Lessons in Tolerance

Looking at tolerance as demonstrated in clothes shops – Jack starts his survey in a bridal shop filled with frills, lace, satin and sheer silk. What could possibly happen next?

Lessons in Tolerance

By Alys Prince

Copyright© 2016 Alys Prince
All Rights Reserved.


 
 
Author's Note: [I really want to avoid writing a typical “pretty-boy goes to the wedding-dress shop” story, where he is caught out doing something or other which embarrasses him and the shop staff; and is then forced somehow to help at the shop or to try on a dress for a series of potentially damning photographs. No – I’m going to try to approach this a bit differently – and I’ve linked it loosely to the recent Girl101 stories – which easily link to the BigSister series I began with. ~Alys P]

The title also allows the wordplay of ‘Lessens Intolerance’ which will come as a follow-up story!
 


 
 
I’m a student at Bismouth University; I’m doing Psychology and Sociology. It was spring term of my first year and we were beginning our mid-year project. We were a group of 3 already known as the Three Jays – me, myself, I [or Jack] and Jane and Jeff. We had agreed to work together on a project. After the necessary consumption of coffee, we had thought out how we would go about the various stages of the project. First off, was to get some genuine data from interviews with members of the public. In particular, for us, that meant going into shops and asking for information about how different shops dealt with ‘people who were different’.

The project had to look in some way at some aspect of Groups and why there were Insiders and Outsiders, why some people were welcomed and why some were rejected as well as the whole package of issues about overt and covert discrimination. The lecturer had split us into groups of three, four or five and we had chosen topics from folded papers in a jar. He had said, “If the choice is random, then you can’t pick an issue that you are comfortable with – after all that would be displaying prejudice or pre-judging,wouldn’t it?” He did at least smile when he said that.

All three of us had grown up with unusual views about prejudice and tolerance as we lived in the town near where the Girl-101 course had started. All three of us had been introduced to the startling idea that boys and girls were simultaneously equal but different and that it was worth learning something about the values and dis-values of the feminine and the masculine approach to life and behaviour.

Because of our head’s different views, compared to the schools in Amcaster, we had not been required to adopt the cross-dressing part of the syllabus. I was grateful for that as I was definitely on the short, skinny end of the male spectrum. And with two sisters I could see that they might have pushed the envelope if I had had to dress up in any way. Thanks, but no thanks. I wasn’t no cross-dressing weirdo.

Anyway, that was then – back at school – far away in time and space. This was now. At University with both old friends and new friends to work with.

I began at the shop near to the church. I was as up-front as I could be. As will become clear we were looking at shopping for clothes and how some people might easily be discriminated against. As a first step, I was going into the ultimate, intimate feminine sanctum of the Wedding Dress Shop.

For this one, I was on my own – a young man about to be tested or at least deeply embarrassed. I went in, fortunately the shop was empty at this early time in the morning. It was about 10.30, I had had my lecture for the day and now was out on the streets. The plan was to hit 4 or 5 clothes shops before the end of the day. Jane had told me where to go. It was my decision to start at the Wedding Dress shop because it was also the nearest.

So began step one in ‘Find out about tolerance to ‘LGBTQ’ people in buying ‘Clothes’. Others had to look at blind, deaf, disabled, non-English and so on and how they were dealt with by the Church, Armed Forces, schools, police, hospitals and so on.

“Excuse me – but I’m a student in the sociology department at the local university – and we are looking at real-life issues for Lesbians, Gays, Transexuals and so on. My group is looking at how there may be difficulties in their buying suitable clothes. I suspect that this may be difficult for you to answer but we have prepared a series of questions for which we would be grateful to have your answers. ……..

I paused. “So, could I speak to the owner, or manager or senior person here today?”

The young girl, about 20, looked at me speculatively. Her brain was quite obviously calculating as to whether I was in one of these LBGT categories. Or perhaps she was wondering how to re-phrase my questions to her boss. Or perhaps on the other hand …..

Antique-Dividers2.png

There were three of us doing this project and we had decided to be deliberately vague and asexual in our costume. The truth however was that all of us were completely straight and had no touch of ‘being different’ in our history. We just calculated that if we were asking questions on the stereotyping and prejudice towards LBGT community, we would get better or at least different or, most hopefully, mildly accurate answers if we shaded our appearance in the obvious direction.

