23 December 2011

Christmas holidays

Well, it's official. I'm on holidays.

My work stopped very suddenly due to the long anticipated government rule changes, but hopefully the stoppage will be only temporary. In the new year, I've got to do some paperwork to see if I can resume the type of work that I've been doing almost exclusively for as long as I've been in business.

I managed to get to the Newcastle cafe night this week, and was amused to learn that the conversation that I had with a solicitor at the cafe night in early October had led him to ask where I was when he was there on one of the many Tuesday nights that I missed. Apparently he was of the opinion that if he had me as an expert witness, he could win every case related to my field. I'm not all that keen on expert witness work, but it gives me a fallback option, meaning that the government department need me more than I need them. That puts me in quite a good position. :)

I got out a second time this week. Today, I went and got my nails done, including getting them painted in Christmas colours, then went and wandered around Charlestown Square for a while. Last year, I wore the Christmas colours only from Christmas eve to after boxing day, and was only seen by a limited number of family and friends. This year will be quite different, as I plan on leaving the colours on my nails from now until the next nail appointment. Unless something unexpected happens, that should be the Wednesday just under 3 weeks from now. So I'll be seen in both boy and girl mode for almost 3 weeks with quite distinctive nails.

That's pushing the comfort zone a little bit but after a whole year of wearing colour on my nails, I haven't had a single negative comment so my confidence is far better than it was last year.

27 November 2011

Let down

I have posted only once in over a month, and that was just a photograph of my Melbourne Cup outfit. I made a special effort to go out for Melbourne Cup night, and it is the only time that I have been out in the past 6 weeks.

I've been overwhelmed with work, to the extent that I've been working 7 days a week, often getting to bed after 2am then getting up again before 8am. With this ridiculous workload have come migraines and exhaustion. Several times now, I have decided to lie down for a rest on a Tuesday afternoon intending it to be just a few minutes before I prepared to go out, and ended up sleeping too long to go out at all.

I also haven't had any opportunity to catch up with my friend, who was so depressed several weeks ago.

I know that I'm letting people down.

I'm letting down my friends and family. In spite of trying my hardest, I'm also letting down a lot of my work clients. Worst of all, I'm letting myself down.

It can't last. Sooner or later, the uncertainty that has been hanging over my work for over a year has to be resolved. I'm actually at the point of liking the idea of stopping working and living on my savings for a few months. I know that I would be letting down all of my work clients by doing so, but something has got to give. So far it has been me, but that cannot and will not continue. I won't cope much longer unless things change.

04 November 2011

Melbourne Cup 2011

I hope to get back to blogging more regularly soon, but in the meantime here's a photo of my Melbourne Cup outfit for this year. :)

22 October 2011

A slip of the tongue - followup

I mentioned recently about one of my work clients who obviously knows about me, but says nothing.

I went there for work a couple of days ago, and was there for over 2 hours. S did not come up in conversation, but B did.

The closest that the conversation got to mentioning my crossdressing was general agreement that B has a big mouth. :)

16 October 2011

Another halter, another interesting conversation

On Tuesday, I wore a halter top that I've had for at least a year. I think that I bought it just after I got bras that I could wear halter. Like the halter dress I wore a few weeks ago, I found it a little unfamiliar and experienced irritation around the neck strap. I'm hoping that this will all settle down as I wear halter tops more often.

Like last week, Linda somehow managed to convinced another patron to join our table. This time, the conversation ranged from her birth during The Blitz in London to how a technical illustrator has to be able to convert an engineer's sketch on a serviette into something meaningful. As an engineer, I could so relate to that. ;)

Norma came along in girl mode this week, too. :)

09 October 2011

Looking for a fascinator

I'm going to be deliberately vague about a few details in this post. I'm planning my outfit for the cafe night on Melbourne Cup day, which is on the first Tuesday in November. Unlike last year, I don't plan on wearing a wig this year, so I'm putting together an outfit that suits my natural colouring. Don't worry though - all will be revealed on the night. :)

Have you ever opened up a store catalogue, looked at a dress and thought "I'm getting that", with absolutely no doubt in your mind? I did that on Thursday, so that night while out shopping with my wife and son, we went to the store, found one in my size and bought it. Knowing the store return policy would make returning it easy if necessary, I didn't feel any need to try it on at the time.

On Saturday, I put on all the undergarments, padding etc necessary to try the dress on properly. Aside from a neckline that moves around a little and needing to push my bra straps out a fraction on my shoulders from their usual spots, it was a great fit, and as I suspected, goes very well with one of my existing pairs of shoes.

Like last year, what remains to be resolved is accessories. In particular, I want to find a fascinator that will go with the dress. With that in mind, I decided yesterday that I wanted to go out today to look for one. My plan yesterday was to go out en femme and look through shops at both Charlestown Square and Westfield Kotara. Then the wheels fell off, as they often do for me. I stayed up far too late and didn't get up until after noon!

With most of the shops shutting at 4pm, I knew that there was no way that I could choose an outfit and get dressed en femme and have any worthwhile time to shop. So instead, I spent a while on line, then went shopping in male mode with the photo of the dress from the catalogue in my pocket.

I spent over an hour at Charlestown Square, going from shop to shop. I tried the various accessory stores, a couple of the department stores and wandered into many of the dress shops to ask if they had fascinators. Very few did, but for those that did, I looked at what they had and explained that I was looking for one that matched the dress in the photo. I found a couple in one of the department stores that were close to the right colour, but were more like a hat than a fascinator, and cost more than I wanted to pay, so I left empty handed.

The interesting thing was that I felt no hesitation walking in and out of accessory and dress shops in male mode, looking for that specific item. It only occurred to me as I was typing this that I have no idea how many of the shop staff realised that I was after it for myself, and I don't honestly care.

Now I've realised that I also need to look for a handbag to suit. I hadn't considered it before, but I don't think that I have one that will suit, and if I can find one that goes with the shoes it will be useful with any other outfits that go with those shoes. Knowing me, it'll have to be something a bit bigger than a clutch, though. :)

08 October 2011

Very open conversation

Tuesday night this week, there were a total of 5 people at our table but only 2 of us in the group photo. That might seem odd, but it isn't really. We had one new guest, Norma, who I remembered from when I was active in Seahorse NSW about 8 to 10 years ago. Being unfamiliar with the Newcastle area, she erred on the side of caution and came along in boy mode, and hence didn't join the photos.

Linda, Norma and I were chatting when Linda realised that Ros, another regular guest of the restaurant who had chatted with us in the past, was eating alone at a table nearby and invited her to join us. She did so, and around the time that we ordered dessert and coffee, her husband (whose name I'm embarrassed to admit I've forgotten as usual) came along looking for her and joined us as well.

The conversation covered various aspects of what each of us do for a living, where we lived etc, to the point that by getting a copy of the right government published list would identify me unequivocally. During the conversation, it also came out that the husband is a solicitor who works in the suburb that I live in, at the fringe of the shopping centre, just around the corner from the salon where I get my nails done. I have walked past the place and parked across the street from it in boy mode hundreds of times over the years.

Ironically, if I quit the type of work that I currently do, I could work as an expert witness, working for solicitors firms such as his, so it turned out to be a form of business networking.

Once upon a time, I would have kept quiet about what I do for a living for fear of being outed. Now, about the only thing that I avoid is actually mentioning my male name!

The photo above was taken by our guest photographer for the night, Ros. :)

04 October 2011

Op shop experiences

I find that my enthusiasm for op shopping tends to be intermittent. While I enjoy it, I'll often get so busy doing other things that I just don't get the opportunity. While I really enjoy shopping en femme, the reality is that often the opportunities to shop are between jobs on a work day, or are too short for me to have the time to dress, shop and then change back before I have to do something else.

And so it is that most of my op shopping is done in boy mode. When I bought my current breast forms in 2008, the package deal included a pair of moulded foam "sleep/travel" breast forms of approximately the same size as the silicon forms. These now live in a drawstring bag (my primary school library bag) along with a bra. While this combination is not ideal, I generally find that if a top or dress fits properly from the waist up and covers the bra while wearing these, it will fit with the good forms.

