After ratcheting up the courage, first stop of the morning was the MAC counter at Nordstroms. There I talked to the makeup artist, a girl who appeared to be in her mid to late 20's, very friendly and accepting. (Though the other MAC rep's elderly client standing behind her, was getting an eye-and-earful.)
Outfit as I visited the MAC counter....
I showed my rep her what areas on my face need better coverage, so she checked my color against the ones she had in stock (quite a few) and recommended one for me. She said it's the one she uses to cover up her tattooed-on eyebrows when she wants to adjust their shape. Then she removed the makeup from a couple square inches of the beard area on one side, and applied it. It looked good at the store, so I bought some, along with the MAC finishing powder. Now I have to try applying it myself...hope it works as well when I use it on my whole beard area!
She obviously recognized my birth gender, but treated me as any other female customer, and inquired if she could do anything else to help. Since she seemed "genuine," I broke free from my inhibitions and simply asked if she'd be willing and able to do a complete female makeup application for me. (Amazingly, there was no blushing on my part...so I must be getting better at this!) She smiled, said she'd really love to, gave me her card, and said to call when I'm ready, so we can set a date - plan to be with her for an hour. "Let me know if you're interested in a daytime or evening look, and what areas you want me to cover. I know about the concealer issue, and overall appearance. How about Eyes? Lips? Blush?"
Wearing my new makeup and heels!
The MAC rep and I both preferred the idea of doing my makeover first thing in the morning. So I may plan to visit Nordstroms (about an hour drive from home) on the Monday before an upcoming planned trip, and have her do a full makeup application. I'll be wearing a skirt and blouse that day (with no backup pants outfit), which'll insure that I'll run all my errands and do some shopping as a female. And, since the better half will be out of town, I'll have a couple days to practice application on myself without rushing, before setting out on my trip! Practice makes perfect.
Second visit was to the contact lens doctor. They already know me, so they addressed me as "sir" even though I was dressed very "androgynously." Third storefront was at a jeweler for a quote on a repair to the black necklace of Mom's that I like so much. It's really not broken - I just hate the clasp. That's good, since their quote was outrageous for the repair.
When I stopped for lunch at the Subway I always use (and where they have always addressed me as "sir") I finally achieved the status of being recognized as female. YAY! Not sure if the staff got "new instructions," or whether my appearance (and makeup) has improved, but either way, I'll gladly take it! And I even used the women's room there. (Admittedly the place wasn't crowded, but it just seemed like the thing to do. Glad I'm not in Arizona!)
Lastly was a trip to Payless. Actually two Payless'es. The first one was simply a place to to try on shoes. They were friendly but not overly helpful, and I wasn't ready to "tip my hat." But I thought several pairs fit well enough to consider buying.
As I appeared at Payless...
After thinking about it on the road between stores, I decided to buy a pair of new shoes at the second Payless, The middle-aged female clerk was very friendly, outgoing, and offered to help. I asked her to check out the value left on a "store credit" refund card for me, then said I was "just looking." She smiled, genuinely offered to help, and said "Ma'am, I'll stop back to see you in a few minutes, to see how you're doing." "Thanks, I'll appreciate that" and I headed for the women's shoes...
About 20 minute later, after I had tried on a bunch of ballet flats and mary janes (again, none fit nearly as well as the ones I already own), wedges, and several different styles of heels. I walked around in them, in front of other customers, with no issues, and checked them in the mirror. I had finally narrowed it down to two pairs - one was a black peep toe wedge and the other was a pump with a 3" heel. I couldn't decide which looked better on me. So, when the clerk magically appeared, I told her I needed her help. (Once again, where did my inhibitions go?) "That's what I'm here for, honey!"
At that moment I was wearing the wedges, so I modeled them for her. She told me to put on the pumps and walk around a bit. She asked me to try a different size, and then a different width, both of which she searched for, and found for me. They didn't work - the original ones were better. So she had me put the original ones back on and walk in them again. "For a first-time girl, you do fairly well."
While I was modeling the pumps, I said "I can't afford both pairs today, but please help me decide which of these two look better on me." "Honey, even in your stirrup pants, those heels make your legs look so much longer. You're going to be more attractive wearing them with skirts or dresses, and you'll wonder why you've been hiding your legs in pants for all these years. Honey, you NEED to start wearing those heels." I asked her about the wedges "with the lower heel, since this is my first pair." "Unfortunately, they look a bit frumpy on you, so...stick to those heels and you'll be glad you did!" I told her that I sorta thought that might be the case.
As she was running my purchase through the cash register, I asked the best way to learn to walk in heels. "Should I just put them on now, and wear them out of the store?" Her advice was "No honey, you'd twist an ankle before you even get to your car. First, wear them inside on carpets for a few hours, to get your leg muscles used to your new way of walking - it's kind of like walking on your toes. You're going to love it! Then graduate to a concrete floor, to learn how they feel on a solid surface. After that, honey, put on your new heels and your shortest dress, and start showing the world those legs! When you come back next time, you'll be asking me for another pair in a different color, AND a pair of these..." as she held up a pretty pair of high heel sandals that were sitting behind the counter. They look like they'd be perfect for an evening out - but the heels were even higher! "Once you can walk in your 3" heels, you'll have no trouble adapting to 4".
Heels even improve the looks of stirrup pants!
So I finally have a pair of heels that fit fairly well, to practice wearing whenever I can. I need to learn how I'm going to sound when I walk...a woman's heels make a very distinctive tapping noise, which is unavoidable, and which (from experience) always turns men's heads! My clerk at Payless was fabulous - wish I had a reason to buy more heels from her right now! I'm really looking forward to the week when the better half will be visiting relatives in Chicago. Most of that week will be spent in skirts and heels!
Makeup update this morning: I shaved at 7:30 AM, finished applying my new makeup by 8:15 (took about 15 minutes to get it on right, since it has to be dabbed on with a brush), and it's now 4 PM. My face still looks like it would survive a casual observation There's some (but very little) show-through, and I haven't done any touch ups. If I put some of my old makeup on over top of it, I should be able to go another two or three hours before re-applying, or if I had done that an hour or two ago, it probably would have solved the problem.
This is an ongoing project. so stay tuned...