A re-post and rewrite worth reconsideration.
I dug deeply into the old mailbag (okay, there was only one “letter” in there) for some Q & A with my friend, Linda (she happens to be a doll!). She wondered about if I would like to meet someone to share outings with. I thought I’d spend a little time discussing my desires to spend time with others like myself. My comments below are not without significant thought and personal experience. Please read them completely before drawing any conclusion. They are not meant to be flip or without sympathy.
In general, I prefer not specifically spending time with others like myself. My desire is to spend time with people (regardless of gender identity, sexual preference, interests, clothing, etc.) that share a similar world view, with whom I have commonalities. People I like being with, whomever those people or persons may be. Just because I share an interest in woman’s clothing with someone doesn’t mean we have anything in common. I also share an interest in running, but do not wish to spend time with all runners. You get the point.
Allow me to site a number of experiences that have allowed me to reach this conclusion. I attended a number of GNOs (girls night outs) fairly locally early on in Kandi’s life. After the first time, I never really enjoyed them much. First off, folks like us seem to be creatures of the night. I am not. The GNOs would start at 9:00, I’d get there and be ready to leave about 9:30. We are like Baskins Robbins, 31 different flavors. I have my rules, as you well know. Be smart. Many at these GNOs were not. Drunk, careless, selfish, you name it. No everyone, but many. Yes, you would find this in any large gathering of people, which I tend to avoid as well. Be appropriate. Many there were dressed like teenage hookers, in clothing that had no hope of fitting them. Heels longer than my legs. Many were there for sex. Not my scene. Be confident. Many were there solely to moan and whine. Too much complaining about spouses or ex’s. I was there to have fun, mostly I did not. I did meet quite a few great people, but due to circumstances, any real friendships became unsustainable.
I once attended a weekend “Gala”. Please understand, I am not a 24/7 girl and have zero desire to be one. I love my Kandi time, but like a few cocktails, it has it’s limits. The entire weekend, I was looking forward to heading home. Maybe I’m just an old fogey, but I simply did not enjoy it. It happened to be Halloween weekend (my least favorite “holiday”, from early in my life, I have despised costumes, go figure). If I saw one more French maid outfit, I may have had to pull my eyeballs out. I have discovered that in any gathering of us, the larger the group (regardless of comportment, attire, behavior, etc.) we become the center of attention. I prefer my ability to freely move about without unwarranted negative attention.
I have subsequently gone back to this gala, some five years later. Me, I am different, more experienced. I loved it! But then again, it wasn’t Halloween, so the attendees were much more appropriately dressed. Plus, admittedly, my confidence level in myself was decidedly higher.
In my early days, I tried to host a couple of shopping parties. I got a local consignment store to open after hours, staff the place and provide wine and cheese so we could shop, relax and have fun. I got many interested, but a lot of “sounds like fun, I’ll let you know” or “wish I could do that but…”. Zero commitments, two cancelled parties. It’s much like herding cats, very difficult. Circumstances again. The nature of the beast.
I once made what I thought was a good friend. She and I spent quite a bit of time talking, texting, emailing, sharing, having met at the aforementioned GNO. We set up outings to dine and/or shop. Not once, not twice, but five consecutive times she stiffed me. Each time either at the last minute or without communicating with me. Circumstances always the excuse. I understand that, but then don’t make the commitment or at least give me some notice. Once I drove an hour early to a function to have dinner with her only to get stiffed. Maybe she is not a good person or just thoughtless, but I had it after that.
I have a friend, to this day, that I would do anything for. She introduced me to my church (my pre-COVID church), for which I will be eternally grateful. We talk frequently and chat always when at church. We share experiences and stories. But…. She is a local businessman. We set up a shopping day at a large holiday flea market. We meet, walk in and within five minutes she turned tail and left because she saw someone who knew her from work. Her voice is a dead giveaway (much like James Earl Jones), so she had to run. I completely understood, but again was left alone at a time I had planned on spending with a friend. I actually made a bunch of new friends that afternoon, which was the beginning of my realization that I was better off flying solo.
