Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Whore Wonton: My latest piece on Fourculture!

"I heard the door close. I had just turned my first trick in almost exactly twenty minutes. The envelope on the desk contained seven $100 bills, which we sorely needed: a girl’s gotta eat. I cleaned up in the sink, repaired my makeup, and straightened my wig. I was hungry. I slipped into a knee length denim skirt, my knee boots and the same top as before. I threw my wallet, room key, cigarettes, lighter and phone into my counterfeit Prada purse and sprayed on some “Allure”. I slipped into my huge, plush faux Leopard car coat and put up the hood. 

 An older man in the elevator tried hard not to look at me, especially when I smiled at him. It was late, almost eleven. I slipped out of the lobby into the cold Chinatown fog; a San Francisco evening in July. I needed Wor Won Ton soup."

(c) Darya Teesewell, 2014

@divadarya@fourculture #wonton #storyteller

Sunday, May 18, 2014

She Didn't Stutter

"Summer began to fade; nights were getting longer and cooler after the expected early October heat wave. I was dressing for a night at the Lodge at the shop. I was about five pounds from my weight loss goal, and looking very hot in a leather mini, fishnet stockings, boots and a matching corset. My lips were  Chanel red, my eyes were feline, my nails were painted and the world had better look out for me. I sprayed on some Vera Wang.

"Oh, and that Bitch? I couldn’t wait to see her.
I stepped into the bar around ten-fifteen; I was early, according to Trans time. My bracelets were jangling and ear hoops were swinging as I walked up to the bar. The bartender smiled; 'Diet Coke or Sparkling water?' He knew me well, and I always tipped him accordingly. As the place filled up, I saw friends I had lost track of, got hit on by men, danced my little ass off, and looked not much the worse for wear; it was a great night.

"About half-past midnight, she was standing next to me at the bar. Her.

"She gave no indication she remembered me; I was twenty pounds lighter and a brunette, now. Her face was jowly, long and hopelessly masculine. She did have lovely blue eyes, but her eye makeup was a drippy, raccoony mess. Her skin was dark and rough from too much sun, and she had misshapen teeth, the poor thing.
I heard the words 'the poor thing' in my head, and I knew I was indeed my mother’s daughter, albeit a six-foot-three one with an intact penis."

From "She Didn't Stutter: (c) Darya Teesewell 2014

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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Transition Fairy

