Monday, April 25, 2016

A little girl and her picnic...

A quickie today...

Recently I was out and about in the antique car , to give it some exercise, buy some oil and fill the gas tank.  My outfit was light-colored capri pants, flats without pantyhose and a 3/4 sleeve black turtleneck.  

Once again, I visited the auto parts store where the "clerk in a skirt" used to work...they have a whole new crew there.   No familiar faces at all.  So I guess they've all moved on...  A guy leaving the store ahead of me stood "extra long" at the door,  to hold it for me as I approached.   I gave him my sort-of-feminine-voiced  "Thank you, Sir" and he said "You're welcome, Ma'am."  I think my "secret" remained safe...

And at the hardware store, I bought a 50 pound bag of mulch.  The clerk summoned someone to "carry the bag of mulch out to the lady's car."  I thanked her...and the guy said "You're welcome, Ma'am.  "Secret" still safe...

When I got home, after running the car through the local self-wash, our neighbor lady (a seventy-something grandmother) was sitting under the cherry tree in our side yard, having a picnic with her four-year-old granddaughter, whom I also know.  The little girl is a cutie...and we've known her since she was a baby.  It was an unexpected surprise that she got up and excitedly ran to my car door once I'd  turned off the noisy V-8, greeting me with a truly friendly "Hi, Mr. (insert my real first name here) and welcome home."  It was so thoughtful to get this enthusiastic greeting from an unrelated little tyke...I was very touched by it and teared up a little.  Sunglasses are definitely an asset at times like that.  And I hope it's something which will eventually happen with our own granddaughter, when she's old enough to walk and talk.

The three of us chatted for a few minutes, but I had to get to work drying off the remaining water from the car, so I didn't end up with water spots on its finish.   And as I did, I overheard the little girl (for some odd reason, kids don't know about whispers at that age) tell her grandma that I was a boy with long hair.  "Yes, he is."  "Why does he have long hair?"  "Because he likes it."  The discussion went on for a couple more exchanges and then the little girl changed the subject.   I was shocked (and pleased) to note that my capri pants, tunic and flats (all plainly visible) were not mentioned.  She  fixated on my long hair...    The girl's mother arrived by car a few minutes later and picked her their picnic ended rather abruptly for the day.  But I suspect they'll be back again - it's a nice little picnic spot!

At the Nursing Home the next day, my mother was having a public hissy-fit that one of the elderly ladies was staring at her (and of course me) as we traveled down the hall, and dropped her feet to stop movement so she could yell at her some more.   My comment to Mom (which disrupted her yelling) was "So what? I've been stared at by more influential people than her."   Mother persisted in her diatribe.  Thus, Mandy's Nursing Home Rule Number 1 - "Always separate the verbal combatants and they forget about it after a while."

Since Mom had her feet firmly planted on the ground, which effectively prevented her wheelchair from moving forward, I simply took the handles, backed it around and hauled her backwards to her room.  She continued yelling at the lady who stared, as we retreated into the distance.   When you can't stand up, trying to plant your feet on the ground as a brake, makes very little difference when being pulled backwards.   But she gave it her best shot.  Fortunately she doesn't know about wheelchair brakes...and I don't plan to show her.  (Not that she'd remember anyway.)

Wonder if the lady was interested in my outfit?  We'll never know...but haven't heard any more arguing since then...

More later...


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Next, a Pedicure...

I promised a picture of my new manicure...and this is the best my camera can do.  It's much shorter than before, conservative, definitely pink, but not overly so, and clean, shiny and professional.  Since our neighbor ladies go there, some of whom know my real gender, I can't make them too feminine.  (I haven't transitioned.)   And best of all, when I got home, my wife didn't complain about my nails. 

Since my pedicure was as old as my fill, the next day I stopped in, to see if they could do a fresh one for me.  I was addressed as "Ma'am," and they gave me a time to come back.  One of the guys from way down the street (whom I didn't recognize) was sitting in the corner waiting for his wife, and looked up, saying "Hi" just before I left.   He clearly could hear the "Ma'am's" identifying me, and the fact I didn't dispute it.  Of course, I responded "Hi" back to him, and then it was time to leave.  If the subject of my nails was a major secret before, it certainly isn't any more!  I'm just not sure how talkative he is on the street...guess time will tell.

When I arrived back at the salon at the appointed time, I was addressed as "Ma'am" and seated in the pedicure chair within 5 minutes (fewer patrons than earlier.)  The tech who did my fingers picked out the pink color so my toes would match my fingers, and a different tech went ahead with my pedi.  It was very relaxing, more so than at the other salon.  Their leg massage was particularly nice...all the way up to my knees.  But I made the decision to go with a regular pedicure, not shellac like at the other salon.