I was just over 5’ 7” and I was quite slim and fit because of running and rugby with the lower, more social teams. My hair was studenty and therefore quite long and I had spent some time brushing it the previous night. I didn’t shave much so I could agree that I was not at the macho end of the scale. By implication I was having to take on the role of a femme homosexual.

Jane had given me some advice on dressing neutral and I had done the same back to her. She had let her hair get quite drab and almost dirty. She had left her nails alone for a week and done some digging in the front garden to ensure that her hands were a bit rougher and deliberately less feminine. She was thus likely to be labelled as a butch lesbian.

Our third partner, Jeff was a solid 6 foot of swimming muscle – and, because of the obvious stereotyping, there was no way he could be anything but the obvious butch in our group. It might have been a bit obvious but we had made him wear his tightest denim jeans and a leather coat. He also was going to wear his swimming team t-shirt that said ‘BUFF’ on it. To the initiated, this stood for Bismouth University Fish Force’ not a claim to him having a pretty well-ripped body. Although.

We were, after all, students with the appalling confidence and complete lack of care that does often characterize the species at that time in life.

Antique-Dividers2.png

I pushed the boundaries a bit further. “I know it sounds a bit strange but the professor said we had to do this project – so here we are …. asking these questions.”

“Well, dear, just ask the first one or two – and I’ll decide whether to get the boss.”

“Are you ever aware that gays or lesbians or, so to speak, people of that sort, come into your shop.”

“Well, of course, they do – but unless they do something obvious then I have to say it’s all guesswork. We did have a group come in about a month ago. It was only when the main girl grabbed a friend who arrived late and gave her a scorching kiss , only then did I realize exactly what was happening. I must say I was a bit startled because the bride had been talking about how happy Mike would be when this was all sorted. Not surprisingly perhaps, it turned out that the new girl was the Mike in question.”

“But you asked ‘am I aware’, well not really. In general, the hustle and bustle and excitement that builds up while a bride is making her mind up and the general pressure to listen and encourage – you don’t have time to think if there is anything special about them.”

“So” I said, “there’s no event you can think of where you’ve been asked anything unusual or felt that something was a bit strange ….. er, that you can attribute to the client being LBGT or similar.”

“Well now. I’m thinking that since I’ve only been in this business for a year or so, you’d be better off speaking with the boss.” She smiled. “Auntie Fee, can you come through.”

A tall lady with bobbed almost black hair came through, pushing the curtain aside. “Yes, dear, How can I help you,” she asked as she smiled at me.

I went through my spiel about the questionnaire and the need for a few minutes of her time. “If you get any customers, then of course I’ll leave and come back at a more convenient time. I did guess that midweek was probably a quiet time.”

“That’s very considerate of you, dear. But I think now is as good a time as any other.”

“To get some idea of numbers, how many weddings do you have in a year? And I think I would need to look at the number of bridesmaids as well. I mean it may be that some of them have special requirements or interests that will affect this project.”

“Sally, darling, can you go back and look up on the computer – how many weddings did we do last year – and how many bridesmaids too. If it’s easy, then do the previous year or so. It’s information we should have available anyway and I’ve been meaning to do it. There’s a sweetie. If I guess right, there should be about 170 last year and there’s an average of 2-ish bridesmaids each. Off you go.”

She turned back to me. “So you’re wondering, do we get girly-boys and the like in here?” She raised an eyebrow at me – Oh god, she wasn’t wondering about me was she?!

“Well, of course we do, not many I’d say – but yes they do come in. There’s two sorts, the ones who come in with their partner and they want to get all gussied up in frills and frocks so they can be the femme for their butch. It’s quite sweet really. If a little garish.”

I was amazed at the language that was coming from this elegant-looking woman.

“I do hope I’m not shocking you with how I talk – but really, dear, if we spend all the time flittering around the subject you won’t get anything done. “

I gave a sort of half-grin.

“And then there’s the others. They’re not gay like the femmes. They’re actually girls for the most part. For them, they want to be the ultimate and on occasion, being the girl in the dress is as close as it gets. I can recollect a few that have taken the part of bridesmaid. I can’t think of an occasion where such a person has looked for a wedding dress. But there is a big difference, as most gay men are very conscious of their maleness and don’t want to hide that way. And that’s true for the butch and the femme – their actual masculinity is very important to them. There are the smaller number who are, to some degree, actually feminine in their underlying character. It’s going to be in that group that you get the transsexuals and so on – I think. I suspect that I’ll have to have a pause and a think about how I answer some of these questions.”