It’s a burden to face the fact that one has, let us say, powers. I have many friends of a scientific and agnostic bent who view the notion of invisible energetic influences with a healthy skepticism. They will  earnestly explain the folly of slavish devotion to myths and archetypes; I applaud them for that, usually as they are leaving for a Star Trek convention, dressed as Klingons.
My power is very simple and straightforward; I awaken the nascent woman within men, and cause them to manifest as such; yes,  I am The Transition Fairy.
I worked for two businesses that sold products and services to men who enjoy emulating women, so the fact that a few of them turned out to be transsexual is not remarkable on the face. The phenomenon I speak of goes far deeper and wider than than that, however;  I’m constantly getting messages via social media that usually say something along the lines of:  “Hi Darya! You probably don’t remember me, my name is Sara. You did my first makeover in 2005. I transitioned in 2006 and I’m now married and living in Tulsa. Thank you SO much!!” We talked on the phone? We met at a club? I sold you some shoes in 2004? You were behind me in line  at the B of A? Don’t tell me, let me guess…
There is nothing intentional on my part; I just have a conversation with someone, and the next thing I know, Louis is showing me her new driver’s license with her legal name change to “Lucinda”;  Poof and Shazam,  my work is complete, without chipping a nail. In fact, I may be finishing off some Cherry Garcia or dyeing my hair somewhere else as the epiphany washes away their lifetime of masculine delusion.  I always think of that scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind where people are warned via the PA system that “Special teams are exempt and should be aware of low gravity” around the Alien Mothership. Well, I’m the Alien Mothership, and if you come around me, you’ve better be ready to change genders, sweetheart.
A gay man walked into my store one day and asked about the possibility of buying a wig; something he always wanted to try out.  He was partnered and stable and had a decent career. A year later, he’d broken up with his partner, changed his name to a female one, started hormones, had a boob job and transitioned at work. I swear, people talk to me about anything, and afterwards stop in their tracks and say, “Ah, fuck it. I need to find a good electrologist and a divorce lawyer, today.”
There’s some Shaman stuff going on here, in my humble opinion, as in the manifesting of an entity, and recently, I had a psychic clarify this for me. Oh wait, you don’t believe in psychics, do you? Let me phrase this in a way you’ll understand: “juH bej 'ej wrath Khan loQ loDHom 'eH, Ha'.” Live long and prosper, and don’t stand next to the guys in red tunics. Nice hoodie.
Where was I?
The psychic is a young Romanian woman; I met her in New York at another former Hippie friend’s New Age shop in Scarsdale. I was dressed very casually, as in: I looked like a guy. After a few small tweaks to the energy flow between us as we sat across from one another, she started laughing. “There are two of you!” I started with the standard, rehearsed “no-this-is-the-real-me” rap that all trans people have pre-taped for the inevitable “let-me-explain”moment, but she stopped me; “No. I mean there are literally two entities contained in your body; one male, one female. You must be exhausted.” Girl, tell me about it.
She pretty much confirmed that I was indeed a kind of Mothership; “You don’t have to do anything; people just get transformed around you” Yeah? I thought; what about me? Where’s my cut in all of this? I should be getting a piece of the action from several surgeons, skin care specialists and beauty consultants if nothing else; I’m irrelevant, apparently. The Universe is so cryptic with us gifted ones. I’m like that tiny, ghostly hermaphrodite they haul out of the back room in Fellini Satyricon, except that I’m 6’3”, Norwegian, and spent my youth being raised on film sets in Hollywood by a cocaine-crazed wolf pack.
It turns out that my male entity is Darya’s loyal, sad, protective brother. He’ll take endless shit, and please people to survive; but back him against the wall, and his inner Kali will cut a bitch, just like his loquacious sister entity, I:e me. By “Me” I mean the me you all know, the sassy, smarmy, delightfully bitchy  one? I’ve  got this Glenda-the-Good side to me (hopefully more Kristin Chenoweth than Billie Burke) that sprinkles girl dust all over any little boy who has ever tried on panties in my vicinity according the Psychic. Seriously; if you were that fretful young man who came in to my shop while I was wolfing down an order of Chinese dumplings that Friday in August, I’m sorry if I was a little distracted, but I’m sure you are walking down Powell Street in San Francisco in a business suit and heels, right now. You’re welcome.
One other thing that the psychic said that confirmed her insight was this: “Darya needs men.”
Um, yeah, though Darya’s  needs in that department are met with less regularity than she would like. “You’ve had male partners in several lives” she continued “and you need to spend time with them for a little grounding...” Damn. True that; there’s nothing like cuddling up to hairy male chest once in while, to quiet the restless heteroflexible heart. 
Life is complex when there are two of you; she was saying that the times I feel most lost and unfocused are the times when Darya and The Dude are changing shifts. I imagine them passing and fist bumping one another while the drained, disoriented person I think of as “me” is taking in the trash barrels or mailing  the taxes on the way home from work, just before picking up some El Pollo Loco.
I gave several people in my shop their first makeovers; sometimes that was enough to get the ball rolling. I did that for one lady, about my age, who later did a staged reading about her life, to which I was invited. In the play, my part was replaced by a flaming gay male shopkeeper who said “OH HONEY!” a lot. She seemed a little sheepish about doing this when lat we saw one another, and she should be. I’m not sure I’d mess with the Glenda part of me if I were her. Remember, in the film about Oz, Glenda had a big smile on her face after her sister witch got flattened by a house; Glenda will cut a bitch, too, or drop a house, like that.  It’s really out of my personal hands at this point; entities gotta do what entities gotta do.
My latest “what the hell?” moment, came recently when a guy I had shacked up with for a few days at the Holiday Inn in Burbank in 2006 transitioned and went full time. I feel like that Doctor Guy with the Phone Booth on television; I forget his name. That one shook me a little; I’m used to having girls blaze by me to the joys and sorrows of womanhood, but that’s the first time I’ve made a dude actually cross over.
It left me with important questions. One, when the hell am I going to transition? Maybe I need a mirror, or a spirit confinement center. I forgot the second one. Basically, I need a Fairy.
(c) 2014 by Darya Teesewell all rights reserved

