Inserting Myself into the Story-Line of the 1987 AllNighter Movie, Part 2

[Continued from part 1, here]

I waited, wondering how the story was going to progress.  Far too soon, there was a half-hearted knock on my hotel room door.  I opened it. Molly stood there, tears glistening in her lovely eyes again. I stood aside, and she came in, and fell onto the bed, face down.  I waited.

After more than a minute, she said: “He didn’t even open the door.”

I processed that, and sympathized with her disappointment, saying a comforting phrase as such.

“He probably knew it was me, and didn’t want to see me again,” she said.

“Perhaps,” I acknowledged. “But, how do we know he was in there?”

“I heard voices, and laughter.”

“Could he have had the television on, and perhaps have left, or been in the bathroom or in the shower, or out on the patio?”

She was aghast. “Wow, I didn’t even consider those possibilities. I’m so ready to be rejected that it doesn’t take much for me to just assume that I’m unwelcome.”

I sympathized, and said so.  “Shall we call him?”  I asked.

“That is a good idea, yes.”  She seemed hopeful again, and reached for the phone. I was about to suggest she first plan out the dialog and translate her natural enthusiasm and openness into the sort of bland presentation that was more likely to be palatable to typical people, but just as I was about to say, “wait …” she was already dialing his room number, and a couple of seconds later, she spoke: “Hello, it’s Molly. My false eyelashes are fine now, and I’d like to come say good night.”

I could hear his voice from where I was sitting: “Listen, Molly, I have a guest here, and I really want to focus on her, so we should just say good night now.”

Her face fell, “I’m sorry … I didn’t know … I’m sorry … good night,” and she hung up.

“Well, that’s that,” she said. “He has someone else. Wow, that didn’t take long.”

I winced. “Ouch,” I said.

She nodded. “Gawd, this hurts. Nazareth summed it up well, in their Love Hurts lyrics.  I mean … what I feel for him is not even love, and even so, this rejection already hurts so much. Imagine if I’d actually loved him and knew he was in there with someone else, whom he liked so much more than me. It’d be excruciating.”

I nodded.

She sat on the bed, slumped. Then a horrible thought crossed her mind, and she slowly said, “For example, the guy on whom I have a crush might just be in bed with Mary Lou right now. Come to thing of it, he probably is.”  Her shoulders slumped more.

I came over and sat down next to her. I held out my arms comfortingly.  She shot me a pained look, and just remained sitting there.  I remained in position, and kept my arms open, smiling gently and waiting. Eventually she sighed and leaned toward me. I wrapped my arms around her, and she pressed her face against my upper chest.  Finally, she put her arms around me too, and after a minute or two, I could feel her warm tears against my skin.

The pain of many years seemed to finally hit her all at once. She held on, crying bitterly in frustration, embarrassment and shame for a long time. I held on, and slowly rocked her.  At some point she pulled away, and she looked down at the mess she’d made as her tears, and more, had run down my chest and made a large wet area at the neckline of my evening gown.  She tried to pull away more, apologizing for making a mess but she was having a hard time articulating.

“It’s fine.  I needed to wash it anyway. Don’t worry about it.  Come here,” I said, and slightly applied pressure, pulling her toward me again.  She hesitated and then gave in.  “You are probably way overdue for processing some sadness,” I said gently, holding her in a comforting embrace.  “Sadness and more,” I added.

“More, yes,” came a  muffled reply.  “I feel so embarrassed, so ashamed. I’m such a failure. I mean, not in life, but in this … I’m basically trying to give sex away and I still can’t get anyone to be interested. I feel so deeply undesirable. I wanted a boyfriend and never did end up having one. Then, I thought: well. at least I can experience having sex. And even there, I can’t get anyone interested.”

I said nothing, just squeezed her a little more tightly for a few seconds.

“Not anyone I care to seduce, anyway. I assume if I stood on Hollywood Boulevard holding a ‘free sex’ sign, even I could finally find someone who wants to have sex with me, but I was hoping for less desperate measures.”

I smiled. She didn’t speak for a long time, and finally said, “I haven’t been held like this, in years — actually, never as an adult.  I feel so … comforted.  And it’s more than just you holding me.  I feel that you understand me.  Actually, I feel like you’re the only one who does.” She thought for a while. “I mean, my parents care very much but it’s almost like someone caring for a fragile, exotic pet. With you it’s different.  You care, but you also seem to understand me. But there’s something about how you deal with me … and it’s different than how anyone else deals with me.  I can’t quite figure it out.”

I gave her another squeeze, and waited.

“Wait, I think I got it. Don’t talk, please.  I really want to figure this out.”  She was quiet for another minute or so. Finally, she announced: “I’ve got it.  You don’t look down on me.  Others always treat me like they feel sorry for me, like they’re shaking their heads patronizingly at my latest folly or concern.  You don’t do that.  You’ve seen me in the most embarrassing situations and yet you don’t treat me as if I’m weak or stupid, even though I feel like that about myself. It’s almost like you think I deserve to be taken .. that’s it.  That’s the essence of it. You’re the one person who really takes me seriously.”

I pondered this, and smiled. “I do,” I agreed.

She was quiet for a few more seconds, and then said: “Maybe you’re right.  Maybe we do have similar mental wiring that’s different than that of typical people. ” She pondered this for a minute or so.  “I used to feel alone, even when there were people around, even tonight at the Fiesta. People were having fun, but somehow I felt … disconnected from them.”

“Maybe sex with your friend in room 905 would have felt the same way, to you.”

“I see what you mean, about connectedness,” she said. “How do you connect, I mean, really connect?”

“I offer to take girls up to my room when their false eyelashes are having issues. That’s the only way I ever met someone with whom I feel this sense of connectedness,” I said, playfully.

“Wait, you don’t have anyone either?”

“I do, now. You’re here.”

“But, before me.”

“I have a guy friend with whom the sexual attractiveness factor is mutually zero. He’s also my roommate, and I think he has mental wiring like mine.  We’re friends and we communicate well intellectually, which is great, but it’s not an emotionally intimate connection too.  For example, I’ve never hugged him like I’m hugging you.”

“Nobody else?”

I shook my head. “Some people came closer than most but … no.”

“Wow, that’s a lonely life,” she blurted out.

I smiled and then she added, “as is mine, I just realized. Wow. I’m glad we found each other.” She held onto me for a minute or two longer.

“Now I’m afraid of losing you,” she confessed.  “Perhaps you and I are better than typical people.  Perhaps we’re not.  But, we’re certainly different from typical people, yet alike as to each other.  When we talk or hold each other, like this, there’s understanding and true connectedness, and comfort. I feel like I’ve known you for a long time. Is that ridiculous?”

“Well, the degree of mutual understanding we have accomplished … that would have taken typical people a long time, so maybe that’s why, yes?”

She nodded.  “Why are we so different from them? Why do they take so long?”

“You and I open up, and share our thoughts and feelings enthusiastically.  So it’s like a 100-miles-per-hour road with no stop signs or red lights, just green lights all the way. Things can move quickly.”

“They can indeed, wow. It’s such a relief to open up like this.  Normally, I don’t, because …” she hesitated.

“… how you naturally are, so spontaneous, open and benevolent, that ends up with you being ridiculed and ostracized, and you get your feelings hurt, by typical people?”

“All the time,” she confessed.

“I plan to be around for a long time, reminding you, but if something happens to me, it’s crucially important that you’re clear that if everyone in the world were like you, it’d be a so much nicer place. Can we agree on that?”

“Well …” she thought about it.  Then: “I see your point, and yes. The only problem is that typical people can’t deal with my openness and enthusiasm but inherently there’s nothing wrong with how I am — even though I always felt there was, and it’s totally alien to me to now have to get used to me being not just OK but better than OK.  It’s almost like I have to relearn that it’s OK to pee in someone’s swimming pool, and more than OK, it’s actually good. I mean … it’ll take me some time to get used to all this.  But, yes, I follow the logic.  And I hope nothing happens to you.”  She gave me a squeeze.

She was quiet, and then drew back slightly, and as she pulled out of my arms, she took one of my hands in each of hers, and held them in an intimate gesture, and said: “I just realized I know hardly anything about you.  Where do I find you?  How do I get to spend more time with you? What’s your name? And … I mean this nicely, but … what are you?  I can’t quite figure out if you’re a boy or a girl.  You seem to be a mixture.  I mean, it’s a sexy mixture — you sort of remind me of Prince, who’s androgynous too  — but … anyway, please tell me about yourself.”

I did. I told her my name and explained that I’m a trans girl, and what that means. I explained that I did escorting only part-time, and normally I worked as a software engineer, mostly from my condo near the Marina.  She absorbed it all, and then told me her full name, and more about her life situation.

Soon, we were talking about my escorting work. I explained how I enjoyed the excitement and feeling of empowerment that came with having sex with a stranger who wanted me.  “Based on your agenda tonight, I probably don’t have to explain that,” I added.

She nodded pensively, and said: “I do ‘get’ that. I was so intent on losing my virginity tonight. First, I tried to tell CJ — the guy on whom I have a crush — that I am crazy about him. Or should I say, was crazy about him? Suddenly he seems so far away, and so … two-dimensional.”  She thought about it for a while, then added: “Tonight, my hope was to seduce him. It would have made this the perfect night, for me.  But, he was — is — such a jackass and he took it all the wrong way and I just decided that I’m wasting my life away, and I need to stop doing so.  So, I figured that if he wasn’t going to take my virginity then I’d visit this musician guy tonight, for that purpose instead. I was totally okay with that.”

She took a deep breath, and continued: “Anyway, that was such a colossally embarrassing experience that I feel totally turned off now.  I guess I’ll just become an old maid and end up with a stove and several cats when I’m old.  I mean, I do buy your point that, as you did, I could learn the social dynamics of typical people and eventually bond with them to some extent but there would always be missing intimacy.  And you’re right, that connectedness really is part of what I always assumed would be there, as part of sex – and if not, it’d feel pretty hollow to me. So I can either work extra hard and maybe eventually be able to give my virginity away, and end up with an emotionally disappointing experience.  That doesn’t bode well for my future sex life.”

“I see your point, but as long as you’re realistic in your expectations, there’s a lot to be said for being bent over and used sexually by a guy in a primal way as if he’s just bought you at a slave auction or dragged you into his cave. I mean, there’s not much emotional bonding there but … it IS sometimes hot. For me, anyway. I’m good at seducing guys. I could teach you. ”

“Really?!” she said, her interest piqued. I looked her up and down. She bit her lower lip, pondering all this.

“Your eagerness is very sexy,” I observed. “To me, anyway.”

The mood in the room had changed in the last minute or so. We both felt it.

“As to where I go for sex with emotional intimacy …” she said, and looked at me questioningly, demurely yet pointedly too. Her lips were slightly apart. She moistened them with a flick of her tongue.  She sat up more squarely, and leaned back slightly, pushing her shoulders back and down, and pushing her chest out.  She flicked her hair and inclined her head slightly, and looked at me with a peculiar kind of calculating look.

I was breathing unusually fast. I said: “I take back what I said.  I don’t think there’s anything I can teach you as to being supremely seductive.  If the guy in room 905 saw you now, and actually paid attention for at least long enough to actually observe you, I can’t imagine how he could resist.”

“Yes, but he wouldn’t actually pay attention. He’d be too busy telling me to go away.”

I nodded.  “His loss,” I said. I looked at her, and realized I was biting my lower lip, too. I also sat up more upright, with my back arched. We were looking at each other.

“I wonder who gets to say it first,” I said aloud.

She took a deep breath. I could see that her mind was racing.  We both felt an intense mutual attraction.

“You’re not doing this because you’re feeling sorry for me,” she observed.

“I’m interested in you, personally, sexually,” I replied. “As in, here and now.”

She didn’t move her face, but her eyes moved to one side as if she were lost in thought, looking at an object that had been in her peripheral vision. Then, she looked at me directly and intensely.

