Monday, March 31, 2014

What's in YOUR Name

(Marci drop me a note ~ I want to talk about your comment from a couple of week's ago!)

Most of us were given boy's names at birth.  Most of us have taken on a girl's name at some point.  I don't have hard numbers, but I think those statements are factual.

There are, as I said last week, three kinds of girl's names.

So there are three categories we can choose from.

And because nothing we do is ever simple, my readers reminded me there's another way to look at names.  You might choose a name of someone you admire, friend or celebrity, totally outside the "what kind of name do I want?" category.

For a derivative name, Michael might turn into Michelle, Robert into Roberta, Martin into Martina.

If your name is sufficiently ambiguous you might keep it as-is.  Remember "Pat" from Saturday Night Live?  I don't think we ever did find out what sex was behind the genderless behaviour and name.

The advantages of the above choices are reduced confusion.  For you.  If your name is Randolph and you go for Helen, if you're not thinking someone might say "hi I'm Frank" and you automatically say "I'm Randolph."  Personal experience says that happens when you're more comfortable in your female persona.  If you're thinking about how you look all the time, you're more focused and less likely to mis-introduce yourself.  If you're a Jan and you absently answer "Jan", well, no harm no foul.  If you answer "Eric" you can amend that to "Erica," or change an absentminded "Paul" to "Paula."

So even with three categories of names, I bet there are two types of girls in this audience: the ones with ambiguous or easily-converted names who use them and the ones who want a completely female name.

Your male name might be Jan, but you want to separate yourself from All Things Male, even if what you have could be female.  So you go with Alicia.  Or a Michael might like "Emily" but, no Emily is derivative of Emil so how about Celest or Amber?

Of course, you might choose your female name the same way you chose your male one: "if I was a girl, my parents were going to name me..."

I mentioned a long time ago how I selected Meg (or how Meg selected me).  But I wonder what I would have done if the name that appeared was "Geraldine" or "Esmerelda" or "Heather."

Or Grinelda.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Funnies: Random Detorie

I know Rick Detorie's One Big Happy has been featured here before.  This is another strip that has been more enjoyable since it was dropped by the Washington Post.  Ah well.  Click or it'll look like it's back in the newspaper.

Old joke, adapted to the comics well

Absolutely wonderful

Use carefully!  Read my experiences first!

Every parent knows a James

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Crossdressing in the Bible

Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.  And a couple of bonus Rubes, below.

The king of Israel kind.
(um, any publicity is good publicity?)

(not cross but cute)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Other Types of Girl Names

Yesterday, I wrote about girl names that are the "feminine form of" a male name.  Karen suggested that might happen when parents happily decided to name their soon-to-be son "Harry" and when they found that he was lacking a necessary appendage, called him "Harriet."

Many names are strictly feminine names.  These have no male equivalent.  Hannah, Katherine, Elizabeth, Susan, Wendy, Wanda, Lisette, and many more.

And there are could-be-either names.  Unisex, ambiguous, androgynous....  Call them what you will.

They might be nicknames like Pat (remember Pat from Saturday Night Live?) or Chris or Fran, or a given name like Devon, Robin, Kim, Jan, Morgan, Drew, Shannon, Taylor, Tracy, or Madison, Andrea, Avery, Brook, or Evelyn.

There's another sort-of category.  I started yesterday's post by saying "boy names are boy names (until they aren't)."  There are boy names that were liberated.  Beverly, Hilary, Leslie, Shirley, Marian, and others, used to be strictly boy names.  Then a female baby got hold of it, and once it becomes a girl name it never goes back.  I'm guessing if you looked at the ratio of boys to girls with the names in the "ambiguous" category above, you'd find them drifting towards becoming girl's names. 

(I was also looking for invented names ~ all names were invented, if you think about it ~ and of course came to "Wendy," which everyone knows, was invented by JM Barrie for the book Peter Pan.  Except it probably wasn't, and it was probably a boy's name before that.)

