Being Chivalrous to the Nice, Strong T-girl

I am starting to wonder if maybe being a t-girl isn’t better than being a cisgirl a.k.a. “normal girl.”

One reason: I have had the opportunity to see and understand (and dislike) male culture (as a generalization) from up close as I was trying (and failing) desperately to live as a guy. And, thanks to the perspective afforded by contrast, and due to admiring and liking female culture (initially, from afar, and now while integrated within it), I also understand female culture perhaps more than many cisgirls do.

One observation I have made is that there’s a tendency to be a lot more thoughtful and benevolent … in a word, nice —  in female culture. I know I’m generalizing, but it’s a generalization based on a lot of first-hand data.

Nice things that most girls would do as part of normal life would qualify as a major step and source of pride for most guys. And yet, when the latter happens, it’s a very pleasant thing to experience.  There was an example of that today, at a junkyard.

If you’re wondering what a tall, blonde t-girl part-time escort, stripper and model is doing at  junkyard, let me explain.  And BTW, here’s what I look like nowadays, on a very, very good day. No Photoshopping, but great make-up and a great photographer:

g_L0A7528Here’s how I looked two days ago, with a lousy photographer (me, using my phone camera) and no make-up except for some eyebrow pencil and some shaded suntanning lotion:

2015-01-15 18.37.06Notice the muscles? Yes, having the wrong hormone be dominant during puberty will do that. I also enjoy swimming, surfing and windsurfing, but I’m guessing my puberty-time testosterone overdose is the main reason why my arms are so muscular.

Even though I don’t like my arm muscles, they are sometimes useful.

When I was trying to fit into guy culture, one part of guy culture that was viable and desirable for me to pursue was … fast cars. I desperately tried to fit in with guy culture and I failed, and I tried to find a way to be less-shunned in my role as guy. Running around with a ball in my hand or hitting it with a stick … bad idea, especially in South Africa, where I grew up. Beating each other while boxing … not for me. All the other self-destructive and otherwise-destructive things that guys liked, I hated. Gawd, how I tried to fit in. I even tried fishing, once (and yes, I hated it).

Now, I realize that girls do play sports that involve balls, and we also box, and we also fish, and I don’t denigrate that. It was the SO-male way of doing all these things that I couldn’t get my head wrapped around.

Anyway, fast cars were the most interesting-to-me way of fitting into guy culture.

I’m not saying that I got interested in cars only to fit in with guy culture. I genuinely enjoy technology and I’m probably as pro-Western-culture a girl as you can find. I love techie stuff. My late dad had two engineering degrees, and he liked to chat about techie things, and I paid attention.

At age 14, I was dismantling, repainting, cleaning, and reassembling bicycles that I bought and sold.

At age 18, I could fix problems in my own car well enough to keep it running without taking it to a regular mechanic.

At age 19 or so, I could take out transmissions, do clutch jobs, rebuild automatic cars to stick shift, paint, and do fiberglass work.

At age 20 or so, I could point out mistakes that a professional mechanic was making, and one specific job that had a flat-rate time of 3 hours, I could do in 16 minutes. I had my own little junkyard, half a dozen cars, a parts warehouse and my own auto repair shop, car rental business and car sales business.  My personal car was so souped-up that as it approached top speed, you could watch the speedometer needle crawl methodically all the way off the dial, past any indicated speed. I was going maybe 125 miles per hour as part of my normal freeway driving, at least once a week, in a car for which I’d paid $500. Ironically, I now realize, I approached fast car culture as a girl would, not in the blood-and-guts way that most guys would. I didn’t go for huge, heavy V-8s. My car was refined, polished, high-tech, light and fast and it looked like any normal family car until I stepped on the accelerator pedal, in which case its taillights dissolved into a receding blur. Even my secondary fast car, my 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, was the six-cylinder model with the 225 cubic inch engine but it had a massive Weber side-draught carburetor. With that light engine, it cornered like it was on rails.

