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Time To Address The Cross-Dressing Thing

, , , , , , | Related | July 14, 2022

This took place around 1997 or 1998 when I was around seven or eight old in West Virginia. West Virginia is a conservative, Republican state. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) I was raised by very liberal parents. It probably helped that my dad was from Detroit and my mom lived outside West Virginia for a while before she came back. They had raised me to always look for the good in people and not to go by race, sex, religion, etc.

My dad’s best friend and coworker at the time was a lesbian and I was raised to call her and her partner my aunts, so I knew about gay people and was fine with it. However, I had never known about cross-dressing. We were in a home improvement store and I happened to see a very tall, pretty lady. She was wearing a short blue dress suit with high heels. That’s what made me notice her. Why would you be dressed like that walking in a home improvement store? Then, I noticed something else.

Me: “Mom! Daddy! See over there? That’s a man wearing a dress and high heels! He’s also got a blonde wig on! Why is he dressed like a lady?!”

My dad just looked at me, choking on his laughter.

Dad: “[Mom], you explain to her.”

Then, he walked off.

Mom: “That’s a man who sometimes likes to dress as a woman. There are men that do that; some women like to dress like men, too. Now, [My Name], I think you’ve embarrassed him. The whole store heard you yelling about he was dressed. Next time be quiet! There are people that don’t like people like that man.”

Of course, after she told me that, I felt terrible. I didn’t mean to embarrass him or make him feel like it wasn’t okay to dress that way. So, when I saw him again in another aisle, I did the only logical thing. 

Me: *Very loudly* “Look at how nice he looks! That’s a pretty dress and his hair is pretty! Look how pretty his legs are in those pantyhose!” 

To be fair, he did have pretty legs for a man.

Years later, I asked my parents about that incident. They told me he was a prominent lawyer in that city, was happily married with kids, and liked to do his home improvement shopping while dressed as a woman. To that man, I’m sorry little kid me possibly embarrassed you. But you did look very nice!

Signs The Nation Is Still Great

, , , , , , | Right | July 4, 2022

During the Fourth of July, my sister and I are doing free face paintings and chalk drawings outside our father’s store. We have been there since eight in the morning and it’s now nearing six in the afternoon.

A young woman comes up with her elderly great-aunt. The elderly woman sticks her hands deep into the bowl of free suckers we’re giving out; I am a little stunned. Before I can say something, the woman scolds her like a child. She tells her great-aunt to only take one, but we allow her to take two.

She asks for my sister to paint the West Virginia symbol onto her cheek. My sister pulls up an image on her phone and shows it to the elderly woman, who approves it, and my sister gets to work.

I talk to the woman during this time, and she tells me her great-aunt has a mental disability and that she may behave childishly.

After her face is done, the great-aunt sits down on the sidewalk with me as her great-niece gets her face painted. She grabs some of the chalk and writes out in childlike handwriting, “Kathy-Happy.”

She says she is very happy and there is so much joy on her face as she shows other customers her freshly painted cheek. Her great-niece takes her hand and they walk off.

It made my tiring day better and I don’t think I’ll forget Kathy anytime soon.

That Could’ve Gone Way Worse — Or Do We Watch Too Much TV?

, , , , , , , , | Romantic | June 8, 2022

Back in 2014, my husband and I decided that we wanted to visit a shopping center a state away. We got the address from Google and headed off on the two-hour drive.

Everything was going fine until we got into the city for the shopping center. Our GPS had taken us to a different building. Where we’re from, it’s completely normal to ask other businesses about a location if lost.

My husband pulled into the first business he saw and got out to go in. What I noticed — but my husband didn’t — was the big sign right out front of the business: “Federal Bureau Of Investigation Field Office.”

I laughed as I watched my husband go up to a door and try to open it. It was locked. Not realizing where he was, he just knocked until another man walked up to the other side of the door. The man was confused but gave my husband directions to the shopping center which was right next door.

When my husband got back in the car, he seemed confused by the interaction and why they wouldn’t open the door until I pointed out the sign.

Now it’s become a regular joke in our family. If we’re lost, find the FBI field office; they know where we’re headed.

