8/19 - Eirlys and Kaiju, getting acquainted
"Hi Eirlys! This is your friendly neighborhood web designer Kaiju with a couple questions about what you’d like for the ARTA site,” when Eirlys answered her phone.
“Heh, you almost made it to “friendly neighborhood spider man” there, web-spinner!”
“And pretty much neighborhood,too. The address on your check is like four blocks away. I hope that doesn’t sound too stalker-y. “No, it’s fine. I’m glad to know some other transgender people in the area. It just feels safer … cozier.,” said Eirlys.
“It does, at that. There are a dozen of us in three blocks — trans, or partners, or just friends. When I was first getting used to dressing femme and going outside, walking down the block here was … absolutely terrifying, but less than most other blocks were,” said Kaiju.
“I’ haven’t gotten that far yet.”
“Which is kind of my web question. Do you want a picture of yourself on the site? For nearly anyone in your position I would recommend a picture. You’re setting up a little cult of personality around your perfuming, and an image will help with that. “ Eirliys snorted But I totally get not wanting to have a picture up now, especially if you haven’t put together a look that you like … or that you can stand.”
“It’s going to be about forever before that.”
“You are not the first transgirl I have heard that from. I’ve said it myself often enough, “said Kaiju. “I am not going to tell you the One Right Way To Be Transgender… I mean I would if there were such a thing and I knew it … but there isn’t. We each try to figure out how to put together away to be something close to ourselves. Or close enough anyhow. For faces --Sometimes that means facial feminization surgery, sometimes cosmetics. For me it’s just as likely to be me grunting ‘I’m a girl, deal with it’ and stomping outdoors looking like a fat Asian boy in a skirt with crappy falsies. Not that that would work for your web site.”
“I’ve got an extra obstacle or two in my way before I have the pretty face, or even the hair I want. I, well, can’t even wear a wig without looking amazingly dumb. My ears are … huge. They don’t fit with any wig for humans,” said Eirlys.
Kaiju hesitated a second. “The way you say that, it sounds like you’re not human, and you don’t want to make a point of that on the ARTA site. So I am thinking we could trackdown a graphic artist, and get you a cool logo and use that instead of a picture of you. Or perhaps an ‘artist’s representation’ of you. It doesn’t need to be at all realistic, or even based on you at all,” said Kaiju.
“Kaiju! I’m allowed to do that?”
“I’m the woman making the rules for this site, and you’re the woman paying me, so you can do pretty much what you want. I’m gonna give you my best advice of course, but… go for something you feel happy with, even if it wouldn’t be the standard adviceI’d give someludicrous cisgender perfumer.
“I could be an anthropomorphic cartoon perfume bottle or something,” said Eirlys.
“No, I’m not gonna let you be that goofy except you’re paying the bills. ‘Silly’ isn’t how your brand is coming off to me … with a name like ARTA it sounds like it ought to be artistic,”said Kaiju.
“It’s going to be whimsical, but I’m definitely avoiding goofy.”
“That sounds better for getting your fanatical cult following,”said Kaiju.
“Don’t call it that. My grandmother had one of those.”
“Oh, you’re a demigod? I am so sorry if my word choice was inappropriate,” said Kaiju.
“No problem. I’m trying for an eager and enthusiastic customer base. But not an actual temple or cult., “ said Eirlys.
“I figured. You’d want a different web site structure for a religious organization. Less catalog and order tracking.”
Eirlys chuckled. “You get it! Also, congratulations for being the first person I said ‘demigod’ to who didn’t immediately ask ‘what god?’ if not outright ‘what are the secrets of the gods?’
“I figured those are like asking about deadnames, if not outright ‘Do you still have a dick? What’s it like?’
“Ugh, do people ask that?” said Eirlys.
“Oh yes, they do. Often probing to see if I’ll scratch their particular little sexual itch.”
“Nothing like being objectified. I get lots of people hitting on me, I guess on the theory that tomcats are horny and nondiscriminating,” said Eirlys.
“Transwomen get that too sometimes. Maybe people think we're awash in testosterone, or that dressing femme is a sexual fetish,” said Kaiju.
