Friday, September 30, 2011

Halloween 2008: The Windup

My original goal was to dress up for work at my new company.

When Halloween was still a couple of months away, I was thinking, if they're doing anything with dressing up, I'm doing "office girl drag", wearing a skirt suit. I planned the whole thing out ~ I went to a several local spa-type places to see if I could get a place to change and have someone do my makeup. I found one that didn't open until noon (too late ~ by the time I got back to the office it would be 1.30 or 2) and another that sounded real good. $45 for makeup and they do "eyebrow threading" so I could get that fixed up a bit AND they open at 9 AND they were pretty close to the office. But when I tried to talk to the makeup woman she acted interested but made herself scarce. She disappeared when I called and wouldn't call back. So I wrote her off and figured I still had an option. I could go to the mall, bring a bag into the family restroom and change and do my make-up there.  This is something I hadn't done before.

As it got closer to Halloween, it looked like there was going to be nothing going on here. A few months after Halloween, they announced an "employee morale" kind of group, doing contests and cakes and things. I bet if that was in place in Sept they'd have had a costume contest or something I could have taken advantage of!

Before Halloween, I mentioned to C, who was still looking for work, that I'd like to dress up that day. When I started talking about trying to find a place to do my makeup and change, C decided she wanted "in." I could come to her place, change there and we could go out and maybe shop for a while before I changed back and returned to work. I was between projects and the office wouldn't care if I took a four-or-more hour break.

So my plan was to go to work, then leave around 9. I'd head over to C's house, get changed and made-up and we'd go to a mall for an hour or so then I'd either head back to her house to change back (sigh) or I'd head for the family restroom at the mall and change there.

I called to remind her I'm heading over but when I got there she had just gotten up and needed to shower, which was OK -- I needed time to change anyway.  I changed quickly.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Halloween 2008: The Untold Story

Really....  Other than you guys, who would I tell?

In October, 2008, I was working for a small company.  Halloween was on a Friday.  I was still uncomfortable about coming out.  I wanted to, but I cared what people would think, and I was on the edge between scared and ambivalent.  This is a bad time.  If you find yourself here, get over it as soon as possible.  It's a road to mistakes and regrets.  Take my advice (since I'm not using it): Get Over It.  Either resign yourself to stay in the closet, at least for the present, or jump in with two feet and eyes wide open.  Plan your lines, be prepared for anything, and be bold.  The space in between is, as I said, bad.

I think we need a flashback.  Cue the wavy line thing they do in sitcoms when they flashback.

The only local person who knew about Meg from my previous company is C.  After I left the company, we used to meet for lunch about once a month.  While I was at the company, we shared an office for a few months.

I know I've told this before, but I like to direct conversation towards my favourite hobby whenever I can.  While I was at the company, I decided to take a six-month sabbatical.  I thought I had been working full-time long enough and the project I was on was just delivered.  There was really nothing a more junior person couldn't handle and I wanted a break, even if it was unpaid.

C wanted to know what I was going to do for six months.  I told her that I wanted time to get aclimated after my sex-change surgery.  Her first comment?  "Go with the biggest boobs you can.  You won't be sorry."  This led to an enjoyable discussion about boobs.  Looking at C, I can imagine she's an expert.

After that, I joked about it occasionally; sometimes she asks questions about it, as if that was my plan.  She was never judgemental, and really kind of supportive, but I wasn't sure if she was being supportive or just going along with the joke.  When she mentioned that she needed to go shopping for clothes, I told her I'd be happy to go with her, "dressed either way."

While I was on my break, we started the once-a-month lunch thing, so I could catch up on what was going on at the company.  At one lunch, I told her I clearly wasn't getting a sex-change operation, but I did like to dress up whenever I had the chance.

C is not my most liberal friend.  She is moderately judgemental.  I wasn't sure how this would go.  But she's told me some of her secrets, and her deeper feelings, and things I wouldn't share with most people, so I thought I owed her this.

She was fine.  She said she'd like to meet "Meg."  I told her that I didn't get out as often as I like, about my home situation, but I said I'd arrange it if I could.

I had an opportunity in March, 2008.  I had returned after my time off, and the work wasn't there.  I don't like sitting on a bench, so I tendered my resignation and found a job not far away.  In early March, I took a day off and did my third "solo," where I did all of my makeup, chose my own clothes (what a big girl I am!), and went out all on my own.  This was a Friday.

Sadly, C had become a major player in a corporate power play/soap opera/fatal attraction kind of thing, and had lost her job.  This did mean she was home on the same Friday I was going out.

I arranged to drop by her house late that morning.  Although everyone was going to be out for an after-school activity, I needed time to change and put everything away and, of course, shower and scrub off my makeup.

I had a couple of errands to run first.  I stopped at the local computer recycling place with some equipment.

This is the first time I remember being on my own and not scared as I stepped out of the car.  I remember just walking out of the car, opening the trunk and pulling out computers, as I've done many times before, although not in a blouse and skirt and heels.

I drove to the center in Alexandria, where I've been several times before.  I pulled up to their loading dock.  The door was closed.  I went up the metal stairs to the regular door and went in.  Inside was another door to the warehouse area.  Knocking on the inside door got no response.

I knew they were open, so I shrugged and went down the steps and started carrying my computers and such up to the side door.  After my second trip (carefully, in those pumps) someone opened the door.  I spoke with the man there and told him I had more to deliver.  He brought the parts in and offered to help me with the rest.  I thanked him and he opened the loading door, came down and helped this overdressed, helpless female unload.  There were no comments, no snickers, not even an odd look.  My confidence, already pretty high, went up another dozen points.

I was still early, so I drove to a mall that was between the recycling center and C's house.  I spent a bit of time looking around ~ I was still at my "window shopping" stage ~ and I headed up to Arlington, where C lives.

When I was a few blocks away, I called C, as we arranged, to make sure she was there.  No answer.  I drove around a bit and settled once more a couple of blocks from her house.  I called again, with the same result.  I left a message and told her the time and that I was heading home in a few minutes.

I was nervous about her meeting "Meg" and getting more nervous by the minute.  I was both relieved and profoundly disappointed as I drove away ten or so minutes later.

