Our Trip to Ameristar
by Ginny G.
All right, we can't let Sharon have all the fun. Barb and I decided it's about time we tag along on one of Sharon's outings. We've extremely different backgrounds. Barb has a high public profile and has to be very cautious when getting out. I don't have a lot of public contact, so I don't have to worry about that. My concern is my wife; she doesn't know, and I haven't summoned up the nerve to tell her. I fear the worst and would rather not face that day. Halloween is usually Barb's big evening out. I do get out to gay bars once in awhile and always on Halloween.
Sharon planned the evening's entertainment and wanted to keep it a surprise. I finally talked her into telling me where we were going, and then wished I hadn't. I spent three days fretting over the thought of going to a bar and then (yikes!) Ameristar Casino. What if I saw a neighbor or relative or in-law? Worse, what if they recognized me? Fortunately my appearance is quite different as a female -- or do we all just think that?
Finally the big night arrived, and we all met at a prearranged location. I'd decided to try to blend in as much as possible by wearing a neutral colored blouse, long skirt and casual sandals. Barb, whom I'll refer to as Bill to keep the gender straight, arrived in drab as we had expected. He isn't quite ready to go public, but he didn't want to miss out on the fun, and having a male escort helps to take attention away. Sharon arrived wearing a light blue beaded dress and 4" silver sandals. This is St. Louis, not Monte Carlo! So much for "sneaking by."
We went Joe Hanon's, a favorite bar of Sharon's. We walked into a club full of people, Sharon taking the lead. The band was playing something very close to country western. Uh-oh! I imagined a bunch of cowboys stampeding a heard of cattle over us. There was quite a bit of head turning, and much of the chatter was replaced with dead silence. Fortunately the band didn't stop playing. The silence was finally broken by one of the waitresses. She called out to Sharon and came over for an exchange of hugs. Then the barmaid waved and someone else greeted Sharon. The rest in the bar went back to their conversations, with an occasional glance in our direction. We found a table near the dance floor, and before we'd ordered our drinks, Sharon was off dancing. I'm here to report she's not kidding when she writes about going out to these places to dance. Lord, can that girl dance!
A lady at the table next to us was very friendly and inquisitive. Her husband or date was clean-shaven, and I wondered if he'd ever dabbled in crossdressing. His facial structure was well suited, with the right makeup, for making a stunning woman. I'd have asked, but was happy just to be talking to someone in the real world and didn't want to risk a negative response.
We stayed 'til the band took a break and then headed out. I was feeling brave after a few drinks and thought I was ready for the casino. Boy was I wrong! The parking lot at the casino was well lit, and cars and people were constantly coming and going; no hiding in shadows there. I was frozen to the seat. Finally after some words of encouragement from Bill and Sharon, I pried myself from the car. The muscles in my legs felt like rubber. I was sure my knees were going to buckle before I reached the door. I was sure the people that passed were thinking, There goes a crossdresser.
Only one person was on the elevator down to the casino. I stuck close to Bill, hoping that, by being with a man, I wouldn't get spotted. The lady, who happened to look like my aunt Martha, looked at Sharon, then glanced at me, then turned her attention back to Sharon. Sharon must've felt the woman's stare, because she turned and looked the lady right in the eyes, and with a smile, said, "I hope we all win tonight." The lady replied, "Yes, I feel lucky. Good luck." The lady smiled at me, the doors opened, and we were on our way. Thank goodness she hadn't talked to me--maybe I passed. No time to think about it, though. I had some hurdles to jump.
I kept fidgeting with my skirt and hair, hoping they were both in place. I was very aware of my presence and worried as to whether anyone was watching me. I didn't want to be obvious, but kept checking to see if anyone was looking. I moved to the right of Bill, hoping I'd blend into the wall, but being nearly six feet tall, there was little chance of that. I caught a few glances, but since Sharon was in front, she was catching most of them. Next thing I knew, I ran out of wall and found myself in front of large windows to a restaurant. Great. I peeked out of the corner of my eye to see if anyone was staring, but they all seemed preoccupied.
Thank goodness we already had our entry cards, but we still had to wait in line to enter the casino. I could feel eyes on me, but didn't want to check and be obvious. Bill broke the tension by talking to me, but I didn't want to respond and have my deep voice draw attention.
Sharon went in first, handing the guard her card. He questioned her about the name on it and she said, "That's me." He handed the card back and she went in. Then it was my turn. He looked at the name on the card and then at me. All I could think to sheepishly say was, "Me too." He returned my card with a smile and wished me good luck.
Oh my--the casino was huge! Frantic thoughts started running through my head. Who do I know that gambles? Too many faces to check out everyone. I hope my makeup is good enough to disguise myself. What if someone calls out my name? What will I do if someone tells my wife? What am I doing here??
There went Sharon, sailing right past everyone. I urged Bill to pick up the pace so we didn't lose her. I only caught one lady watching me. The expression on her face seemed to be one of puzzlement. A couple of women whispered to each other as Sharon passed, drawing their attention. Bill seemed amused by our experience, but I think he was secretly wishing he could be more of a participant.
One man was paying quite a bit of attention, and I wondered what he was thinking when he turned and followed her. Sharon's hips were moving back and forth in perfect rhythm - how does she do that? She must've spotted him as she passed. Finally she sat down at some slots, and he settled in at some machines about fifteen feet away. There was a place next to Sharon, so I grabbed it, too nervous to notice where Bill went.
We played for quite awhile. A few women glanced at us as they passed by and a couple of times they came back with a friend and they were whispering to each other. I wasn't sure if I was winning or losing, I just kept playing. I peeked behind me once to see if the young man was still there; he'd moved on.
Sharon was getting restless and strolled away, promising to be back in ten minutes. I was fused to my seat and decided to just keep playing. Bill sat down beside me, and I kept a vigilant watch out of the corner of my eye to see if anyone was staring. It appeared that the gawkers had followed Sharon. After awhile she came back and asked if we wanted to walk around. Oh, how fun, right. Bill and I eventually decided to follow at a distance and analyze who was looking at whom. The tally is in and the conclusion is: Dress down and have a male escort to receive the fewest looks and usually just from women. If you're flashy, both men and women pay more attention. Most women had an amused look on their faces, like "What on earth!"
I must admit that in a strange, unsettling way, I was getting accustomed to being out. Now that I've had some time to think about it, I yearn for the excitement of going out again and I look forward to our next escapade.
Thank you, Sharon, for allowing me to use the photos of you in my article. As if you'd mind.
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