Such a Tomboy

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Such a Tomboy
By Sabrina G. Langton


Author's Note: 'Oh no, more of these freakin' essays, doesn't she know we want a story? Doesn't she know she's not that freakin' special?'

Ha, I know, and that is what I like about this Closet. I'm sorry, I am going through a phase lately. This is just something that is a-happenin' in my life here on earth. I hope YOU understand.


I have a friend, who has a friend, who knew someone else, who has a thing. This thing wasn't too far from me.


I try to go to the gym four to five days a week. I'm not a gym junkie, a health nut, and I'm especially not a gym bunny. I think I just want to get up early for once. I have lost almost thirty pounds since the pandemic started since I started working from home, but not working out at home.

After more than two years of the same routine, I needed something different, a change. Almost a year ago I went to the gym with my friend, I have known him since I was a sophomore in high school, he is not a gym junkie either. Between three and five days a week we do some weights, the elliptical, the treadmill, and time moves quickly with someone to talk to. It is now part of my new routine.

I still drink beer, cocktails, and eat chicken wings and nachos. I love bar food. I love alcohol, there was no way I was giving that up, there was no way I was going to lose weight... but I did. This meant I started feeling better, this meant I started looking better in my, um, clothes. You know the ones, the ones in a milk crate in my little closet, hidden under some magazines. I am in my fifties and I am still hiding things.


Almost twenty years ago I met someone who changed my life. When I think about it, I mean really think about it... I think that, that certain someone SAVED my life. I know I am being dramatic, and usually, I am not dramatic at all, I am the complete opposite (Please look up the opposite of dramatic for me.) I met W. a 'transgirl' in a bar, we were eating nachos, it was lunchtime. She still likes that term 'transgirl' even though now she has fully transitioned, had surgery, is married, and is living too far away from me to visit easily. When we met I was male, the fourth time we met I told her about myself, the fifth time we met, I introduced her to my femme self. After that we had so much fun, we had so much in common. I did things I thought I would never do, I met people and visited places.

I had two lives, one was so much better than the other. Well, back then. Now I have only the one.

Seven months ago we were on the phone, I was in my car. We were talking about how I was going to the gym a couple of times a week for the last year. Lately, I feel W. is disappointed in me, she always makes me use that voice of mine that exists in a higher register. She will hang up if I don't. She doesn't understand that if I am not 'dressed' that voice is hard to achieve.

"Sabrina, you are crazy."


"Yes, just close your eyes, imagine you are wearing that yellow flowered dress of yours."

So if I am home, I do. I hide in the basement and talk to her with my eyes closed. I do what she says, suggests, she is 'Sabrina's' best friend and there is no one else at all on that best friend list.

But back in the car... I close my eyes. I use 'my' voice.

"Hold on." She went through her pocketbook, a mess if I have ever seen one. I could just imagine things flying out and water bottles landing with a clunk on her kitchen floor. Her life is easygoing, relaxed, loving, and quite stable. Her bag is a disaster area. "Ahh, here it is. Joanie (Her next-door neighbor) knows a couple who lives near you, I want you to meet them."


"Yes, really, I can tell you are already making this a thing, don't make it a thing, heh."

So I didn't make it a thing. I met them. They owned a gym about six miles away from me. A small gym that was sustained by a law firm that was in the same building. Two men, they were married for almost thirty years, they were both older than me. I met them in a Mexican restaurant down the block from the gym, I was nervous for some reason, I knew W. wanted me to meet them in my yellow flowered dress. That wasn't happening.

"Hi, what are we drinking?" That was the first thing one of them said to me. I liked that. I liked that they didn't mention the whole transgender issue, or cross-dressing, or anything like that. We talked about coconut margaritas and chips and salsa. We talked about traffic.

Then of course they brought up the whole transgender thing.

"When do we get to meet the real you?" I had the two of them surrounding me, one on the left and the other on the right.

I never remember if I am real or not.

"Oh, um, I don't go out anymore."

"Well, I have seen pictures, we are taking you out, sister. We know some nice places."

Now I was getting nervous again, I finished my margarita. "I don't know, we'll see."

Then the taller one stood behind me, put his lips to my ear, and whispered. "We want you to come to our gym, you can be as feminine as you want. You will be very comfortable, there are other transgender women and men there. You will have fun."

I smiled, there was no way I was going. "We'll see." We ordered another round of drinks.


So, W. tried to convince me to go to the gym as a girl, an older girl, a girl in her mid-fifties.