(Another great invented name: Tom Rush was looking for a girl's name that implied a very large woman and decided on "Rotunda."  Somehow, this never caught on as a popular name.)

Of course, this is all background for How Do We Choose Our Names, which will be the next topic, after the weekend funnies.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's In a Name?

Boy names are boy names (until they aren't).

Historically, masculine names were assigned from words, from surnames, or from place names.
Roger: "famous spear" from the Germanic elements hrod "fame" and ger "spear"
Rodney: From a surname, originally derived from a place name, which meant "Hroda's island" in Old English (where Hroda is a Germanic given name meaning "fame")

Sometimes it can get weird and circular.
Pierce: From a surname which was derived from the given name Piers
Piers: Medieval form of Peter
Peter: Derived from the Greek Petros, meaning stone.

But like girl clothing, girl names are more complicated and interesting.

I see three kinds of girl names: derivative of male, all girl, and unisex.  Yes, I have a reason for putting "unisex" under girl names, not boy names.

Derivative of male
Rarely will you see a male name defined as a "masculine form of ...." A search through a name page showed fewer than a dozen, and some are questionable.  But if you look at a list of feminine names you will see a plethora of "feminine form of..."
Alana, Alanis, Alanna from Alan.
Alberta, Alexandra, Bobbi, Charlene, Georgette, Stephanie, Phyllis, Samantha, Michelle, and so on.
I'm guessing many of these appeared because some frustrated dad said "I'll never have a son to carry on my name!  I'll call this one 'Josephine.'"  Or "Frank was a powerful warrior/great scholar/historical figure!  There's magic in that name.  She shall be 'Francine.'"

The same website shows over 200 "feminine form of...," from Adamina (Adam) to Zavia (Xavier).

 More on the other types tomorrow.  I think y'all know where I'm going with this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Look Your Best!

Q: I look terrible in this picture!  How can I get rid of these bags under my eyes?
A: Photoshop.

Or, if you're on a budget and have an iThing, there's a little app called "Facetune" that's been getting good reviews.  Alas, I'm an android girl.

Facetune says it can change the shape, tone, and texture of your face as well as whiten eyes, smooth wrinkles, and make blemishes vanish.  It sounds like the type of tool I'd love to play with.  It costs a few shekels, but since I'd also have to get an iThing, it's out of my price range.

If anyone's used it, I'd love to know how it worked for you.  Before/after pics would be welcome as well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Be Safe

Last night I went to a local bingo fundraiser.  The plan was for Meg to go, but instead I went in drab, to check the place out first.

Generally, I know what to expect when I go somewhere: shopping, dining, theatre, movie....  When I flew to Kansas, I scoped out the airports and trip once, then flew the second time.  Even though I've been to many casinos, I checked out "my" casino in Las Vegas in drab before going there as Meg. 

Almost every time, I decide going out is (relatively) safe and comfortable; in El Paso, I decided it was not.

Sometimes, I have no choice but to jump into the deep end.  Civilian game night was one such case, and I had an exit strategy (if I was unwelcome, I'd exit).

What could go wrong at bingo?  I had no idea.  But I wanted to check out the venue, the people, the restroom situation before sending Meg out.  Because I could.

It turns out the worst I would have done is focused the spotlight on Meg.  On about game 4, I got a bingo and said the appropriate buzzword.  Someone came over to verify and at that time I learned that you need to have a double bingo in order to win in this session.  You need two of: vertical line, horizontal line, diagonal line, corners, "postage stamp" (the four upper left boxes) or "inner corners."

Who knew?  I mean, other than everyone in the place but me.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm Confused

and I've been confused for a while.  I had a poll many weeks ago:

Would you meet someone who only knew you en femme when in drab?

The results really threw me.

20% said Yes, if s/he's trans too.  I can see this.  It's the equivalent of "I can't go to a gay bar!  What if someone sees me there?"  Well, you see them too.  It's an even exchange.  It would be like my going to one of the trans soirees in drab.