Two other ladies were getting pedicures beside me, and they included me in discussion of girly topics ranging from shaving our legs, wardrobe-changing time (I still had my stirrups on - they made me promise I'd switch to my capris for summer, like they were both wearing), summer pedicures and sandals (they both were getting bright colors and thought I should be wearing red or hot pink) and housekeeping, to summer plans.   I was able to discuss all of them, and there was no indication whatsoever that they thought I was anything except female.  (For any doubters, even with my voice issue!)

My pedicure was less expensive than ones at the other salon, even taking into account the former shellac issue.  As long as it turns out to be their regular (not introductory) pricing, I'll save money.  Why should I "not" change salons?  The only thing I won't ask them to do is apply or remove bright colors.  I'm not ready to "out" myself that blatantly at home and on my street. There are other area shops which can do that for me anonymously when necessary...

At the end of the pedicure, they put some floppy pedicure "sandals" on me, and left the toe separators in place.  I was put under the drying table and after 10 minutes I heard "Ma'am, be sure to leave those all on for the next half you don't smudge your polish."  Oops...I still had to get gas and go to the post office.  Well, girls get pedicures all the time...and I'm a girl, need to be embarrassed.  And my pedi partners, who also were getting manicures, said "see you around town!"

As I walked out the nail salon door on the way back to my car, two gabby teens walked toward me, so I stopped.  They walked right in front of me.  I expected the worst, but they simply looked down at my pedicured feet, never looking up at the rest of me... and went right back to their conversation.  I got in the car and drove to the post office, where the same thing happened with two female and two male adults.   Apparently walking around town in pedicure sandals with toe separators in place screams "woman," and nobody looks any was fun.

A picture of the finished product...bland, but the good news issues whatsoever from my wife.  Maybe next time, one shade darker pink and another stop at the post office?

The receptionist at our tax preparer's office apparently has been interpreting me as female for the past couple of years, but until now, I didn't know it.  When I left a message this morning with a question and my name, she called back promptly with the answer.  "Is this Ms. Sherman?"  I knew my wife hadn't called so I answered "Yes it is." And she answered my question, ending with "Thanks for calling, Ma'am.  See you next tax season."  And I replied, "You're welcome, Ma'am, yes you will." 

All in my normal voice.  Hmmm...

More later,


Monday, April 11, 2016

Nails and hand-me-downs...

Not much new to's been very quiet gender-wise around here.  The biggest excitement was getting my nails done...but at a new salon.

I've needed a fill for a long time - it's been well over a month and a half since my last visit to my regular salon.  My tech started a new salon "too far" away, and was only going to be back at the old one on some Mondays.  Every time I went by to see if the remaining techs could do them, either they were bustling with multiple techs and customers, or there was only one tech and she was busy with one or two waiting customers.  They never have been good about holding appointments.   So I kept waiting, while my nails kept on growing.   I didn't take a picture or measure them, but they may have rivaled previous length records!  Back in the day (read 1980's) I used to do my own nails (acrylic & gel,  with grinder and UV dryer.)   As I got older I lost my touch and gave up, letting the girls do them for me.  So I disposed of everything but the grinder, which I still own.

Since those do-it-yourself days are long gone, if for some reason I end up going too long between fills, I'll grind the rough edges down as they grow out, and then polish my nails with clear.  They look tolerable, but it it really is an incentive to get them done.  I realized that I had done that twice since my last fill.   So, it was time, wherever I could get a fill.

Checked my regular salon...busy again. Salon loyalty just went out the window!  So I checked another - they were also busy.  Fortunately I looked in the window of that one, before opening the door.  I've never seen so many women being worked on - as well as waiting - at once - and the inside was very "open."   I had no makeup on, didn't feel particularly girly, and was definitely presenting as androgynous - stirrup pants, tunic and flats, with a purse.  I had no doubt that there would have been 20 pairs of eyes - if not more - very interested in the "cross dresser"in their midst, and staring at me as I walked in.  Idle eyes never have anything better to do than look at the the next customer!  And since I would have had to wait amongst them, their close examination would go on and on, the entire time. Dressing as I do,  I certainly don't mind being seen in public, casually examined, or even "clocked" by some, but I'm not quite ready for that much concentrated exposure, especially in "ultra-conservative" territory.  I walked on...

