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Spooky Action At A Distance

Name of a Flower

By Sonia Ramos Rossi

flower

The bar in Madrid's gay area was full of smoke and young, pretty lesbians dancing salsa with each other, petite and sun-tanned. I pulled up a high stool at the counter, ordered a Martini and had a look around. To my right a tall, slim, middle aged lady was drinking Baileys on ice, chatting with the bar staff. She looked a little out of place there, I mean she was neither a young pretty lesbian, nor one of the older type of 'guy that understands' who tend to hang out in this place. She did fit another type who normally go there, though; she was a transsexual.

"We haven't seen you in ages," the barman said to her.

"You don't get out much then?" I chipped in. Just trying to make conversation, you know.

She looked at me for a second and then gave me a reasoned answer, "No, I live in Andalusia where I look after my mother."

So I started a conversation with her. She was on her annual holidays in Madrid. She told me her name. I didn't catch it the first time so she repeated it, and then added "It's the name of a flower," and then I got it.

Rosa I'll call her. She started taking hormones when she was eighteen, which by my reckoning must have been some time around 1968, when I was still in nappies. This would make her one of the pioneers, one of the first to go on that path, walking close in the footsteps of those mythical beauties, Coccinelle, Aleshia Brevard, April Ashley or Caroline Cossey. Google them if you're not familiar with the names. Rosa told me she had complete sex change surgery when she was still young.

"Got no balls girl," She said to me, "had 'em whipped off. I wanted to be all woman."

You never know who you're going to meet. Turns out that Rosa had worked in Paris as a showgirl after her operation, at the Carousel cabaret no less. "No, not the Moulin Rouge," she said, looking down her nose at me, "nearby." She really did follow in the footsteps of those others. I think she must have been a contemporary of Caroline Cossey at the Carousel. Forgot to ask her; didn't realise who I was talking to until later.

Rosa has a face wrinkled by years of smoking, but you could tell that she had been a beauty. I told her so.

"Oh yes," she said, without hesitation. "I'll show you the photos." Maybe one day I'll see them. I've no doubt she looked spectacular. She is tall, with the body you'd expect from a fifty-something showgirl who has kept in shape, and perfect, fine bone structure in her face. High cheekbones, and a feminine brow-line too. I don't know if she had surgery to her face, or if it was just the effect of hormones, but the surgery was well done if she chose that option.

Rosa went to the toilet to freshen up and came back with expertly applied make-up. She hadn't been wearing any before.

"Wish I'd put some heels on tonight," she said as she sat back down.

I wanted some advice about my own dilemma. "Well, you're lucky you don't have to work," I said, "I'd go the whole way if I didn't have to work. Just like you did."

"You can do it whenever you want."

I knew that anyway and felt a bit stupid having made the comment. She had gone the whole way. She knew how much it cost and she had thought the price worth paying.

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"Don't do the whore thing though."

"Bad, huh?" No answer. The music was loud though, so maybe she didn't hear me.

"Did they hurt you?" A nod. Time to change the subject. She changed it for me anyway.

"Hang around with me for a couple of weeks and by the end you'll have forgotten you were ever a boy."

Wow, there's an invitation if I ever got one. Don't ever say you didn't get an offer.

"Don't you think I'm a bit old to do the change now?"

"No, well you'll never pass as a woman, but I can make you look like a million dollars."

Bet she could too.

"So what are you drinking?"

"Whisky and water."

Here we go, another night on the tiles. I ordered myself a Martini to go with the whisky and carried them over to a table she had bagged on the terrace outside to watch the night-life go by.

There was a group of lesbians chatting and horsing around just in front of us, one outrageous couple in particular. The masculine teased the other, grabbing her and moving her around as would a teenage guy.

Rosa shook her head, "One hundred percent male," she said. And it was true. There was no way you could look at that girl and see a girl. She was all boy.

Rosa took out her lipstick and freshened up her lips then offered it to me, so we sat there like a pair of schoolgirls. Look! Same colour lips everybody!

We arrange to meet the next day at eleven in the morning to go to the local Sunday market and do some clothes shopping.

"Do you think it's OK if I roll a joint?" Rosa asked.

"Sure, everyone does it."

So she rolled a joint on the table and after that the conversation stopped for a while. Dope sends me to sleep.

Anyway, I woke up when six or seven big guys aged in their fifties and sixties came to sit down at the tables next to ours. They all had on bright coloured shirts with three buttons open to show hairy chests above their bulging bellies. Every single one of them came up and gave Rosa two kisses. They all took a look at me too, so I put on my best smile, but Rosa didn't introduce me.

"Who are those guys?"

"Oh, I know them from years ago. Right from the beginning."

"Things have changed a bit since then?"

"So much. The young girls nowadays get it easy. Start young and you turn out a goddess."

"Well you started young."

"Yes." She smiled. She turned out a goddess too.

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It's hard to imagine how difficult it must have been back then, how sure she must have been of what she wanted when she took the decision to make the transition at eighteen. You had to go to Morocco to have the operation in those days, and there were no support groups. The internet didn't exist. You had to leave your home and go and work as a showgirl and prostitute in a foreign city because there was no way you could stay in your home town.

I'm still not sure what I want even now, unlike Rosa. But then, Rosa is a girl who knows what she wants, and then she goes and gets it, as she soon shows me.

By this time Rosa's friends from way back have left and the bar-staff are taking in the tables from the terrace, so we move inside the bar where it is as smoky as ever and the pretty lesbians are still gyrating to the salsa.

We are ordering more drinks when a very handsome, tall young man appears at the bar beside me and says hello. We both say hello back and smile at him. I start chatting; turns out he has just arrived on the last plane from Caracas. He doesn't look a bit jet-lagged. Not a bit. Anyway, it seems I'm not doing a very good job at the chit-chat because Rosa whispers in my ear to go to the toilet and leave him to her for a minute or so.

When I come back these two are practically in each other's arms, she touching the bulge in his jeans and saying “Ooh, what a big one!” I reckon she must be practised at this.

The sexual banter goes on for a few minutes and our friend from Venezuela promises to meet Rosa back at the bar the following night. He can't come with us now he says, because he is with his girlfriend. So he says goodbye, big sloppy kisses and fondles all round and he leaves. We turn to watch him go through the door and sure enough, there is the girlfriend looking through the window. Oh dear.

The bar is shutting so we go to a gay club where they put on transvestite shows. It is small, with a tiny stage where the artists mime to playback and dance. When we arrive a male stripper is doing his stuff. Rosa pokes me in the ribs as I'm ordering the drinks and I turn around just in time to see the biggest cock I've ever seen being waved about in front of me. The place is so cramped I could reach out and touch it and I almost do. The heterosexual girls in front of me are having hysterics.

We have some drinks and dance a bit. Rosa pulls me tight and I find my nose between her soft breasts, swinging gently to the music. She touches me between the legs.

"Mmm, not much there is there?" I think she's running out of hope of getting laid and was hoping I'd help her out.

"Sorry."

She gets her man in the end, just as they are throwing us out of the club at closing time, six in the morning. He seems quite keen to do a threesome but Rosa whispers to me to leave him to her. As they were going back to her little hotel, three would probably have been a bit scandalous.

"See you tomorrow!" She sways off with her guy's arm around her.

I wandered home and slept until one in the afternoon, missed the rendez-vous at the market.

Did I miss my two weeks induction too, Rosa?

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© 2008 Sonia Ramos Rossi