- Title: A Slippery Slope in a Bank
- Series: Women’s Uniform
- Author: Yulia Yu. Sakurazawa
- Transgender Category: MTF
26 year old effeminate-mannered, pretty faced man, Vicky Pereira wishes to marry his long term girlfriend, Edwina Joseph as soon as possible. However, his current job in a lesser-known bank doesn’t accord him enough financial security to take such a big step in his personal life. Vicky applies for the post of senior manager in a renowned bank known as Trust Bank. A goof-up at the interview leads to an underestimation on the part of the recruiters: Vicky is now employed as a clerk in Trust Bank. To comply with the rules, he must wear a uniform just like the other clerks: a jacket with an in-built bra and a form-fitting skirt.
Customers are uneasy interacting with a man dressed in drag, hence Vicky is ordered to undergo laser treatment for removal of facial hair and a tracheal shave to get rid of his Adam’s apple. Vicky is under the impression that his feminization is a superficial one, done only for professional reasons. However, his girlfriend Edwina has other plans and Vicky permanently becomes a girl.
Vicky Pereira: Vicky Pereira is the 26 year old protagonist of the story. He is compact (5’4) and has a soft dough-like body. He is pretty-faced with large black calf-like eyes, a cute button nose and a small pink mouth.
In order to earn enough to be able to afford to marry his girlfriend, Vicky takes up the post of a clerk in a top bank called Trust Bank. Incidentally, all the other clerks in the bank happen to be female. They wear a uniform comprising of a red jacket and a matching skirt. In order to avoid designation-related confusion and allegations of discrimination, Vicky is ordered to dress in the same uniform as the ladies. Since the customers are uncomfortable interacting with a male employee dressed in drag,
Edwina Joseph: is the 27 year of girlfriend of Vicky. She is tall (5’8), dusky, has long legs, fine black eyes, a prominent nose and curly unruly locks. Edwina is an ambitious girl who does better than her boyfriend, professionally. She is a charted accountant in a reputed firm. After the firm downsizes, Edwina loses her job and joins Trust Bank as the Senior Manager.
Sheba Phillips: is the 42 year old General Manager of Trust Bank. She is stern-looking, has straight hair and wears black-framed glasses. Sheba and the two other recruiters on the team underestimate Vicky’s potential and appoint him as a clerk in Trust Bank.
Forced to Work in Girls’ Uniform
A Slippery Slope in a Bank
Chapter 1 – Countdown to Femininity
I waited outside with my palms sweating. Besides me, there were three other candidates for the interview: one nerdy bespectacled man pouring over a leaflet, a seemingly confident young woman and a middle-aged man who seemed to be desperately in need of a job, after perhaps a layoff. The first two seemed my age, the third indubitably older. ‘Don’t underestimate him, Vicky’ I told myself ‘Experience sometimes wins over raw confidence’.
As for me, Vicky Pereira, I had neither—neither confidence nor sweeping experience. I was 26 years old and had been employed for four years at the relatively newly established Prosperity Bank. I had started off as a clerk, but was currently the senior manager. Four years in a fledgling bank could hardly count as ‘stupendous experience’. Besides, I had to admit with supreme embarrassment, that the pay I got in received in Prosperity Bank was lower than even that of the lowest-level clerk in Trust Bank. Performance bonus was unheard of.
The self-appraisal of my own worth made me even more nervous. I tried to calm down by reminding myself that I had an MBA degree from one of the top business colleges in Bangalore, and that, my in depth study of accounting, marketing, communication, entrepreneurship, human resource management, international management and internet marketing would definitely work in my favor. Then I pinched myself and said ‘Take a reality check, Vicky Pereira. So many people in India seem to have an MBA degree. How can be sure that your competitors don’t?’.
Desperation overtook idle evaluation as the face of Edwina floated in front of me. Edwina, with her high-cheek bones, smoldering bespectacled charcoal-on-fire eyes and sulky red pout. The woman who had grown up with me, yet had come to mean infinitely more in the recent years….Edwina had given an ultimatum; I quote her verbatim “either marry me this year, else go about your business. I can’t indefinitely wait”.
If I didn’t marry her this year, Edwina would get hitched to someone else. She was twenty-seven, an age at which girls here are immensely and invariably pressurized to get married. If Edwina didn’t do it by choice, her parents would force her into an arranged marriage. Edwina was an independent, highly ambitious accountant earning her own living, but when it came to personal decisions, the parents still had hegemony….
Edwina had told me that she didn’t mind taking on the role of the main bread winner and support me even if I decided not to work for even a single day. While I thought this a sweet and generous offer, I couldn’t dream of taking it up. I, as the man, was expected to provide for my wife, not the other way around. If I didn’t work, people would label me a loser.