Just before I got on the highway my phone rang.  It was C.  She just got back to her house and if it wasn't too late....  I assured her I was just a short distance away and I could be there in a few minutes.

If I had arrived home, I would have turned around.  It's not that C is that special.  She is nice, and easy on the eyes.  But I want to spend time with anyone who wants to meet Meg!

She opened the door, greeted me without laughter, and invited me in.  I remember she didn't call me Meg (or anything else).  I think her comfort level was theoretical until that point.  I didn't think to ask her to take a picture of me at her house, or to try to get a picture of us together; I didn't even bring my camera!  I overplan and underperform.

I hung out for about an hour.  She gave me a tour of the house, we had something cold to drink and chatted for a while about a variety of things.

I left feeling great.  Girl time, for Meg, is rare.

So what does this have to do with Halloween, 2008?  I'm getting there.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dinner With Joanie ~ Really This Time!

The stars lined up, and Joanie and I had dinner together in Old Town Alexandria last night.  It was a late dinner for me, but that gave me time to organise dinner for my son and get a couple of things done around the house.  It was worth the wait.

I parked and walked the block to her hotel and as I walked inside, I saw a pretty lady with long long hair walking towards me and I was fairly certain that was her.

She has the look down pat.  If I didn't know, I wouldn't have known.  I kind of studied her picture and made some mental notes (long hair, slim, glasses) and I still wasn't sure I had the right woman when I said "Joanie?"  Remember my prosopagnosia.

I was there in my male disguise, so I didn't expect her to recognise me, and she didn't.  She practically walked past me until I said something.

Her hotel was on King Street, closer to the Metro than the water.  King street is kind of the main street of Alexandria, and as you get closer to the water it becomes almost solid restaurants.  Along the way, and on side streets, are mostly small businesses.  Small, unique, clothing and jewelry shops abound.  But there's even a (C)Ross-Dress-For-Less off the main drag (hah!), a short walk from her hotel.

We walked several blocks and chatted like old friends who somehow knew nothing about each other, if that makes any sense.  I'm getting used to it.  I've only met a few girls one-on-one, but that seems to be the common experience.

We assessed a few restaurants and looked in shop windows.  We walked about six blocks before finding a place to sit down and eat.  I watched people as we walked.  Mostly, we were ignored.  I did catch a couple of guys eyeing Joanie (I know, I didn't say anything while we were out).  I didn't see anything odd or out of the ordinary, and I think other people didn't either, except maybe to wonder how I got together with a pretty girl like her.

You can see from the picture that we have different cosmetics philosophies.  Where I go for the cover-the-masculinity approach, she goes for a lighter approach, and it sure works.  I wish I had a more casual femininity.  Or maybe not.  As long as I'm overdoing my dressing, I might as well be overdoing my makeup as well!

Over dinner I learned a lot about Joanie.  I think more non-t-girls know about Meg than know about Joanie.  On the other hand, like Dana and Vanessa (who I still haven't written about!  Sorry sorry sorry!), her wife and children do know, and meet with Joanie regularly.  Her wife, like mine, is a social worker, and probably has more of an understanding of gender issues than most.  Her wife, like mine, isn't interested in spending time with her "other" husband.  But unlike mine, unlike many of us, her wife is very accepting.  They can openly discuss gender issues and she can change at home.  They have reached an agreement that allows her much more freedom than I have: she has a "Joanie" day once a month.  Her toenails are painted.  Her ears are pierced.  She's had a lot of hair removed (although not permanently).  They share clothing, lucky girl.

She's a bit more on the "I care" side of the spectrum than I am, and she takes a great deal of care to not be noticed by neighbors or coworkers or friends, but at some point her children will spill the beans and I think she'll be ready, and I think her wife will be resigned, if not also ready.  And I want to hear that story! 

Joanie's also smart, nice, and easy to talk to.  And no, This Was Not A Date.  It was more like two colleagues at a business dinner.

And I'm going to tell you a little secret: she's not wearing a wig.

Before saying goodnight at the hotel, I grabbed my camera and we commandeered the chairs and tables at a little outdoor cafe.  At the hotel, she hugged me (I needed little encouragement) and we kept on talking.  I think we would have stood there and talked all night, except we both had to work the next day so we both said an abrupt goodnight and the evening was over.

I'm not sure if Joanie had more fun (because she was out) or if I had more fun (because I was with Joanie).  She travels here occasionally, and perhaps I can meet her as Meg next time.  Or maybe I can arrange an overnight in Denver on a trip to AZ before too long.

I'm always nervous meeting someone new, but so far, I've never been disappointed with any of you I've met.  I hope to meet many many more.  And I hope some of you who are deep in the closet will come out and meet some of your peers.  We're all pretty nice girls. :D

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dinner with Joanie

Alas, it was as my male self dining with Joanie.

But something weird happened a couple of days ago.

I told my wife I would be having dinner with "someone who shares my hobby" on Monday or Tuesday.  I said she'd be flying in Monday evening, and told her the details I knew: where she's staying, where she's working.  She asked me where he's (sic) from (baby steps: I'm not going to correct her pronoun problem... yet).  I said I wasn't sure, then said "Colorado.  I remember he [yes, I feel awful saying that] met up with Dana, who I had dinner with in Colorado Springs."  She said "you never told me that."  I said I sure did and then she remembered.  She said "you were both dressed?" and I said yes, and she said "and what does his (sic) wife think about that?"  I said "girlfriend.  And she'd like him to go 24x7."

We had this discussion in the car, and arrived home and she got out and the inquisition ended there.

Later, I told my wife I'd push for Monday, even though that was more difficult.  She would be out that evening, and I had to pick up my son and I wasn't sure how I was going to feed him and get out and meet at a reasonable time.  My eyes are less happy in the dark.  And I like at least one parent to be home with the kid, even though he's certainly old enough to be on his own for a few hours.

But Tuesday, I said, she wanted to meet with some other local girls who go out once or twice a week, and I didn't want to spoil that.  I said I'd never met the group and was hoping to some day.

Here's the weird thing: she said, "why don't you go Tuesday and meet them too?"

I said "I'd like to, but I can't change while you and the kid are here."

She said nothing.  I don't know if she didn't realise it was a dressing event, or if she didn't realise I had no place to change.

