I was the ugliest girl 3 April 2013
There was a time when I wore beautiful dresses and believed that I could change who I was.
I stood in my bedroom, alone with the dress. It was a beautiful 1960s, Audrey Hepburn-esque A-line in white ruffled linen. Capped-sleeves, scooped neck, hemline just below the knees. I owned numerous frocks, but this was my favourite.
I wasn't too keen on what I saw in the full-length mirror. But if I forced my gaze to only see from the neck down, I could forget who I was. I could see myself as gender-neutral. I could pretend I was an object of beauty.
I didn't want to fake it as a female. Nor did I want to deny my masculinity. I just wanted to be beautiful, just like normal people. Was that too much to ask?
I wore a padded bra. Not because I wanted to transform my gender. I just didn't want to be harrassed in public. Passing as female was my ticket to being left alone.
I watched the way my figure filled out the dress, and how – in turn – it forgave the flaws of my body. It vanquished my little pot belly, it gave me a waist, it cast out nice hips. My chest was flat of course, but the dress even managed to forgive that oddity.
But that was all from the neck down. My face told a different story. Pointy nose, heavy jawline, deep-set eyes. No make-up could make beauty of that facade.
So I worked to disguise and camoflague. I was well-crafted in these arts, having taken lessons from a number of expert draq queens and transvestites.
Using dark and light smears of eye-shadow, I sculpted a smaller nose, perky cheekbones, full eyes, a smaller jaw.
And what I couldn't disguise or camoflague, I could hide under a wig. I couldn't afford real hair, but a well-chosen and groomed nylon brown bob did wonders.
I drove through the outer suburbs to Lina's. She wore a white dress too. Hers was contemporary and less beautiful, but being female-born, she always looked more complete, more integral than me.
We drove to the nightclub, where we met a gaggle of other friends. I had a dance. I had a few house whites.
I stood there with Lina, in that dress, feeling my legs tickled by the skirt and my black stockings, my face flushed by the wig's heavy curls. I felt the presence of being watched. The gaze of others was an oppressive heat.
Nearby, I saw two guys talking, sometimes glancing our way. There was a break in the music, and in that tiny quiet moment I heard one of the guys say, “That's gotta be the ugliest girl here”. Lina and I turned to each other, deep grins bursting from our mouths.
I ran to the ladies toilets, stepped into a cubicle and laughed until my eyeliner seeped down my imaculately sculpted cheeks.
What a relief. I felt free from being harassed. I was safe inside my skin. In my little 1960s A-line cocoon, I was complete, I was integral.
Back in the nightclub, I felt once more alone with that dress. And for the first time in my life, as the ugliest girl in the room, it was me who was amazing, it was me who was the most beautiful one under the roving lights of that little nightclub.
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