31 December 2010

Yay.

Happy new year. Well, it's almost here. :)

I think that I'm slightly in shock. I didn't expect to achieve my goal, but I did it. I got out shopping today, meaning that I averaged an outing every 5 days for the year 2010.

There's a lot more that I intended to say today, but time is against me, I'm expected elsewhere this evening (by some of my wife's relatives, in boy mode) so I have to go and turn back into a frog now. Hopefully I'll do an introspective year in review and plan for the one ahead tomorrow.

30 December 2010

So close

As we get close to the end of the year, a couple of other things have also been close.

Yesterday, I got out for the 72nd time this year and unless I'm mistaken, I think that I came close to bumping into my father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law (and possibly her husband) and nephew while out shopping. I was walking along in Charlestown Square when an older guy pushing a pram looked over his shoulder and looked straight past me. I only glanced at him for the briefest moment, but I'm pretty certain it was my father-in-law. Given the direction that he was looking, it probably means that the rest of them were in a store behind me. I changed direction slightly and continued to a different part of the centre.

Given that they all know about me but don't talk about it, I thought it best to avoid creating a scene. I have no idea how any of them would behave towards me in that situation.

I only need one more to make my target of 73 outings and hence an average of once every 5 days over the whole year. That 73rd outing was going to be today. I asked my wife a few days ago if she had anything planned for this week and she said no, so I planned to change my nail colour from the green and red Christmas colours to something different, then go out to the cafe night Tuesday night, then shopping Wednesday and Thursday.

I had all of my nail polishes out on Monday, trying to find a suitable colour to go with some of my pink outfits. When my wife saw them all out, she got hers out as well, and I found a very suitable slightly purplish pink, which I applied on Tuesday afternoon. Sadly, it didn't harden properly so after getting home on Tuesday night, I re-did my nails with the same colour before going to bed. Again it didn't harden and the nails were a mess. My wife then informed me that she was given that nail polish in about 1988!

While I was out Wednesday, I bought a few new polishes including a similar shade, but I later decided to go with an entirely different colour for a few days, so I'm now sporting a Revlon beige colour called Putty. The 1988 polish will probably go in the bin today whether my wife approves or not!

When I mentioned last night that I intended to go out again today, my wife informed me that she was intending to go to a Zumba class today, meaning that I had to either have our son with me, or stay home with him. Given that I don't want to force him to go out with me, and that I will be expected to go out shopping with the family tonight in boy mode, it left me with too little time between her class and this evening to go out and do the errands that I wanted to do. instead, I took my beige nails out today and did some boy errands, making sure that I was back before my wife left for her class. Nobody appeared to notice the colour of my nails, but that was part of the reason for choosing the colour. It's a bit more subtle than the dark brown that I considered wearing in boy mode recently.

I also made a phone call to confirm that a Bella Bodies body shaper that I want to buy (to replace a worn out one the same) is in stock at a shop about half an hour's drive away. The lady confirmed that they have them, and when I asked about the price she also informed me that they are on special until the end of tomorrow. It looks like I'll be going out en femme tomorrow instead of today, which means I might make my goal after all.

If I was out crossdressed past midnight tomorrow night, would that count as an outing for next year as well? :p

PS don't ask me why I had my hand spread across my belly in the above photo. I don't know, and think that it looks silly but the photo shows a top that I hadn't worn before, which emphasises my relatively slim waist and I didn't get a photo without my hand there so I'm stuck with it.

PPS yes, I'm now making it a habit to watermark photos used on my blog and in forums because some have been used without permission.

27 December 2010

A little problem

I have a little problem.

I've now spent 2 days in boy mode with my nails painted alternating bright green and bright red. Very Christmas colours, but on nails that are clearly too long and shaped for a guy. I've only been around people who I know - my wife's relatives one day, friends the other.

The problem? I've had a taste of having brightly coloured nails for a couple of days and don't want to go back to the drab pale pseudo-natural finger nail colour that I usually wear.

Yesterday, I considered that we will again see some of my wife's relatives on Monday night and I wondered about leaving my nails as they are until Tuesday. Then I considered taking the colours off and reversing them to see if anybody commented. :)

Last night, I even started looking at tops or dresses that would go with these nail colours so that I could leave them as they are and go out during the day on Monday and again for the Tuesday evening cafe outing. I found a couple of tops that didn't really match both colours but could work okay during the day. The only evening outfit I found was the one that I wore last Tuesday and a fortnight earlier, which I don't intend to wear again this week!

The most likely outcome is that I'll stay home during the day today, visit relatives tonight, change polish to something chosen to complement whatever I decide to wear tomorrow night, then have to try to convince myself to revert to a drab colour before we go shopping on Thursday night. I can see myself looking for a drab-ish but slightly brighter colour to replace the present drab colour...

Unfortunately, the likelihood of making my target number of outings for the year is looking less and less likely, as I'd have to get out at least 3 times between now and Friday and I'm not sure that I'm really up to that. Tuesday night is virtually a certainty but the rest of the week is quite uncertain. Part of my problem is that I don't actually have any specific places that I want to go to or things that I want to do, except that I want to do it wearing bright nail polish! :)

26 December 2010

I like your nails. Very colourful

As I mentioned yesterday, I wasn't sure what sort of reception I'd get with my nails painted red and green. Even yesterday morning after my blog post, I was still considering taking the colour off and going back to neutral because I looked at them in the bathroom mirror and was worried that the colours really draw attention to how long they are.

I wandered around to hand out Christmas cards to my neighbours before driving to the inlaws' place, and the first couple pretended not to notice, the second couple chatted about them because they already knew from facebook, and the third said nothing but already knew because they'd seen them on Christmas eve.

I then drove the family to the inlaws' place, where only one person said anything. Interestingly, it was the person who made a rather strong unapproving remark some time ago. On this occasion, the comment was "I like your nails. Very colourful." I responded with a comment about them being Christmas colours and left it at that. My 2 year old nephew was quite entertained by them, particularly when I waved my fingers around.

In the evening, we went to a larger gathering of my wife's relatives, which included all of those who we had been with at lunch plus several more (including the cousin that I almost bumped into while out shopping at Easter last year), and none of them said anything at all.

Today is boxing day. I haven't taken the nail polish off yet, and am considering visiting a couple of friends today, as I did on boxing day 2008.

25 December 2010

Christmas nails

Merry Christmas. :)

I'm planning on doing something today that I wimped out on last year. I've done my nails in alternating green and red, in colours approximating the traditional Holly leaf and berry colours, and I plan on going to my inlaws place for lunch, then to a larger gathering of more inlaws in the evening, in boy mode, with my nails like this.

I have approval from both my wife and son to do this, although my son preferred a lighter shade of green. I applied the red to one middle finger nail and the 2 greens to the nails either side of it and wore them like that for several hours yesterday while trying to choose which green to go with. When I put them against the shirts that I have to choose from, there was no contest as the lighter green simply didn't work with any of them.

If I survive the day, I plan to post a follow up tomorrow. :)

24 December 2010

That's me

After Wednesday evening's outing to Charlestown Square, I noticed that I'd torn the edge of one of my nails over the nail bed, up past an acrylic patch that was done last week. When I removed the nail polish that I'd worn since Tuesday afternoon, I realised that I had tears on the edges of 3 nails, not just one. All were on nails that had been patched in the past 2 weeks, and when I went to use my nail glue on them, I discovered that the bottle was stuck shut.

Fortunately, I managed to make it to Thursday morning without making any of them any worse. I realised that my son had received some money with Christmas cards at my family get-together on Sunday, so I took his building society book with me when I went into town. I went to the salon first to see if I could get an appointment later in the day, and one of the women there had time to do full overlays on those 3 nails straight away. While there, I chatted with a couple of older women who were getting their nails and hair done. I got my internet tablet out and loaded the photo from Wednesday ready to show the woman next to me, just as she got up from the nails area and went back to the hairdresser's room.