And I was too surprised to continue the conversation.

I got home a bit before 10.  I want to write about Joanie and dinner and, if my camera behaved, post a picture.  But it's late and there is tomorrow.

I will say: it was a real pleasure meeting her.

And, late last night, I did have a discussion with my wife about pronouns.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gender Linguistics

I went into a restroom that had one stall.  On the door, it said "men."  Wouldn't it have made more sense to say "man?"  I mean, at that point, it's not a men's room, it's a man's room.

That got me thinking....  One = man.  Many = men.  So why isn't it "meny?"  It sounds that way.  It should be spelled that way.

Off on a slight tangent, I think I know why there's such a blowback against the idea of gay marriage.  I think the average civilian is OK with two women together, except for the idea that two women are now out of circulation.  But two men....  That sounds too gay, and gay has an anti-macho connotation.

My solution?  Change one letter.  Call it "guy marriage."  Now it sounds like the kind of thing where the ceremony would be held in a mancave, and they'd go out camping instead of having a honeymoon.

And on another tangent... can women be testy?  Or sent to a penal colony, or a penitentiary?  Can men get hysterical?

I bet if I took the time to look it up, I'd find out that the word roots aren't what I think they are, but it's more fun not to.

Many years ago, I was a docent at the Bronx zoo.  During training, the difference between altricial (animals that are born needing a parent's care) and  precocial (animals that are ready to run from birth) was explained.  One of the other trainees said "that makes sense.  'Altricial' is from 'altruistic' where someone would need to care for another.  And 'precocial' is from 'precocious', so they'd be ahead of the other animals and ready to run or feed themselves."  I thought that made sense.  So I went home and pulled out the dictionary (no internet yet) and... she was completely wrong.  I considered straightening her out the next week, but I wouldn't remember who she was (I've explained this before).  Besides, I've never forgotten when altricial and precocial mean.  I haven't needed it much, but still.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Your Turn ~ Paula Gee

If readers want me to give them a little "floor space," I'll keep Sunday open for you.  Just write me or send a comment (put PRIVATE in the comment so I don't post it).

Last Sunday was Diane's turn.  This week it's Paula's.

And now the previously hidden story can be told.

Paula didn't answer requests for me to use her name, but she's become a bit more comfortable in the past few weeks and I can let y'all know that she was the inspiration for my dating poll. I called her "Z."  Her initial was changed to protect the innocent.

But she did write in response to my fishing for Your Turn stories.  I'm glad she did.  From here on, it's in her own words, slightly edited.

You were kind enough to use me to start your polls, the results made me feel a whole lot less confused, as with so many other aspects of dressing having it out in the open makes it all seem a lot less daunting and confusing.  

I have now set up a web identity just for Paula, and have joined Call Me Meg that way as well as with my drab name/persona.   Indeed I have now also gone so far as to start my own blog, inspired by Meg, Stana and a couple of others, just as somewhere to relate my adventures since I don't have anyone to talk to in person about these things, on any regular basis. My intentions are simply to muse in public, and tell a few stories of when I do manage to go out, definitely nothing of a sexual nature, so

  • No nudity or sexual material

  • No violence

  • No potentially offensive language

  • Material that might disturb young children

  • No chat facilities

  • As inspired by Davita

    I have a lot to learn and I know I will struggle with the discipline to make regular posts (I have another blog already) but hope that it will be fun to do and will put me in contact with more like minded folks.

    I am Paula's first follower.  I like her writing style, and, as you can see, she's a lovely lady.  She's one of my British readers, from London.  I've probably mentioned that I'm an Anglophile and I worked for BT (British Telecom) for many years. 
    Paula allowed me to put her e-mail address here.  To avoid her getting spammed, I won't.  But I will tell you you can write her at her account.  Her user name is paula.gee .
    Of course, you can click on a picture to enlarge it.  She sent me a third but I can't post that one!  Really, Paula!  I hardly know you!

    (Just kidding)

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    In Honour of the End of DADT

    For the record, I played with my sister when she played with her Barbies.  Not often enough though.

    I wonder what Kevin is padding GI Joe with.

    (Update: Sorry, Paula, and my readers from outside the states: DADT is Don't Ask Don't Tell, the idiotic policy that gays could serve in the military as long as they don't admit they're gay.  And no-one was allowed to ask.  So the official policy for the last 10+ years was "lie, and stay in the closet.")

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Arizona Shopportunities

    There are not a lot in Sierra Vista.

    When I looked for "department store" via google maps, I found Dillards, Sears, and Big Lots.  Honest.  After that were things like Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Works....

    There are the basic big box stores: Target, Walmart, KMart.  I did find a Marshalls and a Ross Dress for Less.  Between the latter two shops there seemed to be another clothing store.  I'll wander over there during my next visit.

    I also saw two thrift shops and a Goodwill.  The Goodwill is right next to my office, so I doubt I'll be going in during normal working hours.  I did go to the thrift shops during my first trip, back in June, but I didn't see anything exciting.  I should go back, but I didn't have time last trip.

    I'm not sure when I'm heading back.  I think it will be in November, but I may go back next month.  If I do, I'm going to push for October 18th, when I might be able to attend Pride in the Desert.  I just saw this a couple of days ago, and it looks interesting!

    Following up on yesterday's post:  My friend P wrote back:


    Someday, when my brain is totally addled, I'll send him a friend request.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Still Crazy After All These Years

    Sorry.  A bit of politics is necessary here.  Please bear with me.

    I sent this to my friend P in New York, the one who came to the rally (here and follow-up posts for the next week or so) with me, and met Meg:

    A woman came up to Michelle Bachmann after the debate and said "after my daughter received the HPV vaccine she became mentally retarded.  You tell people about that!"  And Michelle said "I can't tell people that, mom!"

    For those who are not paying attention to the Republican primary (ie, normal people, not political junkies like me), Michelle Bachmann actually made that claim, in an effort to make Rick Perry look bad.  Rick Perry required girls in Texas to get HPV vaccine, which is proven to lower cervical cancer rates.  I say he did it because it was by executive order, which makes it his law.

    I also sent it to Alexandra Petri's chat.  She does a blog called "ComPost" for the Washington Post.  It's humour/politics/pop culture oriented, and can be fun.  I often get a hat trick (three or more comments) posted in her chat.

