Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sharon's 'stone (Part II)

(completing Sharon's review of Keystone; she was giving how-to-girl tips at the end of yesterday's post)

When eating a bread roll, do not butter the entire roll at once.  Take a pat of butter and put it on your bread plate.  Break the bread into pieces that are big enough for one or two bites, and butter each piece and eat it.

Take smaller bites, and pause between bites for conversation.  When women talk, they turn to face each other and look each other in the eye.

LOVE this outfit!
If you have long hair you can tie it back with a scrunchie so it doesn’t fall into your face while you eat.

When eating meat, cut one piece at a time, eat that piece, and put your knife and fork down. Then repeat.

If you are eating a salad and the lettuce is in big pieces, you can use your knife to cut it into smaller pieces. 

She suggested that you only fill the top 1/3 of the fork with food.  And do not put the entire fork in your mouth, just the tip where the food is.

She also discussed makeup etiquette.  She suggested that you avoid wearing lip gloss before eating, because it will come off on your glass.  Instead, you can wear a matte lipstick.  Or just fill in your lips with a lip liner and some chapstick.  She said you should not fix your makeup at the table.  Its okay to make a quick check of it in a small mirror at table.  Then, if needed, go to the rest room to fix it.

When using the women’s rest room, make sure you sit down on the toilet and have your feet facing the correct way. Don’t be too chatty in the restroom and don’t stand in front of the mirror more than a couple of minutes.

Napkins can be useful.  Be sure to ask for extra ones when eating “finger food” or anything likely to be messy.  Make sure to wipe your hands before touching your glass.  You should dab your face with a small section of the napkin rather than the whole napkin.

Monica didn’t mention this, but I read somewhere that your should place your napkin on your chair when excusing yourself from the table during a meal.  It is not okay to leave a soiled napkin on the table while others are eating.

How to eat soup:  fill the spoon; lean forward; put the soup in your mouth and swallow it; rest the spoon on the soup plate next to the bowl; don’t slurp!; do not lift the bowl to your face.  It is ok to tilt the bowl slightly in order to get the last spoonful.

When drinking beer in a nice restaurant, it should be served in a glass. Don’t drink red wine or a martini in a martini glass) in a crowded bar or club, as this is likely to spill.

All of these tips seemed useful to me.  I look forward to practicing them the next time I dine out en femme.

Through her website, http://www.nouveaushe.com/, Monica Prata provides full-range femininity training in-person and online, offering lessons in wardrobe, makeup application and deportment.

Here is another website with useful tips about deportment:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sharon's 'stone (Part I)

My titles are getting out of hand.  

Sharon Rose was one of a large contingent of ladies who went to Keystone this year.  Meg was not.

Sharon's been in this blog about a dozen times: I posted her 2012 Keystone experience, I mentioned her at one of the soirees,  we had dinner together and met with Cynthia at her new digs about a year ago.

Sharon was kind enough to once again write up her experience at Keystone.  I'm posting it unedited, except for splitting it into two parts.

The 2013 Keystone Conference:  Bigger and Better Than Before
By Sharon Rose

This was my fifth year attending the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg, which is organized by TranscentralPA, the Transgender Education Association of Central Pennsylvania.  The conference has grown in size each year.  This year they had over 500 attendees, and added some new seminars.  As always, they had interesting and inspirational speakers and fun outings.

One seminar which I really enjoyed was Feminine Dining Comportment, which was given by Monica Prata, who is a feminine image consultant.  Monica works with transgender women to help them improve their confidence.  She has experience as a M.A.C. makeup artist and also worked at Nordstrum.

Several of us met in the restaurant for lunch and had bread and salad while Monica gave us some pointers about how to act when dining out.  Some of the advice was her personal opinion, while most of it can be found in standard etiquette guides.

First, you should dress appropriately for the type of food you expect to eat.  You should avoid wearing a white blouse when you expect to eat messy food like barbeque or pasta. But you can pack Shout wipes or other stain removers in your purse for emergencies.

When entering a building women generally do not stand on the outside and hold the door open for a man or another woman.  They might hold the door behind them after entering for a second or two to be polite when someone is right behind them.

She suggested removing your coat in the lobby of the restaurant, because sometimes tables are close together.  Fold your jacket over your arm and keep it in front of you.  Keep your elbows close to your body as you walk through the restaurant.  This will allow you to avoid bumping into other patrons.

When you arrive at your table, you can hang your purse over your chair if it has a long strap, or keep it on the seat behind you, or you can use a purse clip to hang it off the edge of the table.

You can put your coat on the inside of your chair, instead of the outside, in case you get cold during the meal.  If the coat is extra long, you can fold it over the back of the chair.

You can let the host/hostess pull out your chair for you if they offer.  When you sit down, be sure to smooth the bottom of your dress or skirt. Then sit, put your hands on the side of the chair, and scoot your chair forward.  She suggested that you not sit with your back against the back of the chair.  If you lean forward a bit, you can create an S-curve with your body, which is more visually appealing.  Also, do not sit squarely on both feet.  Keep you legs together; you can cross them at the ankles or lean them slightly to one side or the other.

