Against all logic, I went out shopping on the weekend of Black Friday. I thought the insanity would be completely over with by Sunday, and sure nobody was exactly getting trampled, but it was still an uncomfortably large crowd of holiday shoppers. Don't people know you can do all your shopping online? Sheesh.
Okay, look who's talking, since I admit to knowing this and still can't resist a chance to hit the mall anyway. But really it's because it provides a nice neutral territory to hang out with Tyler away from our respective home lives. While everyone else was starting to do Christmas shopping, I was mainly after essentials: some beauty products, some cozy sweaters, socks and underwear... a few new bras. Tasha only had a few that I found really comfy and I wore those out but good over the summer. The rest of her supply just hasn't been working for me, and these girls need some support.
So imagine my surprise when, at Victoria's Secret, Tyler starts browsing the racks with what appears to be more than idle curiosity.
"Boy, what do you think you're getting up to?" I ask playfully.
"I'm looking for a Christmas gift for Lauren," he said, studying the selection furtively.
"Right," I rolled my eyes, "Look, if you want to say it's for you, I won't judge."
"No, I'm serious," he insisted, striking this petulant teenage posture, "I've been wearing her body for months now and it's decidedly... fuller than it used to be. I don't want her to feel like I've outgrown all her favourite underthings, because that might trigger some... bad habits, you know?"
"Hm," I said, "There's a certain logic to that."
"Damn right," he said, holding up a red and black skimpy panty set and matching lacy bra. "Should I try this on? Is that... how it works?"
I laughed, "Yes, hon, go try it on over your own underwear."
I walked him over to the change room and called through the door. "Be careful though... I don't mean to sound insensitive, but it might not fit after Lauren gets her--" I caught myself, even though there's not much reason to censor, "After Lauren gets back."
"I've been steady for the last month," he called back, "No major gains or losses... I feel pretty good about this. All it takes now is some discipline."
A moment later, I heard his voice, "Wanna see?"
"What? No, no, that's fine."
"Come on, I need your opinion on this!"
"Fine," I said. He let me in, and there in the little cubicle was this teenage girl dressed in very sexy underwear over her plain white panties. You could see the impression of where she was becoming quite the little bombshell.
I didn't know what to say, so I tried to shift my focus away from how Tyler looked and said "Lauren will probably love it... can you afford it?"
"Sure," he shrugged, slipping the extra layer off, "I've got a fair bit of money squirreled away. The Blanchards won't let me get a job but Sue's not above slipping me a little spending money. I'm just not a spender, is all." He winked.
I tried to look away as he slipped his jeans and top back on: I have already seen just about everything, but I felt I should limit my view as a gesture. "I don't get you, man. Sometimes you're the King of Cool about this, and sometimes you're Little Miss Mopey."
"Hey," he said sharply, "That's Mr. Mopey." Hence, he made sure I kept referring to him by masculine pronouns in this blog.
The stop in at VS was successful for him, not so much for me. So hard to find cute things in this size. Sigh.
We continued as we left the store, "I owe a lot of it to you," he said, "You've been here for me this entire time, and now we're nearing the... well, not the end, but the halfway. Maybe I'm a little prematurely excited. Sue me."
As Tyler gave me the rundown on his Thanksgiving (pretty much the same story as you guys got, with a few extra details,) we went to the food court. Tyler's kidding himself less lately about how much he can eat, but not by much: burgers and fries, but just in smaller sizes. The single burger instead of he triple. He says he gets up at 6 AM and goes running to keep it off. "Beats Lauren's tactic of starving herself."
I tell him I admire his drive. It took me three months of passing the flyer tacked to the bulletin board at work to decide to sign up for a Yoga class. He scoffed, saying "Yoga's for--" although he stopped himself. I think he was going to say "chicks" but I think he's a little less free with dismissing things in that way lately.
I say he may doubt it, but it's been helpful for me. I don't need to lose much weight, or get stronger, but my back kills me after night after night of standing and walking around that bar, carrying these two huge pieces of luggage in front.
He smiled, "I'm just glad I'm not the one always talking about your boobs."
"These things are so inconvenient," I sighed, "If they were mine, I'd get them reduced, no question." I halfway expected some crude remark about what a loss that would be - Tyler's still a man inside, remember - but he nodded and said he sympathized, that going from a flat pectoral set to even a B-cup overnight changed his perspective: as nice as they look, they're less nice to have attached to you 24/7.
"Well, I'm glad you learned something!" I snickered. He punched my arm. We passed a lotion kiosk and I sampled something.
"Hey, let me try that," he said, getting a dab of cream on his wrists. He gave it a smell and closed his eyes and for a second he looked like he was in heaven.
"You like that?" I asked.
"It's sexy," he said appreciatively, "Reminds me of someone."
I didn't ask for elaboration.
Anyway, I went on to say, the yoga had become a sticking point between me and Wade, because he's noticed certain aspects of my routine that I've set up to minimize our time together. I had this nice little tapdance worked out so that we only hung out about once or twice a week for more than a passing moment awake. So Wade finds out about my twice-a-week activity (sometimes three times) and he says "Oh, you're going to yoga now? Another thing you can do without me?"
And I say "Well, would you want to go to yoga?"
And he says "It would be nice to be asked."
In the end, of course, he didn't, which is a minor relief, because here's the problem. My yoga instructor, Mykal, is, um... really cute. And fun to be around. And generally the kind of guy I would want to date, if I, you know had my own say in the matter.
And I have this really big problem where I get kind of flirty around him. I've been texting him a lot lately, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. It's probably going to lead to a blow-up somewhere down the line if I don't knock it off.
God, I'm a creep. I want it to work with Wade, and we were going good for a while, but damn we are just not clicking that way. He's not my boyfriend, he's someone else's and I'm just filling in. "But don't say I should dump him," I told Ty, "Because we've been over that and you know it's not that simple."
"Fine, I won't," he sighed, probably exhausted with my problems. By this point we were at a boutique and Ty was distracting himself by combing through sale racks. "I have no idea if any of these are any good. I'm never gonna feel like a real woman."
"Is that a bad thing?" I asked.
"It's a thing," he shrugged. I reminded him that having a uterus doesn't automatically give one an interest in fashion and cosmetics. Hell, it's only recently that I started trying, since my messy grad student look wasn't going to get me tips at the bar.
He abruptly moved the conversation back, "You're not thinking of cheating on Wade though, are you?"
"No, no," I insisted. "But you know how hard it is to just keep a man as a friend."
"I guess I do," he sighed. There was a knowing silence between us and then he added, "Besides, if you do cheat, it should be with me."
I rolled my eyes, "Oh yeah, I'm sure you'd rock my world."
"You bet yer butt," he said, lightly snapping a belt at me. I can't believe how bold he is sometimes.
Is it a front? I wonder. All he ever writes about is the crappy times, when he gets hit on by guys or has to navigate school and family politics, when he's on the verge of a meltdown and wishing he could just punch life in the face. Is that the real Tyler, or is it the funny, outgoing guy-in-a-girl's-body that I know? He could be both, of course. But in any case I'm proud to call him my friend.