25 April 2014

I thought that you were a mannequin until you moved

With yesterday's post being so long, I forgot to mention the funniest thing that happened all day...

Where I parked at Kotara meant that the most practical way in and out was via a lift. In fact, it was the same lift where I overcame my fear of lifts about 4 years ago.

After walking the full length of the centre and back, I pressed the button for the lift and stood to wait for it. Before it arrived, an older woman pushing a shopping trolley arrived to wait for the lift, but made no attempt to push the button, which I was standing in front of.

As we entered the lift, she commented to me

"I thought that you were a mannequin until you moved."
I wasn't quite sure what to make of that comment, or the contradiction of the fact that she didn't try to push the button! :-)

24 April 2014

Another nail appointment

I went to my nail appointment yesterday en femme. That's two consecutive fortnightly nail appointments en femme. After the very long gap between going to The Lindy Charm School in October last year and the Saturday of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival last month, I've now been out 4 times in under a month, all in red or reddish orange retro outfits. :-)

After wondering how I was going to top the outfit I wore last time I went out, I ended up taking a rather different tack. Instead of trying to decide which retro dress to wear, or buying another one, I went to my unloved wardrobe of things that I had before I started wearing retro. I found this modern wrap dress that I bought at an op-shop, probably for $7 or less. I decided that the combination of layered ruffles around the neckline on a relatively simple wrap dress would look okay in a vintage inspired outfit.

On Tuesday afternoon, I received a work cheque in the mail, but didn't get the mail early enough to go and bank it, so on my way to my nail appointment, I stopped in at my local building society branch, anticipating an interesting reaction from the staff who know me. That was not to be, as there was just one of the regular staff and she was busy with another customer. While I was there, I decided that I'd also withdraw some cash, and by the time I'd completed the withdrawal slip, a male teller who I don't think I've ever met before had come out to serve. He didn't use any gender pronouns at all while serving me, but processed the transactions on the accounts in my male name without hesitation.

There was a slightly interesting moment when the lending manager who arranged our home loan last year was walking in the door as I walked out, and looked at my slightly oddly as he stepped aside to let me pass. I suspect that he recognised me, and it wouldn't surprise me if he knew about me from the other staff, in view of the Halloween Tinkerbell outing a couple of years ago.

After my nail appointment, I dropped into the local Lifeline shop to say hello, then headed up to Charlestown to start looking for a red bra to wear with red dresses and tops, in the hope that it would be less obvious than a skintone one if it happens to be visible around the edge of the cleavage. Having found nothing suitable, I headed towards the lifts to the carpark, walking past the same customer and her daughter as I encountered a few years ago. Since I'm now wigless, I know that my appearance is a lot less different between male and female than it used to be, and their business page in Facebook is a friend of my boy profile where I've posted photos of my last 3 outings, so I have no idea whether they recognised me or not. I have no idea why I shied away from them again, but I did.

Having struck out at Charlestown, I decided to try Kotara. After walking the entire length of the top level of the centre and back, I couldn't find any underwear shops that were different to the ones in Charlestown. I thought that there was at least one.

Doing all that walking, I also identified a problem that I had with the same shoes on the Sunday at Kurri Kurri. My feet perspire when walking long distances, making these particular shoes slide up and down my heels as I walk. With socks, I use powder to absorb moisture, but that's not really feasible with tights or stockings, so I've added non-powder foot anti-perspirant to the shopping list.

I'm back to looking for other things to go out for. For the first time in a very long time, I even considered going to the Newcastle cafe night this week, but my wife had already arranged to go to a pilates class on Tuesday night so I stayed home with our son.

20 April 2014

Love the outfit

I mentioned on Friday that my neighbour had liked and shared the photo from my nail appointment that I'd posted on my boy profile on Facebook, and that she had subsequently asked to tag someone else into the photo.

I forgot to mention that the text that I attached to the photo was "If you're getting you're nails done, you should look the part. :-P"

She later commented "Love the outfit. Reminds me of my younger years."