They already did, I sometimes felt. Or at least, they didn’t take me seriously enough. Perhaps it had something to do with my symmetrical face which was more feminine than masculine, the natural arch of my shapely eyebrows or the fair comely dough-like body that graced my 5’4 frame. In an attempt to gain height, I had tried wadding the insoles of my shoes with rubber, but that hadn’t helped much. I still appeared shorter than the average man. Edwina didn’t approve of my artificial attempts at looking taller. She wanted people to be themselves, even at the cost of my appearing like a stunted dwarf when I stood beside her lanky 5’8 frame. To appear more masculine, I had tried growing a goatee, but Edwina had issued strict orders to shave it off, saying it irritated her skin when we kissed. ‘You are prettier than a doll, Vicky’ she had breathed in a moment of touching intimacy ‘why would you want to spoil your features with that obnoxious facial hair?’. ‘Pretty’ is a rather unusual adjective to describe a man. But I suppose, with my calf-like eyes, upturned button nose and a small shapely naturally pink mouth, it could apply to me. Pretty, not handsome. Strange. But the adjective didn’t bother me because I was obviously manly enough to have girlfriend—a girlfriend with personality.
Presently, I noticed the female interview candidate appear from the conference room. She was looking as cool as a cucumber. From her expression, it was impossible to speculate as to how the interview had transpired. The middle aged guy went in next. He was sweating profusely. In barely five minutes, the look of a hunted creature on his face was more pronounced. I held my breath. My turn was next.
No, it was a false alarm. The bespectacled man was ushered in. I took the chance to appraise myself in the mirror. The two-piece beige suit I had chosen for the D-day was two sizes too big for me. It sat bulky and awkward over my shoulders. Stealthily avoiding my eye, some of my morning’s coffee had spilt forth from my mug and had decided to settle on the fabric on the trouser fabric corresponding with my left thigh. On hindsight, I should have selected with a darker color; the grey suit Edwina was urging me to wear. Instead of my ridiculously pink bow tie, a navy blue or a dark purple would have been more in sync with power dressing. The shoes I had on hadn’t been evenly polished; it had dark brown splotchy patches on it, interspersed with areas that hadn’t been touched at all by polish. All in all, I was a mess.
‘Vicky Pereira!’ from beneath the film of daydreaming, I recognized the name that was called out as my own. I was being ushered in to the conference room to be grilled, interrogated and questioned. My nerves were so much on the edge that I wished I hadn’t passed the written interview at all. Had I failed then, I wouldn’t have reached this stage at all. Anyway, here I was. In no way could I evade the situation, unless I took to my heels and ran. And wasn’t a very graceful thing to do.
I crossed over from the area I seated in and walked into the conference room where the interviews were being conducted. I felt that it was the solemn duty of the interviewers to hold an interview in surroundings less intimidating than this one. I walked in with butterflies in my stomach. I found three people: two ladies and a gentleman on the interview panel. One was a dame in her mid-fifties. She was dressed in a saree and had a short curly mop of hair on her head. The second was a man of indeterminate age, wearing a non-descript, but evidently expensive two-piece navy blue suit. The third was a stern forbidding-looking woman in her 40s. She was dressed in a mustard-colored skirt, with a cream shirt and a matching jacket. Her straight hair had been left loose and sharp face adorned with a pair of black-rimmed glasses. From beneath the desk, I could see her glistening long legs and powerful ‘I’ll-stab-you’ stilettos. She looked forbidding, to say the least. Incidentally, it was she who spoke first.
‘Have a seat, Mr. Pereira’ she said in a gelid voice, as if she was reading out my death sentence. The chilly blue walls of the uncompromisingly intimidating conference room were closing in on me. The knots in my stomach got tighter. I had to take a deep, almost vengeful breath to release it.
Then they started shooting questions. Some seemed innocuous enough at the beginning, but fool I was not to realize they had a hidden agenda interwoven within them. The first question, thrown by the senior lady recruiter, was a real bender:
‘What are your hobbies?’ she asked in a mild matter-of-fact manner. Apart from work, my only real hobby in life was romancing my girlfriend, Edwina, but I could hardly mention that to an interviewer. ‘None’ I grinned from ear to ear like a real dope ‘I believe in giving 100% focus to my work’. Later on, while reviewing the mistakes I’d made at the interview, Edwina told me that I should have mentioned something I was fairly interested in, cricket for instance, for not having interests outside of work indicated a lack of growth potential which would be (and was) viewed negatively by the recruiters.
‘What are your strengths?’ Ms. Formidable asked. I had rehearsed for this one and recited the answer like a ready parrot—‘I am a quick learner, a socially sensitive person, a good organizer and these things totally work in my favor’. ‘Fool’ Edwina chided me later, ‘you fool of an ass. It’s not enough if you just enlist qualities. The recruiters would want to know the instances during which you used them. You should have given examples to explain the above!’ Too bad, just when I had thought I had clinched this one, at least.
