Sunday, 24 June 2012

Shopping - a bittersweet experience

Shopping has never ever really been my friend.  In boy mode, buying boy clothes, apart from one very memorable experience with my friend Sarah, I have never really enjoyed it.  Mainly this is because I feel I’m wasting money buying an ugly and frankly dull disguise.   Even buying girl clothes has only ever been done in boy mode or on the Internet.  I doth my millenary to Lynn Jones of YATGB fame for her posting this week on shopping en femme.  She looks amazing and her quick wit is just the coolest thing ever.

But back to the plot.  In the last week I have had two contrasting experiences of shopping.  Both unpleasant in their own special ways.  Both reinforcing why its such a tough thing.

Experience #1 
I don’t know about you, but buying girl clothes dressed as a boy can sometimes be slightly traumatic.  Over the last few years, I’ve done it lots and have grown accustomed to the stares and weird looks.  I know that I should have graduated to shopping in girl mode, but I haven’t yet.  Plus, I’m not convinced that the stares would be less if I did.  But needs must. I’ve got a photo shoot coming up in a few weeks.  I have only have one outfit sorted.  2-3 more are needed, I had some free time so I thought I’d make a start.  

In a strange twist, Cheltenham was the convenient location for this trip.  I live in a very weird travelling world.  Battle had commenced and I was in my second shop of the day.  Suddenly, from nowhere a big confidence zapping (and indeed sapping) machine came from the sky, cartoon style, hovered above my head and sucked every ounce from me.  I instantly went from confident would-be girl to rabbit snared by headlights.  I just had to escape as quickly as possible.  I got immediately into the lift to my car and I was glad that I was alone because I’m not embarrassed to tell you, I cried.

Does this strike you as odd behaviour?  Even now, when I reflect on it, I don’t really know what happened.  Despite promising myself that I would lose weight, I haven’t yet.  Its rubbish I know, but that’s life.  I wonder if it was just one too many shopping trips as a fat man that got on top of me.  Either way, the horse is there, I need to get back on it asap.

Experience #2
In a few weeks time, I have the transgendered person’s possibly worst nightmare evening coming up.  The black tie dinner.  Even as I’m typing, I have a sinking feeling at the thought.  It is an event where the men will have to look dashing and the women (most of whom are under 30 and impossibly slim) will look fabulous in their lovely dresses, heels, make up etc.  I’m sure you are starting to see the problem.

Yesterday I went to purchase my outfit for the night.  Given that it is a thing attended by lots of my work clients, the girl clothes possibility is at less than zero.  So instead, went to arrange for the hire of my tux.  Now that’s trauma.  Suit hire places, as I found yesterday, really do play to the law of averages.  My body refuses to abide by such boring social conventions.  I tried on the trousers - to get ones that fit my waist, they swamp my legs.  I tried on the jacket - to fit my chest size, the jacket has to be huge in shoulders - unlike me!  And I get to pay a load of money for the privilege of looking disproportionate.

Don’t get me wrong, every time I’ve gone to one of those events, I eventually enjoy it - I think that it may be the oncoming, stupefying effect of alcohol.  But its getting harder to watch half the crowd getting to look amazing while I am in a very boring, ill-fitting uniform.  And to watch the other half of them carry off dashing remarkably well.

I really don’t fit with either camp.  And the sad thing is that I'm not sure I ever will.


  1. Gosh! Umm. Thanks for the kind words, mrs. Please don't do yourself down about the shopping <<>> It can be tricky regardless of shape, age or sex and the undersize models (male or female) don't help much either. Sometimes it can be just too much, so I don't blame you at all for having a cry over it. I dare say a few folk (maybe one or two of them trans-something-or-other) have shed a tear or two at the difficulties Fate seems to throw at them.

    As to black tie do. Ack. Have you tried a more specialist suit hire place? I know Nottingham had 'Big & Tall' for us non-standard folk. I think I know what you mean about male drag and the fairer sex.... the trouble is... and I'm guilty of this one too, is looking and wishing doesn't change anything. It just - well, for me anyway - seems to bring forth the Pink Eyed Fog Monster that further belittles you. Stay strong. x

    1. Thanks Lynn, sage words as ever - and reassuring to know I'm not just a big cry baby.

      I'm definitely going to look more broadly for the accursed black tie in the future. It really is not looking good. But for now the shop has my cash and I'll look bad for a night, but if I save some more money and buy shoes I can look glamourous for ever.

      If I'm honest, I'm not having a particularly deep thoughts kind of night as my next blog is about to reveal!

  2. i spent years having mini panic attacks every time i went out the house. I used to hide behind my front door and wait till the coast was clear, even though i lived on a really quiet street and was in a really quiet town.

    The funny thing about confidence is that it grows with each brave thing you achieve. So take steps in the right direction every time you go out. Dare yourself to try new things. Deliberately go outside of your comfort zone.

    There is nothing wrong with taking it slowly but don't ever stop trying new things babe xoxox

    1. Thank you Sam - did you find that your confidence oscillated? I find that at times I'm on top of confidence mountain and nothing can bat it down - even reality! But at other times I just don't have it. I guess its about learning to keep plodding forward because you should, not because you feel like it? x

  3. I have been shopping all this weekend ~ and not really dressed in anything but mostly male clothes. I have had many stares and some old crusty asking her deaf husband if I was male or female. I almost turned around to tell her to speak up. You know I lack confidence but know that I have to keep moving on ~ I can't live my life worried all the time. I hope you get back on that horse soon.

    As fir the black tie do ~ you have my deepest sympathy. I think that these days I don't think I have it in me to go.

    Thinking of you


    1. I could really dislike crusty old wives of deaf husbands.

      Ironically, it was me pushing to go to the thing. I love a good party and a year ago, it seemed like a good idea. Now its weeks away, I'm not so happy about it. I thought I'd be svelte, dashing and slim now. That plan didn't really work yet either. Yet.

  4. Yep, gala dinners and weddings are the worst. I've recently gotten better with the 20-year-olds. I recognize their looks and fashion choices as well beyond me at this late date. It's the ladies in their 30s and 40s, looking astonishing in normal sized bodies, that throw me now.

    Due to an agreement with my wife, shopping in girl mode is not an option for me. Thus, I have become somewhat accustomed to perusing the ladies' wear in the blandest of non-disguises. I don't get a lot of looks, as I seem confident in my actions, comfortable to be in that department. I must not be up to anything dodgy!

    Very positive that you continue to get out there. It's the only way to conquer it.

    1. Confidence does carry a lot with this I think. I've also found it easier to pre-empt the looks by owning up to being there for the purpose of buying for myself - they are great and supportive. But its often different shops or people each time and serious courage always needs to be plucked up to out myself when its the last thing sometimes that I want to do...