Friday, June 29, 2012

"Don't step out of this house if that's the clothes you're gonna wear!"

Hi,

Cross out another week on the life calendar, I'm almost done. Well, done for the working week, not done for life - that would be a bit of a downer.... I mean, I've got a holiday booked later in the year. ;-)

The start of the week was quiet as I was working from home. Part of that was to catch up with things I couldn't do in the office. Simply too many distractions there and being at home, well, sometimes it's just easier. I suppose in days of yore, I'd have been all dressed up and tapping away at the keys quite merrily (oo, office chic!). This time though - and with Chams around the corner - it was more dressing - but not cross-dressing - for comfort. Then again, I did manage to sort out my wardrobe during one of the computer processes. I also made a slight alteration to one of my dresses. Ahh, sewing and IT, how did I end up with that skill set? :-)

In other news, Little Miss had her first taste of school and after wangling some time off, I took her to school. Honestly, where has the time gone? I know that's a time worn cliché, but that doesn't make it any less true. There she was, togged out in her uniform and a big smile on her face. Luckily, the half play day went well and she plus Big Man headed home with me with no problems. Certainly things to be cheerful about.

So, Chameleons? Well, given the heat of the daytime I was in two minds over getting changed. Y'see, I don't do hot weather. I think it's part of my vague Scots ancestry :-P Cold weather: scarf, gloves, hot chocolate, fancy boots and an open fire. Summer = hay fever, too warm, too much rain (!), insects and revealing fashions. Okay, not too revealing, but there's much more skin on show during the summer months than autumn and I - simple trans-something-or-other - like being warm, but not being hot. Also, the amount of additional beauty work required for the summer months is tricky. 

Luckily, with the sudden monsoon, the temperature dropped a little and so off I went. I was into the usual leggings and ballet pumps. I had packed some heeled sandals, but I didn't really want the faff of having to do my toes. As to top, when I'd taken two: the dress I'd altered and an orange number. Now the former didn't quite hang right on my (fake) boobs, but the latter was just about spot on. Funny, in that I bought the orange top just after Christmas and while it's been in the bag a number of times, I kept putting it away. Maybe it just needed the right weather!

Oh, that Boots primer I bought the other week? I'm not very impressed. It was really dry when it went on and I didn't like the way it made my foundation feel either. I think that'll have to go and it's back to looking for a replacement for the brand I have now. I think that'll be Smashbox. Ah well, something to keep my eye out for. Still, on the upside, I didn't have to pay full price for the Number 7 item.

The evening itself was fairly quiet: I guess the combination of traffic trouble due to the Olympic Torch and the warm weather put people off. Now, I had thought about popping into Nottingham to see the torch arrive, but it would have been during work time (awkward) and having seen the crowds on the news later, (double awkward), I'm glad I didn't.

We'd decided to have a Bring & Buy at Chameleons and while folk brought in a number of items, we had a lot left over. Still, our loss is a charity shop's gain. Jenny had brought along a wig she'd hardly worn. I gave it a comb and popped upstairs to try it on. It was long, straight and a mix of browns. Darker than the one I have now and darker that my own hair colour. While it was very nice, it didn't really work on me. I liked the fringe (Ed: is that 'bangs' for overseas readers?), but the razored parts at the side didn't work with my jawline. Mind you, what does? :-D

After packing up, Maddy, Jenny and I popped out to the pub for more of a natter. Jenny was kind enough to get the first round in, while I grabbed the Karaoke book. That wasn't so I could dodge the drinks. Honest ;-) Not that I was drinking, so just a water for me (Ed: Cheap date). Once sat down and chatting, a group of young ladies approached us and asked if they could have their photos taken with us. Maddy asked 'why?' which was my thought too. Apparently - and I quote - "we just love men who dress up as women." Takes all sorts to make a world, so we made room while their friend got the camera out. After a bit of polite banter about fashion, off they went, leaving us a little confused as to why.

Maddy and I tried our hand at the karaoke and after some previous planning, were lucky to find that the DJ had the Beastie Boys' classic, You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party. Soooo, cue music, cool riffs and some tuneful shouting.... dare I say, I think it went rather well. We even got a round of applause. I'd like to think that we did a good job, but the rest of the punters may just have been glad that we finished.

Because of that, I was late getting home, but it was so worth it. Funny, I guess I'm coming back to something Bobby said - at least, I think that's right - in that post-Chams, she feels quite up. I'm inclined to agree in that after some time out (Lynn mode), I do feel much more relaxed. Almost as if something inside my head has been topped up and I'm good to go for a few more days in the not quite so fancy male world. Still, look on the bright side: Chameleons is a regular and good night out.... oh, and with good people too. I feel quite lucky now.

