Friday, December 18, 2015


A late post from Yours Truly, as the school holidays are now under way for the Jones Massive. Both Wee Man and Little Miss have been in need of some down time. To be away from both the routine of early mornings and all day in a class room. They’re not the only one in need of a break too, the Ever Lovely Mrs J will, I’m sure, appreciate dodging the multiple bullets of half a work afternoon, the dash home to collect the kids and start the tea. Meanwhile, I’m still bashing the rocks together, at work, before crawling home in the evening traffic. Not, that I’m complaining, the commute could be a lot worse and I do get to listen to the odd podcast on the way home. Sure beats listening to commercial radio, that’s for sure. :-)

Over on social media, I shared my photo from the Chameleons’ Christmas party. Helen, one of our irregular regulars, mentioned a make-over service that she’d been to. This got the gears of memory turning. Have I had a makeover or visited a dressing service?

Well, the answer to the latter is no. Not for any reason, other than practicality. That breaking into both economics and the distance they are from home. Much as I like to spend a little on life’s little luxuries, most services seem to come at a cost. A cost I don’t feel comfortable spending. I guess, there’s that magic figure in my head, that says “but that’s the price of a week’s food” or “you could buy a tablet for that.

There’s also a feeling that some dressing services, can be a bit formulaic. Please, before you organise a strongly worded letter of complaint (Ed: address to /dev/null/) I did say ‘some’. I guess, if you have a routine, or method, that works for your clients, it’s tempting to run with that. Equally, and perhaps from a personal point of view, I think the better ones – like high street, or image consultants, I presume – tailor the process to the individual.

Maybe another part of it, was that at the time I considered it briefly, I had clothes at home, flexi-time for the opportunity and I’ve got that type of brain, where I like to work things out. That’s not to say I don’t want someone to help (we’ll come to that in a bit), but I guess, I don’t want someone to do it for me. As my old boss said, “how are you going to learn to drive, if I’m the chauffeur?

I guess that leads us on to make-overs, and those, I’ve had the good fortune to have a few times. Each one was at Chameleons, and via reps. One, the Body Shop, and the second via Avon. The Body Shop one, was for me, the benchmark. The lady who ran it, gave us all advice and I learned a lot. She told me about colours that would work for me, and ones that would not. How best to apply and also remove.

Coming back to what I said earlier; she made is personal. As something Val said once, often, make-up folk who visit us, they do what’s right for women, but – and these are my words, not Val’s – under all of it, I’m a guy. I have a man’s skin and bone structure. Things that work on people with more delicate features, disappear on me, and likewise, stuff I do, would probably look heavy handed.
Other than sharing that little bit of history, if there’s a point to this post; it is: shop around and look for that personal touch. A few minutes and a few carefully crafted questions will, I hope, save you money and time.

Chances are I’ll schedule something for next week, but if I don’t manage that, I’d like to thank you for reading, and for those of you who comment, thanks for sharing your views.


Friday, December 11, 2015

There in the storm


I don't know about you, but I find the run up to Christmas, can be a bit fraught. I suppose, it's all about how much effort you put in. For me, there's family stuff, work stuff and, of course, trans stuff. I would say it's like juggling three balls, but that's only setting myself up for some smutty giggling. :-)

Little Miss had her school play this week and, bless her, it's wiped her out. Four performances in three days and a slightly later than usual bedtime, do not a good rest make. Or, some of those words in slightly different order. I can't work out if I'm channelling Yoda, or the great Mr Morecambe. American readers may wish to check YouTube here.

Work has been a roller-coaster of quiet times, panic and Xmas dos. Somehow, and perhaps due to my luck of position in the building, I've been invited to more than one Christmas soiree. The lunchtime one was a very nice country hotel, up in north Nottinghamshire. This was a thank you from a volunteer organisation, I, and some colleagues, did some work for in the autumn. It was very much an unexpected treat and certainly without the some of the macho chest beating that goes on in some teams. All reasons for Christmas cheer.


Due to Black Friday, I'd order a sequin skirt and because of the Christmas rush, I had an email saying it was delayed. Cue a very sharp intake of breath. But, but, it's the Chameleons Christmas Party in a few days! Arrrghhh! Luckily, it was all a storm in a C cup, as I got a text on Monday, saying it had arrived. A bargain thanks to a discount code (Ed: half price!), so I was very happy with that. I had planned to team a lacy top with it, which mean getting a new bra.


Oh, bra shopping: how can I count the ways I don't love you? :-) It seems, at least for part time trans people like me, to go like this:

  1. Find a bra in your size, colour and desired shape. A task, in itself.
  2. Traipse to the men's department and collect Obligatory Clothing Distraction (usually jeans)
  3. Hope it's not Declare All Goods, when you find an unlocked changing room.
  4. Go in the changing room and hope no one stumbles in while you're trying on.
  5. Weigh up if you can be bothered to repeat the above, to try another size.

