Posts tagged appearance

Great wardrobe disasters of 2012: no. 94

It always happens like this. Just when you’re feeling like a million dollars. Or at least a few thousand quids sterling, you look down at your perfect outfit to discover it isn’t quite as perfect as you thought.

And while you know the odds are that no-one else, least of all a couple of fairly blokey college lecturers, will have noticed, you noticed…and now you can’t think about anything else! Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome to the party…

Good morning. And a very warm welcome not just to my regulars – but also to anyone who just happens to drop by as a result of the froth that has been going down of late in the national press and media. That’s the documentary…the morning TV…and shortly, too, yet another piece in the national press with my interview-happy – and today neatly prepped for photos – daughter. Read the rest of this entry »

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The walk of shame

Seatbelts fastened – and stand by for a swift flight from the political to the personal and swiftly back again.

A shameful clip

Our departure point this morning is a viral videa from Harvey Nicks, which asks that most pressing of christmas questions: “ever faced the walk of shame?”

It features, in case you couldn’t work it out, a succession of young, attractive women, wending their somewhat unsteady way home after the fairly obviously implied night out on the tiles.

The clip abounds with bad behaviour (untidily eating one’s breakfast at a bus stop), unfit women (out of puff after running about ten paces), unsteady gait and far too much leg and cleavage for early morn.

So what’s to say? Its snobbery pure and simple, since the obvious solution (take a taxi, as one spoof sugests – or carry a coat) doesn’t actually require the expense of investing in a Harvey Nicks outfit. Equally troubling is the implied picking up of Slutwalk in the clip’s title (both “walk” and “shame”) and the ever-so-slight suggestion that at least one woman may have had her dress ripped.

Rape porn? Surely not!

Goodtime Girl

There is a wider issue, though, for which, as illustration, i’ll take you on a tour of my own weeked. I atteneded a couple of events on saturday. The second, an xxxmas “Erotic Meet“, brought together writers, artists and creatives who work in the erotic sphere: much networking, much brilliant conversation; and wonderful live entertainment provided by the talented and very funny Eastend Cabaret (I’m still giggling at the lyric to one exceedingly bawdy song entitled “Is it in yet?”).

After, i stayed on for the after-party hosted by a delightful (and cute) young guy who works full time as a professional male escort. Now if i WERE going to fall for a bloke any time soon, he’d have to be high on the list – but sadly, he is very very gay and not the least interested in women, trans or otherwise.

Far too much vodka was drunk: pizza was hunted down and dragged back to the flat at 4 in the morning. There was a less than successful effort at playing Twister. 🙂

At some point we dwindled to three guys, three gals, plus host, and i discovered then the sad reality of middle-aged womanhood: there is absolutely no rationality to who get hit on by whom: i mean, not that i was remootely interested; but it would have been nice to be chatted up, if only to have the satisfaction of saying no.

But nah: all three by-passed myself and a somewhat younger woman present, to make a collective bee-line for the youngest and prettiest of our female trio. hmmmph!

Then out onto the streets at around 7, mascara decidedly smudgy, hair ever so slightly in need of a wash. But otherwise, head held high and, if i say so myself, a good match, fashion-wise for the hordes of sunday moprning travellers on Kings Cross.

And in decidedly better shape from the three guys, who were, to a man, seriously dishevelled: unshaven and much ruffled.

Sexism and snobbery

Though i don’t much remember seeing many videos of late about the walk of shame as guys stagger home from the pub, shirt out, trailing gobbets of kebab in their wake.

Its all vaguely reminiscent of a recent piece in the Mail by writer and journalist Tanith Carey, which had me, by the end, in two minds. Yes: all very sad that some young women nowadays behave atrociously. Not at all like “young ladies”. And to be honest, i’d rather, in my personal prim and proper way, rather they didn’t.

But i’m old enough to know that this is absolutely not a new phenomenon – and alive enough to sub-text to realise that there is some pretty tectonic politics going down here.

Its snobbery. And its sexism.

After a night out, some women can look pretty shit. So, too, can men. And i’d hate to be asked to decide, between the two, which gender on average looks shittest.

At the same time, there is policing going on here: its about how women look and how women are supposed to look (which is why the link back to slutwalk is both ironic and provocative). Societal pressure for women to live “up” to certain standards and, if i am not missing a trick here, to live up to standards based as much – or more – on appearance as behaviour.

As for the latter, there’s another double standard operating here. Because men and women alike have the right to go out and have fun: to drink vodka, eat pizza and play twister at 4 in the morning.

That’s pretty straightforward.

