Saturday, July 7, 2012

"No, I really mean should be in dresses!"

Several years ago, my nail tech decided that I needed a more feminine look for my hands, and applied permanent French acrylics.  They are a clean, professional look, and I adapted well.  Over the years, she has gradually increased their length, and now trims them no less than 3/16 inch past the tips of my fingers. She tells me that they're the perfect length for a woman with an office job, and now she won't trim them again till the shortest one reaches at least 5/16 inch long, usually every 2nd or 3rd fill.

For some reason, the nail she checks usually ends up just a bit shorter than the rest.  Intentionally?  Perhaps - I'll probably never know for sure.  More often than not, that means they get shortened on the third fill, and I have more time to enjoy the benefits of long of which is that they click nicely whenever I touch things or pick anything up!  Re-learning to type with my talons was a particular challenge, something all girls have to get used to.  And the days of pushing elevator or touch screen buttons with my fingertips is history - now I've gotta use my knuckles.  But ugly short nails would be a big step backward, and I wouldn't want to step backwards...!

With some luck and good fortune, someday they'll look like this all the time.  The girls and tech at my nail salon are still trying to make that my reality, and women at work (before I retired) completely concurred. They all decided that I need 20 red acrylic nails, with fingernails extended to at least 5/8 inch beyond my fingertips (though they tell me 1 inch or longer would make my hands look much prettier) and toe nails extended beyond the end of my toes.  This would make a permanent statement of my femininity, something plainly visible and impossible to hide, which a little nail polish remover and some cotton couldn't erase.  They all plan to pitch in to completely cover the cost of my first full set, so I won't be able to refuse.

And just recently, the tech added a sweetener - she's thinking about offering to do every other red fill on my fingers and toes gratis for one full year, if:  she installs one-inch fingernail and one-half inch toe nail extensions (beyond the ends of my digits); I agree to "never" ask for them to be shortened and give her sole authority to determine whether they need shortened (or more likely, lengthened, once I adapt to my new long nails), allow acrylic nail art of the tech's choosing to be displayed on three digits on each hand and foot at no cost to me, and (new offer - 2012) to pay a flat $10 fee to have that same nail art put on the rest of my fingers and toes whenever she does it.  I've run into the girls individually a few times - they all still think 20 long red (or hot pink from 2012) acrylic digits on full-time display will be a big appearance asset for me. Though long toe nails will mean wearing sandals all the time, every day, the reduced cost of my nail care makes it quite tempting.

All the girls who know me from the salon all want to be there that magical day my nails become pretty. My own cheering section will cheer this girl on as, one at a time, each nail becomes girlie fire engine red or hot pink acrylic (yeah - I know - they're really just making sure I can't back out!)  Unfortunately, those acrylics haven't happened yet - but the girls talk about it a lot.

Wonder if/when everything will come together?

From 2010:  No, they aren't the red acrylics everyone at the salon has been talking about having me wear. I wasn't that lucky! But since I was the only customer in the shop, she declined to shorten my fingernails when she filled the french manicure, and decided to give me special UV-dry red polish on fingers and toes.

After I was safely tucked under the drying table, she told me "You really need to get used to having pretty hands with long, gorgeous nails. And this is a special polish which will be tough to remove." She was hoping it would discourage me from taking it off at home. She assured me that the girls at work would all make a fuss over my nails, particularly if I take this opportunity to start wearing dresses or skirts and open toe pumps or sandals every day.

But she didn't really think this would be quite the motivator I need. And, she was right. Especially since there's an acrylic French manicure in hiding underneath (the flash shows a shadow of the white underneath!) Yes, I removed the red from my fingers (with some sadness as I really do like the look). But as promised, it took a lot more work with the polish remover.  Once the girls finally get the tech to outfit me with 20 extended red acrylics, there won't be any French underneath, and, taking them off myself won't be an option. If red doesn't look good with an outfit I plan to wear, I'll have to stop at the beauty section of the drug store, choose a new color and go home and paint them myself!