As I mentioned back in April, I bought some orangey red shoes. Early last month, I also bought a pair of burnt orange suede Tony Bianco shoes. Since I bought the red shoes, I've become aware that I don't have as much orange and orangey red in my wardrobe as I'd like, so I've concentrated on looking for those colours when op shopping.

On the Saturday afternoon a couple of days after buying the orange shoes, I drove around to three Salvos op shops (Belmont, Belmont North and Charlestown) and picked up a couple of dresses, a skirt and a glass beaded necklace that my wife has since remade as a charm bracelet.

The following Saturday, I picked up an orange top at my local Lifeline shop, and wore it the following to the following Tuesday cafe night with the orange shoes.

Work kept me very busy for a few weeks, but on the way home from a job last Thursday, I dropped in to Salvos at Glendale and picked up a couple of tops for $5 each.

Being enthusiastic after Thursday's success, I managed to get out shopping again on Saturday. This time, I checked out the new Lifeline Hamilton North shop that I hadn't been to before, Salvos stores at Wallsend, Mayfield and Newcastle West and the Lifeline shop at Mayfield. I also had a look at a combined op shop and costume hire shop a couple of doors from the Lifeline Mayfield and another privately operated shop near Salvos Newcastle West. The haul for the day was 4 tops, a necklace and an earring and necklace set, costing a total of $30!

At both of the privately run shops, I chatted with the women running the shops. The conversation at the first one started with me being asked if my nails were real, and went on to discussing crossdressing both in sales and costume hire. In the second private shop, the woman was enthusiastic to tell me about all the other crossdressers who frequent the shop.

I have had many positive experiences this year since I've had my nails long and painted and I'm more comfortable being open about who I am. The number of negative experiences I've ever had is remarkably small, and I'd actually have to read back through my diaries and blog to try to work out when the last one was!

03 October 2011

Helping a friend

To most women, whether married or not, spending some time with a girlfriend who is feeling alone and depressed would be a perfectly normal thing to do. Until the past week or so, I'd never considered this in relation to me being the supportive friend.

When I used to get really depressed (sometimes to an almost-suicidal extent), I suffered alone. While I'm not entirely over depression and probably won't ever be, two things helped me. One was coming out as a crossdresser, which took away a lot of pressure to conform to a masculine stereotype and hide my feminine traits. The second was that I discovered that I am chemically sensitive to the artificial sweetener aspartame, which caused or exacerbated a range of problems for me, including skin rashes, heart palpitations and a fog-like blanket of chemically induced depression.

Having lived through such bad depression, I understand it well enough to empathise with other people who are suffering through it, and to want to help where I can. In fact, that's one of the things that drives me to continue attending the cafe nights regularly. I know that closeted crossdressers are prone to depression and I want to help to provide a path for those who want to come out of the closet because I know that it will also help in dealing with depression.

A few years ago when I was still mostly closeted, one of my nieces attempted suicide and ended up in hospital for several months. She was later diagnosed with a mental illness, and for reasons closely related to that, she isolated herself from her mother while she was in hospital. Knowing that she was depressed and feeling alone, I organised around my work, my wife and my son to visit my niece in hospital most days over those months. I mostly went alone but a few times my son went with me. As a close relative, there was never any suggestion of impropriety in my visiting her frequently. We became quite close over those months, and I came out to her while she was in hospital.

I've now found myself in an interesting situation with a female friend who I met online. She is in her 20s and knows about me including my family and my crossdressing. We have met in person a couple of times when I have been out en femme, but she has never met me as a male. While I don't know all of the details, I know that she is quite depressed at the moment and is feeling rather alone. I have offered to spend some time with her because I believe that she needs a sympathetic friend.

I mentioned the situation to one of my crossdressing friends, who thought that it meant that I would be having an affair with this young woman. While I didn't think that anything like that was ever going to happen, I could see that that could easily be the way other people might see it. I discussed it with my wife, and explained the situation as I saw it, and my crossdressing friend's take on it. I think that my wife actually understands me quite well. She had me confirm that I had only ever met my friend "as Alice", and that if I did spend time with my friend, that I would be doing so "as Alice", then confirmed that she didn't see a problem. She understands that, as Alice, I am sexually disinterested. Even as a male, I'm monogamous and committed to our marriage. To be honest, I couldn't be bothered having an affair!

A little while after talking to my wife about it, I realised that I actually see my young friend as being very much like my nieces. She is a similar age, and in a lot of ways I probably consider her to be a foster niece, if that makes sense. In that context, I don't think that there would be any impropriety regardless of whether I was a foster aunt or a foster uncle.

02 October 2011

Avoiding the subject

I mentioned early last year that we had new neighbours move in across the street in 2009. They are a couple who I'm guessing are in their 50s or 60s. The woman and I occasionally wave to each other, but we rarely speak. I don't know her name but she has mentioned that her husband's name is George. Ironically, the place where we have spoken several times has been in the local Lifeline shop. I was there in boy mode yesterday and we chatted briefly.

I asked about the strange behaviour of their dog, who barks normally during the day but makes loud snuffley, wheezing noises instead of barking at night. I'm sure that he recognises me when I go to take the garbage bins in and out in boy mode, and when I go to pick the local free papers up off the driveway in girl mode after getting home from cafe nights on Tuesdays. He barks to greet me and tell me that he's there and that he knows I'm there. I was assured that they don't do anything to the dog to cause this strange barking. The woman told me that it was just that the dog is weird, and that he takes after her husband. :)

I noticed that she addressed Bev by name. Bev works in the op shop, knows about me including having taken photos and is one of my friends on facebook. In spite of me having seen the tell-tale glow of a lit cigarette in the dark on the front verandah across the road when I've been picking up newspapers in girl mode, there has so far been no acknowledgement that she knows about me, and nor has she said anything to Bev.

All in good time. :)

01 October 2011

A slip of the tongue

One of my friends, who I'll call S, knows me better as Alice than by my male name, also knows some of my work clients, including some who know B, who, as I previously mentioned, has apparently told quite a few people about me.

S was visiting one of his friends who also knows B. They were discussing the changes that might soon see my ceasing to do the work that I presently do.

At some point during their conversation, S accidently referred to me as Alice. His friend didn't miss a beat. Apparently his response was simply depends which web site you got to. I don't know much more than that, but the impression that I got was that that was essentially all there was to it. Acknowledge and move on.

I'm not going to pretend that there aren't people around who have a problem with who (what?) I am, but over the past few years, my perception has changed from believing that virtually everybody would reject me to realising that those with a problem are a remarkably small minority.

There's another (seemingly larger) minority who are happy to acknowledge that they know and are actively supportive. The majority, if they know, will acknowledge that they know if the subject comes up but don't really care. I can live with that.

Next time I see B, I should say thank you. While I originally thought that what he had done was out of line, I've come to realise that it hasn't ultimately been harmful to me. In fact, probably the opposite.

30 September 2011

IMATS

Yes, just like last time, it's been almost a fortnight since my last post. I've been fairly stressed while trying to deal with being extremely busy with work, including 4 trips to Sydney for meetings and the like this month. My future remains uncertain although the previously set deadline for regulatory changes appears to have slipped, so it's no longer the end of this month.

Those 4 work trips weren't the only trips to Sydney for me this month. I took a day off last Saturday and went to the International Makeup Artists Trade Show (IMATS), which was held at Darling Harbour. Several of my friends from Beauty Heaven and Facebook had arranged to meet up at IMATS, including all but one of the girls I went shopping with in Alexandria back in June. In addition, Yvette, who I hadn't seen since the Beauty Heaven open day in May last year was there. I also got to meet several others from near and far including Chrissy from Sydney, Stacey from Queensland and Michelle from Victoria. There were also a couple of ring-ins in our group, including a friend of Chrissy's and Michelle's sister. During the day, I also said hello to a couple of other bloggers who I knew.