    One of my anonymous readers, Stef, commented yesterday, asking if I was the person she saw commenting on the ComPost chat.  She was referring to:

    Last year, I went to the John Stewart rally as Christine O'Donnell. Blue skirt suit, wig and makeup like hers and I had name tags that said things like "HI! I'm not a witch" and "HI! I'm you". I knew all of her stupid lines and would spout them on demand.

    Did I mention that I'm a guy?

    (Petri had mentioned Michelle Bachmann as a Halloween costume, which is what prompted me to write.)

    Petri responded, "No, you didn't, and I didn't ask...."

    P said he was going to give my crack wider circulation.  I started writing an e-mail to tell him that it was in the WaPo as part of Petri's chat.  Then I stopped and deleted the e-mail.

    If he looked up the chat, he'd probably find the other post that I wrote.  I didn't want him to do that.  He has a habit of sending stuff out to everyone he knows.  I didn't want him to mention "by the way, my friend **** also wrote the post about the Halloween costume."  I'm still uncomfortable with the Two Sides of Meg getting intermingled.

    Sometimes, I don't care.  And it gets to be more and more of the time that I don't care.  But I keep hearing this little voice saying "unintended consequences" in the back of my head and sometimes I heed it.

    And sometimes, I'm an idiot.  After thinking about it all day, I resurrected the e-mail and sent it.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Progress at ThinkProgress

    Back in August, I wrote about exchanging e-mails with Zach Ford.  He seems to be the key person writing about LGBT issues for Think Progress, a progressive website.  Zach's posts are here.  You can go directly to articles tagged as transgender here, and the general LGBT page is here.

    The reason I wrote Zach is because I looked through the LGBT page and found virtually no T content.  That didn't bother me.  I understand that, for a number of reasons, there will be more LGB content than T content.  Maybe that will change.  Maybe Chaz Bono will tip the scale a bit.

    My problem was raised expectations.  Either pull the T or put the fact that there's T content up front.   I hate to read an article about, say, "LGBT people are happier when they're out" and discover it's all about sexual orientation only.  Gender identity and sexual orientation are both lumped together, when they shouldn't be.  But we can use each other, in a good way ~ a symbiotic relationship.

    I like to think I made a difference.  I'll take credit anyway.

    I've been checking out the LGBT page pretty much daily and I'm quite pleased with what I've been seeing lately.  There are headlines that clearly mention Transgender, or clearly involve sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Please go to Think Progress.  Check out the LGBT page, or the Transgender articles, or Zach's well-written articles.  If I was a smart girl, I'd quietly borrow ideas and articles and repost them here.  But Zach and Think Progress deserve the attention and readership.

    Drop by and tell them what you think.  It was hard to find Zach's e-mail address so I'm not going to repost it here.

    Thank you Think Progress, for thinking about us.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Arizona Not-So-Dull

    Click to enlarge
    Thursday, I went to the shop next door.  I managed to get there while it was open this time.  I was a little apprehensive ~ it looked kind of, well, not the sort of shop I'd like to be found in.  Plus, my boss was heading into town and I didn't want to have to explain why I was in there (without a story).

    There was an elderly black woman there.  I asked ~ she owns the place.  I told her I wanted to look at wigs, which was easy.  The store was all wigs.  Shelf after shelf of heads looking at me, all with different hair.  She asked what I was looking for; I told her (truthfully) I didn't know.  I hinted that it was for me; she ignored my hints.  When she asked what colour I wanted, I said "well, I'd say 'the colour my hair used to be, but that wouldn't help, would it.'"  That's when she asked if the wig was for me.  I said yes; it changed nothing with respect to the way she treated me.

    I found a wig I liked and I asked her about it.  She went to look at the name and... well, I think I found the only wig in the shop that didn't have a tag.  She showed me a couple of others that she thought might be it.  One had thinner bangs.  I told her I liked heavier bangs to cover my brows, which I can't really disguise.  One that had similar bangs was much shorter and not what I was looking for.  While another customer was in the store, I went through my phone and found one of my Halloween Meg pictures and I showed her that I liked that colour.

    Frankly, I'd love to find someone who'd give me some suggestions.  She did say she could cut the bangs for me if they were too long, and trim it if I wanted.

    I wasn't ready to buy, because it was getting late and I was getting hungry.  I told her I'd be back in a few weeks, and I'd try to have more time and a wig that I like.  I said I'd also bring a cap so I can try on wigs that I like.

    If my schedule holds, my next trip I'll be coming into Sierra Vista on Sunday as Meg.  Unfortunately, she's not open on Sunday.  I would love to go wig shopping as Meg!  So I may have to stiff her and perhaps buy a wig in Tucson the day before.  I'll see.  I'd consider buying two wigs, but my budget is limited and I have too many wigs.  I really do.  But I'm looking for the One Perfect Wig.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Arizona Dull

    As I wrote last week, I was sent to Arizona unexpectedly.  As I've said many times, I really like to plan and prepare before going out.  I flew out early Monday morning, flew back early Saturday morning, and brought very little Meg with me.  I spent a lot of time at work, a lot of time at my hotel working, and that was pretty much my week.  Plus, I had my slowly healing toenail.  I doubt any of Meg's shoes would fit comfortably, except for my New Balances, which I wore on my trip.

    Monday evening was spent staying up too late Eastern time so I could try to get over the time zone difference.

    Tuesday I went to the small mall, the only mall in town.  Last time I visited this mall, I had my nails done and I did some shopping at Dillards.   This time, I checked out the mall.  The Dillards, at one end, and Sears, at the other, are both small department stores.  The mall has one corridor and is not very long.

    I spent some time in Dillards, looking at clothes.  I saw some things I really liked but they were way out of my price range.  The other stores were mostly uninteresting.  I ignored the Sears.  The Payless had only a few size 11s, and no 11Ws.  When I got back to the hotel, I noticed there is a beauty supply place right next door.  Last time, I was on the other side of the hotel and didn't see it.  It looks like of run-down.  You can't see in the front.  There's a car body shop next door.  The sign looks tacky.  I walked over when I noticed the sign said they sell wigs.  I walked up to the front door, and... closed.  It was around 7.  I noticed they were open from 8 to 6:30.  I'm gone by 8, but I can be back by 6:30.

