Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Feel like a woman. Wear a dress!

By Paula Gaikowski

Being middle-aged, boring and oh so predictable, I of course, went to the MAC store at the Fashion Valley Mall the second night in town. Wait a second, did I say, “Boring and predictable?” I’m going to have to reassess that statement. Any middle-aged man, who throws caution to the wind and frolic’s cross country as a middle-aged woman can’t be pegged as boring and predictable. Crazy maybe, the jury is still out.

I don’t want to sound like an advertisement for MAC, nevertheless they were wonderful as usual. I spent about an hour with a young woman working on a winter look for my eyes. She had never met a transgender person before and I spent the time telling her my story. She asked me a ton of questions. Are you gay? What does your wife think? How old were you when you started? And of course. the well-known “Are going to get the operation?” She was a sweetheart and we hugged when parting.

The Cheesecake Factory was convenient, so I enjoyed another nice meal there. I was seated at a table and in front of me was a huge mirror that provided a view of the restaurant. I’m always curious what others think of my presentation, so I kept scanning the room looking for the stares or whispers. Happily I didn’t notice anything like that. I finally relaxed and sat there gazing with wonder into the mirror at the woman across from me.

My last night there, I put on my favorite Jones New York suit and headed out to a See’s Candies to buy a hostess gift for the holidays. The sales associate was a handsome fellow and was super helpful as we went through the list I brought in with me. He Ma’am’d me several times, so I was delighted.

I stopped by Macy’s and visited the NARs counter. I had been looking for a lip gloss to give my lips some added dimension and thought I would visit my old favorite makeup counter. I spent about 20 minutes trying a few different shades and walked away with a $26 tube of lip gloss. I do love being spoiled and treated special by the sales associate,s but is it worth $26?

Finally, the last stop on my last night there was, girlfriends?  …yes, Nordstrom! If I was going to advise novice girls on their first steps out in to the world, I would suggest your first two visits, whether in drab or en femme should be MAC and Nordstrom. 

I had no intention of trying on any gowns that evening, but was assisted by a vivacious sales associate named Ashley. As we scanned the racks for a long sleeve gown, she peppered me with questions about the event I needed a dress for, along with the color and date. I quickly invented a story about my niece’s wedding back east in February. She pulled three long gowns and then she asked the question you never ask a transgender girl, “Would you like try to some of these dresses on?” 

So, I’m thinking, “Is the Pope Catholic?” I hesitated for a bit and then she started to insist, “Oh, it’s no trouble. Let me start a room.” 

“Yes, Ashley, please start a room.” 

I don’t know about you girls, but you don’t have to asd me a third time to try on beautiful designer gowns. Off we went. 

I tried on four different gowns and Ashley took pictures of three. Ashley was playful and a lot of fun. When I tried on the Adrianna Papell you see here, I felt so pretty. Ashley remarked “Oh, wow. That dress works for you. Your hips, look at those boobies.” 

“Gosh, wow. Is that how ladies talk in the dressing rooms,” I thought. I was highly complemented, but also a little bit self-conscious by her observation. 

Her salesmanship was effective and I decided to buy the dress I was in love with it. Guess what, girls? I then saw the price tag ($540). Sadly, I had to decline. It just was too much for my budget. Ashley was happy to help me and understood the economics of it all. It was an enjoyable way to end my visit to San Diego and I have a special memory.

(For more Paula, visit flickr to see her collection of photos.)

Charles Busch femulating on stage in Shanghai Moon, 1999.

Source: Madeleine

Wearing Madeleine.


  1. Paula is looking great - as always!!!

  2. Wonderful experience - and what a fun way to end it!

    Did Ashley offer you her employee discount? Would it have made ANY difference?? ~~giggle~~

  3. And can we assume that it is Ashley we see in the mirror in your gorgeous gown picture???

  4. That is a fairly clothing and awesome outfit! Thanks for your charming opinion on my weblog and periods greetings!The clothing looks excellent on you, and so does your cosmetics.It's a favorite dress! i really like the shades.I really like little ruffles on some factors.Women Party Dress