“You mean, you get to take my virginity tonight,” she said bluntly. I flicked my hair, and nodded slowly.  Our eyes rested on each other for several seconds, and our lips were slightly open.  Then, she looked down.  Something had ruined her mood.  She said, quietly, “I really don’t have a lot of money on me, and I have hardly anything in my bank account. I have maybe a hundred dollars to my name.  I don’t know what you charge but … it’s probably more than that.”

I pulled her hands toward me, and she looked up into my eyes, warily.  I explained: “Molly, with you, it’s personal. I like you as an individual.  This has nothing to do with business.  No money changes hands between us as such, now or ever.  I like you and with every passing minute, you’re growing on me more yet.”

Her eyes widened. She smiled, then smiled broadly.

I continued: “But, there is one reason why I might say no.  I feel very closely connected to you.  If you and I end up in bed, I’m sure I’ll emotionally get wrapped up in you and I’ll want to see you again and again, socially and sexually.  So I’m not saying that I expect you to make an infinite commitment, but I’m asking you if this is just a one-night stand for you, because if yes then I will probably end up pining after you for a very, very long time.  While I can still think straight and say no, I’d rather say no for that reason — and only for that reason.  I might never find another ‘you’ and if, after tonight, I never see you again, I’d miss you very much, perhaps for many years, and perhaps for the rest of my life.”

She processed this for several seconds. She blinked several times, and her eyes teared up. She swallowed hard. Her voice thick, she said: “I would love to have this be ongoing too. I just didn’t realize that’s what you wanted. It is so refreshing to be able to candidly and openly say that I like you, without fearing that I might overwhelm or alienate you  I can just sit here, emotionally naked, and say ‘I like you and I want you in my life.'”

“I’m delighted, but since I’m at risk for some serious heartbreak, can we give the premise a shakedown?”

“You know, typical people don’t talk like that,” she smiled, suddenly confident and at ease. “Yes, go ahead.”

“Well, not to be ungrateful, but don’t you still have feelings for CJ?”

She thought about it. “Yes, I do.  Pity, mostly — and a little bit of disgust, at him. Also, some shame in myself for having focused on him.”

“Wow, okay,” I responded. “Next, how do I fit into your family dynamic? You might have to say: ‘Hi Mom and Dad, here’s my new girlfriend who also sort of looks like my boyfriend but don’t worry, the sex is great. She’s highly skilled, see, being a part time sex worker. Why, you might have even seen her at local hotels, in one of the lounges.'”

“I’m an adult. I get to choose whom I romance, and sleep with.  And you’re a massive improvement over CJ … and the musician … and actually anyone else I know. Truth be told, though, I suspect my parents might just be relieved I finally found someone with whom I’m happy.”

“How about your friends?”

“Killer will go … I don’t know where.  CJ … doesn’t matter.  Val is getting married.  Gina will go live her life. I’ll see her sometimes, but if she gets to meet you, she’ll love you.  She’s very open-minded.”

I smiled, relieved. “How about your work?” I asked.

She responded by saying: “I graduate tomorrow… ” she glanced at the bedside clock, and said: “… technically, today, at the end of my four year degree in Fine Arts, which I enjoyed but which enables no specific gainful employment.  I don’t have to be anywhere for a job.  I don’t have one.  I plan to keep living in LA and I’ll probably move into my parent’s garage.”

“Or, you could move in with me.  If we continue to get along as well as I suspect we will, I’d love to have you living with me.  I live in West LA, near the Marina. You might enjoy bicycling along the beach path, and exploring the area. It’s nicely elegant. And, I make enough money to pay the rent, solo.  My roommate has wanted to buy a house in North LA County, and I wish him well but I don’t want to go along with that.  So, come be my new roommate … and more.”

She seemed shocked. She smiled and nodded thoughtfully. “Wow, this really is becoming quite the happy picture, isn’t it?”

I nodded and smiled, too, and I added: “At least one part of a typical girl-girl dynamic, we do follow.  A classic lesbian second date is when one girl moves in with the other.”

“I guess you being a girl does make me a lesbian, then.  But you’re an unusual sort of girl, so maybe I’m an unusual sort of lesbian. Or, I’m bi since I was attracted to CJ too, and the guy tonight.  Wow,” she said, pensively. Then, she frowned. “What if I’m bad at sex?”

“Then think of all the fun we’ll have, teaching you how to be better.  Seriously, though, I’m not worried.  You have enthusiasm. The rest … it works itself out.”

She smiled, relieved.  Then, she frowned again. “What if you find me physically unattractive?”

“What, after you get mauled by a bear?”

“No, right now.”

“No risk of that.  But I suppose I should undress and inspect you before we have sex,” I said, playfully.

“You should,” she responded in kind, relaxing and smiling. Then: “What if I’m a bad kisser?” she asked.

I smiled. I crawled toward the bedside lamp, and turned it off so that only one lamp was illuminating the room.  It made the ambiance much more romantic. I pulled off my high-heeled shoes, and then took hers off too.  I knelt upright on the bed, and reached down and moved my evening gown up until I could pull it off, over my head. Her eyes went to my breasts. “Wow,” she said.

I pointed to her as in: “Your turn.”  She took a deep breath and stripped off her evening gown too.  We were kneeling, facing each other, topless, me wearing just a black thong, while she was wearing sexy white cotton panties.  She looked at me warily.  I pointedly looked at her breasts, and smiled happily, then said: “You are hereby officially approved.”

She hesitated: “Are you sure? I don’t have large …”

“No, you don’t. And yet I find you very attractive.  Do you find that hard to believe?”

She nodded.

I responded with: “I understand. You don’t fit the stereotypical-girl look.  And yet, you’re attractive to me.  So let me ask you: do I fit the stereotypical-girl look?”

She seemed startled, and shook her head.

“Do you find me attractive?”

“Very.”

“So, it’s possible to look non-stereotypical and yet be attractive, yes?”

She laughed, happily — as if an emotional weight had been lifted. “Yes!! Wow, where have you been all my life?”

“That’s how I feel about you, too.”

The mood in the room was becoming sexually tense again.  We were kneeling upright on the bed, facing each other.

“I’ve never felt so naked, and yet so naturally at ease as such. I feel accepted, and more … appreciated, and more … cherished,” she said.

“You are cherished,” I responded. She sighed happily, and arched her back more yet. She looked delectably sexy.

“As to you being a bad kisser, I would suggest two objectives for kissing,” I said.

She looked at me questioningly.

“Experiencing sensation, and exploring,” I suggested.

She thought about it.  “That simplifies it,” she said, and put her hands on my upper arms as she moved closer to me.  She looked at me with half-closed eyes, radiating an enthusiasm that I, too, felt.  Our lips met, initially barely touching.  Then … more.

* * *

More than three hours later, at 4 a.m., we agreed to get some sleep.  We set the bedside alarm for 8 a.m., and fell asleep in each other’s arms.

 

 

 

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Inserting Myself into the Story-Line of the 1987 AllNighter Movie, Part 1

[… in the scene where Molly is sitting at a table in the lounge of the hotel, in the company of the musician whom she hopes to seduce.  As to the context of this story, please see: Jumanji, Pleasantville and the AllNighter]

I sat at a table in the hotel lounge, observing the nearby girl and guy, and hearing their conversation. I could relate to the girl’s mindset. I respected her enthusiasm, and I could see how hard it was for her to venture into new territory so brazenly, trying to seduce this guy when evidently she didn’t seem to have much experience as a seductress. My heart went out to her. I silently wished her well.

When her false eyelash became loose, and the guy offered to take her up to his room, I sensed the girl would be feeling very disempowered and disoriented, and by then the guy was already in totally the wrong mindset as to her agenda. That didn’t mean she should give up on her plan, but it seemed to me she could benefit from some support, first.

I got up and went to their table, and crouched down so my face was at the girl’s eye level. I spoke up: “False eyelashes can be a tricky problem and eye drops are not the best solution. I have a room here too. If you’d like some ‘girl help’ then I’m offering. After you can see and function socially again, then you can go say good-night to your friend from a position of renewed empowerment. So I’m an option, if you would like my assistance.”

The two were quiet for a few seconds while they absorbed this. Molly hesitated but the guy seemed eager to make her my problem. He thanked me and announced it to be a great idea. That left her few options and made me wonder if I was actually helping or hindering her, but by then it was too late so I tried to make things as good for her as I could. I helped her up. Could be she did appreciate my assistance and did want to exit the embarrassing situation as quickly as possible, with the entire seduction situation now being seen as hopeless anyway. It was hard to tell what she was thinking. She got up hesitatingly and the guy also got up, and encouraged her to go with me, He agreed that later, if she wanted to call him and say good-night, she was welcome to do so. He told her his room number, and he waited for me to take it from there. He seemed enthused to exit the situation, albeit nicely.

Molly seemed to be having a hard time seeing and thinking clearly. I put my arm around her waist and propelled her to the elevator, then to my room. I told her what I was about to do, and why, before I did each step. I donned some surgical rubber gloves that, as an escort, I had handy. I helped her lie on her back, on the bed. I soaked a square piece of cotton with some eye make-up remover, then gently placed it on one of her eyes, then did the same with another square and her other eye. When I gently lifted each square up, the false eyelash came off along with it.

“There,” I said. “All better. You have lovely eyes, with or without false eyelashes, though I love your enthusiasm for looking as seductive as you possibly can. In my opinion, you look great and the guy is seriously missing out. I bet you’d be good in bed too, given the chance. Enthusiasm makes all the difference, and you clearly have no lack thereof.”

“I feel very un-sexy right now. I feel so ridiculous.”

“Because you tried so hard and you totally failed?”

She winced and nodded.

“You can’t control other people, and how they react. You can only give it as good as you’ve got, and that’s exactly what you did, isn’t it? Did you half-ass it, and hold back somewhat or did you throw everything into the effort?”

“Everything.”

“That’s as much as anyone can do. And believe me, you have a lot going for you. You look lovely.”

“Not enough.”

“Maybe you’re not the problem. Maybe you could have looked like Miss California and he’d still have said ‘no.’ It’s not like people’s resistance is guaranteed to crumble when the seduction is attempted by someone hot enough. Maybe you’re just not his type. .”

“Maybe I’m nobody’s type.”

“I work as an escort, and I often observe the sexual dynamics going on around me.  Believe me, there are a great many guys — and girls – who would just love to take someone with your looks to bed. You’re lovely.”

Molly tried to process all this. “Then why have I never had a boyfriend? Ever? In all my high school and college years? I feel so lonely and miserable. It’s the one thing I wanted the most, and I didn’t experience it. Tomorrow I graduate and I still haven’t even ever … I mean …”

“Been with someone sexually?”

“Yes! I’m missing out. I hate it.”

“Maybe it’s not your looks. You look great. Maybe it’s your attitude.”

“Like, I’m trying too hard?”

“That’s maybe how it looks or feels but it’s more complex than that. From what I saw and heard in the lobby, you seem to be so intensely and innocently enthusiastic, in a way that most people just aren’t. It’s like you’re pure in a way that confuses them. They’re like people trying to look into the sun and they just can’t handle the intensity.”

“So, I should tone it down?”

“I don’t think it’s a matter of degree. It’s more complicated than that. I think you approach things in a way most people don’t, and half-assing it won’t magically align you with them.”

“Well, what am I supposed to do?!”

“I don’t know. I had the same problem. I learned how to run a simulation so that socially I can connect with typical people, but it’s learned behavior. I can’t just naturally connect with them. When I’m spontaneous with typical people, there’s almost always a misunderstanding in communication, leading to conflict.”

“That describes my situation so perfectly. Like, there’s this guy I have a crush on, and tonight I was about to tell him but it all went wrong so now he’s mad at me and really it’s all a misunderstanding.”

“Another guy yet?”

“Yes.” She explained in more detail.

“Wow,” I responded, feeling less than eloquent, processing all this. Then, I said: “I think my mind works in a way that’s just somehow different than the brains of typical people. Maybe you’re the same. You certainly seem to be having the same frustrations I had, and still do as soon as I let my guard down and allow myself to be spontaneous and open.”

“You? You look so polished.”