    Wednesday, I decided to head back to Dillards, with a plan.  I am a big fan of mascara.  I wanted to pick up a brown mascara, to see if I could wear it without being obvious.  I did a little research and found that Dillards had over a dozen different cosmetics companies working their stores, and of those Clinique, MAC, and Origins were the least expensive.  Each had mascara for under $20.  The others were over $20.  So I had the there counters I'd head to.

    But the store was really small.  There was Clinque, and Lancome, and Arden, and that was about it.

    I went to the Clinique counter.  I asked the woman why mascara seems to come in "black, very black, really really black...."  She said they have other colours.  I said I was looking for brown.  She said they have brown, but they only put out black.  Then she passed me off to another saleslady.  I asked her about mascaras, she showed me some of the varieties they have and said they have brown.  She said I could buy a mascara and a "lower lash" mascara for about $25 and then I could get their bonus gift.  I said I'd like to see one of the mascaras she liked which washed off in warm water and came in brown.

    As she pulled out the mascara, I walked around to see if there was anything else I wanted ~ maybe an eye shadow.  She came out with the mascara and the lower lash mascara and said "if you want them, here they are." She didn't seem like she really wanted to help me.  She never assumed they were for me ~ she even said the bonus would make "a nice gift."

    The mascara she pulled out was "dark chocolate brown" and the lower lash mascara was black-brown.  I said I was really looking for brown.  She said "well, these are brown."  I said "I'm looking for a mascara that will bring out my lashes without people saying 'he's wearing mascara.'"  She said, "well that's what it's for.  Maybe there are more colours over at Lancome."  Clearly, she was done with me.  I said "I came to Clinique because I know their prices are more reasonable."  That got a grin and a nod.  But she was still done.

    I didn't buy.

    I went to Lancome, to see what they had, but I knew mascara cost more than I'd want to pay.  I looked at the mascaras while waiting for a saleslady.  None showed, and I left.

    I did get back to my hotel shortly after 6.  I walked over to the shop next door, planning on looking at wigs and...  I misremembered.  They're open from 8:30 until 6.  Closed.  I'll try again tomorrow.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Your Turn

    A few days ago, Dianegirl44 wrote in a comment that she spent the day shopping and had a great time.  I commented back "send me a picture and I'll post it."  Well she did, and here she is, and she looks great.  There's more about Diane a little further down this post.

    Now, I'd like to open that invitation to my readers.

    I won't have a "the femulated" widget like Stana does, but I'd like to learn more about you, and I'd like to offer some space to girls who maybe have a flickr page as their only outlet, or an occasional blog, or just have something to say.  I have a few e-mails and private comments that will be (guest) posts when I have the time.

    I'd like more.  If you have a blog, send me a link and a little summary.  If I get enough, I'll aggregate them into a post.  If you want to send me a picture (and permission to post), I'll share you with my other six readers.

    Send me an e-mail or add a comment with the word TO POST in it and I won't post it as a comment.  I'll promote you to post.  It may take a while (as I said, I have a guest post file right now), but you'll get on the blog.  If you wish, create a throwaway e-mail account so you remain anonymous.

    Anyway, after that long lead-in, here's Diane.  We wanted to hook up (for coffee!) when I was passing through Long Island about a month ago.  Everything went wrong and it didn't happen.  She sent a mini-bio, and I hope she's not insulted when I say she sounds like she pretty typically:

    I've been dressing since I was 3 yrs old - I wore moms full slips and seamed nylons and heels. I'm married, and I have an understanding wife.  My grown daughter doesn't know about Diane.  I'm a member of Femmefever club on Long Island. I am a shopping girl, with a large femme wardrobe.

    Yay! to the understanding wife!  Everybody needs one!

    Dianegirl44 has a yahoo address, if you'd like to say hi.  I'd love to know more about FemmeFever and where she shops....  Smithhaven?  Roosevelt Field?  Sun-Vet? (I used to live near that little mall).

    Your turn.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    One of Us?

    Take a look.  This picture was in the Washington Post.  There's a fence covered in "ribbons of remembrance" in Manhattan, near the former grounds of the World Trade Center.

    I wish I had a better, larger picture.

    It seems they're both women.  The one on the right is holding a bag, and the pants look like women's capris, not men's shorts.

    But the woman on the left....

    She's clearly overdressed for the day (and for her companion).  Her legs seem a little muscular, her arm a bit long (although, I admit, feminine), her hips a bit lacking.  And she has her hand on her companion's shoulder.  Watch a man and woman, or two women walking like that.  Hands almost always go around the waist, not the shoulder.

    GG or TG, she looks good from here!  I love those shoes, and I'd be happy to wear a dress like hers!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Other Times, You're Ignored

    I came across some information on another old friend, one who's met Meg but only as a "costume."  She's since moved to Kansas, but still keeps in touch with some local folks I no longer keep in touch with.  We all met in 2004, via a political meetup group.

    Stupid, I know, but I sent her a facebook "friend" request.

    I haven't heard back.  It's been about a week.  I didn't send any special "hi!  Remember me?  We met once at your Mardi Gras party in 2005!" message, just a standard request.

    You know how it is when you lean back too far in your chair and almost fall backwards, but save yourself at the last second? I feel like that all the time.  (Steven Wright)

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Sometimes, You're Ignored

    My wife ordered some clothes from Catherine's, and decided to save on shipping by having them delivered to the local shop.  The local shop is a healthy walk from my office (less than 3/4 mile, I think) and I can easily drive past there on my way home.  So I offered to pick up her package.  I noticed some jewelry on clearance near the register ~ any item for $2.99.  I looked at them while waiting for her to retrieve the package, but didn't see anything I really loved, even at that price.

    A couple of days later, my wife asked me to return one of the outfits.

    In the past, I would have pushed the package back, looked at the floor, signed the card receipt and left.

    That's in the past.

    Catherine's only carries large sizes.

    The saleslady asked if she could help me and I said "I'd like to return this.  It doesn't fit.  It's too big."  She said it wasn't a problem and asked if I wanted to look at other items while I was there.  This made me think she thought it was for me, which was fine.  I think she saw her mistake, because she followed this with "maybe we have the same outfit in a smaller size."  I said "no, that's OK.  I think I'll just return this one.  The other two were fine."  (There were three outfits on the receipt.)