It was a long day. I was up at 4am to get ready. As with the shopping trip to Alexandria, I drove to Wahroonga and caught a North Shore train into the city rather than catching a train all the way. Part of the reason for that was that the Newcastle trains only run once per hour, while the trains to and from Wahroonga run 10 to 15 minutes apart, so there wasn't the risk of having to spend most of an hour waiting if I just missed a train. The other thing was that the closest station to Darling Harbour is Town Hall, which the Newcastle trains don't go to. The North Shore trains do go there, and it's much easier not to have to change trains at Central just to go to the next station!

I was so organised that I was in Darling Harbour by 8:30. Not long after I arrived, Yvette found me and I said that I was guessing that there would be about a dozen of us. We found a few more of the girls outside, and we went in together and found more of the girls inside as we wandered around the various stands. We didn't stay together as a group. Instead, we wandered around separately or in small groups, with the groups changing as we bumped into each other on the way around. We sat down in the Exhibition Centre cafeteria for a while, and the gathering grew until there were a dozen of us sitting around chatting. :)

I had 2 things that I specifically wanted to get, a large palette or two of eyeshadows and one particular sized brush. Remarkably, I bought what I set out to get and nothing more. The 2 palettes that I bought were on special at $35 each or 2 for $50, and the brush was just $4! While we were sitting around chatting, one of the other girls (I'm pretty sure that it was Su but I could be wrong) handed around a few eyeshadow testers that she'd been given by Chrissy. One of them was very much my colours, so I added that to my haul. :)

I'm embarrassed to admit that I forget who left us between sitting around and getting a few group photos in the foyer. The 4am start was really starting to catch up to me! A few of us walked down to the food court in the nearby shopping centre for a while. Eventually, I said goodbye and walked back to the station to catch my return train. As with the Alexandria trip, I was home early enough to shower and go out for dinner with the family in boy mode in the evening.

I believe that some of the girls are already making plans for IMATS next September! :)

17 September 2011

Halter!

Yes, I know that it's almost a fortnight since my last post. Work is very hectic at the moment, and doesn't look like letting up until the end of the month. After that, I'm almost certain to refuse to sign a new contract with substantially worse terms and conditions and much higher costs, and in doing so, walk away from virtually all of my current work.

I may get to take some forced holidays while I look for other work. Holidays will probably mean a bit more time en femme, but very little money to spend.

On a brighter note, this week I achieved one of the goals that I set myself at the beginning of the year. I wore something with a halter neck for the first time ever, to Tuesday's cafe night. What's more, it wasn't a wide banded halter neck but a thin strapped dress that I bought at an op shop a few weeks ago. I finally wore one of the convertible bras that I bought last year, with a clear plastic strap that was barely noticeable with the dress. Before I put the dress on, the plastic strap kept on wanting to roll over up my neck, but the straps of the dress seemed to keep it flat and, aside from the halter straps being quite an unfamiliar feeling, it was quite comfortable to wear and I didn't experience any wardrobe malfunctions. :p

04 September 2011

Fathers day

I guess you could say that I got a non-traditional fathers day present from my wife today. It's a hand-made charm bracelet. I have trouble with gold coloured costume jewellery tarnishing, so my wife made this from scratch using a type of coated wire that is not supposed to tarnish. Some of the parts in it required quite a bit of time to make.

My son gave me a hand-made fathers day card, which would have been a joint effort between my wife and son.

For someone living with depression as I am, these fairly simple, cheap but lovingly hand crafted items are a reminder that my family really do care about me, even if we do have our moments.

01 September 2011

Rejection

For years now, it's been a standard arrangement that if I'm home when my son goes to bed, I make his bed for him, tuck him in, give him a hug, kiss him on the forehead and say goodnight.

Last night, I was still in girl mode after the day out for the nail appointment and shopping. I made my son's bed and tucked him in, but then he told me that he was too tired and wanted to go to sleep rather than give me a hug. It was a very clear rejection of something about my being en femme.

I have put him to bed before when en femme, and he's had a funny smirk but hugged me. I'm wondering whether it's just that my hair was out loose and he didn't want me to put my hair in his face.

I'm a bit sad about the whole thing, and am not sure whether this is just an isolated incident or a developing rejection of my femme presentation, as he was quite happy to give me a hug tonight when I was back to male mode.

I guess next time I'm en femme at his bed time, I'll have to remember to put my hair up first and see if that makes a difference.

31 August 2011

A nine outing month

Today was my second nail appointment for the month. It was also the first time I'd had a morning appointment. I usually get early afternoon appointments but when I made this appointment, the afternoon was already booked out. That meant I had to make an effort to get up early to go to the appointment en femme.

Turning up en femme was a surprise to my nail technician, as I had mentioned last time that I usually get up late on the days when I get my nails done.

Interestingly, in spite of several days when I wanted to go out but had work that took priority, The nine outings that I had this month equals my record, which was set in December last year. One little difference is that this month I have been wigless for every outing.

Today's nail appointment then shopping was interesting in that I'm becoming increasingly comfortable going out without a wig, to places that I've been to many times in boy mode.

My average frequency of outings for the year hadn't been doing all that well, but after this month it's a lot better than it had been! There were 5 Tuesdays in the month, meaning 5 Newcastle cafe nights (and I didn't miss any), there were also 2 nail appointments (plus a bit of shopping afterwards each time), one Central Coast cafe night and one day in Sydney. In fact, my average is better than once ever 6 days, for the first time since early June.

28 August 2011

Yeah, occasionally

A couple of weeks ago when I went for my nail appointment wigless, I decided to try out a white gold nail polish. I wasn't all that keen on it once it was applied and decided to wear it a while and see if it would grow on me. After about 11 days, I decided that I just didn't like it, stripped it off and applied the bronze that I wore over the weekend of the shopping trip in Sydney in June.

Unlike June when I took the bronze back off before work on Monday, this time the plan was to apply it for day to day wear, including at work. The bronze is a bit darker and more obvious than the gold that I wore recently, and has got a bit more response.

I had to go to see a dentist a couple of days ago, and on the way out of the surgery, a receptionist asked if they were my real nails and I turned my left hand over so that she could see the underside of the nails and said yes, they're my real nails, but I have acrylic over the top to stop them from breaking. The ensuing conversation with the 2 receptionists and a nurse would have been completely normal if you ignored the fact that I was presenting as male at the time!

The most notable incident was yesterday, when I took my son to a birthday party for one of his school friends. He and his friend quickly disappeared into a bedroom to play, and I chatted briefly with the parents. The father commented about my nails during the conversation, and later asked if I ever dressed up to go with them. My response was "Yeah, occasionally." Nothing more was said about it, and the conversation flowed onto other things. When I returned to collect my son a few hours later, we had another fairly long conversation while the boys continued to play, and the subject didn't come back up again.

I wasn't going to push it because I don't want to cause problems at school for my son, but if the conversation heads in that direction again, I'm not going to be dishonest. I've sent the mother a friend request on Facebook from my male profile, so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

27 August 2011

snippety snip

Work has been a bit busy for me again lately, but I'm still surprised that it's been almost a fortnight since my last post. Sorry about that!

I was going to write about something else, but I was just looking back through my last few blog posts and realised that I didn't mention anything about my haircut.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was really about time that I got my hair cut, so I made a phone call on the Thursday and got an appointment for a haircut on the Friday afternoon at Salon Lisa in Maitland, which is run by Ralf, who I met at a cafe night in January, and his sister Elke. Maitland is over 30km and over half an hour's drive from my home, but Ralf came so highly recommended that I decided that it was worth the drive. Better still, I had to drive over half the way there for a work appointment, so I organised my hair appointment for after my work appointment.

Ralf had a good look at my hair and suggested that we just do a slight trim and tidy up this time round, and consider whether I want to do some layering next time.

Interestingly, he was very impressed with the condition of my hair and couldn't even find any split ends in spite of it having not been cut in over 4 years! After Sharon's comments a couple of days earlier, I was very happy that the length taken off was only a few millimetres, rather than the 4 inches that Sharon had suggested.

