No, not really. Fat (wo)man if anything. I have been pigging out rather a lot over the last few days. Three big meals, three nights in a row. While running the risk of the “I went there and I did that” post, I’m going to write about what went on. Well, two of them at least were pretty momentous in their own way.
Dinner No1 – Saturday
This is the least momentous of the three. That’s not to say it wasn’t fun. In fact it was a very pleasant evening with the lovely Andrea, a meal at Molly’s Yard followed by a trip to the cinema. The food was very enjoyable, the company even more so, and a decidedly odd film at the QFT called “Colossal” which we decided to take a chance on and both ended up really liking. But let’s face it, Andrea and I have had many meals and cinema trips together so there’s not a lot more to add here. But here’s the trailer for that film because you might not have heard of it and it’s worth checking out.
Dinner No2 – Sunday
The week before last my friend Alice had asked me if I would like to come round to her house for Sunday dinner this weekend when her sister Penny was over to visit. I gratefully accepted, but at the time I thought it was just joining them for an informal Sunday lunch. I have met Penny a few times and we get on reasonably well so I thought I would just be joining them for a meal. Then in the middle of last week I texted Alice to check what time she wanted me round to her house at, expecting an answer of maybe 1pm or 2pm. I was wrong. 6pm. And then she shared who else was going. As well as the three of us, there were six other people, two of whom I had met before (Jane who came to see the play “Red” with us and her bloke Guy) one of whom I had briefly nodded at outside a cinema (Alice’s old school friend Lisa) a guy that Alice has a wee notion of (i.e. fancies), her ex-partner’s brother Ricky and his wife Tracy. So all in all that was nine of us. It was in fact, a dinner party. I had been invided to a full blown Abigail’s Party-style dinner party. Me! And it was great, just the sort of thing that Bob would never have been invited to in a million years.
Of course I would be the first person there – I was two minutes early which as we all know is very bad form. Shame on me. At least I remembered to bring a bottle of wine. Pretty soon there were seven of us sitting in Alice’s living room with the patio doors open because it was a beautiful evening. Alice’s friend Lisa and her would-be boyfriend were only coming for dessert apparently. I must admit to feeling a little bit subdued at first. I must stress that I didn’t feel any gender-related discomfort at all. The discomfort was more down to the fact that everyone else clearly had a history going back decades, whereas I have known Alice for less than three years, and I know Jane and Penny a little but I did feel a little bit left out when the anecdotes started to flow. But it didn’t really last.
We moved into the kitchen where we all sat round Alice’s large table. I was between Jane on my left and Tracy on my right as the food was served – it was amazing. A sort of indian-style marinated chicken with cumin and coriander, and some wonderful spiced peppers. And as the chefs said themselves, chopped by Alice, cooked by Penny. Top work. Pressure’s on me for when I have them over to my new house. And then we all got talking.
And all of a sudden I realised that I was part of this. That I did belong. That I was participating in the conversation which was becoming ever more gossipy but also rather hilarious. And it felt wonderful. I didn’t feel like I was ever being treated as anything other than the woman that I am, in fact there were a few references to the two guys there being, well, the only two guys surrounded by a bunch of women. Eventually the other two guests did arrive, including Alice’s mystery man, who to be honest didn’t seem particularly physically attractive but what a voice. Softly spoken, deep, with a beautiful gentle Irish midlands lilt. I think every woman went a bit wibbly when he opened his mouth.
I had a bit of an awkward moment talking to Tracy. We were having a general chit-chat and she asked me where I work. I told her, and she replied that her nephew works there, do I know him? The thing is, I know him quite well and we have worked together on several clients over at least 10 years. But I had to feign ignorance of her nephew, because I just couldn’t risk her going back to her nephew and saying “I met one of your colleagues at a dinner party. Kirsty Roberts, really tall girl, works in [department]” only to have nephew reply “Well I don’t know a Kirsty Roberts but I do know a Bob Roberts who works in [department] and is also pretty tall… hang on a minute!!!” I particularly couldn’t risk that when it’s so close to the time when I will be coming out in work and run the risk of all the intra-company communication plans being undermined by the bush telegraph. In four weeks’ time, her nephew will know anyway. If this dinner party had taken place five weeks later I could have answered truthfully. I hated having to lie.
As time marched on towards 11pm, Lisa had to go, Alice’s mystery man had already departed and I decided it was time for me to say goodnight too. I would have liked to stay longer because the party was still in full swing, just with good conversation really, not wild dancing or anything like that, but Mrs K was working on the bank holiday Monday so I had Melissa all day, and seven-year-olds don’t do lie-ins. And anyway, since I was driving it was beginning to become evident that some of my fellow guests were becoming rather well-oiled, and being the sober person in a room full of drunks is never the most fun. So I got up to leave and then stood talking with Alice and Penny in the hallway for about 15 minutes before finally going.
