A few weeks back I was chit chatting at TVChix (http://www.tvchix.com/) and had a conversation with a girl about a makeover service that I hadn’t heard of. Trans-femme is the place (http://www.trans-femme.co.uk/ ). It’s over a year since my last makeover and photo shoot so I thought maybe I’d give it a try. I got round to booking an appointment and it happened last Sunday. So ... here goes with a few thoughts on the experience.
In summary ... I had a wonderful time! And I love the photos ... I’ll post links to some later in this blog entry.
Nikki and Tracey who run Trans-Femme emailed me directions and some background information after I had contacted them.
Sunday morning I begin to think about what clothing I might take. My wife is away for the weekend and has taken the suitcase that I was thinking about packing. I know ... a suitcase seems over the top for a makeover and an hour or so of pictures. But ... you never know what you might wear. The feminine side of me has a liking for clothing choices that amazes me. This seems to be a passion shared by lots of tgirls.
The suitcase that I find first is bigger than the one that has gone, and so I am filled with an urge to fill it.
After twenty minutes or so I realise that I really do need to exercise some discretion here. I mean ... do I really need to take 5 dresses, half a dozen skirts, 10 tops, 6 pairs of shoes? Not to mention an insane number of pairs of panties, bras and stockings.
I spend a while putting things back in the wardrobe ... but in the end it’s still a bit of a struggle to close the suitcase.
At about 11:30 am I begin what is maybe the least feminine thing I need to do in preparation for makeup as I start to shave my face. Then it's a shower. Scent. Suspender belt. Stockings. Panties. Trousers. Shirt. Socks. Shoes.
The drive to Swindon takes a little less time than I was expecting. Just about an hour.
The suitcase is soooo big!
Nik and Tracey are lovely people. We have a cup of tea and chat for a while. An opportunity for them to explain to me how things work and to talk a bit about each other’s experiences. Very informal and nice. I feel really welcome.
I head out to the photo studio and makeover room with Tracey. It’s a separate building from the house. Although it’s a hot day, it’s fairly cool inside – though once the lights are on in the studio I know it will get warmer.
We chat as Tracey begins with the foundation. The atmosphere is relaxing. She’s happy to explain everything that she’s doing and if I like I can have a list of everything that she’s using together with typical prices and where they can be bought.
It brings back memories of the first makeover that I had at Fiona Floyds. There are similarities and differences.
The similarities include things like the friendliness, the sense of acceptance, the informality, and the knowledge that it’s ok to be myself here.
The differences are mostly in me. There is now a sense of familiarity in the feeling of makeup on my face. The eye liner and mascara don’t feel weird. Just over a year ago at Fiona’s it was as though I was meeting a new person in Andrea – or at least a new part of me. I think I had always been aware of the feminine side of my character, but with the help of Fiona the femininity was able to take on a whole new dimension.
That very first time I was unsure of myself. I didn’t really know what I was doing or why I was doing it.
In lots of ways I still don’t understand why. But I am happy that it is an expression of me. I am happy with myself. I enjoy the girl that is in me. I enjoy the man that is in me as well. I know that I don’t need to be afraid or ashamed.
It means that as Tracey applies powder, and blush that I can enjoy the experience without having the burden of the worries that I used to have.
We talk a bit about the different techniques that she uses compared to my own and about common experiences.
I also get the feeling that if this had been my first ever makeup then this would have been a lovely time and place to experience it.
I know this may not make any sense at all to guys that don’t do makeup. But, there seems to be something special about someone else taking the time and trouble to do it all. It’s a relaxing kind of experience. And there is ... ok these days I’m not the kind of person that is into “spirituality” ... a sense of transformation that is spiritual, if the term spiritual includes a sense of peace and meeting oneself.
For me, the makeup is something that helps me feel in touch with myself.
It’s nice to not be in a rush. It’s nice to not worry about making a mistake. It’s nice to talk.
There’s a sense of familiarity as eye shadow, liner and mascara are applied. Lipstick and gloss.
Once that’s all done, Tracey leaves me alone for a while and I begin to select what to wear. I brought my collection of wigs – all three of them. There are also loads and loads of wigs that I can try out of I feel like it. During our chat I’d decided to go for photos in 4 different outfits with different hairstyles for each. The pictures show what they look like.
Once I’m all ready Nik drops by with the camera. The lights go on in the studio and the photos begin. Straightaway I like Nik a lot. Full of encouragement and helpful suggestions. He
explains things that are likely to “work” and also why. He’s great ... full of advice but not at all a dictator. I really am convinced that what he wants is for me to really enjoy the time and to get some great photos. And I did.
This is another thing that I suspect will make no sense at all to a person that has never experienced it. And I guess it doesn’t work for everyone. But, honestly, if you still feel like adding anything to the list of things that you’d like to do before you die then, unlike contact lens trials, having a photo session really is something you should go for.
There is something I find liberating about the experience. It’s a strange contradiction somehow. There I am in front of the camera. Posing for all I am worth. And yet ... the posing is deliberate and it’s obvious. Yet, the smiles are real smiles. So different from the posing that can be part of everyday life. The kind where the posing is done in secret and the smiles are fake. Does that make any sense?
It’s so strange. The rolling on the floor, the sidelong glances, the lifting of the hem of my skirt are very un-me. And yet, they help me to relax into being myself in a way that doesn’t happen nearly often enough.
Photo shoots like this have given me the most feminine and girlie kind of sense of self-awareness that I remember. Makes me think of a Doris Day song that I remember from years ago – “I enjoy being a girl”. I just looked up the lyrics ... and well, it doesn’t all apply, but it gives a sense of the feeling. It’s that kind of feeling that I have as the camera shutter clicks.
Nik mentions that they also do all kinds of other types of photo sessions. Maybe one day my wife would like to sit in and watch – or even be made up and give it a try. I’d like that a lot. I guess it is more out of the ordinary to be photographed with your husband when you are both wearing skirts and makeup than it is to spend an afternoon playing golf with him. But honest, I am a lot better at putting makeup on than I am at putting a golf ball.
Another three outfits and hairstyles and over 300 pictures later it’s time to change into something a little more discrete for the drive home. I put on the long black and white polka dot dress that I started the session with together with shoes that have a smaller heel. I manage to fit everything back into the suitcase.
We chat unhurriedly. Tracey has the pictures copied onto a CD and we have a look at them on the computer. I love them. Tracey says which she likes best ... and yes ... I like it a lot as well.
We carry on talking and I know that I’ll be visiting again.
And now for some of the pictures. I’ll add in my next blog entry ... and I'll post some links to a wider selection in another blog entry. At the time of writing, there are also some at http://www.trans-femme.co.uk/page_1191079685531.html - I’m Andrea June 2008.
Well ... ins summary ... the experience was totally wonderful ... delightful ... and way more than highly recommended! Give it a try!
Thankyou Tracey and Nikki xxx.