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.