Shopping (by blokes)

When I first announced I was transitioning, one of the few unabashedly positive responses from a number of friends and relatives was: phew! Now that jane’s a girl, she’ll be so much easier to buy presents for.

Hmmm. Not exactly. I reject the assertion I was all that difficult to buy for before. I liked quirky, books, music, interesting objet’s d’art, art and the like, which I’d have said gives a pretty wide choice of prezzies. And if one individual (step forward my daughter) managed to follow socks with a mug in two years, that says far more about her lack of imagination than any difficulty in finding me gifts.

However, early days, I guess the idea was sound. Jane’s a girl: so anything vaguely femme and pretty would do. I didn’t exactly disprove that assertion either. In clothes shoppign – of which more later – I was happy to raid charity shops from cambridge to london in search of “bargains” – and I was a deal less fussy than I am now.

Scent was good. Make-up good. Jewellery good. And so on.

Fast forward a year and I am now becoming an increasingly fussy girl. In fact, I begin to wonder how anyone ever buys a present for a woman without, perhaps, first administering large doses of some drug designed to get her to confess all and then forget she’s confessed.

Perfume? Yes. I love it. But sweet, flowery, citrus notes. Not too gone on musky. Not a fan of rose. I am amazed that andrea’s first perfume purchase for me was so on the head, because since then I have smelt dozens that really aren’t me. CK? No way? Not a great fan of chanel either – although a sneaking regard for Clarins’ eau dynamisante range.

And so it goes. Jewellery? Silver, please. Bangles, but not chunky. Chains (of the necklace variety!). Blacks and greys and greens. Turquoise. A hint of purple. Retro. All good.

Make-up? Don’t even go there! I know what I like – down to the range and exact hue – and am still spitting at the fact that I have lost my mac foundation either in the car…or out at a certain club in MK.

As for clothes: again, I am evolving my own style. However…

This wasn’t a post about getting prezzies, for all it looks like it. Rather, for the second time in under a month I was out cruising the lingerie departments – and was struck by the sudden appearance of racks of red and black. Knickers, suspenders, and balconettes. Plus the occasional lace garter.

What? Has fashion suddenly taken a turn for the idiotic? Nah. Tis just that Valentine’s Day is coming and of course, this is the next season (after xmas) when the uber-romantic guy gets a sudden urge to head for the knicker store and buy his nearest and dearest some red silk panties.

Like, wow! What a cute idea. I mean: I can think of nothing better than decking myself out like a party cracker and waiting to be pulled. Not!

(was I ever that gauche as a bloke? I hope not: silk pajamas I confess to…but I don’t think I ever descended to the worst excesses)

Here’s a few of my fave sexy underwear places: agent provocateur, figleaves, playful promises, even, occasionally, la senza. Check them out? Notice anything? Like, apart from the fact that I get insanely jealous over the fact that I will never have a figure even close to the most oversize of the models featured?

Yes: it’s the fact that these clothes are stylish, comfortable, interesting, colourful and, in almost all cases, not black and red.

Go figure.

I guess its hard, given my starting position.

I know what I like and in many areas now, there is no point anyone else trying to buy me something “feminine” because that is just the beginning. I take it for granted that what I wear will be feminine. After that, its about finding the colour, cut, material, style and just general look that I am after.

And I’ll say this for free. It ain’t black and red and lace!



6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Natacha Kennedy said,

    I know what you mean.

    When I was a teenager I used to practically live in Topshop, New Look and all the cheap places. Now I am hugely fussy and my makeup comes from Armani, my shoes from Bronx or Bertie and my tights from MaxMara.

    I still prefer Miss Selfridge for dresses though, although I have a couple of Coast skirts.

    BTW; like the new photo, the blue pills are obviously working!


  2. 2

    Phoebe said,

    Surely red and black is the preserve of gofficks, punks and other weirdos (and tangentially a few fetishists)?

    That’s one of my reasons for being into it!

    • 3

      janefae said,

      well, if you have no probs with black and red, you could always check out

      but seriously. I don’t mind it and i am sure there will be days when it is right for me. Just making a point about how unimaginative it can be – particularly the idea that all a bloke has to do to turn his other half on is buy her something highly inappropriate and objectifying in red silk.

      Yep: tis the imagination thing. i love that female clothes are so comfortable i am also acutely aware of how uncomfortable some fahions can be. And call me mddle-aged – 😦 – but i think i prfer comfort most days over the dubiously “sexy”.

      (and i write that as somen who got lured into trying on a hard wired corset at the weekend: loved the shape it gave me; not quite so keen on the slo asphyxiation).


  3. 4

    andrea said,

    Most women take back the inappropriate inderwear their partners buy and replace it with comfortable stuff.

    I however like red/black/purple/shocking pink/green (anything but pastel) inappropriate underwear… but then I like heady woody musky rose laden scents 🙂

    It wasn’t rocket science getting close to a decent perfume for you. You’ve always liked citrussy, bergamotty smells and thats what you got with a floral lift as a doff of the cap to femininity.

    And you ARE easier to buy presents for…you use the jewellry, jewellry tree, perfume, scarves etc I’ve bought over the last year…..which is more than can be said for the majong set, cufflinks, japanese pottery, bottle rocket etc you were bought in the past.
    So ner!!! 😛

  4. 5

    Hey! I like red and black underwear! However, I like other colours too and understand that I might be in a minority (well, some-one has to buy it).

    Buying for women is a minefield best resolved by gift vouchers. That also means that we can go shopping in the sales and get twice as much stuff for the same price – perfect.

  5. 6

    Martin said,


    Congratulations on the article in this week’s Catholic Herald. I think you may have met some of us from the Soho Masses LGBT Catholic community at the Catholics at Pride stall in Trafalgar Square a couple of years ago? We have a growing number of transgendered people attending our Masses. Our next Mass is on Sunday, 6 February,17.00, the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory, Warwick Street, Soho, London W1B 5NB, with Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP presiding. All are welcome!

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