When Nick first came out to me I was worried about him being jealous of me as opposed to attracted to me. “I like your shirt” would mean I want to wear it instead of I like how you look in that shirt, so I tried to hide. I downplayed what I wore, trying not to look too good. I preferred to wear sweat pants and hoodies, have my hair pulled back and no make up. I didn’t want him to want to trade places with me, I wanted him to be attracted to me, so just in case I thought I’d get a new look, that of a hobo. Now as time has moved on and Emily has surfaced my feelings about both of our appearances has changed. Emily usually is dressed like she is going to the queen’s garden party. She is often not dressed appropriately for the occasion as she is learning how to dress and is for the first time able to wear girly clothes. I get it, if you always wanted to wear pretty skirts, but were never able, and now are of course you’d want to do it all the time. I then feel a need to compete or at least match her since I’m the “real” girl. (Side note there is a lot of pressure to look perfect when you hang with trans women).
I think this whole issue of dress is causing me a lot of stress and anxiety as we move forward (it may seem inconsequential, but until you’ve walked in these shoes you might not get it). I had an interesting experience with Emily this weekend however. For the first time she has decided to work on her casual look. She wore jeans and a sweater today and jeans and a t-shirt yesterday. Not only is this good for her because she needs a more casual look, a business casual dress is a little out of place at the park and part of being trans is fitting in with the gender you are representing, but it puts me more at ease being round her. It takes away the competition and helps me see her as a woman instead of as the man I married in a dress. In some ways I think transitioning with her looking more like an average American woman as oppose to an attendee at afternoon tea will be easier. Of course that doesn’t mean she can’t wear skirts and dresses, but that she is dress appropriately, no need for an evening gown and pearls to grab a quick lunch. It’s a process, she’s still finding her style and experimenting, and how I feel about myself, about her and about dress will evolve as well.