Andrea/Andrew Being One
It is good to have my appointment with Dr. Saga, as a Psychiatrist, she could have pushed my counseling over to a subordinate and just reviewed my files. I agree during my visit that I need to work on being comfortable with Andrew/Andrea without having to prove or discount either one. “You won’t likely need a stronger blocker if you remain on the diet and hormones as you’re taking them. But you do need to know your production of sperm is likely to suffer.”
That’s the news I want to talk with Dr. Michele Higgins about. It is decided I’ll harvest some of my sperm as a precaution. I’m dressed as Andrew which confused a nurse as my nipples and fleshy area behind them are more girl. Dr. Higgins does say more boys develop breasts during their teen years, and they usually go away.
I kind of joke that looking more like Andrea might result in more customers for my clothing. Dr. Higgins says, “You might be surprised by how many boys might have girl’s clothing in their wardrobe.”
Dr. Higgins, my Mom and I visit. The likelihood of Andrew/Andrea being me long term is discussed. I am becoming more comfortable talking about this during my appointments.
I attend classes at school and have my class at the University with Jean Claude Cozier the Design and Art instructor.
I’ve read ahead of the class at North State and already like the course material. Dr. Jean Crozier, PhD makes a point of asking me questions but nitpicks with my answers. Two students are nice enough to compliment me after class and encourage me not to let him to bother me. Bonnie asks, if I’m the clothing designer. She asks if I’m likely to ever be at class as Andrea. “Professor Crozier is likely to give you even more grief as Andrea. But he watches how he does it not to cross lines and create problems for himself. I don’t think he likes women much. I know for a fact he does not see what you do as art.”
I catch a shuttle back to my apartment at State Center. Mom decided to stay the night as J.C. Harper wants to talk to me about future contracts. I’ve changed out of Andrew’s clothes and put on a casual skirt and top. My hair is quickly brushed out to be feminine. I help Mom in creating a lavish chef salad.
Mom has some wine for JC and her, maybe Leah if she comes for supper. I get unsweetened ice tea. JC arrives after six and we eat before meeting. I have my folder of more drawing and design information. JC has a larger folder of clothes going into production and others to market.
But she says, “The Corporation has come to realize your line is here to stay and they are going to seek to extend your contract. We need to be concerned and talking about that as well.
“Wow Mom doesn’t that sound exciting?” I turn back to JC, “Where do I sign and how long will the agreement be?” Jacqui’s expression becomes more serious and I take notice. “What?”
Jacqui says, “It would not be in your interest to just sign.” She asks me, “What is it that you want as a designer of your clothing line?”
I say, “If I sign the contract, maybe they will heed more of what I say. I don’t want to make a lot of money if it makes my clothing line too expensive for the teens and the women I sell to.”
JC affirms, “Before not after you sign a contract is when you seek an agreement as to what is understood and agreed upon. They can afford to pay you more and agree to what you’re wanting. Maybe like me, you’d like to sell some clothing with your label through others. They have a side business allowing others to use your designs in making their garments. I for one think that’s where it would be better to have a label, Designs by Andrea’s Threads or simply Designs by Andrea” I can see Mom’s head moving in affirmation of what Jacqui is saying.
Mom speaks up, “This is where Marion Tuft of the Hopewell firm should be of help to us. We’ve sought out her advice before and have liked it. Maybe it’s time for her to become your lawyer and financial advisor.”
Both Jacqui and Mom have learned to inform me and allow me to initiate decisions. I like what they’re saying, but we’ll continue to meet before I say yes, no or suggest something else. I’ve heard some complaints of items from my line have been made with satin of a lower grade.
Jacqui has brought clothing items for winter and spring that she’s asking Leah and me to model after we eat. Leah and I both have plaid skirts or in my case a dress. She each wants us to wear one the next cold fall day. It is to be both as a market test and a local promotion. It is upsetting to me that my satin blouse is again with the satin fabric that displeases me.
“Jacqui what I’m going to do is to wear the outfit as suggested for half the day, until 1 p.m. and hopefully it’s a day I have a university class so that I wear it in public another six hours.” I ask the price of the blouse I’m being given to wear. “That is only a dollar less that the satin blouse I had recommended. If there isn’t a favorable purchase for the blouse I recommend, I’ll be surprised.”