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Janet Mock did a great piece today on The Trapped Narrative, something that's been around since I first tried on one of my Mom's dresses. In the piece, she has this nugget:

To me, “trapped in the wrong body” is a blanket statement that makes trans* people’s varying journeys and narratives palatable to the masses. It’s helped cis masses understand our plight – to a certain extent. It’s basically a soundbite of struggle, “I was a girl (boy) trapped in a boy’s (girl’s) body,” which aims to humanize trans* folks, who are often seen as alien, as freaks, as less-than-human and other.

I love it when someone as eloquent and media-savvy as Ms. Mock is able to push back at the media enough to get them to question themselves: bravo!! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Suzy (on

“HI!” she squealed. Her vocal register was somewhere between Minnie Mouse and Bette Davis playing Baby Jane. She pranced in and walked around the shop with a somewhat manic smile or her face. I was focused on the fact that she had missed that part of the makeup lesson where we put on foundation, and by that I mean beard cover. If anyone needed it, she did. 

She was wearing pink lipstick and her mascara was a smeary mess that I could just make out behind her glasses; the same frames she always wore. The overall effect was “I’m a reluctant participant in a beauty pageant for my wife’s charity”, but she was as serious as a heart attack. As a trans person, even those of us who enjoy dressing for effect on occasion , try and avoid having that effect be vocalized as “What in God’s name is THAT?!”

 I was already learning to make gentle suggestions and offer help to the new girls among us; I certainly needed that when I began, and even afterward if it was offered sans thrown shade or hidden claw. Another tenant walked in, nicely dressed for a day of shopping, to pay her monthly locker bill; I complimented her nail color.

 “HI! I’m Suzy!!” said the extremely tall, gangly woman in the shapeless sleep dress as she clomped over to greet the startled tenant. She now had a name. “I’m in room 103, what room are you in?” “I’m in 104.” A silent “Thank God” was obvious. “What’s your name? I’m Suzy!” The tenant looked desperately toward me. I silently indicated our business was complete. “I’m Jackie. Nice to meet you. See you later, Darya.” “BYYYYE!!” Suzy trilled.

 “Holy crap.” I said, sotto voce.
 (c) Darya Teesewell 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What she said....

Janet Mock and Laverne Cox are very
cross with you, Piers Morgan....
Janet Mock, who is promoting her new book, Redefining Realness, was interviewed by Piers Morgan on CNN the other night. Morgan, like Katie Couric before him, took the laziest possible route by going right to the most sensationalist and salacious part of her story, and frankly, missing the point of her book entirely by misgendering her, intentionally or not, and having a classic "she wuz a he!" crawl below her.

Ms. Mock is no stranger to media and wide audiences: she was an editor for People Magazine. She's mounted a savvy Twitter campaign that now has Morgan howling in defense as though he was somehow the victim, here.As my friend Helen Boyd has said "...she just keeps bringing it"

Sucks to be misunderstood, huh, Bro? Janet Mock is simultaneously 100% poise and grace and 200% fierce. Keep it up, sistah!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Dirty Boulevard on Fourculture!

Here's my latest piece!!

"Fifteen years later, the cult was forgotten, the lesbians had moved to South Padre Island and we lived in the far-flung suburbs with hissing sprinklers on the lawns.  Today, I was on Hollywood Boulevard, between Hudson and Wilcox at Maya’s shoes, looking in the front window with a knot in my stomach. I was nervous as hell. I parked on North Cherokee, an Avenue that I would come to know very well in later nights of club crawling. I walked down Hollywood on the North side of the Boulevard, past the venerable Musso and Frank’s grill, a spot my Dad had taken me to talk about “The Wedding” almost fourteen years ago over an overpriced salad, but today I was laser focused on one thing; patent leather high heels in size fourteen women’s. I was getting serious, just in time for my mid-life crisis."

From "The Dirty Boulevard" by Darya Teesewell, (c) 2014 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED