Sunday, 6 May 2007

A birthday

In retrospect ...

Makeover day!

Woke at maybe 9:00 am. Shaved ... everywhere. Fretted a bit about what clothes I should take ... in the end opting just for lingerie.

Had second and third thoughts. But I tell myself that I've paid the deposit and I hate letting people down.

As 10:30 am arrives I get in the car and begin the drive to Portsmouth. No one knows that I'm doing this. What happens if the car breaks down ... if I have an accident? Thoughts of buses and being run over pass through my mind.

Not sure if I feel frightened or just nervous and excited. Perhaps all three.

Wondering if I am completely crazy.

Wouldn't it be easier to just stay at home?

The M3 and A3 are not my friends. Part way there phoned Fiona to say I was going to be 20 minutes or so late. It was a bit strange to find I was speaking to someone with a very blokey voice. Why I would have expected anything else I have no idea. We only spoke for a few moments ... I called her Fiona ... she called me Andrea. No one had ever called me Andrea before.

Twenty minutes late I arrive in Portsmouth ... having taken a minor accidental detour near the end. The M27 isn't much of a friend either.

Parked the car on Pink Road. Somehow the name of the road seemed quite appropriate. At the end of the road is the house with the sign Born Beautiful. I ring the doorbell and wait.

The door opens ... it's Fiona. Fiona is drab - dressed as (and looking like) a bloke. Needs a shave.
We walk upstairs to the flat.

I'm introduced to Kerry and also to a t-girl friend of theirs. We are all drab.

Fiona introduces me as Andrea. We talk a while ... she asks about my dressing ... my wife. Nothing intrusive. I feel that if I want to say nothing then it's OK to say nothing. In fact I feel that here is someone that cares about what I'm experiencing. Understands the confusion that I feel. Is willing to listen. I like Fiona.

She asks if my wife knows I'm here today. I say "no". "Maybe you'd like to tell her sometime" says Fiona. No hint of compulsion or judgement or criticism in her voice. Just understanding. I begin to think that maybe I will tell my wife.

As we all talk I find it odd. People talking about guys but using girls names and referring to each one as she. The need to differentiate at times between t-girls (transvestites) and girls.

Though the conversation is strange it feels OK. Just ordinary people that like to wear dresses. Kind of like me. Here I am talking about dressing in skirts and things and no one is uptight about it.

Fiona asks what I'd like to do. If I'd like some photos taking outdoors maybe. This is mind boggling. Outside? Me? Dressed as a girl? Ha ha!

I feel relaxed though ... well a lot more relaxed than I was expecting to feel. Not that I really know what I was expecting.

We go up more stairs to the studio. A little guided tour ... clothes ... wigs ... shoes ... makeup ... lights ... cameras.

I choose some clothing. Decisions decisions. I have no idea of style or colour. No idea about what might look good. I select a short black skirt, white blouse, a short velvety-satin black dress and a maids outfit. It seems that the maids outfit is quite popular.

All the time we are chatting ... I talk about my experiences ... Fiona listens ... and shares lots of little anecdotes. This whole thing seems normal in an abnormal kid of way.

I have my own underwear so ... before the makeup I put it on. Here I am getting naked in front of Fiona ... a bloke at the moment. And then putting on a basque with white stockings. I need some help ... fastening suspender dangly things to stocking tops is not a skill I have fully mastered (should that be mistressed?). For some reason the one at the back left is always a problem!

The basque needs some padding ... so Fiona passes me a couple of ... well ... the word tits fits the bill. In they go.

White blouse and short black skirt.

Here I am ... dressed as a girl ... looking like a bloke ... talking with Fiona who is dressed as a bloke and looks like a bloke. And it doesn't seem weird. Now that is weird.

I put on a smock, sit back in the chair and the makeover begins.

I never knew that makeup was so complicated.

Foundation ... lots of it ... all over my face and neck ... powder ... eye shadow ... three shades ... eye liner ... mascara ... blush ... lip liner ... lipstick ... lip gloss. It goes on and on. All the while chatting with Fiona. She explains what she's doing and why. No way am I going to remember this. We share thoughts and feelings. These I will remember.

And then we are ready. Time to choose some hair.

I get out of the makeup chair ... and sit in front of the mirror. My specs are still off so everything is kind of out of focus. I put my specs on while Fiona gets the hair. The plan is to try a few different styles to see what I like.

The first one ... long and dark.

A necklace. Earrings. Shoes.

I look into the mirror.

Ohhhh ... ohhhhhh .... ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It's like Andrea has just been born. Sunday May 6 2007 ... must have been about 2:00pm.

Since that moment I've chatted with a few people that have had exactly the same experience.

Not easy to catch the feelings. I don't know what I was expecting ... but whatever it was ... this was so much better than it. Whatever fantasies I'd dreamed up in the past ... the reality was so much better.

It felt like ... like a part of me that had been hidden away in secret my whole life was suddenly free.

I know ... I know ... all I saw in the mirror was a guy in a skirt with makeup and a wig.

But that's soooooo much of an oversimplification. A bit like saying that all I see whenever I look in the mirror is just a load of water mixed with a few chemicals. Whilst it's true that is part of what I see ... it's not all that I see.

Seeing myself as Andrea for the first time was ... well ... Fiona later said she could see that it was a pivotal moment. I remember her hugging me and saying "hello Andrea". I hugged her back. Too blokey still to cry ... but deeply moved and tears not far away.

Then some photographs.

Awkward at first but relaxing as time passes.

The short dress with a change of hairstyle ... blond. Fresh shoes and black stockings.

The poses are a little cheekier.

Then the maids outfit. Laddered my stockings!

The poses cheekier still.

And then it's over.

Fiona mentions as a place to talk with other TVs.

I wash the makeup off ... saying goodbye to Andrea ... and yet not goodbye.

On getting home I look at the pictures on the CD that Fiona gave me. And I email her.

It definitely ranks as of one of the nicest experiences that I've ever had. I felt welcomed and accepted.

And the photographs .... I love them ... I really do ... especially the ones in the party dress. I love the hair ... the make up ... you really have helped me get in touch with myself in a way I didn't know was possible. Thank you ... thank you ... thank you!

My whole perspective on some things has shifted. I never ever in my remotest dreams imagined that there could ever be a time when I could be myself with a group of other people. And now I feel that it is possible. Such a sense of freedom.

It was strange driving back ... it almost seemed like I was leaving myself .. Andrea ... behind ... and yet I know that Andrea is me ... and always will be ... and I feel good about that.

Tomorrow when my wife gets back I'm hoping that I'll get an opportunity to tell her about things ... and hope that she will be willing to look at the photos ... well ... the first two sets at least ... and I hope that she'll like them ... or at least not feel too threatened or worried about them.

I have a profile on TVChix now ... AndreaW. I hope you like the pictures that I selected.

I chatted with a few t-girls at at TVChix. Vicky was really sweet. mentioned make up classes at Charles Fox in Covent garden as a possibility. Vicky knows Fiona as well.

I'm resolved to tell my wife about it when she gets home.

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