She suggested ordering salad dressing on the side, since it can be messy to eat in some places depending on the type and amount of dressing.

Try to repeat the waiters name to remember it in case you need to ask them for something.  If your food was prepared incorrectly you can kindly explain to them what is wrong.

Food and other items should be passed around the table to the right, or counter-clockwise.  I have heard it said that the salt and pepper shakers are married and should always be passed together – even if the request was for only one. A kinder way to deal with that is to ask whether they also want the other.

I think this should also apply to coffee creamer and sugar/artificial sweetener.  I would offer to pass both even if someone asked only for one.

(more tomorrow)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

She's the Little Old Lady From...

...Flo and Friends?

I'm not a huge Flo fan, but these recent panels featuring Ruthie are worth sharing.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Open Mike Night!

There's a relatively new strip in the Washinton Post called "Mike Du Jour."  On rare occasions, it's funny:

But they're rare.  Sometimes, they make no sense at all (like the one I posted back in January, or like day 4 below).  Most of the time, they're just horrid, like the sequence below, which gets Mike Lester into the brand-new Saturday CD Funny Hall of Shame.


Friday, April 26, 2013

No, I Didn't

I was kidding yesterday.  But I did wear a nice velvet dress (and great hose!):

More next week.  I promise.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Uninspired, or Just Plain Tired

In the typewriter days, I'd be sitting at my desk with a stack of crumpled papers overflowing the trash can right now.   Two of the past three nights, I've enjoyed only 3-4 hours of sleep.  Last night, I slept better but had weird dreams (no dream dressing, alas).  I'm awake enough to be productive at work, and there's lots of it right now, but I can't get the creative side moving.  Work, right now, doesn't involve a lot of right-brain work ~ it's more applying knowledge, which I can almost do in my sleep (like today).  It's more like editing than writing.

Hopefully, I'll be back on track Friday.  I still have a game night, a gender discussion at Christine's, and an evening out with probably thirty girls.  This was a different kind of event, by the way.  Here's why:

This was in the Washington Post's "going out guide."

And this was going to be a dress-UP opportunity, and I took advantage of it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Simple Pleasure ~ More Trying On

In addition to earlier posts about trying things on (like shoes and earrings), I noticed I have a lot of lip products ~ lip liners, lipsticks, lipglosses.

It's time to find out which ones I like, which ones look horrid... what to keep and what to toss.

I think, if I tried one lipstick and lipgloss per day, I'd have a hobby for a month.  And if I wanted to try all of the possible combinations of lipstick and lipgloss I can probably go for close to a year.

(I'll ignore the half-dozen or so lip liners for now.)

And if history is my guide, I'll like five, love two, and buy another dozen to try different shades.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Working Backwards

I've been out a few times, events I haven't written about yet.  I'm going to start with the most recent: last Saturday.

Saturday was Kim's biggest, best clothing swap yet.  It was publicised on the local t-groups.  There were vendors, raffles, food, and 300 or so women there.  I'd say there were maybe eight t's among the g's.

Typical scene (it might be wider than the screen; a click will help):

Anyone see Waldo?

At one point, many of the local girls sat down for a bite:

That's Kelly up front on the right, and Star and Andrea on the left.  I think that's a bit of Steffi behind Kelly, and Stephie is looking at the camera from the back.  I think Sharon was Desperately Seeking a Non-Ham Sandwich. :)

At one point, someone came up to me and told me she was a member of Christine's trans-group but I had no idea who she was: for some reason, she was dressed as a guy.  To each their own.

Alas, I wasn't in the pictures, since someone had to wield the camera.   I wore a blue maxi-dress and slides, and since Charity had to work, I got to practice my own makeup for a change.

I spoke to a number of women there, mostly little things: comments on their haul or what they were looking at.  At one point I said "I was hoping you'd put that down" and I snatched up a top (8P ~ it went down again).

I also spoke to one woman and asked to take her picture ~ I said she had "won first place:" she was carrying three huge bags full of clothing.  She laughed and said "I was trying to keep a low profile."

It was a long walk back to the car and along the way a woman who was just getting there asked where the
entrance was (I told her, and told her it was nearly over ~ she said she was picking up a friend).  In the parking lot, another woman said "how'd you do?" and we briefly compared notes.

I figure either (a) I pass pretty well, or (b) people are fine with how I present.  Either way is fine with me and proved once again that a swap is a great and safe place to go out and mingle with civilians, especially if you're like I was when I started going out: I did not want to interact with men.  Almost no men there, except for one vendor and Kim's husband and he's as accepting as anyone I ever met.  And that girl dressed in guy clothes.

So, how did I do?  I had brought in several very nice dresses, a skirt, and a blouse (none fit well) and I was happy to see that they all found new homes.  I didn't see a lot that I wanted to bring home, but I found a dress that Charity might like and a couple of tank-top-style camis for me.

Star and Andrea had mentioned to Charity that they'd maybe like to get together for dinner that evening.  Steffi was stag (doe?) that weekend and asked if she could come along.  We happily agreed, and the five of us had dinner at a local Tex-Mex restaurant.  Steffi went shopping and on other errands; I wore the same outfit I had to the swap.  It was pretty comfortable and kinda cute.  Alas, I forgot to get pictures of our gang.