When they were done, I left the salon feeling quite self conscious of my nails. They were all either bare or clear coated, the 2 extended nails were visibly different to the rest, and the lengths varied from 8mm to 10mm past the nail bed.

I walked into the building society branch, and one of the regular tellers was free. I got out my son's book and decided to add some more cash to the deposit. While I was getting the money out, the teller complimented me on my nails and asked how I managed to keep them looking so good. I replied "I make a lot of effort", then, remembering that I'd left the photo on the screen of my internet tablet, I pulled it out and showed it to her, saying "That's me." She smiled. I scrolled through a few previous photos. I think that she said something like "You'd never guess." We had a brief conversation about it. Some of the usual questions. Yes, I'm married and my wife knows and is fine with it, etc. I also asked something that I've been wondering for years, whether I could get a Visa debit card connected to my existing account, with a different name on it. The answer, sadly, was that years ago, I could have, but the recent APRA (Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority) regulatory changes have probably made it impossible.

Knowing what places like the building society branch are like, I expect that all of the staff will know fairly soon. I might soon be able to start doing my banking while I'm out en femme. :)

23 December 2010

Recognition? Probably not - part 2

I went out again yesterday. I had a full loyalty rewards card from Salvos op shops, which would have expired at the end of the year, so my first 2 stops were Salvos stores. After using up the card at the second one, I went to a lingerie shop that used to carry Bella Bodies body shapers because the current one is about due for replacement. They don't carry the brand any more, and only had a few leftovers that didn't include what I was after. :( After that, I dropped into my local Lifeline op shop then did some shopping at the local Woolies.

When I got home, I just couldn't convince myself to change. In the evening, I decided to go out to Charlestown Square to see if I could find a replacement body shaper. I tried all the places that I could think of and drew a blank at all of them, but had a bit of a look at costume jewellery while I was there. While wandering along between stores, I had an almost heart stopping moment when I realised that a work customer and her late teen or early 20s daughter were walking directly towards me, just a few metres away. There was no way that I could turn around without drawing their attention, so I just looked past them and kept waking. Unlike my wife's cousin last year, there was no double take. No hint of recognition. I didn't look back to see if they looked back at me, but from what I saw in my peripheral vision, they didn't pay any attention to me.

The funny part is that I stopped and chatted to this customer for about half an hour in the same shopping centre while in boy mode less than a week ago, and her daughter was present at the time.

It took a little while for the adrenaline rush to wear off. I considered doing a few laps of the centre to see if could find them again, but thought better of it and left. :)

19 December 2010

Recognition? Probably not

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a family get together today. This was something that I had been anticipating for a few weeks, as it was the first time that I'd seen my sister-in-law since I went en femme to the op shop that her mother (I'll call her E for convenience) volunteers at.

Given that nothing was said by my sister-in-law about E recognising me at the shop, it's almost certain that E has said nothing to her about it. There's still a remote chance that E recognised me but chose not to say anything, but I don't really think that that is her style.

For now, I'm thinking that it's probably more likely that she didn't recognise me than that she did. A lack of comment doesn't prove anything either way, but certainly shifts the odds towards probably not. :)

18 December 2010

Do you think anybody would notice?

Last night, I did my nails in a nice dark brown colour in anticipation of going out en femme today. Then I ended up getting to bed so late that I got up too late for that to happen. There simply wasn't enough time between when I got up and when I'd be expected to go out for dinner with the family in boy mode to dress (including makeup, etc), go out for a while, then change, including removing makeup and showering.

So there I was, in my pyjamas, looking at my nails wishing that I could just leave them as they were and go out in boy mode. Nope, not going to happen with such a strong, obvious colour on such long nails.

I jokingly asked my wife and son if they thought that anybody would notice. Both were quite positive that people would indeed notice, so I reluctantly removed it and re-did my nails in the frankenised neutral colour that I usually use during the day.

With a family get-together tomorrow, that means no en femme outing today or tomorrow. I've also still got a backlog of work related paperwork to be done before I can really start my holidays. I can see myself falling even shorter of my goal than I had previously anticipated. :(

17 December 2010

A basket case

Today, I decided to drop into the salon that I went to last week, to see if I could get splitting and cracking on the edges of another 2 nails patched up. This time around, the owner of the salon greeted me by name. She was just finishing with another client and was able do it for me straight away. By getting the edges repaired as soon as possible, I hope to be able to avoid damaging any of my other nails while I grow out the nails that have acrylic and gel on them. Even bare, the ones that have an acrylic repair on an edge are hard to pick from the ones that are completely natural.

Having finished there, I wandered around the nearby op shops. One was having a 50% off sale, and had a cane basket outside the front door for $3. It has a little damage here and there but overall it looks okay. I immediately thought of my need to make or buy a travel case for carrying a wig on a stand, foam padding etc. and decided that for the price, the basket would be worth the gamble on whether I could make it do the job or not.

I had a closer look and I measured the basket after I got home. I found that the basket has a sturdy timber frame with metal hinges on the lid, and that it is 320mm square at the top and 580mm high inside. Considering that I was generously estimating that I needed about 300mm round by 600 high, it's pretty close. I'm not sure when I'll next be travelling that I might need or be able to use this case, as I'm already committed to staying home to work next time my wife and son go away, but I'll be looking at how to modify it to do the job very shortly, so that it is ready when I am. :)

12 December 2010

A little down

After noting that I was going to fall short of my target for how often I get out over the year, I realised that I might still be able to make that target if I was able to get out once a week in addition to the planned cafe nights. I got out last Saturday, and even took this photo with the Newcastle landmark Nobbys in the background. It was also the day that I realised that I really need to make an effort to find my female voice again.

Logically, it would follow that I should have gone out again this weekend to have a chance of making my target. Sadly, it was not to be.

I went out to a Christmas party in boy mode last night, and ate too much. Since the one night where I was down to 72.5kg a few weeks ago, my weight has been steadfastly remaining at 73kg. It was the most stable that my weight has been in years. Instead of floating across a range of about 1kg from day to day, it was the the same day after day until last night, when it jumped to 74.5kg. I expect that it will be back down close to 73kg again by tonight, but I'm disappointed that I still don't have the self control to avoid overeating like that.

I also planned to change my nail polish last night before I went to bed so that the polish had time to harden rather than applying it in the morning and having it messed up before I got out the door. After getting home from the party late, I should have had a shower then removed the old polish before I sat down in front of the computer, and applied the new stuff while I was sitting there, but I didn't.

As usual, I lost track of time and didn't get to bed until about 2am and then didn't get up until 10am. I was resigned to leaving my nails in the neutral colour that they are, but planned to dress and go out this afternoon. Then I tried to decide what I would do and where I would go. In spite of having vague ideas about going to Morisset Mega Markets or possibly wandering around some suburban shopping centres, I simply didn't have a definite plan and so many places are closed on a Sunday that I sat down in front of the computer for a while. An hour later, I still didn't have any real idea where I would go and realised that with the time having got away from me, I didn't really feel like pushing myself to go out. It is, after all, supposed to be an enjoyable experience. There's no point in pushing myself to do something that I don't feel like doing.

Around about then, I was playing with the Friend Finder on Facebook and one of my wife's relatives who had been one of my friends came up. In other words, he has made a conscious decision to remove me as a friend. I think that it was inevitable, as he has never commented on anything that I've put on my wall or interacted with me. Removing me as a friend gets all my stuff off his news feed, which fits with knowing about me but choosing to say nothing. I guess he doesn't want my photos and blog posts being stuck under his nose.

On the upside, the decision not to go out today gives me a chance to concentrate on paperwork that has to be done for work. Some really needs to be done today and some needs to be done within the next week to hopefully clear the backlog before I start holidays. If I don't get it done, I'll have it hanging over me while I'm on holidays over Christmas, which will either lead me to doing it during my holidays or leave me stressing about it not being done. I should also try to mow the grass today, as it has been left unmown for too long. I guess today is turning into an opportunity to remove obstacles to getting out later in the month. Making my target looks unlikely but it's not impossible yet.

