November 24, 2020

Starbucks and revelations...

All of the following is true.

Many will be familiar with Susie, Chateau Femme ( and her really rather fabulous south-coast dressing service for incurably t-girl types. Having bump (re)started my tranny career with her a year ago, I revisited her for some further moral support and pics but using more of my own wardrobe this time.

Susie is a jewel in the tranny firmament, with her genuine, life-long interest in dressing men to resemble great looking women, and then photographing them. Giving us grrls who cannot dress every day, hope and a memory from another world. And if we’re honest for a second here, girls, we’re not always what you might call promising material, self very much included. For me it’s a case of turning a coastline back into something resembling a waistline and giving Shelly a look that is both natural but somewhat age-defying too. To top it all I’ve decided I want something a bit rock chick / trashy this time, with some PVC thrown in for fans of the same. Tall order, but nothing here phases our Susie!

Whilst she covers the makeover and corsetry needs (‘Stick-on or painted nails, Shelly?’ ‘Oh I’ll go for painted, thank you’), all in her beautiful relaxed environment with vino and pizza thrown in for lunch, she talks about her t-girl partner, Tara, who is deeply interested in understanding and discussing the psychology of being trans. Tara’s exploring the idea of offering counseling and support for couples that are struggling to cope with the stresses brought on by crossdressing within conventional relationships. These two, no doubt having been through their own tough times, really are living the dream, and helping others to do the same.

It goes without saying that the day goes like a breeze. I relax more and more as time flies by, with Susie’s easy charm sprinkled over all the changes of outfits and locations, and the pics turn out better than I could ever have hoped for – I’m a total trashy trailer-park princess, everything I wanted to be. To my great pleasure and no little surprise they both agree to come out for supper that evening.

And it’s something to do with this couple’s sense of style and charm that even a total novice, or someone like myself who has rarely ventured out dressed in daylight, doesn’t give exposure to public scrutiny a second thought. By 8.30 we’re sitting in a cute Italian restaurant, chatting amongst all the hubbub of busy tables to the waiters and each other when I have my tiny, shining light, Damascus moment.

This, all of this, is good. It is the stuff of life. It is, in a slightly kooky and gender-bendery way, completely normal.

There are no unwanted stares, no cheap sniggers. We’re just regular crossdressing folk out for a meal. The world has grown up. Through dinner we talk about everything, tangled lives, relationships, tranny overload, sex, Argentine steaks and corned beef, Spanish brandy (you had to be there!). I feel totally safe with them both.

Walls come tumbling down – it’s no exaggeration to say that something between relief and total joy floods through me. I know I’m no longer alone. As I later put it to Susie, I feel completely at home, like I’ve found my tribe, and for me, as someone who has always lived as something of an outsider looking in on the lives of others, it’s nothing short of pure exhilaration. I feel a great sense of belonging. I’m so content in their company.

In short, this is their magic as a couple.

Nightcaps come and go, and it’s time to wend my way back to my apartment ahead of returning to Richmond the next morning. Susie, ever the caring one, asks if I’m all right, do I need anything, have I got nail-varnish remover? I’m fine, I say, I have everything. I hit the hay, exhausted but totally happy.

Back in male mode the next morning, the drive back to the smoke gets under way. I glance at my nails. Red, indeed very red, and no nail varnish remover to rectify before I hit the office. This does not bode well as it’s fair to say work is somewhere that is neither particularly forward thinking nor liberal in outlook.

I stop at all the motorway services seeking a pharmacy - in vain. Desperation sets in, coupled with a total downer in the aftermath of the previous day’s highs. Eventually I stop at M3 Fleet Services – still no luck. I resign myself to office ridicule, am feeling pretty low by now.

On a whim I stop at the Starbucks drive-through for a consolation latte, as I exit Fleet. I sheepishly hand over my cash to the girl serving me, and she chirps up. ‘Oh, love the nails.’ I mutter something about it being an unusual party the night before and how I must take it off. “Don’t do that”, she trills, “Looks really nice and…interesting”. Her fellow server leans over for a look and agrees. Spirits soar, little kindnesses mean a lot and cut through my self-induced gloom. I drive to work elated and having a restored sense of belonging. I know where my tribe is, and where I belong.

Thank you Susie, Tara and the girls at Starbucks Fleet services, for everything.

Shelly Richmond