For those keeping track, I didn't need to use the ladies' room at either the swap or the restaurant.  Even with a margarita.  (At the restaurant, not the swap.)

Monday, April 22, 2013


Memorial Day weekend, I plan to take a trip up I-95.  I'm hoping to meet some of my readers, and visit some of my New York friends.

Here's the preliminary itinerary:

Meg will be driving up 95 from northern VA to NY, crossing in via either the Outerbridge or George Washington bridge.  I'll stay somewhere in Nassau (east of the city).  I'll change and spend most of my time in drab, visiting old friends.  I'm hoping Meg will make an appearance in the city, but one of "us" will be going.  Meg will check out of the hotel and drive back down, possibly visiting some ladies near the city, if any are around.

The plan: this is a three day weekend for both Charity and myself.  The drive up will be on Saturday
morning, the drive back Monday morning or afternoon.

The question: are any of my on-line friends going to be around and along that route?  Drop me a Drop me a note or leave a comment with the word (private) at the start and your e-mail and I won't print it.  I hope to meet at least a couple of my readers in person!

Meanwhile, I have a lot to write about!  In addition to the events I haven't covered yet, last weekend I went to a game night, a clothing swap, and out to dinner with friends.  The photo to the right is of Meg before going to the (all civilian) game night.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Funnies

Today: a little bit of The Duplex (Glenn McCoy's excellent strip) and one I post too rarely: Arlo and Janis.  Jimmy Johnson is a wonderfully insightful writer and in my opinion he has more winners than losers.  AND he has a cute little girl character named Meg. :D


I LOVE this one!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

In Lieu of a Saturday Funny

I was looking through the newspaper a few days ago when I saw this:

So I read the article:

James and Giant Peach groove on the ’60s

It seems there's a local production of James and the Giant Peach and James' mean aunts are played by two gentlemen, Philip Reid and Joe Brack.

The review is here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Envelop Stretching Time

I have some catching up to do.  I went to two Christine events.  One was a discussion of gender held at her house a few weeks ago.  The other was dinner with about 20 girls at a local restaurant.

But I'm going to cover those next week to talk about something a bit more out of the ordinary.

For the dinner, I asked Charity to do my nails.  She picked a lovely purple shade and I enjoyed seeing my painted nails that evening.  The next day, I planned to take off the polish prior to going into DC (in drab) to see the cherry blossoms and visit a museum or two.
Tulip Garden in DC


But I didn't want to take the colour off.

So I didn't.

Instead, I did some calculations.  I figured the chances of seeing anyone I know was tiny.  I also figured the chances of any unpleasant comments was tiny: we were going to look at trees and art, both somewhat civilised ventures.  The chance of getting negative looks was higher, but really, why should anybody care?  I sure didn't.

So we drove to the metro, took the train into DC, walked to the tidal basin, walked around a bit, went to the Natural History museum (a butterfly aviary and orchid exhibit caught our attention), and we wandered through the National Gallery.  We stopped at a Ross to return a couple of dresses and at a supermarket on the way home.  We decided to stop and get an early dinner at a buffet near the supermarket.

It's me.  In drab.  Really
When we got home, I didn't want to take the colour off before going to work the next day.

So I did some calculations.  And I sadly took the polish off.

Maybe next time.

For the record: I went to work on Monday with a head that clearly showed I had too much sun over the weekend.  No-one commented on that.

So maybe next time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


For each of the things I wear, I have a story.  If, say, my mother or sister asked I'd probably tell the story. 

For any of you who would like to stretch the femininity envelop but do care, I herewith share my stories.

Tights, Socks: "I don't wear ties.  I like a bit of colour and hate ties, so I try to get interesting socks.  Yes, they're girls' socks, but socks are socks, no?"

Bracelet: I explain what the charms mean.  I don't offer a "I like feminine things" explanation.

Ring: "It's a gift from a friend.  She thought it would like nice on me and I agreed.  You really think it's girlish?  I think it's fine."

Shoes: "I'm very hard to fit.  A friend suggested her Aerosoles were the most comfortable shoes she ever wore and I decided to try a pair.  They look like most shoes men wear, no?"

Shirt: "Really?  No.  You're mistaken.  My wife bought it for me [or it was on the men's rack].  It looks like a man's shirt."  Note: this means you can't wear women's shirts to wherever you were caught anymore.  Also note: I once pointed out to a woman that she was wearing a man's shirt and she got very flustered then angry.  I pointed out that it buttoned the wrong way.  She went off and the conversation was over.  I was wearing a women's shirt at the time.

Bra: "um, er, uh, well, LOOK AT THE TIME!  I HAVE TO RUN!"  Maybe "HEY!  MY EYES ARE UP HERE!" :D

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Simple Pleasure ~ Lesson Learned

With a little practice, it's fairly easy to take off your bra without removing your shirt.

Putting on your bra without removing your shirt... not so easy.

