27 May 2012

Evolution of a hairline

Back in January last year, I posted about my first wigless outing. In this post, I've finally set out to describe how I create a hairline that allows me to confidently step out without a wig in spite of my naturally receded hairline.

When I was a child, I had a normal rounded hairline. In my teens, I developed a pair of receded patches above my temples which for years I incorrectly referred to as widows peaks, and for which I've never found a correct name. In the second photo at right, I've roughly scribbled my natural hairline in cyan. Yes, that's me without makeup ~ Urk!

While I was at University, I grew my hair long, but never went out crossdressed, in part because I wasn't able to effectively disguise my hairline.

After getting my hair cut short as part of a partial purge to try to sustain an unworkable relationship with a woman who absolutely rejected my crossdressing (who was also a cougar almost 10 years my senior), I bought a wig and stopped thinking about going out without one.

Wigs, however, created a small problem. The sides of all of the wigs I've ever owned incorporate a curved piece in front of the ear with an edge that goes from there up the side of the forehead. The side of my own hairline is quite different, having a curve around the temple that follows my original childhood hairline towards the middle, then turns back to the bald patch above the temple. When I wore a wig, a patch of my own hair would be visible above each temple.

To avoid having hair showing that contrasted against my wig, I took to shaving up each side of my forehead to remove that hair. As I bought different wigs, the shape of the edge of the wigs varied and I shaved slightly more hair, until I ended up shaving an almost straight line from the top corner of the ear to the outside edge of the bald patch, as shown by the green line on the photo. By taking that hair off, I actually made the hairline less noticeably receded, but still not good enough to go without a wig.

I think that it was in late 2010 that one of my friends from the cafe nights, Jenny, mentioned that she prefers her hairline to be higher in the middle of her forehead than it is naturally, and that she shaves it to raise the line. Like the sides, I had already been taking a little bit off there to suit wigs that didn't come quite far enough forward, but I hadn't considered taking considerably more off until Jenny mentioned doing it on purpose.

There is, of course, a compromise to be made. On one hand, the hair that I remove means less hair in my already sparse fringe, but on the other hand, the raised line (shown in lime green in the photo) means that the hairline looks more rounded and that the thickness of my fringe is more even because I've removed some of the thickness from the middle while not altering the edges.

Having shaven the sides and middle, I was left with a pair of much smaller looking bald patches, which still showed up through my fringe. The final step was to colour them in with makeup. I already used contouring and highlighting to alter the apparent shape of my face as part of my makeup, so this was just another small step, which I did by taking my foundation over the whole area then using an eye shadow that is a close match to my hair (the same one as I use on my brows) to colour in the area above the mustard line on the photo.

The last photo here was taken after this week's cafe night. I simply brushed my hair back to reveal the makeup, while the first photo is how it looked with the fringe brushed over it.

Does that qualify as a comb-over? :P

20 May 2012

The first Newcastle Beauty Heaven meet-up

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to the first Newcastle meet-up of Beauty Heaven members at Charlestown Square today. There were three of us, plus a son who didn't get involved in the conversation. Caitlin was the first to arrive, and claimed a table for us. Beforehand, she had posted that she'd be wearing red fingerless gloves, which made it very easy to spot her because when I arrived I could see those gloves from half way across the food court. :)

Charlestown Square has free parking for the first 3 hours, so we all decided to leave before we had to pay for parking, That meant that we spent about 2 hours chatting. Part way through, both of the others went and bought some lunch while I minded the table. Since I'd arrived at about 12:55, I had a few minutes to drop into Tree of Life and say hello to the friendly staff there before heading home. While there, the lovely Jordan snapped a couple of photos for me.

This is the same store where the manager, Sharon, took my photo back in April 2010. It wasn't until I was typing this that I realised just how long ago that was. I think that I've come a long way since then. Back then, I'd paint my nails for an outing then thoroughly clean all the polish off for fear that someone would notice. Back then, I'd hide under a wig for fear that someone would recognise me. I guess now I don't really care if they do. :)

After I got home, I realised that I had 2 letters with me that I was supposed to post. That might sound odd, but Australia Post clear post boxes not Friday evening but Sunday evening for Monday morning sorting, so as long as things are posted early enough on Sunday, they will be delivered a day sooner than if they are posted on Monday. So, after sitting down and having a cup of tea, I got back in the car and ducked around to a local post box, posted them and came back home. There were about 3 or 4 people standing in the front yard of a house across the street from the post box smoking and arguing loudly enough that I wondered if they were drunk. I was relieved that they didn't appear to pay me any attention.

I had another outing this evening. Being Sunday night, nobody felt like cooking, so I went to our local Subway to buy dinner. While the two young women behind the counter were not the ones who were there a couple of weeks ago, they have both served me numerous times when I've been there as a male. One was serving someone else when I arrived, so the other began serving me and when the first woman had finished with the previous customer, she stayed at the register and took the money for mine while the other woman finished preparing the food.

The woman who had prepared the food looked at me with just the slightest hint of a puzzled look as she was handing the food to me, but aside from that there was no indication that either of them had recognised me. What sort of conversation might have occurred after I left, I have no idea!

With any luck, now that my routine is settling in, I may soon get back into regularly attending the cafe nights again. After only 5 outings so far this year including today, outing number 6 might be only a couple of days away!

19 May 2012


As I mentioned recently, I was unable to work for about 3 months. Before that, I worked abnormally long (and unsustainable) hours, for several weeks.