09 December 2010

From bored to happy in seconds

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had repaired a nail by gluing it back together. I'm happy to say that the repair held long enough for the nail to grow so that the tear was past the end of the nail bed before falling apart so badly that I had to trim and file it back. That left me with 8 nails that were fairly long, one with about half the overhang past the nail bed of the others and one that was right back at the end of the nail bed.

Of course, I didn't want to cut any of the long ones back, and the most obvious solution was to get acrylic nails done just on the 2 that were short.

With that in mind, I wandered into a local salon in boy workday mode yesterday afternoon and asked about getting a couple of nails done, and a couple of damaged spots on others fixed. It took a little convincing for the rather bored teenage daughter at the front of the salon to go and check with her mother on whether it would be possible for me to get them done. The mother came out and informed me that she was busy and running a little late but if I wanted to come back at 4:45, she could do them then.

At the appointed time, I walked back into the salon and sat down in the waiting area. The daughter still looked quite bored and entirely disinterested in talking to me. Within a couple of minutes, the woman finished with her previous customer and was ready for me. As I sat down at the table with all of the nail gear on it, she asked me why I wanted my nails done. Was I a musician? I said "No, I'm a crossdresser" then took out my internet tablet and showed her a few recent photos, starting with this photo from the previous night's cafe outing.

It's amazing how positive some people can be towards crossdressers. The daughter's attitude in particular changed very rapidly, from bored to interested and happy. Both were obviously surprised that I was so open about it. A asked the woman if she would have guessed from the pierced ears, long hair etc. and she shook her head and said no, she wouldn't have guessed. The conversation then went onto some of the usual questions like when did I start crossdressing, how did my wife feel about it, and when I mentioned that I have a son, how did he handle it. Part way through, the mother had to go and do a spray tan on someone else, and while she was away, the daughter told me about a couple of her gay friends at school who are struggling with their non-accepting parents.

The conversation covered a remarkable range of topics, from whether I used a different voice when in girl mode (to which I responded that I used to and need to practice, and told the story that I wrote about a few days ago) to whether I had trouble walking in heels (I explained that I often wear 12cm heels and have no trouble walking in them).

While she was doing my nails, the woman asked if I normally wore colour, as the acrylic nails are more white than my natural nails (which are showing some staining from previous nail polish). I haven't been using colour much lately but after I got home, I cleaned off the old clear coat and I've now put a couple of coats of the light opaque nail polish that I mixed up some time ago onto my nails. It's pale, a little bit too pearl and a little bit too reflective, but it's translucent enough to be able to see through the tips of the nails and makes the colour difference between the nails less obvious. It'll just have to do. :)

05 December 2010

Voice

I really need to work on my female voice.

Somewhere along the line, I've overcome my phobia of using lifts (elevators) en femme, but using one yesterday led to the realisation that my voice is quite a problem. I use the lifts in the new section of Charlestown Square fairly often and know what the various levels are called. On the way up into the centre from the car-park, a couple of women entered the lift on level 1 on the way up to level 2. They looked at the buttons and looked confused. The levels from bottom to top are P1 (P for parking), P2, P3, 1 and 2. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that there are 3 levels inside the centre, but the bottom one is called G (ground floor) and doesn't extend to where these lifts are. I think that the women were expecting to go from level 2 to level 3.

To help them out, I explained that they had entered on level 1 and were going up to level 2. There was a clear "oh right" reaction, closely followed by a double take at the incongruity between my appearance and my voice. I'm guessing that I had passed on appearance but my voice just didn't fit with my appearance.

I have previously spent time working on my female voice with some success, but tended to find that I was overly self conscious about practising it around the house and would only whisper when anybody else was home, so I've never really been confident in using it in public. I didn't have a convenient way of recording myself before, but have recently discovered a sound recording program for my internet tablet, and it works quite well. While I'll try to start practising this month, I think that it is going to be another goal for next year. I want to develop a voice that is consistent with my female appearance.

03 December 2010

Falling short

I could blame my work. I could blame other people around me. I could even blame the phases of the moon but the truth is that there is only one person to blame for the fact that I'm unlikely to make my target of averaging one outing every 5 days over the whole year. Me.

I just keep doing self destructive things all of the time. As I type this, I'm lying in bed with a migraine after midday on a Friday that I took off work because I had planned to go out. The headache started on Wednesday night, on the rather late drive home from the Central Coast cafe night and has steadily worsened as I've continued to do stupid things like sitting in my office until after midnight trying to do paperwork but getting little or nothing done. Of course what I should have done was to was to go to bed early to try to relieve the headache and be more productive later, but I didn't. It seems that my hindsight is far better than my foresight.

I'm still going to try to get out a few times this month. I only got out 7 times in November, and I've been out once so far this month, which means that I need 8 more outings (including 4 planned cafe nights) this month. With the headaches and increasing backlog of work, I'm pretty much resigned to falling short of my target.

I've been considering my target for next year. I'd love to aim for once every 4 days but I doubt that there's any real chance of getting out that often. The reality is that the reason why I'm falling short this year is that I had several months in the middle of the year where I fell short each month, and it's those missed outings that I'm trying to catch up at year's end. My target for next year, then, is to not only average better than once every 5 days, but also to have a minimum of 6 outings including at least one daytime outing every month.

This year, I've prioritised cafe nights over other non-crossdressing events. I may not be able to do that next year. If I have to miss a cafe night, I'm going to aim to make up for it with another outing the same month.

30 November 2010

A weight loss milestone

When I stepped onto the scales last night, I was pleased to find that I was down to 72.5kg (my scales work in 0.5kg steps). This is something of a milestone for me.

Last time I made an effort to lose weight was a couple of years ago. I got down to 73kg a few times in 2008 but no lower.

I realise that this is going to sound odd but a few months ago I found an old spreadsheet that I'd started years ago, where I had started to chart my weight from the rare occasions where I had written it in diaries over the years. Over a few weeks, I updated the spreadsheet using newer diaries, giving me a record of my weights all the way from 1990 to now (with some very long gaps). I've varied all the way from a high of 92.5kg in 1994 to a low of 68.5kg in 2006.

Looking at this graph makes me far more aware of my weight variation over the years, and is how I realised that getting below 73kg was a milestone. The last time my weight was below 73kg was in late 2006. The next milestone for me will be getting below 71kg. The last time I was below that was in mid 2006. The really big milestone will be getting below 68.5kg, as that will make me the lightest I've been in my whole adult life.

It's amazing how much a graph on the computer has focussed my attention on my weight. I'd never before realised how much my weight fluctuated, and I'm now far more conscious of it. Hopefully it'll help me to keep focus and get my weight to where I want it, and keep it there!

29 November 2010

Affirmation

After the negativity that I experienced on Saturday morning, I was surprised to realise that I was quite happy by the end of the weekend. I received a great deal of support on facebook and on the forums where the negativity occurred, not only from friends but also from some people who I barely know but who look like becoming genuine friends. The number of affirmations of my character, my parenting and my right to be who I am has been overwhelming. To all of those who supported me, whether you commented or not, I sincerely thank you.

I made a comment on Saturday that I've come to realise isn't really true. I said that I wasn't hurt by the comments aimed at me. I think that for more than a day, I was telling myself that I wasn't hurt by it, but I eventually realised that I was. Hurt not so much personally but by the fact that people can be so spiteful, hurtful and negative towards someone that they don't even know, on the basis of a personal or institutional bias.

By the time that I realised that I was hurt by what had been written, I had already been overwhelmed by the positive comments from so many people that I realised that, in the whole situation, I have come out ahead. I have had considerable support from a number of people far outweighs the negativity of one twisted person. I have gained friends for being honest and I have a few more people following my blog including at least one who had never heard about crossdressing from the crossdresser's point of view before. I'm happy to know that I am educating people about transgender issues, and hopefully increasing the level of acceptance within the community.

