Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Into the archive

I honestly will get back to some 'real' content soon, but I was going through my old files this morning and strayed into my back catalogue, so for completeness wanted to add a few of these shots into the mix.  These were taken back in 2009-2010, which seems like ages ago, showing four main points:

1. my look has come on a lot in that time - I think for the better, although that black dress is cute - not sure I can qualify for LBD status given the Trades Description Act!

2. I was a fair bit slimmer then!  Really need to work on that now!

3. I have become more demure and less tarty.

4. brunette works better on me than being a redhead!  In my opinion - please feel free to differ!

Anyway, here you go:

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Make up shopping and the clear nail quandry

Sneaking around a little yesterday was probably a bit bad.  But I really needed to do a little make up shopping without Mrs A knowing.  Going back to my previous blog, I think that it is harder to buy make up than it is to buy clothes to be honest - in terms of the looks you get from other patrons.  But not only am I back on the horse, I’m kinda galloping at the moment really.  So I didn't really care.

The trip wasn’t a general browse, I was on a mission.  Considering it to be a mission actually helps - it brings out the Jane Bond in me :o).  I needed to get three specific things.  Clearly I went home with more, but that’s not the point!   But whole manoeuvre did end up involving two different Boot’s stores to get what I wanted.

So I went off in boy mode.  The first thing to get was the easiest: nail polish remover.  I don’t know about you, but I really hate that smelly bottle liquid stuff.  As well as the horrible smell, clumsy girl me and open liquid bottles don’t mix.  On a recent photo taking session at the lovely Trans-Femme, I managed to spill most of a bottle.  And woah, did it hum.  So I’ve always used Quickies.  They smell really pleasant, don’t seem to dry out for ages and are good at getting off the demon stuff that hides in every nail crevice and hole it can find.   Red is the worst.  Looks fab on, a cow to completely clear so that nosy wives won’t notice.

So I got these in my first Boots.  And you can’t buy just that.  Clearly.  So I also got some new nail polish: ‘Urban Purple’ and Clearly Clear.  More on the clear nail polish later.  I tried to look for the other two things, but no such luck.  Smallish selection in a suburban Boots and slightly intimidating looking shop assistant.   Both succeeded in putting me off.

Instead I decided to head into town to see if I could do any better.  I arrived at the No 7 counter in Boot's and after a wait - I don’t think they realised immediately that I needed help, I was served.  The reason it was easier this time than ever before was that the No 7 counter, now serves men products.  So I was able to surreptitiously inspect those while I waited.  Phew.  Meant I looked all manly and not like some big girl’s blouse.  :o)  Once I did get served, the lady helping me was lovely.  Thumbs up to Boots staff again.

The second thing I needed was new below-eye concealer.  Working too hard has led to ugly dark rings and bags on my eyes and I hate them.  This product seems to work miracles a lot of the time!  Last time I bought No 7 ‘Instant Radiance Concealer’ in Shade 2.  Can I be honest?  I bought it in that shade because I panicked when they asked me what facial complexion it was for.  I lied and made out it was for Mrs A.  Stupid.  She is much paler than me, so it has never quite worked.  This time I fessed up that it was for me.  The nice Boots lady advised me on getting Shade 3 - and she was right.  Works much better.

When I got my photos done earlier in the week - I was really happy with them.  Except for one thing.  My eyebrows.  Compared to the wig colour, I think that they are a touch light.  It bugged me anyway.  So I know you can buy eyebrow pencils, so I took the dilemma to my helpful shop assistant.  Switching on my phone and bringing up a picture from my blog, I showed her and told her that I was trying to match the wig colour.  She didn’t react at all.  But instead surprised me.  She suggested that instead of a pencil (which can sometimes be too harsh apparently) that eye shadow put on with a lip pencil would be a good solution.  I bought it.  Eye shadow in Mocha.  I haven’t tried that one yet, but will let you know how it goes.  Buying two things meant I got to take advantage of a buy two get one free offer.  Yay!  Some new non-clumping mascara got added to the bag.

Then finally, the No 7 counter is next door to the wall of perfume.  I’ve wanted to buy some perfume for a long time.  So I got that too for good measure.  I don’t know about you, but the dilemma I have been considering for sometime was Mrs A smelling perfume on me and whether its impossible to get the smell off.  So I have to own up to some more sneakiness - I bought the same as she uses.  I can claim innocence if it lingers.  Wrong I know.  Again, would be interested in how some of you deal with that issue or whether you just don't bother?

And finally (sorry didn’t mean it to take this long to get to the point).  But my good friend Becca of muttering fame is an advocate of clear nail varnish.  Hence the purchase.  I put some on this morning and she’s right it looks lovely.  But it also still looks a bit too obvious that it is there.  In the little sunshine we have here, it kept glinting and sparkling.  I was wondering if any of you have any experience of wearing this and whether it is as noticeable as I think?  I would like to wear it as an ordinarily done thing, but I don’t want to constantly get called on it.

Phew that was long - sorry!  But hopefully you stuck with me to the end and your advice would be appreciated.  Have a fab day! :o)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Photographic excess

Please forgive my photographic excesses, but new photos, just in...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

On black ties and dinner jackets...

Just a really quick one today - need to get ready to go out.  But last night was the long dreaded night of the black tie dinner.  I have avoided it every year, but last year promised that I would go in 2012, so I thought I better.  The order of the evening is basically every possible shade of a nightmare.  It is 60% women wearing amazing dresses, looking very nice with amazing shoes to boot.  As you would expect with this type of thing, they all make maximum effort.  The make up is great, the heels high, dresses short, legs shaved and tanned.  Everything it should be really.

