After an emotionally draining week, today was a rare, beautiful, positive day.
Putting the issues of HRT aside, both my wife and I believe I need more Real Life Experience (RLE) in order to truly learn whether my feminine feelings justify a full transition to womanhood. I’ve wanted more opportunity to increase my time out of the house, but logistics and my wife’s uneasiness about the whole situation have made that nearly impossible. With our recent falling out over my filling my hormone prescription, increasing my RLE has become even more important that it ever has been. To that end, even before the HRT appointment got moved up, my wife agreed that I could have a girls’ day with my new friend from my support group. While my wife has since wanted to change her mind about me going out for the day, she never rescinded the offer, as she knows I need these experiences. Today was that day.
In an interesting twist, my friend picked me up from my house, meaning she briefly met my wife and children. While a little awkward, my wife took it well. It was one of those “I want to meet the person I’ve never met but you are going out with, but I don’t really want to meet her either”-type moments. My wife even offered her some food. Nice start.
The plan: Side-by-side makeovers, then clothes shopping at the mall
I have never had a makeover before. I was in theater growing up, and I hand two left hands when it came to applying my own makeup. Twenty-plus years of crossdressing for Halloween has afforded me some quick-and dirty ad lib makeup, but I was never truly taught how to do it. Finally, today I was getting some of my own makeup for me, not my costumed self. I was excited sitting down for our Sephora appointment. My makeup artist seemed a to be working a little slower than my friend’s artist, and I was a little nervous that it wasn;t coming together quite tight until the it was all done and I saw my entire face. It was awesome! I had smoky eyes. I had color in my cheek. My shadowy, always slightly furry face was covered under foundation. I looked good—even to myself. I was impressed! And while my budget did not allow me to purchase all of the things applied to my face, I did walk away with some basics that are going to make me a happy girl who wants to start applying her own makeup when she goes out. Our artists were very kind, too. Our 45-minute appointments ran closer to 90 minutes, and it was glorious.
Now that our faces were made up, we were ready to shop! This being my second en femme shopping trip, I went with a little more confidence than before—and it certainly helped that I had a friend by my side. We went to Lane Bryant and helped each other pick put some clothes. I went to the dressing room, and that’s when the magic started. First, I learned that I have dropped a dress size (nice bonus). Next, I learned that I can rock all manners of styles. I tried styles I never thought would work on my 6’1″ frame, and to my surprise, they all worked. Skater dress with a keyhole back. No problem. My back didn’t look weird, and the length was perfect. Asymmetrical dress with a flowery print? Check. My bony shoulders can actually support spaghetti straps and not look masculine? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. I never thought that would be possible. Skater dress. No problem. Pencil skirt with my hips? Amazingly, not an issue. I can wear a pencil skirt?!? Every time I came out of the dressing room, the sales associates were fawning over me (which, I half expect from a sales associate), but so was my friend. Random other women who were in the fitting rooms commented that I looked good. I still cant believe that one. Cisgendered, middle-aged women sharing a fitting room with me were not only comfortable with my presence but went out of their way to compliment me and the clothes I was trying on! I’m sure my awesome makeover helped the sell, but still! OMG! I am still floored. What an experience! Compliments, clothes that fit me well, and warm fuzzies all around. I put some clothes on hold (still wanted to compare to other stores), and we left the store. I nearly tackled my friend with the big hug I gave her thanking her for coming with me and making that such a memorable experience.
Off to lunch, or so we thought. Thunderstorm in California? Odd any time of year and especially in our drought conditions, but the cloudburst was enough that it caught us off-guard and without umbrellas, meaning getting to our planned restaurant a little challenging. So… time out for a mani/pedi at the nearby nail salon in the mall. In deference to my wife and the fact that I would have to remove any polish I put on my nails before I got home, I decided to forgo a treatment, but I did enjoy watching my friend get pampered. She needed the relaxation. When she was done, we took a quick detour to Forever 21, a place I never thought I’d be shopping. I like the prices. Quality might be questionable, but I still almost walked out with a nicely-priced skater dress. The problem: The line to the dressing room was a mile-long and a quick hold up to the body test made the impression that the dress may have been a little short, so I passed. At least my friend ended up with a necklace she wanted, so that was a win! I might be back to the store sometime in the future to check it out again. There’s potential there, and since I am now a skinny version of my former self, I fit in the sizing scheme of the store much better than I might once have.
Now off to a yummy lunch, then back to Lane Bryant to make decisions on my holds. I was only going to take two pieces, but I got talked into getting the asymmetrical flowery dress when presented with a decent coupon offer. Such a girl! I never used to succumb to upselling like that, but it was hard to argue, especially since I want more clothes in my wardrobe. In the end, I walked away with an awesome makeover (and product), a great shopping experience, a dress, a top, and a skirt.
The icing on the cake came on a unplanned trip to CVS. Because I cannot dress in front of my children (or really my wife yet), my awesomely done face could only be a temporary thing, and I was going to need to take off the makeup before coming home. That also meant I needed to get some makeup remover pads in order to fo that, so we made a stop into CVS. I ran in while she waited in the car. I grabbed what I needed, then stood in line at the register. While I was standing third in line, a random woman who was first in line, not only told me I looked beautiful but that she also liked my dress! I thanked her and almost wanted to fall over. Again… this wasn’t a sales associate. It wasn’t someone looking to flatter me to boost my ego. It was someone who wanted to take the time to actually compliment me and my appearance. Beautiful. She said beautiful. And my day might as well have been complete.
After a quick train ride home, I cleaned up my makeup and moved back to father mode for the family. We had a good dinner. My wife asked if I had a good day, and I said yes. It was great to be with her and the kids again, and everything was pretty calm. Before she went to bed, she told me she was happy that I had a good day. She doesn’t know much of the details yet. I don’t know if she really wants to fully know. Any positives I had are ultimately negatives to her, as it means I am finding myself more content and comfortable presenting as a woman. But for now, it is calm, and I have memories of an absolutely amazing, special, beautiful day. At least for a day, this is one very happy girl.