28 November 2010

Dealing with hate

[name], I forgive you for your thoroughly unchristian comments and pity you for the abuse that you have suffered to have had such a hurtful and hateful attitude ingrained into your very being.

I will pray for you, that you might come to know the love and compassion of Jesus Christ our saviour.

It's not the sort of thing that most people would usually expect from me, but it's what I wrote in a forum on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and was considering getting dressed en femme and going out shopping. While still lying in bed, I turned on my internet tablet, had a quick look at facebook, then opened blogger. There was a comment awaiting moderation, so I opened and read it.

The comment was posted anonymously in response to my post Out and about with my son, and basically said "Why don't you stop doing that and just be a normal man" (the answer is, of course, that that just isn't who I am. It would be on par with telling a female executive that she should be uneducated, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen), indicated that in the poster's opinion, crossdressing equals homosexual (a change from the assumption that all crossdressers are transsexuals, I suppose, but just as wrong), and that they considered me to be a bad parent because my son is exposed to my crossdressing (a loving parent, in a stable marriage, who works to provide for that family is a bad parent? Compared to what?). In my not-entirely-awake state, I thought churchianity idiot (or similar) and deleted the comment. In hindsight, I wish that I'd kept the comment so that I could have published it, to show just how misguided the author is.

I then went on to have a look at the forums on a web site that I frequent. I was shocked to find a post in there, in a thread about blogs, that was written in a style very similar to the blog comment, saying similar things. In part, the poster said that I was "sick and should be stopped." Except that this time, it wasn't anonymous because the site doesn't allow anonymous posting. I didn't immediately know how to react.

Sadly, combined with my usual lack of sleep, this rudeness threw me off balance enough that I abandoned my plan to dress and go out.

By the time I went back to the forum to post a response, a few other forum members had responded, variously defending me and/or criticising the other poster. I asked myself the question "what would Christ do?", then posted the above comment.

I believe that the best response to bigotry and hatred is forgiveness and pity. Preferably delivered with a smile. It's not worth dragging yourself down to their level, and if nothing else, it'll confuse the hell out of them. :)

25 November 2010

Wednesday op shopping

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was tempted to go out shopping on a Wednesday to the op shop where my sister-in-law's mother (I'll call her E for convenience) volunteers. Well, yesterday was the day.

Before I left home, I realised that I was nervous. Really nervous, like I used to get every time I went out. Nervous to the point that I was a little shaky. I was assuming that I was nervous about how she might react to me, but the nerves settled down almost as soon as I turned out of my driveway and drove off down the road. If that sounds odd, it's not, really. I work from home, and often get people showing up without appointments wanting to talk to me. I think that what I was nervous about was probably far more to do with being seen leaving home than what would happen while out shopping.

I drove straight to the suburb in question, parked in a convenient carpark and walked straight into the nearest op shop, where E was behind the counter, which was located about half way back through the shop. She was chatting with another volunteer who was putting clothes onto racks near the counter. I browsed along the dress racks at the front of the shop, finding nothing of interest. I did a couple of laps of the front half of the shop looking for skirts, then realised that they were just past the counter, towards the back of the shop. I found 2 skirts that I was interested in, turned to E and indicated that I wanted to try them on.

Some op shops insist that you show the staff before trying clothes on, so I make a habit of doing it in most of them unless I'm sure that I'm not expected to ask. She pointed me to the dressing room and said something along the lines of "Yes, try them on." Sadly, they were too low waisted for me, so I put them back on the rack and paused to look at something near the counter. The lady putting clothes out made a comment about hating getting old, and I turned around and looked at her, smiled and said "It's better than the alternative." I looked at E and smiled at her as she agreed with what I'd said, then casually wandered out of the shop and down the street to the next op shop.

So the big question I'm asking myself is did she recognise me? There was no indication that she did, and the colour of the wig that I was wearing is the closest that I have to my own hair colour, so probably the most likely to be recognisable. To some extent, her lack of reaction makes me think that she didn't recognise me, but then I think that I look so similar that she must have recognised me but not known how to react. For now, I think that I'll just assume the latter and wait and see if there is any feedback through the family. If she says something to my sister-in-law, I'm pretty certain that I'll know about it fairy quickly, whether it's good or bad!

22 November 2010

Repairing torn nails

I had read a thread on Beauty Heaven some months ago on how to repair torn nails. It's something that I've tried before without much success. That was, up until yesterday when I repaired a nail that was torn over half way across.

I have recently had small tears on the sides of 2 nails, and had used nail glue on both of them. The glue would set in the narrow gap of the tear and I'd file the roughness off the top, but the glue wouldn't hold and I redid them over and over for a couple of weeks. The nails each ended up with a groove across the top of the tear and the glue wouldn't dry there. It only seems to dry in between things. The glue also wouldn't go to the very edge of the nail, meaning that there was always a bit sticking out to snag on things. Yesterday afternoon, one of those nails snagged and tore.

After thinking about the suggestions in the Beauty Heaven thread, I applied glue in the tear and over the top of the groove, then put a piece of tissue across the top of the glue and pushed it in with an orange stick. The glue saturated the tissue and then dried and hardened. Yay. :)

I trimmed and buffed the edges of the paper away, then repeated with another piece of paper that I had cut to follow the edge of the nail. With a little bit of experimentation, I've managed to repair the nails right to the edge, so that there is nothing to snag, and filled in the grooves.

Hopefully I'll have some time to shape and paint my nails soon, and I'll see if the repairs are visible. I'll have to wait and see if they tear through the repairs.

In the above photo, the row of pale spots across the nail are the visible remains of the tear after it had been glued and filed. The edge of the nail at the bottom of the photo has been filed a bit too much from trying to remove the snagging edge of the nail before I tried using the tissue.

21 November 2010

Going wigless

My own hair is actually longer than most of my wigs. Yes, I have a couple of waistlength wigs that are longer than my own hair, but all the others are shorter. I've been wanting to go out without a wig for a while now, but I have quite pronounced widows peaks, which annoy me because they make it virtually impossible to create a hairstyle that will not only look feminine but will stay that way if the wind blows my hair around.

I decided that I'd try Minoxidil to see if I could get the hair to re-grow. It's a topical application (ie rub it onto the bald spots), which has to be used twice per day, which I'm finding quite frustrating because it not only needs to be done twice a day, but it also isn't supposed to be covered with a hat, wig etc for at least an hour after application. That means that most mornings, I have to go out in the sun without a hat for a while, which I don't like doing because of my fair skin.

I've also come to realise that the solution that the 5% Minoxidil is diluted in are high on the list of the products that should be avoided where possible, namely alcohol and propylene glycol. I now have dandruff around the perimeter of the area that is being treated.

Does it work? Maybe. I have light vellus hairs all the way from the widows peaks to my brows, and struggle to see whether any of the hairs in the treated area are any different to the ones further down my forehead. I've been using it for several months, and I've decided to complete the pack that I bought and make a decision then on whether to continue or stop. I'm about half way through, and I can see a few short stubby hairs here and there that might be non-vellus but they're not long enough or dark enough to be sure.

If, when I get to the end of my supply of Minoxidil, I decide not to continue using it, I'll probably look into hair transplants. The area to be done is not very large and if transplantation means not having to apply harsh chemicals to my scalp twice a day, I'll be much happier.

Either way, I'm setting myself a goal of having enough hair on my widows peaks to get out en femme without a wig before the end of next year.

18 November 2010

A little down on weight, a lot down on sleep

Back in September, I mentioned that I'd dropped 10kg in 12 weeks. In the 8 weeks since then, I've dropped another 2 or 3kg. How much I had lost didn't really sink in until I went to wear an outfit on Tuesday night that I hadn't worn since last summer. Back then, I was wearing a belt with a buckle, done up in the second longest hole of 5. Last night, I put the belt on, buckled it to the shortest hole and found that it was too loose. I finished up borrowing a smaller belt from my wife. For comparison, I've put the photo from last night above a photo from January.