“That’s a good choice of words. It’s a polished, learned skill.”

“You seem so sincere, though.”

“I am sincere but I have to translate how I feel into how to express it. It’s like wanting to tell the truth based on an idea I have in my head in English, but now I have to translate it to come across accurately to a German-speaking audience, with their own cultural issues.”

“That sounds exhausting. You’re always on guard, and always doing extra work.”

“Yes, it is, but I’ve kinda gotten used to it. It’s not really all that bad, actually. It’s kind of like knowing how to play a song in C major and then somehow you have to move it up to G major and shift the notes so it still all works.”

“Oh, you’re into music too!”

“Very much.”

We beamed at each other.

“So, you’re doing this translating very well,” she complimented me.

“Oh, I’m not doing it now. Oh, wow. I just realized that. I’m just being … myself, with you. And somehow, you’re still here, not freaked out.”

“So this is how you naturally are, spontaneously?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you seem fine to me.”

“Maybe you have the same mental wiring issue I do. Do you feel comfortable with this conversation?”

“Totally.”

“Whom else did you have conversations with today? Think back.”

She did, and named some names.

“Did the conversations feel like maybe there was a communication gap, and misunderstanding?”

“Yes, very much so. Wow. So maybe I should translate everything, like you do? Maybe then I’d have a boyfriend too?

“Maybe, yes.”

“Will you teach me how?”

“Sure, though it’s sort of just something I developed of necessity. It’s not a formal skill.”

“Can you teach me tonight so I can still go seduce that guy?”

“I don’t think I can do it that quickly.”

“So I should think how a typical girl would behave and simulate that as part of moving toward what I want?”

“Well, I suppose that’s what I do, yes.”

“And it works for you? Like, you end up in bed with guys?”

“Yes, but it’s not much of an emotional connection when it’s all via a translation process.”

“But you still have sex, right?”

“Well, yes.”

“That’s better than what I’m doing.”

“Yes, but isn’t sex really supposed to be about connectedness?”

“I don’t know. At this point I’ll settle for any type of sex I can get. I feel desperate, like tonight is my last opportunity.”

I nodded pensively.

“So, how would a typical girl go say good-night to this guy?”

“Well … okay, naturally I’d gush enthusiastically and show how interesting I think he is. But typical girls … like my roommates, wouldn’t find him all that interesting – somehow – and they’d just be somewhat nice to him. And they’d be confident, and hold back not as if reigning in their enthusiasm but just … because they don’t have any to reign in. Wow, that sounds so gray and lifeless.”

“Yes, it does. Now you can see why I like how I’m wired mentally, and you too since we seem to have a lot in common.”

“I mean, a typical-person life sounds so lukewarm, wow. How do they get motivated to do anything?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think like they do. I can at best guess. Somehow they make it through the day but they don’t seem to get much enjoyment out of things.”

“And there’s so much in life that’s exciting and wonderful and interesting!” she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling.

“That’s the sort of spirit I hope you never, ever lose,” I opined. “So, here you are at a cross-roads. You now know that you can go connect with typical people but you have to translate what you’d spontaneously do into how typical people would do it, instead. So now you have the potential to go socially connect with them, as long as you’re always on guard, and you think of whom you’re interacting with and what they expect and need. So if, until now, you’ve felt a chasm between you and the rest of mankind …”

“Wow, that describes it so well …”

“… then now you know how to build a bridge. Problem is, you’ll always be different – and it’s now a question of relative value.”

“How do you mean?”

“The key point here is that you can rejoice that you can finally be accepted by them, as in you’re finally worthy of fitting into their social structures … which means that the actual, spontaneous person you are is less, and must be continually gift-wrapped so as to be palatable …”

“Well, isn’t that how things are?”

“From their perspective, yes. But the key point is, not objectively. In reality, your enthusiasm and openness make you the better person.”

“Does it matter if I’m the only person who thinks so?”

“Well, you wouldn’t be the only person, because I think so too … but yes, it’s crucially important.”

“Why?”

“Because a lifetime of you considering yourself inferior to typical people … that’s bound to bring you down, psychologically, as time goes by.”

“But I already do feel inferior. Like, I have all these neurotic thoughts when I dream, and sleep …”

“So you already knew you were different, and you already consider the way you think to be negative?”

“Well, yes.”

“Explain to me how you think.”

She elaborated. I sympathized, and empathized, but then explained to her that her self-awareness and self-doubt were probably atypical but it made her a better person than someone who just stumbled along, not pausing to introspect or be concerned about whether he was on a good path or hurting others’ feelings.

“Wow, you just described CJ, the guy on whom I have a crush. He’s so oblivious to subtlety and niceness. Everything seems so simple to him. When he gets angry, he drinks or is mean, simple as that. And maybe he then ends up having sex with someone superficial and then whatever was bothering him is forgotten anyway … uncomplicated.”

I let her words hang in the air, and then I said: “Doesn’t that sound very two-dimensional, living like that?”

“Well … it sounds low-stress, that’s for sure.”

“Let’s analyze that. Does he feel in charge of where his life is going?”

She pondered that. “I can’t see how he could. But, he seems fine with it.”

“So if someone’s life is headed toward where a life of irresponsible behavior leads, then if that person ignores the possible consequences, do they then magically disappear? Like, if he doesn’t brush his teeth, is he exempt from tooth decay or will it eventually catch up with him?”

“I see your point. So he’s on borrowed time.”

“I think so, yes.”

“The thing is, most people seem to be like that. I’m the only one I know who overthinks things.”

“… by typical standards, but maybe you’re the only one who actually thinks about things enough.”

“I’m certainly the most responsible person around. Also, the most boring.”

“Not to me. I think you’re a delight.”

She looked at me as if in disagreement.

“Let me explain myself more. When you were getting dressed tonight, to go seduce this guy, did you feel intensely enthused and excited? And when you went to the hotel, and you met him, and you danced?”

“Oh, yes! I felt so exhilarated.”

“Now, imagine you end up seducing the guy.”

“Well, that’s not going to happen.”

“You don’t know that. As soon as you feel ready, I’m sending you over to his room.”

“Really?! Tonight? Like, soon?” she was endearingly eager.

“Yes,” I smiled. “But walking toward his door, knocking on the door, going in, seducing him, and having sex with him, that all would be very exciting for you, yes?”

“Oh, wow, yes!”

“Okay, so now imagine a typical girl experiencing the same thing. She’s not all that enthused about the guy. Yes, he’s a musician but who cares? He’s just one more guy. She’s going to have sex with someone so it might as well be him. Maybe it’ll at least feel good.”

“That sounds horribly lukewarm! He’s so interesting, and he deserves so much better!”

“Let’s say he does.”

“Well, he DOES.”

“Okay. So what if he feels the same? Let’s say he decides, what the heck, sure, why not, maybe sex with you will be fun, and he lets you in the door. How enthused about you do you think he’ll be, based on what you know of him so far?”

Her face fell.

“Do you think he’ll mirror your enthusiasm, or be more at the same plane as the typical-mindset girl I described?”

“The latter …”

“And that’s what you deserve?”

“Well … no. But it’s all I can get. Assuming I can even get that.”

“But don’t you deserve so much more, someone who mirrors your sense of joy and enthusiasm?”

“Well, maybe but I can’t be all that picky.”

“I think you can. But I probably won’t be able to convince you of that, soon. Anyway, we can talk about that later. For now, go seduce the guy, just have precise expectations that you’re probably the most joyous, enthused person in the room.“

“Now I’m not so enthused any more. I mean … let me think for a few seconds.” She did. “Okay, I still wanna go try. But I buy your point. Maybe I should try to enjoy it based on my own standards and expectations, and he should enjoy it to whatever extent his own situation allows. Like, if to him it’s OK sex but to me it’s mind-blowing, then – I experienced mind-blowing sex, and isn’t that important?”

“Yes. Well-reasoned.”

“I mean, I can’t control how he feels. I’d like to rock his world, but … maybe I’m bad in bed by his standards but I can still enjoy it.”

“Attagirl. Go get him.”

“Afterward I wanna come back and tell you about it. I feel so … connected with you.”

I smiled.

“And, I’m gonna leave my purse here, as part of my promise. Besides, after having sex with him, I’d probably forget it in his room. And it’d be one more thing to have to manage, so leaving it here seems prudent anyway.”

“I agree. What’s my room number?”

She said it back to me correctly. “But what if I forget?”

“I’ll leave a piece of paper partway under the door so you can find the room.”

“Oh, good idea! But what if it takes hours?”

“Then great! Enjoy. I’ll be here.”

“Really?!”

“Really,” I smiled. “Okay, let’s get you ready. For the record, you still look great. Now, some mouthwash …”

“Oh, do I have bad breath?”

“No, but minty-fresh is always good.”

“Wow, yes, okay.” She swished, and spat into the sink, enthused.

“Next, condoms.”

“Oh, wow. I’d forgotten about that. I thought he would somehow take care of it.”

“Better safe than sorry.”

“Wow! Yes, thank you.”

“Okay, go wash your hands thoroughly, then dry them, then put on these gloves.”

She looked puzzled, but went along. I put on gloves too, and retrieved two condoms from a sealed plastic bag. I handed them to her.

“Where do I put them?”

“Your bra or the waistband of your panties,” I smiled, and handed them over.

“Oh, I don’t think I’ll need two … I mean …”

“What if one tears while it’s being unwrapped?”

“Oh wow. Yes. Thank you.”

“Okay, so we don’t know what your hands might touch but it might be intimate, so keep the gloves on while you touch elevator buttons and so on. Once you’re near his room, discard the gloves. That way you have clean hands. Knocking on the door with your knuckle won’t make your hands filthy. “

“Okay.” She worked the condoms into position, one near each hip.

I opened the door. “Go have a wonderful time,” I said. She flashed me a lovely smile, and walked out.

There was so much additional advice I had wanted to give her, but I hadn’t wanted to overwhelm her. I stood there pensively, wishing her every success.

[Part 2 continues here]

Jumanji, Pleasantville and the AllNighter

In the movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle “… the plot follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, and, playing as the characters they chose, must beat the game in order to return to the real world.”– Wikipedia

Similarly, as to the movie Pleasantville “… the story centers on two siblings who wind up trapped in a 1950s TV show.”– Wikipedia

The concept intrigues me. Since it’s Christmas Eve 2017. and I love writing fiction, my Christmas present to myself is to take several hours off and write some fiction.

If this also helps one particular girl who seems to be having a hard time nowadays, better yet. Since this is my story, I can make up my own rules. In this case, the rules are where I become part of a movie, and I influence the story-line with my presence and my actions.

Life is a long-term process, and I like developing a story line such that it spans decades, as life generally does. So, twenty years later, the main character in the movie gets to judge how it all played out with me in the picture vs. without me in the picture (as in, the original story-line, extended). Whether or not she decides that my involvement improved the situation, my involvement ends either way, I exit the movie and I’m back in the reality of 2017.

The movie I choose is The AllNighter, made in 1987. It’s about a cerebral, responsible girl who is painfully shy and self-conscious about her physique and her social skills, and specifically unhappy that she hasn’t as yet had a boyfriend even though she’s about to graduate from college, and seems to have had every opportunity. The movie focuses on the last 24-hour-or-so span of her time at college, ending with a speech she gives, as valedictorian, to the graduating class.

Perhaps it’s just one more movie — or perhaps it’s more. It was made by a mother-daughter director-actress team, and the main character in the movie seems to have a lot in common with the cerebral, shy girl who is the actress who played that character. From her writing, I conclude that she’s cerebral, and shy, and has many other traits in common with the character in the movie, including having been an “A” student, being responsible, sweet and polite, and sad about not having had an intense romantic love interest early in life.

It’s at least then a reasonable possibility that the intent was part-way to send a benevolent, encouraging message from the successful, outgoing director-writer mom to her cerebral shy daughter, reassuring her that if she keeps trying to overcome her shyness, she can eventually interact socially with typical people with a large degree of success — and her unusual personal traits (such as being cerebral and responsible) could indeed make her a very useful addition to a social dynamic. Perhaps it’s overly-benevolent wishful thinking on my part, but for me, the parallels between the movie character and the real-life girl are too stark to ignore.