By contrast, I was boiling hot in a humid room in my black tie and DJ.  If you imagine being at the North Pole and thinking, I knew it was better at the South Pole.  It was poles apart.  Sorry - couldn’t resist.

I actually worked out and perfectly executed my strategy.  The room was huge, so I went right to the side and sat where I couldn’t see lots of people.  Fortunately it was fairly dark too, with low lighting.   I sat with people who I really like and feel very comfortable around.  Extreme?  Possibly, but I know other people feel the same as me that this kind of thing can be the source of days of difficult self-reflection and unhappiness.  Whether that’s right or wrong, in some ways isn’t the issue.

The result?  I enjoyed it really.  Clearly I would have preferred to be there in something more comfortable Mr Bond.  But it could have been worse.  The interesting thing for me, which is a more valid question than ‘is this extreme?', is 'when did I return to this being such an issue for me'?  I thought I was making progress in being normal, but the last few months are making me wonder whether that's true.

The girl in me is raising her head at the moment.  And for now, I really like it when she does.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Diversity and arrogance

This week got me thinking.  I went on a training course for my own interest which is very unusual for me.  I usually avoid them like the plague.  It was really good - it was a Diversity type course - but was getting attendees to think about their own biases instead of being the usual legislation fest.  Great course, brilliant tutor.  I’m not sure how you would have approached this, but I (without really realising it really) I decided not to out myself over the 2 days.  Part of me wonders whether it was a missed opportunity and part of me is pleased that a group of strangers don’t know my secret.

Over the course of the two days, we were encouraged to understand our biases - and I definitely have some.  Even though actually they were irrational in some cases, they were there, hidden away.  But the thing that struck me (and I don’t mean this to sound pompous) but I was surprised at how few I seemed to have.  On one level, this might be viewed as me being in denial and that I’m kidding myself.  That might be true too.  But it made me think about my personal history and why I might not be so biased.

One of the personal traits I hate the most is arrogance, I really can’t cope with it.  I used to recruit people for a job and if you displayed lots of it, I was definitely not impressed.  Ah, well there is one bias I guess.  But I strive to be known as possessing humility and being non-judgmental.  This week made me realise that a lot of that comes out of the fact that, wrongly probably, I have a deep sense of being a flawed human being.  Some would chastise me for even thinking that my bisexuality and transgendered nature (or nurture?) is in someway wrong.  But hopefully we could at least agree that it is certainly not mainstream.  But being these things have caused me to have a deep affinity for other people who are not mainstream and who would easily be rejected.

For all of my faults, it was nice to realise that one of my strengths is that I care about people who others will more readily dismiss.  The next challenge for me, that I struggle with, is how to show that empathy.  To the outside world I’m a white, middle class, fat, family focussed bloke.  I don’t wear a badge showing what I really am.   I worry that, for example, a tattoo’d, pierced person would look at me and see normalsville.  That might lead them think that I’m judging them because of my outward appearance, where as inside I feel so positively towards towards them and respect the choices they’ve made.

I’m probably talking out of my bottom.  I call this a rambling for a reason y’know.  But this week started to make me think about something I’ve not consciously considered before.  I’m at the start of that reflection process, hence my not fully formed and probably nonsense capture of my thoughts.  But I thought they might be of vague interest.  Caveat over.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Back on the horse

So as I recorded recently, I was having a problem.  I have been a bit down recently and had lost confidence and which mean that despite needing to shop, I couldn’t.  The need to shop was not least because I have got another photo shoot coming up and I want to wear some nice clothes for it.  I mentioned that I have a black tie dinner in a few weeks.  What I neglected to include is that several months ago when I knew I had the dinner coming up, I decided to book a photo shoot the day after.  I figured that if I was all sad and depressed, that being able to dress up pretty would be a help.  Still not sure it’ll work, but its worth a try isn’t it?

So anyway, I needed clothes and long story short, I did it.  I overcame the confidence problem.  Yay me!

I was passing through Birmingham this afternoon - about an hour or so ago and there is a mall that I particularly like on the outskirts, so I went there.  I walked into the shop I wanted.  And I walked back out straight away - it was full and I panicked!  For a terrible moment, I figured that I just couldn’t do this at all, I was never going to be able to do it.  Ever.  Overreact? Me?

But after a restorative drink in Costa Coffee and a short time buying essentials in Boots, I tried again.  It was much quieter this time, so I carried on.  I’d been on the website a few days ago by way of preparation, so I knew some of the things that I wanted.  I was able to get those as a starting point.

The thing that was amazing was that as I began to shop and to get armfuls of clothes, the world seemed right again.  I began to breathe more easily and relaxed into it - and it became fun.  Like it used to be.  I found that I was comfortable, smiling again and giving people eye contact.  Well, at least giving the shop workers eye contact.  Other women shopping still avoid looking straight into my eyes.  But I suspect that’s nothing to do with me and more to do with a cultural thing.  I was presenting as a chap today.

So in a planned way I got a maxi dress with a big flower print, a white bolero style cardigan, a blue top with elasticated neck and some new jeans.  I so love wearing girl jeans!  And in a whimsical unplanned move.  Just because it’s the way I roll.  I bought a black patterned knee length dress too - and a set of blue jewellery to go with the top.  I have some really cute ballerina shoes in a shade of blue that I think will go really well with the jeans and the blue top.  So I am dead excited about trying them on.  I’ll be able to do it when I get there tonight.  Hurry up destination, I want to try stuff on!

Finally and with apologies if it is cheesy, but I really do appreciate your kind words of support over the last couple of posts.  It has been a really hard time recently and I needed your kindness.  It made me so grateful yet again, that there are such amazing people in the world.   I hope one day I can return the favour.

Blog ends.