In spite of my apparent feminine shape, I still have something of a spare tyre, which I want to lose. It's certainly not as bad as it was, but it's still some there. To prove that, I was going to post a photo but I really don't like the way my belly looks naked! The reason why my waist looks so small and as gives the impression that I don't need to lose any more weight is a combination of a considerable amount of padding on my hips and butt and a body shaper that pulls in the flab.

While I'm starting to get my weight loss back on track, my sleep pattern is still badly screwed up. It's not uncommon for me to get home from a cafe night, upload photos from my camera, crop a few, post them to facebook, email some, then do some other stuff like composing blog posts before heading off to bed after 3am. If I'm lucky, I have a late start and can get up at 9am. The following day, I might have to be up at 6am, and get to bed around midnight. It's not just the lack of sleep but the variation in when I go to sleep and get up that makes it almost like permanent jet lag. :(

At least I got a few compliments on my waistline and blonde wig from others in our group. I also got compliments on my pattered tights from others at the restaurant. They are still the most consistent ice-breaker with other women. :)

15 November 2010

Epilation

For over 10 years now, I've used an epilator to remove facial hair fairly regularly. Why do I do it? Simple, really. I don't like facial hair. I don't like the way it feels, and it always makes me itch, as does body hair. I'm not certain but I think that I'm allergic to my body hair. Let it grow and the skin that it rubs against always comes out in a rash. Removing facial hair also means that I don't need to use heavy makeup to hide beard shadow. The lack of beard shadow as a male doesn't really bother me, and nobody has ever commented about it.

Most people have experienced hair being pulled out one way or another, such as by the glue on a band-aid, by waxing or by using an epilator, and assume that removing facial hair that way must be incredibly painful. The first few times, it was quite painful, as is the first time after I've gone a few weeks without doing it. The more often it is done, the fewer hairs there are to remove and the finer the hairs are, making it much less painful.

The big downside is ingrown hairs. If you remove hair without using some sort of ingrown hair treatment, you'll probably end up with ingrown hairs. How many and how bad varies from person to person. I've tried a few different products over the years, and have been using Nad's Ingrow Solution for at least 5 years. If I get slack and don't use it, I get ingrown hairs. If I use it consistently, I don't. These days, I have far more trouble with my legs after waxing than my face after epilation. If you're wondering why I get my legs waxed instead of using the epilator, the main reason is time. Doing such a large area simply takes too long and I don't start because I know how long it will take.

After all this time, I've found out that it is a controversial topic. I've been told quite vehemently by self appointed experts that epilation of the face is something that "nobody should ever do". The main reason given is torsion, where the hair roots get twisted and the hairs no longer grow straight, causing ingrown hairs and making it difficult or impossible to do electrolysis. Another reason occasionally given is that it can cause scarring. I guess that if the hair was strong and heavy, that could be true but I can't say that I can see any skin damage from the epilator since the first few times, when I was pressing it too hard and grazed the skin. At this point I'm not having trouble with ingrown hairs, I'm not seeing twisted hairs, I can't see the value in getting electrolysis done when regular epilation is such a cheap and easy alternative and I don't believe that my skin is being damaged by the process. If I was going to experience these problems, I would have expected to see them by now!

I know some people who don't believe that ther hairs become sparser or thinner with regular epilation, and who always experience ingrown hairs no matter what they do to try to prevent them. Everybody is different, and I'm quite happy to continue doing what works for me.

14 November 2010

Out and about with my son

Somewhere along the line, my son has decided that it would be a bad thing to go out with me when I'm en femme and it's probably my fault. A couple of years ago, he was misbehaving while I was getting ready to go out for a cafe night. From memory, I think that the issue was that he didn't like what my wife was planning to prepare for dinner for them while I was out, and was having a tantrum about wanting something else instead.

I don't remember exactly how I said it, but I asked if he would prefer to go out for dinner with me instead of staying home. The idea was completely impractical because he goes to bed around 8:30, and I typically don't get home from a cafe night until after 10pm. Add in the fact that it was a Tuesday night during a school week and he absolutely hated the idea. I think that he thought that I was threatening to punish him by taking him out with me, and at the time that might have been true.

Unfortunately, the side effect of that is that ever since, any suggestion that he might go out somewhere with Alice has been met with immediate rejection. He doesn't apparently have a problem with me going out en femme, but doesn't want to go with me, even if it was to somewhere such as a shopping centre where he has no reservations about going with me when I'm dad.

I'm still trying to work out if I can turn his attitude around, and if so, how. I've got him to see op shops in a positive light by taking him there on the rare occasions that my wife is away and I have to take him with me when I do banking on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. We browse the boys racks and pick him up a shirt or two each time, but that's always with me as dad. Perhaps one day I'll suggest that Alice can take him op shopping and his interest in op shopping will outweigh his dislike for the idea of going out with Alice. I don't know.

I'm not going to push him into going out with me en femme, but I'm hoping that at some point in the future he'll choose to say yes. It's a shame that nobody that I know seems to have fancy dress parties, as that might have provided a good opportunity that isn't threatening to him. Of course, Alice would have to dress up as something or somebody. I'd have to think about that if the opportunity arose.

13 November 2010

A transsexual in denial. Not.

I've heard the question "What's the difference between a crossdresser and a transsexual? asked as a joke quite a few times over the years, with the answer being a period of time, usually 18 months or 2 years. As a crossdresser who has no intention of ever transitioning, I find this so-called joke remarkably insulting and inappropriate, particularly because it is usually told by transsexuals and pre-supposes that every crossdresser will eventually realise that they are in fact transsexual and will transition to living as the opposite gender. Worse, this attitude confuses people outside the transgender community, who see such statements as confirmation of a misconception that they already thought was a fact, that all transgender people will transition.

I've been on the receiving end of abuse from someone who believed that I was doing a disservice to my wife and son for being in my family. The assumption was that at some point in the future (presumably sooner rather than later), I would abandon my family to transition so I shouldn't have been there in the first place. Another person was very upset when they found out about me, asking how they were going to explain to their son, when he gets older, why my son has two mothers. The answer is that he doesn't, and won't. Much as I'd probably enjoy spending a few consecutive days en femme, there are many reasons why I don't expect to ever live as a female continuously. It's simply not who I am.

This reinforcement of an incorrect stereotype is divisive to the transgender community, and yet I continue to see similar negativity expressed by all sorts of people who really should know better.

In a google search of blogs on crossdressing recently, I found one transsexual who believed that there were gay male drag queens, transvestic fetishists and transsexuals, and that the first two should stop trying to take advantage of civil rights gains by the latter. The author effectively denied the existence of crossdressers, implying that we are all fetishists or transsexuals.

Another blog that I stumbled upon appeared to claim to be authored by the partner of a crossdresser, and be in the form of an advice column. I read an article where that author advised that a father's crossdressing should be hidden from a young child, because what the parents do in their sex life is not something that a child should know about. The pre-supposition that crossdressing was purely a sexual thing also appeared to indicate a belief that crossdressers are all fetishists.

I'm at a loss to understand the motivation of either of those bloggers. I'm not sure whether they're impostors deliberately trying to spread misinformation, psychologically troubled or simply well meaning but incredibly misinformed. I can't think of any other alternatives.

This confusion between crossdressers and transsexuals reminds me of an incident that happened at a Seahorse NSW meeting many years ago. I was told by another member that I was a transsexual in denial, while my wife was standing alongside me. The logic used to justify this statement was that I made too much effort with my presentation. "If you were really only a crossdresser, you would be as unpassable as the rest us." Coming from someone who dressed like a street prostitute and openly acknowledged that fact, that was quite a remarkable statement. She simultaneously insulted every seahorse member present while saying something that could have potentially been damaging to my marriage if my wife had been as misinformed as some of the people I've mention above. Ironically, my presentation has evolved, matured and improved considerably since then.

It makes me so much more appreciative of my wife and the other people around me who accept me for who I am. I'm far from perfect, but I try my best.

12 November 2010

A touch of tint

I mentioned recently that I was considering getting my lashes tinted, as I used to do years ago.

