With Sebastian strutting around in his cycling shorts, and Auntie Kittie coming over to offer me some of her specially imported organic coconut sunblock, anyone would think that going outside in this glorious weather is some sort of sin. However, it is important to look after ourselves in this extraordinary heat.
It is more important than ever to moisturize – personally I like a nice aloe based moisturizer – and also to drink plenty of water. Adding to this a good quality sunblock is a wonderful idea. I have started working early in the day and having a break by the time the day is hot, then going back to my endless labours in the early evening when the day is cooler. It’s a slightly different regime, but one I learned while living in the hottest parts of Africa. There is no point getting over heated and having headaches and the misery of sunstroke.
This stunning weather does give us the opportunity to wear some suitable clothes that are perfect for the twenty-first century crossdresser. Swimshorts, a tee shirt and a pair of sandals. Add lipstick and a little eye makeup and you’re there. You may not quite be Daisy Duke, but that is all a bit 1970’s anyway. I’m not sure Daisy would quite work today, sliding across the bonnet of an electric vehicle and roaring off down a country road listening to Taylor Swift. Nor can I see Sheriff Roscoe taking gender sensitivity training and a course in critical race theory.
I was discussing this with Sylvester this very morning. I explained how today we are all more ‘woke’.
“It’s all those energy drinks,” he replied.
“What?” I answered feeling like one of us was losing their grip.
“Oh, no,” I said. “We’re more ‘woke’, not more ‘awake’. Besides I don’t even touch those things. They’re bad for you.”
“I don’t get all this ‘woke’ stuff,” grumbled Sylvester.
“As far as I can make out, it means we’re more aware of racial issues. And gender ones. And age ones. And some other things.”
“You mean we’re more considerate?”
“I guess,” I replied.
“That reminds me, there was something I wanted to talk to you about,” went on Sylvester.
“Go ahead,” I replied, ever my helpful self.
“Have you ever been hit on by someone in authority? I mean, I know you’re…”
“Yes,” I replied expectantly.
“You’re not like some other people,” said Sylvester awkwardly.
“You mean I have tits, wear lipstick and have a dick? Yes. I am slightly different, but that’s no one’s business but my own,” I replied enjoying Sylvester’s discomfort.
“Well, I know this is a difficult subject, but…” continued Sylvester squirming.
“Sylvester, this is me. You can talk to me about anything.”
“I wondered if you’d ever been hit on by anyone who was your boss, or something like that.”
I must admit I was intrigued by Sylvester’s line of questioning.
“Well, there’s been one or two incidents. I’m pretty abrasive with people that I get a confrontational vibe from, though.”
“It’s just my brothers teenage daughter got hit on by her boss at the store she works at,” I wondered what you thought about it.
I was a little surprised, mostly that any employer could be so stupid.
“It’s a horrible fact, and one that many men don’t understand, but as I understand it many women do get unwanted attention at work. We sort of assume it doesn’t happen, but it does. Actually, it happens all the time. Now, having said that, most young women do learn to deal with it. I know it’s wrong that it would be that way, but many women just deal with it. However, my best advice is to get her a good lawyer, and then have her choose a nice Caribbean island to go and visit with the settlement that is likely to follow.”
“I was shocked,” said Sylvester. “It was all so ‘low level’.”
“What do you mean,” I asked.
“Well, he just approached her and asked if she’d go for a drink,” said Sylvester.
“Unfortunately that’s often the way these things do look. Somewhat harmless and low key. But then, when it’s time for her review she’ll find that the colleague that went out for that drink does a little better than she did. It’s horrible, and it’s insidious,” I said and paused. “It’s a weird thing. It’s easy to see abuse when it’s obvious. When it’s subtle it’s more difficult. And you know what? As a person who has lived much of their life ‘in trousers’ it has never happened to me, at least not as a teenager. So I can never say I’ve lived through that kind of subtle abuse.”
“But that’s good, isn’t it?” countered Sylvester.
“Well, I’m glad I’ve not been bullied like that, however subtle it may have been. But to be honest, I can’t say I’ve lived the ‘female life’ in that sense. I think this is a difficult area for many people who identify as female. The fact is I’ve been fortunate enough to have many advantages of being male. Having said that, it didn’t feel that way when I got a beating or two for being too girly for some people. My journey has different struggles. But I sympathise and I see how unfair it is on young women.”
“And this happens a lot?”
“It happens all the time, which is why we have to be so supportive of young women who are taken advantage of. I’m fortunate enough to work at an agency where even a hint of such behaviour would have the senior person fired and escorted out of the building before their feet touched the ground. People who act like that are a liability to the company, as well as being bullies.”
“Well, it doesn’t happen in my business,” said Sylvester a little defensively.
“I should hope not,” I replied. It’s worth noting that Sylvester runs a workshop servicing vehicles and has a fairly mixed group of employees.
“And it never happened to you?” he continued.
“Oh gosh, no,” I sighed. “I thought it might when I was at summer camp once, but the camp counsellor found out I was trans and then wasn’t interested.”
“Huh,” said Sylvester with a puzzled look on his face. “I’m not quite sure what to make of that.”
“Yes,” I replied. “That’s what he said.”
Stay hydrated and enjoy the sun, and remember, it’s not just the climate that’s changing.