So I drove up in front of a little shop in my own town, with about 3 or 4 techs, and before going in, checked with my wife by phone to see if she had any objection to my going there.   No problem for her.  They seated me right away, and were very friendly.   Of course, a lot of the neighbor ladies go there, so eventually everyone who doesn't know already, will soon be discovering that in addition to wearing women's clothes, I get my nails done.  Staff was either being very Politically Correct, or they truly identified me as female.  I was treated very nicely as "one of the girls" and we even talked about housekeeping and girly things like that.  (I can hold my own on that end...I actually do some of our housecleaning - like vacuuming and cleaning the wood floors.)  The tech really wanted to see me in a bright red for spring.  She encouraged me big time, but for obvious reasons, I had to nix that one.  After some discussion and a demonstration, I had to settle for one coat of pink, and one coat of natural (clear) pink gel.  (And how to say this gently?  They were much less expensive than the other salon!)  But I suspect next time I go back, I'll be hearing about color again.  

Too bad I couldn't get any pictures of my new nails...maybe for next post.

One incidental thing happened recently, at home.  I was debating what to wear one morning, and my wife handed me a pair of white slacks.  "Here, put these on."  So I did, and they fit reasonably well.  She said they look nice and I should just wear them.  So I did, all day.  And the day after that.  There was no problems - at stores I continued to collect occasional "Ma'am's."  My flats work well with them, but they're long enough that 2" heels would probably be the perfect height.  I checked the label, and they look like they're a pair of her old pants.  I wonder if donations will continue. or if it's a one-time-thing? (Hand-me-downs are fine with me.)  Time will tell.

Yesterday she asked when I'd be "wearing your new pants again," and I said "they're in the laundry.  I'll wear them when they're clean."  Her response:  "I'll wash them tomorrow."  So I guess I'll be wearing them again soon...anyone agree they're girly enough?

New-to-me pants...

New-to-me pants, different top.

Now, if they were only a dress or skirt!

More later,


Monday, April 4, 2016

That first dandelion of spring...

Our first dandelion of spring arrived...fortunately the only one in the yard.   Green represents the lush foliage just now beginning to show, and its yellow is a promise of the warm summer "hopefully" yet to come.  However this cheery little harbinger of spring didn't survive to keep blooming...   Weed killer sealed its fate!

Remember the banker who confided to my wife and I, that her assistant had somehow gotten the idea I was 30 years old (story several posts ago)?  Likewise the comment from the admission booth attendant at the national park who questioned me about my senior pass:  "It's just that the car might qualify, but you look too young and attractive to have one."  My own thought about their age comments at that time was:  "If it happens again anytime soon however, I'll begin to wonder..."

It was at a get-together last weekend.  We were talking to a couple who was new to the area, and all the usual neighborly questions were asked - us to them, and them to us.  Including names (remember that my given name is female), and to each of us, "where do you work?"  Of course that led to the  "retired" answer, which guided the discussion in the direction of "how long ago."

From there the discussion got interesting...and the new neighbor (female) commented to me that "I couldn't have imagined that you've retired, let alone that many years ago.  I'd have guessed you're late 50's."  I smiled, thanked her sincerely, and told her that she had made my day, week and month, etc.  So, it's happened again.

I can't help but believe that my wife finds those comments somewhat tiring.  Unfortunately, folks complimenting me never give her "some sanitized version of the same thing."  Don't infer in any way that she looks "old" or "unattractive" - it's not the case!  But for some reason, when we're together (don't know about other times) she doesn't get such comments, too.   And as a guy, I never was on the receiving end of compliments...usually things of that nature are reserved for women.

Hmmmm...did the lady we talked with overlook, or forget, those "my husband's" dropped by my wife as she casually saved my seat from being hijacked several times, and already begin to accept me as a woman?  Or presume that we have a lesbian marriage (nothing wrong with those, btw), and I'm the "husband?"  Admittedly, my flats, tunic turtleneck, pantyhose and stirrup pants don't do much to enhance my "machismo" or masculinity.  Nor do my purse and long fingernails.  I'm definitely androgynous.  But "trying to pass" was the farthest thing from my mind.  Too many folks around these parts know me by my birth gender, despite my feminine appearance.  And then there's the remaining "little matter" of my voice...fully male.  That's tough to overlook (well, unless you're deaf.)  I'll never know the answer, at least not until the next time we meet the couple.  Hearing "Ma'am "will tell the tale, won't it?

So now, I'm beginning to wonder...should I consider trying to re-make myself into an old androgynous person, instead of a not-quite-as-old androgynous person?   The answer probably will be - have patience and give it time.  None of us know what life (nature) has in store for us!  Things can change tomorrow...