5% said No.  I can understand this too.  "You know me as a girl.  Why would I want you to meet me any other way?"  I am mostly like this.

7% said Yes, if s/he's a civilian only.  This started my confusion.  It would be the equivalent to me going to the civilian game night in drab.  Now, there are a few people who met Meg and I then introduced them to my male self.  Kim from the clothing swap.  Her co-organiser (who's trans).  Some of the people in the trans-friendly game days.  But mostly no.  I will not be going to the civilian game night in drab, for instance.  There are times I might go to the same place in both modes, but they would be places, not people, if you know what I mean.

But here's what threw me completely:

 67% unqualified yes.  That means basically coming out to anyone who knows only your female side as a male.  Going to MAC and buying makeup and chatting with the saleslady and then coming back the next week and saying "remember that girl who talked to you about this and bought that?  That's me."  Or just showing up at either game night or the soiree in drab.

Now, it's far different from coming out to family, co-workers, and so on.  I'm talking about people who have only met your female side to date.  They might not even acknowledge that you're not what you appear (I always assume they know).

Did I phrase that question poorly?  Or are two thirds of you comfortable with letting anyone who knows you as female meet you as male?

Please explain this to me.  Comments (mark private and I won't post them), or e-mail me.

I'm gobsmacked, to use a word I never thought I'd ever use.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Funnies ~ More Potpourri

A few more random cartoons to (hopefully) brighten up you Sunday morning.  Credit to Mike Peters (Mother Goose and Grimm), John Deering and John Newcombe (Zack Hill), Gary Delainey and Gerry Rasmussen (Betty), Steve Moore (In the Bleachers), Pirarro (Bizarro), and Brian Anderson (Dog eat Doug).  These are single cartoons that I had in the queue for each strip.

 Click to enjoy.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Current Events

Zack Hill appeared in a Sunday funnies about six months ago.  Zack's mom runs a boarding house, with a variety of odd tenants.  Carl is one.  Carl seems to have gender issues, but not the good type.

And... the artists had to end with a classic confusion of gender identity and sexual orientation.  

Click to enjoy.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shoot the Moom

I know, I'm obsessing about hair removal.  I picked up some Moom sugaring product.  It's kind of a not-hot wax.  That mean it avoids the heat and just leaves the mess and pain.

I decided to try this because (a) it's a bit different from what I've tried before (b) it claims to be organic and I thought it would be good to try a 'green" product on St Pat's day and (c) it said "nearly pain-free" method of hair removal.

HA! to the last one.  I suspect if you use it on either a hair-free portion of your person, or on another person, it would be pain-free.  On your own personal body, with your own personal hair....  That's another story.

I didn't see much difference between Moom and other waxing products in any measurable way.

I'm not sure what my way forward is with regard to hair removal.

I have heard of one product that makes hair softer and thinner and it actually changes the pattern of growth, but I'm not interested in female hormones.

Oh....  One reader asked about the "No-no" hair removal system (laser-ish).  I've checked several reviews and they basically agree: "No" to the "No-no."

Non-t content: it was reported that the computer on Malaysia flight 370 initiated a u-turn.  They became suspicious when they heard one of the last radio transmissions.  A flat voice said "Beijing?  I'm afraid I can't allow that, Dave."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Couple of Pictures

Interestingly, I'm thinking less and less about getting photos of Meg Being Out.  I'm not sure what that means.

I don't have any from the games themselves, or in the theatre.

gameday dress, on my balcony
theatre dress, before the show
Fingers and toes before getting dressed

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crossdressing Without the Hassle

All you need is Grand Theft Auto....

GTA 5 Online Cheats for PS3 and Xbox 360: New Grand Theft Auto V Glitch Turns Your Character Into a "She-Male"

It seems you can create a female character and then give her a male head.  It's kind of amusing.  There's a video example attached.