Leah says, “Many of the stores don’t carry both blouses. I like the two offerings so the blouse you suggest is one of them. The front buttons and opening of this one do not look as attractive to me.”
JC lightly laughs, “The home marketing group gets frustrated with you. Not only because you make it known when you disagree strongly, but your opinions are hard to refute. Many designers they deal with simply say ‘because’ they know the company will stand by their decisions.”
I say, “But I do go along with much of what they do. It would be better if they shared possible changes before they went into production. Leah and I should be able to voice our opinion; we’re part of the target group they’re selling to. What is their problem with that?”
This time even Mom knew the answer to my question. Mom says, “Marketing has to record your feedback and file it with the Corporation. I think so far it’s four for five in your favor in predicting the better outfit or design when it comes to sales.” She says, “Take it from me, it can be hard on the ego to have a younger person with a better record.”
Leah says, “Out of fifty plus designs and spin offs that less than 10% of what’s gone to retail.”
JC says, “The four times we’re speaking of resulted in over $250,000 in extra production costs. And marketing absorbed most their costs within their budget rather than share it. Fortunately our sales of women’s fashions is showing an increase in profitability and the year has the biggest shopping season of the year ahead of us.”
It is Thursday of that week when Marian Tuft calls and asking if she can meet with me Friday noon. I laugh saying, “But I’m at school at that time and should be having lunch.” Mrs. Tuft must know my schedule as the call came between classes. I am going to a rare study hall on my schedule.
Marian says, “Your school, State Center High School, has a lot of gifted students whose lives require special attention. They are used to cooperating with these special needs, as long as you don’t misuse them. I have no problem waiting until school is out at 3:00 pm. but I think you’ll want to respond to your communication from X-Press International.”
I ask, “Are you saying it is time sensitive enough that I’d rather see it at 1 pm rather than wait until 3:15?”
Marian says, “Your parents agree with me that it might be. But then again, I will caution you on Friday not to rush to a decision.”
I say, “If you can arrange with my school for us to eat in one of the conference rooms. I will see if one of my parents or JC Harper can attend.”
She says that is a good idea, but if Ms Harper comes you may want to view the information to make sure you’re wanting her to see the information. We agree to meet and she is to text me with an affirmation that the school has approved space and time needed for the meeting.
I am called out of the study hall by the music teacher, Ms. Michelle Fischer but I am not sure why. “Andrea is it? I would like to hear your voice and ability to sing. I would like to recruit you to be in our choir.”
I begin to giggle, “And what if the days we rehearse or have a program I’m here as Andrew?”
She’s bewildered as she looks at me, “Your friends Tina and Shannon said you were here today and I should seek to recruit you. They didn’t say anything about being Andrew. I can only work with one of you. Would you be comfortable trying out and singing as Andrea?”
Recognition of who I am comes to Ms Fischer, “Now I know who you are. The question is still there for you Andrea.”
“Can you test me to see if you’d still like considering to have me join choir?” It would be awkward for me personally to be singing as Andrea if I’m here as Andrew.”
She draws me over to a piano, handing me a piece of music. First she takes me up and down the scale singing ‘Do Re Mi…’ She has to help me find my note to start. I am happy within a short time as she begins to smile.
She says, “It has been a while since you’ve been singing, hasn’t it? You have a good voice and you seemingly enjoy it. I think it would mutually advantageous for the choir and you as Andrea, to have you begin singing again. It probably would be a while before you sing in a quartet or a duet, but eventually I think even those are possible. I know I will have you practicing as such now and then. When I am practicing with those up for performing, I have my grad-assistant working with others.”
She says, “So what do you say, do I have another young woman in choir?”
I say, “I don’t need to tell you right now, do I? If so, I’d have to say no.”
Marian says, “I’d like an answer by the time school lets out tomorrow. I don’t mind Andrew singing as you in rehearsal. I’ve had other boys who voices hadn’t changed.” I agree to seriously try. She asks as I begin going back to class. “If you’d have ideas for spring ensembles for a special concert come spring or next year, I’d be interested in seeing your ideas.”
She hadn’t done me any favors by putting that idea in my head. During lunch I begin sketching ideas; they can take a long time to come together. Often fresh ideas can come quickly and it’s good to translate ideas to sketches for me. My purse generally has three colors or more in it to help my designing.