Mindful of how intense and dark they used to turn out, when I got it done last Saturday, I had them done brown rather than black. Unfortunately, the young trainee beautician didn't do a very good job, and even though the woman who used to do it years ago checked and went over it, they turned out very pale and many of the lashes were missed, including the fine lashes at the inside of the top lids. Only about the middle third of the bottom were done at all. I'll get them done again next time go in for waxing but I'll be letting them know that I was disappointed and why.

I'm yet to decide whether I'll get them done brown or black next time. If it's done right, I'd probably want brown but if it's done as badly as last time, I'd want black.

Maybe I'll just get them done black. Worst case I look like I'm wearing black mascara for a few weeks. :)

11 November 2010

How being out could affect family

I was talking to my one of my brothers the other day, and mentioned that I had decided that I wouldn't get directly involved in politics unless I was completely out, as I mentioned a few days ago.

His response quite surprised me. As close as I can remember, he said "but that would destroy the lives of everybody around you". Considering that I thought that he was the most accepting of my siblings, I'm still trying to process the implications of this statement.

The main reservation I have about being out as a crossdresser to the community in general is that I don't want my son to be harassed or bullied at school because of me. When I first wrote about crossdressing and politics, I was concerned about the impact on both my wife and son. My wife doesn't appear to care either way, and I get the impression that she doesn't think that it would make the slightest difference to her either way.

In many ways, I suspect that the implications for my son would be exposure to bigotry from other parents, more so than from other children. The children at his school are from a range of ethnicities, and I'm not aware of anybody making an issue of that. Similarly, there are parents who are single, divorced, in same-sex relationships, etc, and these don't seem to result in bullying of the children. One of my friends, Christina, transitioned when her son was quite young, and her son is half Maori, giving rise to the potential for racial abuse as well as abuse for having a transsexual parent. As far as I know, neither of these were ever issues for him through his school years.

I was left wondering "If people around my son knew about me, would it actually affect him?"

With that in mind, while the three of use were together in the car, I asked him about bullying in his school. The response from him, echoed by my wife who takes him to and from school most of the time and talks to other parents more often than I do, was that there really isn't an issue at his school. He added that he had heard rumours that there are problems with bullying at the OOSH (Out Of School Hours) group, which he doesn't go to.

I'm still pondering the implications, as the indications appear to be completely the opposite of my brother's belief.

10 November 2010

wifely knowledge

I have been asked this question a couple of times in person, and I recently saw the question asked of another blogger and thought that people might be interested to know how and when I came out to my wife.

I was always very shy at school, because I knew that I was different and was petrified that someone might find out. Consequently, I ended up being something of a loner and a misfit. I also had a crush on one of the most attractive of the popular girls in my year, which was fairly widely known. That shyness carried over into my time at university, where I still thought of myself as a misfit even though I suspect that others might not have seen me that way.

The result was that I never had a girlfriend all the way through school or uni. I had my first girlfriend in my mid 20s, and she was almost 10 years older than me. The term cougar would have been the perfect description for her, if it had been around at the time. She pursued me and I let it happen because I was flattered by the attention. It was a disaster of a relationship, and when I admitted to her that I was a crossdresser, she took it as a personal insult, claiming that it made her less of a woman. I tried very hard to make the relationship work, including the only significant purge (disposal of female clothing etc. in an attempt to stop crossdressing) that I've ever undertaken, and getting my hair cut short for the first time in about a decade. It didn't make any difference. In her mind, I was a transsexual and it was only a matter of time before I'd transition. The relationship ended, and I was far better off even though I didn't feel that way at the time.

After that disaster, I made the decision that I was going to be open with a potential partner very early in a relationship. If they couldn't accept it, we could both move on without having spent too much time in a relationship that wasn't going to work.

A few months later, I met the woman who was to become my wife. We met in a small outdoor food court area, and spent a couple of hours chatting. I walked her to her car, and as I watched her drive away, I found myself thinking "I could marry her." That was not something that I had ever thought of anybody before, and I was surprised to have thought it. We went out to a movie a couple of days later, then I didn't see or even hear from her for a month. I rang her mobile but it went to message bank. I left messages, she didn't respond. I'd all but given up when she got back in contact with me. Apparently her phone hadn't been working. We went out a few times and I decided that I had to tell her.

I was trembling with nervousness when I told her, but I knew that I had to do it before the relationship progressed too far. Her response was an incredible relief. I don't remember the exact words, but it was something like "Oh, is that all. I thought maybe you were bi." She later told me that she knew that there was something about me but wasn't sure what it was.

I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the discussion that followed, she told me that she could accept my crossdressing if I could accept her hobby, which I could. We've been together for over 11 years now. I'm not going to pretend that we haven't had disagreements, but my crossdressing has never been at the centre of any of them, or used against me. The reality is that we are both fundamentally lazy and our arguments tend to be about domestic chores not getting done.

My wife hasn't merely tolerated my crossdressing, either. Before we were married, we were trying to save up the deposit for a house, and during that time she talked me into spending $350 on a wig that I couldn't really afford, because she knew that the one I had didn't suit me and that I really wanted a better one. Not long after we were married, I wanted to have a professional makeup lesson and she went along and did it with me. When I wanted to get my ears pierced but was terrified of how people would react, she told me that if I wanted it done, I should just get it done, so I did and virtually nobody ever even said a word. When I wanted to go to Seahorse meetings in Sydney, she went with me to every one of them. Being interested in crafts such as beading and knitting, she has made me jewellery and clothes. We also share some clothes, particularly dresses that I buy at op shops, including this one, as I predicted back when I bought it.

09 November 2010

Op shop temptation

I was visiting one of my brothers on Saturday night and my sister-in-law mentioned that her mother volunteers at a particular charity op shop on Wednesdays. I think that her volunteering there had been mentioned a few years ago but back then, I wanted to avoid any possibility of having her see me browsing through female clothes.

It's a shop I know fairly well but don't go to all that often. It's one of about 5 op shops that are all within about one block on a suburban shopping strip and I usually browse through all of them if I'm in the area for work.

I must admit that I'm tempted to make an effort to go there next time I'm out en femme on a Wednesday. I have no idea if she'd recognise me, and if she did, I have no idea how she'd react. :)

It's funny to realise that in the space of about 3 years, I've gone from wanting to hide to wanting to see how someone who knows me would react to finding out.

08 November 2010

Crossdressing and politics part 2

Back in August last year, I posed the question Is Australia ready for a crossdressing politician?

My conclusion back then was that if I was ever going to get directly involved in politics, I would have to be completely out about my crossdressing. My position remains the same today.

For those who hadn't guessed it, I am a member of a political party, but I'm not out to any members of that party. I'm a political moderate with slightly liberal (left) social and slightly conservative (right) economic leanings, which puts me neatly in the overlap between the two major political parties in Australia, the Labor Party (left) and the Liberal Party (right).

I got an email on Saturday morning, advertising a State Council and Annual General Meeting, which is to be held in a few weeks time. The venue is literally about 10 minutes walk from my home (maybe 15 minutes in heels :) ), in a club that I am a lapsed member of.

Some people will guess what I'm considering doing. I doubt that it will happen, but the idea of renewing my club membership (so that I can simply walk in the door, flash the card and keep walking), and pre-registering for the meeting (and requesting that the name tag have my first and second initials and my surname instead of my boy first name - my boy and girl initials match), then turning up en femme is quite an appealing idea in a funny sort of way.

In spite of how out I am to many, many people now, the thought of turning up to a meeting such as this one en femme makes me incredibly nervous. At this point, it's a case of "I'd love to, but I'm probably not ready for that just yet." Will I ever be ready for that? I don't know.

In the next few days, I'll have to decide whether to start preparing for this. Done the right way, I'll always have the option of wimping out and going in boy mode instead of in girl mode. The big question is whether I want to go at all or not, as these events can be rather boring...

