At the beginning of May, I took a trip to Texas. I’d never been there before, but I booked a cheap flight to Houston from the Bay Area because I was excited to meet someone face to face who I had known for at least a year and a half, but it often felt like we’d been friends for a lifetime. I had spent many, many nights on the phone with A Door, talking all night long — she was one of the rare people I found myself not only able to do that with, but eager to chat about everything and nothing at once. We had been there for each other through some really rough shit, had been the first one who got a call from the other when there was something going down, and we looked after each other, too. If I hadn’t heard anything from her in a while, I worried. I checked on her, and if necessary I got in touch with mutual friends to pay her a visit to make sure she was okay. And she did the same for me.
Now, A Door also flirted with me. A lot. Flirting, like sending nude photos and responding with claims of being flattered when I mentioned that I had cum hard while looking at those photos. Flirted, like asking for my nudes in return, and telling me what a sexy ass I have, constantly telling me how hot I am, and how much she was turned on by what she saw. She mentioned repeatedly that she would love to share my bed — to cuddle and kiss and see where things went from there. She would also tell me about the various other girls she crushed on; like out at some club she knew where there was a woman in a tight skirt who came up and started dancing with her, how this woman was grinding on her, how much it turned her on, how she was surprised at being aroused by a woman but how much she loved it… and how a few minutes later this same woman was kissing another chick and she felt incredibly jealous. And yeah, A Door also told me about the relationships she had with various guys, which frequently seemed to end poorly, and there was a rather predictable refrain of “I should just quit with guys and go for the other team!”
We said “I love you” to each other quite often, and at some point along the way, that became “I adore you,” because, as she said, “adore” was even stronger than love, and meant a much deeper connection, no matter what happened between us. And for all the extremely forward flirting and offers of physical connection (her –with a typo: okay, that’s our special dong. me: How about our song? her: lol, I guess. It’s a dong. me: strap-on? her: We can just use yours! me: well, I do have a few dildos that can fit in my harness, but those don’t do much for fucking me! her: OMG lol) any time that I started to respond favorably she’d say that she didn’t want to “ruin” our friendship by having the sex that she kept saying she wanted with me, and that she would try to keep herself open to possibilities, but maybe it would be best if we didn’t actually hook up.
Despite all of that, when I told her that I was planning to travel, she was beyond excited. Started diving headfirst into planning all sorts of fun activities — taking me to the club where that chick had danced with her, scoping out places to eat, figuring out what entertainment places there were to go and have fun at, seeing if maybe we’d go to a waterslide park on the weekend, and even though I told her that I could take care of my own lodgings, she kept telling me that at least one of the nights we’d have to stay at this one hotel where she and our mutual friend Lather had been not long before, with a huge jacuzzi tub and a two-room suite (they’d sent pictures of themselves in a giant bubble bath — suggestive to say the least.) She talked about a guy she knew who worked in management for a couple local hotel chains, and promised that she would get him to pull strings and find us rooms to sleep in for free or super-cheap. And she mentioned a guy she knew who had a veritable mansion, she frequently house-sits for him while he travels, and she promised that she’d try to get us a chance to stay at his place with a huge fully-stocked bar and a hot-tub with a color-changing light show (from which she had sent me a video of her smiling face and her tits swaying in the water as she relaxed, and asked if I enjoyed the view.) She also kept saying that the guy she was staying with, crashing on his couch, would have to put me up. I said more than once that I wasn’t likely to end up there, not least because it’s a house full of loud animals: several birds, several dogs, all of them constantly squawking and screeching and barking, and I knew I would go crazy there. But she kept talking about all of the things she was planning for me, and at some point I just stopped trying to fight her about it, stopped trying to say “I’ve got this,” because she was so set on making sure that she was going to give me a good trip.