‘Why do you wish to join our organization?’ Mr. Non-descript asked in not too petrifying a manner ‘Well, Sir’ I simpered like an idiot ‘who wouldn’t want to join Trust Bank?’. ‘Dolt’ Edwina later slapped her forehead with her bony fingers ‘Vicky, that was the most asinine thing one could say. Such an answer was committing career suicide’. ‘Then what should I have said?’ I said without the least bit of ego. I knew Edwina was quite superior to me, intellect and capability-wise, and didn’t mind taking a leaf or two out off her rather prudent notebook. ‘Well’ began Edwina pushing her frameless glasses higher up her nose ‘before you apply for a job, it is basic good manners to have knowledge of the organization you’re interested in. Go through their websites, do thorough research. You should have told the recruiters that the job of a manager in Trust Bank matches your skills and values. That it provides an opportunity to contribute through your skills. That you appreciate the creativity, enthusiasm and the steady growth of the bank. If I were you, I would have lauded the transparency and openness of Trust Bank.
I could currently feel Ms. Formidable appraising me closely. It was clear that she was extremely skeptical about my occupying the position of Senior Manager at Prosperity Bank.
‘Hmm Mr. Pereira…’ she asked clearing her throat ‘Do you see yourself as a team player? Would you be able to lead a group?’
‘From my previous experience, Ma’am, I have found that working in a group is useless. Humans are so full of chaos, squabbles and disharmony; leading a herd of buffaloes would be easier. I’d rather be the proverbial lone wolf’. Edwina’s reaction to this bit of idiocy was the most extreme. She gnashed her rather predatory incisors together and said ‘I’m sorry to say, but your two years experience as a clerk and manager and two as a senior manager has taught you nothing! Such careers thrive on team work. You are meant to work closely with the marketing team and other managers to guide the junior staff! Tell me, did you disburse loans without consultation, advice customers without prior discussion with your colleagues? If you had to define yourself as the ‘proverbial lone wolf’ then you should have been an artist, hermit, drifter, not a goddamn banker!’
I found I couldn’t think of anything by way of defense. I had used the proverbial axe to chop off my own feet.
‘What do you like to read? Have you done any courses, joined any programmes for self development?’ Mr. Non-descript asked. The truth was I read very little. Any little time I had, I used to browse the newspaper headlines. The rest I used to read erotica. I could hardly admit that in front of a recruiter. Instead I said, ‘No. I think reading is overrated and so is this so-called self-development. These are pretentious concepts that have only evolved off late. My father hardly read the newspapers, never as much as touched a magazine, yet managed to provide for us all’. The mild-looking recruiter looked slightly aghast. The ladies exchanged flabbergasted glances. Later, when I mentioned my response to Edwina, she shrieked ‘Vicky, that’s the worst answer anyone could’ve given! Without reading, you’re as good as dead! You could, at least, have told them you read ‘The Financial Times or something!’ ‘But that’s a lie’ I said ‘I don’t read the financial times. The last thing I read was ‘The Many Flames of Rose Red—real steamy romance novel it was’. ‘Really’ Edwina rolled her eyes ‘I don’t know if I have a boyfriend or a girlfriend’. ‘Any doubts?’ I asked flashing my 5 inch cock at her.
‘Describe emergencies in some of your jobs where you had to reschedule your timings?’ Ms. Short Hair’s question brought me back to earth.
‘A rescheduling of timings, no way!’ I blubbered having become quite comfortable by now ‘the bank has an eight hour schedule and I adhere to it’. ‘Oh no, Vicky’ Edwina’s bespectacled eyes were serenely grave now ‘your answer must have given the recruiters the impression that you are not a flexible, committed person. They may have felt that you may not be willing to put in longer hours in case there is an emergency’. ‘That is true enough’ I replied kissing her ruby lips ‘I wouldn’t stretch myself out for a mere job. Any free time, I’d spend with you, my sweet!’. ‘I don’t know whether to be flattered or angry’ said Edwina looking at me despondently.
Presently, the recruiters dismissed me and asked to be seated in the waiting area. The other candidates had left. The waiting area was quite comfortable, albeit a bit over lit. Presently, Ms. Forbidding came strutting towards me. I screwed my eyes up in the bright light in order to read her expression, but failed. I stood up reverentially.
‘Good news or bad?’ I allowed myself to ask.
‘Depends on your ambition quotient’ Ms. Forbidding said ‘but let’s start with introductions: I know your name, but you don’t know mine. I am Sheba Phillips, chief recruiter and general manager of Trust Bank’.
‘Pleased to meet you, Ma’am’ I waited with bated breath wanting to know what fate had in store for me.
‘I am sorry to inform you, Mr. Vicky Pereira that you’ve lost the position of Senior Manager. In fact, going by your rather poor performance at the interview, we ruled you out for the post of manager as well’.
‘The good news?’ I asked, turning my face to a side like a boxer evading a blow.
‘Is that you still get to be with Trust Bank’ Sheba said ‘albeit as a clerk’.
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