Of course, if I did go, the local branch members would finally get to find out why I never go to their meetings when they're scheduled for Tuesday nights. :)

07 November 2010

Cafe nights

I was looking at some of my recent blog posts, and realised that some people reading this might not have any idea why I go out to cafe nights every Tuesday night, and one Wednesday night every month.

I've mentioned plenty of times that it happens, but I think that the closest to explaining why was probably the post I've been tagged in March last year.

As far as I know, the cafe night concept originated in Brisbane, being organised by someone I've never met, and I only know as Bernie.

The idea is to have a group outing that happens consistently, on a regular basis, in the same location. The purpose of this is twofold. It is to provide an outlet for those of us who are out enough to want to get out regularly, and by doing so make the events happen at all. Far more importantly, it provides a known safe destination for inexperienced and infrequent crossdressers and timid transsexuals, some of whom are taking their first steps out in public.

The Brisbane group go out every Wednesday night, while our Newcastle group go out every Tuesday night. The Central Coast group go out on the first Wednesday night of each month. There are other groups, including a group in Western Sydney who go out every second Monday night and a group in Sydney who go out on the final Friday night of every month. I'm told that in the early days of the Brisbane cafe nights, Bernie often dined alone, just to ensure that if anybody else turned up, there was someone for them to meet.

Back in February 2008, I was one of those infrequent crossdressers. I had been to monthly meetings held by the support group Seahorse NSW, and to a couple of their restaurant nights between 2001 and about 2004 but the meetings were in suburban Sydney, over 2 hours drive each way from our home. The distance was an effort at first, but add in a young child and rudeness from some of the other members and I simply stopped going. Between 2004 and early 2008, I dressed rarely and went out even less.

I was involved in a work related court case in 2008, and the stress had me almost suicidal at Easter. I spent a lot of time that Easter with my son, reminding myself that I had to be here for him. Whenever I was up to it, I went to the cafe nights to escape for a while. I also went out a few other times, to local shopping centres etc.

Without the cafe nights, and the people who started them, I would probably still be hiding in my closet, getting out furtively a handful of times each year. For that, I feel that I need to make a special mention of two very special people. The first is Pip, who, as previously mentioned, passed away early last year and is sadly missed. The other was a great friend to Pip in her last few years, and was the other of the two instigators of the cafe nights. Her name name is Linda Karen (aka LK), and even though she always says that starting a cafe night in Newcastle was Pip's idea, her role in starting and establishing them was also very important. It was Pip and LK who dined together and tried different restaurants before settling upon the one that the cafe nights have been at for over 3 years now.

Somewhere along the line, and I'm not sure that I could identify exactly when, I changed from being one of the infrequent crossdressers who was venturing out into the scary world outside to being one of the core group that keep the cafe nights going. I set myself a goal at the beginning of this year to get out on average no less than once every 5 days, and an underlying assumption in that was that I intended to get to every Newcastle cafe night. So far, I have been to every cafe night even if my average hasn't quite met my goal.

I believe that the cafe night concept is an important one, being a form of support group that doesn't require incorporation, committees etc. It is also important because it gets transgender people out into the community, not only helping them to get out, but also allowing others in the community to see and interact with us.

From personal experience and from talking to others, I know that most crossdressers who are in the closet are paranoid, believing that they will be ridiculed by other people if they dare to go out. The experience from going out to cafe nights over the past few years is the exact opposite. We have had people strike up conversations for all sorts of reasons. One of the best conversation starters has been my lace patterned tights, which I wear from time to time. I've lost count of the number of times women have complimented me on them.

I'd love to see similar groups start elsewhere, and I'd also love to know if any similar groups already exist elsewhere. While I think that there is a place for traditional support groups that meet in private, I feel that cafe groups are far more effective at getting people out of the closet and accepted in the wider community.

06 November 2010

Churchianity

I had started this post with an observation that showed that a couple of people have quietly rejected me, but by the time I composed the next few paragraphs, I realised that anybody reading it who knows me and the people concerned might read this as a personal attack on them. It isn't, so I've removed the original first few sentences and will just say that the observations I've made here are quite generic. They could be applied to people I know, or to some of the people involved in this story about a boy who went to preschool in a girl Halloween costume.

It's interesting to note that the least accepting people are consistently active in a church. I'm heading into walking on eggshell territory again here, but I'm going to make a comment that is something that I've been aware of in some churches for over 20 years now. I see a big difference between what I call Churchianity and Christianity. While Christianity means thinking "what would Christ do?", Churchianity means thinking "what does the church tell me I should do?"

Even an atheist can understand the principles of loving your fellow man and such, that Christ was supposed to have preached, even if they don't believe that the man ever existed. A Churchian, in contrast, seems to have lost sight of the underlying principles behind Christ's teachings.

So I'll continue to turn the other cheek and hope that one day they will see that they have failed to follow the teachings of Christ and will mend their ways, or that they at least won't harass other people merely for being different.

Hopefully before people start sending me hateful messages for attacking churches, they'll stop to ask themselves whether the guidance given by their church, and every other church that claims to be Christian, faithfully follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Really? Every church?

05 November 2010

Melbourne Cup day evening


Yes, this post is quite overdue, since the outing was on Tuesday night, and it's now Friday.

Work has somewhat overrun my entire life recently, and I'm typing this when I know that I should be madly typing work related stuff.

Tuesday night was something that I'd been planning literally for months. The dress is pure silk, and I bought it at an op shop back in early August for $15. At the time, I commented on Facebook that I needed to lose some more weight so that it fits better. I've lost 5kg since then, and the dress now fits much better. Since it is sleeveless, I planned to wear it once the weather warmed up, and the Melbourne Cup evening in early November seemed like the perfect time, as August is early spring while November is early Summer here.

Great theory. The weather was cold and threatened rain.

Since the dress is quite light coloured, I decided that I would avoid black everywhere except my lashes and eyeliner. As planned, I also wore my new blonde wig, with the fascinator that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

On Monday night, I trimmed the fringe of the wig a bit more, and found a blush and eye shadow set that had never been used, from a much larger set that I've been using for some time. I was happy that the shades complemented the dress and decided to use them, along with a light grey and a white that I've used before. Having had no time to try them out, I discovered that the blush was very soft, and my blush brush consistently picked up too much. It took quite some effort to get the blush from looking like a clown to something close to what I intended!

My plan for accessories changed while I was getting ready. I had already decided that I wouldn't wear a necklace, as I had only black cord types rather than silver chain. I was going to wear silver spiral earrings but my wife had recently made some delicate long beaded earrings that were in colours that went beautifully with the dress, and I ended up borrowing them instead. I had a brief panic about finding a handbag, until my wife mentioned that we had some stuff that we got recently and hadn't really sorted, which included some handbags. I quick look through turned up a red and maroon handbag that was a little small but went quite well with the outfit.

I didn't end up buying grey shoes to go with the dress, but instead wore some synthetic maroon shoes that I bought from Payless shoes a few years ago, as they were a good match to the darkest of the pink shades in the dress. Looking at the photos afterwards, I think that that is probably the thing that I'd most like to change about the outfit. I think that a pair of light grey kid leather or suede heels would have complimented the dress better than the slightly too shiny maroon. I'm also thinking that finding a grey bag to match the shoes would be a good idea.

Unlike the last couple of years, the restaurant where we were was fairly quiet, like a normal Tuesday night rather than being crowded and busy as it usually is. Something of an anti-climax. I felt a little bit silly being essentially the only one there dressed up in something resembling a day at the races outfit, but it was the right day for it and nobody else seemed to care.

If I was invited to a summer wedding, I'd probably put this dress at the top of my list of options, particularly with grey shoes and bag. So far, I've never been invited to a wedding en femme. That's something that I know others have done and I'd like to but I'll just have to wait and see if I ever get invited.

I'd love to be a bridesmaid, but I don't think that will ever happen! :)

01 November 2010

So near and yet so far

It seems like only yesterday that it was the beginning of the year and I set myself the goal of getting out en femme on average at least every 5 days. It's amazing to realise that 10 months have now gone by, and that while I haven't quite made that goal, I'm not as far behind it as I could have been.