    I guess in larger size shops they get more men shopping for themselves, or their secret selves, than in, say, shops geared towards smaller women.  I seem to remember a shop called 2-4-6 or 3-5-7 or something like that, that only carried those sizes.  Not that I could ever shop there!

    So I think her first impulse was to make me comfortable by assuming it was for me, and that was OK with her.  But I think she was confused because the other outfits were outside of my apparent size.

    While she was handling the return, I was looking at a short-sleeve top near the register.  It was grey, with a large flower filling the bottom.  I thought it was pretty, and I asked what size it came in.  She said "0 through 5."  I said "what's that in regular sizes?"  and she said "0 is 14/16."  I said "it's very nice, but a bit too big."

    By the end of my visit, I don't know what she thought.  I'd like to know, just because it's important to me to know how we're perceived.  But, really, I don't care.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    The Office, Part IV

    I did a second week of OM and K watching.  K gets better; OM gets worse.  On the other hand, I enjoy logging what K wears.  Although last week was a short one, my observations are from the week before.

    Day  K, The Style Queen  OM, The Predictable
    Monrust tight bodice button-down shirt + brown tweed slacks + brown high heel booties black**
    Tueviolet button-down shirt, knee-length grey tight pinstripe skirt, "reptile" grey heels turquoise**
    Wedelectric blue tight bodice button down, short grey flared skirt (I WANT ONE), open-toe heels: black with gold trim tan
    Thub&w print blouse, back crop jacket, cream slacks, matching "snakeskin" pattern open-toed heels light blue
    Frilace camsisole under white shell under brown ruffled sweater, dark grey slacks, grey wedges salmon shirt and black slacks!

    I think the ones I marked ** are the exact same dress on the exact same day as last week. Friday marks the first time I ever noticed her wearing something other than one of the Same Old Dresses.  I admit to paying more attention to K than OM, when I'm looking at style.

    And since Pat asked: OM always wears hose. I *think* K always does, but sometimes they're so sheer I'd have to pay too close attention to be certain!

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    On A Jet Plane

    While you're reading this, I'm probably on a plane heading towards Phoenix, or on a second plane heading towards Tucson, or in a rental car driving to Sierra Vista.

    As I mentioned a few days ago, my plan was to go out next month, after my toe has healed.  I was going to arrange to go out on Saturday and stay in Tucson that night.  There is a pretty active trans group in Tucson, and I was hoping to meet up with some of the ladies.  With luck, I'd get to see Liz again as well.

    But the project is in crisis mode right now, or at least one part of it is.  We have a deadline that's an actual deadline: if we miss it, the project will be a corpse, and my career won't seem very healthy either.  So I'm on my way to help out.

    No time in Tucson, except to pick up a car and get to Sierra Vista as fast as I can.  No evenings free, which is OK.  If I had free time, I can't even wear the kind of shoes I'd like to.  And no pedicure: I can't get the toe wet for another week.

    I didn't even bring anything Meg, really.  No pads, no wigs, no bras, no skirts, no dresses, no hose.  I do have a couple of polos from the women's department with me, as well as my jeans.  And sneakers.  And socks and panties.  I'm just not overtly female, I guess.  Oh, and nightgowns.  No pj's this trip!

    Actually, that was my plan.  But I noticed a bit of extra room in my bag so I packed a couple of lightweight skirts, one long, one short.  Just for wearing in my room.

    It's really more practical to travel with girl clothes: panties, nightgowns, and (to an extent) women's socks are lighter and thinner than male equivalents, so it takes less room to pack and less effort to carry.  Try THAT logic on your wife, the next time you go on a trip together!

    I do have my epilator with me.  I've been using it on-and-off and I'm still not sure if the hair eventually stops growing, or thins out, with repeated use.

    And I may go shopping, just as a consolation prize.

    I do gain comfort from the fact that I'll probably be going out in November or December.  If we make our deadline.  The pressure's on!

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    I Have a Doozie

    It's getting better though.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Disquieting? How?

    I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to see Trudie in one of those tea gowns.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Alone? Not Anymore

    In deference to my toe (still bleeding a bit) I'm working from home today.  My wife is out of the house today, and school has started.

    Last year this meant, at an absolute minimum, a skirt and blouse.  If I have enough time, it's a day of Full Meg.

    Now, there's a fly in the ointment.  My oldest is in college.  Although he's in a dorm, the campus is only a few minutes from here.  I don't know his schedule, and he does have his car.  So even the absolute minimum is too much.  Here I sit in my knock-around-the-house-sorta drab clothes.  My usual knockarounds are danskin sweats and a women's flannel shirt.  Any shoes at all are out today!

    More Flies

    Meanwhile, at work, I was planning my next trip to Arizona for next month.  I wanted to work out a Saturday flight in.  I'd spend Saturday/Saturday night/Sunday in Tucson and drive to Sierra Vista Sunday afternoon.  Meg would, hopefully, meet some friends and enjoy a full 24 hours or so in Tucson.

    Now, it's possible I'll be in Arizona next week.  Due to other obligations, I'd have to leave late Sunday and return early Saturday.  I don't even think it's worth packing any Meg clothes at all, except for my usual underdressing.  It's a bit depressing.  Stay tuned.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Toenail Recall

    I know, I've had better titles.  The poll is still open and I'm intrigued.  Look here if you want a bit of background and please vote.

    Like Stana, I'm having a toe problem.  Unlike Stana, I need to have a little procedure done to solve mine. 

    That's today.  I leave work a bit early and I'll have part of the ingrowing big toenail on my right foot removed.

    Mostly, it doesn't cause me any problems, although sometimes it feels like the nail is a knife, slowly cutting into my toe.  But it causes dress-up problems, and that's important.

    When in drab, I wear a mix of boy and girl shoes.  I have two pairs of New Balance I wear almost all the time: gray men's shoes, black women's ones.  My dress shoes are from Aerosoles.  I have girls' sandals, although they're irrelevant here.  Huh.  I guess I have a few pairs of girl shoes and one boy.  I should get rid of those, just for consistency.