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Fight For Your Right by The Beastie Boys. RIP Adam. x ]

Friday, June 22, 2012

"I've had enough, I'm not a freak,
I just keep fighting to stay cool on the streets."

Hello dear reader,

Ready for another weekly episode of the Jones Soap Opera? Not that the plot's particuarly rivetting. I mean, who writes this junk? Oh wait... ;-)

I'll go out on a limb here and reveal what I've really been up to this week gone. The truth is I've been out in the big bad world. Yes, it was far from home and yes I was careful, but there is always a risk. Still, you do what you can to stay safe. The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones will not be happy, yet... I did it anyway. There are times when you need to get out and be yourself. With that in mind, I got ready, put spare clothes into a bag and headed out to Leicester.

The weather was good if a bit rainy, but luckily, it only rained on the way there. When I arrived, it wasn't too hot and the wind was low: just about spot on really! The last thing you need with long hair (synthetic or otherwise) is to introduce it to your lipgloss. :-) I hadn't any particular destination or purchase in mind; I just wanted some Lynn time out and about: a space to not be Richard for a while. I'd thought about getting a new bra because I'm pretty sure I'm wearing the wrong size. The back size is too small, although it does help give a decent faux cleavage. Other than that, I was easy over the plan.

I parked in High Cross and wandered by John Lewis - which just happens to have a long mirrored wall (see right). In New Look, I found a maxi dress and hippy skirt, but after trying them on, I didn't like them enough to buy them. The staff didn't treat me any differently to the other shoppers, so props to them. Upstairs I tried on a few pairs of shoes to see if anything caught my heart. The wide fit selection was good, but the size nines were a touch too large. I did find some nice platform heels that were in the sale, but as I've already got black shoes, after a brief stroll in them to check the size, I put them back.

After that, I warned through the centre looking in a few shops. No-one pointed or stared and that suits me fine. I'm not here to be read, I just want to get on with my day. There was nothing going in the sales and as I said earlier, I hadn't got my heart set on anything in particular. Soon I was outside and just strolling through the crowds. I checked out a few charity shops because sometimes you can fall on a bargain. I did see some very cute bright pink glitter covered strappy heels, but what to wear them with? They stayed put for another lucky punter.

Eye Spy

Skip on a few hours and I found myself in Marks & Spencers. I was too warm in there and they didn't have much of a selection in the corset department, so I knocked that idea on the head (John Lewis and Debenhams was the same story, BTW). On the way back, I called in to see the sale in Clarkes and I got stared at by a pair of young-ish kids.

I suppose if I'm the first trans-something-or-other person they've seen, I'm going to attract their attention. After a moment of feeling their eyes on me, I smiled to them and said "it's okay, you can laugh if you need to," but that just made them look at the floor and go all shy. Perhaps that wasn't the best thing to say, but never mind! It seemed to defuse the situation and felt better than "it's rude to stare." Their mum was busy trying on shoes, so didn't see what they were up to. If they gave her Twenty Questions over 'Mummy, why was that man dressed as a woman?" I don't know. Still, doing a little more for trans-awareness: we're part of society too. Get used to it. :-P

I bought some primer from Boots as I had a voucher and as my feet were feeling a bit sore, I headed back to the car. I guess ballet pumps are okay for short distances - and part of me wondered I'd have been better off with the biker boots I had in the car. Oh well! I headed out of town and stopped off at a little retail park. The Claires staff were lovely and jolly, although I didn't buy anything.

By this point it was after kicking out time for the schools and a few kids - teenagers - were milling about. Again, no trouble.... and I don't say that in a 'no trouble because I pass so well' gloat. I don't feel that I do and that's not fishing for compliments. Instead, it's more a case of just getting on with it. I used to get hung up about how I looked - I still do on bad days - but all the wishing in the world isn't going to change how I look. The best I can do is try and make myself look presentable....

Where were we? Oh yes, schoolkids and shops. So I was busy working my way through the sale rail in Outfit and I noticed two teen school girls looking my way. I wondered if they were looking at what I was, so I smiled briefly and just got on with looking for that illusive bargain / dress to die for. A little later on, they were a few paces behind me as I looked at the shoes. Then again not so far away as I looked through some of the summer stuff. Now, maybe it was co-incidence, maybe they'd read me or maybe they were trying to work it out. Whichever of the three it was, it felt a little.... well, creepy. Not in an intimidating way, more a keep-your-distance / stop following me vibe.

I thought about asking them if they were following me, but as I did, I realised how self absorbed and nuts it sounded. I moved back to the shoes and yes, they did follow. I wonder now if they were trying to get a better look at my face because I had my back to them most of the time. Ah well, maybe they were curious? Who can tell. I mean, us trans folk have been on the television a few times and if you're a schoolkid and trans folk are not from your world, how do you react?