No negativity there. :-)

18 April 2014

Neighbourly knowledge

If there was any remaining doubt that my next door neighbours, whose house is alongside our driveway, knew about me or not, events of the past few days have eliminated all doubt.

Following on from having posted the photo of the outfit that I wore to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival last year on my boy profile on Facebook, as I mentioned, I also posted both this year's Kurri photos.

On Tuesday night last week (the night before my nail appointment), I made a joking comment on facebook about wearing a 1950s outfit to take my son to his school end of term disco on the Wednesday night because he was annoying his mother. My neighbour asked how my son felt about that, and I responded that I wasn't actually going to do it. It's a running joke that if he misbehaves, I'll embarrass him.

A couple of nights ago, I decided to post one photo from my nail appointment last week on my boy profile. As I did last year, I shared the photo with "only me" to begin with, and adjusted the date and time of the photo back to the day that it was taken. Last night, I changed the sharing of the photo to "friends", and by this morning it had a comment and several likes. Then during the morning my neighbour not only liked it, but also shared it.

While I was typing this, she also requested to tag someone else who I don't know in my photo, so that that person can also see the photo. :-)

Having been out 3 times in under a fortnight, I'm more enthusiastic about going out than I have been in quite some time, but there are a few catches with that. One is that the more time I spend getting organised and going out, the further I get behind on paperwork. Another is finding places to go when I do go out. A strange one that has come up as a result of last Wednesday is that I was so happy with that outfit (aside from a bra band that kept coming up at the back and a slip that came up and gathered around my waist) that I'm struggling to work out what I could wear to top it!

13 April 2014

Shoe adjustments

As I mentioned on Friday, I bought a pair of Nine West patent leather flats on Thursday, after wearing them for a few minutes in the shop to see if they would fit and be comfortable. Great theory! Friday night, I thought that I'd start breaking them in by wearing them while sitting at my computer, as I've done for numerous pairs of shoes before.

It didn't take long to discover that the amount of pressure on the edge of the opening of each shoe above my big toes were going to make the shoes break my feet instead of my feet breaking the shoes in, so I dug out my shoe stretchers.

With a pair of lumps installed in the right place, I left the shoes to stretch for about 24 hours and, when I tried them on today, they were far more comfortable. While there is a little bit of pressure around the side of each shoe just behind where they've stretched, I'd say that I've fixed about 99% of the problem. What little pressure there is isn't painful like it was, and if I find that it does need more stretching, I'll have to drill more holes in the stretchers to put lumps in the right places. I'm just going to wear them and see how it goes.

I also mentioned on Friday that I needed to put some front half gel insoles into the red Siren heels that I wore on the Sunday of Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival and again on Wednesday because they are quite uncomfortable to walk any distance in.

I've come to the realisation that the problem is that there was a gap between the arches of the shoes and the arches of my feet, from the ball of the foot up to about the middle of the arch. It seems that the shoes are designed for someone with a longer arch but shorter toes, whereas all of my Tony Bianco shoes have the right length arch for me.

The solution, then, was to put a pair of inserts into the bottom of the arch to fill in that gap. I tried the ones from the old boots, and they worked but were scruffy and bent out of shape from the boots. The only drawback is that by filling in the gaps, the insoles increase the pressure on my toes a little. I need to try to find shoe stretchers that fit high heels so that I can stretch the toes of the shoes a little.

When I went out to get Subway for dinner last night, I dropped into the supermarket and picked up a new pair of inserts on special for under $4. :-)

Oddly, while I know where the full rack of shoe products are in the very last aisle of the supermarket and went straight there, I was also looking for cotton tips, and noticed that there was a small range of one brand of shoe products in the personal care aisle, about 4 aisles away. I wonder how many people only see the small range and don't even realise that the others are there.