“Well, grandma does have fertility and sexuality aspects but ...I don't because I don’t have aspects, I’m not a god, and… just no. “You are, however, a customer with a partial draft website. Also without fertility or sexuality aspects, but with a bit of placeholder art I plopped in to give you an impression of a direction we could go,” said Kaiju.
“Hah! That art sure isn’t me at all. It looks familiar, somehow.
“Gustav Klimt, a medium-important artist whose works read as “arty” to me. Also very easy to find and copy for placeholder art.”
“This is probably not good business practice, but… want to get together for coffee? I kind of need to talk with someone who isn’t upset or freaked by me for one thing or another.”
“My HR department may have things to say about it.”
“I am. My HR department can wrap their objections in tin foil and try for an intestinal insertion depth record.”
“Kaiju, you have HR? I thought you’re a freelancer.”
“I am. I shouldn’t really beat up on HR since HR is me, but it’s a grand tradition,” said Kaiju.
“And you’re so much about the grand traditions,” said Eirlys.
They met at Brew To You Too, ordering iced coffee. Kaiju picked Eirlys out instantly --- her cat head was unmistakable, her black-furred tailtip crept out of the leg of her cutoff shorts, and twitched nervously on her chair.
“Kaiju, thanks for coming here.”
“No problem, it’s half past coffee o’clock, and you were sounding unhappy,” said Kaiju.
“Yeah. Do you think there’s any hope for me?” asked Eirlys.
“Depends on what you’re hoping for, doesn’t it? All Roads To Aroma sounds like a good perfume business. I thought you might have been overhyping your nasal acuity, but I’m gonna guess you have superhuman sniffing powers, and that’s got to be good for perfuming, right? So you’ve got a business model, you’ve got a style in mind, and you’ve got an edge, and your website’s going to be fire. No guarantees with a new business, but sounds to me like you’re starting as strong as can be.”
“I’ve got another edge, for that matter. Grandma — Bastet — is a goddess of perfume and ointment, and I get some of that too.”
“Nice! “ said Kaiju.
“Well. Not nice. It’s sort of cheating all the other little perfumers, using echoes of divinity,” said Eirlys.
“To me, it’s not more cheating than any other family advantage. My parents scrambled to get me a good education, with which I am coding up better web sites than less-trained designers. I don’t feel like I’m cheating anyone,” said Kaiju. “I don’t know what your magic does of course --- donn’t tell me anything you don’t want to.
“Oh, magic,” said Eirlys. “No bottle of ointment or perfume is completely empty for me, there’s always one more squirt if I need it. Plus my ingredients, fragrances and oils, don’t go bad on me, and I have good luck with suppliers, and making my own enfleurages. Things like that.”
“Sounds convenient to me. But it doesn't sound, well, supernatural, even if it is. It sounds to me like an organized, careful perfumer could get maybe 99% of that with good inventory practices and such. You don’t sound like you’ll be crushing your competition with divine curses and wrath,” said Kaiju.
“No, I won’t be.”
“So I think you’re playing basically fair, in a game which you’re good at, and that’s as hopeful a start as you could reasonably ask for,” said Kaiju, smiling at her. Eirlys sort of grimaced, and her tailtip flicked twice. Kaiju raised her eyebrows.
“Sorry, Kaiju, nobody can read my body language. That’s kind of what I wanted to complain about…. Body dysphoria. You know what it’s like to have the wrong kind of body.Me too, but it’s not just the wrong genitals and stuff.”
“So you get like a triple-XL portion of all the bad stuff,” said Kaiju.
“Yes, that, “said Eirlys.”Do you think I could get away with a wig? Long femme hair,human style?”
“No and yes, “ said Kaiju. “No, you’re not going to pass for human with it. Sorry to be a shit pancake, but I don’t see how you could ever pass for human no matter what you’re wearing, or how.”
“I know that,” said Eirlys.
“But yes, get the wig, wear it when I am around,, and I will give a long and devastating lecture on gender and species theory to anyone who fails to respect you properly in it,” said Kaiju.
“I like that better than Mom’s usual threat. Which usually involve disembowelling plus artistic use of the entrails. Mom’s not *exactly* a berserk warrior goddess any more, but … only slightly calmer now.”
“Do I get to meet her at some point? asked Kaiju.
“Yes! If you want.”