Alice texted me the next day to let me know that the party had finally wound down at around 2am. I think I made the right call leaving when I did. Although the feedback was that Tracy had been really pleased to meet me and would I mind if she tagged along next time Alice and I were meeting up for coffee. So there’s something to look forward to. She was quite a character, a lot of fun. Although it did give me one brief pause for thought. I just wonder in gatherings like this, to what extent am I just a curio? A piece of middle-class virtue signalling? You know what, from what I know of Alice I can’t think of anyone less likely to engage in that type of thing, so begone nasty brain weasel!
Dinner No3 – Monday
I’m saving the best till last here. This really was the most noteworthy of the lot. It was something that I would have liked to have happened a long time ago but what with life getting in the way, it hasn’t up until now. I have written before about my old school friend Pete. We were pretty much inseperable in our teens and twenties, were each other’s best man (oh the irony!) and although he has mostly lived outside Northern Ireland for most of the last twenty years and don’t see each other all that often, we would still view each other as very close friends. I tried to come out to him as far back as July 2014 but every time I saw him there were always other people about that meant it couldn’t happen. So I ended up coming out to him via Facebook Messenger (of all things) late last year.
A week ago I received a message from Pete informing me that he and the family were coming over to Northern Ireland for the half-term week to coincide with the late May Bank Holiday, and asking if I would be available to meet up one evening. I plumped for Monday evening and chose the venue, Home Restaurant in the city centre, where I have been a few times before and haven’t had a bad meal yet. As it turned out his wife Nicky, also a good friend in her own right, was going to come along too. So the time and location was set for them to finally meet the real me.
I parked up around 5 minutes early, just in the right spot to be able to be there on time when I got a text from Pete informing me that they had arrived and were already seated at the table waiting for me. Then something occurred to me. I hadn’t actually said which version of me they would be meeting – Kirsty or Bob. Obviously I was Kirsty – I am really only Bob now on a social occasion if I absolutely have to be, and I didn’t have to be Bob this evening. So I walked into the restaurant bang on time and saw them there. They both stood up to greet me with hugs, Pete in particular nearly bursting at least one of my boobs with his big man-hug. They both seemed really pleased to see me, as I was to see them. As it turns out, they were also very much aware that I hadn’t specified which version of me they would be meeting, and they said they were very pleased that it was Kirsty who turned up. As they had been waiting for me to arrive they had been saying “I really hope it’s Kirsty”.
It was just a really nice night catching up with old friends. They seemed constantly to be restating how great they thought I looked, saying “You just look.. like Kirsty!” Well who else am I going to look like? I think the point is that I didn’t look like Bob in drag. It was a bit odd too, as when I came out to them both I pointed them in the direction of this blog and I know they have been reading how my plans for transition have been developing, and seeing how well my coming out to kids, siblings and work have been going, so when I actually told them about these things in person they already knew a lot of what I was saying.
I had mentioned in an earlier post that Nicky is doing a degree at the minute in order to become a counsellor, and she is specialising in LGBT matters. She was already on this degree course before I came out, but once I did, she had asked if she could use some of the material on this blog and a few photos I had given her in her coursework. What I learned last night was that the project and presentation that she did which included yours truly as a case study had earned her the top mark in the class. Obviously I’m a quality subject!
Everything was just so right, so natural, yet again it reassured me that a friend is a friend and transition isn’t going to change that. The conversation got quite emotional at some points, with Nicky saying that “After all these years, it’s great to finally get to meet the real you for the first time”. And of course we had to get a picture of me and Pete to mark the occasion.
So the plan now is for me to return the visit. They have always said there’s an open invitation for me to come over, so hopefully come Autumn this year when I have my deed poll done and a new driving licence and passport in my possession, I will get my first flight as a woman and head over to Essex for a few days. Definitely something to look forward to.
Not Dinner But Also – Tuesday
I had my latest appointment at GIC this afternoon (my fourth). As with the previous one, it was relatively short at around 40 minutes. The “Advantages and Disadvantages” grid that I wrote about a few weeks ago proved to be a decent enough conversation topic, but really the whole thing was summed up by Dr Ingram who said that I was so well organised with everything that there wasn’t really a lot more he could do to help at this stage. I have more homework for next time though, which is a similar grid with headings entitled “Advantages of Taking Hormones”, “Disadvantages of Taking Hormones”, “Advantages of Not Taking Hormones” and, you guessed it, “Disadvantages of Not Taking Hormones”. There was also talk of me hopefully being able to attend some sort of “informed consent” briefing which is required prior to being referred for HRT, which should happen before the end of June. This is a general meeting to all GIC patients at the same stage as me, but there is no firm date for the next session yet. Other than that, my next regular appointment is on the 4th of July, by which time I should be full time. No more Bob, ready to commence HRT, in my new house, my own woman at last. It can’t come soon enough.