“And for each of these, how many a year would you say?”

“With the change in the laws in the last few years and just recently, there are more of both. Let’s think. One or two or three in the last few years, but maybe as many as four or five last year. That’s actually wanting to do more than just look at wedding dresses. We do get lookers. If they are proper and upfront about what they want – then it’s not really a problem. If they come across a bit not-right, so to speak, then we give them a few minutes and encourage them to move on. I don’t care very much for lookers. If they actually want a dress and all the excitement that goes with choosing the right one then anyone’s money is as good as anyone else’s. I wouldn’t dare be fussy. But just looking so that they can get some sort of official but still furtive fondle of my not-cheap dresses is not in order. I can’t cope with the attempt to hide. If they’re upfront and said even something as basic as ‘I’m a boy but I’ve been dreaming of wearing a dress and even more surprisingly of wearing a fabulous wedding-dress – then I would be willing to do my best – but pretending – no – that’s not the way to get me to help.

“I like people to be up front with me so that I can be straightforward with them. I mean there was that case last year down the coast a bit. If a couple who are completely up front about not wanting to rent rooms to homosexuals say so then, for me, it is a bit off for a pair of homosexuals to deliberately book a room and then reveal their intent on arrival in order to cause the maximum difficulty.

“The law may say that they shouldn’t have such views but, for me, there is something unkind and malicious in what the room-bookers did because they did it so deliberately. People are entitled to have views and sometimes the law works slower than the speed at which views change – and sometimes vice versa. The stylish way would be for the gay couple to actually discuss their views and the pressure of the law to the people – and hope for some flexibility.

“Haven’t we all been in situation where at the end we say ‘well, he wasn’t a typical German, Jew, American, student, accountant, and so on. What has happened is that our pre-judgement or actually guess about a group of people has turned out not to be true for an individual. Ooh, what a surprise!”

“It shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to allow difference; there is something to be said for the view that people and situations are ‘not wrong just different’. Personally, I have to say I prefer a world where people say that something is ‘just a bit different’ and move on with their lives. I never liked the bullying implicit in the old-style ‘That is different so it is wrong.’

“If they want to Bible-bash then why don’t they do exactly that and bash a bible with a really big stick. Like I say, a sale is a sale. I sell beyooootiful dresses for beyoootiful occasions. If the wearer happens to be female then that is more easily within the scope of what we sell here – but I’m not going to be silly about it. I’m selling part of a wonderful experience and I’m not going to limit that to those of us who are lucky enough to be girls because of our genes.” She paused, “I’m going on a bit here , aren’t I?”

“I’m enjoying listening. It’s giving me a better understanding of the whole setup here. So you say there are about 4 or 5 of the femmes and the same for the girly-boys every year?”

“Yes, that would be about right. Perhaps 4 of the femmes for every 6 of the girlyboys. The girlies are a bit more frequent. But sadly, they are not really likely to get to a wedding in their dress, it is the experience in the shop here of being treated to an ultimate experience that is what they yearn for. At least some of the femmes are going to get a wedding out of it.

“So when you separated the bridesmaids from the brides ……..”

“Well, of course. The femme is the only one who is going to have an actual wedding and some of the bridesmaids are very likely to be femmes like the bride – or because they do overlap there may well be girlies there who get to be bridesmaids That is pretty close to an actual ultimate for them as it is in public, dressed to the nines or beyond, primped and polished by professionals to as good as they are likely to get – it’s pretty good watching their faces when the whole thing overwhelms them. I love that bit. And actually, there’s a lot of real girls who get the same buzz.”

“So, you’re at least as excited at giving your customers the ‘buzz’ of the occasion.”

“Yes, that would be right. There is just such an enormous thrill that goes through the girl when she finds the dress that is ‘the one’. It is a real shame that there are some who get too tired of the almost never-ending searching and take a dress that is alright – or maybe they’re just not getting the enjoyment – or, worse, they aren’t actually enthusiastic for the marriage. It’s hard to be excited about an occasion when the promises you are going to be making don’t fill your heart with joy. Those situations make me sad.”

“But we’re not talking sad here, we’re talking about our poor dears from the LGBT groups and how we cater for their special needs. And their needs are special.”

“How exactly?”

