-Hey….where are you…home?
-No, I’m at the studio…
-At this hour? Come on! Do you want to go dancing? There’s a new jazz club at *** and the music is really fine..
T always wants to go dancing. Sometimes I feel bad when I turn him down, not because I am afraid he will be offended, but because I wonder why I would rather be cooped up in my studio rather than enjoying nightlife at a club. It makes me feel like an antisocial person, which I am not. I am- let’s put it this way- selective.
-I don’t know…
-I’d really like you to see this place. And you should meet the owner. She wants to buy some dresses.
-What kind of dresses?
-Formal ones, for the jazz club.
-How formal is a jazz club?
-Very. All the men wear tuxedos.
-Why don’t you wear one of yours so she can see?
-Great. Should I wear black or white?
-Black, I guess?
The way T talks, or the way he pays attention to detail, you immediately suspect that he’s gay, but surprisingly, the story doesn’t quite go that way. He used to be a tall, heavily-built woman with a great sense of fashion. After undergoing a sex change, he is still tall, but now hunky and muscled like the guys that you see on men’s health magazines. Women fall all over him because he has the best manners (probably because he knows best what a woman really wants) but for me, it is strange, because I see a tremendously good-looking guy but my brain still does not recognize him as being male. I am probably the few, if not only people who knew T as a woman.
Following the directions T has given me, I arrive at the club wearing a long dark peacock green halter neck dress with black and gold print. It does not have lavish decor like I thought it would, rather large black and white photographs on the painted walls, a minimal polished floors, and a high ceiling. It looks more like a hall for ballroom dancing than a jazz club, although the band is playing a big brass number.
There aren’t many people and I easily spot T, a head taller than anyone else, dancing with a red-headed young woman. He spots me and comes over.
-Hey. You shouldn’t have ended the dance.
-Nah. She’s a regular. Wow, you look great! How about a slow tango?
It’s the second time dancing with T since he’s become a man and I still find it disturbing, especially when our bodies are close, but being the stupid person I am, I can’t say “no” and so we start to tango. Of course, trying to avoid rubbing my torso into his, the dance isn’t entirely smooth.
-I’m stepping all over your feet.
-It’s okay. Let’s take it from the beginning again.
T is extremely patient. We start again from the beginning.
-I really love this dress. It shows off all the right curves.
-Uhh…yeah. Thanks. But I’m too short to tango with you, your face is too far up.
-You should have worn heels.
-Oh….Oh well…so how do you think I look?
-You look great. Like a Chippendale.
-That’s the look I’m going for. It’s much better than before, isn’t it?
I couldn’t answer for some time because I couldn’t figure out whether “before” meant “before” as in when I saw him earlier, or “before” as in when he was woman. He must have sensed my confusion because he said,
-Okay, you don’t have to say.
-Well, what can say…you’re tall and attractive. You know I like my men tall…but…
-Well…I don’t know where I should be making the comparison to…
-Okay okay. Waltz?
Waltzing was much better. It was more fun, twirling around the room, with air rushing between our bodies, and women sitting at tables admiring us- or rather, admiring my partner and envying me. Twirling around and swishing my silk skirts put me in a happy, giddy, gloating mode.
Later, when we were slow dancing, I finally found the courage to ask T the question that had been on the tip of my tongue for the entire night.
-So. When are you getting married?
-I don’t know. We only exchanged loyalty rings. She’s the love of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been so much in love.
-What about you? Still the independent woman?
-The contrary. I’m hopelessly dependent, only I haven’t found anyone.
-I’m sorry for that.
-We don’t meet often, but I’m glad we kept in touch.
I had a ton of questions: did his lover know that he was previously a woman? Did they have sex? If they did, was he able to function like a man? Is modern biotechnology that advanced? Or if his lover doesn’t know that he was a woman, would he have to hide that forever? What would happen if he one day told her? Would things still be the same?
Unfortunately, these questions had to be left unanswered.