Caitlyn Jenner feels comfortable. Caitlyn Jenner has new friends. Caitlyn Jenner simply doesn't have time to think about who she'll date, because she has so many more important things on her mind.
Oh yeah, Caitlyn Jenner also seems to have left an old friend in the dust as she transitions into her new life.
The third episode of "I Am Cait" covers the second half of Jenner's road trip to Northern California, which is anchored by her visit to the Human Rights Campaign's offices in San Francisco and capped by an awkward chat with friend and assistant Ronda Kamihira.
Picking up where we left off last week -- with transition-newbie Jenner getting read about her socioeconomic privilege by other trans women whose own struggles had bigger challenges than avoiding paparazzi.
Blossom Brown, who led last week's charge, details her own struggle to do well in school and get into nursing school. She's been turned down six times now, she says, because she's trans. "People are looking at that, and you need to be looking at my hard work and the dedication that I put into that hard work."
"I've lived a great life," Jenner, 65, says in a separate interview. "And I realize in this transition that I kind of have had privileged status. I've been a white guy, I've worked hard, I've been able to put a few dollars away, so I'm blessed."
Blossom frames her nursing-school journey in terms of Ellen DeGeneres' public coming-out and her sitcom's subsequent cancellation, and how it took a while before she got her successful talk show.
Caitlyn and the gang -- Jenny Boylan, Jen Richards, Candis Cayne and Chandi Moore -- rally back at the fabulous place they've rented wherever, and the former Olympic champion has a brainstorm.
She summons "Cait" executive producer Andrea Metz and tells her to edit together Blossom's HRC chat and give it to her so she can take it to Ellen.
"We're going to get her on the Ellen DeGeneres show," Caitlyn says, choking up and struggling to speak. "I'm going to call Ellen. And she's going to go to nursing school. And we're going to pay for it. And we're not going to tell her until then. I guarantee you, Ellen sees that story, she would have her on. It's a great story."
If you're blessed, why not share the wealth? Ditto if you have Ellen's phone number.
Back in the real world, Ronda the assistant is freaking out. Ronda, who'd been invited on the road trip to have fun. Ronda who'd been booted out of her chosen room at the first vacation house and sent by Caitlyn down a dark path to a guesthouse instead.
Seems the villa in Sonoma has fallen through, and the job of magically locating a new one has fallen to Ronda.
"I'm supposed to find a villa, in a day. It took me weeks," she says. Caitlyn is "telling me that I'm supposed to come here and have fun and relax, and I'm not relaxing. I'm actually more stressed out."
Makeup artist Courtney thinks Caitlyn has no idea about how Ronda feels, and urges Ronda to talk to her boss. Er, friend. Boss-friend.
"We were best friends. I took her to hospitals in the middle of the night, I nursed her back to health, I did everything for her," Ronda tells Courtney. "Now she's got all these new friends and she's acting like, 'Oh, see ya later.' ... She doesn't see it." At this point, Ronda is weeping, but she doesn't think she's crazy anymore.
So -- time for Caitlyn to fret about her voice some more and covet Candis' pitch (Cayne says she was born that way). Speaking in a separate interview, Candis makes the point that transitioning doesn't mean giving up everything about your former self. "Your voice is powerful. It's who you are. It's your identity. You were this other person, and you're allowed to be both. You're allowed to start from one place and end in the other and not completely erase who you are, and your voice has a lot to do with who that is."
Roller-skating -- of course roller-skating, with disco lights and everything -- flows organically into the storyline at this point, as motocross will do later. A ponytailed Caitlyn holds Blossom's hand and guides her on skates for the first time as the Mississippi native shares more stories about her life and aspirations.
"I really can't imagine what Blossom has gone through. ... The educational system in the United States needs to realize that these are just normal people," Caitlyn opines in an interview conducted separately.
Of course, the last-minute villa is fabulous. "Good job. You're back in our good graces," Caitlyn teases Ronda as the latter points out that she pulled a villa out of a hat.
Armed with more wine, Caitlyn is enjoying feeling comfortable outside of her own home. It's scary, she says. She's so comfortable, she doesn't want to go back home. She likes hanging out with all these trans women, and what awaits five weeks later at home are the ESPY Awards. "It's gonna be tough," she says, because her whole family will be there. "I want 'em to be proud of their daddy."
Did we mention the villa has a swimming pool? It does, because this is reality TV. And Caitlyn is getting up the courage to go out in a swimsuit, something she couldn't pull off in Episode 2. She chooses between a white one-piece and a black one, with the latter being one she says Kim Kardashian might wear. "Probably a bit more revealing in the cleavage department."
Despite having "something to work with" in the cleavage department, Caitlyn goes with white. She wears lacy cover-up pants. She takes them off and steps into the pool, making sure not to get her hair or makeup wet because they have to shoot something else later. The camera gives us almost a shot of what most people were trying to look at without at without getting prurient bout it.
Swimsuit accomplished! Remember, this was an impossible hurdle for her in last week's episode.