Nowadays, I own and drive 1980s BMWs and Mercedes. And, they need constant attention — and parts. Fifteen years ago, my little 1987 BMW 325 needed a steering rack and just the part alone cost me more than $400, and that wasn’t even an original BMW part.  “Wow, I should be in the BMW used-parts business,” I thought. I had made money in the used-parts business in South Africa, so why not here? So, I floated a corporation, went through all the stupid government paperwork … and for the last 12 years, I have been managing an official, legitimate BMW and Mercedes used-parts business.

Here’s a picture of that little 325:

imag4313Being car-savvy and being strong (not buff — strong) leads to some funny stories. A nice and pretty girl (who is very near and dear to me) needed the automatic transmission replaced on her BMW convertible, and so I helped with that. For part of the work, I didn’t have the specialized tools. These are amazing transmissions, with an aluminum casing — hence very light, maybe 90 pounds or so.  And the transmission type is a ZF 4 HP-22. I could probably write you a 4,000-word technical essay on that type of transmission and not run out of things to say. It’s legendary.

Anyway, with the nice girl watching, I picked up the transmission from my shop floor (carefully, since I don’t want to throw out my back) and carried it to my car, and then she & I drove to the BMW repair shop to pay them, to do this one special procedure.  At the shop, there were two young-ish guy mechanics and they looked at the transmission in the trunk of the car, lifted it up together, and carried it in together, then put it on a table and looked at it. One of them said it’s a manual transmission. The other one said nothing.  Gently, I pointed out that it’s an automatic. As we drove away, the nice and pretty girl (who knows perhaps as much about these transmissions as I do) thought it pretty ironic how I picked up and carried the transmission by myself, and that I knew intimately what it was and many technical specs about it, and these two guy BMW professional mechanics chose to carry it together, and didn’t even realize it’s an automatic transmission, wow. So, yeah, there’s much irony in my life.

My escorting business is making no money because I’m always saying “no, I don’t sell sex, I sell time — and besides, no — I don’t do what you’re asking for — and you really should read ads before you respond.”

My custom software development business is doing OK … not great, but OK. It pays the rent and the utilities and most of the bills on time, but that’s about it.

My used-parts business is not doing well either, but it has the most potential. And, the “buy low and sell high” premise works. So, this weekend, with my favorite junkyard having a half-price sale, I’ve just spent the last two days of my life there — removing parts (precisely and carefully) from cars and buying them at affordable-for-even-me prices.

I hate being grungy, though. I hate being dirty, too. And, direct sunlight. So, I tie my hair in a ponytail, and I wear a hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved sweatshirt, and jeans — but they are Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans, so they fit VERY well, and I also wear satin underwear — and just underneath my grungy outerwear, I wear an elegant top and pretty yoga pants. Nobody can see them, but I like knowing they’re there. So, yes, even there, I’m all-girly.

Not that I don’t get weird looks all the time. I know that I don’t look like a normal girl, and so, yeah, it’s no secret.I’m a t-girl, not a normal girl. I know that. Everyone without a white cane can see that. And yet, some guys think they’ve mastered a cognitive breakthrough by realizing I’m a t-girl and their smug leer will make your dog puke. It’s pretty tedious to observe.

Most guys are at their very worst behavior when their buddies are around and it’s a macho environment, so … it’s not a t-girl-friendly place (except for the junkyard employees, who are super-nice to me, possibly because I spend thousands of dollars per year there, or possibly because I’m nice, or possibly because THEY are nice, period).

cropped-imag7640So, today, a friend and I removed a rare and special BMW 6-cylinder engine and transmission from a rare and special BMW model. He doesn’t mind lying in the dirt, and I do, so you can guess how the division of labor panned out. And yes, don’t be surprised — I do have guy friends and I do genuinely like them. I just don’t understand how they think.

The way my friend wanted to remove the engine and transmission is the traditional shade-tree mechanic way — you open the hood and then yank it out the top, hoping you don’t drop it or mash too many expensive things along the way. But, I explained to my friend, that’s not how folks build these cars. I used to personally work in an automobile assembly plant. Granted, I worked in the cost accounting department, not on the assembly line, but I liked visiting the latter and observing cars being built.

