By Monica M
I had seen somewhere on the Web that there were transgender conventions and I managed to persuade my wife to go along with me. The “traditional” one (so they say) for newly-emerging transgenders is Esprit, which happens in Port Angeles, Washington State in May each year.
We decided that we would aim for 2010 Esprit. The convention is very couple-friendly and has special couples’s sessions. These were run by the wonderful Dotti Berry. My wife agreed to come on the basis that we make a holiday out of it and that if she did not gel with the other partners, she could just do her own thing. For convenience sake and for shopping sake, we decided to go to San Francisco and drive up to Espirit over a number of days.
I knew it was time to get serious about presenting as a woman. I ordered and devoured Art and Illusion by JoAnn Roberts. This gave me the basics of makeup, dress and movement. I ordered the voice CDs from Kathe Perez about six months before and practiced daily. I ordered the movement DVDs from Denae Doyle and practiced her moves.
My first makeup was anything discarded or unwanted from my wife. But I quickly realized that they were not doing the job and so I moved to Kryolan, the theatrical makeup and used that for the next couple of years. That helped a lot to hide the blemishes, but the problem really was a lack of good skin care. Then, I discovered Dermologica and it radically changed the quality of my skin. So much so that now I looked overly made up in the Kyrolan and gradually switched to MAC (but that was some time in the future!).
I learned from Denae that if you are serious about passing, you need a real hair wig and not a nylon one. She recommended Hansen Fontana in San Francisco. Our plan was to stay in a hotel in downtown San Francisco close to Hansen Fontana and for me to go there in drag with my wife to choose a wig. The next day, we would drive to Santa Cruz to meet up with Denae and I would spend a day being coached in Denae in movement. Following that, we would start the drive to Seattle. It was like a military mission. And all this time, my wife was with me and never complained; bless her, in fact multi Bless her!
I realized that most women dress to stand out but, really as a transgender, I thought it would be better to dress to blend in (I have since changed my view!). So, when I chose clothes from catalogs (I still had never shopped in person), I chose dull fall colors and styles. I had had my colors done about 15 years before, so I knew what was in my palette... or so I thought!
So, suited up, choreographed and tuned up, we packed the car and headed for Seattle and places further afield. In those days, I dare not drive as Monica in case I got stopped by the cops for any reason or in case I had to use the bathroom. How things have changed now!
But, there are a couple of stories and photos before we leave San Francisco.
(Part 10 of One Person’s Journey to Womanhood appeared here.)
Elliott Alexzander, fashion blogger.