"In the water, it was nerve-wracking ... yes, it felt very freeing," she says. "And I did see my reflection in the glass door. Looked pretty good."
Caitlyn is far more comfortable taking the gang to a women's-only motocross place, where they don leathers and helmets and fire up the dirt bikes. "Let's screw this up," she declares after Zackary Drucker talks about how trans women "tend to really conform to traditional ideas of femininity."
Turns out Ronda hurt her hand at the roller rink and isn't sure about this dirt-bike thing, but Caitlyn doesn't much care. As long as Ronda can grip, she can ride, Caitlyn says. Get on the dang bike, Ronda, because we have a dinner party to get to after this.
And what better to discuss over the dinner table -- and more wine -- than dating.
Caitlyn has little or nothing to contribute to a discussion about dating as a trans woman, because she says she has "bigger things than an orgasm to worry about." She gets dodgy on the question of whether she might be attracted to men, because she's only been with women.
"The whole dance between a male and a female, you would feel so much more feminine if you were with a guy ... who treats you that way, OK? I can appreciate the male form. It ... doesn't mean that I would go that -- I don't know unless I got there. For me, if that was the case as far as a male-female relationship, I would want to have the right parts," Caitlyn says.
You mean, the parts that you feel comfortable with, someone offers up.
"Yeah, and he feels comfortable with. But -- I don't know where it's all going."
Jenny Boylan, however, seems to have figured out that the friendship between Ronda and Caitlyn is going down the tubes.
"I didn't know your background," Jenny says, following Ronda outside. "I didn't know you were friends."
"We're best friends," Ronda explains. They would go to the movies twice a week, go to dinner, hang out at her house. "I miss my friendship with her and I feel like everyone else is kind of trumping me."
Whoomp, there is it.
But Jenny can explain: "Right now she is a woman walking in sunshine for the first time. She's not going to forget who her friends are. It's not the place she's going to stay."
You see, Jenny says, Caitlyn's currently like a bride-to-be whose happiness and self-focus turn her into a bridezilla. She's just going through a trans-zilla phase, Jenny says.
"Now I feel like I'm not crazy," Ronda says. Not that that means Caitlyn isn't treating her like crap, of course.
At a wine tasting that appears to be happening the next day, the true-confessions stories continue, with everyone tearing up over Candis' stories of a high school drama teacher who helped all the kids who couldn't fit in -- "I was one of them," she says -- find a place.
Caitlyn is so moved, and apparently so buzzed, that she appreciates everything that everyone has said during the entire road trip.
"I so appreciate all your input," she says, glass in hand, tears in eyes. "It just has been great, and the damn wine got to me." The woman from the winery had a trans dad, she reveals, and more tears flow as she says she now understands better what he was going to on the way to living as a woman. Group hug, girls!
Over dinner -- the last supper? -- the happy high school stories yield to sad ones until Caitlyn declares a moratorium on the dark stuff. "All we have now is happy stories," she says.
But leave it to Jenny Boylan to bring Caitlyn back to earth, even as the reality star is fretting over dirt that got on her good boots at the motocross place.
"Right now you're in this thing that we call the Pink Cloud," the professor says, " which is this place of euphoria and happiness ... and that's good, but it also means you can be a little bit blind to things other than yourself."
Like, oh, the best friend that she's turned into an underling?
"The conversation that I had with Ronda last night made me feel funny," Jenny says. "I'm just afraid that you're in the middle of this whirlwind and you're forgetting some of the people that you love. You've got to find a way of getting, as soon as you can, outside of yourself."
Cut to Caitlyn declaring that the trans women must get back together again to climb Mt. Everest, which suggests that perhaps Jenny's message didn't quite get through. "We'll be the first trans girls to the top of Everest!," she says. Sounds like Ronda gets to stay around base camp and maybe brew some coffee?
Things can get a little weird in the real world, it seems, when a person has been living largely in her mind for the last 65 years, only to burst out into a room full of supportive women where she can have fun and learn about the trans community.
"No matter how far along you are in one life, you have the power to change it, yourself, with strength and courage," Candis says.
At this point, it appears at least one thing has sunk in.
"I have realized my voice is like the last thing to worry about," Caitlyn says. "It's not about the words that come out, it's about the importance of those words. It's not the pitch."
And maybe another thing still hasn't?
"I've been working for you ... for two years, and we've been friends for that amount of time," Ronda tells Caitlyn after the guests are gone. "Well, me and Caitlyn, and longer, but now it's just this roller coaster.
"I feel like I don't even exist anymore other than, like, 'Where's my Starbucks?'"
Caitlyn admits they've been so busy, and that when that happens, she goes a little crazy. She missed out on some things in life. "If I seem a little cold, insensitive, I apologize."
Let's go to a movie right now, Caitlyn says, and she and Ronda head toward the door. Caitlyn makes sure Ronda has her phone so she can do that ordering thing before they get to the theater. And Ronda tells Caitlyn she loves her.
Caitlyn does not return the favor.