* * *

In the movie, the picture painted of Molly, the main character, is a painfully embarrassing one and it gets worse and worse as the night progresses.

The story begins with Molly confessing that she’d love to rid herself of the thoughts that plague her even as she sleeps and dreams, thoughts that she describes as neurotic. She has a crush on a tall, blonde surfer guy who’s her personality opposite: she’s thoughtful, sweet and complex, whereas he’s rude and superficial, though certainly handsome.

At the beach, Molly laments her lack of a curvy bust-line and she stuffs cotton balls into her swimsuit top, not realizing that the surfer guy and his pal are standing right behind her. They then proceed to deride her in a way that can be considered good-natured only with some stretch of the imagination.

Next, instead of helping her move out of her apartment on her last day, as he’d promised, including moving his own stuff, he reneges on his promise and walks out, ignoring her appeal to fairness and knocking over some more stuff in the process of leaving. That’s not how you’d want someone to behave if you have your romantic hopes pinned on him.

Besides, he’s sexually focused on a busty blonde girl who seems to be as superficial as Molly is complex. His interest in the other girl bothers Molly.

Next, Molly has a conversation with the school counselor, a nice lady perhaps fifteen years her senior. Molly confesses that she is stumped as to what to say during her valedictorian speech the next day, and she also confesses that she’s bitterly disappointed that she didn’t have a boyfriend during her entire college experience, and now she’s run out of time and she realizes she might as well consider it a lost quest. The counselor seems sympathetic but without having much empathy.

Leaving the counselor’s office, Molly passes on the stairs, and recognizes, a former Rock ‘n Roll star, though she doesn’t let on. Unbeknownst to her, he has a crush on the counselor and is there to rekindle their romance, but she rebuffs him.

During a final saying-goodbye dinner given by Molly and her roommates, it becomes ever more clear that Molly has a crush on the rude surfer guy. Their dinner is interrupted by a surprise visitor: the musician, that same former Rock ‘n Roll star, who explains that he used to live at that address and was feeling nostalgic, and asked if he might look around for old times’ sake. Molly and the other two girls who live there welcome him in, and Molly shows him she owns one of his records, and tries to engage him in a conversation though it’s awkward since she’s more enthused than informed. The surfer guy shows himself as petty and malicious, being downright rude to the visitor. Molly refuses to join in. The surfer guy and his pal walk out to go to the last-day-of-school fiesta. Molly refuses to leave with them, even though the surfer guy pressures her.

Molly mentions to the musician that she and her female roommate friend dance to one of the musician’s songs, and she offers that they will dance for him. As soon as he accepts, the friend ditches Molly and vanishes out the door, leaving the shy Molly in the much-more awkward position of dancing solo. Even so, she does. The musician shows himself as being super-nice, and finally decides it’s time for him to leave. Molly invites him along to the fiesta but he graciously declines and offhandedly mentions where he’s staying and he extends a casual invitation to her that she’d be welcome to stop by. She’s clearly delighted at having met him.

Eventually, though, she makes her way to the fiesta, where she meets and tries to patch things up with the rude surfer guy, who has been fretting, fuming and drinking in a way that suggests he might have feelings for Molly too. They dance, and she’s about to confess her crush on him when his insecurity makes him accuse her of having a crush on the musician instead. They hover on the edge of straightening things out when the busty blonde sex-interest girl shows up and throws herself at the surfer guy. Molly leaves, clearly upset.

She goes home and it’s clear she’s not just upset but also indignant. She does a G-rated but very sexy transformation and makes it pretty darn clear that she’s decided to go seduce the musician at his hotel. She calls him, and meets him in the lobby. They dance and she makes her enthusiasm clear. He rebuffs her advances and suggests she should go be with a boyfriend at the fiesta, worsening her embarrassment at not having one. She starts to tear up and this creates problems for one of her false eyelashes. He offers to take her up to his room and help her out with some eye drops, which he does. She makes one more attempt at seducing him, literally pulling him into an embrace and a kiss, but he rebuffs her again and is about to send her away when there’s a knock on his door. He sends her out to the hotel room patio instead, and tells her to be quiet. He opens the door, and it’s the school counselor, there to make amends. They end up in bed, smooching, to the extra humiliation of Molly.

She tries to clamber over the railing to get away, and almost falls to her death. She calls her two roommate friends to ask for help, but there’s no answer and she leaves a message on their answering machine. She calls the surfer guy for help, but he’s in bed with the busty blonde. The two roommates finally get home, hear the message, go to the hotel to rescue Molly but then they get wrongfully arrested for prostitution. Molly finally sneaks out of the hotel room just in time to see her roommates being arrested. She tries to raise bail money for hours on end, but she fails. It’s dawn when the surfer guy shows up and is insensitive to her situation. That’s pretty much the low point, and it is indeed low. At this point, any hope of a romance with either guy is in tatters, Molly has yet to work on her speech plus she’s been up all night, and her two roommate friends who came to rescue her are in jail and unlikely to be able to attend their graduation ceremony. If the actress’s mom, the director and co-writer, had made things any worse yet, it would have strained credibility.

By exercising her judgment and an appeal to reason, Molly saves the day for her roommates by convincing the desk sergeant to release them. Just before leaving for the graduation event, Molly goes to say good-bye to the surfer guy and they end up naked in bed together, presumably giving her the sexual experience she was craving. She arrives at the graduation ceremony just in time to give her speech as valedictorian. She wings it and makes an eloquent and confident speech. That’s a dramatic recovery, and a happy ending for a cerebral, shy nice girl who richly deserves it.

Can I do better yet with a revised story-line?  Perhaps. I’m eager to try.

* * *

As for me, I’m a tall, blonde androgynous-looking trans girl, and I’ve done professional sex work in a hotel context, though it happened to be escorting (as in selling sexy time) not prostitution (selling services). As it happens, in real life, I did live in West LA in 1987 though I didn’t start doing sex work until much later, nor did I do so in West LA.

Even so, that’d be my role in the rewritten movie. I’d be an escort, present in the lobby when Molly shows up to seduce the musician. I’d observe their dynamic, and given the sound quality in the room, I’d probably hear what they were saying.

I’d involve myself at the point where Molly’s false eyelash comes loose from crying in embarrassment at having to confess to the guy whom she just failed to seduce that she doesn’t have a boyfriend — and hasn’t ever had one, as seems implied by the style of her confession.

Why, in the movie, would I choose to involve myself?

* * *

For that matter, why would I care today about what happened in a movie that was made literally 30 years ago, starring someone whom I’ve never met, who has been married to the same guy for almost 25 years, has had & raised two boys to adulthood, and has said that she considers herself to be ancient?

I care because — with many implications to this point — I relate to the character of Molly. In high school, I was cerebral and responsible, open and trusting. My benevolence was rebuffed, and I was ridiculed, ostracized and hurt for it including physically. As much as I thrived on remembering and untangling complex details such as reading advanced piano sheet music, playing complex musical pieces, excelling at math & science, memorizing and assimilating vast amounts of intellectual details including reading encyclopedias and being fluent in four languages … I was socially awkward and in high school I lacked the romantic love interest that I craved. As an adult, I continue to thrive in intellectual complexity, and I make a living creating and maintaining complex custom software, and working with complex automotive issues. By now, I’m socially fluent but it’s learned behavior. If I’m ever socially spontaneous, I tend to alienate the other person with my openness, unless she’s a cerebral shy girl like myself. Several of the girls with whom I have an intimate intellectual connection have been diagnosed as being on the autism or Asperger spectrum. Perhaps if I were ever diagnosed, I’d find myself similarly classified. It wouldn’t surprise me.

But, as opposed to this being a source of shame, I’ve figured out that someone who’s open, responsible, logical, benevolent and capable of highly complex abstract thought … granted, that person is not typical but I can make an objective case that a world filled with such people would be a much nicer place than what I see around me. That’s part of my message to other cerebral shy girls: we’re atypical but it’s high time that we challenged the premise that we’re inferior to typical people.

If my premise is good that the real person who played the role relates to Molly too, then I feel a kinship with this girl, from one cerebral shy girl to another. In pondering the wealth of the material she’s written over the course of her life, I got to better understand the nature of cerebral shy girls, myself included. I got to refine, synthesize and apply the principles, and this has led me to make contact with other cerebral shy girls, each of whom has subsequently enriched my life and has indicated to me that I have enriched hers. It’s been an intellectual and emotional Renaissance of cerebral shy girls learning about ourselves and each other, based on this subject matter – often in life-changing, even life-saving ways, as in: at least two girls have made it clear to me that it’s a good thing I came along when I did or they might not have been around much longer. This is some very stark — and good — news.

It reminds me of a 90-minute video I saw of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony being played at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Philharmonic, with flowers and opulence gracing the hall, and hundreds of Beethoven fans as an audience enraptured by the music. Sadly, Beethoven has passed away, but imagine for the sake of argument that he hadn’t, and was out in the rain and cold — lonely, barefoot and hungry in a nearby alley. Wouldn’t the very first order of business be to reach out to him with a warm and nurturing welcome so that, as the person who was the root cause of all of this goodness, he of all people should benefit?

That’s how I feel about the real-life girl who inspired my intellectual and emotional enrichment, and that of so many others. Ironically, she is indeed nowadays widely celebrated but it’s in a role that seems to be the exact opposite of that of a cerebral shy girl. It’s almost as if she’s found what she sought but only by denying herself. I’m no counselor, but if this is a recipe for personal frustration, I would not be surprised, and indeed the real-life girl has been candid, initially about experiencing the symptoms of depression and later about suffering from depression. Her recent candor on social media indicates that she suffers from anxiety, struggles with getting enough sleep and getting enough accomplished, and is often sad and troubled. In a context where her openness and her writing have helped so many, it seems monstrously unfair that she of all people should be deprived of the benefits of the insights she has enabled. It is for this reason that I care. Of all people, she deserves to be happy and it’s a fair guess that she’s not.

Then again, I’m at best guessing as to what’s bothering her. Maybe it’s something different.  Maybe there’s someone in her past whom she can’t get out of her head.  Maybe growing older sucks for her, too. Maybe it’s all of the above, and maybe more yet.  I don’t know, but I’m not OK with looking the other way while she’s having such a hard time.  Perhaps my caring or my insights — or both — can somehow help her.

As to what happens to the hypothetical Beethoven after being rescued from the alley in our story, who knows the specifics … but they can hardly fail to be an improvement over the initial status quo. Similarly, as to what happens to the real girl who is rescued, so to speak, from her mental chagrin, who knows the specifics of what happens next — but regardless, they can hardly fail to be an improvement over the status quo. I plan to start with that, and I trust her to map her own course once she feels sufficiently empowered and happy.

At some point, she was a starry-eyed, enthusiastic girl, and in my experience, such fire might go dormant like a volcano does … dormant, but not extinct. After enough time, and in the right circumstances, she might yet again be able to resume that mode.  If somehow my involvement helps this along, great!

As to the story ….

When Do You Figure Out You’re on the Spectrum?

I’m making observations based on social media information provided by a cerebral shy girl who’s currently having a socially hard time, and who has had a hard time socially for much of her teenage and adult life — someone who seems to have similar mental wiring than I have, based on strikingly similar behavior when we were younger.

My observations as to her journey have already helped me understand myself much better, and they have also helped me be more useful to three of my cerebral shy girl friends, two of whom have been formally diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and one of whom has only recently realized that her being on the spectrum would explain much of what’s been puzzling her about herself, including potentially issues that have contributed to, perhaps even caused, her struggle with depression.

I’m using female pronouns in this article since I’m female and so is every one of the relevant individuals I’ve writing about here. I don’t know to what extent this information applies to guys; it might well but I don’t know.

My agenda would not be complete if it didn’t include as a practical beneficiary the original shy girl whose openness provided a rich set of data for my insights. I don’t know why it was impossible for me to notice these things about myself, yet it was possible to notice them about her, and to notice how similar she and I seem to be, and quite possibly are, as to mental wiring.

