By Teresa H.
I’ve been putting off the reminders from my optician to have my eyes checked since before Covid lockdown restrictions but last week I managed to damage my spare pair of glasses so it gave me the push to make an appointment.
If I might backtrack to the time when I would visit in male mode. After my test and making the choice of new frame styles I asked the young male SA if I could use my 2 for 1 deal by choosing a male pair and a female pair. He didn’t answer for a moment so I stood up and made my way to the female selection. While I was trying a pair on he told me that he had gone to a party dressed as a woman but the problem was he enjoyed it too much and felt guilty. I continued to make my selection of female and male frames and retook our seats again to check out the lens details. I asked why he’d felt guilty so he replied men don’t do these things. I pointed out that it had taken me a painfully long time to discover some of us are wired differently, having these thoughts and needs is nothing to be ashamed or feel guilty about. We shouldn’t feel guilty or made to feel guilty about something we can’t change, it’s part of who we are. I then offered to bring some pictures in of me when I collected my new glasses, he was so grateful, he just wouldn’t stop shaking my hand.
I’ve never forgotten that incident, I really hope I might have given him hope and confidence to be what he needed to be.
So we fast forward to today and I’m sitting in a busy waiting area as Teresa waiting to have my eyes checked. The staff were so pleasant and efficient. I then was passed over to a lovely sales girl to choose my frames. She did a great job in finding the right ones, on one occasion she took a pair off me saying, ” you’re too petite for that pair “. How lovely of her!
Finally , I’m passed over to the checkout girl, she calibrated my lenses to accommodate my varifocal choice and then priced it all up. (Just as a footnote, pensioners in the UK receive a free eye check on the NHS.) I asked for the deal where you pay for one pair and get the second pair free. While she was filling in the paperwork I noticed they had spelt the shortened version of my name with a Y rather than an I, the she scratched something saying, ” that can’t be right “, it was ” Mr. ” she then asked, “do you come with your husband?”, so I politely pointed out it’s ” Ms. “. At that point a lady came and tapped me on the shoulder saying, ” hello stranger “. I’d met her through my trans friends, it was lovely to see her again so I stood up and gave her a hug. She then left and the sales girl said I was so lovely she couldn’t wait to see me when I collect my new glasses.
Another story came to mind with the question of being with a husband. The incident happened at the mass Covid vaccination centre. I was waiting in line keeping the correct distance when a man stepped a little closer. The voluntary worker directing the line asked if I wanted to go in the same line as my husband , he looked at me and smiled and said, “No it’s OK this lady isn’t with me “. I couldn’t believe it, my husband disowned me !!!
Funnily enough the same thing happened at the next session but I took one look at the guy and said, ” Sorry , he’s not with me !
Some people say going full time can be boring at times, believe me it’s far from it!
Very poignant story about the guy in the opticians years you related at the start. On the one hand, his bravery in saying what he said was to be admired but, in doing so, he laid bare the guilt and shame that he obviously felt, as did many more of us as we came to terms with these strange & inexplicable desires we experienced. I have to say that I think you handled it brilliantly and I’m sure that he appreciated what you did.
Perhaps it was a point I missed until I read your reply and that is one of trust . He trusted me enough to open up about his feelings , it was brave as many of us know , admitting to having these feelings can be devestating .