I just found this essay in Cosmopolitan by Laura Jane Grace.  The intro:

Last year, punk rocker Tom Gabel astonished his fans and the music industry alike by announcing he was becoming a woman and changing his famous name to Laura Jane Grace. Here, an exclusive account of a remarkable journey.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Don't ask. Just don't.

I've been a member of a "men with breasts" list for a while.  I joined when I was thinking that it might be nice to join those ranks.  I'm still uncertain, but that's another post altogether.  Many members talk about how large their breasts are, and how they got them that way.  They also talk about comfort levels at showing them off, wearing bras to hide or expose them as they prefer.

They also mention that "no-one notices."

Yes They Do.

What they don't do is mention it to you.

From an early age, we're told not to stare at the man in the wheelchair/goth girl/guy with colourful tattoos/woman in burqa/man with mohawk/woman with mohawk/etc.  "It's rude," we're told.  And we're certainly discouraged from asking about any differences we notice.

Frankly, I believe that discussing differences is a way of understanding those differences.  But I still Don't Ask.

Everybody's different, everyone reacts differently.  People notice people who don't fit the norm, except when they don't notice.  Many people don't expect to see breasts on a man (for example) but some notice everything.  They look at you, they shake your hand, they make eye contact, they greet you, and say nothing.  To you.  Later, they say to their friend/coworker "did you see the boobs on Fred?"  Their friend may not have noticed.  But they'll notice next time.

And they'll say nothing.

We learned not to talk about differences.
This never happens:

A man is drinking at a bar, and he strikes up a conversation with the guy next to him, who happens to be a pirate.

He says "I hope you don't mind my asking, but I notice you have a peg leg.  May I ask how you lost your leg?"

The pirate says "During a raging storm I was thrown overboard and a shark took off my leg.  I was lucky to be alive."

The man says "wow.  So, what's the story behind the hook?"

The pirate says "we had a fierce battle on deck.  While I was engaged with one man another came up behind me with a scimitar and took my hand clean off."
The man is amazed and says "how about the eye patch?  How did you lose your eye?"
The pirate says "a bird pooped in it."
The man looks surprised and says "how did you lose an eye from bird poop?"
The pirate says "well, it was my first day with the hook."
We don't ask the pirate on the next stool what happened, even if he'd love to talk about it.  Look at it from a child's point of view.  Many people would be happy to enlighten a child as to why they're wearing a turban or sari.  Maybe there's a wondrous story behind the tattoo or a war story behind the wheelchair.

I had a friend who had hair she could sit on.  When I commented on her beautiful hair, she told me that her brother, who died in a car accident a few years earlier, loved her long hair and she promised him she wouldn't cut it.  But a third party would think me rude, even if I said to her "your hair is magnificent!  Why do you let it grow so long?"

I'm not sure I'd like someone to ask me about my tights or ring or bracelet or flowery socks.  I'm on the "don't care" cusp, I think.  But without a story (and I have one for the bracelet that's not really a story), it's hard to get around.  And I think right now I'm comfortable with "I like femme things and I wear them when I have the chance."

Monday, April 15, 2013

No, I Don't Think So

Marian responded to my wearing-a-padded-bra-all-week post by asking if I was trying to get caught.  I don't know if I'm introspective enough to answer that question, so I'll address some more surface motives instead.

I'd like to appear as feminine as possible.  I don't mean androgynous.  I mean feminine.  Sometimes, my appearance might be interpreted as androgynous, but that's not my goal.

There are some obvious clues.

I don't think I've met any other men who wear charm bracelets.  The ring I wear daily is definitely a women's ring.  My socks often have flowers or other designs, or are in a colour you won't find in The Men's Shop.  I carry a "patent leather" tote (it's really vinyl, but we're discussing looks).  Actually, my patent tote is falling apart so I bought a new, slightly larger, black tote.  When I bought it, the woman in the store wanted to put it in a bag.  I said "I can just carry it."  She paused, looked surprised, and giggled and "OK."  I guess that means she's not used to Men Carrying Purses (even if they're not really).

I sometimes wear patterned or brightly coloured tights.  I don't imagine there are many guys in the office wearing a pink or purple shirt and matching tights.

What prompted the question, though, is a week of wearing a bra under my shirt.  I should measure.  I suspect it gave me an A or A+ bust.  I also made sure that the bra (or the cami over it) did not show through my shirt.  I checked in a mirror from every angle I could think of.  I hunched over and checked my back, and if it showed when I really tightened the material but no other time, it was deemed acceptable.  I thrust out my chest, and if it only shows when my shoulders are way back, then that was deemed acceptable too.  One day, I wore a lacy camisole that showed ~ I changed to something plainer.

I also look at how many buttons I can open.  Mostly, of course, just a top button is open.  Some shirts, especially women's shirts, are more comfortable with two open.  I check first to ensure no bits of camisole are showing through.

Although it's rare, I sometimes wear real loafers instead of tennies.  The only ones I own are women's, and they're a bit tight so I wear trouser socks underneath.  No-one has ever commented on this.

