Sunday, 22 May 2011

In Her Shoes - Chapter Seven - Working Girl

Feeling dreadfully self-conscious and foolish, I bravely put one high heeled foot forward and began my journey to work. Normally, I would have driven, but that was out of the question whilst wearing high heels.

Besides, I should experience using public transport as a woman. I lumbered along in my heels. The journey to the tube station was only a few minutes away, but it seemed to take ages. As I passed other people, there were sniggers and wolf whistles when they realised what I was, and I would be deeply ashamed of my feminine condition.

I made it to the tube station and purchased a ticket from a machine. Then I encountered three sets of stairs that I found difficult to negotiate when wearing high heels and carrying a handbag. The whole business was totally alien to me.

Then I was on the tube. The tube was packed and I had to stand, clutching a pole with one hand and my handbag with the other. I was conscious of the fact that I was drawing a lot of attention. The most obvious feature that made me stand out was my height, but I had to admit that other aspects of my appearance such as my stockinged legs, my bottom surrounded by a tight skirt and my made up face contributed to the amount of attention I was getting.

I went red when I saw people staring at me, and then turning their heads away with amusement. Never had I felt more vulnerable and ridiculous in my life.

Mercifully, the tube ride was a short one and I got out and joined the mass of people busily making their way around the capital and walked the short distance to the offices of my newspaper.

This would be the really difficult part. Walking into the office fully dressed as a woman in front of people who had known me for years. My colleagues knew I was doing this, but it didn't make the apprehension and fear any easier.

Timidly, I stepped inside and flashed my security pass at the receptionist and rode the lift to my floor. The office was busy, as always, and I was relieved to see that most of my colleagues were busy on the phones or out and about getting stories. I went to my desk, took off my coat and put my handbag on the desk. I wasn't sure what to do with it. What did women do with their handbags?

I left it where it was for now and tried to concentrate on my work, but I only managed to read a few of my e-mails when I realised that I had drawn a crowd. I turned to see five of my colleagues with amused looks on their faces. Two of the women in the group were giggling. They told me that I looked amazing and how brave I was before leaving me be. Throughout the day, others would stop to check me out and offer compliments on my appearance.

I was summoned to the office of my editor. Ms Carruthers said she was stunned by the transformation and what a lovely woman I made, which caused me to colour up for what man wants to be complimented for being womanly? Then, getting down to business, she told me that I had a photo shoot to attend later that morning. They needed pictures of "Leonora" to go in the paper once this article had been written.

As a journalist, I saw the sense in this, but as a man now dressed up as a woman, I was uncomfortable with it, but could not say so. I went back to my desk, made a few calls and answered a few e-mails.

Then it was time for the photo shoot. One of the staff photographers got me to stand holding my handbag with both hands. Then he snapped me sitting at my desk. Then he got me to lie on my desk, simulating a sexy pose and showing off more than I wanted to. Throughout the whole process I felt incredibly vulnerable and as if I was a piece of meat to be eyed up. I was getting a taste of exactly how the media objectified women and I didn't like it.

The photographer left after giving me a friendly pat on the rump and said I had been a "good girl". I was mortified to have my bottom slapped. I had a good mind to report the man for sexist behaviour before remembering that I had behaved in a similar way to women myself before I had ended up becoming one myself.

For now, I had to concentrate on my work. I had to attend a press conference being given by the Prime Minister in an hour and I needed to get some lunch. I walked to the staff cafeteria, carting that handbag thing along with me. I ordered a plate of fish and chips and sat down on my own to eat it. After the morning I had had and how I felt, I did not feel like company. As I shovelled food into my mouth I became aware that I was drawing stares from everyone around me and I realised that I was still eating like a man. I forced myself to cut my food into small pieces and daintily eat them. Some of the women present gave me approving looks.

When I had finished, I marched out and into a place which until now was a forbidden zone to me. The Ladies Toilets. Expecting to find flowery wallpaper or the walls painted pink, I was surprised to find that except for the absence of urinals and any member of the male gender, the place was little different from the mens. I checked out my make up and decided that it would probably do.

I went to the conference and joined the other journalists seated in front of a podium where the Prime Minister was due to give his address. I had to root about in my handbag for my pad and paper and my recorder, a time consuming experience. I got more amused glances from everyone present.

The Prime Minister emerged and gave an address on his administration's new policy on health and social services. There was little new or novel about it, so I wrote little. A woman journalist who had arrived late tried to squeeze her way behind me to get past. I obligingly moved my chair forward to help her and, to my horror, my handbag, that had been resting on my knees, toppled forward. I had forgotten to close it and so my lipsticks and other cosmetics poured out, making an ungodly noise.

Everyone, including the Prime Minister himself, turned towards me and I wished the ground would open and swallow me up. The women collapsed in giggles at my predicament. Blushing furiously, I had to get down on my hands and knees and retrieve all of my things. The Prime Minister gave me a friendly smile and asked me if he could continue. I was glad when the whole conference was over. I scurried out as fast as my heels could carry me. I had never felt so humiliated in my life!

My first day as a woman had not gotten off to an auspicious start......

1 comment:

  1. Great story line
    loved the bit about everything falling out of her handbag
    Been there done that LOL