy, but at the same time, I'm not an idiot. I know he pushed for me to come along because he's probably nursing a bit of a crush on me. I've been in this life long enough to know that boys look at this body with desire.

I can't blame them. I don't encourage them - I dress modestly and act pretty neutrally toward them - but I know that guys at that age are capable of taking any remotely positive interaction and turning it into an infatuation. Now, I've been hit on casually, I've had my looks remarked on, and I've been called a bitch for turning guys down. It doesn't bother me. These guys are nothing to me, and the plan to keep them at arm's length was working.

Then Mark.

Mark is a good dude. He's not overly macho, he seems respectful. At first, I paid him little attention, the way I do all the guys around here, but I guess you can't have the barrier up 100% of the time, and he caught me on a good day and we got to talking about music, which led to a really nice conversation about Queen. The only reason I could tell he had a crush on me is because he went out of his way to hide the fact that he had a crush on me, making any threadbare excuse to make conversation with me that he could, and I got to feeling safe around him so I let him. Dang.

Eventually, I caught onto what he was thinking, and it wasn't hard. He started to seem pretty clearly nervous when we'd be one-on-one, and then there was his insistence that I go to this party. And I feel for the kid, so rather than no-show (and basically torpedo my chances of being "in" with these people,) I went. I guess I'm just a social guy at heart.

Friday night, I stressed over what to wear. I wanted something comfy and un-provocative, so I ended up with a black t-shirt under a grey cardigan and jeans. No make-up.

I went over to the girl whose house it was with Dana, my friend who's the female lead. I didn't feel comfortable arriving alone because not only do I not really know these people, I don't even know if Lauren really knew them much, they certainly don't seem to have thought much of her. There was various people from the cast and crew, a few beers and some liquor going around, but it wasn't some crazy drunken madhouse. It was just a lot of deflated kids playing video games and drinking games under the roof of a set of real permissive parents.

Mark noticed me as soon as I arrived - he had been playing Xbox and passed the controller to someone else to greet me. Yeah, subtle. He offered to get me a drink, and I said I wasn't sure if I was going to drink tonight.

I'll address the alcohol issue right now... for obvious reasons, I have indulged a fair bit since I've been here. I try not to get trashed, especially since Lauren's little body can't candle it the way my real one can. But that's on my private time, mostly, with Meg or "the girls." While I don't really have much problem with underage drinking, actually participating with them seems as inappropriate as dating. Still, it was a tough social situation, and maybe if I was feeling tense I could get a beer later.

Mark and I hung out near the fringes of the party, and we had a conversation that kind of danced around the topic. I gave him a chance to come clean by asking him what girls he was into, and he played it off like he didn't have anyone in particular in mind. I said there was plenty of girls at the party, and he said "Yeah... there sure is" kinda half-heartedly. Then he picked a loose hair off my sweater.

I officially needed a drink.

Once I had one beer's worth of confidence in me, I decided it was time to drop the hammer. I asked him if he wanted to take a walk, and of course he did. Once we were out of the house, he got real quiet, and I took my opportunity.

"Hey man, just so you know," I said, "I know you're into me."

He was flustered. "No, what? Um, I... yeah, a little, I guess?"

"I'm not gonna lie," I said, "I'm flattered as hell. You're the first guy I've met in a while who doesn't suck. I mean that. But I'm really, really not the girl for you. I'm just... not in dating shape right now, you know? It's not about you, it's just me."

He took a moment to process this. "Is this because of what happened last year?"

Now "what happened last year" is something I know about but haven't said much on this blog, but maybe later if I'm comfortable, I'll tell you some more of Lauren's backstory. But everyone at school know it.

"Partially," I said, "I mean, it's a complicated thing, there's a lot of reasons. But I want to be your friend. Hell, I want to help you find a girl. I just need you to know that between you and me, this isn't happening. Are you okay?"

Another long pause, "Yeah... I guess I'm okay."

We got back to the party, and Mark gave me some breathing room, although the mood was changed between us. He seemed to sulk, and I felt bad, but it was beyond me control. This was the first guy I've had to turn down that I felt guilty for, because I think if I was really the girl he thinks I am, he would've been in good shape. Then again, it's not like the real Lauren would have given him a shot either, so it's kind of a mercy.

I went home with Dana and slept in her bed, but I was up all night wishing I was still a man and that she was a grown woman. The events of the party haunted me for the rest of the long weekend.

