It’s noon and I’m lying on my bed listening to the lilting voices of the neighbors waver with abandonment, teetering on the verge of happy hysteria. They are intoxicated, summer, weekend voices. BBQ gathering voices.

Excitable voices.

Gay.


Literally.

Under the purple rain of the flowering jacaranda tree next door lies a picnic blanket rife with fabulous cliché.

I mean no condescension, no judgment, no malice- but there is a collection of screamingly fey voices drifting over the back fence that have infiltrated my thoughts and invited themselves into my bedroom to rearrange the furniture and borrow my shoes.

I am eavesdropping on West Hollywood gossip. The highs and lows and ins and outs of the botoxed and be-muscled set. Offers of cocktails and declarations of “Ooooooo, yes!”

I smile.

The boys club is having a ball today.

The high pitched conversation makes my mind wander.

Growing up I had a lot of male “Aunties”. Gay couples were normal in my world. Two men together never once seemed strange or perverted. It saddens me that for some people it is such an issue. It glaaddens me that so much progress has been made.

My mother and I were so inured to homosexuality that it wasn’t even something we thought about much. Or discussed.

My nanny was a tranny and we didn’t even notice.

Her name was Ngaire (a Maori name traditionally pronounced “Niery” but which my stubborn, cross-dressing babysitter insisted was “Na-Gair”).

My mother hired Ngaire in all her 1920’s glamor when I was about ten years old. I loved her from the outset. I loved her eccentricities and elegance, her regal stature, her doting, grandmotherly love for me, her ability to lose at backgammon and never draw attention to the fact that I’d changed the rules.

I remember that she was in her late fifties, maybe.

She wore white satin gloves pushed in silky ripples up past her elbows.

She wore drop waisted dresses and curled, bobbed wigs.

She asked me to design outfits for her- purple hooded capes and fancy, beaded frocks with lace sashes. Then she had them made.

She wore strings and strings of low-hanging pearls.

She was an Agatha Christie character come to life.

She was my tranny, granny, nanny.

I remember the scandal we went through when we realized we’d been fooled.

It lasted about thirty seconds.

One day my mother had several guests over for drinks before heading out to a party, and one drunken lout saw through the (probably quite obvious) ruse and announced it to us when Ngaire was out of earshot. My mothers beautiful face took on an air of shock and bewilderment, her brain tick-tocked and did the math as she turned to me with a quizzical face.

The wigs. The costumes. The deeper voice. The bashful demeanor. The white satin gloves… worn to hide the mans hands!

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We looked at each other.

It made sense.

We smiled.

We laughed and shrugged.

Then the party left and Ngaire and I sat down to play backgammon.

I won.

Rules are made to be broken.

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ZOE BROCK was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. She has lived in more cities and on more continents than she can count (truly, she's a model and can't count) and is currently residing in the deep fog of San Francisco. Her true home lies on the dusty plains of Burning Man where she feels safe and challenged and truly alive. Zoë once had a very popular blog on MySpace and writes everything from awful poetry to truly delicious dark satire, and all sorts of sexy things in between. She has appeared on the cover of Elle magazine, inside the pages of Vogue, Cosmo and Marie Claire, to name a few, and is working on her memoir, an expose of 'growing up model'. Zoë is also a certified yoga teacher. Yes, that means she's bendy.

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