As I mentioned in my last post, whilst my time has been rather short of late. I have had a few opportunities to be my authentic self; whilst working (on the odd day that I have not had meetings with potential clients and/or service providers) and I have also managed to get out and about too.
On 2 November my spouse and I went grocery shopping at Cresta Mall. I know, the excitement! Such a glamorous life I lead… But on the other hand, living a ‘normal’ life en femme is exactly what I enjoy doing, so a morning spent in the supermarket buying food and cleaning products is pretty much spot on. As ever, the first decision that needs to be made, is ‘what to wear?’
Having had more days than I would have ideally wanted to go through all the various options open to me, I went with my skinny jeans, paired with my fluffy pink hiking/combat boots, the pink tee my spouse gave me as part of my birthday present and I accessorised with my new pink and beige handbag and some relatively understated jewellery. I thought it was just about right for a morning at the mall as it wasn’t too casual but at the same time it wasn’t exactly ‘glamorous’. As ever a picture speaks volumes, so here is a small set of encyclopaedias for you.
We arrived at the mall and just as we were about to park the car, we received a call. Our guests had arrived early, and we needed to let them in. So, we raced back home, checked them in and then returned to the mall. Our first port of call was Woolworths to price some shoes and check availability for a potential client. Unfortunately, our client decided that she didn’t want the shoes after all. We then headed to the supermarket. We browsed the aisles, priced the toilet paper and chose the best fresh produce we could, debating the merits of pears versus oranges. In short, we shopped.
We returned home and unpacked the car. I made a quick lunch which we ate together before my spouse went to pick up the girls from school.
It was my spouse’s birthday the following week and we had invited some family to Sunday lunch to celebrate with us, so I had to return to the mall to do some shopping for the lunch and to get her a birthday present. I decided that I would get the birthday present done first and then get the perishables before returning home.
My spouse loves chocolate and tea, so I decided to get her a selection of herbal teas, some chocolate slabs and a pair of pretty teacups for a gift. I went to Woolworths and found some herbal teas I knew she would like. I then looked at a few home-ware stores to find the perfect tea cup. After a n exhaustive search, I found them. Floral cups with a lovely shape ideal for tea. They weren’t cheap, but they were the right sort of cup, so I bought two. The sale assistant was very polite and called me “ma’am” all the time. I was a happy customer. She expertly wrapped the cups in protective layer and then put them in a packet. I thanked her and went off to get the chocolates.
I priced them in a number of shops and found the brand and flavours I wanted in Dischem. I started collecting the various chocolates I wanted. Problem! I had a packet of tea, a packet of tea cups and an armful of chocolates. I was running dangerously short of appendages. I needed a basket! And fast.
I turned and headed back to the door intending to place my armful load of goodies into the shopping basket waiting hopefully for me at the door. Disaster! As I was vectoring in on the shopping basket a security guard turned 180 degrees whilst talking to his colleague and started walking toward the door. We were on a collision path. I saw him and slammed on brakes. He suddenly became aware of me and realised what my intentions were. He was very apologetic and immediately apologised and gallantly handed me a basket. Problem my hands were full. I had intended placing the goodies in to the basket before picking it up. Now this nice man was handing it to me. Without thinking I reached for it. In so doing I started to drop various chocolate boxes. I panicked and tried to stop them falling. Sadly, this resulted in me dropping the packets containing the tea. And the teacups! There was a solid sounding THUNK as the packets hit the floor. But no tell take tinkling of imploding and exploding porcelain.
Had I got lucky? I scurried around the entrance to the store picking up chocolate boxes and shopping packets. I then retreated to a spot next to the chocolate display and opened the packet containing the tea cups. They were in pieces. Broken. Shattered. I admit to swearing forcefully under my breath. Why hadn’t I just picked up the basket as I entered the store? Having not done that, why hadn’t I put the chocolates down before going to get the basket? Why hadn’t I just put the shopping into the basket rather than trying to take it from the man? I couldn’t blame the security guard. It was an honest mistake and if anything, I was more to blame than him…
I placed the chocolates in my shopping basket and repacked the shattered teacup. I bought my chocolates and thought about what to do. There was no way I could try and return the broken teacup. It was most certainly not the shop’s fault that I had dropped the cups in an entirely different shop. I loved the cups. They were perfect… So, all I could do was head back to the shop and buy another two cups.
The sales assistant recognised me immediately and made some small talk about me wanting another two and that now I had four. I was just too embarrassed to admit that I had broken them. So, I went along with it. Once again, she gendered me correctly the whole time and was fantastic towards me. I felt better already.
I now raced to the supermarket to get the various bits of fresh produce I needed. I found some lovely Italian style tomatoes, a very nice Mozzarella cheese and all the other food I needed for my Sunday lunch, except for a peppermint crisp chocolate bar that I needed for my peppermint crisp tart. If I couldn’t find the chocolate bar, my peppermint crisp tart would be just a tart!
I looked at a few different shops, but none had the chocolate. It was starting to get late and I still had a few errands to run, so I left for the car, packed the shopping and headed to the pet shop as we were rather low on dog food. Here I was treated well by the staff and addressed as “ma’am” again. I was definitely feeling much better again.
From the pet shop I drove to the local Spar (a smaller supermarket). Here I found the long sought-after peppermint crisp chocolate bar and I was able to rest easily in the knowledge that my tart would not be short of its signature ingredient.
I returned home, hid the birthday presents and stowed the fresh produce in the fridge ready for the coming cook-a-thon. The Sunday lunch was a resounding success and we all had a lovely time. She loved her cups and even decided to attempt a salvage operation to rescue the two broken cups…
So, a good day at the shops was had and despite some difficulties I survived rather well. All the shop assistants were professional and polite, and I was able to have a few brief conversations with a few of them without incident. Interestingly, it seems to me that I am getting better service when en femme than when en homme. The shop assistants (both men and women) are more eager and willing to assist and are also far friendlier towards me when en femme. Not sure if this is an objective fact or just a perception. Or perhaps it is because I am more approachable, friendlier and happier? No matter what the reasons are, I am happy to take it for what it is and enjoy it…