Portland, Part 2: "The Transsexual"
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
As much as we let the kids go to the nearby park by themselves, a lot of times Abby goes to watch them. There are lots of other parents and people and benches at the park, so it makes for great people watching. Last week, Abby came back, this time with a different look on her face. I knew she wanted to talk about something, because she came and sat down on the couch, stared at me patiently until I looked up from my magazine. By her look on her face, I can tell when my wife is upset, I know when she’s angry, I know when she’s irritated or concerned. This was none of those looks, so automatically I was intrigued….it was a mixture of nonchalance and befuddlement.
Me, slightly irritated: “ok whats up?”
Abby: ”well……………………(4 second pause)………. I just came back from the park....(2 second pause) and I saw 2 lesbians there”
Me: “okayyy… is that a problem?”
Abby: “no, no problem, they were just there”
Me: “what were they doing?
Abby, earnestly: “well, they were walking and holding hands..... and they were playing with their kids and walking their dogs!” Me, joking: "so which part did you have a problem with, the walking, the fact that they had dogs, or the kids?"
Even though we’ve been to Portland many times, there is something about LIVING in Portland that let us see behind the veneer of eating and restaurant life. In Phoenix, gay people rarely hold hands in public, it's just not done for some reason. Also back home, NOBODY walks anywhere…if you see someone walking on the street, they are usually underage, lost their license because of a DUI or some other strange reason. When I see someone walking in Phoenix, I stare at them. So to see a gay couple walking their dogs, playing with their children, holding hands, not being self conscious, just enjoying life…you bet we are going to stare. It's not malicious, its just something you don't see back home in Phoenix. I know it was interesting to Abby, she mentioned it to a couple of her friends.
I might be a little unfair to my wife in search of a laugh.... the truth is, my wife wasn’t mad or upset at any of it, she's no stranger to different kinds of people, she was a professional dancer for many years. But this familial bliss was just something she hadn’t seen before. One of my brothers is gay, and my wife loves him. But he’s single, so when he comes to visit, it’s just him, it's my brother. Also, my wife’s personality is very different than mine. I am very loud, very open with my thoughts and ideas, I am controversial and bombastic, and Abby is really the opposite. I am very free with my body, I have no problem with nudity, or sex with the lights on, but Abby is far more reserved. She gets so upset when I come in from gardening wearing nothing but my green Crocs…I have to remind her that I am short, hairy and a little round: if my neighbors do see me naked, they aren’t ever going to look my way again. EVER.
Fast Forward 2 weeks later: Abby is a big fan of massages, she tries to go 2-3x a month. She likes smaller, more familiar massage parlors, but will not get a massage by a man. She’s already uncomfortable being naked with a woman, so a man is completely out of the question for her, you get the picture. She makes an appointment at a place around the corner with a woman named Francesca. But when she comes back, she does the same thing she did a few weeks back: she comes in, sits down and stares at me. This time, however, her look is a little more earnest, but a lot more confused….
ME: “ hey, how was your massage?”
Abby: “I’m not sure….”(voice trailing off)
Me: “ you aren’t sure how your massage was?”
Abby: “no, the massage was great, one of the best I've had.............. I just wasn’t quite sure if this person was a man or a woman”
Me, completely intrigued: “WHAT???”
Abby: “I absolutely couldn't tell. She kept alluding to her womanhood throughout the massage, but she definitely didn’t look like one. Also, she was unbelievably strong, and her hands were hairy and big”
This could not have been more hilarious to me. Nothing says “Welcome to Portland” more than a vigorous rubdown on my prudish wife’s naked body by a Transsexual. Even typing this word salad makes me laugh.....To my wife's credit, after it was all over, after she talked about it, it wasn't a big deal. I think she is getting used to this city so much so, that after this, I seriously doubt she will be intrigued by gay people "walking"