Lisa looks back on her first office Christmas party as an out trans woman
BY LISA BOND, IMAGE BY RODNAE PRODUCTIONS VIA PEXELS
Christmas 2017 was for me the best of times and the worst of times. My relationship had finally ended and the fallout had spread as far as my work. I’d taken almost every employee aside and told them about my imminent change, and the day came in October when I worked my last day as a guy. It was one of my last days as one too – I took half the week off and, on the Monday came in as Lisa.
“What do we call you?” asked one of my lovely colleagues. “Lisa,” I said.
I’m not gonna lie: it was an exciting time too. All at once, I was free to express my true self openly, without fear of consequences. At last I had the same rights inherent to every True Born Englishwoman. Most importantly, I discovered online shopping.
“You won’t have any salary left if you keep on buying clothes,” said my decent bufferish manager as he walked past my screen one day. It was the kind of workplace where practically any activity could be justified as being good for one’s wellbeing – except actual work of course. My bestie and I stared at each other uncomprehendingly. What was the point of a salary?
There was an urgency to my browsing as the days ticked down to the all-important Christmas party. Funny how talking about Christmas parties nowadays feels like the Ghost of Christmas Past going on and on about legendary booze-ups at Fezzyminge & Co, back in ’15.
I needed an outfit and I needed it soon. Sadly, like Pinocchio on his first day at school, the online Honest Johns soon fingered me for a mark and banner ads of gown after gown – too expensive, too small or both – flowed endlessly past my bewitched gaze.
As the office grew more blingy, with tinsel and lights, so my clothes followed suit. They did everything but light up. But all the while I was waiting for the Big One. When the dress finally arrived, it was a piece of art: black bodice and full skirt with capped sleeves and cunning silver threads woven throughout. The effect was stunning – as long as I didn’t try to wear it. The material was so stiff that, once encased, I could barely move. Looking back, the dress resembled the one worn by the fairy who used to sit on top of the family Christmas tree back home. Every year she was strapped to the topmost branch like a hostage, and never looked like she was enjoying herself much.
Nevertheless, I had my party dress and, on the day itself, high heels as well. The party was in a swanky joint over the road, which proved handy as my ensemble meant I could move only about the speed of a Saturn V moon rocket being transported to the launch pad. Luckily I was surrounded by three guys, including the CEO, who were on the alert for any stumble.
In the restaurant, I sat at one end of the table, watching the festivities with fresh eyes and a paper hat set jauntily atop my Christmas ’do. Secret Santa time came and mine was a little set of nail varnishes, which gave me a little glow. But my real gift was the way my colleagues had taken things into their stride, and welcomed the birth of Lisa. The holly and the ivy might have been more comfortable than my dress, but, finally, Lisa had her crown.
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