Most certainly one of the most bewildering ,yet on occasion fun part in a transgender woman’s transition is making yourself up. Of course, very early in the transition game, the importance of attempting to align your external source with your authentic self becomes very important.
I remember back to the earliest days of rummaging through my Mom’s makeup drawer and “borrowing” certain items I had seen her use such as lipstick and eye shadow. The challenge always was to use the items and put them back so well she would never notice. She never mentioned it, so perhaps I was careful enough to get by.
All of this took place during the 1950’s and I lived in a rural area where I was able to deliver news papers for extra money. I saved my paper route money and combined it with the small allowance I received for doing chores around the house and actually had enough money saved to purchase my own makeup. Having the money was one thing but finding a place to spend it and buy makeup was another.
Those days were way before the advent of any makeup specialty stores. The closest I could afford and find away in town to go to were a couple of the old “five and dimes” department stores. They featured a small selection of many items (including makeup) a lunch counter as well as other items. I was even able to find me a pair of women’s shoes I cherished on one of my shopping excursions.
Another problem I encountered was how was I going to get to the stores I wanted to shop at plus once I was there, having the courage to actually go in and search for makeup. I was able to overcome the transportation issue by spending the night at my grandma’s house. She lived very close to downtown where the stores were located. I could walk and pick out my hard earned treasures.
As I wrote, I vividly remember the fear or out right panic I felt the first time I gathered the courage to go in the store and shop. I ended up feeling very relieved when I finally reached the makeup section…until I saw the selections which were available. I thought, now what? My plan had been to briskly walk in, pick out a couple makeup items, head back to the checkout counter and leave. My plans did not include a lengthy stay to shop.
Through it all, I stayed the course and purchased a couple of items. I was certain the whole world was staring at me but they weren’t. I survived the checkout counter and headed back to my grandma’s.
Little did I know from my humble beginnings at the makeup counter, I would have many more occasions to feel nervous. Over the years I would have much more error than trial when it came to applying my own makeup. Finally the internet came along and I was able to study makeup tutorials and improve my craft.
Ironically I became so skilled my two wives (who wore very little makeup) would come to me for advice when they wanted to dress up.
When I became very serious about transitioning was when I attempted to take my makeup to another level,. During this period I was desperately trying to blend in with the professional woman and proper makeup was a necessity.
These days I have basically gone full circle with my makeup. Thanks to the results of hormone replacement therapy and age, my skin has softened and the angles of my face have rounded, Naturally, I need less makeup when we go out although I still wear more than Liz. Since Liz is a former “Avon” makeup sales person, she still retains a knowledge of the artform.
She has been threatening to do a makeup job on both of us before we go out. I can’t wait for her to work her magic.