So I flew out, with a one week stay planned, round-trip tickets. The day of my flight, I was so excited that I didn’t sleep, and I had been awake most of the day before; with an early morning flight that lasted about 4 hours and then an arrival full of excitement and meeting people I had only seen in pictures, I had ended up awake for almost 40 hours non-stop. Lather was driving us at the time, and we stopped at a little Tex-Mex restaurant and bar. A Door was meeting up with a friend she hadn’t really seen since high school, who had reconnected on Facebook a while back too, so the whole thing was an amazing, energy-filled reunion and introduction session. A Door and her high-school pal got started on some huge margaritas, and each of them went through easily 5 or 6 of these mini-fishbowl frozen tequila messes… and both got very drunk. They also both were very handsy with each other, and A Door was laughing as she played with her friend’s tits, flirted with and made suggestive comments to Lather, and I would have been much more flirty if I hadn’t been completely exhausted and overwhelmed by the sensory overload I was dealing with. I needed some quiet, and I needed some sleep.
Well, after a few hours at the bar, Lather had to take her car and head home, the high-school friend had to head off to do her own thing, and I was left with a shit-faced A Door who was nowhere near fit to be driving, promising Lather that she’d get some coffee and sober up before driving long-distance back to the place with all the noisy animals (almost an hour drive.) Instead, A Door got to a gas station, bought more alcohol, and suggested that we go to the hotel with the fancy suite, which was only 20 minutes away… which, considering that it was a choice between an hour as a passenger of a drunk driver or 20 minutes of the same, I figured that the less time we were on the road, the better. She came up with an idea of which con story she was going to use to get our way into the place for cheaper than we’d normally be able to, and I said I’d play along because it wasn’t worth trying to fight her. When we got to the room, she started drinking more.
That night we ended up in one bed, naked — because we both sleep most comfortably that way, and we both had talked frequently about how there doesn’t need to be any shame about bodies. She begged me repeatedly to promise that I wouldn’t have sex with her. Every time I assured her that there was no way I would take advantage of her, not in the state she was, and that even if she hadn’t been drunk, that just asking me not to was all it took — because I won’t push a “no.” Then she proceeded to cuddle up against me, to start rubbing around my body, to get me turned on and then let go and roll over away from me. Of course, I didn’t do anything, but the teasing was certainly frustrating. Just as I was finally dozing off, I was jolted back awake by her making a big show of tossing the covers around, then shoving them down off of her body completely and spreading her knees wide and putting her feet together to fully expose her cunt, grabbing her boobs and massaging them and moaning, then reaching out a hand to rest on me. I moved closer, gave her a hug with the top half of my body, then rolled away again and tried to wait for my arousal to die down again so I could get some sleep.
The next morning, we went down to get some of the free breakfast provided by the hotel, and talked about our plans for the day. We were picking up Lather and going to visit someone that A Door knew and was doing business with, a woman who had several horses she’d rescued from various places, and since A Door does equine veterinary care among other things, she had been called to help. Lather was there to assist and to learn, something of an apprentice to A Door. I was told that we would be there about two hours taking care of things, and that we’d head out to go have fun with one of the countless things that A Door had been working to plan. Two and a half hours, three hours, four hours went by, and the friend we’d gone to visit was talking about how she needed to have her place cleaned in time for her little boy’s weekly visit under a shared custody arrangement… and there were things that A Door and Lather had talked about needing to get done on a schedule, and I was tired and hungry and not at all prepared for spending half the day at a place I’d been told would take a couple hours maximum.
Along the course of the chit-chat that happened after everyone had repeatedly said there were other things to be done, we all got to talking about how we weren’t on the best terms with our parents. Each of us mentioning briefly the reasons why, and so I said, “Yeah, I’m not the Good Little Mormon Boy my parents tried to raise!” It’s a line I use all the time, and it often gets a chuckle, and I said it without thinking about the fact that I was in the land of ultra-conservative, no-homos-allowed, guns-and-God-and-“Fuck Yeah, ‘Murricah!” No sooner were those words out of my mouth than the friend we were visiting asked an incredibly invasive and inappropriate question about my genitals, and I stammered and blushed and didn’t have any snarky quip to give in reply because I was trying to not be outright rude even in reacting to someone being rude to me. At some point I mentioned that I should probably get something to eat, that I needed some substantial food, and that it might be useful if we were to go. I hadn’t, as I said, expected to be there all day, and we’d also been told that there was too little time for her getting work done and yet we were wasting that time chatting. Finally I became a bit more insistent, and perhaps not the most cheerful and polite, but I was also exhausted and starving.