Even though the color only lasted a day and a half on my fingers, I sure enjoyed having them feminine and nicely manicured. My tech says that's a great sign. And, yes, the red was unbelievably tough to remove. It probably would have been easier just to leave it on till my next fill.

After 2 weeks I stopped by (wearing white leggings, a black sleeveless blouse and single-band slides), for a fill on my fingers, and asked my tech to change the color on my toes back to french. There were 3 women in the shop - none of whom I had seen before. She asked for their help in deciding which would look better on me, red or French. It was unanimous- they liked red better. Since I - not the ladies - was paying, that day I escaped with french fingernails. But the girls told me that my feet look feminine and beautiful, and the polish is still flawless, so there's no need to touch it.
So I left the salon with my bright red toenails glowing in the sun. They stayed red for two more weeks, till my next pedi, when the tech finally gave in and put the french back on!

June 2012: Hot pink looks great against a dark background...   I was facing the wind, and it blew my skirt back between my those are some "strange-looking pants" in this picture!  Trust me, it's my peasant skirt.

With the words of my nail tech echoing in my head, reminding me of a hot pink (used to be red( acrylic manicure and pedicure with extensions in my future (thus insuring that I'll have to wear sandals every day), I decided to run by my favorite Payless this afternoon.  After another visit with the lovely young clerk there, who is always supportive by helping me find what I need, I left with two additional pairs of sandals, one in black, and one in off-white, to coordinate with most any outfit I might wear. 

OK girlfriend, now bring on those acrylics!   At least I'm prepared....sort of.  Though I don't plan to confess that little fact to her...she can simply surprise me the day it happens. It's actually better to not know in advance - I'd spend more time worrying about it than it's worth.  I might even try to chicken out, though there isn't the slightest chance she'll let that happen.

When she decides the time is right, I'll be walking out of the salon with gorgeous, long-nailed, feminine hands and feet, that any woman would love.  And the day she chooses to apply my new nails will probably be just prior to an event where sporting 20 gorgeous long hot pink nails and having no choice but to wear sandals will be somewhat inconvenient. 

Once my new acrylics are on, they're on. Nail polish remover won't remove the color, and there's no way to hide ten long and brightly colored toe nails leading my way with every step. My only practical option will be to deal with it, most likely precipitating my transition into skirts and dresses, makeup and girly hairdo's.  But then, that's been her goal (and the goal of the girls at the hair salon and - before I retired, work)  for me, anyway!

After all, pretty nails are a girl thing...  "Relax, sweetie, after a few weeks to adapt to the length and bright color, you won't even give your new long talons a second thought, or even a glance...that is, until guys (and girls) comment on your lovely nails!  It will happen, you can count on it."

As of the summer of 2012, this is my reality for my conventional pedicures...and my summer shoes.

The nice things about having the same style of feminine buckle-on sandals in 3 different colors (black, tan, white) are:  they will coordinate with many outfits; they minimize the number of different tan lines visible on the feet, allowing for a more concentrated tan; and they work perfectly with or without pantyhose. 

The last one is particularly important for me, since the doctor says I must wear pantyhose (and give up wearing panties and socks due to the heavy elastic) for assisting the circulation in my legs.  The day after the doctor's order, my better half immediately cleaned out my underwear and sock drawer - all socks and all but two pair of panties (one black, one white) went to charity,  She holds them, and only gives them to me on days when I get my pedicures, or when it is very hot.  Car show days definitely qualify as "very hot."  At least lately....

My sandals are so comfortable that in the almost 2 months I've owned them, I've only had occasion to wear closed shoes four times.  And I suspect I'll be spending the rest of my summer in them - for our upcoming trip it's sandals full time with Capri's and sleeveless tops, except for one day when we have to be in a meeting...for that it will be white Keds and dressier stirrup pants with top!

As of the summer of 2012, this is my everyday fingernail treatment. They're shorter than usual, the tech decided to make them shorter this time.  But they're more noticeable than usual, because to compensate she added a bit more white.   Not a bad thing...certainly it leads to lots of discussions about nails with female clerks!

