Friday, February 27, 2015

Shall we take a test?


The white space that's the Blogger interface has been open a good twenty minutes, and yet, other than right now, I've yet to put anything in. Not that I've writers block or anything, I'm either easily distracted, or a terrible procrastinator. (Ed: The Procrastinator. He'll be back... possibly... or not. Maybe). This week has been a little full on for my liking. Not that there's been much drama (thankfully!), just it was all rather hasty.

[ Update: apparently, this is my 500th post. ]

When in doubt, just ask

Tuesday, I stopped off at an out of town shopping park to see if they had the shoes I wanted. They did, but they'd moved the shoes into the middle of the shop. Eeek! Well, I know that you can't take the shoes into the changing rooms either. Who thought of that? The Trans Mafia must have been napping that day, to allow that through.

Nothing comes between a t-girl and her shoes, so armed with a pair of jeans and a smile, I headed to the changing rooms. "I'm sorry, you have to leave those behind," the assistant said as I strolled up.

"Oh? I was hoping to try them on."

She laughed and answered: "I'm sure you would."

"Umm... Actually, I'm not joking. I would like to try them before I buy."

Cue a small pause, while she thought about it, and then. "Go on then. You do, you need to do."

That was that. They didn't fit (drat and double drat!), which is odd because I've got some size eight heels from the same place and they're a little too big. These were wide fit too. Shoe retailers, sort your sizing out! Anyhoo, as I was taking them off, I overheard the sales lady saying to a colleague that it was her first day. Ah well, in at the deep end, eh chuck? :-)


The half-term break (see Previously on YATGB... :-) ) was a welcome time away, and this meant it felt like I was having hardly any gap between nights out with the girls. Bonus! I had been working from home in the afternoon, so I had repacked from a previous thought. Sadly, my love of food has been my undoing and when I came to try the skirts on that I'd packed, none of them did anything for me. The monochrome miniskirt - I know, I'm 40, should I wear this? - would not do up, and the red flared panel skirt sat far to high on my hips. Bugger.... :-\ I really am going to have to work out an exercise / diet plan that I can stick to. Luckily, I had packed an emergency skater dress (thanks for the photo Val!), which I was pretty sure be'd okay.

Despite the wardrobe issues, I did seem to have more success on the make-up front. Earlier in the week, when I was shopping in Boots, the sales lady had on the most fab matt lipstick. If this is the right thing to do or not, I said I thought it looked fab on her and was it part of the shop's range. Rimmel 107 apparently, so I bought that the next day. I thought it was a bold colour and you need of a good lip pencil to keep it in check. I was very pleased with how it stayed put and the finish.

The last three attempt I've had at applying false eyelashes have not gone well. This time, I was determined to get the hang of them, so after a few checks on Pinterest, I found a guide that old Ham Hands here could follow. Sticking with that - if you pardon the pun - seemed to do the trick.

I'm sort of on the look out for a new wig, although I'm going to have to save the pennies up first. I like the colour of my brown one, but I prefer the cut of my ginger one. Oh, fickle thy name is - actually, I'm not going to complete that joke. You work out the rest ;-)

Working the Numbers

Last week, Sue blogged about the question of many of us are trans-something-or-other. If you've not read the post, I'd say it's worth doing so. Lark, almost high praise eh? :-) Now, usually I reply if I find a post really interesting, but this time I didn't. The question sparked off a few thoughts in my head. Namely: What if there was a scientific test? An evidence based system, to see how 'trans' you might be in later life?

I'm no psychologist, or medical expert, but to me, being trans; it's not something you sign up for: you just are. You're dealt a set of cards at birth and, while you have a choice on how you act on your feelings, I don't believe you can switch the necessity off. I've said necessity, because I think the words desire, or want, have a loaded meaning to them. Not that there is anything wrong with desire, although I feel it's not the right word for this. For me, if I have to only be Richard, I find life hard. I won't say I feel trapped, but I do feel stuck, or restricted and that's not some place I'd like to be.

So, imagine in you will, your good self in childhood, and you're around nine or ten. There's a new test you can do that's painless and it will predict (is anything certain other than death, taxes and data loss?), where you might fit on the gender spectrum.

For me, looking back, I think it would be easy to think I'd like to have taken it. It would have to have been anonymous, because the idea back then, of someone finding out, terrified me. Ironic, given that Hell isn't other people: it's the lack of the right people and being alone. IMHO ;-) Maybe in later years, I would have liked to have some evidence - if this would work like that - for the peace of mind, to tell myself, or ever the Ever Lovely Mrs J, that I'll always be a bloke. Okay, occasionally fancy, but still male.

I suppose, like all technologies, there's a dark side to that too. What if testing became *ahem* encouraged, so health services and parents could know what might happen. Would that necessarily be a bad thing, or is being trans something that's your secret, and that you share when you're ready to, if ever?