The other thing that I find amusing is that, every time I go there, the young woman at Subway who served me after I went to Kurri Kurri on the Saturday now comments that I'm not dressed up. :-)

11 April 2014

Red patent flats

One thing that I've been aware of since I began wearing red retro dresses is that I didn't have any flat shoes to go with them. Obviously while wearing flats that don't go with the outfit isn't too much of a problem when driving, it is a problem once you get out of the car!

On the Saturday of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, I alternated between mustard flats that fitted with the colours in the dress and my relatively comfortable Tony Bianco nude heels. Not having flats that went with the outfit, on the Sunday I left my flats in the car and did all of the walking in my significantly less comfortable red Siren heels. That's when I went from being aware that I needed red flats to being painfully aware that I really needed red flats. It also reminded me that I need to pull the front half gel insoles out of a pair of boots that I don't wear, and put them into the red heels.

In the lead up to the Nostalgia Festival, I looked around for red flats in all of the usual shoe shops, but not being out and about en femme meant that I didn't take the time to go through the various dress shops that sometimes have a small range of shoes, typically in the back of the shop.

Wednesday's outing to Charlestown Square following my nail appointment gave me an opportunity to take a little more time to look around the shops that I hadn't looked in before, and I noticed some pointy toed red leather flats on sale at Nine West.

Sadly, they didn't have my size, but they checked their computer and assured me that their Kotara store did. Given that the two centres are only a few kilometres apart, I figured that I'd go straight there, but it was closer to closing time than I realised, and the traffic was heavy so I didn't get there in time.

Happily, on Thursday morning, I had a job finish early, which left me with about 45 minutes before lunch in which to take a quick trip to Kotara. Of course, that meant that I was in my usual work clothes, but I didn't let that stop me.

When I got to the store, I asked about the shoe that I'd seen in Charlestown, in a size 10. While the sales assistant was out the back looking for them, I spotted an even more suitable patent leather flat with a rounded toe. When the sales assistant came back to tell me that she could only find a 9 1/2 in the pointy toed style, I asked about the round toed style, and she confirmed that they did indeed have that one in a 10.

After trying them on for a few minutes, I bought what had originally been $99 shoes, on special for just under $64. Yay. :-)

10 April 2014

Finding an easier way

I have to say that I love the 1940s style teardrop hat that I got from The Lindy Charm School a few weeks ago, and I'm considering buying another one or two to go with other outfits.

When I wore it on the Sunday of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, I felt that it worked beautifully with the outfit, but I struggled to pin it on as securely as I wanted. There was a small loop under the centre of the back, but nothing similar towards the front. I couldn't get a bobby pin to go through the loop and grip my hair well enough on its own, and ended up pushing a plastic comb into my hair under the hat to provide an anchor, then putting 2 bobby pins through the loop and diagonally under the comb. That held the back in place quite well, but securing the front meant putting a bobby pin over the edge of the hat between the two flowers. I was worried that that would damage the hat.

Last Thursday night, I went to Price Attack in Charlestown Square to see if I could find a couple of clips that I could sew onto the underside of the edge of the hat, and picked up a $10 pack of 4 snap open clips that are used with hair pieces. They have two holes at each end to allow them to be sewn on.

I sewed two onto the hat, and when I wore it yesterday, it was far easier and quicker to attach! :-)

09 April 2014

Nailing it

For the first time in a very long time, I managed to get to a nail appointment en femme today.

The two ladies working in the salon were impressed with my outfit, and one wanted photos. I ended up messaging 3 of the photos taken with her iPhone across to my phone.

This is the same wiggle dress that I wore to The Lindy Charm School at Miskonduct last year, with essentially the same hairdo as I wore on the Sunday at the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival.

I came home briefly after the appointment, then decided to go to Charlestown Square to look for red flat shoes to go with the outfit. I spotted some red patent flats on special in a shop, but they didn't have my size. Apparently their Kotara shop does, but the traffic was predictably slow and by the time I drove from Charlestown to Kotara, it was closing time so I just continued home.

