19 July 2013
This week, we’ve had the hottest weather we’ve had all year. (Yesterday the temperature reached 100F or 38C.) The weather, and hearing from a trans woman I haven’t seen in a while, got me to thinking about a particular part of my pre-transition life.
About three or four years before I began my transition, I started to go out “as” Justine (I had already chosen that name for myself.) on a somewhat regular basis—sometimes alone, sometimes with a companion. Before that, I’d only been out en femme a few times, not counting the couple of times I spent Halloween “in drag”.
The trans woman who called me yesterday explained that she’s hardly been out at all—either as the person she is, or in male costume. “It’s so much more difficult in this weather,” she exclaimed. I agreed: I remember what it was like when I wore wigs and had to cover more of my body because of hair or other features. Also, I had to wear more make-up in those days.
She mentioned all of those things. Her make-up and cover-up issue is even greater than mine was because she has very dark hair. So her “shadow” is visible even after she shaves. Also, because she has lost some of her natural hair—and, for various reasons, wears her remaining hair short—she needs to wear a wig or to otherwise cover it up.
I think, though, that a bigger problem for her is her lack of confidence. I hear it in her voice and see it in her furtive movements. Also, she still wears frillier dresses than just about any other woman I’ve seen: They’re even more extreme than some of the stuff I wore before I started going out in public. And she feels she must wear nylon stockings or pantyhose, even when she wears sandals.
“When I go out in weather like this, the makeup just melts off me,” she complained. I can relate to that. If I wear makeup, say, to go to work or some social event when the weather is hot—especially if I ride my bike to get there-- I usually duck into a bathroom at my destination and sketch the liner across my eyelids and brush my cheeks with rouge or whatever I’m wearing. I don’t want to look like Tammy Fay Baker with her mascara running down the rouge on her cheeks as she cried, “I am so-o in love with the Law-uhd.”
I tried to encourage my trans friend to get out more at this time of year: She can be a great-looking woman (She has a model’s body and Kirstie Alley’s eyes.) But she’s afraid of melting away, like Frosty the Snowman.