Linda posed this question: “Do you know anyone else like Kandi but close enough to go out together?” My friend, referenced in the above paragraph, is it. I also have good friends, Dee and Sherry. Dee, however lives a good six hours away and Sherry is limited in her ability to get out, discussed here as well. She is in a DADT relationship and has a public profession that requires constant vigilance while out, limiting where we can go and her ability to simply relax. Things have evolved in a more positive direction regarding her circumstances and comfort while out, but it’s still like piecing together a puzzle to get together. It’s not that I haven’t found like-minded ladies to spend time with, it’s just that they are either generally geographically dispersed or have limiting circumstances.
Lastly, I’ll use my Flickr experiences to make a point, referenced above. As you know, I have a Flickr account where I post pictures (running along the right column here), all identified as a crossdresser. I get followers. Not a lot, but a few. I easily have to block 3 out of 5 possible followers because they post pictures of their or someone else’s genitalia, pictures of sex acts, photos of their crotches or behinds in panties, you again get the point. Just because we share an interest in women’s clothes does not mean we have anything in common.
So I go it alone frequently. I attempt to be “mainstream” in my adventures. This was all a revelation to me, but I tried. I am who I am, I want what I want, a positive and uplifting experience. Acceptance. Joy. Finding what I can do and not complaining about what I cannot. Being selfless, not selfish. I despise derogatory phrases like “gurl” and “bitches”, especially when coming from one of my own, so to speak. I simply want a few hours being a mature woman who spends time with like-minded people, centered around something that interest me. I also feel that the more of us who participate in “mainstream” activities or outings, the easier it will get for those to follow. If nothing else, I feel that with this visibility and this blog, I am doing a service to our community. At least, I hope so.
All that said, I’d love to find a girlfriend to hang with, share a meal or a drink, do some shopping. But that friend has proven to be elusive and may not exist out there for me. We’ve talked here about circumstances and by seeking to go out with another of us, you accept not only your circumstances, but theirs as well for the evening. The short answer to the question is yes, I’d love a friend like myself, problem is, that person may not exist for me.
Sorry for the rather long explanation and thank you Linda for sparking me on a subject!
If you are in New York, come and see me!!
Great post and very thought provoking. I think we all have a duty to give something back to the community, whether it’s gentle encouragement to a girl taking her first fledgling steps, sharing experiences or just telling someone that you’ve been through exactly the same as they’re experiencing. But we have to look after ourselves first. None of us asked for this and those who are able to turn it to their advantage are truly amazing people but that doesn’t mean becoming an unpaid counsellor or provider of entertainment. We have to be in control and relinquishing that control to be everybody’s friend or, as I found out the hard way, fretting because our photos no longer get the ‘likes’ they used to can slowly eat away at us.
I think your strategy here is absolutely right. No one could ever accuse you of not giving everything you have to the furthering of this community and its cause but, first and foremost, it has to be to your benefit and avoided if it’s ultimately going to be detrimental. There are many self-centred people in this community, lapping up the adulation and giving little or nothing back in return but the true stars are the unsung heroines who care enough about others to nurture & encourage them and who care enough about themselves to be able to steer their life in a way that enables them to give to others without compromising their own happiness and wellbeing. You, Kandi, are one of those people!
One day will be Judgement Day for me and hopefully, I’ll squeak through!
As usual you touched a nerve here. While I am relatively new to this, I am discovering that going out solo is a very enjoyable experience. It may sound crazy but I just love going to our nearby outdoor mall and window shopping. I was so reluctant to even go out until I began reading your comments (and now watching your wonderful videos) about being less concerned with ‘passing’ and more concerned with ‘blending’. All I know is going out and about has become a pleasant experience and doing it solo ain’t half bad!
I’ve had my skeptics who have flown solo and had wonderful experiences that would not have happened otherwise!
Don’t you think the old “There is safety in numbers” thing is the biggest reason for this? Unfortunately, I think it negates the whole idea of self-sufficiency, self- confidence, and self-worth. I fear it can be used as a crutch in our journey. Oh well, to each her own! But now at least I feel enlightened!!!