Hers has been a long journey, spanning 45 difficult years, starting as a young teenager. I’ve been learning from her data for the last two years or so. Much as I’m happy that I understand myself much better, and I’m better able to empower my friends with similar mental wiring, it troubles me that the girl whose openness started it all continues to struggle with life. I don’t know how to help her, but if understanding herself will help her, and this essay enables that, then I’d be delighted. Bottom line, I don’t think justice will have been served until the original archetype is also, finally and belatedly, thriving. It seems safe to say that she’s not currently doing so. Her openness on social media includes enough insights to suggest that, either with original material she wrote, or with material she agrees with enough to re-post:

  • Note to self : I’ve got to fucking get it together
  • Free-floating anxiety level : High
  • I spend a lot of time dreading.
  • I’m so sick of my phone
  • a time-lapse of my insomnia last night would be hilarious
  • i’m constantly amazed at how much i can’t do in a day
  • i like art that makes you feel even if the feeling is sadness
  • it’s important to give up on everything first thing in the morning
  • high on existential dread
  • I’m either exhausted or this is what “relaxed” feels like

My personal skirmishes with depression don’t qualify as a full-scale battle with depression, but even so one of the laments of someone struggling with depression is that others don’t seem to understand or care.

So if this particular girl (Miss X) recognizes her own quotes above, perhaps that helps her be clear to whose specific intended benefit I’m writing this essay. I’m omitting her name from this essay only because the less-cerebral might then more easily happen to stumble across this, and mistakenly conclude that this essay intends to disparage or hurt her when the exact opposite is actually the case.

Even so, this is a publicly accessible document, and (as does sometimes happen, to my delight) what I write here might be noticed by a like-minded stranger who then makes contact and becomes a new friend.  The girl who’s currently my girl-friend, and has had that role for the last almost-six years, made contact with me after reading an article I’d written.

* * *

If someone is formally diagnosed as being somewhere on the autism spectrum, the diagnosis might well be very helpful.

Often, however, the symptoms are not all that severe, and then someone isn’t diagnosed.  It’s not a priority for her parents to learn why their daughter is stronger intellectually than socially. Depending on the prevailing culture in the household, if it’s a highly intellectual unit, then the observation might well rather simply be considered as good news, as in the parents have a child who’s likely to be an “A” student without much parental prodding being needed.

As to social development issues, it can be hard to say whether or not there’s a formal problem because most teenagers seem to have social issues, and if the teenager is on the spectrum, that might well mean a child who’s more likely to fit the classic definition of being well-behaved: she might be more inclined to read, play a musical instrument, be creative and generally not have the sort of social behavior that results in juvenile delinquency. Her demeanor might well be seen as a blessing instead of a problem. Also, if she’s the only female sibling (which does describe Miss X), it might well have been difficult for her parents to judge whether she was abnormally shy or simply shy relative to the natural presumed boisterousness of her brothers.

Even if a parent would normally be perfectly able to diagnose someone, it being that person’s child can make the diagnosis impossibly hard.  There’s a professional standard whereby mental health professionals are dissuaded from diagnosing or counseling those whom they know well personally, because objectivity suffers.

Timing matters, too, if she’s only mildly on the autism spectrum, such as  might have qualified her for being diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome.  As per Wikipedia: “The modern conception of Asperger syndrome came into existence in 1981” so if she was already an adult by then, the likelihood of being diagnosed as such is quite slim.  To be precise, until 1981, behavior like hers was officially a non-problem, as in “we just have a shy daughter” summing it up.  Indeed, Miss X had proceeded into adulthood, by 1981.

Then again, showing symptoms of Aspergers syndrome is also not a black-and-white thing, so someone could just be barely on the Aspergers spectrum, which is a relatively mild set of problems to have, by clinical-diagnosis standards. And, as of 2013, a diagnosis of Aspergers is no longer officially available in the US, and instead there’s just the broad-spectrum diagnosis of being somewhere on the autism spectrum — or not.

Living an undiagnosed life probably brings some benefits in the absence of stigmatization by insensitive neurotypicals, e.g., students in her age group, who as teenagers probably tended to latch onto any perceived social weakness as a shark does to a drop of blood in the ocean, and with similar consequence.  However, this means the girl then is left to figure out for herself why she has such a hard time connecting socially with those around her.

This is no small problem. For me, my inability to connect deeply with neurotypicals caused emotional despair on the subject of “what the heck is wrong with me?” that ended up with me strongly considering the option of drowning myself in Santa Monica Bay, by heading out to sea one dark afternoon on my windsurfer, with no particular intention of ever coming back again.

* * *

In my experience, although there were mean kids around even before I was a teenager, and although I did dislike and distrust a few specific adults enough to generally be wary, the world generally seemed to be in order, and people around me seemed to be generally OK, including my ability to connect with them socially.  Not that this had involved much of a feat: pre-teenage social structures were nice and simple.  Being accused of being naive, in pre-teenage years, makes little sense because the behavior of a child should indeed exemplify benevolence and trust.

It was at age 13 or 14 that I realized something was wrong. My forthright, open, direct, honest communications with others my age somehow made me vulnerable for social ridicule and eventually ostracism, and finally a target for violence. Something I’d done all my life (communicate logically) suddenly wasn’t working any more, and I was puzzled as to why.  Former friends became more and more distant, then stopped being friendly.

I read somewhere that Miss X similarly was branded as naive, during her high school years. I sympathize and I relate.

The television series “Black Mirror” in season 3, episode 1 shows people having a mobile device that measures one’s social standing numerically. To her chagrin, the main character sees her score dwindle more and more in spite of her best efforts.  That pretty much sums up how I felt, though the girl in the TV series at least understands the social norms by which she’s failing, and I was much more clueless.

I was benevolent and trusting amidst teenagers who were neither benevolent nor  trusting nor trustworthy, and who saw my trust as convenient — similar to how a car thief would consider an unlocked car with the keys in the ignition. To say I was naive would be an understatement.  The mean and petty behavior I saw around me just didn’t make any sense to me, and I routinely underestimated the depth of the malice of the teenagers around me.  The nicer I was, the more it worked against me.

The worst part was when I lamented as to the situation to any adult who would listen.  To my horror, their reaction was that the situation I described was normal life, and I’d better grow the fuck up and get used to it quickly, and there was an implied condescension that I’d been naive to have assumed anything better.  This news was generally bundled with some philosophical platitudes that made no sense to me, then and now but the gist of it as I recall was that the world was a fuzzy place, certainty was an illusion, ethics were a naive superstition, justice didn’t exist in the world and so on.  I can’t imagine how any of that could qualify as useful advice; it didn’t help me at all.  I pretty much rejected all of that and decided I was going to live my life by my own standards even if I was going to be the only one around who was honest and nice.

When I was in my late teens, it all got to be a bit much for me. I’d grown up in an upper-middle-class neighborhood, and the constant social rejection were becoming more than I wanted to deal with. My shyness was a direct consequence of my reluctance to engage socially for the same reason why someone might have a reluctance to pet a species of wild animal that has a long track record of causing injury.

I’d seen hints of more-realistic and more-focused people: those who worked on cars, or sold used auto parts.  I’d discovered these people while trying to work on my own well-worn used car. They lived and worked, literally and figuratively, on the other side of the railroad tracks.  So, I moved out of my parent’s home and into a very humble part of a very humble blue-collar mechanics’ neighborhood. I was thrilled at my new-found social circle.  Nobody knew who I was; I hoped they would treat me at face value and maybe they wouldn’t notice I’m a naive, cerebral shy girl.  Besides, the people around me were of a variety of age groups — not just teenagers. They had a gritty wholesomeness that was focused on working on cars, drinking hard and partying hard.  Their malice was crude and simple, like beating each other up after drinking too much — and they left me out of it.  I fell in love with that culture and have, in many ways, kept a toe in that cultural pool ever since. Then and now, I enjoy their acceptance of me. It gave me a more-safe environment in which to try to learn neurotypical behavior. More importantly, by the standards of the neighborhood where I’d grown up, the blue-collar folks around me — my new-found sub-culture — were misfits, cultural rejects.  So, by general standards, was I.  So by that token, I — the misfit — belonged amidst my blue-collar neighbors, even though it didn’t occur to me at the time that really I didn’t fit there either, I was just so far off their scale of reference that they didn’t know what to make of me.  I was probably the most polite, scrupulously honest, forthright, sober person in the entire ZIP code.  But instead of focusing on me, the others  were focused on cars, on making ends meet, on being able to afford beer, on being able to make bail, on being able to survive the next domestic dispute without either party ending up in jail or the hospital.

Interestingly, I noticed Miss X did something parallel.  She was enamored with rock  music already, and she finally embraced rock culture in the SF Bay area in much the same way as I’d embraced car culture in the blue-collar neighborhood. She saw the Sex Pistols in concert; I saw people who literally punctuated their speech by throwing metal cans around. Yet, personally, she was sweet as pie as was I.   In every way I consider fundamental, she was as pure as the driven snow, as was I — and yet each of us was starry-eyed at the new intensely rebellious sub-culture we each had discovered, and into which we each, respectively, started to fit professionally, first part-time then full-time.

I moved to LA, and stayed involved in car culture, specifically in Venice, which was a wild part of West LA at the time. Even when I was chronologically 23, I was still very naive. At that age, I recall getting an obscene phone call at work in a small open-plan office. The office around me gradually became quiet as everyone around could infer what was going on from my half of the conversation, and eventually people were openly eavesdropping.  As for me, I didn’t initially notice: I was focused on the conversation. It was a peculiar conversation, full of sexual innuendo more blatant than I could reconcile with neurotypical behavior, so I was having a hard time managing my half of the dialog, even as I continued to be sincerely and extremely polite.  When, for the fourth time or so, I insisted that I really should get back to work, the other party finally relented and said good-bye, perhaps no less puzzled than I was.  It’s perhaps the first time that someone made an obscene phone call and was treated so respectfully and earnestly.  As soon as I hung up the office erupted in a  consensus that I should have hung up immediately because that’s how one deals with obscene phone calls.  My defense was that I hadn’t wanted to be rude.  It didn’t even occur to me that I should not take the person at face value.

Similarly, a music industry executive had convinced Miss X, when she was in her late 20s, that she’d do a better job of recording music were she to do so in the nude, and although his subsequent confession made it clear his suggestion had been trickery from the get-go, she took him seriously, and did just that.

That seems highly parallel to my approach to the obscene phone call. She and I each took people earnestly at face value.  We each presumed that people were as nice and trustworthy as we ourselves were — an approach that would cause us to get deceived again and again.

As to how I would have developed as a teenager, were I surrounded by like-minded beings … probably happily and normally, but we’ll never know.  My emotional development sort of paused when I was a young teenager.  It took everything I had to manage to function in the strange world of mean teenagers around me — to try to learn their code so that I could function socially.  There wasn’t time or energy to also pursue whatever a normal track of development would have been, for me.  So, things just sort of paused with part of my mindset as if I were still 13 or 14.  In many ways, this came in handy. I was of small stature, and some considered me cute.

So, even when I was much older, I could function with the charm and style of an endearing 13 or 14-year old, and do well.

My mom, concerned with my social shyness, enrolled me in oratory class.  That pushed my shyness into literally hysterical levels to where my defense mechanism was to laugh. I would laugh for minutes, sometimes twenty minutes on end, hysterical with laughter.  But, the few times when I wasn’t laughing, I won every competition, not because I was a good orator but because I had the charm of a very young teenager.  It was all I had, and it worked, so … great. My fellow teenagers might not have been nice to me, but the adult judges who handed out trophies — they were.  Time marched on, but my age didn’t seem to.  Even when I was in my mid-20s I was told I look like a 15-year-old, not least because I probably behaved like one, style-wise.  It was useful.  It opened doors for me.  What used to count against me now was being downright helpful.

