I was once asked what are the chances people who know me otherwise might also meet me as Kandi. It’s something we have talked about before. If you are referring to people that knew me pre-Kandi (from the Big Bang until 2014) and might also meet Kandi, certainly it is possible. Now I will differentiate between “meet” and “see” in a bit. Meet would be unlikely since I would avoid it if at all possible. But to see me is certainly a possibility.
Near as I can tell, I’ve only been in proximity of someone I knew otherwise three times. Once was a story I’ve told before. I was working the information desk at The Great Lakes Science Center when an old college friend (not close, but a friend nonetheless) came up and asked me a question. She almost instantly answered it herself and thanked me for my time to which I mumbled an “uh-huh”. She had no clue. I hadn’t seen her previously in five years and saw her a few months later and we talked, no mention of the encounter (believe me, it would have been mentioned).
I was working a museum monthly party and my old accountant (personal accountant, did my taxes) was in the area nearby. I hadn’t seen him in well over ten years and he was, for me, hanging around in my area for an uncomfortable amount of time. But he had no clue. Without being Kandi I look different (no mustache which I had when we knew each other and much less weight) and obviously, was in full makeup, I look very different. No issue and again, if he knew, it would have gotten back to me as his father and mine were lifelong friends and neighbors.
In the past I mentioned working a big event in Cleveland where an old neighbor (with a big mouth) was in attendance. Now there were hundreds of people there. Again, she did not even notice me (I would absolutely have heard about it if she had, no question). I saw her well into my time there, so I thought it best not to tempt fate and left early. Better safe than sorry, or better said, better not discovered than to have to explain myself to a bunch of people.
I’ve talked extensively about the odds of running into someone who knows you as you move further from your home. People all move about in a random fashion, mostly self-absorbed in their own life. I am a much less “public” figure since our children have grown and gone. No more hanging out at school or dance functions, no more volleyball and football games, less people seeing me on a daily or regular basis. My job has me alone quite a bit of time, again away from people that may get to know who I am and “discover” me. I hide in plain sight, the larger the crowd, the less likely I will be noticed.
Now the opposite has happened quite a few times with zero negative reactions. Those that knew Kandi at Mercury Theater, at the art museum, with The Arthritis Foundation have come to meet me otherwise. Most immediately recognized me and treated me no differently, addressing me by my male name. No issue whatsoever. I had previously worked a big event for The Arthritis Foundation as Kandi and then helped at a 5K as me and no one cared, no one treated me any differently, all were warm and friendly.
Pre-COVID, I was able to convert my relationship with The Prom to Remember from a Kandi-only function, to now both me and Kandi. Our daughter was home (she doesn’t know) and The Prom was holding a fundraiser at four bars during the Browns game. We had a big liquor raffle, a 50/50 raffle and a Chinese auction. Help was needed. So my choice was to stay home or help as myself. Off I went and I could not have enjoyed myself any more, even had I been dressed. Many of my co-volunteers lit up when they realized who I was and I just had a ball. The good thing for me now is that I can now attend any meeting in either mode, whichever is most convenient. Complete acceptance, who and what I am, an absolute nonissue.
We are all different, have different relationships, different types of relationships, have equity invested in those relationships, are perceived a certain way by people, present ourselves in our own unique fashion dressed or not. I have my dressing figured out in terms of my doing so without any real risks, but I know I must be diligent to my rules and I do understand that every time out, in this day and age of mass shootings, I must always be cognizant of my and my family’s safety.
What if someone found out? I could care less, my wife could care less, but it’s none of anyone’s business and I simply don’t wish to try and explain it.
Quickie Post: One week ago today, August 6, 2021, I did a bridal photo shoot. Over the course of the summer, I purchased a used dress online and had it altered. Then I set up the shoot with a photographer I used last year for a photo shoot. Not much of a story here. It was brutally hot and we did the shoot in a public place and you know what? While I was obviously noticed, no one cared, people all about. This is what I wore there:
On my way home, I stopped to pick up my race packet for a half marathon I ran the following Sunday. Again, I was treated no differently than if I were in my male clothing.
Photos from the shoot coming to this here quality blog very soon!