Saturday, April 2, 2016

April Fools Day

I was lucky this April Fools Day, as I was only at Mom's and otherwise stayed "close to home."  So I wasn't affected by any pranks or jokes.  Well, other than the usual assortment of spam emails that I click "delete" on...

Did any of my readers get involved with any of the usual April 1st tomfoolery????


Friday, April 1, 2016

Better: Short or long skirts?

It's been a slow week.

I stopped by the auto parts store where there "used to be" a male clerk who wore a skirt to work, so I could buy a new taillight bulb for the antique car.  Last time I stopped in, she wasn't there - on a Tuesday.   This time, she wasn't there on a Friday, either.  So the odds are beginning to indicate a possible job change occurred, for whatever reason.

Too bad I never got to meet the individual...   Maybe I should stop by the other parts store in town...who knows, that may be her new employer!

When I showed pictures of my new skirt outfit to my mother (she knows about my dressing - but forgets everything before I hit the front door on the way out), she told me that she didn't care for it because it was too long.  I expected that response, based on what I previously heard about my tan long skirt outfit when I recently re-showed her pictures of it..  But I told her that longer skirts are in style right now.  (She obviously doesn't keep up with the news, watch much on the telly, or see what other visitors to the nursing home wear.)    Needless to say, she didn't believe it.   So while there, I went on-line to some of the women's sites where I shop, and "voila!"  the proof...long skirts predominantly comprised the first few pages of women's skirts.   In addition, I showed her that there were some of the shorter skirts for sale, but she seemed to prefer those over the longer ones.

"If you really are going to wear a skirt, then I like this type of outfit, probably with sandals having a bit of heel."  (You've seen all these before):

Over this:

And this outfit:

Over this:

"Why could that that be so?" I wondered to myself.

My memory of mother's attire in the late 50's is calf-length dresses  with heels almost all the time, the June Cleaver look.   No pants...  She was a "management wife" for Dad, with lots of fancy parties.  I was given the "privilege" (if you can call it that) of going dress shopping with her, since she couldn't leave me at home alone and elected to "not" get a babysitter for me, for whatever reason.  So I spent lots of my free time watching her model her various choices in front of the mirrors, and select her new dresses.

In retrospect I wonder if that "yesterday" was the seed which sprouted into my preferred gender of "today"?   There may never be an answer to that question, but it "could be."

Come the 60's, Mom switched to knee length and just-above-the-knee sundresses, full dresses and skirts.  (There are some pictures in my file of her wearing sundresses I'd love to be able to wear today.  However I'm too heavy, and the dresses are long gone.)    But at that point, I could be - and was - left home alone for her dress shopping expeditions.   That time frame was coincidentally the beginning of the miniskirt era.

Of course,  by the 1970's  she preferred casual pedal pushers/early capri pants/slacks over dresses.  She wasn't seen wearing dresses or skirts any more - except when needed for events with Dad's job, and that wasn't very often - he was in the process of retiring.   I was grown and on my own by that point, so my observations were quite limited.  

From mid 1990 (July if memory is correct) the rest is history... Heeerrrreee's Mandy!   I guess that makes her about 26.  Too bad her body doesn't look that age....

So, I guess for my Halloween visit to Mom at the nursing home, a shorter skirt will be better, especially after she made her preferences known and finally said  "I can see you're planning to wear a skirt, one way or the other.  So, don't hide those legs under a long one.  Make sure everyone can see them." My response: "Even though there may be more comments?"  She looked right at me and said: "You'll have to answer for those.  They're your problem."   Most likely I won't refuse that invitation...unless circumstances change.  So that's the plan for Halloween...even though maintaining modesty is more of an issue in my shorter skirts.  If I go that route, I'll wear dark panties, stand when possible, and hope for the best...

But I'm still planning to wear longer skirts whenever I can...they're cool and comfortable in hot weather...

Today at the pharmacy, a new-to-me clerk told me how much she loves my's not the first time I've heard that, but it is always nice to hear.  Too bad I need to get it colored right now, the roots are beginning to show.  I guess that's an integral part of having my own long hair (as opposed to many who are thinning or balding and must use wigs) and being fully gray.  Each type of hair (natural and artificial) has its own pros and cons...

Rest assured gray is not willingly going to happen - it would take major medical issues to cause it.  I'm not willing to meekly give in and let it "go natural" - which will add 5 to 10 years to my apparent age.  Who knows what the future will bring?

More later...