Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Swans and Brides

Last Sunday, being the last one of the month, was a Surrey Swans get together.

I first visited there way back in July 2007 or thereabouts. I enjoy it a lot. I’ve always found it to be a lovely friendly and accepting kind of environment. Just as are the TV dinners.

Billie and Cathie are people that have helped me a lot. Both Surrey Swans and the TV dinners are things that they organise. And I know quite a few tgirls ... including myself ... who’s wives or partners have had a chance to get a first opportunity to meet another TV in an atmosphere where they didn’t feel outnumbered.

In fact, there are many people now that have helped me a lot through their acceptance of the alternative kind of me.

I spent a while chatting with Laura. All kinds of stuff. How nice it might be to have a how to apply makeup hints and tips evening. There’s a lot we can learn from each other I’m sure ... Laura’s eyes are especially immaculate. The challenges and the pleasures associated with the whole tgirl thing. Reminiscences of Pink Punters and Sparkle. And some of the whole tgirl philosophy kind of thing. The why’s and wherefore’s. We don’t really have answers other than knowing that it’s a part of who we are.

I come up with the idea that it would be fun to practice putting makeup on my wife. There is still some way to go on this one, though.

There was time as well to chat a little with Andrea (there are two Andreas that frequent the Swans), Susan, Billie, Cathie and Emma. Tina managed to sneak in without me seeing her.

Claire runs a florist / bridal wear shop somewhere in Berkshire. Last year she somehow came across my blog and emailed to ask if I and friends fancied the idea of an evening at the shop trying things on. At last there seems to be a real chance that this will happen ... Laura, Susan and Julia are interested as well as me. So far I only have an outline idea of how it will work ... but if it happens I’ll post pictures and stuff here.

Am I a Trans Femme Addict?

I know. I admit it. It must be an addiction.

Anyway, a couple of weeks back I paid Tracey and Nikki another visit (http://www.trans-femme.co.uk/).

I am improving in some ways. I don’t feel it to be so absolutely essential to take along 5 pairs of shoes, 5 skirts, four dresses, 4 shirts ... I am almost able to plan what I’d like to wear on the basis that I’ll wear three outfits and just take those.

Well almost only those.

But it still needs an awfully big suitcase for a three hour trip.

It’s nice though.

I really enjoy just sitting there and being made up. I remember distinctly the first time that happened at Fiona Floyds. I had no idea what to expect and was amazed! It seemed to take forever. And how hard it was not to blink as the eye liner and mascara approached my eye ball.

The chance of a cup of tea and a chat and the photos are great as well. The experience doesn’t lose any of its magic.

The making up and dressing and photographic experience is, I know, life changing for people.

For me there was, and is, something very special about being accepted as who I am. To be myself and to not have to feel guilty about a part of me.

The photo shoot was unusual for me in that Tracey took some of the pictures and Nick took some as well. The specially nice thing is how easy they make it to pose and enjoy the experience.

Anyway ... here is a small selection of the pictures.

And no ... the ropes were not fastened tightly enough to keep me completely subdued. And it was much easier to smile than it was to put on an appearance of fear and trepidation.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Sore wrists and Pink Punters

I spent a week working in Bristol recently. That was a male-mode thing. Apart from the snow it was fine.

The hardest part of the week was Friday.

Friday morning quite a while after the day began ... round about 8:20 am in fact ... I look out the hotel window to see if I should get a taxi to the place that I am working. How much snow is there out there ... and will there be any taxis?

It doesn’t look too bad – and after all ... there is a taxi rank just outside Marks & Spencer’s – and that’s only a really short walk from the hotel.

Off I set. Pulling the suitcase along – the wheels skidding in the slush. Ice might have been easier.

I arrive at the taxi rank. And there are no taxis.

The suitcase feels heavy. There’s a build up of snow and slush around the wheels.

Also it’s snowing. Cold wet snow.

And the laptop computer in the other bag seems really heavy.

And it’s tricky to juggle everything and keep an umbrella in position.

It seems like a long, long walk. About 30 minutes – but it seems longer.

Every once in a while I stop to re-juggle things around.

At least I don’t slip.

At last I reach the office block.

The first set of doors open automatically.

The second set of doors revolves.

I pick up the pen to sign the visitors book.

And my hand doesn’t work!

It’s not the cold ... my hands are warm.

I obviously am totally unaware of my own strengths and weaknesses.

My wrists are worn out!

In retrospect it makes me smile ... there are much pleasanter ways to get sore wrists than dragging suitcases through the streets of Bristol.

Have you ever tried writing without moving your wrists – just shoulder and elbow movements?
Well ... that’s how I had to do it. The handwriting was appalling – so not much difference there then.

Strange ... carrying the suitcase again was easier than moving the pen around.

It’s almost 10 minutes before I can type.

Saturday 7th February was a Pink Punters night – a thing a few of the girls from Surrey Swans organised a couple of weeks ago.

I spent parts of the week wondering if it would be worth the hassle. The snow ... the way it takes up the whole weekend.

And yet, as ever, I loved it.

My Friday night preparation included toe and fingernails. Nail polish that is.