As for Miss X, the same technique worked.  She recorded a music video, when she was 28, that looked as if she were 15 or 16, and she perfectly played the part of a teenager, intent on seducing another teenager.  Playing a teenager was all she had, and it worked, so … great. Her fellow teenagers at the time might not have been nice to her, but the adult record industry execs who handed out contracts, and made stars  — they were, though I’m clear that “nice” in the context of 1980s record industry execs … that’s a relative term.  I’ll rephrase it to say they preferred her over others, including her bandmates, in spite of her insistence on band member equality.  Soon she was being called the “lead singer” and that created problems.  Her charm and style, throughout much of her music career, was that of a young teenage girl.  It was useful.  It opened doors for her.  What used to count against her … it had instead become downright helpful.  I watched a music video of her on-stage when she was in Tennessee.  She looks like she’s a young teenager, but she was 37 at the time.   I listened today to something she recorded when she was in her 40s.  It’s a lovely, clear, precise voice but it’s also a very young-sounding voice, that of a girl in her early teenage years.  Even now, as I notice what people write to her on social media, guys mention that as teenagers they’d responded emotionally to her sassy music video as if she had been a teenager at the time.

By now she and I are each older … well, let’s just say we were each born when JFK was still around.  As in “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” — that JFK.   But even so, many people are still super-nice to her in the gentle, protective way as if she’s still a young teenager.  And, many people are still super-nice to me when I go to my local junkyard. I get treated like a princess.  Entry fees are waived, bottles of water are donated, parts are donated or discounted, special services are donated, special deals are dug up, help is provided, exceptions are made. It’s wonderful.  Having a young-teenage-girl vibe is not the core part of my personality any more, but it’s still part of the twinkle in my eye.

Romantically, I was in no shape to be intimate with someone who was a typical mean teenager, so I ended up in a romance with another cerebral shy girl, and the dynamic was much more focused on being nurturing than ripping each others’ clothes off, though it was indeed and officially a sexual romance. However she came across to the world, when she and I were together, it was as if we had our own blissful, trusting intimate sub-culture. I finally had someone of my very own.  I loved it a lot more than she did, not least because she probably wasn’t as cerebral or naive as I, and she craved more of a typical, cynical, adult dynamic — which I couldn’t provide.  I tried to stand on the merit of what I’d built up by then but that wasn’t enough.  And  not that I was perfectly well-behaved either.  I made mistakes, including presuming that I had more negotiating clout than I actually had. She started drifting away.  But, I had worked hard and saved diligently, and by solving her financial concerns, I blatantly tried to keep my place in her heart with money trying to bridge the gap. It didn’t work.  In my late 20s, she left and I was very single and alone again. That was the era that saw my aborted windsurf-from-LA-to-Japan attempt. Those were dark days. Loneliness hurts.

This was a very difficult time and subject for Miss X too. I won’t dwell on it out of empathy, but her path and mine had painful parallels. Her music elaborates richly.  Ironically, even the way in which she so earnestly tries to reason her former lover to come back reminds me of the logical approach I took too, and her singular focus has the intense hope and passion that people tend to have when they’re in their first romance, at age 13 or 14.  The relationship is supremely important, rejection hurts much more, one is vulnerable to being used and manipulated, and there’s a sort of insistence on believing that somehow, if we try long enough then we can somehow reason our way to success.  I love that approach in her, not least since it’s what I relate to, and what I did although by then chronologically she and I were each far beyond where this was behavior that fitted with how our partners’ minds were functioning, as evidenced by the fact that it didn’t work for her or for me.

In retrospect I’m better off without that girl being in my life any more, and perhaps Miss X is better off without her first serious love still being in her life any more … but at the time, that’s not at all a consideration.  We each threw everything we had into saving the respective romantic dynamic.

Am I on the spectrum? I don’t know. I’d guess yes.  It would explain a lot.  Is Miss X on the spectrum?  Same answers …

* * *

From there, my style diverges from that of Miss X.

I figured out that, weird as I am, being nice, ethical and earnest makes me better than the typical human, not worse. I still need to get along with neurotypical people and so I learned to do so but it’s not as if I am trying to aspire to be worthy of them. I’m worthy based on the content of my character.  (Thank you, Dr. King).

I wove the interaction style of neurotypical people into my own make-up in such a way that I can now naturally go out to Walgreens and be on a warm-smile basis with everyone who works there.  I’ve been told that people jockey for position to help me when I walk toward the pharmacy counter, so as to be able to be the one to help me.  People are super-nice to me and I easily interact with them in a way that socially gets me an A+ with extra credit.  Everyone seems to remember my name, yet in this essay I must confess that I remember hardly anyone’s name — but I probably could remember their phone number and their car’s license plate number, as I still remember the phone number my mom had in the late 60s, and the license plate of her car.  I can hardly walk into Wal-Mart before some beaming, friendly person yells my name and a happy greeting.  Sometimes I get given flowers.  It’s safe to say that people seem to fall in love with me much more often than I reciprocate.  I don’t find interaction with neurotypical people exhausting or intimidating any more.  I can read and handle people just fine.  Three years ago I worked in Europe in a legal brothel, and I had my own private room without there being a security guard on-site.  I have stared down (although I was staring upward) muscular, 6’4″ tall strangers whom I’d just told I wasn’t OK with screwing condomless or for free, and if they weren’t OK with it, then there’s the door.  I’ve stood by a dumpster in an alley in the rain, switching to my 6″ stilettoes before walking cold-turkey into another legal brothel and saying, “Hi, I’m applying to work here.”  I’m still sweet as pie but by now I’m also hard as nails.

I can’t imagine I’ll ever be lonely. I get hit on by neurotypical people, and I know that relationship disaster awaits me in a romance with a neurotypical, so I say “no” but I appreciate the attention.  Meanwhile, I can spot cerebral shy girls, and they can spot me, as if we were all dipped in Day-Glow neon orange.  My cerebral shy girl girl-friend found me. I’m polyamorous so until earlier this year, I had two cerebral shy girl-friends openly at the same time.  The only reason I don’t have two now is because I’m choosing not too. I’m clear it’s an option in multiple places if I were to go there. It’s  a wonderful life.

Meanwhile, my businesses are doing well.  My career prospects are good.  I’m still paying off a lot of business debt and I live humbly until I’ve got it all paid off, but I’m happy. I’m healthy. I love dressing nicely to start the new day.

This is where I’m so concerned for Miss X.  Like me, and much better than me, she has mastered the art of interacting with neurotypicals to the point where they’re super-nice to her. But, I don’t get the sense that she has integrated this with her own personality to where it’s normal and natural.  More and more, she seems to isolate herself socially to where non-trivial interaction with neurotypicals doesn’t build her up; they exhaust her.

Does she know how special she actually is, and why?  I’m not so sure. The movie “The AllNighter” is the tale of a cerebral shy girl who nevertheless saves the day, and although her romantic aspirations initially end badly, she eventually manages to end up naked in bed with the hot surfer guy on whom she had a crush all along. The problem is that the surfer guy is basically an unreasonable jerk, and landing him is not all that great a victory.  So, the message might be “keep trying, cerebral shy girl, one day you can rise to this level.”  Problem is, by my standards, the girl in the movie isn’t rising, she’s stooping.  She’s the highest-quality person in the entire movie. There’s a special irony in that the role of the cerebral shy girl is actually played by Miss X and the movie was made by her mom. I worry about whether Miss X realizes that although she’s different, she’s better than most, not worse.

Last year, an acquaintance of mine happened upon her walking down a sidewalk, in a touristy area. She was sightseeing alone. I’m all for being alone when I want to be, but I get the sense that Miss X feels lonely.  I don’t have the impression that Miss X is aware of the rich set of social and relationship joys that cerebral shy girls can offer her for comforting, understanding and more — whatever she wants to reconcile to her current social status quo — or if she is, she’s not sure how to reach out.  I get the impression that Miss X is having a hard time, isn’t eating well, isn’t sleeping well, isn’t connecting with those with whom she can find comfort, isn’t happy that it’s the start of a new day.

Dear Miss X, you’re close to solving the puzzle.  You deserve to be happy.  If a close connection with someone like-minded is what you crave, then perhaps you already (and still) have one person in mind, but until he’s available, it’d be good if you spiraled up, not down.  Interaction with like-minded girls can help.  Reach out to me, reach out to one of my friends, to my girlfriend, to my ex-girlfriend even.  You — the real you, the cerebral shy girl whom everyone found to be naive — you deserve to make it through every day more and more easily, and then to have things become better yet from there, every day.  You deserve to be happy at each sunrise, at being the best sort of person around — someone so nice, kind and positive that there was, and is, a chasm between you and much of the rest of mankind.

 

 

Waiting for Supergirl

The movie “Waiting for Superman” tells the story of a boy, eight years old or so, who could deal with the bad news that he’d been lied to about the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and so on. What hit him really hard was the news that Superman is a fictional character. The boy’s life, at school, was very difficult and he had just cause to believe it beyond his ability to fix. He needed help. Fortunately, Superman tends to show up when there’s a worthy beneficiary needing justice administered, and so the boy waited … and waited. Every day that Superman didn’t show up could be reconciled with the premise that, well, the man probably had a long to-do list but he’d probably get around to this particular crisis, sooner or later. So with the same hope and benevolent world view that many people lose as they get hurt, the boy waited for Superman. The news that Superman is fictional meant he’d never appear, and the problems surrounding the boy would never get fixed. It changed his world view from hopeful to despairing.

Similarly, when I was young, life was difficult for me. I lived with my mom and my stepfather. I loved my mom intensely and hated my stepfather with the same passion, after a few unsuccessful attempts at making the dynamic with him work. My dad, by contrast was my hero — grew up as a street kid, survived as a street fighter, always confident and happy, able to play the guitar, could fix anything, had two engineering degrees, was soft-spoken and polite — especially when being precisely and deliberately offensive to someone who was being mean, drove a dune buggy, spoke more than seven languages, had literally worked as a government secret agent, was physically so lithe, fit and strong it was freakish, had a happy succession of utterly gorgeous girlfriends, was utterly fearless, carefree, charming, eloquent and brilliant, wore outfits and boots that were very androgynous, and walked like a girl but in a way that radiated strength and grace. Perhaps my dad was a trans girl; we’ll never know since my dad has passed away but that’s my, and my mom’s, best guess.

My dad adored me, and doted on me in a great many ways — as long as it didn’t mean taking on responsibility, keeping promises, or paying child support on anything but an occasional and random basis. I didn’t care about the latter. In my eyes, my dad could do no wrong, so I did my mom and my stepfather an injustice by being an ingrate from when I was eight until I was twenty or so, at which point my insights into my dad’s questionable ethics made me aghast, and soured the relationship with my dad forever. So, from age twenty or so, there was no superhero at my beck and call.

I prided myself on blazing my own trail, and tried to be everything my dad was, plus better as to doing things ethically. It’s made for a life of which I can fundamentally be proud though I’ve made many mistakes, including hurting some people I care about — inadvertently but nevertheless. I found that I’d started taking on leadership roles more and more formally … something I’d been doing, informally ever since I was maybe ten or so years old. I liked figuring out what to do, and leading the way. I liked providing inspiration and structure to those who look to me for leadership. I can’t claim to have been anyone’s Supergirl but I came closer than most, in my aspirations and sometimes the effects of my efforts.

By now that mindset is so fundamental to how I tick that this painting by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell is my favorite:

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Most days I feel like I’m the girl on the right. I like to be someone whom others have reason to respect, and look to for strength, structure, inspiration and comforting. Perhaps that’s what makes me a good Dominatrix, even though I have retired from working as such. The protective and nurturing dynamic tends to carry over into my everyday relationships.

But, when I was coming out as a trans girl, a few years ago, life was very hard for me, and I could barely handle things well enough to keep moving forward. I was glum, sleeping erratically and not enough, getting very little done, wasting time … I wasn’t diagnosed with depression but from what I understand about having been in romantic relationships with girls who were sometimes depressed, my best guess is that my state of mind qualified as depression. I craved someone who would help me, as I have helped others — and much more yet.