We left, and stopped for some fast food (a big hamburger helped a lot) but I wasn’t in a great mood still, and I was dealing with the realization that A Door is never sober. She drinks beer while she’s driving, often while talking on her cellphone which is plugged in charging in the dash with the cord running through the steering wheel, driving distracted with one hand and chugging more booze at red lights. She even made jokes about how the open container laws are stupid, and seemed to think it was hilarious that she was picking up her can to swill while there was a cop in the next lane over at a red light. I, on the other hand, was scared for my life, and offended by how casually I was expected to accept her disregard for my safety. I mean, fuck — if you want to take that kind of chance with your own life, I think you’re a fool; if you want to take that kind of chance with mine, you’re an asshole. I had repeatedly offered to be “co-pilot,” to handle looking up directions and help with navigating and responding to the text messages that she was getting, because I wanted to do anything I could to minimize the risks to my safety and hers. She seemed to be okay with it, at least so far as she was saying “okay,” and “sure” and “that works” and so on.
We were on our way back to the hotel with the jacuzzi suite, Lather driving in front because she knew the way slightly better. Rush-hour traffic on the freeway, and major construction, plus a 3-car pileup meant that things were moving slowly… which turned out to be an incredibly good thing, as Lather had a grand mal seizure at the wheel, crossed 4 lanes of traffic, bounced off of the concrete barrier on the side of the road, and then went down a grassy embankment onto a frontage road before finally coming to a stop as she got hit by another car. Yeah, A Door and I both freaked the fuck out, managed to get off the road and run to her, someone called 9-1-1 and several bystanders came to help out, too. Considering that nobody was injured, and only one car had minor damage (the SUV that hit Lather had its bumper dinged, but that’s it) and the fact that Lather was blue in the face when I helped pull her from the car along with a couple of other folks… it was an incredibly lucky moment.
So we ended up at the hospital instead of the hotel, spent several hours getting her tested and poked and prodded and samples taken of this and that and the other. I was still really fucking exhausted after having minimal sleep in an awkward situation the night before, and then being up all day with no shortage of “adventure” didn’t exactly leave me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. At some point, we tried getting Lather‘s car out of the tow yard, but they were closed until the morning… so we headed to the hotel after all of that. It was late, and I wanted little more than to finally wind down. A Door had dropped off Lather at home before we got there, and it was just the two of us. After soaking in the jacuzzi for a bit with A Door in the next room shouting at who-knows-who on the phone and the TV turned up to deafening, I got out and adjusted the water temperature to what A Door likes (we’d sat in a large-size bathtub the night before, prior to going to bed… wrapped all around each other and groping plenty above the waist, so I had a fairly good idea of how she likes her water.) I dried off and climbed into the bed, turned the air conditioner down to an incredible cool blast, and drifted off to sleep despite the noise in the next room.
When I awoke the next morning, well-rested for a change, the jacuzzi was still full, untouched from how I’d left it ready for her. A Door was gone — she’d already mentioned that she had things to do, that she’d be trying to get things together with Lather to get her car out of the impound and run a few more errands. In touch by phone, she reminded me that we’d asked for a late checkout, that she’d be back as soon as possible, and that if anyone hassled me about it that I should name-drop her friend, the woman who was manager of that hotel — and who I’d met the morning before — to stall and to buy time. I began to worry when it was already noon and there was no sign of anyone, and Housekeeping came to the door (I was glad I had already gotten dressed!) and after I turned them away I had to deal with a call from the front desk reminding me that we were supposed to be out of there, that it was the only room left to clean.
I called A Door to see if maybe the two of them could hurry back, since they still had a ton of cleaning up and packing their stuff to do. They told me they were only a few minutes away, and not long afterwards, they both showed up. A Door insisted on soaking in the tub, and while she did that, I got a huge lecture from her about how “rude” I had been the day before to her friend, and how she hadn’t said anything because I was a guest, but I had been completely out of line “ordering everyone around” and “demanding that we go” and furthermore how dare I make a big show of bringing up my gender if I wasn’t really interested in talking about it? She reminded me that her friend’s questions had been “only out of curiosity, not being mean” and that I had behaved poorly and not at all been a good guest, and had disrespected the hospitality that was extended to me. I was also told that she really wasn’t sure how she was going to make it through the whole rest of the week with me, because I was so “high-maintenance” and “needy” and wasn’t willing to compromise on anything, and it was just exhausting to have to keep dealing with me.
