By The Terrific Julie Slowinski
Outing 4: Got up early the next morning and was totally stoked for some daytime Julie adventures in Minneapolis. Got an early breakfast, was about to hit the shower, but ended up taking a morning nap instead – it was a late night at drag club the night before. Finally got out of the hotel around 1pm and took an Uber to the Walker Art Museum – the one with the famous sculpture garden. First time wearing a particular pair of flats that seemed very comfortable at home – turns out, at home is not the same as out in the world. So I had to go back to the hotel for my ankle boots. In addition to being more comfortable, the heels of the boots kept me in the mental state of being in girl mode. I’ve since, overcome that problem with flats, and am kind of a cute flats junkie now.
At the drag club, I asked one of the queens about shopping for a winter coat. I had brought to Minneapolis a leather jacket that was warm, but not so feminine. If I was planning to go out regularly, especially in Chicago winters, I was gonna need to upgrade my outerwear. She suggested this thrift store called Buffalo Exchange.
Apparently, she knew what she was talking about, cuz within 5 minutes, I found two fabulous dresses – see the pics of me trying them on at home. The fit and flare one has been out in the world on many occasions – it’s one of my favorite dresses, so you’ll definitely see it again in a future post. Unfortunately, the red and navy one is a bit too short for my liking and has never made it out of the house and probably never will. I also found a great coat – see the outing 6 pics. The total bill for the 3 items was less than $60 – total score. Had plans to visit several other thrift shops, but got everything I needed at this one place. So, I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in a coffee shop, chatting with the barista and watching the Minneapolis snow come down while trying to get familiar with Facebook – I had just made a Julie account a few days earlier. All and all, a very successful day, especially given that it was my first time day walking by myself. Eventually, we’ll get back to my first time day walking, which was with a group. It’s a pretty fun story about my first time meeting the Pinkfest gang.
Outing 5: Got back to the hotel and for the first time did something I’ve always wanted to do – darken and add some drama to my daytime makeup. Seems a bit trivial now, but back then it was symbolic of a feminine normalcy that I had never expected to experience.
Before the trip, I was desperately looking for someone to hang out with in Minneapolis. At the time my network was a bit limited – was only on the sites Crossdresser Heaven and CD dot com. Was having little luck and even tried contacting Hannah McKnight. Luckily a friend connected me with Niki, who is based in Minneapolis, but happens to visit Chicago every now and again – we’ve actually met up at Rori’s a couple of times since. Niki also gave me the tip about going to LUSH – really helps to have a local to direct you to the best places in town. So, that Saturday night I met up with Niki and her friend Dezi at the legendary Town House Bar (Looks like they changed their name to Black Hart of Saint Paul (blackhartstp.com/about-feed). Those two were so much fun and the crowd was super awesome. Needless to say, it was another late night.
Outing 6: The next day, I flew back to Chicago. After being gone for a week my doorman said, “Welcome back to reality”. I replied, “You have no idea.” Five days later, a new Facebook friend, Jennifer, was planning to be in town. Around the same time I had just made friends with Kimber, also on Facebook, and invited her to join us. This is why I’m so much more active on Facebook, so many more folks who are interested in going out. Kimber is a firecracker and pretty much took over on the plans while inviting two of her friends to the evening’s activities, Karen and Nina (Nina arrived late and didn’t make it into the picture). We took the Mag Mile by storm – early cosmos at a hotel bar, sushi dinner and finally drinks on the 96th floor of the Hancock building. In addition to making 4 new friends, that night was my first time out in the mainstream of downtown Chicago – before that it was mostly Boystown or Rori’s.
Well that was it, a whirlwind of Julie Time back in 2017 – so much fun, but totally exhausting. I think the takeaway of all theses outings is the progression from safe spaces to mainstream. Finding the confidence to be out in the mainstream world is a process. It takes practice and a bit of pushing oneself.
This quote, from my favorite artist, pretty much sums it up – “If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” – David Bowie