They headed off and I went to the next shop. I found a nice black dress in my size. A little long in over the knee, but it had a lovely fit to it and a folded band around the middle to put my waist in the right place. Despite the right padding in the chest area, it was a little too low in the front, so it went back. Again, I tried a boho/hippy skirt and then some short denim shorts. (Ed: brace yourself, folks :-P) Sometimes, it's not about trying things on as you're going to buy them, but trying them on to see what you look like. I'd only ever wear the shorts with leggings - as I was then - but I didn't mind them. I've got some old jeans I can trim, so maybe that look'll feature sometime soon. The main thing that's put me off so far is the concern that I'm 40 in a few months. Just when do you stop wearing certain fashions? Mind you, it seems a number of women listen / break those rules, so maybe I'm not alone in that worry.

By now time was ticking on and it was time to go find a certain country lane hide-hole to park up and deprincess. All in all, a truly fab day and I feel altogether human again ;-)

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Hair by Lady Ga-ga ]

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Don`t need your approval, your safety in numbers,
You stay in your team, I don`t care enough, to share your dream."

Hi,

Larks, time has run away with me this evening. Funny how that happens. For once, I was home on time, rather than staying late / playing catch up at the office. With folk keen to get away early for the weekend, the chance for a spot of serious thinking time can't be ignored. Sometimes, said thinking is even work related. ;-) So, the kiddie-winks are tucked up in bed and the dog's been walked. Both of us are just about dry following my lack of planning to take a coat, but it was only a brief shower. Now, to the business of blogging! :-)

Middle of the Road

Monday night saw the second part of Grayson Perry's In the Best Possible Taste, and just as it was the middle episode, so it was the turn of the... umm... middle classes. I'll spare you a scene by scene dissection of the programme - it's available on 40D, natch. That said, a few bits did stand out for me. Firstly, I didn't think the dinner party outfit was middle class enough, but maybe I'm just picky ;-) For me, the idea of a fancy top, cropped boxy jacket, thin white Next trousers and expensive/dangerous shoes would have ticked more boxes if we're playing the stereotype game. Not that there's anything wrong with said look, Mx Perry did want to blend in. :-)

I think, and at least for me, I had an unease about the programme. Not that it was mean, nor inaccurate, but the more I watched, the more I felt in tune with Pandora's comment (see last week:  "Choosing to affiliate myself with different tribes...") in that I didn't fit in to the.. umm... well, class presented. Surely there's a bit more depth to us as a society than working, middle and upper class? Seems about as accurate as fighter, rogue and magic user.... oh wait, that's a bit nerdy isn't it. Yes, slow hand clap for anyone who posts that I missed cleric out. ;-) Let's move on. :-P

So, iffy FRP jokes aside, yes; Chez Jones is well furnished and comfortable, but not in the same way as the houses shown during the programme. It's neither high art, high street chic, nor kooky. It just is really. Yeah, there's a bit of art on the walls (mainly naive stuff), lots of books and a reasonable smattering of technology. Yet, the latter is popular / trend setting stuff. We might have a laptop, but we don't have any tablets / iPads. All the computers are second hand - bar the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones' lappy (Xmas pressie!) - and have been moderately tweaked over the years to get a little more life out of them. Fashion-wise, we aren't bang up to date, but not too far behind. Perhaps to that end, we are the 'safe' end of middle class?

Could it be that we're just ex-crusty/rocker types with a few bob to our name? We've switched from music and moshing, to kids, books and dog walking rather than the cream tea / vertical ale market / Hobbs furniture. Heh, maybe we're lower middle class and I'm too blind to see it. ;-)

Chams

Yay, it was Chams time again. I had a bit of a monk on (Ed: Midlander gibberish for 'sulk' or 'moody') Thursday afternoon. Not for any great reason, other than being a bit tired and - to channel a vibe from Maddy - I wasn't really in the right frame of mind for the whole process of faffing that goes on. You know; dash home, have a snack, pack Little Miss for a night at Granny's, get showered, have a close shave, etc. Yet - and to use a well known phrase - I got my sh** together and hauled ass.

In all honesty, I was glad I did. Unusually for me, I got changed quite quickly and thus had a rather long and very pleasant evening catching up with friends and making new ones. A new girl popped along (Hi Kate) along with her sister, so we had a good laugh and shared a few stories.

Meeting new people is always nice as it's a learning experience to see how they feel, how the group reacts to them and to hear their life stories. It's just an interesting to hear from someone who is trans and equally, someone who isn't. It's a different perspective after all.

