Tag Archives: family

All for Naught

"That pumpkin pie won't eat itself. Let's cut out this sentimental crap and get to eatin'!" Bert Richards as Transman's dad. Keith Richards as Transman.

“That pumpkin pie won’t eat itself. Let’s cut out this sentimental crap and get to eatin’!” Bert Richards as Transman’s dad. “Just a sec. I think I found my super rare collectible Pogo Possum pin! This is just like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday–only, it’s Thanksgiving!” Keith Richards as Transman.

Regular readers will know that Transman can whip himself up into a frenzy of anxiety about family gatherings. For those of you who followed the pre-Thanksgiving panic posts, Transman wants you to know all went as swimmingly as is possible for his dysfunctional family.

Shortly after the arrival of Transman and sons, the Step-Matriarch had “an urgent project in the garage” and Sherpa just had to “take a walk with her adorable nephews!” leaving Transman and his dad face-to-face for a little quality time.

They stared each other down like Gary Cooper and Ian MacDonald in High Noon.

“You’ll have to do most of the talking,” Transman’s father said and coughed a little to emphasize his inability to speak.

“Well, if you’re wondering if I’m happy, I am. I feel so much better about myself and everything now,” Transman said.

“What about your job? They treat you okay?”

“Yep. My boss is really supportive and my boss’s boss likes me, so it’s all better than I was expecting.” He also explained that his old friends had stuck by him and that the kids and their friends were all cool with the situation.

Transman’s dad nodded in satisfaction.

“You know, you may never find someone to–to … well, companionship … it’s important,” his father said.

“Well, that’s not really on my mind right now. I need to raise the boys first,” Transman said, avoiding the temptation to burst into “Somewhere There’s a Someone.”

Transman’s dad took a sip of his drink and said, “Well, you’ve already done it.” (Transman didn’t shave before the visit; while his father noticed, he didn’t say anything and he didn’t drop dead like the well-meaning relative thought he might.)

Transman’s father looked at him for minute.

“You’re still my kid, you know? You’ll always be mine,” he said. Then the Oul Fella cleared his throat and changed the subject to property values in the neighborhood, keeping his emotions healthily repressed for the rest of the visit.

"No, it's all good. We came to an understanding," Transman tells Sherpa (who is conveniently out of the frame).

“No, it’s all good. We came to an understanding,” Transman tells Sherpa (who is conveniently out of the frame). “By the way … we’re almost out of root beer.” 

 


Thanksgiving plan LMNO

"I brought you an early Christmas present, Pop! It's an eco-friendly lawn maintenance system!" Transman makes his arrival.

“I brought you an early Christmas present, Pop! It’s an eco-friendly lawn maintenance system!” Transman (played by William Powell) makes his arrival.

If you’ve checked in in the past couple of weeks, you’re privy to Transman’s anxiety about the impending Thanksgiving Debacle. Transman called his dad to find out what menu item he is expected to bring and low and behold–plans have changed for the umpteenth time and while we’re not quite to Plan Z, we’re about to the middle of the alphabet. At this point, Transman knows this much for sure: we’re still meeting somewhere around the holiday and eating some sort of food that someone is cooking. All this uncertainty has led to much conjecture on Transman’s part about what to expect when Thanksgiving finally rolls around. Here is the latest version of the upcoming events according to his overactive imagination:

"Let's get Transman in trouble!" Twyla Faye and Daisy in cahoots. (Jean Harlow and her mother playing Transman's sisters.)

“Let’s get Transman into some big trouble!” Twyla Faye and Daisy in cahoots. (Jean Harlow and her mother playing Transman’s sisters.)

"We'll just stir a little cayenne pepper into granny's mousse ..." Transman and his sisters get up to no good.

“We’ll just stir a little cayenne pepper into granny’s chocolate mousse …” Transman and his sisters get up to no good.

Sherpa and Transman get scolded for wrestling before dinner.

Sherpa and Transman get scolded for wrestling before dinner.

"Food with toothpicks in it?" Transman offers the hors d'oeuvres. "Tell your sister to get her behind out here so we can eat," Eugene Pallette as Transman's dad.