    And, of course, I have Way Too Many pairs of pumps, boots, etc.

    One commonality among the shoes, men's vs women's, is women's shoes are flatter.  I'm not sure what the cobbler's technical name for this is.  The part above the toes on women's shoes is lower than the part above the toes on men's shoes.  This means they press down on that ingrowing toenail more.

    This translates into me walking funny after not-too-long in some of my favourite shoes.

    I'm hoping this will solve the problem for at least a number of years and I'll be ready for my next trip out (October, in Arizona).  Meantime, I may be working from home tomorrow.

    Or I may be wearing my girl sandals to the office.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Maybe He Just Wants to Dress Like One

    The polls are still open.  Please vote.  And feel free to expand on your choices, in comments (write PRIVATE and I won't publish it) or in e-mail.

    Click the pic to enlarge it.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Future Crossdresser Here

    When I was very young, I wanted to be a girl.  At least I thought I wanted to be a girl.

    I know I wanted to wear girl's clothes.  And I was always a very logical kid.  So it was simple:

    1. I wanted to wear dresses and have long hair and wear pretty shoes.
    2. Only girls wear dresses and have long hair and wear pretty shoes.
    3. Therefore, I must want to be a girl.

    The idea that a boy would want to wear girls' clothes was, well, nuts.  When I was old enough to think about it, I thought that someday I might see a psychiatrist (I don't know where I learned about them ~ maybe Peanuts) and I would never be able to tell him I wanted to wear girls' clothes because that would be so weird he'd probably want to put me away.

    I remember little about my childhood, which to a therapist would be a red flag.  It would indicate some serious childhood trauma.  Maybe it does.  I don't remember.

    One snippet I do remember was going to the barber with my father (I didn't do a lot of things with my father) and when the barber was done, I innocently asked, "isn't the hair in the front supposed to be straight?"  Both my father and the barber laughed and one of them (I don't remember which) said "bangs are for girls.  Do you want to look like a girl?"  I remember being very embarrassed (although I don't think that qualifies as trauma).

    And at some point, I probably wondered why I don't get to wear a top to my bathing suit, like my sister does.

    No doubt. He's one of us.

    (Please take the polls.  An explanation is here.)

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    This Was a Surprise

    Please take the two polls this week.  An explanation is in yesterday's post.  Thank you.  And I hope you're all enjoying your long weekend (here in the states).

    My wife reads a magazine called The Sun.  I have pretty much no idea what it's about.  The little blurb I read says that it doesn't have ads.  I get it.  My favourite newspaper (The Funny TImes) doesn't either (except to push their own t-shirts and stuff).  Nor did my childhood favourite magazine (Mad).

    It does appear to have literary items.

    My wife pulled out a recent issue and said "read this."  It was from a reader-supplied section.  This month's subject was shoes.  I read the item she suggested and said "OK.  Why?"  It was about some woman and a special pair of shoes that she had.  She said "what do you mean?"  and I said "well, why that one?"  She took the magazine back and looked at it and then started flipping pages until she found the one that I copied here.

    Interesting that she'd point out something like that.

    She usually does her best to ignore my hobby, except to occasionally take a jab at what I like to do.  Here she is, showing me an article about a boy who bought a pair of heels.  We haven't discussed it yet; I will.  I think she'd appreciate that and maybe she'll point me at more items like this in the future.

    I'm sorry about the scan.  They don't have full articles on their website.  Click it to enlarge it so it's readable!

    Just an aside: I mentioned to one of my favourite people that my brother-in-law was visiting.  She wrote back and said "what's he like?" which reminded me of one of my favourite jokes:

    A little boy is in the shopping mall, crying his eyes out.  An older woman comes out of one of the nearby shops to ask him why he's crying.  He stops long enough to tell her that he was in the mall with his grandfather and now he can't find him anywhere.  The woman says "your grandfather?  What's he like?" and the boy thinks a minute and says "single malt scotch and women with big boobs."

    (insert rimshot)

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    A Slight Miscalculation

    I decided to put a picture with my account when commenting on Washington Post articles.  The picture is 50 by 50 pixels, which is pretty tiny.  I decided to use a rally photo.  I'm wearing sunglasses, to further hide my identity in case anyone who knows me sees it.  I commented on several articles.  Most people have a little "anonymous" picture so having an actual photo sort of stands out.

    Many friends, coworkers, acquaintances, etc, here read The Post on-line, but I wouldn't expect them to recognise me.

    A few of days later, it occurred to me that both my wife and my friend who was down from New York for the rally read The Post and probably will look at or comment on the same articles I would. 


    I use that account from work.  I read The Post and comment on articles during lunch.  I thought about my error on Saturday, when the winds were blowing.  I didn't grab a picture that night though and I forgot about it during the weekend.  At work on Monday, I e-mailed myself a reminder to get a new picture.  Monday night, I selected a new picture, cropped it, squared it, and e-mailed it to myself.

    At work Tuesday, the first thing I did was clean up my e-mail and delete the message with the picture.  In this account, when it's gone, it's gone.  Then I sent myself another reminder.  And carefully refrained from posting comments.  Now I'm OK.  I think.  Yes, I shouldn't post a picture at all.  I use the rally picture with my Daily Mail chat account, but I doubt anyone I know in the states reads The Mail.

    It was unintentional.  Honest.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Yes, It's All for the Breast

    OK, where was I?  Oh yeah.

    Before I go on, I do want to say that I have silicon forms (I've written about them before) and I can attach them, but I never have.  Maybe on my next trip to Arizona....

    I started with water balloons. I've tried polyfill in cut-up stockings.  Silicon is pricey, but I think they're worth it.

    But yes, I'd love to have breasts and surgery is the best way to get them, but....

    Yes, there are non-surgical options.  Herbals and hormones, for example.  Some say you can have success with hypnosis.  Others claim pumping alone will work.  I've done a little checking.

    Herbals are mostly useless.  I say mostly, because some people have had good success.  I think it's very individual.  And I think being younger helps.  I've heard of young men using soaps with estrogen impersonators and having reactions (including growing breasts).  I think having human growth hormones in great quantities helps. There are a lot of plants that mimic estrogen: tea tree oil, lavender, fenugreek, even soy if you have A Lot.

