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Chrysalis and Another Waye Presents:

Cross Dressed Christmas
By Roberta Angela Dee


When Mel moved into the apartment complex, the first tenant he noticed was a tall, slender African American woman by the name of Elaine Taylor. The 33-year-old Jewish man had never paid much attention to African American women. However, there was something very distinctive about Elaine. He noticed the many ways she differed from the typical modern woman and he liked those differences.

Mel's interest did not go unnoticed. He always made a point to greet her whenever she would arrive home from her job at the library, and she noticed through the corner of her eye -- in the manner that women often notice things -- how he looked at her.

There were also differences between Mel and Elaine. Some of the differences were obvious. Elaine was tall, very slender, and always very neatly dressed and groomed. She exemplified the care and concern women were expected to display before the feminist movement took its cultural hold. Mel was shorter and somewhat portly. It was all the more reason he very much appreciated a woman willing to adhere to earlier standards of femininity.

Months passed. Mel continued to greet Elaine as always but had never summoned the courage to solicit a conversation; and Elaine, not wishing to be uncharacteristically forward, respected his shyness.

However, one evening, shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday, he found himself discussing Elaine with one of his few friends. He paced nervously while he talked about her.

"I don't know what to say," he began. "She's black. I'm white. She's Christian. I'm a Jew. She's beautiful. I'm average."

"All right," Samuel interrupted. I get the picture."

Samuel worked with Mel at a popular bookstore. They were both managers. Samuel was also Jewish and in his mid-thirties. Unlike Mel, Samuel had been married for slightly more than five years, and had two children -- a boy and a girl.

"Just start out with casual conversation," Samuel suggested. "Mention that you've noticed her and that you're curious as to where she works. If she's interested, she'll take it from there."

"Yea, but what if she's as shy as me? What if she gives me a one-word answer or if she tells me it's none of my business? Then what'll I do? This woman is gorgeous. I doubt she'll even want to speak to me."

"Well, she's not speaking to you now. So, what have you got to lose? Anyway, you just want to encourage enough conversation to ask her out. It's not as though you were asking her to marry you."

"I would if I could," Mel responded. "I would if I thought for even an instant that she would have me."

"You don't think that would create a problem with your family?" Samuel inquired.

"Oh, I know it would. It would probably create a problem with her family too. But I really don't care. I think about this woman day and night."

"Well, just take it slow, partner. Don't rush into anything."

Natural forces have a way of causing events. Mel's desires caused him to overcome his shyness and to begin a discussion that eventually led to him asking her out on a date.

"Well, before I can accept your invitation, I need to tell you that I was born a male," Elaine began nervously. I mean, I was born physically male. Mentally and emotionally, I've always been female; and that's how I'm most comfortable."

"Are you telling me that you're a guy?" Mel inquired with a tone of voice that bordered surprise and disgust.

"No! That's not what I'm telling you. I'm telling you that I was born physically male and emotionally female, and because I'm most comfortable as a woman, I've been living as a woman for the past 10 years."

"But-- but you have breasts! You have breasts like a woman!"

"I've been taking female hormones for the past 10 years as well. So, yes, I have breasts. I have breasts like a woman because from my perspective I am a woman."

"No, this can't be happening to me," he announced. "But if you're a guy and I'm a guy, then for us to go out, we'd have to be queers. And I'm not a queer. So, I'm sorry. I don't go that way. I mean, I'm straight. I'm not gay."

Elaine stood quietly. She said nothing for a brief time but eventually said, "I'm sorry you think of me as being a guy. I had hoped you'd be able to see beneath my exterior and see the real me. If you're unable to do that, then I'll just have to accept your point of view."

"It's more than a point of view, Elaine," he stated, firmly defending his position. "It's a fact."

"Well, we see the facts differently, Mel. So, take care."

"Take care," Mel replied as though both his ego and his perception of reality had been shattered.

Mel continued to watch Elaine as she returned home from the library. He looked at her as he had never looked at her before, but he did not meet her outside the apartment building, nor outside his apartment door.

A week passed without an exchange between the two tenants. However, eight days after Elaine's revelation, Mel met her as she was entering her apartment.

"Listen," he began humbly, "I want to apologize for saying you were a man. You're obviously not a man. At least not the way that I understand being a man. It's just that you sort of caught me totally by surprise and I didn't know how else to react."

"It's okay," Elaine answered sweetly. "At least now you know. We're still neighbors and if you like we can still be friends."

"Yea, right," Mel responded somberly.

"Take care, Mel," she responded as she unlocked her apartment door and entered.

Mel stood there as though he was questioning whether he should have said anything at all. He was still looking like a man who had been hurt and a man confused by his hurt.

Another week passed without any interaction between Mel and Elaine. Then, once again, he met her.

"Hi, Elaine," he started. "You look rather nice today. Very pretty."

"Thank you, Mel. I appreciate the compliment."

"No problem."

"Well, good night, Mel."

"Okay. Goodnight, Elaine."

Again, Elaine unlocked her apartment door and entered; and, again, Mel stood outside. This time, however, he was not content to return to his own apartment without saying something more to Elaine. He knocked at her door and waited patiently for her to answer.

Elaine opened the door just enough to see her guest. She kept the security chain bolted.

"Oh, Mel. Is there something you need?"

"Yes. I need to talk with you. May I come in?"

Elaine looked at him for a second or two and then said "all right."

He entered and began talking as though he were confessing the sins of his life. Elaine listened attentively.

"Listen, Elaine. I have feelings for you that are stronger than I've ever had for a girl. If you're a guy, then I must be Lady Di, and I'm not Lady Di. And, you're no guy. So, I'd like to extend an invitation to take you out once again. We're having a Christmas party at work, and I'd like you to attend as my guest. In fact, I'd be deeply honored if you would attend."

"Have you thought about the possible consequences of dating someone that most people would assume to be a cross dresser?" she asked.

"Yes, I have. I've thought about a lot of things but I'm still asking you out."

"Well, in that case, I accept."

Elaine left work early on the evening of the occasion. She groomed and dressed like a young bride. And when Mel came over to pick her up, he was totally stunned. He showered her with compliments, and although there were some comments made at the party about an interracial couple and the possibility that Elaine was transgendered or transsexual. Most people didn't seem to care. They had come to enjoy themselves and were happy to see everyone having a good time.

After the party, Mel drove directly back to the apartment. They were giggling and laughing all the way up the stairs and didn't care who heard them at 2:00 AM in the morning.

They looked into each other's eyes, and Mel said, "Thank you, Elaine, for a fantastic evening.

"Thank you," Elaine responded. "Why don't you step in for a cup of coffee?"

"I'd be delighted," he replied.

Mel celebrated Christmas that morning in a way he had never celebrated the holiday at any time in his past. Perhaps, they celebrated in a spirit that Christmas really ought to be celebrated, as a union of people who would normally stand apart because of artificial barriers. That morning, they were just a couple making love and enjoying each other's company in the most intimate way.

"Was it as good for you as it was for me?" Mel asked.

"Merry Christmas," Elaine replied. Merry Christmas to all.

The End

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