I asked Ralf about adding a bit more hair to my fringe. He wasn't keen to do so, and showed me a few options, and in the end we settled upon adding what he described as a wafer thin bit to the fringe. Very Monty Pythonesque. :)

Aside from being a bit tidier, it's almost impossible to discern that anything has been removed. I'm very happy with that, as I'm enjoying the length that my hair is and would like to grow it a bit longer yet.

PS my spellchecker doesn't like the word Pythonesque and suggests Grotesqueness instead. It's remarkably accurate. :p

15 August 2011

A day in Sydney

Melanie, one of my friends from Beauty Heaven, lives in Far North Queensland. She had to fly to Sydney for work over the weekend, and found out that she would have several hours to kill between booking out of her motel and booking in at the airport for her flight home on Sunday.

So what do you do when you've got a few hours to kill, a long way from home? You jump on Facebook and ask if any of your Beauty Heaven friends want to catch up, of course! A few of us were interested but with children to look after, illness, etc, it ended up being Su and Christine, who I went to Fashion Weekend Sydney with in May, Melanie and me.

In spite of staying up until after 1am getting things organised, I was up at 6:05am to get ready to catch a train at 8:48. As before, the train trips down and back were remarkably uneventful. At close quarters, even young children and teenagers paid me no particular attention. This was also the first time I've done an intercity trip without a wig. My last wigless train trip was a much shorter suburban one, while my previous intercity trip was done in my blonde wig.

I had a bit of a problem finding the others when I arrived in Sydney, but after a few phone calls, we found each other and headed off towards Haymarket to get some lunch. We then spent a while wandering around Paddys Markets.

As with my other recent daytime outings, virtually nobody appeared to pay me undue attention. Whether I pass better than I think that I do, people assume that I'm a transsexual or people just don't care, I don't know. I remember my paranoid past when I was convinced that everybody was looking at me, whispering and giggling. Whether it's my vastly improved confidence, an improvement in my presentation, my not being afraid of what people think of me (what Linda Karen calls my "inner f... you"), people generally not caring any more, or a combination of those, I don't know. What I do know is that going out en femme is getting to be so easy that I can't see how it could get much easier.

I'm now consistently enjoying life far more than I can remember ever having done before. Instead of my previous experience of having brief happy moments in a generally miserable existence, I have brief periods of exhaustion and moderate depression in a generally happy life. I have more genuine friends than I ever had before and I'm enjoying spending time with many of those friends. I am coping remarkably well with family problems and a bureaucratic rule change that threatens to destroy my small business. A few years ago, these circumstances would have had me close to suicidally depressed, but now I have the confidence to tackle my problems head on.

And just in case you're wondering about the photo, I was in joggers, so it seems that I'm a giant even in flats. ;)

13 August 2011

Making it all worthwhile

As I've mentioned before, I suffer from depression. Sometimes it interferes with my going out en femme. I get depressed and just don't feel like doing anything. Very self centred!

In contrast, the regular cafe nights that I go to are an altruistic activity. Their primary purpose is not for a clique of regulars to hang out and chat, but for there to be a consistent, known safe place where inexperienced transgender people to come out to. If people want to step out of their closet for the first time, we want to provide them with a venue. If they're too shy to come out en femme the first time, that's okay too. The goal is to show people that they can come out in public and to help them overcome their fears.

Even though I enjoy getting out to cafe nights, I sometimes struggle to overcome my depression and remember why I'm doing it.

This week, we had a new guest at our regular Tuesday night cafe night. When she came to door of the restaurant, Linda Karen and I were debating whether she was in fact a crossdresser or a GG. We weren't certain until she approached our table and introduced herself as Evelyn. I have been friends with Evelyn for some time, on Facebook and on another Australian site, but she was far more passable in person than in any photo I'd ever seen of her.

Evelyn told us that Tuesday was her 4th outing ever, and that her first ever outing had been the Sunday a fortnight earlier. Not only were the cafe nights a large inspiration to her, but so was my blog. Apparently she reads every post and enjoys the fact that I post about real world things that happen to me and around me.

Thank you Evelyn. Thank you not only for gracing us with your presence, but for your kind words of support. Thank you for showing me that I am making a difference, and making it all worthwhile. I hope that I'll see you again soon. :)

10 August 2011

Wigless close to home

As I mentioned last week, I had a nail appointment today. In spite of not expecting to do so, I pushed myself to do something that I didn't think I was ready for. In spite of my comments last month about going out wigless to Newcastle cafe nights, I really didn't think that I would be game to go to my nail appointment in my local suburb (literally a few minutes walk from home) wigless.

I was wrong. Today, I dressed in a fairly casual outfit without a wig, went to my nail appointment then to Charlestown Square to try on some shoes that I'd spotted in boy mode. I wandered around several stores, looked at various cheap jewellery and tried on a few pairs of shoes. The only thing that stopped me buying one pair was that they didn't feel quite right around the toes. I realised that I haven't trimmed my toenails recently, and that felt like the problem, so I need to do that and try them again soon. :)

I also dropped into Tree of Life and chatted with the manager, Sharon, who is a former hairdresser. She had never seen my hair out of a plait before, and immediately commented that I need to get about 4" cut off the ends because it's damaged (which I actually already knew because the ends go strange when straightened).

So now I need to try to figure out when I can get my hair cut, which I said I was going to do back in January.

04 August 2011

Education Week

It's Education Week in schools around here this week, and my 8yo son's school had an open day for parents and grandparents yesterday. Remembering that younger children are reputed to be unusually observant of gender non-conforming things such as a guy with long nails, I was curious to see what sort of reactions I'd get.

My wife and I spent about an hour in my son's classroom, watching him do various normal classroom tasks. I don't think that very many of the people present even took any notice of my being there, and none appeared to notice my nails.

The second part of our visit was a school assembly, where various awards were given out, the choir sang a couple of songs and the principal made a speech. I ended up at the end of a row of seats, where many of the children (ranging in age from about 5 to 12) walked past on their way in and out of the school hall. In the whole time, I saw just one girl (about 9yo) who looked at my nails, looked at my face, looked back at my nails and then turned to whisper to the girl next to her without even breaking stride, I'm pretty sure that she didn't turn around to look back at me.

With the number of children who walked past me, I was genuinely surprised that only one appeared to have even noticed my nails. The paranoid assumption that everybody would notice has been well and truly disproven! :)

03 August 2011

Hairy admiration

The building society branch that I often go to for work has recently had an almost complete change of staff. Apparently they've been shuffling staff amongst the branches. The teller that I showed my photo to last December doesn't appear to be there any more. In fact, I can only think of one of the staff from last year who is still there.

In boy mode, I almost always have my hair tied up in a ponytail and plaited to keep it from getting damaged, dirty, etc.

One day last week I was the only customer in the branch and I got into a conversation with three of the tellers who are there now but weren't before. One complimented me on how straight and even my plait was. All three of them agreed that they couldn't plaint their hair as well as I do mine.

I responded that my hair comes out a lot better now that I use a hair straightener. More agreement.

Afterwards, I was thinking that it's funny. Guys don't generally have conversations like that with women. I'm still trying to remember whether that happened a day or two before I changed my nails from brown to gold, or within the first few days afterwards. :)

02 August 2011

Another client's nail comment

As mentioned, I've kept the gold nail polish on for over a week now. Yesterday I had another male client make a fairly off-handed remark something like "It takes a lot of effort to maintain nails like that."

I thought at first that it was a fairly neutral remark rather than being either positive or negative, but upon reflection I think that I should take it as a compliment that I manage to keep my nails looking how they do.

I commented that I thought that it might be a bit confrontational to some people. He shrugged and commented "To each their own" then we continued with the job at hand.

To some extent I'm tempted to tell the closeted people on forums to stop being negative because the bad things that they imagine happening (and often carry on about at length) just don't happen, but I fear that I'd jinx myself by doing so and end up having something bad happen! For now, I'll just keep relating the things that actually happen.

