Monday, 20 December 2010

The humour of transition

Transition from male to female is undoubtedly a serious business but there is plenty of humour in the situation.  That is often how we English deal with serious matters, war, berevement, illness etc etc.  The ability to laugh at ourselves and our mistrust of those who take themselves so seriously that they cannot, is a defining part of our national characteristics, I think.  A good example is the timetable produced by Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight a few years ago.  The IoW could not function without SV which provides all the bus services on the island, for both locals and the summer weight of tourists.  Do you remember those summers a few years ago when crop circles were all the rage and it was suggested that they were created by aliens?  SV produced a timetable showing a cartoon of one of its buses on the front and back covers.  The bus was filled with aliens (green skin, aerials on their heads, multiple eyes in funny places - you get the picture.  The aliens are admiring crop circles in the field the bus is passing.  One interpretation might be 'only wierdos travel on our buses'.  The real interpretation is that SV had enough sense of humour to commission a genuinely amusing cover - and I still have the timetable.

Transition offers similar opportunities.  A while ago I was involved in some discussions with an Asian lady who believed that she had not got a series of jobs because of her sex or her race.  It wasn't so - she just wasn't the best candidate, a point she was unwilling to accept.  She got rather angry and shouted that how could I, as a white middle-class male, possibly understand discrimination.  With a wry smile I thought, I could tell you....but it wasn't the right occasion.

Somtimes it is simple things.  A few weeks ago I was cooking and was missing an ingredient.  I rushed down to our local supermarket.  While I was there I decided that I needed to use 'the facilities'.  I was off down the corridor behind the cigarette kiosk and then I had to comee to a shuddering STOP to remember whether I should be using the ladies or the gents.  Check:  skirt and heels - ladies!  I came to such a sudden stop that the poor chap behind me made intimate contact with me from behind (I wish) but he was very nice about it.  I didnt offer a complete explanation.  It had me chucling to myself for days...

Then there is the humour related to transition itself.  I pass quite well in public if carefully dressed and made up, until I open my mouth. (Mental note - voice training starts in January).  On a train recently I was chatting away to a nice couple about a problem onwhich I was able to offer some professional advice.  At the end, the lady asked me sotto voce 'I hope you dont mind me asking, but are you a man?'  My answer? - 'Yes, but not for much longer!'  Well, she found it amusing...

Lastly there is the 'challenging assumptions' category.  Last summer I called in to a local business.  The manager (gay) knows me and who and what I am.  He wasn't there.  The new junior male assistant kept me waiting while on the phone.  When he spoke to me, or perhaps more accurately, when I spoke to him... he blushed pink from below his collar to the roots of his hair, muttered something about the 'stock room' and rushed away.  A minute or two later the manager appeared, highly amused.  It appears that new male assistant has adopted an aggressively heterosexual posture in discussions with / about other staff (and had not picked up on the sexuality of his manager).  Whilst keeping me waiting he had decided that he fancied me (I do have good legs and it was a fairly short skirt).  And then he realised that his assumptions had been challenged when I spoke (Second mental note - definitely must start speech therapy in January).  The manager and I wnet for a coffee and a good laugh.

You have to be able to laugh at yourself.  Life can be very, very long otherwise.......



1 comment:

Jo said...

Hello Moira my friend

I am truly delighted to be your first follower.

Having known you for a long time it still seems very strange to be reading about you as Moira. However, what I do know about you is that you are always sincere. Well done for having the immense courage to decide to make the transition to your true self.

You have many good qualities, probably the one I have always ranked as the highest is your sense of humour. Even in the most serious situations you can make me laugh with that little ironic twist to the tale! And your unique brand of humour has now entered your transition tale - excellent!

How did today go? New hair is always a scare .... hopefully your new calm self got you through it.

On a serious note, Dr Bart looks like a really good person. Well chosen indeed. I absolutely admire the fact that he is giving his many talents and skills to helping children with cleft palate and lip. You are aware that this touches my heart, having a small friend aged two who has just had the benefit of this type of surgery free in Bristol. Please can we have a link on your blog to his charity site? As you and I have discussed, it must be so stressful if you cannot afford surgery and you need it.

Keep writing Moira, it's very good for you and us.

lots of love from Jo