Take care,

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ready boots? Start walking


It being half-term, at least, here in sunny and chilly Nottinghamshire, the Jones Massive have been away for a short break. Just along the road by an hour or so, for a rural getaway. I took great pleasure in switching my work phone off, and putting it in the draw. A holiday, for me, means a holiday and that means no work email or telephone calls. Not that anyone is likely to ring, I hasten to add, although making it easy would take the fun out of it ;-)

Great views, even if you do get lost
We stopped over in north Derbyshire and although the weather was very chilly, the rain stayed away. Plenty of cloud, high and low, but, saints be praised, not a hint of Pink Fog. Reasons to be cheeful, eh? We managed a fair bit of walking - possibly more than we'd planned, as our collective direction sense isn't great. It seems the Ever Lovely Mrs J's map reading is very good, however, the vague notes of 'turn left at the gate with three bars' confuses, when there are two gates which match the description. Perhaps someone in the planning department has decided to add some fun into the walk. Hmmm :-)

The break, all in all, was very good and quite probably just what the doctor would've ordered. It's the first time I've been to that part of the world and I would recommend a walk in the peaks (with brolly and coat, just in case), should you get the chance. Talking of suitable attire, at one stop, I spotted a lady getting out of her car in heeled knee boots. To give her her due, they did have a heavy grip to go with the heel, so maybe she's not in A&E still. :-)

With Kindles fully loaded, the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I were stocked up on reading material, so there wasn't much need to tap into the cottage's collection of books. Most of the latter were biographies, which I've never really got into as a genre (except maybe Bill Hicks). There was, however, a Trinny and Suzanna book. Remember them? The gurus of What Not to Wear? Don't get me wrong, I learned a few things from watching them, but if I'm honest, I preferred Gok's take on how to dress. It felt less regimented and, to me at least, was more about bringing the best out of someone and coaxing them forward, rather than, and perhaps this is harsh, a fashion intervention.

Anyhoo, I had a flick through the book, which was a collection of dressing stereotypes. Corporate clone (200 shades of grey), mum on the run, schexy lady (hint: not dressed like that she isn't :-) and others. Then, suggestions on how you can tweak your image, but (mostly) keep in the style you like. I don't know what period the book was written, I'm guessing over 10 years, so there was a significant love of fishnets and a hatred of leggings. Now, I'm not saying leggings - or is it 'yoga pants', our American cousins say? - suit everyone. I think that when a leggings based outfit is done well, it works. That's not to say one style suits all, although they are so easy to wear (albeit from the casual / lady next door end of the spectrum).

They have a YouTube channel and a website, should your interest be piqued. Part of me is curious to see what they recommend now and their view on current trends. No doubt there would be some wittily, scathing comment about modern fashions. Or, more dangerously, the well groomed eyebrow would raise slightly, as the Eyes of The Twosome fall upon my choices. Although, realistically, I think that's highly unlikely and for that, I'm rather grateful. I have enough memories of poorly thought out, but highly hoped for outfits and iffy wig choices. It is any wonder so many of us stay in the closet? Psst: it's better to get out, if you can. <3 p="">
Take care,

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Road to Spring


In the last few months, a few people have said to be that it's a long haul after Christmas. For me, I like winter. Sure, you have to wrap up, keep the central heating running and the occasional windscreen defrosting is a bit of a faff. Still, I'm a cold weather person. I don't know if it's my dose of distant Dutch and slight Scots genetics, but I'm just not good in hot weather. Yeah, my Dad's been working his way along the family tree and it seems that some of the Jones Massive were from overseas. Bloody foreigners eh? Come over here, etc. :-)

Much as that could lead us into a soap box moment, or possible, comedy spin about politics, I'm not going to bother. Given the UK elections are a little under 100 days away, I think most of us will have had our fill by then. Plus, who am I to attempt to influence who you vote for, or even if you should vote? (yes, you should vote). No, let us move on to the usual subjects of clothes, what it is to be trans. Well, at least in the narrowband that I experience.

Much as I've enjoyed the cold weather walks and the sparkle of a frosty morning during the walk with Little Miss to school (we do have to drive a bit), these last few weeks between Chameleons meetings have been a slog. It's not work, nor home, nor health that's been the issue. All of the previous are fine, hell, work's never been better and given it's half-term shortly, the Jones Massive are going away for a much anticapted week away. With luck, the weather will be with us and we'll get some walks in. I just need to lay off the cake :-)

Yet despite all of that, I have been occasionally moody and short tempered. I've not said anything to the Ever Lovely Mrs J, because I don't think she'd be able to help with this one - not that it's serious. In fact, when you look at it from outside, it all seems very silly. Except, given you're reading this blog, I think if I say "being trans is fine - except when it isn't", you'll know what I mean.

