Hayley, delighted with her dress purchase. Roy saying “I find it hard to see you in it.” The hurt you feel when you’re all excited by something and someone you love throws cold water on it. Hayley was already angry with Roy, and hurt, for his totally ham-handed proposal of marriage. Then, to perk herself up, she decides to splurge on a fancy red dress, a dress that is totally unlike her.
Yes, Roy is right. But that’s not the point. I’d go even further and say the dress looks absolutely hideous on her. At least Roy didn’t say that. Of course, he didn’t get the chance to see it on her. Thank goodness: he might well have said it.
So in this little scene, Hayley is mad about Roy’s reaction to the dress and, by extension, to his perception of her as a woman. Women’s feelings about their partners’ opinion of their looks can be a minefield at the best of times. But, of course in Hayley’s case, she also has the legacy of her previous life as Harold to influence her feelings of self-worth.
Usually Roy is very sensitive to her, both as Hayley the woman and as Hayley a transgendered person. When they originally married, their marriage could only be a civil union, ‘blessing’ type of ceremony. Now that they can marry in the eyes of the law, he wants to do that. But he’s thinking only of it as a legal validation of what they already did. Hayley wants to wear a fancy dress and have a party.
So this dress, her flashy salsa number, stands in for the wedding dress hopes in their fight in the café. I don’t think Roy is thinking about Harold or whether the red dress would look good on Hayley or not. I think he’s only thinking it’s not the sort of thing he’s ever seen her wear.
I hate seeing them fight. I hate seeing her frustrated by Roy’s problems with speaking of his feelings. I hate seeing him frustrated by not being able to tell her how he feels, or at least tell her he doesn’t understand why she’s so upset. They are such a lovely pair that truly complete each other and make a sum greater than the parts.
Hayley leaning on Anna for emotional and practical support is nice to see. And it’s funny, watching the private eye rolls as either of them talk about their husbands. When Anna says “just like me and my Eddie” you can see Hayley give a ‘yeah, whatever’ kind of look. Eddie has had a few good moments since the crisis started. The best was when Hayley arrived, suitcase in hand, at the Windasses. While Anna consoled Hayley, saying “you two are meant to be together”, Eddie muttered “like no one else would want either of ye.” Nasty? Yes. Pot and kettle? Yes again. But funny? Oh yes.