“Food with toothpicks in it?” Transman offers around the hors d’oeuvres. “Tell your sister to get her behind out here so we can eat,” Eugene Pallette as Transman’s dad.

"Look, don't be a spoilsport. Dad won't eat until you come to the table," Transman apologizes to Sherpa.

“Look, don’t be a spoilsport. Dad won’t eat until you come to the table. I didn’t mean to give you a Marcia Brady,” Transman apologizes to Sherpa.

Transman and his brother Hank (played by Gary Cooper) admire the complexity of the root beer at dinner.

Transman and his brother Hank (played by Gary Cooper) admire the complexity of the root beer at dinner. “You can keep your Virgil’s … I still say A&W is the finest!” Hank declares.

"You know, I'm the seventh son, so I'm special!" Transman declares as he and Daisy wash up. "Oh you're special all right," she assures him.

“You know, I’m the seventh son so I’m special!” Transman declares as he and Daisy wash up. “Oh, you’re special all right,” she assures him.

"You're adopted!" Sherpa gets her revenge.

“You’re adopted!” Sherpa gets her revenge.

"You're the best member of this family," Transman tells Asta the dog.

“You’re the best member of this family,” Transman tells Asta the dog as they drown their sorrows in root beer.

The cayenne flavored mousse and too many root beers give Transman strange dreams that night.

The cayenne-spiked mousse and too many root beers give Transman strange dreams that night.


Thanksgiving anxiety

"We are so gonna be late ... go put on some pants!" Transman tells Son 2.

“We are so gonna be late … go put on some pants!” Transman tells Son 2.

Transman’s family is planning their holiday get-togethers and Transman is looking forward to it with great fear and trepidation. A dyed-in-the-wool introvert like Transman does not enjoy big social events and even if only the siblings and their families gather, we’re talking 28 attendees in addition to the Patriarch and his blushing bride (all right, maybe Transman exaggerates … they’ve been married for six years or so.) There will be assorted friends and extended family members, pushing the list up to 40 or 50 people.

The plans keep changing–“We’re doing Thanksgiving at the Patriarch’s!” “Thanksgiving is canceled! We’ll do Christmas instead!” “Thanksgiving is back on! Location to be announced!” “Traditional Thanksgiving and Daisy is doing all the cooking!” “Daisy has to work in the morning; someone else needs to cook.” “We’re ordering deli platters! Nobody has to cook!” “The Step-Matriarch wants traditional Thanksgiving! She’s too frail to cook it, though.” “We’re handing out Hungry Man TV dinners!”

This is what the holiday planning is always like.

The actual gathering will be “delightfully awkward” as Transman’s best friend likes to describe all of the family gatherings. This is her polite way of describing complete and total systemic dysfunction. There will be graceless, uneasy conversations; passing of judgement on anyone who dares leave the room; drunkenness that leads to emotional outbursts and insults and a whole slew of things that will leave everyone stung and wounded for the next 12 months. Add to all this Transman’s transition as the biggest damn elephant that has ever stomped into a family gathering, and you’ve got one big mess of embarrassment and discomfort for all involved.

And now, Thanksgiving: A Drama starring Dean Martin as Transman.

"Get in that car or I will strangle you!"

“Get in that car or I will strangle you! Your grandfather is waiting for us. Old people hate to wait for anything–especially food.”

"Look! Here comes Transman and his little hooligans!" Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra as Transman's sister and her husband.

“Look! Here come Transman and his little hooligans!” Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra as Transman’s sister and her husband.

"We're both in costume ... he's a cowboy and I'm dressed as a grownup."

“We’re both in costume … he’s a cowboy and I’m dressed as a grownup.”

"C'mere, you big lug!" Transman, in an uncharacteristic display of affection hugs his brother-in-law, played by Frank Sinatra. "Let go of me or I will crush this cigarette out in your ear!" B-I-L says.

“C’mere, you big lug!” Transman, in an uncharacteristic display of affection, hugs his brother-in-law, played by Frank Sinatra. “Let go of me or I will crush this cigarette out in your ear!” B-I-L says.

"Don't dump it in! We're supposed to add the pasta slowly!" Transman yells at his father, played by John Wayne.