A small handful of people have asked me about my bracelet, and I've been wearing it for several years.  No-one has asked me about my ring, but I've only been wearing it for two months.

And if someone said something?  I don't know what I'll say, but I will keep my strict "no stories" rule in place.  Yes, life would be easier with stories, and I have some fiction in mind.  I don't plan to use it though.

And even if I do go over the edge, I'd be extremely surprised if anyone says anything.

Tomorrow: No-one says anything.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monty Goes Base Diving

 Be sure to click to enlarge and enjoy these Monty cartoons.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

We Are Everywhere!

No not really.  I made a tiny edit to the caption.

Remember, Friday the 13th falls on a Saturday this month (see below).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Veet Veet!

I think I covered all of the choices for hair removal except depilitories.

Finishing the "choice" portion of these posts, there are several types of depilatories within each brand.  Safe for hair there.  Better for this type of hair.  Creamy, quicker, better ~ pick two.  There are a variety for in shower, for lotions, waxes, creams.

I don't like the idea of depilatories.  There are too many warnings on the bottle and too many rules for "safe" hair removal.  Don't use on (insert hairy body parts here), wash hands immediately, don't leave on too long, don't use if you have a cut or scab, don't use twice within 72 hours....  I have drain cleaner with fewer warnings.

I'd never use them at all, except they sort of work.  I've been switching between Nair and Sally Hansen removers.  Both are "3 minute, not more than 6, definitely not more than 10!  Warning!  Danger!  10 minutes is it!  We're not kidding!"

Actually, they're not.  One of my first times, I got a bit on a spot where I didn't expect it and wasn't looking for it.  It stayed for maybe 20 minutes and it decided to let me know it was there by burning my skin.

Another time, I got a bit on my nipple and was in pain for several days.

So I don't like depilatories.  But I keep going back to them.  Sometimes, it seems the hair grows back faster after use, or it re-appears the next day ~ it's probably just a cycle thing I don't understand.  Sometimes it seems that, even though I tried my best to follow the directions, I have a hairy patch when I'm done.

I always try to leave it on for the maximum time.  I don't "check after 3 minutes" as the label suggests.  I've tried shorter times and it doesn't work.

Both Nair and Sally Hansen are similar products.  Both tell you to use a thick layer of cream.  Both come in hard-to-empty bottles.  You know: the type you squeeze and it coughs and sputters and sprays Deadly Nair Particles all around the bathroom.  Being hard to get out of the bottle means a lot of (expensive) waste and a lot of time putting the product on which means by the time I've done (say) one arm, two minutes have passed and by the time I do the second, the first has already had cream on it for four minutes and the end of the second arm has just begun to bake so when do I remove what from where?

Hint 1: When I'm doing my arms/hands it's tough to wash the product off my palms after applying it.  So I wipe my palms on my belly.  I don't normally remove tummy hair and if the hair comes off or not, I don't care.

Hint 2: To speed up application, I squirt a mound of product onto a sheet of foil.  I can quickly gather it up and apply it without handling farting bottles while the clock is running.

A while back, I bought a bottle of Veet.  It came with a spatula for removing the product (which is weird).  Other products suggest using a washcloth and not rubbing (!! more warnings !!).

It also comes in a pump bottle, like hand lotion.

I tried it this week.  So far, I like it.  It came out smoothly and applied the same way.  Instead of working in bits because it takes so long to apply, I did three areas in one application: arms, underarms, chest.  I applied it to my chest first because it has the coarsest hair.  I then applied it to my hands and arms, then underarms (which have the most sensitive skin).  I removed it in reverse order.

My underarms have never been so smooth.  My chest came out pretty good.  My arms were hairless, although I could the black dots reappearing the next day.

I finished the Nair and Sally Hanson I had in the house.  On my next trip to the drug store, I'll be buying more Veet.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


When it comes to consumer products, men have generally limited choices.  There are more choices when it comes to personal grooming, but they follow a narrow path of small choices differentiated by brands.

Hair removal, for most civilian males, involves a simple choice: electric shaver or hand razor.  Electric shaver devolves into brand choices; there are differences that googling "best" will resolve.

Manual shavers offer small choices ~ number of blades, mostly.  Shaving cream is more preference than choice: do you prefer a cream or gel (that becomes a cream) or just soap.   From there, you've reached the brand level.

You see where this is going.

Women's choices are on a longer decision tree.

Start with "what hair are you looking to remove?"  Facial, underarm, leg, bikini area, brows, areas where There Should Be No Hair?

(I include brows because I recently uncovered the existence tiny razors for brow grooming).

Men's choice: shave.

Women's choice: shave, pluck, epilate, depilitate, wax.  I'm assuming the choice has already been made to skip laser or electrolysis (which always reminds me of middle school science where you separate water and watch the oxygen flare and the hydrogen pop).

Most of us are not women.  For some that's a "not yet" condition.  But we're now confronted with the women's choices, simply because hair removal is essential.  A woman from, say, the middle east might have visible dark hair on her arms and she might choose to leave it there.  We blend better if we're more in the mainstream which means more femme, less gorilla.