So, no, I'm not a fan of buying bras. Which, oddly, you think I would be, given that we part timers are supposed to be all about the frillies, right? Gah, if only there was a system that could measure you and provide a decent fit that gave you a a modicum of cleavage. Perhaps, I'll have to wait for my time on Dragons' Den, That or RuPaul's Drag Den. Hmm.... ["Bitch, please. I'm out." :-) ]

The bra did have detachable straps and thankfully New Look were stocking the transparent plastic replacements. A set of those went in the basket and the rest is history. Maybe I should have gone for a 38, but the shop didn't stock them. M&S didn't have anything suitable, which I found odd given the number of lace or strapless dresses en vogue this and yesteryear.

Some Assembly Required

With everything packed and some food shopping done, I was off early to the centre. It was Little Miss's last play, and as I'd seen her singing in the chorus, the night before, I had an early pass. Good job I did, as there was some setting up to do, with fetching my old laptop and bringing in some party food.

I tried for a more glamorous look seeing as it was the Christmas Party. Fancy false eyelashes, a smoky eye and my new clothes. Nails were red and glittered, because why the Hell not. Once downstairs, there was time to catch up with friends and have some party nibbles. It was great to see some familiar faces and good to see Pat up and about, given her recent illness.

Not usually this glam
There was time for a spot of dancing and it had been a while since I'd had the pleasure. It's funny in a way, that my chances to cut some rug, are more limited. I suppose that's the thing with not going out, so much, although that's not something I miss. Dancing yes, being out all hours, not so much. 

It was also a while since I'd danced in high heels, so it took me a song, or two, to remember. Maybe it's like riding a bike? :-) The other thing about being a part timer, is remembering when you should dance like a bloke and when you shouldn't. The only way I can remember it, is flats equals lead with the shoulders. Heels means lead with the hips. :-)

Once or twice I caught sight of my shadow and - like the photo to the right (thanks Val) - when you don't see your male features, somehow, everything seems to go right. Maybe it's the lighting, the make-up, the clothes and the effort you put in; that's when it's awesome being trans. Those, are the moments when you look, smile and are happy with who you are. A very nice unexpected Christmas present. 

That's the last meeting and quite probably my last outing this year, but what a night!

Take care,

Friday, December 04, 2015

Echo chamber


The thing with skipping lunch, is I don't feel guilty when I go home a little earlier than scheduled. Ah, those dinner time meetings, where you're told to bring a snack and *ahem* man up. I've never asked, but I assume any women attending the meeting, must draw on a 'tache, with either mascara or a rare-as-rocking-horse-poo whiteboard marker.

Oddly, HR don't seem to quite so on board with a) people not taking a break, and b) said people then sloping off early as they feel they've done their hours. Still, HR's there to protect the business, not necessarily the individual. Shame, but there you go.

So, due to a lunchtime meeting being my meal ticket home - see what I did there? :-) - I had the radio on, as I drove through the emptier than usual roads. I forget the programme, but the discussion was about conspiracy theories. Don't worry, I'm not about to talk about the moon landings, 9/11 or what Big Pharma's planning for us. :-)

The presenter was talking about how conspiracy theories start and how they gain traction. One of the ways this happens, and the Internet is fantastic at doing this, is like-minded people meet and start to repeat the story back to each other. The echo-chamber effect, if you will. It's not new and it quite probably existed before the Internet, but I think it's presence is felt more readily on-line.

How does this apply to being trans? Well, we have forums, blogs and social media, just like everyone else. What can happen, is the someone posts about their gender issues and then the process starts. Live your life, just do it; all positive affirmation and consequences be damned. In fairness, over the last few years - although maybe it's the circles I move in (I'm old, so I'm not down with the kids) - there seems to be the voices of reason. I'd capitalise the latter, but it would make the line seem about a metal band. ;-)

The voices of reason, they sing a different tune - damn, I've done it again :-) - *ahem* They say something different: they suggest caution and taking things slowly. For some, this is just what they need to hear and just what they want to hear. For others, they want the Just Do It message, and to dive in. That's cool too, but personally, I do like to have a good long look, a think and a few cups of tea, before I leap. Well, I say leap, it's more like stepping off and dropping gracefully. At least, as much as a 40 something, tubby guy can do. Look out, below! INCOMING! :-)

So, if there is a point to this Friday night rambling of mine, it's do stop and think. Being trans, it may feel all about you, but it isn't. Am I saying bottle things up and stop, for the sake of others? No, I'll not say that. What I will say, is don't rush in and pause, to consider the consequences. Frequently, there's often another way, which will be the easier route.

Take care,