“Well, in general, when they get clothes for themselves, they get rubbish. It doesn’t fit. They don’t know how to match their colouring to what they buy. They have never been given a professional makeover. They, mostly, are trying too hard instead of relaxing. Mind you, some of them can’t relax because they know they are going to be made – that is to say – identified as cross-dressing in public. The very few who do relax and make it quite clear that they don’t care – then they often get away with looking quite non-feminine. I mean, look at Grayson Perry or even Eddie Izzard – they cross-dress quite openly. And I have rarely heard of them being aggravated because of it.

“And as for adapting their figure or their posture to aim at confident rather than garish – They buy bras that fit worse than the most badly-fitting woman would allow – and as for what they invent to fill them – oh dear me. Bags of rice, balloons, balloons filled with water or sand or …. just so unsuitable – and all too often, the bigger the better, which is just silly. Girls and new-girls too should aim for ordinary and typical – never over-the-top or anything like that.

“As regards the Lesbian customers, there is really nothing out of the ordinary. Sometimes, one of the girls wears a tuxedo, sometimes they both wear dresses. Clearly, I tailor my offering to what they ask for. As regards the L in LGBT etc – I think we can ignore it as an issue. The wider argument about why women can wear almost anything that a man does and get away with it but it doesn’t work vice-versa is to do with the current social structure and ethics of modern western society – and I can’t fix that in my little shop. So – let’s ignore the L and we can ignore the B as well – and we’ve pretty much decided that the genuine G won’t even come into my shop – whether the butch or the femme – because they are actually mostly still proud of their masculinity.

“The bridesmaids do offer a little more flexibility. Once in a while a boy will not want to be left out when a group of his sisters or cousins are being in the spotlight. Or the bride or bridesmaids want to let their brother, cousin, whatever into their special experience. About twice a year, I’ll have the unusual experience of dressing a young boy, or even a teenager, in the prettiest and frilliest frock for a very special day. And i try to make it a truly special, exciting experience for them - whether they are keen on the idea or not. A wedding should be special for everyone.

“But times like that are rare. The most common time is when a cross-dresser or girl in transition is a good enough friend of the bride or groom that they are willing to let them take part as their alter-ego. If everybody is relaxed about this, then we can all have a wonderful time.

“So in terms of your questions and the potential answers, my job is to give my T customers especially that extra bit of attention that helps them relax into it. If I can help them relax just the once, then perhaps they will get to do it better in the future. If they want to be girls, then giving them just that one special event is a bonus for me and a joyful opportunity for them.

“I’m talking too much. What are some of your other questions?”

“I already began with the obvious one – how often and what variety of LGBT customers do you get in here. And you’ve answered that. Our questions will evolve over time but I suppose as well as prejudice by you to them - and you've made it clear that is not your style - since we are looking at prejudice and discrimination I need to ask if you get any disapproval to you of what you do from any part of the LGBT community.”

“As to that, I can say that for day to day purposes, we don’t get any trouble. Since we only deal with special occasions, we probably stay below the radar for ordinary problems.

At this moment, Sally came back, smiling and with a sheaf of paper in her hand and a laptop. “I’ve got the numbers – and they’re quite interesting.”

“That’s quite quick, thanks dear. What have you got for us.”

“We did 319 weddings last year. The most in a day was 6 on the first Saturday in June and that week was the most in a week with 11. We had a couple of weeks with only 4. As regards numbers, we outfitted 321 brides, so we’ve squeezed in a couple of doubles. And we did not quite 1,000 bridesmaids averaging 3 and a tiny bit per wedding. The most was 6 and we had quite a few singles and one standalone. That’s all for today, folks. “

“And you’re coming back with the numbers for previous years are you, dear”

“I’ll probably do that tonight. I took advantage of the quiet patch to do this. But we’re about due for the early lunch lookers.”

“Oh, yes, you’re right. I think you’d better slide away, Mr ……

“Jennings”

….. “Mr Jennings, and we’ll arrange for another session and you can have more questions prepared. If you are going to any of the other clothes shops, I would recommend Sandra’s down the road half a mile or Fascinette in the middle of town. I do know they have had special clients. As regards those who display the other side of the coin, then Marybelle in the High Street and Suzie a few doors further may give you a more, er, varied response.”

“I look forward to going to them.” I paused. “Would you mind if I sat around and watched the whole process.”

