He was Michael by day and Michelle by night. Our airline had hired him as a male and would not recognize his preference to be female until specific surgery was completed. Apparently, he was unsure of his commitment to go through with it, so he took some time to think it over.
Even if it did interfere with the big picture, I can also imagine that he may have been a little more than sentimentally attached to the member in question.
With his dual identity of Michael at work and Michelle the rest of the time, I would imagine it would be difficult to remember which restroom and which mannerisms to use in such a lifestyle.
After their initial shock, his peers treated him like anyone else, although he was well known at his base. That is the great thing about a flight attendant’s world: Nothing is unheard of and normalcy is a fallacy.
Even though I was based overseas at the time, I wondered if I would ever fly with him, as I was interested in hearing his story. One night, at a crew layover party I had a bit too much to drink. It had been a long time since I danced with Jack Daniels, but that was the drink of the day.
A crewmember pointed out an attractive girl across the room. “That’s the Michael/Michelle girl you have always heard about,” he whispered in my ear.
I peered anxiously at the other side of the room and saw an extremely attractive, albeit young, dark skinned lady sipping a glass of wine.
“No way, it couldn’t be!” I was stunned and had to get a closer look. I attempted to sober up a bit and made my way over. Luckily, she was talking with someone in my crew, so small talk came easy.
“Hey, Frank, I want you to meet a friend of mine. Michaela, this is Frank.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” I shook her hand and could not believe that this young lady was really a man. I thought she went by Michelle but did not want to let on quite yet that I knew about her.
Usually one can tell in those matters, but I couldn’t find a trace of masculinity, much less an Adam’s apple. I had to be careful to avoid staring too much at her. She was lovely to talk to, and unfortunately I had more to drink. Her voice was soft and higher pitched than I expected. She was the best-looking and most convincing transvestite that I had ever seen.
OK, granted, I have seen very few, but I was impressed nonetheless.
A group of us left to have a late night snack at the corner diner and luckily Michaela joined us. In talking with her I tried to allude to her personal situation, but could tell that she was unwilling to divulge anything remotely related to her deep secret. I didn’t want to pry, but I was dead curious and wanted to write a story on her unique situation.
“Would I recognize you if I saw you in uniform?” I asked trying to be sly.
“Probably not, I look quite a bit different at work than I do now.”
“So I have heard.”
“So your wife is a pilot?” she blurted out, presumably thinking that I was hitting on her.
“Yes, she is.” I took it as a hint to back off and stopped my staring.
I was merely flabbergasted at what an attractive woman she was. I wasn’t interested in her in any sexual way but found her situation fascinating. Back at the hotel, we entered the elevator together and Michaela and I got off on the same floor. We made small talk on the way to our rooms.
“I have had a difficult situation at home lately and haven’t been able to smile, so tonight was a refreshing change,” she said as she put the key in her door.
“Yeah, I have heard you know. And If I were you I would keep the penis, I have grown attached to mine,” I said, trying to be cute and open-minded. She smiled awkwardly at me and said good night. I decided her secret was a bit much to divulge to a stranger.
The next day on the flight back, the co-worker who introduced me to Michaela approached. “Did you have a bit too much to drink last night, Frank?”
“I may have. Why? Did I do something terrible?” I scrolled through the night’s events in a panic.
“Well, I thought you were all right, but I talked to Michaela this morning and she told me that you started a conversation about yourÃ¢â‚¬Â¦uhÃ¢â‚¬Â¦well, your penis?”
“No, it wasn’t about my penis, it was about hers and her situation.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“You know, the Michael/Michaela issue. Her being a guy and all.”
She paused for a second, and her confused look turned into enlightenment and then transformed into laughter. “You think Michaela is a guy?”
“Well, yeah, isn’t she?” I suddenly became embarrassed.
“No, you’re thinking of Michelle and, while she was there briefly, she left early. Come to think of it, around the time you approached Michaela and me. She thought you were either hitting on her, giving her advice about her difficult boyfriend situation at home, or just a nut case.”
I was guilty of the last offense and mortified. What a complete moron I was. “I have grown attached to mine”? What an idiot I had been! I tried to convince her to keep quiet about the incident, but that, of course, did not happen. I ran into Michaela about a year later and after the eight shades of red and many apologies, we laughed about it.
I never ended up meeting Michael, but he now is officially and surgically Michelle. I hear she is still flying, married, and in the process of adopting a baby girl.
I never danced with Jack Daniels again.