All that glitters

So we all know that I visit Starbucks so consistently that the baristas have become part of my extended Boston family. My favorite barista is a transgendered person. She's very sweet, is always really friendly to everyone, and doesn't have the sort of bitter barrier that I imagine I'd have if people were constantly judging me. Which, hey, maybe they're not. But I bet they are, which only proves how jaded I am.

One of the things I love about this barista is how daring she is with accessories and makeup. She paints her eyelids in bright greens, pinks, and blues, usually with glittery accents. Her lips are fushia, again with a glittery finish. And her earrings are long, dangly, and sparkly. It makes me happy just to see her in the morning. She's like a rainbow.

I was talking to Husband this morning, describing the sparkly and the glitter. I asked Husband why he thinks transvestites or transgendered people are more likely to look so bright. Husband thinks it's because they haven't had a lifetime of practice at being a woman. He asked me what my makeup would have looked like if I'd been allowed to wear makeup when I was, say, five. I had to smile at the thought. Yeah, it would have been glittery. And sparkly.

The thing is, I look at the glitter and the sparkly through my grown-up perspective and I still think she looks beautiful. Not magazine cover beautiful, but like she's somehow managed to capture the essence of the word. There's something about this barista decorating her face that makes me appreciate being a woman. It's like the chore of makeup isn't one to her, like it's more of a gift to be able to express yourself in such an obvious, on-your-face way.

I also can't help but think that this type of female expression costs her - that she wears flashy makeup and earrings despite the bigotry she might endure as a result. She fights to declare her inner gender. In the barista's glitter I see determination, fire and hope. Hope that we can create our own identify by spending $10 at the local CVS and insisting that what we desire be ours, and that the world see it, face it, whether they like it or not.