FINALLY I got the opportunity of getting out and about again as Andrea… although the weekend turned out to be rather mixed.
Saturday was really good. I did some shopping by myself for an hour, bought some nice beige jeggings with a pattern in the material. Popped to a supermarket for lunch (a banana) and then met up with Kirsty and, after taking medication for my cold, headed to Belfast with her to shop… and we had such a FAB time! Alas only spent about two hours shopping, but we went into quite a few stores, must have passed HUNDREDS of people, and we got on fine with no negative reaction. In Boots I bought a couple of things (including some great new mascara – Dolld Up, by 17) and the girl serving me was really nice, and said she really liked the colour of my nail polish and asked where I got it from. Then we returned to our support group venue in Lisburn to meet up with Michelle and change into evening wear. We went out to The Potted Hen, a great restaurant in Belfast – Michelle was understandably really nervous as she had not been out for years, but we made her walk from the car park to the restaurant. As time went on she relaxed, and we all had a lovely meal – one, or perhaps, two stares (more of curiosity than anything else) but otherwise all was well. The waiting staff were all really nice and attentive, especially a lad who addressed us “Ladies” two or three times. I also went up to the loo and, after doing my business, told the lady behind the bar that it was out of loo paper, and she was very appreciative and called me “love”. Back to Lisburn again, and had a lovely chat with my two girly friends to round off the evening.
Sunday was not such a successful day. It took me AGES to get ready, got rather fed up with the hair, and as it was warm ended up having a little pony tail in it with a little white bow which I thought matched my summery outfit (camisole top, jeggings, white cardi). Went to Banbridge to shop, and walked along the main street, but the shop I wanted to go to was closed so returned to the car, with no reactions from anyone… and drove to Newry where the fun started. Parked near a shopping centre and, literally, have walked less than 50 yards a car drove past me from behind and after passing me a woman pumped her fist out of the passenger window and shouted “Up the queer” – VERY unpleasant… but I have the registration number of the car, so I will report it; don’t know whether the hair was the problem, or maybe as I wasn’t well my walk wasn’t as fluid as normal as I was a bit worried about my voice.
Anyway, onto do some shopping. Returned three items to Dorothy Perkins and found nothing I wanted then onto another shop for a browse, then decided to go into M&S and, after passing a guy who gave me a long stare, decided to go to the toilet and take out my pony tail. They were individual unisex and there was a teenage girl in front of me and I asked her if she was waiting but I think she was just waiting for a friend so I went in. Had a browse around M&S, got a long, slightly disapproving stare from one middle-aged woman who I frankly thought looked a fashion disaster, with an awful yellow and white paisley top, and had very set dark hair with a purply-red tinge to it. Decided to treat myself to some new underwear and also found a nice lacy dress, so went into the changing rooms – the lady who led me into the ladies fitting room and gave me the number-of-items-tag was nice and the one upon exitting even nicer, and I had a wee bit of pleasant chat with her.
Onto the local, large Tesco supermarket for a good long shop where things improved. Apart from a couple of looks from an aggressive-looking, tattooed skinhead, all was good there – I had a really nice chat with the checkout girl as I packed my shopping, and I also bought a pair of smart-casual trousers in UK size 6!! After dropping my shopping at home went to Belfast for an appointment (details to be provided another post) and had a really nice time – on the way into the “venue” I passed a crowd of 20+ teenagers who didn’t seem to notice anything untoward… and then I remembered I had left my tablet on the car seat so had to nip out and get that, and still no reaction even though some of them were only a yard or so away. Went home happy enough… and, to be realistic, the percentage of people who were either negative or stared was very small, even though I would prefer it to always be zero.