“Erm, I’m not really sure about that, dear. For the next hour or so, it will be girls and their friends looking, and thinking and trying-on and so on and beginning the whole wedding-gown process. I’m not sure that’ll be of any benefit to you. We do have a bride coming in at 3 o’clock. I could ask her if she minded you watching some of the process as she has nearly decided what she wants – but I’m not really comfortable with putting pressure like that into her choice. No, but sorry. I will think about it though. Perhaps we can discuss something like that next time. Shall we say this time tomorrow which is a little busier or it might be easier for this time next week. More time for you to prepare.”

Having the sense to realize that the next shops would be busy over the lunch period, I took my time getting there. When I arrived near Sandra’s I found a seat and watched the customers going in. The shop had a window filled with two mannequins and a short rack of clothes. Ladies’ clothes of course.

I watched to see who went in. In the half-hour or so, there were 11 customers who went in. Age range 25 to 50 I would have guessed. There were 4 who went in as a pair and three singletons. Two especially caught my eye.

One I noted because she was probably the youngest and certainly the most excited. She was one of only two who came out with a purchase. She was about 5ft 2” with a short blonde bob. She was wearing a navy blue dress with pale blue and yellow piping. She was a dish and only a year or so older than me I guessed.

The other who caught my eye was tall. She was wearing shoes with a little heel so was just over 6 ft high. She was thin but not very thin, perhaps her height exaggerated the effect. She too was wearing a dress, in a slightly older style because she was probably about 30 to 35 – again I was guessing. Her hair was to her shoulders and she had multiple earrings which caught the sunshine prettily. Her dress was a clingy jersey in several shades of red and purple – almost like flames climbing up her body. She wore a scarf too.

When I calculated that the shop was empty – I went in. I began my spiel about the course, the project and the questions I wanted to ask.

“Well, yes, dear, I do understand exactly what you mean about prejudice and stereotyping towards the Ls and the Gs and the Bs and even the Ts. Of course, in a shop like this we’re only likely to actually do business with the Ls and Ts. There really isn’t much call for dresses by the Gays, however colourful they want to be. And how can you tell if anyone is B unless they tell you! And as for the far end brigade, the drag queens and the like, we don’t really offer anything like the flamboyance they require. We supply clothes to girls – and if one in a hundred is a new-girl, so to speak, then that’s just business.

“What do you mean a ‘new-girl’ - I could hear the quote marks when you said it.”

“Well, a girl who used to be a boy or a man even. They’re not what the jargon calls a GG or Genuine Girl. If you were to start wearing dresses or the like, you would become a TV or Transvestite alternatively known as a CD or cross-dresser. If you were to get good enough to go out in public then you would be trying to ‘Pass’. If you do start down this route, then you would probably get a mentor or Big Sister. You would become a ‘new-girl’ or a, and I’ll add the quotes for you a ‘Little Sister’. There’s a whole set of codes and jargon once it begins to get you involved. Then there’s the huge step of actually dressing all day every day and even wanting surgery – but that’s for the Trans-sexuals and the Trans-genders. As far as we’re concerned, we sometimes help what we call the new-girls present themselves as well as possible.”

“Don’t worry. I’m not going down that route or indeed any of those routes. I’m doing this survey so that we can do our project and get on with the coursework about prejudice and intolerance. That’s all as far as I am concerned.”

“But why stop there, dear, really you shouldn’t. If you really want to find out about prejudice and stereotyping then you don’t do it by just asking questions. I’ll leave you to think about that. But today, I’m sorry but I have appointments in town and I can’t spare any time. But I am interested in what you find out. Give me a call in a few days and we’ll get into some answers for your project. It does sound interesting. Ask for Sandra, Sandra Goodfellow.”

I went off to the next shop – puzzled and slightly uncomfortable at what Sandra had been saying.

The next shop was too busy so it was onto one of the ones that Auntie Fee (I still didn’t know her name) had said were at the least uncomfortable to any unusual customers.

She was so right. I began my spiel and the manager immediately began to go bright red, white and splotchy in patches. A veritable human volcano about to explode under pressure.

“I’m sorry. We have to be very careful with these new laws about discrimination but we also have to follow our own rules as they have been for the past several decades in this shop. We serve ladies. We don’t serve tarts of we can help it, we don’t serve trollops, lesbians or any other than the straightforward lady of taste, style and flair. We expect to provide the best quality of merchandise and we expect only those who want the best to come here. We don’t like timewasters as we have a clientele who expect quality service on the spot and at the moment. I am sure I would like to be helpful to your project but I cannot see how we would in any way deal with any BLG customers or whatever set of letters you quoted at me. I am sorry I can’t help but perhaps some other time when you have questions to ask that I could answer.”