The worst part for me is that I halfway considered it. Mark's a harmless enough guy, and we get along fine considering the age gap. He would probably worship me, and that would be my defense against other guys. And if I told him I couldn't do certain things, he'd probably respect that because he'd feel lucky to be with me... but he wouldn't be lucky, he'd be screwed. Because whatever I think of him is really the most non-sexual, platonic friendship I can imagine, and I know he's thinking of me on a whole other level. Whatever would happen between us would purely be using him, deceiving him, completely disregarding his feelings.

And look, I tease Meg sometimes for continuing Tasha's thing with Wade. He's a decent guy, and if she has no problem with it then I don't (or at least, I try not to.) She was put in that situation and she wants to do right by Tash. Me, I want to do right by Lauren and that means no. And I want to do right by Mark, and that really means no.

He should do fine. He's tall and thin, and he's... I dunno if I'd call him handsome but he's got okay features I guess? Look, I'm new at this, and I still don't know what I'm into. That's not a joke. All these kids look like, well, kids to me, so to even suggest I'm attracted to any of them is out of the question, and while that goes doubly for the guys I'd be lying if I said it didn't apply to the girls. As much as I enjoy the company of the girls, and can see how pretty they are, I'm not exactly tripping over my tongue around them either. I've been in the company of girls in gym class (and overnight stays) and all I see are these half-formed bodies that are close facsimiles of adult women, but not quite ready for the world. That includes my own appearance. There's urges... and a lot of loneliness... but that's fighting my rational side, which knows it's smarter to say no. It's hard to feel sexy, or to have sexy feelings for anyone else, when you're stuck in the middle of this.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tyler/Lauren: Theater

So, I haven't posted much lately... I don't want to say it's because life's gotten soooo busy, but there's definitely a little less room in my life to sit down with the computer and rattle it all off. I'm spending more and more time at school helping to work on the play (which opens November 6) and when I come home, I don't exactly have much personal time and space. I still share a room with Kylie, and if she's around... I don't know, I feel downright odd sitting here going on about how I'm a grown man in a teenage girl's body. It's the truth, but the moments where I face up to it, I kind of want to be alone.

Being involved in this play, even in sort of a tangential way, has been pretty good for me. It gets my mind off of things and puts it toward things I can put my hands on, although it was a bit of a rough start. When I first arrived for the meeting, everyone there looked at me like I was lost. "What's she doing here?" Lauren is known to be the type of person who would rather be on the stage than doing the heavy lifting. But I've decided for the time being that the limelight isn't for me... no singing lessons, no pageants, nothing that puts me in the position where a large group of people get to judge me.

I'm slowly starting to get into he theater culture around the school... wearing "show blacks," painting sets, helping to acquire props. I've become sort of an all-purpose "go-to" girl, since most of the six or so kids volunteering already had jobs they were good at, I've been going where needed, and doing my best to troubleshoot. I asked if I could help do the lighting but apparently that's a specialized job and obviously I'm not ready for it yet... although I think the girl who is doing the lighting is very protective of her position.

In fact, the "techies" are quite a very tight-knit bunch. I guess that's the thing in high school, you find out who is into the same thing as you and you don't let go of them. Most of them have been working on productions together for years, and I'm the interloper - again, I seem to have floated down from another part of the school, and while the cast and crew mostly get along, there's still an unevenness, like the techies make actor jokes, and the actors ignore them. Since one of my better friends is the female lead, I have to be careful.

One of the guys, Mark, asked me about that while we were painting a backdrop to look like a farm. "Why didn't you audition? You usually go out for these sorts of things. Hell, the way you've been doing a southern accent lately, it's like you were trying to get into character."

I wanted to answer that. I thought I was losing my accent, nobody seems to comment on it lately. But instead I moved on. "It... seemed less stressful this way," I stammered, "I've had kind of a hard year."

"Oh yeah? What happened?"

"It's personal," I said. "Really personal."

"If I bring you liquor for the party Friday night after rehearsal, would you tell me about it?"

I groaned. "I can get liquor from my big sister... and I wasn't planning on going to the party Friday night." I didn't even know they were having one.

"Oh come on," he said, "Everyone's going. You gotta."

I bit my lip. "I dunno, I'm trying to keep out of trouble."

"Come on," he said, pleading but in a nice way, "You'll have fun."

I doubted that. Parties are very stressful for me lately. I worry about my own behavior and everyone around me... I understand kids will be kids, yet as an adult with a good sense of what can go wrong, I'm never really comfortable. As much as I misbehaved in my teens and never worried much about the consequences, as an adult that'd kind of all I see.

But they're going to do it anyway, and my alternative is sitting at home watching TV with the parents. I'm in this situation, I have this social group, I should probably embrace it, or else I'll just go on moping about it. It's never as bad as you think.

"Maybe," I said.