Now, I had also made tentative plans to connect with another friend I hadn’t yet met face-to-face, but with whom I shared a number of interests, and who I’d also chatted with quite a bit… we’ll call her Moon Buggy. We hadn’t made solid plans, but she’d said she was available either Friday or Saturday during the daytime, and since A Door had said we’d be going out to the club on Friday (the one with a stripper pole on the dance floor, the one where she’d had her moment of jealousy over seeing “her girl” with someone else, etc.) I scheduled time with Moon Buggy for Saturday. Now, this was Friday afternoon, running down to the wire for checkout, and then trying to round up enough cash to get Lather‘s car back before they closed for the weekend — and I get word that both of them are going to be out all night on some horse-related job, and A Door is frustrated with me because I point out that no, I can’t just randomly drop in on Moon Buggy, we made our plans for tomorrow, and she’s off to the doctor today to check in on something that might be serious. A Door couldn’t seem to grasp why I would be willing to respect the boundaries of a friend, that I wasn’t interested in trying to game my way into getting more than I had been offered, and that having made plans, I wasn’t willing to toss them out the window with no notice. I suppose it ought to have been clear to me at that point, but it didn’t register until later, the whole thing was A Door‘s inability to grasp that anyone else wasn’t just like her. Solipsism is a bitch, y’all.
Anyway, thanks to me passing along a crisp $100 bill that The Rabbit had slipped into a sweet little card as she dropped me off at the airport, Lather was able to make up the last of the money she needed to get her car back, with the understanding that I genuinely could spare it at the time and that I was okay with getting it back at whatever point she was able to do so. If I have a friend in need, and I can help, I will. I must. It’s who I am. I had booked a cheap hotel room while I was up early that morning waiting for everyone to get back — which is what I had planned to do from the beginning, mind, until I gave up on fighting A Door insisting on being Event Planner for my entire trip. By 6pm, we had gotten Lather‘s car in enough shape for her to get it back home… but not before A Door had a complete meltdown, going off to scream at the top of her lungs while Lather and I waited in the car. Eventually, though, A Door drove me to my hotel. Things were… tense. Awkward. But hey, at least I was going to have a little bit of control over my own schedule and situation, right? Right.
Well, Friday night I thought things over. I’d been told quite clearly that I wasn’t welcome, and that it would be extremely difficult to put up with me for several more days. I talked things over with Again and The Rabbit and my mom on the phone, and I looked at how difficult it would be to change my flight to come back early. Both my mom and The Rabbit made special trips to drop money into my checking account, to bail me out of this trip turned terrible. Again was — as she always is — a genuinely sympathetic ear and a dear friend. I managed to get myself a flight back on Monday, the earliest I could do, and the same hotel room at $60 a night (compared to the $250 for the fancy suite and the $130 for the tiny room the night before) and then I sent a group message on Facebook to Lather and A Door. I told them of my changed plans, let them know that I would like to see them if they had the chance, and gave a sincere and heartfelt apology that things had gone the way they did, and reiterated that I wasn’t going to throw friendships away just because things were rough right that moment. I also updated them on Moon Buggy‘s situation; it was indeed as serious as her doctor had suspected, and she was in the hospital. I closed by saying that I was about to rest, and that I’d check messages when I got up.
Then… I slept. Wonderfully. Peacefully. Alone. Comfortable. When I woke early Saturday, I had replies from both of them; I’d forgotten that it was Mothers’ Day weekend, and so it was understandable they both had other obligations. I wished them each a pleasant and fun-filled day, and figured that was that — except that A Door started pressing for all sorts of specific details about Moon Buggy‘s situation in the group chat, the kinds of details that are incredibly personal and weren’t mine to share (again, shouldn’t have been shocked, considering I’d been painted as the villain for politely declining the same kinds of invasive probing just a couple days before…) and when I gave the same information again, A Door started accusing Moon Buggy of having simply flaked on me, of being a catfish, of having never actually cared about me if she’d even really existed in the first place.