I would like to find a permanent solution to facial hair that won't break the bank.  In the meantime, it's a daily (or at least weekly) battle.

Mostly, I shave.  I use a combination of hand and electric razor.  I've tried "specialty" groomers but not found them satisfactory.  I've discovered areas where electric should be avoided at all costs: underarms, chest near underarms, inside elbows, behind knees... the skin in these areas will cut and bleed, get abrased, or otherwise look horrible and cause pain, neither of which are my goals.

Before I go out, I shave my face and neck with an electric.  Then I shower and feel for any facial roughness and go over those areas with a hand razor.  For me, I cannot get as close in some areas (above lip) with a hand razor as with an electric, and I can't get as close in other areas (below ear) with an electric as a hand razor.

Legs and arms, I can go either way, avoiding the sensitive areas with the electric.

Underarms are difficult for me.  Unless I'm diligent, the hair grows too long for a hand razor and the skin won't ever tolerate my electric (even just trimming).

Feet and hands are mostly electric territory.  My toes especially will get cut easily with a hand razor.

I do pluck sometimes.  Stray hairs, brows, fingers sometimes.  I don't pluck much.  I have learned that a good tweezer does make a difference.  Someday, I'll buy one instead of the crappy one I have now.

I've tried epilating.  I've written about my experiences before.  Here's my bottom line: I'm done with epilating.  It hurts (not for long, but it hurts).  It doesn't do as thorough a job as I'd like.  And, for some reason, the epilated parts itch like mad.  I mean insane itching to the point where my scratching will leave cuts in my skin.  If I was a dog, I'd be wearing one of those collars after epilating.  For the record, growing hair after shaving or otherwise eliminating it does not itch.

I've been waxed.  I've had my arms, legs, back, brows, and neck waxed.  Although the harshest, fastest-growing hair is on my chest and stomach, I do not want to have my chest waxed.  I have heard it is just about the most painful there is.  I bought a home wax kit but I could never bring myself to cause that much pain to myself and never used it.

I've depilated on-and-off.  More on this tomorrow.  For now, I'm just wondering why I want to write "depilitated" instead of "depilated."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Simple Pleasure ~ Gang Aft Agley

Or A Simple Pleasure Spoilt

I can dress as I wish around the house.  Last weekend was tax weekend, meaning I was staying put.  As I wrote, even though I was pretty much housebound I was going to dress as I wish.  I liked Paula's suggestion (since I was doing "office work" a suit might be in order).

Sunday, I was on my own.  To start, I put on a wool dress to keep me warm until I got down to work.  I had breakfast and decided to do laundry.  The machine did the usual routine of filling up and then decided that it would rather make loud noises than agitate.  I supposed it finally learned that, instead of agitating itself, it could keep the tub from moving, make enough noise to keep anything else useful from occurring within a ten-block radius, and agitate ME instead.

So before I could do anything else, I had to organise the wet and soapy clothes, clean the laundry items out of the laundry closet, change into full drab and see about getting maintenance to fix the machine.  Even though they don't normally work ion Sunday, I was told that, if someone came in, the office lady would send him up.

It seems "best laid plans" is a recurring theme in my life.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Give My Regards...

In 2005, a British comedy called "Kinky Boots" was released.  IMDB's thumbnail:

A drag queen comes to the rescue of a man who, after inheriting his father's shoe factory, needs to
diversify his product if he wants to keep the business afloat.

It's one of those films that goes on and off my radar.  I have long had a love/hate relationship with comic drag.  I'm still not sure how I feel.

I was reminded about the film when I read a WaPo review of the new broadway musical version of Kinky Boots.

The article headline didn't mention the play name but it read On Broadway, Lauper just wants to have irresistible fun.

Cyndi Lauper?  Who else could it be?

It seems she wrote the music and lyrics.  The review was good.  An AP article was pretty approving as well.  The AP review begins:

On Broadway these days, there are your typical witches, princesses and crooners. What we’ve been missing is something colorful, something brash, safe and yet a little naughty. What we’ve been missing is, of course, drag queens.

Then thank goodness for songwriter Cyndi Lauper, playwright Harvey Fierstein and the seven fierce drag queens led by a fabulous Billy Porter in the new musical “Kinky Boots.”

I think I have to save my shekels for my next trip to New York.

Lots of shekels.  Decent tickets are almost 500 shekels.  The cheap seats are over 200.  Don't bother converting: $137 for most seats, $57 for mezzanine nosebleed seats.  Add $100 for Saturday and Sunday.


Monday, April 8, 2013

38, Si. C, No. (Part II)

So I pushed a little bit.

Monday, I wore my purple shirt and black pants.  Under the black pants were tights that are close in colour to the shirt (I'm always amazed at how many purples there are).  Under the shirt I wore a nearly-red lacy thin strap cami.  The cami is shaped enough that it would sag without a bust underneath.  "Nearly-red:" to me, it seemed a tad purple; Charity said it was on the pink side of the spectrum.

Under the cami I wore the dark blue bra.