Given the weather, I decided against a visit to the pub and I'd offered Kate + sister a ride home as it was on my way.... and yes, it was chucking it down. Still, at least the hose pipe ban will be dropped now. :-)

The only slight snag was I'd used some Urban Decay eye make-up and the sparkly one has a fair share of glitter in it. So, I sat down at work and my colleague asked: "Are you wearing... ummm.... glitter?" We both laughed and I said it was down to my daughter making cards at home. Kids, they're useful little poppets aren't they? ;-)

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Your Crusade by Jesus Jones ]

Friday, June 08, 2012

"You can't hide it you might as well embrace it.
So believe me it's not easy.
It seems that something's telling me..."


Hello again,

Unlike last week's Friday failure, I'm going to give myself a little more leeway by writing something up earlier in the day. If that'll help improve the quality, well, it's too early to tell :-) These last few days have been fairly quiet and as I've said before, that's not necessarily a bad thing. I don't mind reading or watching drama, but given the choice, I'd rather avoid the less than jolly type.

Oh, I suppose I should mention the Jubilee to keep this topical eh?

Right, that's that done. What else? ;-) Oh yes, the pre-Jubilee School Trip I went on, the kids sent thank you letters to the parents who helped keep an eye on them. I got one from Wee Man which I loved. He'd re-worked a poem - does that make it a series of puns? - and I've put that in my memory box for keeps.

Trans-wise, it's been next to nothing - apart from a few very minor emotional hiccups. I think matters may have been better if I hadn't forgotten to take my anti-miserablist tablets twice in the week. Medication fail! :-) That can't of helped. Plus, I guess I'm just ready for a trip out to reset my in brain gender balance. Why does it work like that? I've no idea. I don't understand the requirement for a choccy bar, but I do know that once I've snaffled one, I feel better. Maybe I should just give up on the tablets and indulge in a choccy bar a day and a long walk in the park while suitably dressed. :-)

Channel Four ran a program about class this week: All In The Best Possible Taste. It was hosted by Grayson Perry (artist and famous trans-person). This week's episode was about working class and he'd gone up to Sunderland to spend time with the locals. It's really not my world, a) it's much further north, b) it's working class, so that whole fly-on-the-wall / old school documentary piqued my interest. It's all about people, their behaviour and image..... oh and the creation of a rather good tapestry at the end too.

He said he'd found his own preconceptions challenged and to an extent, so where some of my own misconceptions. After seeing a segment on ornaments, I gave a wry smile as I looked at our bookcases, taking in the knick-knacks we've accumulated over the years. Photos, the occasional holiday trinket and some naive artwork and a metric sh**load of books. I wondered what people would make of those if they were shown on the box?

Anyhoo, at one point Grayson got dolled up with the girls and suitably made-up, headed into town. Big hair, short dress and killer heels: they were all part of the Big Night Out Outfit. One girl said that it was a way of dressing up and feeling different to how you looked / felt during the week. That struck a chord, even if how I (cross)dress in a different style. Maybe Jo Public and the Trans Massive aren't as far apart as we think... or I think. If you...umm... feel? differently, you know where the comments box is! :-)

Next week, the topic of discussion is the Middle Class.... which yours truly is very much part of. House in the sticks, married with 2.4 kids, pets, steady job and transport. We don't do bad really. Oh, and the renovation work at Jones Towers is now complete. We have a fully working brand new kitchen-diner. Yay!

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: In Too Deep by Sum 41 ]

Saturday, June 02, 2012

"You're in then you're out,
You're up then you're down..."

Hi folks,

Yeah, I'm a day late. The Black Dog ate my homework ;-)

Despite the consumption of my plans, said beast didn't hang around too long. Mind you, I don't mind an hour or so, but two days in the company of said metaphorical hound was not good. Do I know why? No, not really. All is well on Planet Jones: I'm good, my family are safe & sound, work is going well and really, I'm not sure analysing my feelings truly helps. What does is regular exercise, the odd afternoon kip to top up the batteries and plenty of good, old fashioned, English cure-all: a nice cup of tea. Decaff, mais oui!

Over on Facebook, a friend made a joke about shopping habits while at work and then on Angel and Princess Blog, Laura's published the Marie Claire article as a PDF. It's a great read and please do take the time to take it in.

Anyways, both items made me wonder about being out. I know that some of you who read this here blog are out. Some by choice, some by necessity. For someone who is in the closet - at least in terms of my family (the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones exempt) and working life - I am curious about those of you who are not. Not so much 'the grass is greener' as how the other half live.

The above said, what about those of you - like me - who've decided to stay away from the public (okay, we'll exclude nights out and shopping), what made you decide to stay in?

Take care,
Lynn "I'll be on time next week" Jones

[ Today's lyric: Hot & Cold by Kate Perry ]