Real world experience trumps imagination. :)

01 August 2011

Mediocre but improving

I haven't been all that well, so I didn't manage to have any outings en femme aside from the regular cafe nights last month. Having missed one Tuesday night at the beginning of the month, that means I've had a total of 4 outings for the month. I'm a bit disappointed at that, but it's still better than no outings at all!

I still don't expect my work to slow down and give me more me time this month, so I'm probably going to get out to most or all of the cafe nights but not much else. I've got a nail appointment next week, and if I keep to my 3-weekly schedule, I'll have another on the 31st. I might try to get to at least one in girl mode depending how I'm feeling.

My wife will be away for a few days including a weekend this month, leaving me with my son. That pretty much guarantees no time en femme while she's away.

Oh well, that's how it goes.

31 July 2011

Nice err Gloves

I'm still wearing the gold nail polish that I applied for last Saturday's family Christmas in July get together.

I took my wife and son out for dinner last night, at a restaurant that we frequently go to. I've gone there many times with my nails painted light brown and once with them painted bronze and had no comments. Last night, as I paid the bill, the waitress (who we've seen there many times before) glanced at my hands. She said "Nice... err...", then paused. She glanced at my son, who was putting on gloves and said "Gloves".

I didn't laugh at the time, but I'm quite amused at the number of people who clearly see my nails but go out of their way to pretend not to have noticed. It's almost an "elephant in the room" type of effect. :)

To date, I've only ever had 2 comments that weren't complimentary of my nails. I mentioned one last month, but I don't think that I mentioned the other one. Neither was specifically negative or insulting, more just a comment to say that they had noticed.

When I decided to keep my nails long, I was genuinely expecting some negative comments. I'm really enjoying having my nails how they are, and even more so given the absence of those anticipated comments!

27 July 2011

Fixed nail and a distinct lack of comments

I was able to get an appointment to get my broken nail fixed on Monday afternoon. The remains of the gel was buffed off so that the remains of the acrylic could be soaked off. A plastic false tip was glued on, then the acrylic and gel re-done, along with 2 coats of the same gold polish as I already had on the rest and a top coat.

The net result is that unless you look at the underside of the repaired nail, you can't tell the difference between it and the rest, so they're back to looking like they did on Saturday.

Which of course puts me back to having all of my nails quite long and painted a rather obvious shade of gold. Having had no comment or even any obvious sign of anybody paying undue attention to my nails while in boy mode, I've decided to leave them this colour until I feel like a change, or my next infill in 2 weeks time, whichever comes first. :)

25 July 2011

Snap

Yesterday afternoon, I walked away from the computer part way through typing yesterday's blog post to help sort and put away some clothes. While I was hanging up a shirt, my wife handed me something gold that she'd found in the washing basket that I'd been taking the clothes out of...

BUGGER!

(For those of you not in Australia, that's a mild expletive, on par with oh crap or damn!, not an invitation. :p )

Realistically, with my work being so busy, unless I can get a late appointment today, it'll be at least Wednesday before I can get this fixed. I've stuck with the colour for work though... :)

24 July 2011

Christmas in July

Have you ever tried to get an extended family group together at Christmas? Some of my relatives, and some of my wife's relatives try it every year. There are always people who can't make it, so last Christmas, someone suggested organising a Christmas in July get-together. This was for the same family group as we spent the evening with last Christmas, but with a different combination of people absent.

I gave some serious consideration to going to this event en femme, but knew that there was a lot of potential for problems if I did, so I compromised and went with a fairly subtle combination of jeans with yellow and orange tops and shoes chosen to complement my gold nail polish. As with Christmas, nobody said anything. Pretty much what I expected.

I've just about decided that I'll leave the gold polish on my nails until at least Tuesday for the cafe night. :)

20 July 2011

Another thing about last week

I knew that there was something else that I intended to mention about last Tuesday night's cafe night. Because it was the 200th, and my wife had gone to the 100th with me, I had hoped that my inlaws would take our son overnight so that my wife could go with me. My wife appeared to also like the idea, and seemed to want to go.

On the Sunday before, my sister in law (wife's sister) came up from Sydney to visit her parents for a few days, bringing her toddler (our son's cousin) with her. While our son was welcome to go and visit during the day, we were assured that his presence would guarantee that his cousin would be too hyped up to go to sleep, and therefore the option of having him stay there overnight on the Tuesday night no longer existed.

I commented to my wife that every time I ask our son if he wants to go somewhere with me when I'm in girl mode, he says no. With nobody to take him for the night, the options were that she stay home with him as usual, or that they both go with me. It was school holidays, so it wouldn't matter too much if he was up late, but I didn't want to pressure him, so it was her decision.

My wife's decision was that we all went. She told our son of her decision, and he didn't argue. When it was time for him to get ready (when I was mostly ready), I told him that it was time to get ready and he changed clothes and got ready without any fuss.

Aside from being bored (I only remember one other person going out of her way to talk to him while we were there) and tired because we were out later than he was accustomed to, he coped quite well.

I'm not sure whether it was a good result in terms of him being more prepared to go out with me when I'm en femme in the future or not, but it didn't appear to be a bad result.

17 July 2011

Bright red nails at work - part 2

A couple of months ago, I mentioned going to see a work client with bright red nail polish on my nails, which were, even then, quite a bit too long to be normal for a male.

Because last Tuesday night was the 200th Newcastle cafe night, we had a few girls from Sydney who hadn't been for some time make the trip up to for the special event. One of those was the friend that I mentioned that my client knows is transitioning. In conversation, I discovered that she had visited that client for a couple of hours, and that after about an hour and a half, he asked her directly what the story was with my nails. I think she said that he had described them as "very long and very red". Her answer was to tell him that she knows me as Alice.

While most people would see that as a betrayal of trust because she had outed me to someone I know, in this particular case it was not. I don't remember whether I had explicitly given her permission to do so, but I know that had certainly given her implicit permission. The client in question has known me for several years, but has known my friend for decades. She knows him better than I do, so when he asked that question of her rather than of me, she knew that the answer that she gave was the right thing to do.

She also mentioned to him that it isn't generally appropriate for her to tell him what she had, or for him to say anything to me about it unless I volunteer information myself. In this particular case, that wouldn't have bothered me.

The red nails incident occurred over 3 months ago, and I believe that her visit and conversation with him occurred within a few days afterwards. Not only has my client said nothing to me about it, there has not been the slightest indication of a change in his attitude towards me in that time.

Next time I see him I might mention that I had dinner with her and that she told me about their conversation. :)

16 July 2011

frequent wiglessness


I forgot to mention in my last post that, following on from the outings on the Central Coast and in Sydney early last month, I wore my blonde wig for both of the outings closer to home, then, after missing out on a week, I decided to challenge myself and go out to a Newcastle cafe night sans wig.

I'm honestly not sure whether that's a bigger deal than using a lift in a shopping centre or catching a train to Sydney and back, but I know that until recently, I've always feared recognition. It wasn't until I was typing this blog post that I realised that the reason why going out locally in girl mode wigless doesn't bother me as much as it used to is that I no longer fear that recognition anywhere nearly as much as I used to.

Plenty of people (including quite a few work clients) know that I am a crossdresser even if they've never said anything or even seen photos. With my long nails, long hair with fringe, shaped brows, pierced ears and general lack of facial and body hair, I look somewhat feminine even as a guy. Even though few people comment, I'm fairly confident that a lot of people guess from just my nails.

After that one local cafe night outing, the obvious question was why would I bother with a wig unless I wanted to change my colouring. And so it was that the two outings so far this month have also been wigless. I expect that I'll probably go wigless again this Tuesday night, but I'm unsure whether I want to go wigless to my nail appointment that is so close to home. Then again, I might not even get there en femme. I'll have to make a decision before Wednesday.

15 July 2011

Over run

I mentioned in January that I knew that my work commitments were going to get a lot busier than they were last year, but I underestimated the extent, because I had no way of knowing that there would be even fewer people available to do the work than there were even a couple of months ago.