It showed a bit.  If I tried, it showed a bit more.  Even under the best of circumstances, the left side showed a bit because I keep my badge in my pocket.  The badge is in a hard plastic holder hanging from a lanyard, and it didn't lie flat in the pocket.

I didn't care.  It was a tiny tell and I think most people don't see what they don't expect.

I definitely enjoyed it more than I cared about people noticing it.

Tuesday, I wore a salmon cami sandwiched between the same bra and a grey shirt.  Both the purple shirt and the grey one are fairly new and quite opaque.  The pocket on the grey shirt is a bit roomier and the badge doesn't stick out so much.  I added solid grey tights to my outfit.

Wednesday, with my forest green tights, I tried a very lacy white cami (over the bra, of course) under a green shirt.  The shirt showed the lace so I switched to a plainer spaghetti strap green cami.  I don't normally wear this one because it has something I don't know the name of: it has a second layer inside, with a wide elastic band on the bottom ~ kind of like a built-in sports bra.  The elastic is uncomfortable when worn just as a cami but I thought I'd try it with a bra.  Note: it's not much more comfortable with a bra underneath.  The cami shows a bit, but not enough to worry me.  The bra is fine.

Thursday I wore my darker pink shirt with lighter purple tights (I didn't have a matching deep pink) and a purple stretchy camisole.  Over the bra, of course.  All is good.

And then laundering was in order.

One odd thing about the bra: I checked the size.  It claims to be a 38C.  I think if I put my pads in there and closed the catch they would squirt out the top.  I don't have smaller pads to see if they'd work, but I can't see that ever fitting a 38C without squeezing the girls so much your cleavage would make you look like you had a cleft chin.

Now, I need to see if I can find another bra or two like it.  I remember where I got it: it was a long time ago, on Canal Street in Manhattan at one of those stores in Chinatown where they keep bins of goods on the street.  I can't remember how I found the courage to even look in the bin, much less buy it.

And now I need to see what I can get away with, as far as shirts and camis go.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

More Loose Parts

It's been a few weeks and it just happens that all of the best recent comics came from the mind of Dave Blazek.

In no particular order....

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's So Obvious!

Poncho has it right.  If you wanna look cute, there's only one thing to do....

I Wanna Look Cute Too!

Friday, April 5, 2013

38, Si. C, No. (Part I)

I have several bras.  OK, I have a lot of bras.  OK, I probably have more bras than most women do, but I have more sizes than most women.  Mostly, I wear a 38C.

Most of my bras are "full cover" bras, so my pads stay still and hidden.  Some have bands that are too small, some have bands that are too large.  According to a quick fit at a Victoria's Secret, all of my bra bands are too small.  I differ.

According to websites I visit, if I go up a band size, I go down a cup size.  So if a 36 fits, it should be a D cup.  If a 40 fits, it should be a B.  No, I don't understand it either.

And of course if I don't put in pads a 38AA (which doesn't exist) is probably my true size.  Maybe I can wear an A if it's heavily padded.

I have one bra that I've been wearing to bed with my foam pads.  It is pink and lacy and has the marvelous feature that it blends perfectly with a nightie that has a pink and lacy bodice.  It looks like I'm not wearing a bra at all, even though the bodice is somewhat sheer lace.

But last Sunday, for the air museum visit with Marian (in drab), I decided I wanted one particular bra.  It's heavily padded, to the point that it presses gently against my chest without any other pads at all.  It's dark blue, lacy, and pretty.  It has two hooks in the back, adjustable straps that are narrow but wide enough to not dig (at least not dig without heavy breasts cupped in them), and fairly robust (HA!) underwires.

As I said, it's heavily padded, to the point that if I wore something light or tight I would definitely appear to have small breasts.  Maybe an A, maybe a small B.

Instead, I put it on with a new shaping cami over it (from Assets) and a denim shirt.  If I thrust out my chest it would show.  A bit.  With a coat over everything, probably not.  I doubt Marian noticed, and I suspect she'd look for things(!) like that.  I would.

I pretty much forgot I was wearing the bra most of the day, until I'd touch my chest for some reason and notice it stuck out a bit more than usual.  It's a nice sensation.

Sunday evening, I told Charity that it was a shame I couldn't wear that bra under my regular work shirt.  She said "under your purple shirt it should be OK."

Admittedly, it doesn't take much to get me to push the femme envelop.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sentence Structure Is Important

We know grammar is important.  Commas save lives.  Consider the difference between "Let's eat, Grandma" and "Let's eat Grandma."  Or the story of the koala who goes into a restaurant and orders a nice meal.  At the end, when presented with the bill he pulls out a gun and shot the waiter and proceeded to walk out.  The maitre d' stopped him and asked him to explain himself.  The koala handed him a sheet describing koalas as "a small marsupial who eats, shoots, and leaves."

My sentence structure  example is not as life-or-death as those examples, but I was going to title this

In Reality, Meg Is Grounded

which is true.   But I also considered

Meg Is Grounded In Reality

which is not so honest.

