My mother has a lot of questions.
No, I'm not gay. No, I don't want to be a woman. No, I am not interested in transitioning. Yes, my wife knows. Yes, we're working through it. Yes, you can still expect grandchildren in the future. Please still call me Matthew, son, he & him. I'm just a man who occasionally wears women's clothes. Which, I add, I have always been though I never mentioned it to you before.
My mother's face strains as her mind grapples with a syntactical error. Man ≠ dress. I understand, I went through the same thing and it took me a few decades to resolve the terms. I appreciate that she's trying.
My father has one question.
"So, what if I'm talking to someone, and they say something negative about you, about this? That's going to make me really angry. Is it alright if I punch them?"
I hug him as hard as I possibly can. "Just follow your heart, dad."
Wow, is my first thought, it's so light.
The next is, there's no way this is going to fit.
The weirdest thing about what's happening is that it's happening. It's actually happening. The sudden reality of it, the physicality, is almost too much for me to handle. The dressing room is larger than I'd imagined, and more brightly-lit. My face is flushed from adrenaline and embarrassment. I take a deep breath.
It's just clothing, I tell myself as I put it over my head. For clothing, though, it's too light. Impossibly light and soft.
And tighter than I expected. I'm trying to squeeze in but it's catching in weird places. It's so light, I'm terrified I might tear it. There's no way it's going to fit. No way. Why would it fit. It wasn't designed to fit you. This isn't for you. You aren't supposed to—
And then it slips into place, and I'm a completely different person.
Wow, is my first thought, it fits.
The next is, wow, it really fits.
So, this is the first dress I've ever worn. It's an A-line skater dress, black and pink floral print chiffon. It hugs my torso and flows around my waist. The skirt falls just above my knee. It looks so good. All I can do is gawk at the mirror until my eyes start to fill with tears.