With the massive influx of work has come a number of missed outings. Not only was there the Tuesday cafe night that I previously mentioned that I'd missed, but I got to one Tuesday cafe night then missed the following two and the Seahorse meeting, and my last nail appointment was done in boy mode. I'm happy to say that I did manage to get to the Central Coast cafe night on Wednesday last week and the 200th Newcastle Cafe night this week, so hopefully I'm getting back on track.

It remains to be seen whether I manage to keep my workload under control or whether I end up being over run again.

18 June 2011

Instant recognition

Last week, I mentioned that I was wondering whether the new casual girl at Tree of Life in Charlestown Square would recognise me in boy mode. Well, the answer was yes. Unlike the manager, Sharon, the young woman (whose name I'm embarrassed to admit I still can't remember in spite of being told it about 10 times so far) did a double take the first time she looked at me when I went there in boy mode, and I thought that I saw a hint of amusement. When I spoke to her she confirmed that she had recognised me instantly.

Going from a blonde wig to male is about the biggest contrast in appearance that I do. If I had been there with my own hair in girl mode or with an auburn wig, recognition would not have surprised me so much.

Sharon, like my sister-in-law's mother, knew me in boy mode first and didn't recognise me in girl mode. If someone knows me but doesn't know about my crossdressing, there's a much larger mental leap to make to recognise me in girl mode. I suspect that seeing me in girl mode first (and probably reading me) makes it much easier to recognise me as a guy.

17 June 2011

Snoozing and losing

Things fell apart somewhat for me again this week. We had a long weekend last weekend, and I spent most of it sorting out computer related issues that I had been putting off for far too long. In the back of my mind, I had wondered if I'd get what needed doing done in two days and have a chance of getting out on the holiday Monday. No, not a chance!

As it turned out, I was still sorting things out late Monday night, meaning that I got to bed fairly late in spite of having an early start Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon, I was exhausted. I intended to lie down for a while before getting ready to go out for dinner, but the little while ended up being all of the time that I would have needed to get ready and then some. I got up briefly, had some dinner then went back to sleep, missing out on going out. :(

Some time after 9pm, I got up and got ready for bed, then sat down in front of a computer to check emails, facebook etc, and then realised that I'd blown it yet again as it was after midnight by the time I went to bed.

I'll just have to get myself organised and get out again as soon as I can. :)

10 June 2011

More often than not

In my last post, I mentioned that I intended to go out on both Tuesday and Wednesday. It wasn't until Wednesday evening that I realised that I had been out 4 times in the first 8 days of the month. Then I realised that the last day of last month was Tuesday, and I'd been out to the cafe that night as well, making 5 outings in 9 days.

Of course, I didn't get out Thursday or today (Friday) and won't be getting out Saturday, so the frequency has dropped back a bit, but that little burst of activity was interesting.

On a side note, after getting my nails done on Wednesday afternoon, I went to Charlestown Square for a little while. I dropped into the Tree of Life store to say hello, and they had a new casual girl there in addition to the manager, Sharon, who didn't recognise me a couple of years ago. As far as Sharon and I know, the new girl didn't read me at all, so it will be interesting to see what happens next time she's working when I happen to be there in boy mode. :)

On Wednesday, I was also wearing the same pink top as I wore when I had my photo taken in the Tree of Life store in Charlestown last year. Do I look thinner as a blonde? :p

06 June 2011

improved frequency

I noticed after Saturday's outing that my frequency of outings is finally better than once every 6 days for the first time since January, just before things fell apart.

This week, I plan to go out to the Tuesday cafe night, and to a nail appointment on Wednesday en femme (I forgot to mentioned it, but I promised last time that I'd go blonde this time). I've also applied to re-join Seahorse NSW, a support group that I was a member of up until a few years ago, when I chose to let my membership lapse because I didn't believe that I would ever go to their meetings again.

I've been out twice so far this month. If things work out, I may get to the Seahorse meeting late in the month, as well as all of the cafe nights and two nail appointments 3 weeks apart. That would total nine outings for the month. I don't really expect to get to all of those, but there's no harm in trying. :)

05 June 2011

Daytime wigless shopping with the girls

Choosing a title for this post was quite difficult. I really wanted it to emphasise the fact that I had a really enjoyable day out with a great group of cisgender women who accept me as the woman that I present myself as, but I also wanted it to reflect the fact that I went on a daytime outing without a wig.

It was quite a long day for me, and as I mentioned yesterday, I painted my nails on Friday night in preparation for Saturday. Aside from that, I chose my outfit in advance, deciding to wear the same outfit as I had worn to a nail appointment a few weeks ago, but add a jacket because the weather is cooling down.

Getting up before 6am meant I was up before dawn, having had less than 5 hours sleep. I worked my way through all of the things that needed doing, including straightening my hair for only the third time. I'm happy to say that I'm starting to get the hang of it and it's taking less time than expected.

The only thing that I forgot to do while getting dressed was to put the shoulder straps onto my convertible strapless body shaper. Until yesterday, I had always worn the straps with this type of shaper because the previous ones that didn't have straps would inevitably roll down and bunch at the waist. While I did have to hitch the top edge up a few times during the day, it was nowhere nearly as bad as expected, and gives me hope that I might yet be able to use this shaper with halter neck tops and dresses once the weather warms up.

The plan was for a group of us who had met through Beauty Heaven to meet up at noon at the front of the Estee Lauder Staff Shop in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery, a few kilometres south of the city. Three of the girls live in the city area, and one of those, Jasmine, offered to collect me and another girl from Central railway station and drive us there. Unfortunately, the other girl who was to come by train from the south coast was unable to make it on the day, and as I mentioned a few days ago, there were trackworks planned, which would affect the Newcastle trains, so I decided to drive to Wahroonga, right near the end of the freeway and catch a train from there to Central.

That led to another little first for me. The first time putting fuel in my car en femme. I know that it's a trivial thing, but for whatever reason, I've always planned things such that the car was fuelled up before I went driving anywhere en femme.

The drive down, including putting fuel in the car and going into the shop to pay was uneventful, as was the train trip in (on the train before the one I planned to catch). There was a little confusion meeting up with Jasmine, as I was at a railway station exit at the acute intersection of 2 streets, expecting her to be on one street when she had stopped on the other, just out of sight of where I was standing. That was sorted out by SMS, and we set off for the shop. We drove along the street, spotting 2 other factory outlet shops and a church fete before finding the place in between the other 2 outlets. We were the first to arrive, and aside from Magda, who messaged to say that she was running late, the rest arrived within a few minutes of us. We went in, and shopped enthusiastically. :)

Both Su and Christine, who I went to Fashion Weekend Sydney with a few weeks ago, were in our group. Christine finished in the shop first and decided to check out the fete while waiting for the rest of us. She found that there was a table there with unopened cosmetics that had been donated, and bought a few. When the rest of us had finished at Estee Lauder, we walked up to the Swarovski outlet, which we found out is only open 10am to 2pm on the first Saturday of every month, so we fluked it! After admiring but not buying anything there, we wandered across the road to the fete, where Michelle found the bargain of the day, an unopened Dr Lewinns facial set. We all wandered back past the two shops that we'd already been to, to get to the final shop, which was on the next block. That shop was also only open 10am to 2pm on the first Saturday of each month! Several of us bought a few things there, then we wandered back to the front of the Estee Lauder shop to take a few photos while Michelle and Christine waited for their lift home. Jasmine gave Su, Magda and me a lift back to the city, dropping Su near her home then driving us to Central.

Just as I said goodbye to Magda and started to make my way to the platform to catch my train, an old asian man gesticulated wildly at me and shouted excitedly to his friends in a language I don't understand. I assumed he had read me and was telling his friends. Then again, maybe he thought that I was someone famous. Nicole Kidman, perhaps. Same height and hair colour. :p Once upon a time, this would have been a devastating blow to my self confidence. Instead, my reaction was to think that he was a rude, stupid so-and-so, ignore him and continue on my way.

