We'd been invited by the woman Ellie babysits for to a facial night put on by one of those companies that sells cosmetics and skin care online through consultants.
We walked into the room wondering if we'd be able to pick out who the transgender gentleman was. In my own ignorance, I was thinking along the lines of a made up drag queen like RuPaul or Nathan Lane as Starina in The Bird Cage.
Right away we saw an older gentleman with slightly longish curly gray hair wearing a beret, hot pink fingernail polish, a full length shiny black leotard and heels two sizes too big.
He did not look like RuPaul.
He looked like someone's uncle Al.
His voice was low and mannish as he asked lots of questions about skin care and makeup during the facial.
The consultant leading the facial apologized for mixing the pronouns when talking to him.
"It's ok," he said,
"I look like a man."
Throughout the night, as we tried on various eyeshadows, lip color and blushes, he was so encouraging.
He complimented each of us individually in the room.
I couldn't help but laugh when he asked what the deal was with lip plumpers.
I've always wondered the same thing.
He was probably in his late 60s, worried about keeping up, fighting aging, hanging on to youth.
I could relate.
When we all showed off our completed facials, in a little parade around the room, he, scooting along in his too-big-for-him heels said,
"I look like a woman!"
Now, this is when I could've lost it and fell into a puddle of laughter, but I found it just so touching.
Somehow, this man felt beautiful, maybe for the first time.The love and respect the consultants showed him was inspiring.
Don't we all want that?
I tried to think of someway I could encourage him before we all went our separate ways.
All that came out was,
"Thank you for your encouraging words."
The grace he showed them back was humbling.
I don't have all this figured out, but I don't have to.
I am called to love
and I saw that on full display in the basement of an office building
on a Thursday night last week.