To me, there’s something deliciously primal about being on the receiving end (which is the only way I have sex with guys) when I’m having sex with a guy whom I can at least minimally respect as being a basically decent human being. So, I craved a guy who would find me sexually irresistibly even though I felt hideous and probably looked at best miserable. I hoped he’d take me to his mansion and then ravish me morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night as if he’d bought me at a slave auction and was getting his money’s worth. As part of ravishing me, he’d feminize and prettify and sexualize me more yet, and make me ever more submissive to his sexual dominance.

I’d end up looking like Barbie and have so hot a sex life that I could hardly think straight, nor would I have to because my role would mainly involve arching my back, with everything that implied. Whatever I was thinking would be secondary at best. I would morph into a gorgeous hot blonde, and as for the money to feed, house and transform me — the guy would be a successful businessman with more than enough disposable income. I’m 6′ tall so he’d have to be even taller than I am, and much stronger, and more assertive.

That was my fantasy. I craved someone like that.

… and I found him. This might be news to whoever reads my blog, because I’ve never mentioned him before.

In the same way as a skilled bank teller can easily identify fake money, I tend to be good at identifying fake people. I gave this guy every reasonable shakedown appropriate to where we were in the dynamic, and he passed my every test. He was dominant, powerful, large (in every way I liked) and he specifically wanted a just-barely-out trans girl to turn into a hot girlfriend and (later) wife, because dealing with the social issues involved with an already-hot genetically integrated (a.k.a. cis-) girl was more hassle than he liked. He was deeply savvy about trans girl issues, including many things I happened to know, and several I didn’t, but that I subsequently validated. This guy was savvy enough to be able to provide what I needed. His knowledge also included information about inspiring submission — complex and subtle concepts that I happened to know as a trained, experienced, professional Dominatrix. He was successful in business and had enough funding to morph me into what I craved to look like. His pace was realistic. I’d submit to his *every* wish, and …

… wait, what?

Except for things that violate my personal integrity, of course. For example, I wouldn’t desecrate the American flag, hurt anyone, betray anyone, and so on. That all was clearly out of bounds, as to the him-and-I dynamic, right? I could say “no, I have an ethical problem with that, so I refuse” — right? Wrong. He didn’t want to risk getting into a debate whenever I had an ethical concern about something. So, I insisted, he did too, and we parted ways even before we ever met, in person. This was a few years ago.

So, there I was, with no Superman expected to rescue me. I felt hideous and I felt socially inept as a girl, not that (by my standards) I even looked or sounded or walked like a girl. I was overweight, had facial hair, body hair, an Adam’s apple, no boobs, and poor health. My blood pressure was too high, my good blood cholesterol was too low, my bad blood cholesterol was too high, and at 30 pounds over my ideal weight, I was officially fat.

I’d had cancer a couple of years before, and when the doctor had told me with a concerned expression that she might have to remove my entire left nipple to get all the cancer, I giggled because it was so peculiar to me that she would think I cared whatever happened to my body — it was hideous anyway, so “Go ahead, cut away … I really don’t care” — is how I felt. Maybe the cancer would stay away, maybe not. If not, I didn’t have any money to do something about it. My most proactive step would have been to stop buying green bananas, but I didn’t have enough money for buying groceries that far ahead anyway.

My finances were a mess, my credit was worse, and I was soon going to be without a place to live. My mom and I weren’t talking to each other, and it was a very cold December of 2013 in northern Nevada. The 1992 Ford van in which I seemed likely to soon live didn’t have a heater. The economy was generally in the toilet but especially in Nevada, and especially in Northern Nevada.

If ever I needed a rescue, it was then.

To make things worse, I wasn’t exactly young any more. I hate giving out my age. I ask people to guess instead. One lady, who was my girlfriend for a while and yet never found out the actual number, guessed “32” and you can probably draw several conclusions from the fact that I found that a huge complement. I’m not 32 years old; not even close.

I don’t want to look good “for my age.” I want to look good, period. Not that looking good is all there is to life, but it’s part of what I value. Probably I’m overcompensating for other insecurities. That’s fine. So be it. But, time is not kind, and it’s been marching on.

Not that I could afford facial feminization surgery — and I still can’t — but many of the before-vs-after pictures I saw, of trans girls who went in to have facial feminization surgery (chin, jaw, forehead, scalp) … they came out looking no longer like a sad middle-aged guy but like a sad, dowdy middle-aged lady. So even if someone funded all that, I’d still end up looking like my best years were permanently behind me and I was more likely to be eaten by a bear than to find a guy who’d ride me hard in bed — ever.

I didn’t need rescue by a mere mortal. I needed more — someone with vast amounts of money, and a time machine, and a magic wand.

No-one appeared.

So, I approached a friend with an abandoned run-down apartment that was built in 1937, which in Nevada is the equivalent of a British castle that was built in the year 1100 or so. It’s OLD. I negotiated to pay the utilities to keep their water pipes from freezing until I was back on my feet, financially, four months hence and then I’d start paying rent. She agreed, and I packed my stuff into my van, drove out to the boonies and moved into my new-to-me home. This was quite a comedown after having lived in an elegant two-story condo with a swimming pool, right by Virginia Lake in Reno, which when I’d moved in had brand-new appliances, etc. Still, though the old apartment was humble, I wasn’t homeless.

I scraped up money to pay another friend to fix the van’s heater. I sold several of my larger assets. I survived financially.

My mom and I started talking again, and we became closer. We’re still doing so. I kept improving my miserable finances, and kept paying off debts. I’m still doing so.

I decided to become my own Supergirl as to my health looks. I ate healthily, took hormones as medically prescribed, exercised and started caring for my skin, my hair and my body in general. I didn’t focus on make-up. I wanted to look good even without make-up. Here’s one of my favorite informal pictures of myself, taken in September 2016, in my kitchen (though admittedly I probably was wearing some eyebrow pencil, and I had semi-permanent lashes).

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I worked my butt into shape with squats.

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I kept taking hormones, and I hoped my boobs would grow. They did!

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I worked my tummy. Here’s a picture from a few weeks ago.

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I learned how to walk better, dance better and talk better. I learned how to write better, and I started making money as a part-time professional author.

I found an affordable way to get my eyebrows waxed and my hair done. I personally waxed my body hair and facial hair into oblivion. Later, when i could afford it, I got electrolysis for my remaining facial hair.

Guys started to like me. By now I’ve had sex with so many guys I’ve literally lost count (and I insist it be safe sex, every time). Nowadays I have four local-enough bootie call guy friends who are a mere email away.

Girls like me too. I get hit on a lot. I have a girlfriend who loves me and whom I love. Perhaps one day I’ll have two girlfriends again. I don’t know. Either way, I’m happy.

My work is going well. My software business is thriving and my used car parts business is starting to feel like it’s an airplane accelerating down the runway, right before the wheels leave the ground.

So, is life perfect? Probably not, no. But, close enough. I’m happy.

Am I satisfied with the rescue work that Supergirl did for me, in my darkest hour? Yes, I am.

As to who she is … she’s me. I had lots of help from wonderful friends, but fundamentally, I had put on my big-girl panties and did the hard work myself.

Cruelty to Animals

I am a trans girl, openly so. I have been “out” as such for a few years but I was an adult by the time I came out. Being a “not out” trans girl made for a peculiar childhood, when growing up in a conservative culture such as I did.

Everybody who had an opinion about my gender took it for granted that I was a boy. Initially I didn’t question that. I had no basis to question adults’ mastery of the universe at any significant level until I was maybe seven or eight years old. My trust included accepting their opinion as to whether I am a boy or girl.

My first focus on gender issues was the realization that if I was a boy, then I was a very different boy than the other boys I saw. I tended to read, play piano, play guitar, make candles, write, knit, crochet, sew and draw. I tended to be quiet and polite. Much later, I figured out that — even though I’ve not been diagnosed — I’m probably somewhere on the Asperger’s spectrum. That explains my more-cerebral emphasis but it doesn’t explain the fundamental interest I had in feminine things. My mother was probably puzzled at my choice of activities, but not concerned to the point where she forbade them.

The boys in my age group were very different. They were boisterous, loud and cruel — especially to animals. This cemented my premise that there must be two types of boys: boys like me and … all the other boys. As the years went by, the thing that made me feel most alien relative to them … was that the boys in my age group seemed to relish hurting animals. For them it was a matter of pride.

When I was maybe eight years or so, I had a fight with our house cat. I don’t remember who had started that altercation (in all fairness to the cat, it was probably I) but basically the cat and I ended up being mad at each other, as in its ears flat and it was hissing at me. That day, I was more mean to the cat than to any other being before or since, as far as I recall. At some point, I whacked the cat’s haunches with a billiard table cue stick. It wasn’t hard enough to cause any noticeable damage or subsequent symptom such as limping, and probably even after a vet had examined the cat, he might well have not noticed anything untoward, but it was hard enough that I still feel guilty about it to this day. That was essentially the worst event, on the scale of me being mean to animals.

By contrast the things I heard at school and that I observed — they were shocking to me even though this was South Africa and cruelty was never in short supply in male culture. I like to avoid gender stereotypes unless they are useful and properly qualified. In this case they certainly were useful, to help me figure out that whatever I was was, I was not a boy like those boys were. I was not the only one aware of the difference, They had noticed it too, and they had started picking on me including by extension, my dog.

He was a Cairn terrier, very energetic and boisterous, so full of energy that if he would sometimes just run and run. He had never had been exposed to traffic, cars and the outside world so letting him out of the fenced yard was dangerous to him. So some boys came over to my place, and made a point of putting him outside the fence, and he ran away. That time he eventually came back alive but at some point he got out again, and didn’t come back. Their focus, however, was mostly on me. Much of the bullying was emotional and but some was physical too.

I was an “A” student, and French was one of my best subjects. I fully expected to get an “A” as my final grade for French, in high school. The night before the final exam, when I was sitting by my bedroom window, studying, one of the boys in my age group threw a half-brick through the plate-glass window right where I was sitting. The curtain protected me from being cut by flying glass but it was hard for me to concentrate afterwards, so I did badly on the final exam, and I missed getting an “A” by a couple of percentage points. Even so, my other grades were all “As” and by grades were so high that my picture ended up at the top center of the front page of a major newspaper in the city where I lived. Still, one more “A” would have been nice.

As the years went by, my distaste for animal cruelty grew, whereas the boys in my age group seemed to get ever more effective at, and focused on, hurting animals.

I’m a free-market girl and I’m an atheist, so much as I’m passionate for justice I’m by now also pretty cynical about how justice is best served. I am wary of passing laws, not least due to who’s likely to end up enforcing them. There’s a saying that people who enjoy sausage and obey the law should best not observe either being made. I’ve spent enough time speaking out at city council meetings, county commissioners’ meetings, planning meeting etc. that I don’t have a lot of confidence in the precision of the legal system.

I think that cultural and social change are the most important force in the world. I’ve seen that help bring the Berlin wall down, and end racism in white South Africa. I’ve seen this force help gay people become generally accepted in the US, and then later this extended to trans girls like myself. I think that cultural change is what best shapes the course of the world.

I’m aware that many intellectual giants are male, as are many of my friends, but as a broad generalization, I’m noticing a typically-female-based grass-roots subculture that celebrates the various facets of “be nice” and “don’t be mean” with those ideas then very slowly permeating into male subculture, perhaps during dinner table arguments between male and female family members, and with reason typically on the latter side. That gives me hope.

As part of that, I think animal cruelty is becoming less and less OK too, in general culture. I like that. To each his own, as to how to spread good ideas, but I prefer leading by example and by reasoning things out, rather than passing laws or using force. So that’s my personal preference, and here is a silly story that perhaps shows where I fit, as to this subject.

* * *

In late 2006, my finances were doing very well. I’m polyamorous and openly so, and at the time I had three girlfriends. In December, I chose to enjoy a vacation with each of my three girlfriends (with each of them being well aware of this, and of each other — two of them had become friends, too). One girl, I visited in London, the other I flew to Oahu (Hawaii) and the third girl I flew to Kauai (Hawaii). As to the latter, we spent the better part of a week there, and that’s where this story happened.

