Take me back

Best Dressed11-06-2021, 1100 words

Domestic life
Gender identity

It started off with the small things. A ring here, a bangle there. Shoes that were too pretty to be from the men’s department, all red and shiny and high-heeled.

Chet began to notice.

Last weekend, when he took Sol out to lunch, he looked nice, really nice, in skinny jeans and an off-the-shoulder shirt. The jeans were close enough to what he usually wore, but not the shirt, so that caught Chet’s attention right away. It was different, all frilly and coquettish and sort of sexy because without anything on top, Chet could see all the way down his neck -

But that wasn’t the point.

The point was, the shirt looked really good and Chet couldn’t help running his hands along it, down Sol’s arm. When he’d asked what it was made of, Sol said satin and also to stop touching him like that because they were in public. He was cute when he was flustered.

But that wasn’t the point either.

See, most guys didn’t know stuff like that. Most guys didn’t wear stuff like that. Or at least, Chet knew he didn’t and he couldn’t think of anyone else who did either. So when Sol did, it made him wonder if it meant anything.

Not in a bad way, of course, just that Chet didn’t know if he should say something or not. He was pretty sure he could, seeing as they were romantically entangled. Had been for years, as far back as high school, which was always great to brag about.

Come to think of it, Sol had long hair back then too. Did that mean he would’ve always worn frilly shirts if the uniform policy hadn’t been so strict? Wait, were those two things even related?

He was probably overthinking it. It wasn’t like looking pretty said anything about anyone, except what if it did with Sol? What if this was really important to him and it was Chet’s boyfriendly duty to acknowledge it? Like, to support him or something.

Maybe he should just ask. Yes, that was a good idea. Better than beating around the bush and wondering about it, which would make things totally awkward once Sol realized what was happening. Sol was good at sensing when Chet was distracted.

Not that figuring out how to ask was any easier than if he should ask. Chet ended up taking a week just to work up the courage, and then another week to invite Sol over. It was going to happen during movie night, he decided, because that was better than doing it in public. (Though he didn’t know if having Sol pressed up to him against the couch was any better.)

After a deep breath and a minute of fumbling, he turned around and said -

“How come you’re so pretty?”

Which made Sol turn a lovely shade of pink so that was nice. Still, Chet rushed to explain himself.

And then Sol rushed to explain himself.

And that was it. They talked it out.

All things considered, Chet thought it went pretty well. The entire time, he’d held Sol’s hand, nodded and went like “mm, yeah” whenever he said something, and in the end, it was like...

The clothes sort of meant something and they sort of didn’t. Sol wasn't trying to say anything by wearing them, except he did like how they made him feel, in a weird, nebulous way. He was pretty sure he was a guy but he also didn’t mind if people saw him differently. Like, he said, one time a store clerk mistook him for a lady and he’d been okay with it. It had been too much work to correct her, so he just bought his stuff and left.

Chet asked if Sol wanted to be a lady with him too. Sol said he liked being his boyfriend more. And then they’d kissed so actually, the night had gone resoundingly well.

So it turned out Sol liked feeling pretty. Well, Chet liked it when he was pretty too. Sol could just be his long-haired, off-the-shoulder shirt wearing boyfriend, and Chet would kick anyone who gave him trouble about it.

And because he liked Sol so much and wanted him to be happy all the time, Chet found himself at the mall. Because sometime during their conversation, Sol had shyly brought up wearing more, nicer clothes, so now Chet was looking at dresses and thinking of him.

The saleslady probably thought he was buying clothes for his girlfriend. No doubt she thought it was sweet - Chet thought it was sweet too, embarrassingly so.

He kept staring at the dresses and wondering how Sol would look in them. There were a lot more than he expected, in colours and styles that made his head swim. Which ones would Sol like most, he wondered, and which ones would he look best in?

“Can I help you?”

And there was the saleslady again, hovering beside him just as Chet was looking at a neat black dress.

He made up his mind on the spot.

Just for kicks, Chet went and got shoes too, a strappy white number he thought would make Sol’s legs look longer. Then he couldn’t help himself from getting a necklace, ending up with an entire outfit from one trip to the mall.

When he got back and gave the bag to Sol, Chet was almost blinded by the look of adoration he got. Sol must’ve really liked it - must’ve been really excited to wear it - because he offered almost immediately.

And did he look good.

Well, he looked good in everything but especially in this. A simple black dress with a cunning A-line, the silver necklace that came with it, and he’d paired it off with dark heels.

Sol smoothed the front of his dress self-consciously and glanced at Chet through his lashes. Chet almost broke his neck with how fast he nodded.

“It looks great,” he said, mouth dry like it had been stuffed full of cotton. “You look great. Amazing. Unbelievable. I’m so lucky.”

“I’m the lucky one,” Sol said softly and leaned in to put his arms around Chet’s neck. “You spoil me.”

“Guess I do.” Chet put his hand on Sol’s waist and felt Sol’s breath ghost the side of his cheek. He found himself waiting expectantly.

“You should probably return the shoes. They don’t fit.”

Oops. No wonder he wasn’t wearing them. Chet made a noise of disappointment and Sol kissed him on the cheek. “It’s okay, I’ll give you my sizes for next time. So you can buy me anything you want.”

“And,” he said, suddenly quiet. “Thanks.”

Chet had a feeling Sol wasn’t talking about the clothes. And Sol was right, it wasn’t like that for him either.

“Thank you,” he said and hoped Sol understood what he meant.