Now, anyone can see what it's like to crossdress beofre spending All That Money!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Eating Out

As I said, we went to the local diner after Orlando.  The dining experience was... normal.

The one worker who's Always There recognised me and said hi but nothing else.  We had a waitress who probably remembered the civil war.  We had an unexceptional meal in an unexceptional restaurant.  But before we walked in, I really should have touched up my makeup!

This is the dress I wore for the show ~ remember I changed between games and theatre.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Visiting Orlando

Parking wasn't difficult at all.  In fact, none of the things I worried about needed worrying.  Walking around the building in the dark in heels was the most difficult part.

It turns out that the will call opens at 6:30 but the doors don't open until 7:15.  So we waited along with everybody else.  There were no problems with picking up tickets or standing around with the crowd of theatregoers.  If you were ever worried about being in, say, a crowded elevator while dressed....  It's not a problem, really.

Before going out that day I was a tad nervous.  I don't know exactly why, but I believe it was because I felt so out-of-sorts last time I went out and it shook me a bit.  I think I was more comfortable and natural that day and I was fine once I left the apartment.

As I said, going to the theatre was fine.  Sitting through the play was fine.  Leaving was not a problem.  The biggest issue?

The snacks I had at game day were wearing off.  We decided to go to our local diner for dinner.

And, as I said, the play was great!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Funnies ~ Potpourri

I have some unrelated one-ofs from a bunch of strips.  I put them together to amplify the laugh.  The Sunday strips are Rudy Park, Pickles, Big Nate, and Mike Du Jour.  I haven't been exactly Mike Lester's (Mike Du Jour) biggest fan, but this made me laugh out loud.

The next is a "Mike" joke from Wiley's Non Sequitor strip.  Finally, a rare laugh (sorry, Mr Walker ~ too formulaic for me) from Beetle Bailey.

Click to enjoy.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Little Gender Silliness from Brian Crane

This is Scholastic Chess weekend so I'm in Roanoke with my younger player.  I've been at the state tournament with one or both boys playing every year since the 3rd millennium began.  It's an insane weekend for both parents and players: lots of running around trying to get seats for the next game, figure out when/where meals will fit in, driving all over the state.  I think I'll miss it when we're done.

Pickles is one of those rare strips that both appear in the Washington Post and are funny.

The first three are a recent sequence.  The other two have just been sitting in my queue for a while.

Gramps has been seen before wearing women's clothing, and I've outed him here each time.

LOVE this one!

Dunno why.  He looked really cute. :D
Then don't wear capris.  Silly man.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Workin on the Railroad

We sat down for a railroad game called 1830.  It's a strategy and tactics game I had never played before, and I figured I'd be at a distinct disadvantage.  Actually, four of the five of us would be at a disadvantage since only one guy had played before.  We were warned that the game might run 3-4 hours, but I figured we could stay on schedule if the game finished in that time frame.  My idea was, change and go to dinner around 5:30 and we'd be at the theatre by 6:30.  I was told parking was limited and the doors open at 6:30 (no assigned seats).

The game did drag on.  First, the experienced player had to explain the rules.  Once we got the hang of it play went faster but it was slow starting.  At one point, one player left the game and the person who sat down needed the rules explained AGAIN (to the guy who made the "we're casual here" comment previously).

At 4:30 it seemed like we might finish in time; the game was over when either a player had a city without a train (a game requirement) or the bank ran out of money.  Out of the huge stack of money it started with.

As it got closer to 5:30 we started wondering if we were going to miss the end of the game or the show.  I took advantage of a point where the other players had to make potentially lengthy moves and went upstairs and put on my "show" dress.  I also took the opportunity to touch up my lipstick; everything else seemed to be in place.

5:30 came and went and I started nibbling on snacks, figuring I could skip dinner and go directly to the show, if I left no later than six.  Instead of the actual finish we short-circuited two rounds and ended at that point.

No dinner for now.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Full Day

Ack!  Friday the 13th falls on a Thursday this month!