As at today, it's the 305th day of the year and I have had 57 outings. That means that I need 16 more outings in the next 61 days to make par. I need to average more often than every 4 days for the rest of the year. There are 11 cafe nights over the 2 months, so I need at least 5 other outings. With my other commitments, it's a big ask, but not impossible.

As expected, October was a rather difficult time, but as mentioned, I did get out shopping on the 21st as well as getting to the 5 cafe nights during the month. That means that I didn't quite make average for the month, but I was fairly close.

The 2-day work trip to Mudgee finished up being a rather long one day trip on Thursday instead, and I took some time on the Friday to recover and try to get some paperwork done. The latter was a dismal failure, as was the plan of spending a fair bit of the weekend on paperwork. It just didn't happen. In fact, Sunday virtually didn't happen for me. I got distracted with a computer issue and wasted almost the entire day.

Sadly, that wasted day also means that I didn't do a makeup trial for my Melbourne Cup outfit, or do the final trimming of the wig that I plan to wear. I'll probably try to trim the wig and choose the makeup colours tonight, but I'm disappointed with myself for not being organised enough to do a makeup trial as this wig is a shade I've never worn before and I really don't know whether I'll be able to get it all right, or whether I'll abandon it at the last minute, pencil over my pale brows in black and change to my new brunette wig, which also needs a little more trimming, as can be seen in the photo from the once that I've worn it so far.

29 October 2010

A taxing time

It's almost the end of October, and I'm happy to say that I finished my tax return today. I'm not so happy to know that, after tax bills of a few hundred dollars each year for past few years, this years is shaping up to be thousands, and it'll be due before Christmas. :(

Even though I posted a photo of my eye makeup from the day when contemplating getting my lashes tinted, I neglected to mention that I went out en femme on Thursday last week. As well as my birthday, it was the opening of the main part of a massive extension of Charlestown Square. I got to blend into the crowds, much like I did when the bottom floor reopened a few weeks ago. This time, I wandered in and out of almost every dress and accessory shop in a quest to find the fascinator that I mentioned that I was looking for a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, the flat shoes that I wore were new and quite uncomfortable. I don't know why it's so easy to buy comfortable black flats but impossible to buy anything as good in mid to dark brown. Over a week later, I've still got a sore spot on top of one toe where the skin rubbed in the shoe. The shoes limited my enjoyment of the day, and having noticed quite a few women in heels, I came to the conclusion that my 12cm (4 3/4") stilettos would have been a much better choice even though they take me up to over 6'3".

It's funny how, after shying away from wearing heels in shopping centres for years in order to blend in better, I'm now thinking that they would have been the best option. I don't know whether I'm just getting more accustomed to being out en femme and more people accept me for who I present myself as, whether I'm just getting less observant and am not noticing when people read me, or perhaps a bit of each.

Ironically, I bought the fascinator for next Tuesday at Charlestown Square on Thursday, but not during the day en femme. In the evening, after changing back to boy mode, I did the usual family Thursday night shopping outing, and dropped into one of the shops to get my wife's opinion of one of the fasinators that I was considering. She spotted a similar one that was much less complicated and had better colours, then I found one that was between the two for complexity, but the same colours as the one that she had found. Hopefully, other people will think that it's understated but elegant, as I do.

Now that I've got my tax out of the way, I have to catch up on sleep and on paperwork. Sadly, getting out en femme is probably not an option this weekend. I'd like to do a makeup trial for the new blonde wig that I plan to wear on Tuesday, but I doubt that I'll have time for that, either.

25 October 2010

The facebook fun continues

Since my recent post about a private message on facebook, a couple of other things have happened.

One was that I was informed that there was more to the story than the message on facebook indicated. Apparently his partner (who I don't think that I've ever met or even communicated with) had worked out who I am some time ago through facebook and reacted negatively. Hence, the message was not so much a response to a recent realisation but a way of letting me know that he already knew and that he wasn't being negative about it.

The other, more surprising thing, was that I got two friend requests that day from male customers who are also friends with the guy who sent the private message. Nothing specific has been said by either of them about who I am, but I think it's fairly safe to assume that what they're implying by their actions is that they know about me and they accept me.

A pessimistic interpretation would be that they are setting me up so that they can expose and embarrass me. If that was their intent, it would backfire and be a positive for me, as I am already being gradually more and more open about who I am. Being outed in an uncontrolled way would simply me a small bump on the road of life. :)

Facebook never forgets!

I recently got a facebook friend request from someone who removed me as a friend quite some time ago. I'll call her D for convenience. I was friends with D way back when we were on Yahoo 360. Back then, I had added a few people almost at random, just to get a few non-transgender friends on there.

One of them was D, who lives in a small town in country New South Wales, the same state as me. I figured that she was far enough away that I was unlikely to ever have direct contact, but close enough to feel like I was somehow connected with her because it's only a few hours drive from my home. Imagine how I felt when I realised that my next-door neighbour (who I'll call N for neighbour) was one of D's other friends! For months, I sweated about whether to say anything, and eventually sent N a friend request. She didn't accept, but still talked to me, albeit probably less than before.

Looking back on it all, I suspect that N thought that I was stalking her and had befriended D to get to her. When I moved to Facebook, so did D. When she started, I think that she might have used Facebook's friend finder to find people she knew. The result was that she sent an email to my Yahoo account inviting me to join Facebook. Because I was already on Facebook, but hadn't used my Yahoo email address to sign up, I sent her a friend request and she accepted.

Sometime later, D removed me as a friend and I noticed fairly soon afterwards. Having no idea whether it was deliberate or a Facebook glitch, I sent her a private message apologising if I had done something to offend her. In response, she sent me a friend request, which I accepted. Around that time, N told me that one of her other friends was from the same town and had met D and told her who I was relative to my neighbour. Not much later, D removed me as a friend and I decided that I was just going to leave it at that.

Imagine my surprise, then, when out of the blue a few weeks ago, I got a friend request from D. It seemed extraordinary, but I thought that if she had decided to reach out to me, I'd accept. I posted a comment on her wall, saying Long time, no see. :) but she didn't respond to it. I just left it at that.

A few days went by. I liked one of her status updates one day, and the next day she was no longer on my friends list. She had obviously removed me again. From her behaviour, it was fairly obvious that she had no intention of sending me that friend request. My first thought was that perhaps she had recently used friend finder and had sent me a request without realising it.

While thinking about composing this post, the penny suddenly dropped. It wasn't something that D had done recently that had generated the friend request, it was something that I did! A few weeks ago, I added my yahoo email address to my facebook profile, so that if someone searched for me using that email address, they'd find my profile. Within a few days, Facebook matched D's friend request from two and a half years ago to my profile through that email address and automatically sent me a friend request from her!

The net result is that D and N probably both think that I hacked something to get back onto D's friend list, and by accepting the friend request, rather than mending fences, I've probably made things worse through no deliberate action on the part of anybody involved. D and N, if you read this, I sincerely apologise for what happened, I haven't been stalking you and I bear you no ill will. If you ever want to be friends with me, let me know but otherwise I will leave you alone.

24 October 2010

more egg shells

I've finally decided to post something that I almost posted in my recent walking on egg shells post but cut out at the last minute.

I mentioned last year that I sent Facebook friend requests to a few of my wife's relatives. I haven't written about the result of one of those before. Some time later, my wife said something online that this particular person objected to. In a private message, they had a dummy spit at my wife, and at the end of it also dummy spat about me, making it very clear that they had worked out who I am and did not approve. Perhaps getting it out of their system was good, because their behaviour directly towards me has not changed appreciably. They have never said anything directly to me about my crossdressing. Whether their behaviour towards me will change if they read this post, I don't know. That's their decision. I don't plan to change my behaviour towards them.

In contrast, one of my wife's female cousins that I sent a friend request to last year almost immediately accepted, then sent me a friend suggestion to me for one of her other crossdresser friends. :)