So, to be safe and efficient, I like to take the engine and transmission out the bottom. Wow, did I need to do much persuasion as to that, today. But, I prevailed and the plan worked beautifully. The plan also involved movable platforms and large sheets of plywood to make this all work, so when the technical work was complete, I stood in line to pay for the engine and transmission, while my friend was packing load after load of plywood back to his pickup truck.

The 6-cylinder engine and transmission are, as you can imagine, heavy and massive. And, they were both hanging from a massive chain, from a heavy and massive wheeled steel gantry that I was pushing slowly uphill towards the cashier’s booth, while in a long line of customers, waiting for my turn to check out and pay.  I was also managing two pushcarts full of tools, smaller parts, paper towels, vinyl gloves (yes, I like clean hands), plus a towel and sheet, plus items by which I keep track of what goes where.

While I was standing on line, two guys with really filthy hands were standing by a nearby hand-washing station on which a large sign proclaimed “out of order.” This didn’t bode well. There was no soap, no paper towels and hardly any water. The hand-washing station would trickle out just enough water to change the black, dirty, greasy mess on their hands into a wet, black, dirty, greasy mess. Still, the guys tried anyway and they ended up in a really messy situation. I was amazed that they didn’t wear disposable vinyl gloves, or bring hand cleaner or paper towels.

I know that being filthy like this doesn’t seem to bother most guys, yet in this case, being extra-super-filthy did.  So, I had empathy with them and I dug into my stash of cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness loot and brought out a roll of fresh, clean white paper towels, and I tore some sheets off and handed them out.  If you ever wanted to understand the difference between stereotypical guy culture and stereotypical girl culture, that scene is all you need to remember.

The guys seemed appreciative and, now cleaner, they vanished somewhere, and everyone else including me continued to shuffle towards the cashier’s booth. In my case, I hoped the people behind me liked the view of my butt in my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans as I was straining just about as hard as I could to move this 10-or-more-feet tall, 10-or-more-feet wide heavy wheeled steel gantry with its massive chain from which hung a massive engine and transmission. Sometimes I marveled at my ability to keep the thing rolling uphill and not downhill. Normally, my friend would have been helping me but he was off somewhere carrying sheets of plywood. And I didn’t wanna lose my place in the long, slow line, so I kept straining my t-girl muscles and making progress, silently marveling at the dozen or so guys all standing in line behind me with nothing better to do — and yet nobody helped.

And then, finally, someone DID! As I was straining, the load lightened. I looked to my left, and one of the gentleman whom I’d helped out with the paper towels had found enough chivalry to help me, and help he did.

He and I rolled the big contraption steadily up to the flat ground by the cashier’s booth, and I was most grateful, and this very cynical t-girl got to have a small part of her hope for male culture re-validated.

A good day, indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

Being Chivalrous to the Lady

My businesses are struggling, so I’m working until 3 a.m. most days even though my days often start at 10 a.m. or earlier. I don’t really wanna make time for putting on make-up.

Females tend to go by subtle social cues such as how I walk, and that show the brain wiring, and by that standard (that I agree with) I’m female. About 80% of the girls pick up on that.

Guys tend to go by visual cues such as the shape of the bones in my face, and by that standard, I’m male. (Not that I agree with that standard). Even so, about 10% of guys manage to figure out I’m female.

Heck, maybe I should just wear a frilly pink dress and help them with that. The thing is, I work on cars a lot, so I tend to dress in jeans, t-shirts and overalls, and it’s hard to look extra girly in those.

Of the remaining 90% some are hesitant. And yet, it’s enough to where even some of the on-the-fence-initially gentlemen “get it.” You’d think the used-car-parts business isn’t the pinnacle of cultural sensitivity and you’d probably be right. But, yesterday when I showed up at a used-car-parts business the guys were extra nice to me in a way nobody ever was when I looked more-male, and in a way that folks tend to act when being nice to pretty girls.

I was carrying a heavy tool box and someone went to get me a wagon, for my convenience. It was just a small gesture, but I loved it.

I could get used to this. 🙂