By the end of lunch I reached for my lip-gloss to color in one long skirt. But today’s a problem as I need to get to the University. If my attention strays there in class, I’ll be in trouble with Jean Claude.
Taking a University shuttle, I text Leah, Heidi and Mom about the request to join choir. Like I hoped Heidi responds back, “I like you thinking out of the box. You tend to be too conservative.”
Laughing I text back, “You’re calling a boy singing as a girl is conservative?”
Heidi calls me, “I say apart from a few designs and when you went to the prom with Tera, you and Andrew are both conservative. Stretching your voice will give you, new friends and hopefully get you in trouble.”
Leah texts, “I’ll see you when you get to the University.” Mom texts, “You have enough on your schedule.”
“Truth is Mom, my Advisor Ms Stein says I need to find an extra-curricular activity to be part of. She said she told us that back at Hillside.”
I agree to call my mother on my way back from the University. Leah and I have enough time when I get there to get a yogurt snack and water at the Union.
Cozier is not happy to see me coming to class as Andrea. “I at least hoped Andrea if you showed up, we’d get a chance to see fashion as art.” Today’s session is on texture, light and changes as being ways artists enhance their work. Including ancient cave drawings using dyes and blood with some images. He accepts large work using fabrics in artwork, but conveys my designs rank up with people walking with advertising slab boards. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about until I checked it on my notebook.
He and I both knew he lost a few points with other students. Some have begun finding his criticism of me detracting for the class. Truth is when he doesn’t sidetrack, he offers a lot more to learn from. He irritates me like fingernails on a chalkboard, but I find like JC said, he’s worth it.
Today at least Mac and Sam speak up, commenting in a positive manner to my insights. Mac tells me, “The football coaches have displayed some of our art work around our facilities; they and the University have gotten positive feedback. Cozier got some flack when a visiting artist and art proponents saw them and read his critiquing of them.” The artist said, “The only way I can justify his harsh critiquing would be that he doesn’t want more athletes in his classes.” She said, “Sam’s art works are worthy of a professional artist. Mac’s art is typifies an advanced art student. If he progresses he too could make a living in the art field.”
Cozier, speaking alone to me, asks, “Are you a gay person whose afraid of coming out? I can appreciate if you’re not wanting to be pimp material.”
Shocked at his statement, maybe I should have simply said ‘No’ and walked away. I stepped back and look at him and wondering if he’s trying to ‘out’ me, really thinking I’m gay.
He said, “If you want, I know some people in the gay community who might fancy a sweet boy like you.”
I simply said, “No, as Andrew I see myself as straight. And as Andrea, I am wrestling with who I am.”
Cozier says, “Well, we need to get on with the second half of our class time. But your statement and interest is fashions tells me you’re gay, but not yet willing to come out.” He says while we’re still away from others, “May I ask if you’ve made out yet with another guy?” With that he walks away, not waiting for any reply.
I am barely following him the rest of the class, wondering if I was unaware of giving off messages to others that I’m not intending. Heaven knows, I am repulsed by any notions that Cozier has interests in me. I know as Andrea, I find myself more attracted to others. My feelings now feel a bit dirty.
I am glad Leah is taking me back to the apartments. She asks, what’s wrong, but I deny that there is anything. This is something I need to work through without Leah or my Mom knowing.
Friday, its Andrew going to school, though that is not what I had previously planned. I double check and conference room C is reserved for me and my guests. They had my request down for Andrea which is no big deal. It is a reminder to me that I’m presently uncomfortable being Andrea.
It is good to have Debbie Higgins and Alaina as friends during the school day. They’re even asking to do something together tonight and tomorrow. Saturday as Andrea I’m to meet with Janice Richards up in Boston and stay till Sunday for several promotion visits.
Mom has made it to State Center along with Marian Tuft from the Hopewell law firm. We’re eating as JC is late and Mom says she’d be helpful for the meeting. However Marian takes the opportunity to share, “I’ve had received a phone call concerning an offer for me. If we move to officially negotiating, things would begin where you’re presently at. They’re willing to approve $175,000 as your base salary for the coming three years and a 3% commission on your sales and 10% from other companies wanting to carry your line or the Designs by Andrea logo. They do restrict you from doing independent fashion designing or related projects.
