A nice gentleman who has been my friend for more than 15 years also works for my automotive engineering company, part-time. And, he’s a Veteran. He used to be in the Army, including being in Vietnam in 1970.
I also used to date a lady who got into the military, got injured and was discharged. So, even though she was in her mid-20s, she was a Veteran too. And, she didn’t react in a happy way when folks gushed about, as they phrased it, her service to her country. So, I learned that perhaps being sensitive as to what I say might be prudent.
With this in mind, I asked my friend tonight what he’d consider to be a nice way of being thanked. He asked me to sit down, and for the next hour, he told me stories about his military career — inspiring, heart-warming stories, with happy moments and tragic ones. I saw his facial features crease into the sort of smile I’d never seen on his face ever since I’ve known him. He’s 65 and yet his smile in some ways made him look like a nineteen-year old. I listened with interest and empathy.
Today also happens to be the third day in a row in which I didn’t do anything to get rid of my ever-growing facial hair because I plan to have a session in which I wax my face and rip out the hair by the root, which a) hurts soooooooooooooooo much and b) weakens the hair so that it grows back with less enthusiasm. I don’t see genetically integrated girls having to do this quite as much. So, in many ways, being a transgender girl is hard and weird — and yet, tonight, the glass was half-full. Being a transgender girl meant I had enough exposure to “guy culture” to ask the right questions tonight, and I also have the female brain structure that made it easy to listen and to care.
All of that combined to make tonight a very “Tanya” way of celebrating Veteran’s Day. I liked it. More importantly, so did my friend.