For me, a bimonthly trip out / chance to dress up - see saying that, does make it sound silly (at least to me), is enough 99% of the time. We come back to the latter part of my earlier statement, "..except when it isn't." So, yeah. I wasn't in the best frame of mind. What can you do though? I couldn't wrangle working from home, which I've done in *ahem* emergencies, nor take time off. I just did what I could to ride it out and sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't.

That last line is something that's been floating around my head for a while. I guess I usually pop a question for you to ruminate on - or even answer - at some point, so here it is :-) Going back into the past, to times before anti-depressants, therapy and (possibly) the more enlightened times we live in now, how did folk who started to slip under the Black Cloud cope? Not that I am going that way, I hasten to add. I think that much that I didn't like the CBT at the time, it did help me understand that I can make a difference to my own moods. I don't have to let them rule me, although that's not to say that depression is all in the mind. I hear the jury is still out on that, but let's leave that chat for another day ;-)

The visit to Chameleons was much needed and, dare I say, went very well. I wasn't too late arriving and earlier in the day, as I'd been out and about for work, I had a quick stop off at home to amend my packing. I had planned on trying an office look. Smart trousers, shirt, etc, but it didn't really work. So, the blouse I'd bought went back, although I did keep the checked shirt I'd got (I've been after one for a while because they're quite 'daytime', if that makes sense) and teamed that with skinny jeans. I'm not quite as skinny as I think I should be for them, but I was happy with the final look. Pat was kind enough to help draw in the British Steel cables of my corset, and I owe Val a nod of thanks for taking the snaps.

We had a bring and buy sale, and while a number of people brought items along (including some very nice nail varnishes), these events are a bit hit & miss. That's not down to what people bring, or the effort the put in, moreover, I think that sometimes, others just aren't in the buying mood. Anyway, it's cleared out the cupboards and I've kept back some items for a lady (by birth) and another trans friend. Said items are currently lurking in the boot of my car.

Talking of cars, and not technically - my knowledge stops after driving, refuelling and paying :-) - as way of a change, I'm writing this blog entry while sat in mine. I've got an appointment in about 45 minutes, and here I am, parked up in the village, typing away while the world goes by. It's not something I've done before, blogging (I struggle to call this writing) this early in the day (it's just gone 9am) and I've rather enjoyed the change. Best sign off and say TTFN before the battery gives up on me.

Take care,

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Memory of Things


Last weekend, the Ever Lovely Mrs J bought a new car. Well, new to us, anyway. What it is and that we've bought it, aren't fully relevant to this post. What is, at least for me, is the concept of the memory of things.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a hoarder, although I've certainly got more stuff than I need and clothes that I wear. I do have clear outs. At least twice a year, I go through what I have and if I've not worn it for six months, or - and this is more usual - it doesn't fit, out it goes.

Despite that, there are some items I am loathed to get rid off. Books I've enjoyed, certain soft toys*, DVDs, old RPGs, pebbles I've collected from holidays with a beach, and often, anything that has a memory associated with it.

[ * I have a soft toy goose that the Ever Lovely Mrs J bought me and he looks down from my monitor called is called Lord Snooty. Yes, I appreciate this isn't standard behaviour for a chap... but then, neither is a fine collection of heels and skirts. So sue me :-) ]

Yes, perhaps it's more to do with memories than the item itself. Unless, of course, that acts as a trigger. Take for example a small blue car that we bought when Wee Man was truly very wee. I think that was my first visit to Chameleons and if I think about that car, the other memory arrives shortly afterwards. The long drive up through the city, snaking my way through the housing estate, before finally arriving and then feeling almost too nervous to go in. At least, that's how I remember it. The truth of the memory may be different. Perhaps I should re-read my own blog? :-)

Yet, with these memories and thoughts that are easily triggered, am I feeling a little adrift in terms of wanting to dress up. When I write it down like that, it sounds very silly, and yet, I dare say there may be those of you reading this, that are nodding in agreement. At least, I hope it's agreement, rather than slumber. (Ed: zzzzzzz)

It's only been two weeks since the last meeting, yet, here I sit, almost counting down the days. Odd, given that Christmas was a similar gap and with two week summer holidays, there are longer gaps. But, here we are and I am silently ticking off the days in my head. Why is this? Why now? Is it the hint of the end of Winter, were a not-so-young man's thoughts turn to the Spring/Summer collection? Or is it simply, just one of those things? A phase were there's a little more yearning because you know you have to wait.

Whatever it is, it will pass - at least something about me does! - and Chams is this coming Thursday. We're having a Bring & Buy to help keep the coffers topped up and following a spring clean, there's items a plenty from myself and Mrs J for the group. Finger crossed it all goes well.

Take care,