Thursday, March 5, 2015


By Paula Gaikowski

Stana noted recently that Wednesday’s column had fell victim to the snow here in New England. Being a sister Yankee and dealing with the record snowfalls this year, I can relate and decided to help out with content by penning a story about a recent outing here in Massachusetts.

Towards the end of January after several storms had dumped 2 to 3 feet each on us, I was ready for some girl time. I was tired of snow boots and ski pants and wanted to trade them in for a cute pair of riding boots and pantyhose.

It was a Friday in late January and we had a heavy snowfall the day before. That day we were forecasted to get 2 to 3 inches, not intimidating at all for this girl, so I decided to make a run to the Burlington Mall and just do some shopping.

I wore my tweed skirt from my Pendleton suit, a beige knit top, riding boots and black tights. What a pleasant relief to be all prettied up. There truly is a joy that takes over my heart as I get ready and watch myself become a woman. Sadness and stress melts away and I notice this woman smiling back from the mirror as I scurry around looking for lipstick or an earring.

I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee, walked inside instead of using the drive-thru and got coffee. So boring ― just a woman on her way to work. I remember a few years ago it would have taken a legion of courage to go inside and then I would have been so flustered that I would have run home.
I don’t have that problem anymore for several reasons. One is confidence and that comes from number two, which is an improved overall presentation ― hair, makeup, clothes, and deportment. Third is acceptance and attitude; I truly have accepted the fact that I am transgender and do not see it as an issue that can be used against me.

Before I go out as a woman, I sit quietly for a while and reflect. I visualize myself as a woman, who is post-transition with years of experience living and working as a female. I tell myself this is who I am now. This frees me.

Off like a prom dress, I rode through the lightly falling snow to the Burlington Mall. Because of the snow the day before and the light snow that day, the mall was relatively empty. When I walked up to the M·A·C counter, I had my choice of makeup artists. The first to help was Rachael, pretty, trendy and vivacious.

The makeover itself was so much fun. I told her to ask me any question she wanted to as I was happy to educate her about transgender people. I got into the chair at 10:20 and was done at 12:30. We talked about everything. She asked me questions about growing up transgender, being married, what it felt like to have experienced being a woman for the first time. She asked me about dating, men and sexuality. We also talked M·A·C and makeup. I learned so much as I always do when I go to M·A·C.

Typically you schedule makeovers in advance; Rachael wasn’t busy so she just went for it. I made sure to buy over $60 of makeup and also quietly tipped Rachael $20.

With no time left to shop, I had to rush home before I turned back into Cinderella.

It was a sure way to beat the winter blues and get away from shoveling. I recommend a visit to your local M·A·C counter wholeheartedly. If you can’t it make it out, take some time to dress up at home and make yourself pretty. Spring is coming!

Source: Anthropologie

Wearing Anthropologie.

Lili Elbe, circa 1930.


  1. Great story, Paula. I know what you mean about accepting yourself. In the past, if I made a similar trip, I could sit in my car, parked, for 1/2 hour or more worrying about getting out and going into the mall. I worried about getting too close to others, about the mall cameras, about the guy smoking just outside the entrance who just wouldn't finish and go away. I'd be a wreck before I even got out.

    Now, pull up, park. Get out while the car full of mom and three teenage girls are also getting out nearby - and head inside. Attitude rules the day.

    Also, I spotted your typo. I'm sure you meant turn back in to Cinderfella.

    Always my best regards,

    1. Actually Cinder-fella would have been more accurate-lol

  2. Paula,

    It is so wonderful that you and so many others such as Stana are able to get out and about and mixing with the civilian population and in doing so are paving the way for so many others to find a level of accpetance and tolerance when we make our way out into the world at large.

    It certainly seems to me that the mercantile, entertainment and restaurant world are learning that there are dollars to be gleaned from all aspects of the LGBT community and that folks encountering one of us will be comfortable and perhaps curious but no longer antagonistic.

    For many the emergence into the public at large is a long slow process with many fits and starts along the way. For some there are part way outings that must suffice as we develop and as society develops as well. For many of us we still savor the safety and acceptance that we find in establishments that cater to the LGBT crowd.

    Like you, this winter has been a bear and my dressing time has been way down from what I need and my ability to get out has really been crimped. Last night, notwithstanding the snow on the ground and the forecast for more snow I simply got dressed and made up and went to a place in Westchester County known as the B Lounge. Sadly, when I arrived I was the only patron. Drag Bingo had been cancelled. Eventually a small handful of other patrons arrived. When I first started making occasional forays to this place was opened 7 days a week from 5 PM. It is now only open 4 days a week starting at 7 PM.

    I also learned that Triangles Cafe in Danbury has shut down after almost 30 years serving the LGBT community. It had been the home of a major monthly TG/CD party.
    THe Triangles web site mentioned that it was one of the few 'remaining' LGBT establishments and now it is also gone.

    It seems to me that as LGBT people are becoming more and more welcome in the public at large that the need for LGBT specific venues is no longer as great.

    Again I admire and congratulate you on getting out into the civilian world. I hope that the safe LGBT friendly places remain available and profitable for their owners.


    1. It seems that gay bars evolved out of a need to serve an underground culture. In the 1960s and 70s the Mafia ran most of the gay bars in NYC. All cash overpriced drinks out of the way places, this was offered in turn for privacy.
      Today gay people and young gay just socialize in clubs with their gay and straight friends. I’m guessing there will always be bars that caterer more to so to gays, but the need is gone. I am sure the internet also provided connectivity for the gay and transgender community thus reducing the need for a place to meet others like themselves.
      I understand many transgender support groups have trouble with membership this certainly isn’t due to a decline in transgender people. I for one don’t need a place to go and dress up in secret.
      Young transgender people are all over campus and in business, the tide is turning

  3. I hope you are right Paula, then I read about another sister murdered violently. Guess thats just life in our lane. I do love the makeup counters though. Bare Minerals has been good to me, although I hear MAC is a cut above. It is a freeing experience going out dressed. I am more andro and am fem in my own way, so it is probably not as amusing to some. You are so right about self acceptance. Once past that life got a whole lot easier.