Last night I was riding the subway home. A woman got on and sat next to me and smiled at me politely. She looked over at me a few times over the next few minutes each time pleasantly smiling as she looked up from her magazine. I thought she might have read me but nevertheless each time I smiled back.
Then she suddenly she looked at me and quipped "You must be a professional"
I asked why she thought that and she told me she liked the way I did my makeup and she could tell by my general presentation. For the record I was not dressed particularly fancy. Still I was flattered and all of a sudden we were involved in conversation.
I learned she is 57, has been married for 28 years and works as a hair stylist.
I tell anyone who asks that I am around 50 so when we learned each other's ages the topic migrated towards menopause which all of a sudden segued on to the topic of her hysterectomy. This very friendly and open person who is not the least bit shy asked me another question
"Do you still have your uterus?"
I said that I did and then suddenly looked up to realize I was at my stop. We wished each other a nice evening and she waved at me as the subway car pulled away to the next station.
As I walked out of the station the thought that stayed with me was that instead of stressing for all those years and trying to cure myself of being trans, I could have been myself and enjoyed these sorts of exchanges.
It's never too late to learn.