I made a bit of a stupid computer blunder the other night which left me with a terrible sinking feeling.  I normally send emails from my iPad which is smart enough to recognise which recipients get emails from which email accounts and adjusts the sending account accordingly.  So my TS/TG friends don’t get emails from Bob, and my family and work colleagues don’t get emails from Kirsty.  I’m sure by this stage you’re way ahead of me, but on Thursday night I was emailing my friend Andrea from my Mac rather than iPad and I stupidly forgot to adjust the email account.  It defaulted to Bob’s account.  I didn’t even realise until Friday morning when I received a reply from Andrea which began;

Hi KIRSTY

Got your email about tomorrow…  from a surprisingly different email address!

I got a terrible sinking feeling in my stomach.  We had agreed never to divulge our Bob names or meet each other in Bob mode so that we could continue to just view each other as women and nothing more.  Suddenly I had gone and pulled down this edifice with one careless email.  I checked my “sent items” on Bob’s email account and there it was.  What an idiot I am!  So I felt terrible, I’m pretty sure it was messing with Andrea’s head.  I hope she can get over it.  What I really don’t want to know is her “other” name.  It would just be wrong.  What this really brings home to me is the stupidity of having two identities that need to be kept apart.  I am actually only one person, but due to society’s rules, I have to behave as if there are two people there.  Madness!

What the email in question had been about is another restaurant trip we had been planning, so on Saturday night Andrea and I went for an Italian meal at Coppi in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.  I had kind of worked myself up into a bit of minor paranoia in advance over the booking due to yet another Bob disclosure.  I had booked the restaurant, and since they had online booking, I booked online.  No need to subject myself to being mistered on the phone again.  On Friday I got a confirmation/reminder email from the restaurant.  So far so good.  Then on Saturday afternoon I received a text saying I had a voicemail.  Funny, I thought, I didn’t hear the phone ringing.  Then I realised I had inadvertently left it on silent since putting it in my locker at the gym that morning.  I listened to the voicemail and it was the restaurant calling to confirm the booking.  The problem was, after making the booking online in a female name, they called the number supplied and got a very male voice saying “Hi this is Bob leave a message”.  So they did – “I’m calling about a reservation in the name of Kirsty Surname (definite quizzical tone of voice here), can you call back on 028 XXXX XXXX to confirm the booking”.  My heart sank.  I had to call back for fear of losing the table, but could I try my Kirsty voice on the phone.  And how would that work anyway since they had already heard a man’s voice and name when they left their message.  I had no option but to call, so I did, in my best girly voice (which is not all that good really).  They asked for the name, I gave my name, they said thank you very much, see you later.  So that was fine.  But I was very concerned that they would “know” when I arrived.

I met Andrea in a nearby car park, and before we set off I gave her a little present – a bottle of Diet Coke with her name on it.  She seemed remarkably touched by this silly little gesture, she is such a sincere girl.  So off we went walking round to the restaurant, which was only a short walk away.  It was a sunny evening, and as usual there were a few smokers sitting at the tables outside the restaurant.  As we got closer I realised that one of these smokers was a man who works in my building.  Thankfully not someone I know very well, in fact I don’t even know his name, but he has certainly seen me as Bob plenty of times.  Thankfully, he was much more interested in chatting with his companion and smoking his cigarette than he was in paying any attention whatsoever to Andrea and me. Thankfully.

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