"Stop, they told me there is almost no one there in the morning." She was trying to reason with me, I didn't understand why she was pushing this issue, why she even cared.

"I don't feel comfortable. I'm sorry."

"Sabrina, stop saying sorry."

So I took a plastic shopping bag with a towel, bottle of water, and some clothes to their Gym, 'Workin' It Out'. Nothing extravagant, nothing too girlie or sexy, nothing that I haven't worn before. A pair of leggings, my wife's rose-colored sneakers that I appropriated and were just a little tight, little white socks, and my little makeup bag. I had a bra on under my T-shirt already.

I was nervous about leaving my car, walking across the street, and pressing the buzzer to enter. It was 6:40 am, it was really early for this neighborhood. The Law Firm didn't open until 10. I was thinking I really didn't have to do this, I could go back in my car and wait for happy hour at the Mexican restaurant.

The heavy metal door opened while I was pondering way too many things before seven on a weekday. "Ahh, you came, wonderful." One of the guys took my bag and looked inside, "Ha, perfect." We walked into a back room with lockers, we were the only three people in the gym, I started to relax. They left me alone and I started to get dressed. I felt stupid, I hate this word, but this is how I felt. Why did I need to do this, why was W. even bringing it up? Why did I even tell her I was going to the gym? I went to Planet Fitness at 7 am and the place was an eighth full, it was fine, no one even gave me eye contact. That's the story... that's it.

I was taking too long, the two of them came in to check on me. We were still the only three in the whole place. I had on my shoulder-length messy wig, little clip-on earrings, and very slight makeup.

"Okay, pucker." And one of the guys put a nude lip balm on me. There was no way I was wearing lipstick in the gym. Then I got the tour. Three ellipticals, three treadmills, two rowers, and four weight machines. There were about six exercise steps and a bunch of mats piled up. They led me to the elliptical and watched me for about two minutes, then they went about their regular business, one of them making the music louder. I was alone the entire ninety minutes I was there. Once I was done I said thank you, went into the back to change, and snuck out.

I called W.

"So I went to that gym, it was okay."

She giggled, "I know, they sent me a picture. You sweat an awful lot."


So, I go back every Tuesday. Early, too early. The other days I go to Planet Fitness with my friend, I told him I meet people from work for breakfast on Tuesdays, I had to lie. The next couple of visits, there were two other people, then three, then four. This seems to be what Tuesday mornings were going to be consisting of. For the last six months, I listened to music, made slight small talk, and little eye contact, which is fine... It is more than fine, it is well, exciting. I get to be me for ninety minutes a week, I love it.

Now I have my own routine. Since it is so early, and the three other people in my house are still sleeping, I slip on my leggings over a pair of cotton panties. I put on my little white or pink socks, my sports bra and a T-shirt, nothing special just one's I always wear. I put on the rose-colored sneakers. Next my wig and earrings, then slip on my sweatshirt. I put up my hood and get into the car. Once outside the Gym, I fix myself with the little bit of makeup I have in my bag, I will sweat and I don't want it coming off but the lip balm always stays on and I am grateful for that. I now have four or six different colors in my more than organized bag, gifts from the owners of the gym.

Sometimes, only sometimes I take pictures. Just me alone in my car in my ratty, sweat-stained hoodie, in my messy wig, in a loose t-shirt. I don't look glam, I don't even look that femme, but it's okay. My pictures from the car have smiles in them. I kinda look like the other 'women' at the gym, I don't really stand out and I never have a conversation. Well, not that anyone has ever really talked to me, except for the owners.

"Sabrina, grab a coffee before you leave, hang a little while." They say and I do. We talk about Joanie, who I don't know, W's favorite neighbor. I always talk in that higher register when we talk about traffic, the weather, and cocktails, then I sneak into the back room and change. They let me go out a different exit as a male, I think that is so nice of them.

I was looking at a couple of the pictures I took in the car before the gym. I was looking at some from before I left on Tuesday mornings, hiding in my basement or ready to make a little dash to my car. I look quite, um, I look like, well...

Ha, who would have guessed that knowing a friend, who has a friend, who knew someone else, who has a thing? Would lead me to discover that I was such a Tomboy.


The End

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Thanks for the Coke, Sabrina!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Every so often, there’s nothing like the “Real Thing!”



Your welcome...

Sabrina G Langton's picture

Nothing like it, ha... thanks for reading...