Winter took a little break on Saturday; temperatures went up to the 50s after the threat of ice and freezing rain the day before.

I had chosen several dresses for the show.  I was planning on just overdressing for the games, but instead I brought a dress to change into and wore a more casual one.  You may recall, one time, one of the guys looked at my long (casual) dress and said said "we're more casual here."

Saturday, I had to mail a box of slides that I wanted converted to digital form.  I also invited to a t-friendly game day, and I had tickets to Orlando in the evening.  The plan was:
  • Get Meg ready by 11:30
  • Go to the post office at 11:30
  • Play games at noon
  • Change into something nicer around 5:15
  • Get dinner around 5:30
  • Go to the show around 6:30
We were running late so I had to skip the post office.  As it is, we were supposed to get to the house for games at noon and I left my apartment after that.

Walking from the car to the door I saw a woman pull out of her garage across the street.  She rolled down her window and called out "sharp coat!"  After figuring out that she was actually talking to me I smiled and called back my thanks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Simple Pleasure: Two Outfits

(minor cock-up yesterday and I had the wrong time for my post.... But it's there!)

One thing I don't think my male self has ever done (or would ever do) is bring a different outfit so I could change between events.

I think the average male would pick something between events (dressy/casual) or jut go with casual.

Last weekend, we started with game day and then went to a show.  Normally, as Meg, I would have overdressed for the former and blended at the latter.

Instead, I wore a long, casual dress to game day and a nicer dress for evening.  If I thought about it, I would have packed my pumps as well and worn lower-heel shoes for game day.

I can tell I still need to learn to think.  And I think I need to study Stanislavski to learn how to immerse myself in my alias.  I'm pretty sure I have a copy of An Actor's Handbook somewhere around the apartment.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Visiting Orlando

This production of Orlando was a bit more gender fluid than I expected.

I didn't know much more than what the review said: Orlando was a male who, unexpectedly, became female around age 30.  Everything else about Orlando was the same, except for the physical body.

Orlando took to her new environment with the same childlike delight he expressed until then.  Along with the transformation, Orlando seemed to live hundreds of years and never age.

That's the basic plot.

OK, I'm jealous.  Let's leave that to a chorus of "me too's!" and move on.

The cast consisted of five people: the women who played Sasha and Orlando, and three men who were listed as "chorus."  They played everyone else, male, female, and indeterminate.  (One character was introduced as female but later turned out to be a man disguised as a woman, for a dubious purpose.)

So the Queen of England, Orlando's suitors and friends (both before and after his transformation) were played by the same three men.

Sasha was always Sasha, Orlando's love.  Orlando was always Orlando.

I am not sure what I think of comedy drag.  I've seen part of "To Wong Foo" and "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and turned them off.  I've watched "La Cage" and "Mrs Doubtfire" and "Some Like It Hot".  They're not on my "watch again" list.  I haven't seen "Kinky Boots" or "Transamerica" (yes, not a comedy, I know).

But I really enjoyed this production of Orlando.  The gender blending of the actors was fluid and generally drove the plot.  The audience shared Orlando's joie de vivre.

The theatre itself was tiny, seating perhaps 100; maybe 60 seats were filled.  Sit in the front row and you might find yourself involved in the show (to a small extent).

I am glad Meg went.  It just seemed appropriate.

My Weekend

Saturday was game day with my trans-friendly friends, and theatre night.  I missed the local production of La Cage, but instead I caught Orlando.  The review is from the Washington Post.  The show has a gender-oriented plot and was inexpensive, two features I look for in entertainment.

Details to follow.

Sara Barker shines in expressive and colorful ‘Orlando,’ at Theatre on the Run

The setting, for the moment, is the deck of a ship, but the turbulence you notice is not the movement of waves: It’s the roiling of feeling — shock, wonder, disquietude, pleasure — as a woman adjusts to a new experience: being a woman. You can see the conflicting emotions and sensations flicker across the face of hero-turned-heroine Orlando as she sits bemusedly in a deck chair, adjusting to the discomfort and coquetry of a gown and a string of pearls.

