This week, for the first time ever, I left the house with my wife while she wore a dress. Wednesday was a warm day in Seattle. To clairfy, “warm” means it wasn’t raining, the sun was out, and the temperature was 65 degrees. Spring time and sunshine guarantee Seattleites clog roadways to get to the nearest green space, there are no empty patio spaces during happy hour, you wish you knew someone with a boat, and the square-footage of pale vitamin-D deprived skin increases substantially.
Katie received a Stitch-Fix in which was a maxi black and white floral dress. “I’m going to wear this tonight,” she announced decidedly in a way I knew there was no arguing with her. I didn’t have the heart to tell her this is a dress that would actually do quite well at a wedding with the right shoes and hair. She was feeling dysphoric the day previous and I knew she needed the mood boost that only clothing can provide. Maxi-dresses have this way of looking so feminine and formal in a way other dresses fail. As she tried it on, I couldn’t help but notice the chest she doesn’t have yet, allowing the fabric to flow effortlessly down her body in a way I envy. Katie is so tall, and the circumference of the bottom flirts perfectly at her feet. The dress doesn’t trip her in the same way this style of dress does me. She looked so good in it. So comfortable.
It occurred to me we’ve never gone out in public while Katie wears a dress, which prompted me to ask “Are you sure?” I could see her read my face in an attempt to decipher my intent. Was I weary of how it looked on her? Was I nervous to be seen in public with her? I followed up, “this is kind of a big deal, isn’t it?”
She looked relieved. “Yeah, I’m ready.” She went to the bathroom to put on her makeup, a routine I am so grateful is getting much faster. I pinned one side of her hair back so Katie looked more intentional than “I got out of the shower and didn’t have time to fix this mess on top of my skull I’m trying to grow out.”
I’ve touched on this before, but as a reminder, at each support group session, every person introduces themselves, their preferred pronouns, name, and any gender news update. It’s my favorite part of the meeting. Anyone new introduces themselves and the entire room in unison says “Welcome.” It’s such a pure, compassionate, and full of love moment. This time, I was introduced myself before Katie, and I put her on the spot: “Hi, my name is Natalie. I use feminine pronouns. This is the first time I’ve been out in public with my wife in a dress.” She squeezed my hand. It was a small moment in comparison to what we have been through this past week, but it was our moment and I’m so glad we both could be in it together.
On Thursday, I wore one of the cast-offs Katie didn’t like from the Stitch Fix box, a blue top with red floral pattern on it. A co-worker complimented it, and, without missing a beat I said, “Thanks, my husband becoming my wife is really having its benefits!” Hey, if I can’t look at this situation with some humor, I’m not being me! Plus, that joke can only hold for so long, gotta use it while I can. (PSA: I checked with Katie, she thinks the joke is funny and has approved it.)
A year ago today, we were packing to go to Cambodia and Thailand. We were worried about how to pay for our meals because we really shouldn’t have been going on the trip from a financial perspective. A year ago, I was married to a man who was much sadder than the woman I know I’m married to now. This man didn’t know how important a dress could be. My life looks so different now. I’m really proud of us. I’m really proud of me.