The train trip back to my car was a bit delayed because the train was faulty, which meant standing for about 15 minutes on the platform waiting for it, then delays at several stations on the way. I wasn't aware of anybody taking undue notice of me in that whole time, including a boisterous mixed group of 6 teenagers who were standing right next to me on the platform.

In spite of my earlier concerns, the combination of makeup, straightened hair (including the fringe) and hair spray was successful in hiding my widows peaks even out in the wind. If anything, in spite of my hesitance to go wigless because of my widows peaks, I am now starting to feel that I actually pass better without a wig. Of course, passing is very much a state of mind, and being increasingly comfortable in public in all sorts of circumstances seems to be making more difference than more effort with my presentation ever could.

I made good time on the drive home, arriving home around 5:15pm. I immediately changed, had a quick shower and went out for dinner with my family in boy mode. We were sitting in the restaurant before 7pm. I did, however, choose to leave the nail polish on. I asked my wife if she would object and she said no, she didn't. Because it was cold, we all wore gloves outside, but my nails were visible while we were in the restaurant. Nobody said anything. I'm tempted to leave it on until my next nail appointment on Wednesday, but I don't think that I'm quite up to dealing with work clients for 2 days and my inlaws over dinner on Monday night, so it's probably going to come off tonight.

04 June 2011

Nail clippers

After Wednesday night's cafe night outing, I decided that I had to take the nail colour off and I didn't have time to apply another colour and wait for it to dry before going to bed, because I had an early start Thursday. Given that my nails look fairly natural now that they just have gel overlays on real nails with no extensions, I decided that I could get away with just having them plain, so that's what I did from Wednesday night until Friday night, when I did my nails in preparation for Saturday's outing, which I'll write about tomorrow. I'm too tired to write it up tonight, but thought I'd share this little comment from Friday, by a long-term work client.

This particular guy was one of the very few who commented about my pierced ears, doing so every time I saw him for the first couple of years after I had them done. He insisted that I should have had more piercings one side or the other to identify whether I was "tough" or gay. I told him that I wanted them balanced because I was too unbalanced as it was. :p He also commented on my long hair many years ago.

While my nails were unpainted, I visited that same client. He noticed my nails, and made a passing remark about needing to get some nail clippers onto them. Knowing that he was kidding, I simply let it slide. While I've known him for well over a decade, I really don't know how he would react if I came out to him, and I don't see any benefit in doing so at present. Given the things that he has noticed, he may well have guessed but chosen not to say anything. In hindsight, I'm not sure whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that I had no colour on my nails!

02 June 2011

More wiglessness

I finally had another go at using my hair straightener yesterday. I straightened my hair before 2pm, wrote yesterday's blog post, did my nails, did my makeup, etc before heading out for dinner. I don't think that I did that good a job with the straightener, but it was mostly okay. I'm sure that it will improve with practice! Sadly, by the time I left home, my hair was well on the way to frizzing again due to the humidity. :(

Regardless, I brushed my hair to give me a centre part and a fringe, similar to my wigs, and went out wigless for only the second time. Unlike last time, I was far more comfortable with how my hair framed my face, although I did find that the top was a bit flat and the back of my hair tended to annoy me a bit. In spite of using a heat protection spray, it felt a bit dry and straw-like from straightening (a lot like how some of my older wigs feel), and then as it frizzed, it became more bulky, and that's when it became annoying.

In spite of the fact that my wigless appearance is a lot like my male appearance because I have the same fringe both ways, I'm a lot more comfortable going wigless after last night than I was after the first time. In fact, I'm seriously considering going wigless for my trip to Sydney on Saturday. If it's cold, I might even break out the beanie with pom-pom on top that causes my wife to crack up every time I wear it. :)

01 June 2011

A seven outing month

May ended up being an okay month for me. In spite of at the missed opportunity to get my nails done en femme plus one other day when I had planned a week in advance to go out but got too busy with work, I ended up getting out a total of 7 times including the train trip to Sydney.

The seventh outing was achieved because there were 5 Tuesdays in the month. I am still a long way behind my target for the whole year, but I've caught up a bit from where I was up to last month.

The coming month is looking promising, too. Tonight is a Central Coast cafe night, and I'm planning on another shopping trip to Sydney on Saturday with friends who I met through Beauty Heaven. Due to trackworks, I plan to drive to the northern side of Sydney and catch a suburban train into the city and back this time.

I have to keep this short or I'll run out of time to paint my nails before getting ready to go out tonight. I want to try out a Face of Australia limited edition molten metal nail polish. :)

21 May 2011

Resolution at last

When I was in 1st class, a girl moved to my school. She was the most attractive girl I'd ever seen, and we were in the same classes all the way through infants and primary school. Because we were both in the top classes for most subjects, we remained in some of the same classes all the way through high school. I started to take an interest in girls around the end of primary school and this turned into an infatuation with the girl who I thought was the most exquisitely beautiful girl on the planet. Yes, I really did think of her like that.

Unfortunately, around the age of 5, when I was in kindergarten, I realised that I was different. I was weird. I was a freak. I wanted to dress up, look and behave like a girl, and I was absolutely certain that I was the only one in the world who was such a screwed up freak. Hence, I was a social misfit. I was also a geek. In 1978, my father built a microcomputer around a Signetics 2650 CPU evaluation kit. By about 1980 (age 11) I knew how to load programs either by hand from printouts, or using the cassette recorder that plugged into the computer.

So what happens when an extremely self conscious geek who is paranoid that someone will discover his dark secret of wanting to cross dress is infatuated with one of the most popular, attractive girls in the school?

Of course, I did things to try to make her notice me. Of course it all went wrong.

Virtually everybody who knew me knew that I was infatuated with her, but I could barely even talk to her. She was out of my league and I knew it. About the only thing that I was successful at was hiding my crossdressing from everybody except my mother (who didn't let on that she knew until years later). I later came to believe that I caused that girl a great deal of embarrassment over the 6 years of high school.

The last time I saw her was about 8 years ago, when my then pregnant wife and I got up and danced with belly dancers in a Turkish restaurant which has long since closed. I saw her, but didn't know whether she realised who I was or not. My feeling at the time was that she recognised me and looked away.

Today, I was looking through "people you might know" from high school on my male facebook profile and realised that she has recently joined facebook. I wasn't entirely sure how she'd react, and I sent her a friend request with a message attached, in part saying:

One of my biggest regrets in life is the embarrassment that I caused you in High School, and I'll understand entirely if you don't want to add me as a friend.

A few hours later, I went back on facebook to find that she had accepted my friend request, and had sent me a message in response, in part saying:

Please don't worry about high school that was such a long time ago. Happy to accept you as a friend.

It's incredible how those few words have lifted a feeling of guilt that has been in the back of my mind for over 20 years.

Now I have to decide whether to send her a friend request from my female profile or not. Perhaps not straight away. :)

18 May 2011

Opportunity lost

Because I've been struggling to get work done, due to a combination of way too much of it and ongoing headache problems, I decided yesterday that if I was able to get a particular job completed, I'd go to my nail appointment today en femme, and if I didn't, I'd go in boy mode.

Sadly, by the time I got home from the cafe night last night, organised myself and showered, I got to bed after 1am without touching the paperwork. I slept poorly and ended up sleeping in a bit, which helped my head a bit, but meant no girl mode outing today.

While I was at the salon, several things happened that made me regret the decision. Firstly, unlike the time I went there en femme last month during school holidays, the daughter of the woman who does my nails was there because she was off school sick. I think that seeing me en femme would have cheered her up. The second thing that happened is that a woman who I have spoken to a few times before because she often has her appointment after mine on a Wednesday afternoon was there, and she still hasn't seen me in girl mode yet, either. One of the staff who had been in hospital recently was back, and she also missed out on the twice that I went there en femme...