Then shit really hit the fan. A Door goes all out on me, telling me how I’ve been “controlling” and “rude” and reiterating much of what she’d accused me of while we were running late checking out of the penthouse. Says that I “kept taking her phone” and that I had “demanded to leave” her friend’s place, and she tells me again that she had stayed silent only because I was a guest and it would have been rude of her to point out my rudeness. She blasts me again for being unwilling to share explicit details about my genitals with a near-stranger, and…
Y’know what? Lemme just let her say it, in her own words. The only edit I’ve made is to remove references to specific names; the typos and grammar mess are all hers:
Look. I was an emotionally exhausted wreck from how difficult things were. And exhausted. I had to sit downstairs in the lobby to give you alone time in a 2 room suite which is bullshit. Then I finally go to sleep and you come wake me up. Just everything. From you demanding we leave [Friend’s name]’s, to you taking my phone, to controlling situations. I’m not used to that. It was clear you were not happy from the beginning. And quite frankly, you were rude about almost everything. Maybe we are just to different in Texas. But there was nothing polite about your behavior or actions for the most part. And you are entitled to dress how you want, but you blatantly show off you are in the middle of being transgendered, you vocalize you are, and then become offended when someone asks you questions, not out if judgement, but out of curiosity. I personally would have never allowed anyone to be rude or disrespectful to you as you were a guest, but you were rude and disrespectful in. Your behavior as well as your clothing. You wanted controversy, you wanted attention, but then acted indignant when you got it. I’m not high maintenance [my name], and you are. It was exhausting trying to appease you. I can’t do it anymore. I’m not used to a friend if mine requiring so much catering to or handled with kid gloves. I can’t do it. I’m sorry. I just can’t.
So. It was clear that in the couple of years I’d known her, in all of the late-night, all-night talks we’d had, the ones where I finally opened up to her persistent, probing questions about my gender… she hadn’t really picked up anything at all. In one line, especially: “in the middle of being transgendered,” she says. As if I were somehow partway through a process that was happening to me, rather than simply being the woman I am — and I know that I had gone over the same thing more than once with her. In fact, I’d touched on nearly every point in the “Terms To Avoid” section of the GLAAD Media Reference Guide for Transgender Issues, but clearly none of it sank in.
Oh, and waking her up? I went to check on her to see if she was okay, in part, after the rough day we’d all had… and also to see if she had any ibuprofen, because my head was nearly exploding in pain. I mentioned that the next day, when she’d griped at me for having awakened her, and she said, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world, “you should have just gone through my purse!” Again, boundaries clearly don’t have much value to her. I would never simply assume that my friends’ things are okay to dig through without asking, and I wondered if she’d gone through any of my stuff. But… she HAD TO go sit in the lobby?! I have no fucking clue why she made that decision, but I have even less clue why she thinks it’s my fault that she did so. I mean, it’s not as if she asked me what I wanted or needed; I was expecting her to soak in the tub and come to bed like she said she would, and I got everything ready for her.
Apparently she doesn’t like the way I dress. Thinks I was trying to call attention to myself — which would be laughable if it weren’t so scary. That I would deliberately draw attention to my non-normative gender in the land of Confederate-flag-waving, kill-the-queers-and-Muslims, Conservative-as-they-come Texas… yeah, I don’t have a death wish. When I packed my bags? I picked outfits that consistently get complimented. I dressed to look and feel good, to be comfortable and sexy. I mean, sure, if I’d thought about things I could have only brought conservative (with a little “c”) attire, if my goal had been to simply be invisible. But really, I don’t have much “conservative” clothing — it’s just not who I am! And apparently being me means being “disrespectful.”
At that point, I was hurt, I was angry, and I knew I wasn’t in the best shape to try and respond. So I slept again. It was honestly quite lovely, having a little room all to myself, keeping it nice and dark, nobody making noise around, keeping my own schedule. That, truly, the three days I spent alone in a hotel room — that was a beautiful little vacation.
When I awoke a few hours later, I had nearly a dozen text messages, missed calls, and voicemails, and one other message in that Facebook group chat, all from A Door. There was nothing more as detail went beyond repeated “You need to fucking call me NOW” with increasing urgency and anger behind each iteration. One of them demanded that I text or call either her or Lather, and so I got in touch with Lather to ask what in the world was going on. Turns out she was just as much in the dark as I was, said that A Door had stopped taking her messages and was very upset, but she didn’t know what the details were.