Today, a nurse at my mother's nursing home actually stopped me in the hall, grabbed both hands and brought them up to eye level, to look at my nails...then looked down at my pedicured feet (in sandals, of course) and commented that my nails were gorgeous enough for me to "start wearing sundresses and sandals with heels, and show them off as a pretty woman!" I blushed, and she said, "No really, I mean it!  You should be in dresses!" 

Another supporter....

Friday, July 6, 2012

Shop Till You Drop & "All-American Girl at The Hair Salon!"

"Shop till you drop" is something new for me!  

It was fun wearing my new peasant skirt and blouse that I purchased at Goodwill again when I visited there (and several other thrift shops) the next day, searching through the racks for more bargains!  I saw several skirts and blouses I'd like to buy, and the price is definitely right...but I just don't have room for them!  That could be a subtle way of recognizing that I need to get rid of stirrup pants and polo shirts, and to replace them with skirts and blouses!

The same clerk waited on me at Goodwill both days.  But I didn't hear "Didn't you just get your outfit here yesterday?"  Guess it just didn't register with her. Or maybe they get so many customers that they can't remember one from another... Oh well, it was fun anyway!

You may notice I'm not smiling in this picture.  That doesn't mean I'm not having fun.  The smile just left my face after I tried 3 times to get this picture, and had to move because a car went by (since I was standing in the way.)  At least the fourth time was a success!  Once again, the wind ruined any semblance of hair style...that happens a lot here.

If I weren't a retired girl, this would be a perfect workday outfit, including the flats!  Both the skirt and blouse are quite feminine. It would feel very luxurious to wear in a work situation...gee, maybe I should try to go back to work, as a girl...NOT!  And the girl part isn't the issue - that would be fun!  It's a lack of desire to work, at least for now. with me.

My beautician and I both wear the same dress size, and she's been a big supporter of my becoming a full time girl.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, her plan to eliminate my stirrup pants now has been activated for the first time...

When I arrived for my hair appointment early last month,  wearing stirrups and my newly acquired brown blouse, the receptionist escorted me to the ladies' room and waited outside while I took off my stirrups. But I failed to hand them right out to her, and that wasn't the way it was supposed to work.  So, being careful to not open the door too wide and expose me to other girls, she came on in and closed the door behind her ("Don't worry, sweetie, it's OK; we're both girls in here.")  To put me at ease, she and I talked for a few minutes about how nice it feels to able to wear dresses and skirts, with me still clutching my folded stirrups in front of me, and blushing.  She was a good conversationalist, and professional at keeping constant eye contact with me, never "looking down."

She assured me that she'd be back with something pretty for me, and would never leave her girlfriend stuck in the ladies' room in her blouse, pantyhose and flats. My resistance finally melted away, and I simply handed her my now wrinkled and "almost wadded up" stirrups.  She smiled, re-folded them, then gave me a big hug, during which she - surprisingly - planted a deliciously-tasty and quite lengthy kiss directly on my lips (no girly little peck on the cheek from her.)  Then she turned on her (high) heels, and promptly left with my stirrups, locking the door behind her with a key so nobody could accidentally walk in.  I sat down on the chair, quietly contemplating my current half-clothed situation, and waiting for her to bring me something to wear over my pantyhose-covered (and quite exposed) bottom.

About 20 minutes later, the lock clicked again, and she came back in,  handing me a neatly-folded garment.  I unfolded it, said it looked wonderful (at that point ANYTHING - even an evening gown - would have been wonderful) and modestly turned away from her as I stepped into my new white skort.  You can see from the following picture, that it blends very nicely with my brown blouse. "Wow, look at you, sweetie - that's much better.  You're far prettier now.  Let's go introduce you to the ladies!"  Then she grabbed my hand and led me out to the salon.   The women unanimously liked what they saw, and told me that I clearly got the better end of the deal...skorts are way cooler than stirrups in the summer and keep my legs on display for the world to see, while looking much more feminine than pants of any sort.

