Sunday, July 3, 2016

Why It's Good To Be A Woman

So today I had to go back to the same T-Mobile store in Center City I was at yesterday. Last night I tried to download a game on my phone and in the middle of the download the thing just froze dead. The little lights were blinking but I couldn't get it to start. Not good. Luckily, I still have my old LG phone in case of emergencies so I used that until this morning. The lady I spoke with at the store got it working for me in short order, and after another stop at Old Navy, this time for some leggings, I Ubered it back to the apartment.

When we got to my block there was a line of cars about halfway down. Some idiot had run out of gas and was stuck at the corner. A few men got out of their cars and helped the idiot push his car far enough to the side of the road so the rest could get by, including one man who originally had just sat in his car waiting until the woman with him, presumably his wife, admonished him to get out and help.

As I watched this scene unfold, it occurred to me that this is one of the great things about being a woman: No one expects you to get out and push. We are the rescued, not the rescuers. It isn't very feminist, nor does it realistically apply in any number of real-life situations anymore, but when it comes to everyday life problems that require an application of brute force to get the job done, it's still men who are expected stand up and pitch in, not women. On the other hand, of course, as women we're expected to clean up the mess the men make afterward.

I'll admit to being glad about that. Clothes cost money and women's clothes are usually more expensive than men's. Plus, I hate getting dirty if I don't have to. Even before I transitioned, while a lot of my male friends were motorheads, I'd never stick my hands inside an engine compartment. I was always the one they'd send out for pizza and beer while they worked. I was frequently mocked for this, but I didn't care. I can check my oil and even change a flat tire or an air filter in a pinch, but I'll never volunteer for that kind of job if there's a man willing to do it for me, even if I have to pay for it. After all, manicures cost money too.

In my twentieth year of living fulltime as a woman, and my fifth year of using injectable estrogen, I I've noticed that I seem to have crossed into a place where no one who doesn't know me personally makes me as trans. I can't remember the last time I was "sir"ed, which was a frequent occurrence for a long time. The rest of the world consistently sees me as a woman now and accepts me as such out of hand, rather than just accommodating me out of politeness. Even those who knew me pre-transition often seem to forget I once lived as male. Needless to say, this makes me very happy.

I know this is a form of female privilege which many trans women will never enjoy, but I won't apologize for taking joy in the fact that I now have it. I didn't get a choice in growing into a 5'10" adult instead of 6'4". 5'10" is on the tall side for women but not tall enough to raise eyebrows. I also won't apologize for being fortunate enough to be able to afford gender confirmation surgery and injectable estrogen. These too were not in my control.

Sure, I know that I'm lucky in some ways, and I try to do what I can to help level the playing field and support the community. At the same time, I refuse to apologize for doing everything I can to live my dream, to be the person I've always wanted to be as best as I am able. To me, that's ultimately what life is all about, to know that when it's finally time for me to say goodbye to this world that I did the best I could to live my life the way I wanted to.

As I get older and middle age continues to catch up with me in different ways, I think about these things a lot and I'm more conscious of them than I used to be. There are a lot of things I just can't do anymore, or at least I can't do them at the same level as I used to. I try to let it get in the way as little as possible, but reality can and does intrude from time to time.

There's a great slogan that sums up how I feel a lot of the time these days. If I ever find it on a t-shirt I'll probably buy one:

"Old punks never die, we just stand in the back."