The First Day At Work

By Paula, June 1997

Sat in the passenger seat being driven to work on this Monday morning, many thoughts were passing through my mind. I was far too nervous to drive and was also in danger of being late as usual which is something I did not want to be today. The week end had passed quickly with events such as eye brow plucking and leg waxing. This day had finally arrived and there was no turning back now.

Only a few minutes to go before we would arrive at my place of work and I would be on my own. I was nervous, almost tearful yet happy. A warm and familiar hand reached across and comforted me, her other hand on the steering wheel. "Don't worry" said Cathy, "think of it as just another ordinary day at work". She was right, the day's tasks and surroundings would be just as familiar, even as boring, as they had been for the last 15 years; the same familiar faces, telephone voices and background whistling. This is it, my first day at work as Paula. No more men's trousers, socks and shoes. No more slightly confused collegues wondering how long it would be before I 'deliver the goods'. After all, they had been told two weeks ago that I would be transitioning and were already getting into the spirit of things by calling me by my new name. (By the way, I changed my name legally a week before. It cost £5 and took 10 minutes with a solicitor who witnessed the signature).

It had become too frustrating to live as Greg and a fast obvious change was advised rather than a slow gradual one. Again, Cathy was right; going to work looking like a feminine man with trousers, tights, slight make-up and jewellery might attract hostility from Mr Public who might take me for a right weird one. To make a definite female profile is the best way and others would feel more comfortable too. So here I was, feeling a bit like some sort of gift wrapped parcel about to be delivered. What will they think of me? What will they say? Will they think of me as Greg in a dress, a man in a dress? Will they be pleasantly surprised and think I make an attractive young woman? Will they find it too embarrasing to talk to me? And what of me, how long will it be before I can not hold on any longer and will have to dash off to the ladies wash room? What if there's someone in there and I have to stand around waiting, afterall there is only one cubicle. I will have to leave my desk and walk through the office to get my coffee; heads will turn, eyes will open wide.

We arrived 10 minutes early (Cathy's mad London driving) and after a quick good bye kiss I went inside. The reception was empty. "Good" I thought, and moved quickly up the stairs to the open plan office. There was a clear view of my desk at the other end and I rapidly made my way past several who had their backs turned and landed safely at my desk. Paula slips in unnoticed; nothing unusual about that, I was always a quiet person anyway. The events of the day were just as normal as any other day. I spent several hours of sitting at my computer with a small mirror and hair brush by my side (to make sure I still looked pretty every 30 seconds when someone was not looking). Eventually I managed a successful visit to the wash room and got my coffee. Occasional people said hello and a couple of people asked if I had had a good week end. It was all so very normal and by the afternoon I was relaxed and enjoying my first ordinary day at work. In fact, the event of a girl who was leaving the office to start a new job caused more attention than me showing up as a woman!

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