My friend Kim, of Frugal Fashionista fame, is having a trunk show this weekend.  This is something new for her and it sounds like a lot of fun.  She wrote:

Let's meet up and have a trunk show~ This is not a clothing swap -it's a show so that local businesses can get tables to show and sell their wares! Half of the money collected for vendor space will be donated to RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network. Vendors will be raffling off goods throughout the show!
There are other things going on: the game group is having a ladies' brunch (I was thinking about it), for instance.

But Meg is staying home.  It's tax season here in the states and I have decided that it's more important to use those five hours I'd spend getting dressed, going out, getting back to "normal" for getting my financial house in order.  I have a side business; my wife has her own business; my son earned serious (to the government) money.  I don't have a lot of savings, but it's scattered around so I have a stack of forms that need to be processed.

Meg is staying home.

But that doesn't mean I can't wear a comfortable top and skirt while I'm working.  And appropriate underthings.  And maybe a longer wig so I can get comfortable having that much hair, so I can expand my options.  And some shoes I'd like to break in.  And maybe earrings that I'm unsure about ~ I still haven't finished seeing which are comfortable and which are medieval torture devices.  And maybe a different shade of lipstick.

But I'm definitely staying home.  I have a lot of work to do.  And there is a reward: if I finish this weekend I can go out NEXT weekend.  If I don't, well it's still before t (alas, for tax)-day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Simple Pleasures ~ Mirror Mirror

Back to the bathroom mirror.

There was a gender discussion at Christine's house a week or so ago.  I haven't written it up yet; I will.

Christine had nametags for everyone.  I decided to save mine.  This is actually my fourth Meg nametag; I wish I'd saved the others.  One was from the UU church when I attended services last summer.  The other two were from Christine's soirees.

In the future, I'm going to keep the tags and make a chain hanging from my mirror.

I don't know if I'm in love with the name Meg, but it's mine now and I like seeing it, and I like hearing it.  But when I introduce myself, I have to think or I'll use that other name that I've had (for fifty years) longer.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Airman Marian

Sorry.  The anagram just jumped out at me.

I spent a near-perfect day at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum with Marian, who came down from New York for the cherry blossoms and Charity, whose presence makes everything nicer.

The thing that prevented it from being perfect: I was in drab.  I had a lingering cough/sneeze/need to sleep from a cold last week.  Charity was recovering from something else altogether.  I'm moving a bit more down the "it's OK for people to know both my male and female self" path, thanks to Star's SO who sometimes presents male and sometimes female, often with the same group of civilians.

Being in drab gave me a bit of a fly-on-the-wall perspective.  A few times, Marian was off by herself, or chatting with Charity.  A group of people would pass by and look up and I'd tag along behind them for a short distance to see if they said anything about my friend's presentation.  And the result, every time, was...


Probably the same response they had to passing any other woman my age in the museum.

That's cool.  That's very cool.  I never expected trouble, but I thought I might hear something akin to when a group comes upon an unexpected situation: "did you see the man with three heads/the woman in a wedding gown/the girl on the unicycle/the baby being held upside-down/the group doing the conga/the flash mob/etc," but there was clearly nothing unusual to comment on.

I like that.  Things like that give my confidence a boost.  I mean, I would have loved to hear "did you see that tall beauty?" or something, but hearing nothing is excellent too.

Oscar Wilde said "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."  He was witty, but he was wrong.

One fun thing: Marian and I were on the top level near the stairs when a late-30s guy who was taking pictures turned to Marian and said "you really need a panorama camera in here" and showed her the playback of how his camera stitched together several images to make one contiguous image.  They chatted for a while about the museum until he decided he had to go down to take other photos.

Another fun thing: I walked up to Charity as she was talking to a woman and her young (5? 6?) daughter.  Charity and the girl were talking Star Wars (they had a space toy display case with, among other things, Star Wars figurines) and how there's an R2-D2 figure hidden somewhere in the "Close Encounters" spacecraft in the same hall and kind of how cool science is in general.  The girl mentioned that she didn't like to play with the girls and she liked the "boy toys."  Charity told her that she wasn't allowed to have "boy toys" when she was little and Marian, who had joined the little group, added that the girl was lucky she could play with anything she wanted."

I thought it was a nice convergence of science and gender and generations.

Oh... you can read the visit from Marian's point of view (and see a picture of her and Charity) on Marian's blog.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Time to Get Off the Pot

I was poking around on the "HR self-service" page on Friday.  I was amazed to find this (make sure you check out the last item)

 I am not making this up.  I decided to click and see if it was really that easy.

 Well, maybe it WAS that easy.  I picked a date one year in the future and set gender to female!

I presume I can change my mind during the next twelve months.  I don't know if changes like this trigger a call or visit from HR.  Or security.

So I moved on to item 2 on the list: update names.  I selected "Edit" and...

I never thought about a middle name since I don't have one in male mode.  I was considering "Miss" since Meg was never married, but went with Ms.

After accepting the change I saw:

(I blanked my current name.)  And after I submitted that screen, I saw:

 So I've taken a big step.  This is a major change, and I can use this as an aspiration image ~ when I see my HR page, I'll be reminded of a goal.  A huge goal.  I'm not sure how I'm going to realise this result yet, but I have until next April Fools Day to figure that out.