I say the salary would be for only two years with possible renegotiating it if things continue to take off. I understand the 3% commission is reasonable, but I want a 15% commission and say on who and what is carrying my logos. I guess if they’ll agree make it 4% and 15 % respectively. Not hassling over it should be worth more.”
Marian says, “I told them it would need to be 5% and 15%. I think they and you will both fare pretty well. You have a very good head for designing as well as for business.”
JC’s now here, “I think what they are offering you is very good. And I think what you’re asking should be acceptable to them. Ms Tuft, I think you reading closely any fine print and keeping that to a minimum is what’s crucial to keeping the deal you’re wanting.
“Your two trademarks need to remain yours and not the corporations. You told me you were also wanting your clothing line to remain affordable.”
Marian says, “Yes they heard that, the only thing they ask is for Andrea to design more for the upper tier of her line, especially with specialty gowns and such clothing.”
JC says, “If they decide to announce your new contract; do not be surprised that the base will go up to $200,000 or slightly higher. In today’s market 175 doesn’t sound as much, not worthy of gloating. It probably would have been higher if you were working fulltime. You however are more productive then some who are.”
We ran over my lunch time and now Superintendent Dr. Haverford and Ms. Dobbs are requesting me to end this session and to meet with them. “Mom, you need to come with me, I don’t want to face them alone.”
I am happy to see Dr. Higgins and her daughter Debbie there. Somehow I’m sensing they already told my Mom the meeting wasn’t anything negative. She says, “I received a text, that simply says, “Not to worry.”
Dr. Paula Haverford speaks first, “We invited your Doctor here to make sure we’re not asking too much. And this is not a requirement but something we have done with others students whose lives can be overly busy.”
“I hope your prior lunch conference wasn’t stressful. But we are concerned demands on you have you thinking business even when you’re being a student. You’re keeping Bs where some teachers see you as potentially an A student. Are we reading things well?”
Debbie Higgins says, “This school is ahead of others; a B average is quite good.” Her Mom encourages Deb to relax, and gives a one arm hug.
I’m Andrew but its Andrea’s voice speaking, “I don’t relax well. I’m doing well but yes, I could do better. I’m not use to doing A work, save in art and my designing. I worry about not being able to keep up my grades and disappointing people. Are you going to teach me to relax too?”
“One of the things we think might help,” Dr. Haverford says. “If you became more of a social person for your age. We think that could be a natural avenue for you to unwind. You wouldn’t need to date seriously, but we think as Andrew and Andrea you need to blossom and enjoy yourselves more. The Principal at Hillside said you began doing that last year as the year went on. Do you think you could do that again?”
I sigh in relief that it isn’t something more serious. I confess some discomfort for Andrew. “As Andrea, my concern is that I have feelings that could cause some attachments that I think I’m too young for.”
Ms Stein and Dr. Higgins begin to speak at the same time. Ms. Stein waves the doctor to speak first. “I think that falls in line with what they’re saying and what I’m seeing. You are moving ahead as a designer and in promoting your clothing. You’re even growing academically, but emotionally you are holding yourself back.”
“What if as Andrew or Andrea you’d date, the feelings and emotions you’ll have are appropriate for your age. It may be a bit more complicated being Andrew/Andrea, but now, not later, would be a healthier time to deal with being you.”
I say, “I think I’d like that but it scares me. People like me because of what I do and my clothing’s popular. What if they don’t like me?”
Mom says, “Your clothing line is an extension of you, not the other way around. Most will like you for being you. Those who don’t need to know you better. Andrew, I love you, but I think you need to let your hair down and smile more.”
Debbie rushes over as this meeting’s ending. “My boyfriend Randy’s taking me to the dance tonight and his friend Josh so far is going to be a tag along. Please come with us to the dance. Josh is a great guy, but like you he finds socializing hard.”
I look to my Mom, not knowing if she’s going home or staying at the apartments. She says, “Dan is coming up tonight and we’re going to North State’s football game tomorrow. Don’t worry about me, I’ll just be worrying about my daughters.”
“I do think you need to get back to a class or two, plus get notes about what you missed today. I don’t want it being only Andrea who grows socially.”
Story to be continued…
I do appreciate kudos and comments.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.