Ironically, I'd forgotten that in November last year, I said:

I'm actually at the point of liking the idea of stopping working and living on my savings for a few months.
When I wrote that, I had gone from working about 80 hours per week to 90, and in the weeks between then and stopping work, I peaked at working around 100 hours per week until my work stopped abruptly in December. However, back then I only ever planned to take 4 weeks off over Christmas and into the new year. The unanticipated delays ended up meaning that I did end up stopping working and living on my savings for a few months.

Guess what?

Those months off were a disaster. When I was working, I had a routine. I had to get up at a certain time on work days. I had to schedule my life around my work, including scheduling time for outings en femme, waxing, getting my nails done, etc. When I stopped working, my entire schedule stopped with it and I quietly sank into a bout of deep depression. About the only thing that remained consistent was my nail appointments, because while I'm getting my nails done, I always make the next appointment before I leave the salon.

So ironically, while I was not working, everything else that I should have had more time to do stopped too. I've been out en femme just 4 times so far this year ~ 2 cafe nights and 2 of my 10 nail appointments.

I also haven't chased up the architect who stuffed up our plans for house extensions and renovations last year. I let this slide partly because I had no income at the time and partly because I just don't like confrontation. It's going to have to happen, though. We need the extra space!

My attempts at sorting out my sleep and weight while I was off work were not very successful. Now that I'm back working, the morning treadmill sessions are impossible (due to work during the week, and due to my wife sleeping in at weekends and the treadmill being in the room next to our bedroom), and the attempt to establish a workable sleep schedule has failed dismally. I can't really blame anybody but myself, as it is I who persists in wasting time on Facebook when I should be on the treadmill, having a shower or in bed asleep. I need to make a conscious effort to change that, as part of establishing my new routine.

So now I'm gradually getting back into the swing of work. The new system means that work takes longer to do than it used to, but that's gradually improving. I'm allowing more time per job, so seeing fewer clients than before. I've also made a conscious decision to aim to limit my work to between 40 and 50 hours per week. It's probably around 55 hours per week now but I am close to keeping up with the backlog of paperwork waiting to be finished for jobs I've already done. The backlog of clients waiting is another story, but I'm trying to work on that gradually as I'm not going to let myself end up with an unrealistic and unsustainable workload again.

As I get myself back into routine, I'm hoping that that routine will again be able to include regular outings en femme.

If all goes to plan, my next outing will be tomorrow, when I'll meet some other members from Beauty Heaven who I haven't met before. Unlike the Beauty Heaven open day and the 4 times that I went to Sydney for meet-ups last year (Fashion Weekend Sydney, Estee Lauder staff shop, a day in the city, and IMATS), this will be the first Newcastle meet-up, at Charlestown Square. That means that I don't have to get up at 4am, 6am or even 8am like I did for the trips to Sydney. I still have to do some preparatory work today (as well as paperwork) and I need to get to bed at a reasonable time tonight!

09 May 2012

Okay, some do

Yesterday, I said that people notice but don't say anything.

It seems ironic that today's little event happened so soon after my previous comment. Almost like a cosmic raspberry being blown at me. :)

I caught a train into town today to get some waxing done, and the police were doing a drug detection exercise on the trains and stations. I was happy to see this, since I don't use drugs and I don't like having to deal with the anti-social types who use public transport while obviously affected by drugs.

On the train on the way home, the cops were wandering around watching the drug detection dog sniff its way back and forth along the train while making sure that nobody moved around within the train to avoid being checked by the dog.

I guess that the senior cop picked up on nervousness from a guy sitting near me, and asked to see tickets. I reached into my pocket and held up my ticket. The cop looked at my ticket, commented "Those nails are bright", then turned his attention to the other guy, who had no ticket, no money and no ID...

The comment surprised me. It seemed simultaneously accepting and dismissive. I wasn't a person of interest, but it was notable enough that he commented immediately before turning away to ignore me.

It wasn't until I was typing this that it occurred to me that I really wouldn't expect a cop to make a comment like that to a woman with exactly the same nails. Or maybe he would, as nails as long as mine aren't all that common these days...

As an aside, I also got a discount on the waxing and lash tinting for liking the facebook page of the place that I go to. :)

08 May 2012

People do notice, they just say nothing

I've been going to a local Subway restaurant in boy mode once or twice a week for several months. There are only a few staff there, so I recognise them when I go there, and some of them recognise me.

Tonight, I arrived to find one other customer at the counter. I immediately recognised Deniese (it is an unusual spelling, but I'm fairly sure that I've got it right) from the side even though she was facing away from me. She used to volunteer at the Lifeline op shop, which is directly across the road from Subway!

It took me a few seconds to remember her name, so once I'd placed my order, I addressed her by name. She turned around, recognised me and said hello. After some very brief conversation, Deniese returned her attention to ordering the salad and condiments for her sub. When she had finished and paid, she turned back to me and commented about my nails, saying that she assumed from the fact that I had them painted that I must have been out over the weekend. I told her that I have them painted like this all of the time and have done since early last year, which surprised her.

I commented to both Deniese and the young woman who was serving me about the fact that I love watching people's reactions, including how some people glance at my nails then conscientiously avoid looking at them again.

After Deniese left, the young woman serving me commented that she always likes it when I come in as she gets to see the different colours that I have on my nails, and asked how I cope with nails this long.

I told her that I am so accustomed to them that I don't even think about it. I considered showing her a photo on my internet tablet, like I did at the Building Society back in February, but I knew that it wasn't turned on and it would have taken too long to turn on, load a photo, etc, and she obviously had work to do so I left it at that for now. :)