    Hormones work.  There are a lot of varieties, but there is no "breast pills."  They're all "girl pills."  Look up the side effects.  And they all put a strain on the liver, which should be monitored while taking the pills.  They're also prescription, but there are off-shore druggists who aren't fussy about that.

    I haven't heard of any hypnosis success stories, except from the people who sell hypnosis programs like this.

    I've heard anecdotal evidence of using a breast pump to enlarge the breasts but it requires hours (!) of pumping each day.

    So today I have two polls.  Please answer both.  For poll 1, I considered allowing multiple answers, but just choose the one you consider most radical.  Any comments or e-mail explanations are welcome.  Remember: if you want to be anonymous and private just put PRIVATE in your comment and I won't publish it.  But then, we can't have a dialogue either.

    Friday, September 2, 2011


    As I said yesterday, I don't do risky things.  I consider cosmetic and elective surgery in that category.

    I would like to be more feminine.  I'd like to "fix" what's not.

    I see ads touting laser eye surgery with "wouldn't you love to wake up and see without putting your glasses on?"  Yes I would.  But I'd rather wake up and not have to shave a single hair.

    So what sort of surgery would I want, if I could have it painlessly and without risk (and free would be nice too, as long as I'm visiting fantasyland)?

    Here's my short list, along with why I wouldn't actually get it.

    Voice: Either a laryngoplasty or Cricothyroid Approximation or something else my research hasn't uncovered.  I think my voice, as Meg, is a giveaway.  There are ways to train your voice, but I haven't been successful at any (or maybe I've not been persistent enough and I should keep trying).  The obvious downside: I'll have a higher voice All The Time.  I wouldn't consider shaving my Adam's Apple essential (and that's face feminisation anyway).

    laser hair removal: it's common enough, and it doesn't entail a lot of risk (or expense), but it is very time consuming and it doesn't work on lighter-coloured hair.  The last time I grew a beard (YEARS ago), it came in in every shade imaginable: red, brown, blonde, grey, white.  I don't think the laser would be satisfactory.  Electrolysis is not very permanent and very time consuming.  I don't know anything about the "home laser" kits.  (Updated to remove the "not very".  Electrolysis, if done correctly, is forever.  Laser, not so much.)

    face feminisation: this covers a variety of things and to all I say "no thank you."  Again, it means looking femme all the time, which... I wouldn't mind, really.  It would mean I don't need makeup in order to be Meg.  But... no.  You can see before-and-afters in a variety of sites like this and here and here.  Would I like to look like a woman All The Time?  Yes.  But, sadly, I can't, and I won't.

    breast augmentation: it's actually not hard to find a surgeon who will do breast augmentation for a male (like this guy).  I think this is something many of us dream about.  We still want to be ourselves, but wouldn't it be wonderful to not have to stuff a bra every time you want to go out?  To know what it feels like to "own your own?"  Of course, the problem is, you have them All The Time.  I think I'd end up spending much of my time hiding them.  Maybe not.  Maybe that would be the thing that made me come so far out of the closet I'd only go back for a change of a dress.

    Notice genital surgery is not on the list.

    Here's my theory: for transsexuals, the important thing is self-image.  "I am a woman, yet my body mocks me by being male."  It should probably be called "genital alignment surgery," not "reassignment."

    For transvestites, the important thing is how we look to the world.  I don't want to be a woman (although, given the option, I'd be happy to be one), but I want the world to see me as one.  I want to see a woman when I look in the mirror.  I want to look at my hands when I'm typing and see a bracelet and feminine rings and painted nails.  Seeing myself in the bathroom is less important.  I want to be as pretty as I can be, and know that I look better than I did when I woke up that drab morning.

    External vs internal.  Although sometimes, I'd like to, um, fit my clothes better.  I have more than one skirt that fits like a glove.  In fact, I can even look down and see a finger!   And it goes in the swap bin.  And it seems the prettiest, sexiest skirts are just a tad too tight for a male body.  Would I like to wear a bikini?  Yes.  The price is too high, and it's not that important.

    I'll keep trying to speak more femininely.  I'll shave and epilate and depilitate.  I'll do what I can with makeup.  But I'd really like to know what it's like to fill a bra without help.

    This is getting kind of lengthy.  More about this tomorrow.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Danger Zone!

     Playing with Fire

    I was catching up with a friend.  He sent a post full of people dying or becoming ill, things his kids and grandkids did, and buried in the note was: of my cousins announced she's no longer Bonnie but Clyde [names changed] and wears men's clothes and wants surgical readjustment, ...

    I commented back that at least there's good news mixed in with the bad, and blah blah.  At the end I wrote:

    As for Bonnie, I guess there's one in every family.

    I figured, let's see what he says and then I'll figure out what I'm going to say.  This is postal chess ~ no need for a quick off-the-cuff reply.

    A week later, and he ignored the note completely.  Then he wrote back, addressed a couple of items and ignored the "Bonnie" part.

    Ah well.  It's all for the best, right?

    On a Similar Topic

    I still haven't decided if I should connect with my old school friend on Facebook.  I looked him up, on a lark, on LinkedIn (as I mentioned here) and thought, since he has zero connection with anyone I know (except through LinkedIn) I would connect to him on Facebook as Meg.

    Your reactions and advice were mixed, leaning towards the "are you insane?" side of the ledger.

    I don't do risky things, as a rule.  No skydiving, bungee jumping, swimming with sharks, walking through the "bad" neighborhoods after dark.  No unsafe sex, visits to seedy bars, illegal drugs, rock climbing, dealings with loan sharks.  I don't even run with scissors.

    But Meg seems to want to come out in the worst way, and I'm afraid I'll figure out the worst way.

    So, still undecided, but purely as an intellectual exercise (honest!), I looked up my friend on Facebook.

    He's not there.

    There may be someone else from my past who has no connection to anyone else I know but I can't think of who that might be.

    So if I am insane to try this, at least I'm safe right now.

    Update: Also Stupid

    My New York friend who met Meg (as a costume) at the rally last October asked about blogging options.  He wants to set up a blog.  I suggested blogger and said "I use it, and I use wordpress for my political blogs."

    Let's see if he asks.  I can not tell him about this blog, but I want to see if he asks.