Life has gotten pretty routine around here... I get up in the morning (way too early but I need my eyelashes to be on point) and go to work. If I have a normal day at the office and don't have to show any clients around, I come home by 7 and make myself some dinner... usually just a quickie meal for one, although sometimes Treena offers me some of whatever she's having (she tends to make an entire week's worth of meals in the slow cooker, which... bleh!) I see her a little bit in the evening when she takes a break from work, and maybe we gab a little but since we settled in and I started working, her interest in my personal life - IE my experience in now having a vagina - has diminished. Which suits me fine because as soon as I get home, kick off my heels and unfasten my bra, I'd just prefer to pretend that I'm the same guy I always was.
But I'm not. I can't be. Because I've had some thoughts... you may know... that Simon would never have had.
I'm not in denial or anything but Treena did make a point to bring it up recently. Because I got up in the morning one day this week and the shower was running. And Treena is never up early. You don't have to be a detective to know what that means. No problem I think, I skip that part of my routine and go have breakfast.
Then he emerges. Shirtless, wet, towel around his waist. If I didn't know better I'd swear he wanted me to see him. And I guess I must have stared just a little too long because he gave me this stupid grin.
"You must be the roommate!" he says nonchalantly.
"Yes I am," I say, clearing my throat of awkwardness. "And you are?"
"Brent. I'm a, uh, friend of Treena's."
"Oh really?" I raise an eyebrow. "For how long?"
"Um," he says with a bit of a squeak, "Not long. Hope you don't mind I showered..."
"No, um, no problem! Our casa su casa..." I stammered like an awkward teenager getting a good glimpse of cleavage. Except it was a man's... like, that v-part that goes down the hips? What's that called anyway?
He went back to Treena's room and I spent the whole day distracted, pondering... how did I feel about that? And more importantly... what was he doing with her?
I've been asked not to discuss Treena's looks in this blog. She's actually very attractive, you just need to have certain tastes. I don't necessarily only like them skinny myself - or at least I don't when I'm a guy - so Treena, I can totally see the appeal. I think I'm pretty open. But this guy looks like he hits the gym three or four times a week. I guess I see her with more of an... intellectual, a skinny cultured guy. Someone who isn't conventionally good looking but has a certain charm.
Of course, when I asked her about Brent that night she got pretty offended at the implication that he was too hot for her. I tried to tell her, it's not about levels of hotness, it's about what kind of hot you are, but she just went back to saying I was Shallow Simon. Whatever.
She said she supposed I thought a guy like Brent would prefer someone who looks like me. I said that was neither here nor there since I'm not on the market.
She said "Sure. I see you covertly still texting Joey. You jump like a little bunny every time he buzzes you. You're just waiting to get the nerve up to admit you are into it. You know I've been with Joey already, and how he looks. You know why? Because I'm confident. I know what I'm worth and I work it. Like what you pretend to be."
I was flummoxed. She has this way of picking at my nerves. "Okay, where do you meet guys like Brent and Joey?"
"At the show," she said.
Then she rolled her eyes and picked a flyer off the fridge that's been on the fridge all month. She could hardly contain her exasperation at me as she explained, "You don't even think to ask where I go three nights a week. To rehearsal."
The flyer was for this weird... I dunno, cabaret, burlesque thing. It had a black and white photo of a woman who looked a lot like Treena, in a bustier.
"I thought this was just for, like... kitsch? A gag? You would never..."
"I have," she smiled, "Often and gladly. Gotten onstage and sung my heart out for strangers who get to see my tits afterward. Or done skits. Comedy."
"You're a stripper?"
"I'm a performer. Strippers get dollar bills stuffed in their G-strings. I make a cut of the house."
"That's insane, my mind is blown," I said.
"You never expected something like that from me, did you," she said with a wink. "It took guts, I did it on almost a dare in college, but I loved it so much it became a serious passion. I really missed it during my time as Nazim."
"Oh right," I said, remembering that when I met her she was in the body of a Muslim girl.
"What's this all got to do with me and my confidence?" I asked finally.
"Pfft, nothing," she scoffed. "Not everything is about you, Simon. I could hardly care if you fancy men or women or inanimate objects. Just don't spend too much time comparing yourself to others, and don't deny yourself something harmless if you really want it."
I took a deep breath and sighed. "What if I don't want to want it?"
"That's the dilemma of life, sweetie," she said. "You don't know if something's good for you until you try it, and my guess is there's still enough male pride in there thinking you're a failure of a person if you admit that maybe kissing boys is something you'd like."
That stung but I tried to ignore it. I asked her if it would be inappropriate to come see her show and she said sure, she had nothing to hide. The next one is next week, a tribute to Columbus day. Weird.
Now... I just need to find out where I can get one of those inanimate objects she was suggesting... ;)