There didn’t seem to be any answer I could make. I left that shop.

The fourth shop was not so bad. The assistant was the only one available to answer questions and she did her best. Her view was basically that a sale was a sale and that was enough. She did say that she wouldn’t know how to deal with what she called ‘anyone really unusual’ and I took this to mean overt lesbians and girls in transition. I couldn’t see anyone else coming into a feminine sanctuary like this.

I asked what she would do if a lesbian came into the shop. She replied, well how would I be able to tell unless they started flirting with me or something horrible like that. I got the impression she had little or no knowledge about lesbians. But on the other hand, her statement had a lot of truth behind it – how many lesbians overtly display their special attributes.

I asked what would happen if somebody gay came in. She said well we did have one, he came in with this girl and he was just brilliant at getting the right thing. He was better than any of us at matching colours or at choosing the right accessory. But he said he had been doing this sort of thing for years with his lady friends – that’s what he called them lady friends – he had a sort of giggle that made it so obvious that he didn’t have any expectation of actually having a girlfriend. She smiled. “But in general, we wouldn’t expect to have anyone in like that – why would they come here after all.”

“We have had one strange thing. A woman came in and, gosh , she was the real hairy lady. Face, neck, arms – and I’m sorry to say that we probably didn’t cope with her as well as we could have done. I mean it’s not her fault that she was hairy – but two of the girls got really ugly-giggly about it and she got really upset. Oh, and if you’re wondering if she was actually a man – then you are completely wrong. She was a woman and no doubt about it; she told us all about how long this thing had been with her – it’s called hyper-pilosity. And the stories she told – well there was no doubt at all – hairy but female – and she said she had such a hard time dealing with being different. And then she was grateful to us for being so kind. And we hadn’t been really – so what the rest of her life was must have been pretty horrid. It did actually make me think a bit.”

I smiled, “I guess that’s exactly the sort of story that’s going to make this project worthwhile. I’m going to make a note about that story – it’ll be helpful as an example. I mean look at it – you were all set to treat her as different because of your first impression – that what pre-judice means by the way and I said it as pree – judis. Then you got past that and treated her as a real person. That’s got to be worth a bit of an inner glow – you did well.”

“I suppose I did, didn’t I. Thanks for saying that. Makes me feel much better.”

“Now all you have to do is the same thing when someone comes in that is a bit further off your comfort scale.”

“What do you mean.”

“Well, if another person came in that was hairy – but this time it was a man wanting a dress - how would you cope.”

“Er, I don’t like the idea much.”

“But you’ve just said you can cope with a person who is different because of being hairy although it’s easier because she proved she was is a woman. Let’s make it easier. What if someone came in who was average looking but you thought because, say of having bigger hands than usual and a slight adam’s apple, that ‘she’ was actually male. The person is presenting as female if not feminine and wants to buy a dress or something. How would you treat her?”

“If I could get past the thought that I was serving a man in a dress – then I’d be ok. I think I’d treat her as a customer like any other.” Then her salesgirl brain took over and she actually said “after all a sale is a sale and I’m not being asked to help her in the changing room or anything. I might be wrong.”

“Well done, that’s even better. I almost wish I had a recorder for that. I’m proud of you for fighting against being unkind to people who are different. I’ll come back when I’ve got more questions. Thanks, Phoebe.”

I gave a little wave as I left and she returned it. I left thinking that the shop was not as bad as Auntie Fee had suggested – although the owner had been out and her views might have been different.


[Are you wondering if this is where it all goes a bit over the top? Will Sally take Jack to one side and offer to let him dress up so that he looks like he is just another looker. Will Sally be the fantastic outcome of a few years of hormones concealing a young ex-boy. Sorry, but no. Life isn’t like that. And I can’t write a story where Jack, an ordinary boy, becomes a better-than-most wonder-girl.]

[I’m not sure how to continue this. I want to look at the prejudice and discrimination, but it would be quite easy to put Jack into a pretty wedding frock and see how that version of the story goes – so Sally or Auntie Fee would have start giving useful transforming advice and assistance. But stories can move in unexpected directions – ooops! ~Alys P]
 



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