After my hair was done, my beautician applied some light makeup, and took an extra few minutes to give my fingernails a couple coats of bright red polish, to match the long-wearing kiss-proof red lipstick she had already applied.  As she painted my nails, she reminded me that the skort now framing my pantyhosed legs is the very same one she was wearing the day I bugged her about how much I like to see her in them.  "Bet you never thought you'd leave your hair appointment today as an All-American-Girl,  in your very own cute skort, with bright red lips and nails, made-up enough to be able to blend in as a woman in public, and attractive enough for men to flirt with."  Ain't that the darn truth!

"Enjoy your newest fashion statement!  Go to the mall and shop for some dresses, plus eat something with the other girls in the food court...your makeup and lipstick should look just fine for the rest of the day. Skorts are universal, and worn by lots of women...I hope you'll wear them as often as I did.  And, rest assured, every time you arrive for future appointments in your stirrups, you'll leave here again wearing a skort.   All of us here all really want to see you wearing them - or better yet, skirts!"

As I was leaving, the ladies reminded me to stop and turn around when I got to my car in the parking lot, so they could see how I look in skorts, from a distance.  (Too bad they didn't get a picture that day, for posterity!  This picture is more recent.)  So I did, and they waved, with a thumbs-up. Guess they liked what they saw!

And they really do feel great!

Now, will this all happen again next time if I show up in stirrups?  Maybe, only time will tell!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Summer Outfits, and A Visit To The Doctor...

As recently as the spring of 2011, the type of things I'm wearing below became my everyday work outfits, until I retired last December.  The gals at work loved my feminine "look" and thought it was very appropriate for me.  The guys - well, they just tolerated it. 

But, since my retirement, these same outfits have become my fall-winter-spring everyday clothes, and serve as dressier outfits over the summer.  For everyday wear, I'm basically stuck wearing my sandals, sleeveless tops, and Capri pants or pedal pushers, like a lot of women. That's certainly not a problem for me.   They're girly, look wonderful together, and are very comfortable!  But it's resulted in my wearing closed shoes only 4 times in 5 weeks, for less than 3 hours per time, and now they feel hot and restrictive.  I find having my pedicured feet and polished toes on display for all to see is much more fun - it's so feminine, gets smiles from the ladies, and is much cooler!  Going back into flats when the weather gets cold will be a major change for me now, and I may put it off as long as possible!

The guys I deal with locally ignore my femininity and carry on, business as usual. All the ladies at both my beauty and nail salon are fine with it...but they constantly encourage me to buy some pretty embellished ballerina flats and kitten heel pumps to feminize my outfits, until they can get me into skirts or dresses.

The girls remind me that all I need to do is put on a sundress or skirt, and I'll begin to realize what real comfort is.  And my beautician has been working on making that my reality...

Earlier this year, I went to the doctor for my annual physical wearing an outfit like the above, with a sleeveless blouse underneath (for convenience in bloodwork) but without makeup or professional female hair style.

The doctor (a female) was/is fine with my apparel, and has me wearing pantyhose every day, to improve leg circulation.  She was pleased that I was still wearing them, and has prescribed that I continue to continue to do so indefinitely.

Not once did I hear "sir" during my visit.  Instead, I was "Ms Sherman" or my first name.  The assistant said "OK Ms. Sherman, I'll give you a few minutes to remove your blouse, bra and nylons, put your stirrups back on and pull up the legs as far as you can, so we can wire you for your EKG."   And she left the room!

As she was attaching the wires for my EKG, she commented about my cute flats, which were waiting for me on the chair.  She asked if I've tried heels with my outfit. I said "not yet", and she told me to try a pair of 2" heels instead of flats. "You'll love how you look in them, you'll get a little taller, and they'll put some swing in your hips!" After what I heard at the grocery store a while back, it sounds like I should take her advice...and get started with heels.