Thanks to the expressiveness and poise of actress Sara Barker, this shipboard tableau is one of the most resonant moments in WSC Avant Bard’s diverting and colorful “Orlando,” directed by Amber Jackson at Theatre on the Run. The scene occurs early in the second half of the play, adapted by Sarah Ruhl from Virginia Woolf’s adventurous 1928 novel about a would-be poet who changes genders and lives for centuries. In the first act, starting in the 1500s, the wide-eyed Orlando is a young man, and Barker exudes an apt coltish awkwardness while depicting the character’s dalliance with Queen Elizabeth I (Mario Baldessari), passionate love affair with an untrustworthy Russian princess (Amanda Forstrom) and sojourn in Constantinople.

 But it is in the show’s second half, which follows the now-female Orlando through the 18th and 19th centuries and into the 20th, that Barker really lights up: Her voice, face and body language convey the near-overload of awareness and observation that are Orlando’s burden and joy. At the same time, the actress emphasizes the character’s ambivalent feelings about socially defined gender roles.
None of the other actors in the production matches Barker’s artistry. But other elements, to some degree, compensate for this drawback. Ruhl’s script — which often filters bits of narration through the voices of a chorus (Baldessari, Andrew Ferlo and Jay Hardee) — ingeniously distills the poetry and impish humor of Woolf’s novel. And with various clever touches, director Jackson and her designers turn the lyricism and comedy into a fetching magic-lantern/music-hall kind of entertainment.

Set designer Steven Royal frames and backs the story with screens whose white fretwork pattern evokes male and female gender symbols, as well as the Tudor rose. Frequently, Joseph R. Walls’s lighting infuses these screens with color, helping to conjure various locales, including a festive Renaissance London street, the court at Constantinople and an early 20th-century department store. Barker’s Orlando also spends time beneath a mobile of paperlike scraps that dangles at the rear of the audience seating area; the mobile, which represents an oak tree and also symbolizes Orlando’s writing career, helps give the production a sense of immersiveness.

And while we are immersed in Orlando’s semi-fantastical world, we meet, among other characters, an etiquette-conscious Sea Captain (Ferlo) on the ship that ferries Orlando back to England from Constantinople. Also making a couple of appearances is a quirky Archduke (Hardee, somewhat overdoing the shtick) who dresses first as a woman and then as a man in an attempt to woo Orlando, and ends up nearly boring Orlando to tears. Among the other acting turns, Baldessari does a relatively nice job displaying both the pathos and the grotesqueness of the arrogant, aging Queen Elizabeth.

But some of the most memorable contributions to the spectacle come from objects and textiles: the bits of sandpapery wood that actors scrape together to summon the sound of Elizabethans skating down the frozen Thames; the striking black and white blouse, skirt and parasol that descend on Orlando (other actors, acting as dressers, make this possible) to signal her entry into the prim Victorian era; or, especially, a dangling semi-transparent sheet through which we can almost — but not quite — see Orlando’s momentous transformation from man to woman.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Funnies ~ Welcome to the Circus

I know I've featured Rob Harrell's Big Top before. I've been reading it for a while and it's not a, say, Dilbert-class strip but it has it's moments. Since I had one strip yesterday, I thought I'd include some more today.

The first strip is the best of a good sequence. Dusty (vain little poodle) decided he needed Botox.

Another best-in-series. Wink (bear) was having trouble sleeping. I think this was the climax of the series.

I grabbed the whole series here. Dusty found a stun gun and has a great time with it. Mostly.
I posted this a while back but it's good.

And some unrelated Sundays to finish off the morning.


Saturday, March 8, 2014


Now I have to pay more attention to Big Top.  Big Top has the weirdest group of characters outside of a Charles Addam's cartoon.