So I sent a text to A Door pointing out that I’d been asleep, and asking what was so earth-shatteringly important. She asks me “Did you and I have sex?”
“No! What the fuck?”
“I’m just asking. You told Lather that you stared at my naked body that night,” she said.
“Yeah, I looked. And you’re hot. And I promised you nothing would happen. And you’re ‘just asking’ if I’m the lowest of the low by raping you?”
“I’m asking. I was drunk and I don’t know.”
“And I answered you. No way, no how. Exactly BECAUSE you were drunk there’s no way I would, even if you had said it was okay.” I replied.
“This whole thing with you was just fucked from the beginning,” she said.
There was a little bit more, basically her saying the whole thing should have been different, and I agreed that it should. Figured maybe that was it. I went back to sleep. It’s what I do when I’m stressed anyway, and I was trying to enjoy the little vacation I was finally getting.
Woke up again a few hours later, another text from A Door:
“So nothing happened between us? I was drunk. You promise nothing?”
I had been asleep at the time, and 20 minutes afterwards she prompted again… “Well?”
“How many times do you need me to answer you?” I said, exasperated. “I gave you the truth the first time. The truth hasn’t changed. You asked me to give you my word that I would do nothing, and I kept my word.”
“Ok good. Because I remember nothing and the things you told Lather truly bothered me.” (I had to wonder just how much of the conversation I’d had with Lather, expecting it to be kept in confidence — again, not grasping that whole “no respect for boundaries” thing — had been passed along, and how much of it had been relayed faithfully, how much had been reinterpreted along the way.) “And the way you acted the next morning confused me.”
I still have no idea what she meant by that last bit, no clue what might have “confused” her about “the way I acted.” But I told her,
“You seem to be confused about a whole lot of things, sadly. I’ll talk to you when I’m less hurt and less angry… and not before then. Goodbye for now.”
And oh, how that set her off! Holy. Fucking. Hell. She went on a 10-message “fuck”-laden screaming tirade, astonished that I would dare claim to be hurt or angry when I “singlehanded did this shit,” that I needed to own up for having done everything wrong, pointing out the number of apologies that she “had to make” for my behavior (protip: if I’ve done something wrong, tell me about it. Give me the chance to make things right, to make any apologies for myself that need to be made. Don’t apologize for what you think I did wrong behind my back, and then keep silent about it to my face.)
The real kicker was at the end, though, where she says: “You don’t even try. You don’t try. You ruined everything. We tried. You did not. You ruined your trip. And I’m sure on purpose. Just another excuse for you to bitch about life.”
You hear that, folks? According to A Door, I single-handedly sabotaged something that had the promise to be a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime adventure, solely so that I would have another excuse to bitch about how horrible things are! Right. Because that makes complete sense. Again, I was struck by just how little she really knew me after all of the time that we had spent together, pouring our hearts out to each other. She seems to think that I would have taken advantage of her being too drunk to consent — despite the endless posts she’d “Liked” on my Facebook about Yes Means Yes! and pretty much all of the “Feminism 101” type stuff that I care the fucking world about, because this shit matters. Stuff that she had ostensibly seen at least the headlines of, even if she didn’t go off and educate herself further.
And in talking to Lather as this whole thing unfolded, I gather that it’s something of an open secret among A Door‘s female friends that she gets wasted, she comes on strong to them, and the next day swears that she has no idea what happened, that she was completely blacked out. It’s kinda sad, really, when someone is so far in the closet to themselves — and in such a conservative area — that the only way to step outside of that is to use the booze as a beard. One of many things that I found myself sincerely appreciating about the Bay Area when I got back — not that things are perfect here, not by a long shot — but at least there’s often more possibility of self-questioning, exploration, experimentation, and discovery.
So I got to the airport on an early-morning shuttle, on my flight back to the Bay, thanks in no small part to financial bail-out from both The Rabbit and my mom, and Again‘s emotional support. And I lost a couple of friends though the whole ordeal; I’m no longer in touch with Lather or A Door, and I don’t plan to try reconnecting. Before A Door flipped out on me asking for a little bit of space to process things, I still might have made the effort… all I was asking was for enough space to sort through what I was feeling, and to give her the same chance. I guess that wasn’t something she could manage. And if she didn’t know me by then… it’s clear that she never would.