By Monica M
I said earlier that I started taking the whole presenting as a woman seriously in middle to late 2009 as I prepared for Esprit. For anybody who despairs about learning to apply makeup or to dress and present acceptably as a woman, here are my photos from my first experiment of making myself up (as opposed to being done professionally!). I look back and despair; I actually thought that I was doing OK and this was only five years ago! Truly, the journey never ends.
These were taken within a month of each other. Learning points: bushy eyebrows, unplucked and uncolored eyebrows, male glasses, rough skin, no contouring, no beard cover to mention, messy lipstick, nylon wig.
I am living proof that you can start from nowhere and present much better than this!
As I have said, the idea when we got to San Francisco was to go en femme to Hansen Fontana to buy a real hair wig. My wife did not want to go down to the lobby with me, so I went down myself and was to wait for her at the corner of the next block. (I cannot believe now how uncomfortable we all felt. It was as if we were peddling drugs or porn or something.)
So, here I am in this photo, all innocent and untainted and ready for my very first day in the world as Monica (I have made this day my “Monica birthday”). There is no look on my face of the horror and embarrassment that is going to befall me in ten minutes! Learning points: poor makeup, wig not long enough, scarf highlighting the square jaw, purse too small, sunglasses on indoors, dress too drab for the hotel.
So I stand facing the door with my hand on the handle taking deep breaths to steady my nerves. My wife kisses me goodbye and wishes me the best. I feel like I am going over the top and into battle in the First World War. I am right!
I peep through the peephole and the coast is clear. I open the door and walk to the elevator as femininely as I can, which means shaking my ass in some peculiar way (what was I thinking?!?) (Note that this is before any movement training, etc.)
I wait, holding my breath and praying, hoping that the elevator is empty. It is. I press lobby and down I go.
I am in such a rush to get through the lobby and out into the street that I almost bowl over one of the hotel managers as I speedily make my way from the elevator lobby to the main lobby. He looks at me in an odd manner and I am conscious of him looking at me. I hope it is just because I am in a hurry and nearly floor him. I am wrong!
As I enter the main lobby, the bellboy is walking towards me. He is tall, athletic and probably 25. As soon as he sees me, he turns on his heel and walks back to the other young guys at the bellhop station all the time pointing back at me through his body. He thinks I cannot see him pointing at me and smirking, but while I can only see his back from where I am, his profile is reflected in the mirrors behind the main desk and I can see everything.
By this time, my heart is beating faster than hummingbird’s wings. Help! What do I do? I continue to walk to the front door, where he has now placed himself and opens it with a theatrical sweep and smirking says, “This way, Madam”.
By now, I know that I am not passing even at the beginners’ level. I opt to bluff it out. I could not think of another strategy!
“Thank you, my good man,” I say and I politely bow to him as I exit the front door.
So, I am on the street and in the crowed. The thought that I have to run that gauntlet in reverse almost unnerves me. I go to the appointed corner and wait for my wife. She appears in a few minutes. We exchange stories and head off. She does not want to walk with me; so, she stays a few paces behind. We have about three blocks to walk.
We enter Bryant Street where Hansen Fontana is located and it must have been my lucky day! The street is being dug up and there are lots of guys with hard hats and shovels hanging around and digging, etc. My heart sinks for the second time except now it sinks even lower because I know I don't pass at all!
I say, “God, if you want to take me, this would be a really good time!”
She ignores my prayer and I live on to walk through the second gauntlet. I am expecting cat calls and whistles. Nothing happens: I had forgotten, this is San Francisco… nobody cares; they have seen it all before.
We get to Hansens and choose a wig. Victoria cuts the wig to the style that best suits me (Victoria is great; she does all my wigs now). I put it on and head the long way back to the hotel practicing my mincing feminine walk, my wife a few paces behind pretending that she is not with me and surveying those who see me to see how well I am passing; much better than with the nylon wig is her conclusion.
I get back to the hotel. The same bellboy is there as I push through the revolving doors. He does a double-take. He is not smirking and this time, he is really unsure if I am a guy in a dress or not. I breeze past, into the elevator, go to my room and take this shot.
One of the most embarrassing and nerve-racking days of my life is nearly over! I get my makeup off, get into my guy clothes and head down to the street where my wife is waiting in a coffee shop. The bellboy ignores me. I live to fight another day.
(Part 12 of One Person’s Journey to Womanhood appeared here.)
Wearing Torn by Ronny Kobo.
A femulator strikes a pose in the early 1960s.