“The Happy Hooker with a Twist”
While living in Chicago, I worked at a small nail salon that catered to an unusual mix of clientele. There were the
average 25 – 45 year old professional women, but then there was the “after hours crowd”. It was business as usual
to see a parade of drag queens, gay men, transexuals, transvestites, & cross dressers coming in to have their nails
done. The nail salon was owned by a gay man & a transexual woman (who was fooling no one – picture a man
dressed as Mrs. Roper from the old sitcom “Three’s Company”), but that’s another story! Anyway, this being the 80’s
meant that long nails were all the rage, plus lots of fabulous nail art & rhinestones, too.
One client in particular had extremely long acrylic nails. Try 5″ long! And they were pointed, not like the typical
square nail that was in fashion. Her name was “Lynnette Yvette ” & she was a transexual. Well, not completely. The
top half was woman, the bottom half was man. Even more bizarre was the fact that she was working her way
through college as a prostitute! Her goal was to one day graduate with a psychology degree & then complete the
surgery that would make her into a legitimate woman.
Now Lynnette was a very dark, black skinned “girl” who always wore her hair in a tight, little pony tail, barely 2″
long. Why she didn’t wear a weave or some tracks or a wig, I’ll never understand. She lived as a woman, wore
makeup & clothes like a woman, plus got her nails done like a woman. She would regale us with stories of her
“johns” while we did her nails & some of the stories were quite shocking. Some involved police getting ‘freebies’ in
exchange for them not arresting her! Some involved married men! All were very entertaining, though. We found
something else we had in common…… we both loved scary movies. So from time to time we’d meet up for a matinee
of the latest Freddy Krueger or Leatherface movie. I can only imagine what an odd pair we made as we walked
down the street……me being a short, naturally born white woman & Lynnette being the exact opposite!
One night friends & I were out at a club that was holding a “white party” (everything is swathed in white fabric &
attendees are supposed to dress in white) to benefit AIDS awareness when I ran into Lynnette, who was there with
her family. She introduced me to her daughter & her daughter’s children. It was so surreal! Everyone shook my
hand & we all talked for awhile, then parted ways. I was struck by how odd this scenario was. I mean, here Lynnette
used to be her daughters’ father, but now she’s her “mother”? And how do you explain to the grandchildren that
grandpa is now your “grandma”? It was all very, very bizarre….. at least to me it was.
Lynnette finally did graduate with her psychology degree & was going to specialize in helping gay, lesbian, &
transgendered people. By chance one night we met again at a party where she introduced me to her older, Jewish
boyfriend, who looked extremely conservative & deceivingly straight. They definitely made another very odd couple,
with him being a short, balding, middle aged white dude who might have worked as either a psychiatrist or a college
professor & Lynnette being…….well……the exact opposite.
I don’t know if she ever got her desired surgery or not because I moved away, but judging by what else she
accomplished in life when she set her mind to it, I’m betting that she did make her dreams come true. The last time
I saw her she was riding on top of a float during the “Gay Pride” parade, while giving the pageant wave & flashing
her bright white smile. And her 5″ long gold, bejeweled nails were flashing, too!