A few weeks ago I mentioned in passing the difficulties that we trans girls have when the temperatures go up. Well this week I was confronted with just that problem as we have been having something of a heatwave by Northern Ireland standards, with temperatures in the 20’s for the last couple of weeks. In fact, it peaked at 28 degrees one day last week if the thermometer in my car is to be believed. So this meant that my usual thick opaque tights were highly inappropriate if I didn’t want my foundation to be washed away by a deluge of sweat within 10 minutes of switching off the car’s aircon.
A few weeks ago I bought a summer maxi dress as insurance against such an eventuality, and having tried it on it was a perfect fit. Pink, with a subtle floral pattern. It’s very nice and I think I look quite elegant in it. The only problem is, it exposes a good part of my upper back. That is a problem because of hair. Shaving my chest, arms and legs is fairly straightforward if a little time consuming. Shaving my back requires a lot of contortion or else a co-operative wife. The co-operative wife method is obviously the one that involves a lot less work for me, but does require, as the name would suggest, a co-operative wife. My wife has shaved my back for me twice, and while I could have asked her again, she has been having a lot of difficulty with having a trans* husband so I didn’t want to put it in her face any more than absolutely necessary. So I resolved for the first time to try it myself.
I had a couple of days off work last week because I was going down to Dublin for a Bob Dylan concert (as “Bob” myself sadly, although the gig was great!) but I had the house to myself for a couple of hours before I needed to set off. I used the beard trimmer from my electric shaver to remove the worst of the hair from the top part of my back (I gave up on the bottom half as a bad job and it would be covered by my dress anyway), then stepped into the bath to wet shave over my shoulders. I never knew I had it in me to be a contortionist until I tried this, but there I was, standing in the bath dripping wet, with an upper back covered in shaving gel, trying to look over my shoulder at myself in the wall mirror and reach a blade half way down my back. It took a lot of concentration, but I did it, and didn’t even cut myself! Go me! Chest and legs were done too – is there as glorious a feeling as freshly shaved legs? – and then the piece de la resistance: painted toe nails.
It may surprise you to know that I had never done this before, but I don’t own any peep toe shoes so there wasn’t much point. Or at least I didn’t own any. Having purchased the maxi dress, I couldn’t really wear black Mary Janes or ballerinas with it, and I was hardly going to wear stilettos, so I splashed out again on a pair of wedge slingback sandals which would very definitely display my toes. So out came the nail varnish – a coat of clear, followed by a coat of deep pink, followed by another coat of clear. They looked great, even if I do say so myself. It’s the first time I have ever been able to make myself feel good by looking at my feet!
My usual Wednesday night out came round and due to one thing and another I didn’t have any time for a shopping trip this week so had arranged to meet Andrea at Costa Coffee for a coffee and a chat before going on to the Butterfly Club. Great in theory, but I arrived to find that the Lisburn half marathon and 10k run were coming to an end, and all the runners seemed to be using the car park in which I was trying to find a spot. I did eventually get parked up a long way from the coffee shop, and Andrea then called to say she had got a spot just by the entrance. I suddenly became very nervous at the prospect of walking down through a lot of runners all milling around after there race, as I was there in my maxi dress, sandals and bare legs. But I couldn’t leave Andrea standing so out I got and of course had no problems whatsoever. I walked past men and women, old and young, children and adults and not one of them gave me a second glance. You would think by now I would be getting used to the idea that I can go about my business as a woman without attracting much if any negative attention, but it still comes as a pleasant surprise. And I have to say, going bare legged under my dress was a definite success, it felt wonderful to feel a little bit of breeze on a warm evening.
I soon met Andrea, looking great in her little summery dress and nude heels. In we went, and ordered our drinks (coffee for me, milk shake for her) and then I had a bit of a disaster; my coffee was quite heavy and I needed to hold on to the saucer with both hands to ensure I didn’t spill any. As I leaned over to put it down on our table I felt my handbag slipping off my shoulder and gathering pace as it slid down my arm. As Miley Cyrus would say, it came in like a wrecking ball – coffee all over the table, the floor, my chair, my handbag, just everywhere (although thankfully not on my clothes or anything of Andrea’s). NOT the best thing to do if you’re trying not to draw attention to yourself. But Andrea found some napkins to clean up the mess. the rest of the world carried on regardless, and we had a lovely chat before leaving to go on to the club.
There’s not much more to say about the club that night, as usual it was very enjoyable and we had a lovely girly chat with Michelle and Andrea after the men had left – there are some members who come along in male clothing (well one of our members is a trans man, but I don’t mean him) which I find odd, but I suppose it’s their prerogative. I certainly couldn’t ever envisage going there as Bob, in fact I don’t ever want any of my friends there, specifically Michelle and Andrea, to ever meet me as Bob. They only know Kirsty, and that means I can be the woman I am with them without the baggage of them having met the person that the rest of the world thinks is the real me.
After de-feminising myself on my return home on Wednesday night, I left the pink nail varnish on my toes. I couldn’t bear to see it go. It just meant that I had to be sure to remember to wear my Bob slippers any time I would normally be barefoot. On Thursday night I had just got into bed with my wife when I told her I had something that hadn’t been removed from the previous night, then brought my foot out from under the bedclothes. “Ugh, that’s creepy” she said. Probably not the best reaction. We lay trying to sleep and she said it was a little disturbing that those toes were in the same bed. So on Friday night I offered to get the nail varnish remover out and clean it off, but by this stage she said to just leave it on if it made me feel good. So on it stayed, up until today anyway. I went to the gym this afternoon and I don’t think pink toes would have been a big hit in the male changing rooms so with a heavy heart the first and last part of my summer outfit was finally removed.
I’m just realising now that I have no pictures of me dressed for Summer. Oh well, with any luck there’ll be another nice day for me to get all summery again soon, and I won’t forget the camera that time.
As for this week, well my first session with my gender identity counsellor is on Wednesday, three days away as I write. I have so much that I need to speak to her about, someone that can listen and respond in an unbiased non-judgemental way and who isn’t personally affected by the outcome. It all boils down to the head vs heart problem, I can’t be forever torn between my family and myself. I need resolution. I hope this is the start of finding it.
The next blog might be an interesting one!