Sticking It To The Sleazeball

, , , , , | Learning | March 31, 2022

I am in a grant-funded part-time position at the high school where I graduated. My job is to manage In-School Suspension for students who need a little extra time away from class but not away from school itself. I do things like make sure they do their work and address their issues. Sometimes, this just means talking to them, or, once their classwork is complete, they fill out forms and write about their options to do better next time.

Because this is a grant-funded position, I am frequently grilled by higher-ups. This particular day, a higher-up comes from the central office to interrogate me on my methods. This sleazeball once made me cry as a student and called me “worthless” because someone dropped the ball on getting me a book for an online course I was taking; online courses were not common for our rural school in the early 2000s) Without the book, I wasn’t able to complete the coursework and was failing. Sleazeball drove to my school from his central office, brought me out of class, and upbraided me in the hallway, causing me to have a meltdown that lasted for hours. I told Sleazeball through tears that I didn’t have the book, but he somehow didn’t see that as an excuse. My teachers, knowing I was a straight-A student, were not happy. They tried to help me and offered tutoring. Since I had a job, I bought the book that night myself instead of waiting for it. The school finally received my book not long after, so I ended up with two. Once I had the book, I had perfect grades and caught up quickly, doing half a semester’s work in a week. My grades were updated and no one said anything further, but I never forgot this sleazeball making a sixteen-year-old girl cry.

Sleazeball shows up in my In-School room, and I have a difficult student — the kind who doesn’t believe in authority and will not hold back when telling you about it. He’s smart, has a tough home life, and doesn’t fall for cheap adult reasoning behind rules.

Sleazeball asks [Student] what he is doing, and what he did to land himself in my isolated classroom. [Student] gives Sleazeball the runaround for a few minutes, telling him every injustice he has seen during his infamous high school career. I watch, contentedly, as Sleazeball tries and fails, time after time, to gain the upper hand. [Student] simmers down, and Sleazeball asks to see me in another office.

Sleazeball: “Did you see how I had to keep out-maneuvering that kid? He was arguing with me, but I couldn’t let him get the upper hand. Had to show him I was the authority. That’s a tough thing for young female teachers like you to learn.”

Me: *Smiling* “Oh, yes. He can be difficult. I’ve been working with him today so he sees we have rules he shouldn’t break because we have reasons.”

Sleazeball: “He reminds me of another student here. When you were in school. Really smart, but lazy. Always breaking rules and full of reasons.”

I continue to smile. I know exactly who he is talking about, but don’t dare to say it. 

Sleazeball: “He had long, dark hair. Always kept it in front of his face. Kept his head down a lot. Boy, he was difficult. What was his name?”

Me: *Trembling* “You mean [Student]? [Student’s Full Name]?”

Sleazeball: “Yeah! Oh, gosh, he would do the same thing. Acts just the same way. Smart, but just so lazy. I mean, really sharp.”

Me: “[Student] is my husband.”

Sleazeball turned bright red and stumbled over his words before making an ungracious exit. Something about, “Well, you know how to handle it,” and, “Good luck.” 

I’ve been in a full-time, permanent position in a regular English classroom at my school for seven years now, and I haven’t seen Sleazeball since.

Double The Chicken, Double The Jerkitude

, , , , , | Working | October 28, 2021

I work at a hospital and go to the cafeteria five days a week for food. After browsing the options for the day and nothing looking really appealing to me, I finally settle and head over to the hot line.

Me: “Just a piece of chicken, please.”

The worker places the smallest piece of chicken in the pan in my container.

Me: “Actually, make it two pieces.”

I say it quickly before she shuts the container. The worker gives me a weird look but obliges and puts the second piece in the container and writes, “X2,” on the box.

I grab a ready-made salad, piling it on top of the box with the chicken in it, and grab a drink before heading to pay.

Me: “Two pieces of chicken…” *opens the box to show the cashier* “…and then just the salad and soda.”

Before the cashier has even finished ringing my food in, the employee that served me the food rushes up.

Worker: “She had two pieces of chicken! I knew you were going to try and steal!”

Both the cashier and I are surprised at this point.

Cashier: “Uhhh, yes. It says, ‘2x,’ on the container and she even opened the box to show me.”

The worker’s face turned red and she stormed off. Apparently, she had been taking it upon herself to try and catch thieves. After multiple false accusations, she either got moved or fired; I haven’t seen her since.