I still have a problem with my left foot. We went walking in France last summer – in preparation for the hiking in Nepal. One of the end results of the time in France was the loss of the nail of my left big toe.

I do have a bit of a history when it comes to losing big toe nails. I guess I am just careless. When the kids were younger we often went skiing – and almost every year that we did I lost a toe nail. It was either the ski boots that were weird or the shape of my feet. One year I lost both big toe nails ... but one of them was because someone trod on it a week before the ski trip.

Missing toe nails didn’t used to cause me a problem.

In the days of nylon stockings and nail polish things are different. I mean ... there is nowhere for the nail polish to go.

I do have part of a nail now, at least.

There were hassles with my fingers as well.

Initially they were bright pink – but way too blotchy. So I had to clean them off and they ended up being purple.

All of this is part of a cunning plan to prepare for Saturday. I know that trying to fasten a suspender belt to the top of a stocking spells disaster for freshly painted nails!

Come Saturday, the rest of my Pink Punters preparation ritual kicks in.


Shave. Resulting in just a tiny cut on my leg.



Packing is always a challenge. What do I need to take ... what if I forget something critical? My hair?

What will I wear? In the end I just choose a couple of options. Short black dress or a skirt and a black shirt.

I discover I have a vast number of hold up stockings and so select enough to cope with accidents.

A couple of weeks ago I bought some lip stuff. The idea is you paint it on your lips and it stops the lipstick wiping off.

I decide to give it a try before I go and it seems to work, so I pack that as well. But I take my Maybelline lippy stuff as well – I know for a fact that this stuff stays on lips once it has been painted in place.

The drive towards Milton Keynes is pretty uneventful.

At the hotel everything is fine. It’s pretty quiet.

I’m sharing a room with Nikki. Nikki arrived earlier and is currently touring the local shops.

As I unzip my toiletries bag I notice that it smells especially fragrant and realise that my toothbrush will likely taste of Britney Spears perfume for a while. I make a mental note to pack it separately on the return journey.

As I shave my face I hear a knock on the door. Do I answer it? This would have been a trickier decision to have made if I had been wearing lingerie. It’s a lady with a hand towel.

After the shave comes moisturiser and clothing.

Suspender belt and stockings ... the hardened nail polish survives the experience quite well.


Bra. Breasts ... silicone. I remember reading information about these saying that you shouldn’t sleep in them. So far I have observer the warning, not wishing to wake up with a punctured pair.

Short black dress.
To be replaced by a medium length flowery skirt and black shirt.

Then the makeup. The usual kind of stuff. Max Factor foundation. Translucent powder ... eye shadow, liner, mascara, blush, lip liner, lipstick lip cote.



There are occasional little interruptions.

A text from Laura – she and Billie have arrived. I phone and we plan to meet in the bar in a while – along with Emma.

Nikki arrives back as well and needs to get re-made up for the evening. She made up and got dressed low-key for shopping. At first I am impressed at how long Nikki’s dress is – at least a foot longer than her usual attire. However, then I notice that the bottom 12 inches or so is kind of a pretence – just strands of cloth. Makes me smile.

Eventually we head for the restaurant. Billie, Laura and Emma are there already.

Food, wine, conversation and a few pictures.

Billi and Emma.

Billie, Emma, Laura, Nikki and me.

Laura and Nikki.

Nikki and me.
The gang of four.
Holding up the wall:

Then a chance to change – I take the opportunity to do a repair job on my lips – the lipcote and lipsticks is replaced by Maybelline lip paint.

Eventually we cross the road heading for Pink Punters.

And it is cold.

And icy.

But it isn’t raining or snowing.

It takes a little longer than usual, but we all get there with no real mishaps. Nikki is cheating by wearing a pair of sensible shoes – the stilettos are packed in her handbag.

The next few hours are really pleasant.

A few drinks and dances. Pleasant conversation.

Nikki has a label at the back of her dress that keeps poking out. Every so often someone or other dances past and slips it back down.

After a trip to the ladies, Nikki tells us that she was asked by a girl that had a fairly tight pair of trousers on if there was a camel toe visible.

It still amazes us – how different the feminine and masculine worlds can be.

We begin to plan a group trip for lunch or maybe dinner at the Cafe Rouge in Windsor.

I’ve tried some party feet things in my shoes tonight – kind of jelly cushions that help stop the pain. But I’m not convinced that they help. I have the feeling that there isn’t a way of making “dancing in 4.5 inch heels” into a painless experience. But, I must admit, even if it hurts it is more fun than dancing without heels.

There is a girl wearing a corset, very short shorts and fishnet tights that attracts a lot of attention.

Another in a cute black dress with pink trimmings.

Laura occasionally reveals a little more leg than intended.
Guess who ...

Emma remarks that I am wearing more than she expected ... I just smile uncomprehendingly.

Billie manages to keep all suspender belt fastenings fully fastened.

At about 3:30 am we head back to the hotel. It’s a mildly tricky sort of journey – still plenty of ice and snow around ... and 4.5 inch heels are tricky at the best of times.

The ending of another really nice day!