“Don’t just dump it in! We’re supposed to add the pasta slowly!” Transman yells at his father, played by John Wayne. “I thought we were having a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner! Why are we making spaghetti?!” the old man says. “Don’t ask me,” Transman says, “I’m just doing what they tell me.”

Transman helps himself to a little sample.

Transman helps himself to a little sample.

"My goodness! Virgil's Root Beer is the best!"

“My goodness! Virgil’s Root Beer is the best!”

"Dibs on the grown-up table!" Transman and his brothers try to assert their adulthood.

“Dibs on the grownups’ table!” Transman and his brothers try to assert their adulthood.

"And I said this meal is over!" Transman's brother-in-law breaks down after we run out of green olives.

“And I said this meal is over!” Transman’s brother-in-law breaks down after we run out of green olives–and the martinis that go with them.

"The winner gets the last piece of pumpkin pie! We know it won't be Transman ... he failed geometry three times a row!"

“The winner gets the last piece of pumpkin pie! We all know it won’t be Transman … he failed geometry three times a row!”

"Time for the Traditional Family Pyramid!"

“Time for the Traditional Family Pyramid!”

"Get in the damn car! I'm ready to go home!"

“Get in the damn car! I’m ready to go home!”


Coming around?

"You look like a goat and you smell like one too!"

“You look like a goat and you smell like one too!” sent with love from Transman’s sister.

Transman recently had a birthday. No, no, you don’t have to sing or send presents, Dear Readers. Just your presence is enough of a present for him.

Anyhoo, when Transman’s family sent him cards this year, they took pains to find boy themed cards. His dad even took the step to use Transman’s initials instead of the old name. It sounds small, but those little acknowledgements or bridges mean a lot because they imply that his family members are trying to come to terms with who Transman is. They may be struggling to use his male name or the correct pronouns consistently, but the fact that they are even trying is one of the best gifts they could give him.

A super cool rocket ship card because the card Transman's father actually sent can't be shared on the internet and still keep this a PG-13 blog. Yes, the Old Man has a ribald streak.

A super cool rocket ship card because the actual card Transman’s father sent can’t be shared on the internet and still keep this a PG-13 blog. Yes, shocking as it might be, the Old Man has a ribald streak.

While Transman would like to brag that he has matured after the first few decades of life, that would be nothing but a great big lie. He blew all his birthday money on comic books and candy.

"I better blow out these candles before they set fire to the house. I wonder if that ribbon is edible?" Cary Grant as Transman.

“I had better blow out these candles before they set fire to the house. I wonder if that ribbon is edible?” Cary Grant as Transman celebrating another spin on the planet.

 

 

 


Before you visit …

"Make sure not a single hair is out of place," the Wolfman as Transman.

“Make sure not a single hair is out of place,” the Wolfman as Transman. “Gotta look sharp.”

The holidays haven’t even started and already Transman is gettin’ stressed out about his family. The clan is making holiday gathering plans and a relative contacted Transman and told him he should shave to avoid upsetting his father.

Transman is torn about this request. On the one hand, it’s a little thing. Hair grows back. Big deal. It isn’t a whole lot to ask, really.

But, as he thought more about it, the conversation reminds him of how people continue to try and regulate how he expresses his gender and self.

In some ways, this request makes Transman feel the same as he did as a teenager when his family complained about his clothes or dyed hair. On the surface it may seem like the same thing, but clothes and hair dye were about teenage rebellion or surface image; for Transman, facial hair is about a much deeper sense of identity and it’s not as easy as changing out of a T-shirt into something dressier.

There are many things Transman doesn’t like about his family members and their behavior–smoking, drinking to excess, using racist language, etc.,  but he isn’t going to demand they change just to make him more comfortable and happy. Much of their behavior is harmful to other people; his having a beard causes no harm to anyone.

Asking Transman to shave is one more attempt to deny what he has become. Even if he shaves, they will still have to deal with his lower voice and the changes in his facial structure. He has no female clothes left, so he’ll still look and sound male.

Transman has considered respecting the request for him to shave, but part of him is considering leaving the facial hair intact precisely because it underlines who he is and the fact that people see him as male. It might help his family do so as well.


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