The sad part about her instructions to remove my bra was - that I wasn't wearing one.  And as part of the physical, my doctor decided to do a female-style breast exam on me, to look for possible breast cancer.  Fortunately nothing caused her to order a mammogram for me!   So, I guess "the girls" look realistic enough for now. Maybe someday she will tell me to start wearing a bra with my pantyhose! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Out and about, Maryland, November 2011

I was out of town on business in the Maryland suburbs of DC in November of 2011 and (of course) couldn't pass up the opportunity for Mandy to get out and about...

My camera was on the rear bumper of my vehicle - unfortunately it was a solo excursion, without my usual tripod. Just beyond the left edge of the picture was an usher for an event being held at the hotel, watching me. And to the right of the picture were two cars with girls in them, just arriving for the event as I was standing there.. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't quite well enough dressed to crash the party :( I'd have had to borrow a gown, corset, and a pair of high heel pumps from one of the girls.  And, they'd have either been offended, or thrilled, to have their very own full size living Barbie doll, to dress as they please...

That could have been fun!

My French acrylics are just barely visible...and the work my beautician is doing to get my hair evened out is definitely's looking much healthier than in my previous pictures. I guess she wants my appearance to be as girlie as possible, before she collects all my stirrups and leggings and donates them to her church rummage sale. And as the girl who's going to be wearing skirts (and dresses) every day, once I no longer own any pants, I heartily concur with that approach! The better I look, the more relaxed I'll be.

But while I may be comfortable in skirts and dresses "whenever I feel like it", it certainly will be different once I look in my closet each morning, and realize that anything I choose to wear is going to put my legs on display...then keep them that way all day, every day of the year. Yes, I can "hide" them by wearing nylons or tights, but they'll still be plainly visible below the hem of my dress or skirt...just covered by a thin film of nylon.

Even more strange will be going about my daily affairs, knowing that males of the species will be checking me know the saying, "boys will be boys!"  Well, that may be true...unless they've become girls! If I'm going to be ogled, I want to be the best looking female I can be...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Not My Typical Grocery Store Visit!

The Grocery Store!

I'm smiling, because the clerk at the grocery store started a rather lengthy discussion about my french manicure, which doesn't show up too well in this picture. She asked if I had a french pedicure too, so I showed her my red toe nails.  That surprised her, but she liked...and thought they were even more feminine than if they were French!

"Where did you get your cute flats?" (Payless, of course). And then we talked about the advantages of wearing heels with Capri's. She prefers the look, and encouraged me to try it. She suggested wearing my Capri's with peep-toe 3-inch heeled pumps, to help make my legs look longer, and to keep my pedicure on display for all to see. "Just make sure the peep-toe openings are big enough to show at least 3 toes on each foot, so your pretty nails show off nicely."

I told her that I've never worn heels before.  So she recommended starting by wearing 1 inch heels all the time, every day, till walking and wearing them becomes second nature, then progress to 2 inch, and so on. "There's no doubt that once you get used to wearing heels, you'll want to be in them all the time."

Then she handed me my receipt, and stepped out from behind the counter to show me what she was wearing. jeans and sneakers at work for that girl...and she actually practices what she preaches. A cashier, who's on her feet all day, in Capri's and peep-toe heels, and a beautiful red pedicure with nail art on the three visible toes of each foot... "Here's a sample of how you can look, sweetie. Why not wear your heels when you come in next time? I'd love to see how pretty you are in them!"

She didn't have a way to know, but at one point I had purchased some really sexy 3 inch heels, and tried to wear them.  They looked fabulous, especially with a bright red pedicure and nylons!  Well, girls, I tried a lot, but just couldn't walk in them, and in addition, they left heel indentations in the hardwood and vinyl floors at home, thus limiting their usefulness.  If I can't wear something, I don't keep it, so they went to charity...too bad, though.  I'd have preferred to be able to wear them, particularly with a short sundress!  Here's a picture:

Tell me what you think, ladies! (Or gents!)

And yes, the girls at the salon are definitely "spot on" as usual...pedicures, manicures and shoes are fantastic female conversation starters!