My timing was bad in the sense that Kauai had just been ravaged by an intense storm that had caused power outages and continued to do so while we were there. Massive branches had fallen, and were blocking roadways. Hanalei Bay is where I like to surf, but it the water was muddy — great for hungry tiger sharks but bad for surfing. Red flags dotted the beach, meaning: “Humans not wishing to become shark-bait should stay out of the water.”

We focused on each other, and on the natural beauty that was still there, albeit slightly storm-damaged and with gray skies overhead. Hoping to enjoy some surfing, I had chosen a nice-but-affordable condominium resort close to Hanalei Bay. The perfect place would have been the Princeville Hotel. I’ve stayed there in the past, and I know it well, but it was outside of my budget even in 2006. It’s an amazing building, built into a hillside. The lowest story opens up on the beach and the top story as essentially atop the cliff. So it’s a seven-or-so story building, but you enter the foyer at the top floor and then you take an elevator down to the beach or pool.

The beach by the hotel is nice, too. We enjoyed spending time on the beach plus there are tide pools to explore and even though the rocks are sharp, sandals solve the problem. It’s fun to wander around and peek inside to see the fascinating shoreline tide-pool marine life.

The girlfriend I was with was sweet but it’s safe to say I was the more-sensitive of the two of us, perhaps in part because she’d been a sergeant in the Army and had grown up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — two things that can shape one’s personality. She wanted to collect a great many sea shells to take back with her, as mementos. I explained that, much is I sympathize with her need for memorabilia, there are literally millions of visitors to Kauai every year, and if everybody took away many sea shells, there would be far fewer sea shells for subsequent visitors to see and enjoy. She heard me out but decided that she would nevertheless proceed to collect them. I accepted her decision.

As the days went by, we enjoyed each other’s company and the beauty of Kauai, but every morning I looked at the beach to see if the conditions were by then good for surfing. Every morning the water continued to remain murky from the storm runoff, and bright-red flags on the beach were adamant that surfing would be very dangerous. I was greatly disappointed at that but even so, it was lovely vacation.

For the last day, I had booked a hospitality suite at our resort, for the latter portion of the day that spans from normal check-out time to when we needed to leave, to catch our late-night flights back to the mainland. That way, we could enjoy the beach on the last day too, and still have a nice place to shower, get dressed and relax until that night — then leave, hit the road and drive the very long, single-lane, no-passing road from the North Shore all the way down to the southern part of the island, where the airport is.

I hate being late, so I timed things carefully. Having been in the Military, my girlfriend had a similar appreciation for good timing. At sunset, she collected her last batch of shells from the tide pools by the Princeville Hotel, and right before we left, she had them laid out by the kitchen sink of our hospitality suite, to wash them out. Right then, out of one of the shells, walked a little crab. He looked at me, and I looked at him.

As I stood there, looking at this little crab, I realized there was no way the story was going to end well for him. Even if I turned him loose outside the front door, he wouldn’t survive on the landscaped grounds of the resort. We were far from the beach. He’d never find it. Flying to the mainland would kill him too. I kept looking at this little crab, and I felt sorry for it. It must suck to be minding your own business and suddenly your entire house is lifted up with you inside it, and you are in some strange, new and dangerous place.

I explained my concerns to my girlfriend who was sympathetic enough to move our plans ahead by half an hour. We packed and checked out, and I drove from our resort to the nearby Princeville Hotel. Valet parking is expensive and time-consuming, so I parked in a not-so-close free-parking area fairly close to the hotel, and I ran to the hotel. I hurried inside, and went down to the beach level, still carrying the shell into which the little crab had once more ducked back into. My plan was to put him back into the ocean, near where he’d been.

Unfortunately by then it was dusk and was getting darker quickly. I ran out onto the beach area and towards the rocky tide pools, trying to remember exactly where my girlfriend had picked up the last batch of shells. I don’t know much about marine biology and how close would be “close enough” so I figured the safest thing to do is to put him back close as possible to where he’d been. I waded out into the tide pool area. I was dressed up, ready to get on an airplane to fly back to the mainland. This included wearing elegant jeans and boots. The boots were fairly water-resistant, as in made for walking through rain puddles, so I was okay with walking along the barely-not-submerged rocky outcroppings, farther and farther away from the shore, to get to the area where I was planning to deposit the sea shell with the little crab inside.

By then it was so dark that it was hard to see where the above-water rock formations were, and I misjudged my footing and stepped down into a tide pool. I ended up being utterly soaked with seawater up to my lower thighs. I decided that this had better be good enough, so I deposited the shell with the little crab into an appropriate-seeming tide pool, and I managed to make my way back to the beach with only one additional mishap. As I walked on the beach, the golden sand stuck to my boots and made a big, sticky mess. I sloshed back to the elevator, the least elegant person in this elegant hotel. Then I sloshed through the elegant marble lobby, and ran back to where I’d parked the rental car. We’d planned well; there was still time to get to the airport and make our respective late-night flights on time, without having to rush.

I drove safely but at the maximum legal speed, along this dark, winding road whose road signs and painted markings disallowed passing — not that it’d have been safe to pass anyway. We were the only car around, except that at a side street, a rusty pickup truck was waiting to pull into the road. There was clearly nobody behind us, and the driver could have waited another 10 seconds. letting us go by first but he cut in front of is. I was guessing it was an act of anti-tourist petty malice. The driver made a point of driving far below the speed limit, and we were stuck behind him and ended up arriving very late at the airport. I dropped my girlfriend off at the gate, said goodbye and she ran in and made her flight.

I returned the rental car, skipped the rental car shuttle and ran through the airport to save a few precious minutes. I arrived at the gate to find out that I had missed my flight by five minutes. I begged the gate agent girl to keep an eye on my luggage and I ran back to the rental car place to try to re-rent my car, but it was shutting down for the night.

Kauai is a small airport, and things shut down after the last flight out like a restaurant closing for the night: light get turned off, shutters come down, people leave. There was no deal on re-renting a car from the same place.

I found one off-airport place that claimed it was still open, and I took the shuttle to their location, but there had been some confusion and they were shutting down too. I urged or bribed the shuttle driver to rush me back to the airport, and I ran from one rental car company to another, trying to rent a car for the night. One company’s workers took pity on me, and rented me a car even though they were officially closed. I ran back to the gate, profusely thanked the gate agent and got my luggage. At least, I now had transportation and wasn’t going to spend the night at a dark and deserted airport.

I called the same resort where we had stayed, and I booked one more night. I also arranged to get a flight back to the mainland the subsequent night. So, with the logistics under control, I drove all the way back up that same road, to the same resort.

The next morning, all the storm clouds and gray weather were gone. It was the sort of intensely azure-skies beautiful day that you can only hope to experience when you wake up in Kauai. The water in Hanalei Bay was clear and the red flags were gone. I rented a surfboard and I surfed for much of the day, to my hearts’ content. I’m an atheist but even so it was almost as if some “force for the good the universe” was were smiling down at me saying “here’s your reward for being nice to the little crab.”

I’m clear that correlation isn’t causality but that’s how it felt to me. It was a nice feeling. I had a wonderful day, made it back to the airport to catch my flight with plenty of time to spare, and and I now have this story to tell.

So now you know how I feel about cruelty to animals. I’m fervently against it, but I’m not about to join a formal organization and I have concerns about people who break into research labs that contain animals. I prefer to speak out personally and to be a good example, enacting cultural change as I go along.

A Post I Wrote, on a Legal Sex Work Forum

Since there seems to be some interest in trans issues, I’m sharing some information with an emphasis on the basic concepts — as I understand them.

My favorite philosopher defined logic as the art of integrating concepts without contradiction. As Aristotle explained it, an actual object cannot embody a contradiction, as in: an object or attribute can’t exist and not exist in the same respect, at the same time. By contrast, a paradox (a seeming contradiction) can exist.

For me, to make sense of this controversial subject (trans girls) required first of all sorting things out in my own idea set, so that I could better understand the issues, including myself. Whenever I arrived at a contradiction, it meant I had made a mistake in fitting the pieces of the puzzle together, and I needed to first go resolve the contradiction. This took me many years. Perhaps for you to read in a few minutes what took me years to figure out … that seems like good leverage, to me.

By providing information here, I’m not presuming to dispense Universal Truth but rather I’m explaining how I managed to make sense of this. If you find flaws in my logic, I’m interested. If you learn or enjoy reading this thread, better yet!

If you dislike trans girls in general or me in particular, I’m not really interested in hearing that. Every year there’s a Transgender Day of Remembrance event during which we read the names of trans people (mostly hot trans girls) who died in the most recent 12 months, from someone else initiating violence, plus the names of trans people who decided to remove themselves from the planet. The suicide rate among trans people is by far the highest of any demographic, and that’s not the result of everyone being warm and fuzzy toward trans people. I’m very clear that many people hate trans girls. I don’t need one more such example to speak up any more than I need one more angry Palestinian to remind me that he hates Israel and America.

Nevertheless, hatred thrives in ignorance, so by speaking out I hope to reduce misunderstanding and the hatred that tends to come with that. One of the things I observed to dissolve racism in South Africa was people of different skin colors realizing (after interacting) that we’re not too different to be able to live in harmony, to learn from each other, and to trade to mutual gain.

Then again, hate has a psychological root, and I plan to provide some information that might enable someone who hates to confront that root cause within himself, in case he chooses to resolve it. The gist of it is that some of the premises on which someone hates trans girls might have very little to do with trans girls and much more to do with the individual’s own internal conflicts.

One of my friends is a staunch gunsmithing Republican vastly more free-market than most Republicans would ever claim to be, and when he first met me, he was aghast. There some reason to believe that only reason he was even civil to me was because I’m friends with his sister, and it was at her wedding and she had insisted beforehand that he behave civilly. This being northern Nevada, at some point the conversation went to guns and economics, and he seemed surprised to hear that my idea set matched his so well. At some point, he approached me in private and we had a long conversation on theology, between an atheist (me) and a fervent Christian (him) after which a friendship began that has continued for more than four years.

It was nice for me to observe how me being trans slowly faded from being all he saw, to being a very minor part of who and what I am. Perhaps that’s the most important point here. Being trans doesn’t define me. That’s just how I was born, just like I was born with brown eyes. I can’t control that. My character and my values — those I do control, and those have shaped my personality and made me who I am. Those do matter.

Perhaps that is the most important aspect of understanding someone being trans — to understand that being trans is a relatively unimportant characteristic, in the grand scheme of things.

Probably some who read this will be trans people. There are many more of us than have come out into the open. So whether you’re out or not, I hope that this thread will make life nicer for you, perhaps as to you understanding yourself better, and others understanding you better.

When I did indie escorting work, I explained that (regardless of how you spell “transsexual” or “transexual”) many people can’t get beyond that adjective. It was the main thing they saw when they looked at me:

adj21

Really, what I’d prefer is for someone to focus on the other attributes that might make a girl desirable to someone (especially if he prefers athletic, leggy, tall blondes). And, by the way, I also happen to be trans. It’s important to me that you know this since otherwise you might well feel misled. So, I don’t hide it.

IMAG0205g

Even so, if you’re a guy and I end up in bed with you, then my plumbing isn’t going to go into your mouth or your butt anyway, and I’d much prefer that you ignore it just as much as most guys ignore a girl’s clit except out of a sense of social duty. My plumbing in front is the least interesting part of me, as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather be evaluated like this:

adj

As to other aspects: Anal sex? Check. I’ve been enjoying that part of me long before I actually had sex with another person. BJs? Check. I used to be so lithe that I could bend down and give myself BJs, so I know what feels good. Enthusiasm? Check. I’m making up for lost time and I always have a chip on my shoulder. I’m always trying to be as good or better than the genetically integrated girls who are my friends, my inspiration and my role models.

None of these traits are inherent in being trans. They’re attributes I have, due to how I chose to play the hand I was dealt. If that makes me interesting to you, yay! Now we’re making progress. 🙂