My son is going to a school end of term disco tonight. He annoyed his mother so much last night that when, while saying good night, I jokingly suggested that I could take him and pick him up again tonight. His response was to say NO! quite emphatically, but to cover  his face so that I couldn't see his big smile. My wife's response was a resounding Yes! :-)

08 April 2014

Does not Compute error

I always make an effort to wear my wedding ring when I go out, whether en femme or not. It's a symbol of my commitment to my marriage, and wearing a dress doesn't make me any less married. When we had our wedding rings made, I had to convince the jeweller to make my ring narrower than he wanted to. He resisted, as he thought that making it narrower would make it look too much like a woman's ring. The result was a ring that's relatively narrow for a man's ring, but towards the wider end of the range for women's rings. I think it works both ways, although the nails tend to make it look feminine regardless of how I'm dressed. :-)

In response to my post yesterday, How can it not be obvious?, one of my friends commented on Facebook that perhaps people assume that I bat for the other team.

There is an annoyingly common misconception that crossdressers are homosexual. It is quite pervasive, and in the majority of cases, it's also quite wrong.

I remember reading a book many years ago where the author suggested that wearing a wedding ring might improve a person's ability to pass as female. Perhaps this also ties in with the misconception, in that a gay man dressed as female wasn't going to be married, and thus not going to wear a wedding ring. Obviously, with marriage equality, that isn't as applicable as it used to be!

Perhaps the same effect works either when somebody knows that I'm married, or they see that I'm wearing a wedding ring. They can see that I have no facial hair, very shaped brows, long hair, pierced ears and long painted nails but they assume that I can't be a crossdresser because of the pre-conception that crossdressers are homosexual, and conversely that heterosexuals are not crossdressers...

I call this a Does not Compute error. :-P

07 April 2014

How can it not be obvious?

I went to Subway again on Saturday night, and the young woman who I was talking to on Tuesday night about my outfit from last Saturday was there again.

She enthused to the woman who was serving me about how great I looked when I was all dressed up, which led to me showing them the photos from last weekend on my phone.

When I mentioned that she had said that she didn't recognise me until I smiled, she surprised me with the comment that, in spite of talking about my long painted nails several times, like the hairdresser last year and others before that, she hadn't realised that I was a crossdresser.

I am still surprised when that happens. A guy has no facial hair (not even beard shadow), very shaped brows, long hair, pierced ears, long painted nails and people don't put the clues together.

Really? How can it not be obvious? :-)

As an aside, the flower that I wore on Saturday was one of the first ones that I got when I started looking in op shops, that cost me $1. I'd actually looked at it when I was converting them and thought that it was probably the one that I'd be the least likely to wear. I thought that it was too big, and wasn't sure about the sort-of dirty looking off white colour. As it turns out, it was a good colour to go with the outfit, and once I put it on, I realised that it wasn't too big after all.

01 April 2014

Recognition takes a smile

I went back to my local Subway restaurant again tonight, and the young woman who served me on Saturday night was working there again.

There were no other customers in the shop. We talked a little about what I'd worn, and I showed her the photos from Sunday.

I found two comments that she made quite interesting, and a question that she asked really amazed me.

The first was that she described my outfit as a China Doll look, and didn't see it as a 1950s or pinup retro style.

The second was that she didn't recognise me when I walked in the door as I had assumed that she did. It wasn't until I smiled that she recognised me. That reminded me of going to the local Lifeline op shop back in 2010, when my smile was also the reason why people who already knew me recognised me. :-)

The question that she asked, was how I managed to do my hair so neatly. Given that I considered it to be a mess of flyaways and not-quite-right details, I was amazed that she saw it as being neat.

She also asked me how I felt about people staring at me. I told her that it amuses me now, but when I first started going out, it had terrified me. I suppose that it's an indication of just how accepting the younger generations are now that she couldn't understand why anybody would be frightened to go out en femme.