Was it a Sign?

By Sharon DeWitt

(as printed in the Gazette)

     I did it.  I traveled TWA from Denver to St. Louis dressed.  What a trip. Before I get ahead of myself, my story starts with the last transgender meeting.  At some point during the evening, I was thinking about traveling in fem mode to or from the Denver Gold Rush Convention. After the meeting, several members went to the bar and when we walked in, Christy, a young female patron, greeted us.  Christy is a flight attendant from TWA.  During the evening I mentioned to her my desire to fly fem, and she was very encouraging. 

     Well, the mood was set and I thought I should be prepared, so I bought a somewhat conservative suit at Dillards that following week. That in itself was an experience because, as I was checking out, the lady commented on how nice the suit looked and asked what age the lady was that I was buying it for.  Being the forthright person I am, I said it was for me and I was attending a convention in Denver.  We had a very pleasant conversation and, having opened up to her, I felt her response was very accepting.  The only part of our conversation that bothered me was the comment regarding age.  In thinking back, I believe the 17-inch length of the skirt must have had something to do with her comment.

     Thursday soon arrived, and I was packed and ready to go.  It’s amazing how much one can fit into a garment bag, one large suitcase and a toiletry case; ten outfits, eight pairs of shoes and 4 wigs.  That’s definitely a cross dresser.  My wife will not ever let me live that down.  Being somewhat of a chicken, I flew out in drab.

     The conference was a lot of fun and educational, but not as euphoric as Fall Harvest, which was my first conference.  Many new acquaintances, some previous faces from Fall Harvest, and Rita Amore and Crissie from St. Louis.  Rita and I shopped a few afternoons at some resale shops.  We were very well accepted even when we didn’t buy anything.  We found some great buys at one shop, which meant more to pack. 

     My highlight at the conference--being in the talent show--was a bittersweet experience and another first for me.  I was really nervous about being in front of a large group, but as luck would have it, I was second to last and only around 15 out of 200 people were left.  The number that I plan to do at the follies went over well, and afterwards I wished more had been there.  Just can’t please a woman.

     Well, Sunday arrived all too soon, and I wasn’t quite ready to pack it all in. Why stop when you’re ahead, right?  I put on my fem traveling suit and went by Rita’s room to ask her if it was acceptable for flying back to St. Louis or should I wear black jeans and the suit top.  She said why not go for it and wear the skirt.  I’m sure I must have bugged her all morning about whether I should fly fem or not.   By checkout time I was still deliberating and Rita was out of there.  I asked the desk for another hour in the room, which they granted.  I still had time.  I put my male clothes in the garment bag so once I got to the airport I could still change if I had a change of heart.  Then I decided to put them back in the suitcase so I would be committed. 

      I lucked out on the ride to the airport, as the only other passenger was a speaker from the conference.  Check in was OK also.  The girls were fairly friendly after I said a few nice words to them.  Just under two hours till take off.  The airport wasn’t too crowded, and I proceeded to the waiting area.  I think I had a few looks but no comments; maybe it was the short skirt.

     I waited for about an hour and then my first big obstacle, where to tinkle, arrived. I watched the ladies room for about 15 minutes, but it was never empty.  It’s amazing how long some women can spend in the restroom.  Finally I spotted someone coming out of another door and, upon taking a closer look, found a unisex restroom.  Eureka!  Returning to the waiting area, I overheard my first daunting comment.  It was quiet, but none the less one I was hoping not to hear.  "That’s a man."  Oh well, the truth hurts even if it's not a stone.

     Boarding time came, and I had an aisle seat.  The plane was full, and I noticed several jock types, also only one woman with legs showing.  She was a mother of 4 with a sack dress down to mid-calf.  One rather large fellow sitting across the aisle from me kept looking over.  I couldn’t tell if he was looking at my face or legs, which would have created two very different impressions.  Later, with some seat reassignments made by the flight attendant to keep a family together, a young lady in her late twenties sat next to me.  I felt she was a bit uneasy, but I minded my own business and kept quiet.  About half way through the flight I offered her the aisle seat, but she declined.  Oddly enough, after about 5 minutes, she started up a conversation with me and we talked till the plane landed.  She never questioned why I was cross-dressed.

     We finally landed, and I knew I had only a few hurdles left before I would be in my car and on the way home.  The passengers departed, and I asked an attendant to take my photo.  When I told her it was my maiden voyage she said she was sorry she didn’t have some wings to give me.  As I walked out the passageway, I could hear all the people in the terminal and suspected it was going to be crowded.  It was. 

     I started my trip towards baggage claim and kept walking and walking. I’m not sure what gate we landed at, but it seemed like gate 298.  I rode several of the people movers, and as I would step off, my pace would quicken.  I felt like doing the O.J. Simpson run through the airport.  I saw some stares and felt like eyes were watching me, but heard no comments, thank goodness.  I started to get depressed thinking, "why am I doing this and why did I wear this short skirt?"  Remember, it was only 17 inches in length.  By the time I passed the security check, I really needed a cigarette.  I headed towards the nearest exit, and then the most amazing thing happened.

     I heard a voice and someone was running towards me from outside.  It was Christy and she said was saying, "You did it!"  She ran up and threw her arms around me and said, "Congratulations, I knew you could do it, I’m so proud of you."  We talked for about 10 seconds more, and then she was off on the employee shuttle.  Was her being there at that exact time some kind of a sign or just an amazing coincidence?  My mood had instantly reversed--is elated too strong a word?--and, after having a quick smoke, I retrieved my luggage and headed towards the Park Place shuttle pickup. 

     I still must have had half of a smile on my face when the bus pulled up, because the driver hopped out of the bus and insisted on helping with my luggage.  When we arrived at the lot, we exchanged a few kind words and then he helped again with my luggage, stowing the bags in the back of my Explorer.  He pulled away about twenty yards and waited. It took me a minute to sort through my wallet, looking for my ticket to get out.  After I pulled away he left also, what a gentleman!  I paid the gate attendant and was on my way home with one quick stop at a Schnucks lot to change and remove my makeup.

       Wow, what an experience!


Top of Page