The final thing was a little more complicated. The salon sub-lets a room to a remedial massage therapist, so a wide variety of people come to see her. Today, that included a client of mine from work, who I've only done one job for but it was fairly recently. If I had been in girl mode, he would have been very unlikely to recognise me but in boy mode, he almost certainly did. He didn't say anything to me, but given that I was sitting at the nail technicians' station waiting for my nails to dry, it's a fairly safe bet that he realised what I was there for.

I don't mind coming out to people on my own terms, but something beyond my control like that worries me a bit. Of course, there's nothing that I can do about it, so I'll just have to live with it.

The ultimate irony of my self imposed missing out on going out en femme is that I probably didn't get much (if any) more work done than if I had gone out en femme. Yes, I'm kicking myself!

16 May 2011

Pushing boundaries

Yesterday, I did a few things that pushed my comfort zone. Surprisingly, things that I feared so much that I simply hadn't done them turned out to be remarkably easy.

On Thursday night, Su, one of my friends on Facebook who I originally knew from the forums on Beauty Heaven, asked who wanted to go to Fashion Weekend Sydney, on Sunday afternoon. My immediate reaction was that I'd love to go but wouldn't have time. After some lively discussion on Facebook, I decided that I'd try to get there. At least one of the other women that I met at the Beauty Heaven open day last year, Christine, was going, and another two of my online friends might also have been going.

I considered driving, catching a train or perhaps a combination of the two by driving part way then catching a train from there. Like my former fear of using lifts en femme, I had never used public transport en femme for fear of being abused or assaulted by somebody and being unable to get away from them. That's also why I still haven't managed to get to Sydney during the week for a shopping trip that I had planned to do in January!

By the time I went to bed on Saturday night, I had chosen my outfit and decided that if I went at all, I'd walk to my local railway station and catch the train to Central station in Sydney, then walk to the venue at Moore Park rather than try to figure out buses. It was less than 2.5km walk each way, which really isn't a problem for me in flat shoes. I set my alarm for 8am Sunday. The goal was to make a 10:50am train, which was supposed to get to Central at about 1:12pm. Walk a fairly flat route to meet up with the others around 1:45. Easy!

When I woke up and looked at the clock in the bedroom, it was 7:59. I turned off the alarm so that it wouldn't disturb my wife and got up. I started with the usual morning things of washing my face and having breakfast. I could have wimped out and gone back to bed, and seriously considered it several times. Fortunately, I continued instead. I did my makeup and dressed, and walked to the railway station with 6 minutes to spare. I took a seat on the surprisingly busy platform while I waited, and boarded the train when it arrived. I took a seat and was almost universally ignored. It was a bit of an anti-climax. On the way down, I had 2 women sit next to me at different times along the way. Neither spoke to me, but that's fairly normal for the majority of people on trains around here.

At Central, and on the walk from there to the event, it was the same story. Everybody was too busy with their own lives to take any notice of me.

When I arrived at the venue, I walked to the main gates wondering whether this was where to go in or not, and looked to see both Su and Christine standing waving to me. We went in and had a brief look around on the way to the 2pm fashion show, which I think was a first for all three of us. The tickets that Su had been given were for front row seats about half way along the catwalk, so I'm probably in the background of a lot of photos. :)

After the fashion show, we spent over an hour wandering around looking through all the stalls, and generally not spending money. Su bought one dress for $10 that was probably originally priced over $100. When she and I went up to the VIP lounge so that she could pay without queuing, we discovered that we were supposed to have received VIP goodies bags and could get complimentary mini-manicures (a new coat of nail polish). Even though I'd been slack and was still sporting my 18 day old nail polish from my last salon visit, I decided against the manicure since it would take a while and I'd have to clean it off and go back to boring beige before the morning anyway.

When we found Christine outside, we explained about the goodies bags and she went back in to get hers. There was a little mix up, and we stayed outside waiting for her to come back out, while she thought that we had gone back inside and waited for us just inside the door. While there, she bumped into Olivia, one of the staff from Beauty Heaven. We chatted briefly, got a few photos then Olivia headed back inside while we set off home.

After a little confusion trying to find the bus stop for Christine to get back to Central, I decided that it would be better to spend $2 to get a bus to Central with her than walking and risking missing my train and having to wait a full hour for the next one. We got a bus, and were very fortunate that the driver told us at a stop that this was the stop for Central, because we wouldn't have known and would both have missed our trains. As it was, I got the train with just a few minutes to spare. When I arrived, there was a large crowd on the platform as there was a 4-car train at the platform and another 4-car set was being shunted and coupled to form an 8-car train and nobody could get aboard until the coupling was completed. I waited in the crowd, again finding that nobody paid me any undue attention.

The trip home was as uneventful as the trip there, but it was a bit cold on the train, and even colder on the walk home. Because I had the VIP goodies bag on the seat next to me, nobody sat next to me on the way home.

While it was quite a long day, I accomplished several things. I met Su, who I'd known online for years but not met before, I took two quite long train trips totalling about 5 hours, and a bus trip of a few minutes in Sydney en femme, I sat in the front row at a fashion show, browsed a large fashion sale amongst hundreds of people and was treated as the woman I presented as for the whole time. I know that a few people looked at me funny from time to time, but there was no direct negativity and certainly no aggression aimed at me in the whole time.

I'm also finally starting to shake a feeling that I've experienced when I'm en femme with other people. I've often felt like I'm an amusement or a diversion to people, or that they are just humouring me. It's not something that I've ever put into words before, and I know that I don't get that feeling from some people, such as Marian, who works at the cafe where we go for dinner on Tuesday nights. With other people, I'm not so sure. I really didn't feel that way with Su and Christine. Instead, I felt like I was with real friends who accept me as I am. The part of my mind that has been telling me for years that I'm a freak is getting shouted down, and that's probably a bigger breakthrough for me than overcoming my fears. :)

There's already an indication that Su and I might meet up with Jasmine, one of the other girls who didn't make it on Sunday, to go shopping sometime in a few weeks. Don't worry, I'll be sure to post about it if it happens. :)

09 May 2011

Some people just don't get it

I had an interesting little incident happen yesterday.

A couple of days ago, I attempted to enter an Estee Lauder competition on Facebook, only to find that in order to enter, you had to have picked up a free sample of their new lipsticks from David Jones or Myer first, as the competition requires you to enter a code from the packaging.

On Sunday, I was in boy mode taking my wife and son somewhere else, and on the way we stopped by David Jones at Kotara to visit the Estee Lauder counter so that I could pick up the free sample. This is the same place where I bought a bottle of foundation last month, but the Estee Lauder rep there was not one of the 3 that I've dealt with there before.

I walked straight up to the rep and told her that I was after a free sample of the lipstick. There were no samples on display at all, but she knew exactly what I was talking about and opened a drawer and got the sample out, only to turn to my wife and present it to her!

My wife immediately handed the sample to me. At this point, I still don't think that the rep had realised that it was for me. Perhaps having my nails about 10mm past the fingertips and painted, long hair with a fringe, both ears pierced, etc was too subtle for her.

I wasn't finished though, as there was something else that I needed to ask her, which left her in no doubt as to the fact that I was there for product for myself. I asked her whether there has been a problem with the Double Wear foundation, as the last bottle that I bought there recently is noticeably paler than the previous ones. When she assured me that nothing has changed with the product and that she was not aware of any problems with it, I informed her that I'd used 3 or 4 bottles of it over the past few years and that the current one is noticeably paler than the previous ones. I told her which shade it was, and when she suggested that perhaps my skin tone has changed, I said no, the foundation is different. Her response was to get a small sample bottle out and fill it from the bulk bottle of that shade that they use in the store.

After all of that, she appeared indifferent, as if she just wanted to give me the sample so that I'd go away. I got the impression that she didn't care about whether I wore makeup or not, her attitude appeared to be that I and my family didn't look posh enough to deserve to be at the Estee Lauder counter or to be served by her.

I'll try that sample against the bottle I'm using and see if they are the same or not. If it's different, I'll take the bottle back and see if they'll replace it. Whether I'll go in boy mode or girl mode, I don't know yet. :)