So either the message here is that women shouldn’t: that maybe men should hark back to the gender-segrated symposia of ancient greece (and presumably, to the enragement of Mail readers, the gender-segregated sexuality that went with it): so on saturday night, the guys should have partied alone.

Or that its OK for women to have a good time…just so long as it doesn’t show.

Sorry, Harvey Nick’s: your campaign is appalling. It says nothing at all to the reality that i and my friends experience on an everyday basis: and while i am sure you’ll excuse it with a shrug and the usual “just a laugh” excuse, it isn’t.

Its nasty. Its sexist. And its about time you realised.


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Only skin deep?

This could have been another of those posts i have gotten into the bad habit of making: all about new experience, and how wonderful it all feels.

My first real hair-do, in case you’re wondering. Glorious!

You can take it for read that i am just basking in the many and varied new experiences i am having now, and move on to something a bit more puzzling.

Jealousy. After the joy of getting my hair done, and fiddling around with ear rings and nails and the 101 things i manage to obsess about nowadays, i found myself watching some ads on TV.

Not just watching, but – i caught myself doing this – measuring myself against the women in the ads. Going green with envy at the beautiful luxuriant hair that two models had.

Then i realised i have started to do this a lot lately: eyeing up fashions, clothes, hair-styles and growng resentful of things that will never be for me. In part because i am coming to this process late. In part because i will always look awkward, out of place.

There’s at least two things going on here. Its age, and the inevitable coming to terms with the fact that i am no longer young and never will be again. Yet – living as a male – that never bothered me.

Now, it hurts. It hurts like anything.

Because there is something else as well: this comparing of myself to how others look. This focus on the physical. What’s that about?

Is that “just me”? Or is it “gendered”: another of those things i hadn’t quite realised that women have to live with? Its a genuine question. Not that long in – and already i am defining myself in ways i would never have contemplated doing, a few short weeks ago.

I can see the why to it. I can also see the effect it has, making me that much more vulnerable to comments about how i look: loving the compliment; wilting before any sort of put-down.

It adds a new dimension to the demand, from medical professionals, that us trans women should learn about “passing”. Ye-es. If i understand what i am feelng now, its sort of like they have worked out what it is that makes ordianry women vulnerable – and us trannies don’t get to pass their test unless and until we learn to be just as vulnerable too.

Ironic, how ordinary everyday women are trying to teach their daughters not to fall into this trap – yet the experts insist that trans women should walk head first into it.


P.S. Since i am feeling particularly teenage and vunerable right now, this track seems about right:

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Conformity (II): the heart of it

I am aching to be out in my new finery.  I love the skirts i’ve found: i’m happier, slimmer, better trimmed than i have been in years.

Not very feminine yet.  Of course i’m not.  i’m only just under way. 

i have no doubt that what i propose will attracts stares.  A few glares too, no doubt.  So what?  In time, as i get closer to who i want to be, such attention would be a cruel reminder that i had not succeeded.  For now, though, i am happy to be a guy in a skirt.  Nothing more, nothing less.

For my partner, this is a step too far.  She can accept – she thinks – “it”, by which she means the transitin process, both as a whole and as constituent parts.

She is not sure she can face those same embarrassing stares.  That, for her, might be too much.

But what if i had decided to dress this way anyway?  That, then, would be OK.  It is, somehow, the outward appearance combined with her inner knowledge of what it signifies that makes all the difference.

I am mystified by this analysis.


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Conformity (I): non-conformism

I was intrigued, very early on, by how insistent the gatekeepers to this process are that i should learn to conform to a particular idea of feminity: that i should learn to “pass”, with all the connotations of failure implied in that single word.

Even the good Dr Curtis talked about fitting in and not evoking a “hostile” reaction.  In many ways, i have no issue with that.  i want to fit.  i want to learn about how to nurture my burgeoning feminity.

Still though, i know that  am a long way off.  i’ve left the comfortable point of departure known as maleness in hope of arriving elsewhere in due course.  Along the way i will be neither male nor female: a “freak”; weird; unnatural.  (Yep: I’ve started reading up already on how the religious and how some feminists regard us).

But so what!  To borrow from the wonderful John Bannerman: i am what i am.  If, for a time, i look like a man in a skirt, i don’t care.  i wouldn’t have cared before: it is only this presumption that there is “pass” and not-pass that starts to colour my every action.

For now, i am practising.  i am practising make-up, practising clothes, practising jewellery – and no doubt practising 101 different tricks of speech an mannerisms as well.

i am having fun: and if that gives more offence than the average friday  night office party, all dropped trousers and bums in the air, i am sorry for the persons offended.

I have no intention to give offence: but if you take it, that is your issue, not mine.


(in seriously bolshy mood)

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