Posts Tagged ‘hair

11
Dec
12

Help me get my beard cleared for my 40th Birthday (at the end of the world)

Shelter from the rainRecently a couple of very good friends of mine decided to start an online fundraising campaign to help me raise money to finally, finally have the procedure I have been waiting all these years to have.  A campaign called, “Friend Lorelei Feeling Fabulous At Forty”.  I am frankly in awe of the wonderfulness of my friends.  I realize I am a very lucky woman.

But, as the saying goes, “The Lord (substitute here: Friends On The Internet) helps those who help themselves.”  So I thought it was only proper to tell you all a little bit about why I’ve wanted this procedure so badly.  As well as the slightly extraordinary coincidence coinciding with my, gulp, 40th Birthday.

I’ll start with this procedure my good friends are helping to raise money for and which perhaps you, dear reader, would consider helping with.  As you have probably figured out by now by your careful powers of deduction, I am in fact a transgender woman.  And as a transgender woman, I know there’s one question I get asked more than any other.  “Have you had ‘the surgery’ yet?”  Or, as it’s sadly more often phrased, “Have you, ummmm, cut it off?”  Which I presume to be referring to SRS (or GRS or GCS or whatever the current vogue for the surgical procedure once known as a “Sex Change Operation” happens to be).

The funny thing is, realistically, this is the least of my concerns.  Very few people actually get intimate enough with me for the state of my genitalia to be a concern.  And those who do are pretty much already going to be hip enough to deal well with what they find.  And frankly, though I may get that surgery someday, it’s so far out of my reach as an independent artist and writer, that I resigned myself to the fact that it may never happen when I decided to start my transition.  Honestly too, I’m reasonably comfortable with my body.  The hormones have done wonderful things to it and everything, even my genitalia, works in exciting new ways.  I feel like a woman, I’m shaped like a woman and when I look in the mirror, I see myself now.  And I know I AM a woman.

But there is one thing.  One loathsome wretched thing that reminds me everyday that I have not always been gendered thus.  That reminds me of all those years spent trying to pretend I was a boy.  That can still knock me down and pull me out when I am feeling good about being the woman I knew myself to be.

I still have to shave everyday.

And I hate it.  Everyday I wake up and reach a hand to my face to wipe the sleep from my eyes and I feel stubble.  Scratchy stubble.

The hormones have even reduced the once fairly thick hair that covered my body to almost nothing.  Requiring increasingly less maintenance every year.  Not a lot more than any woman.  But my beard is unfazed.  I’m not even lucky enough to have alight beard.  No, it’s thick and it grows fast.  Back when I used to occasionally let it have it’s way, I could practically sneeze and find a full beard.  In all seriousness I could grow a thick, mountain man beard in around two weeks.

I was 6’4” with a full beard by the time I was a sophomore in High School.  I hated it.  When other boys were pretending to shave still-clean chins, I was trying to simply ignore the hair sprouting all over my face.  I had that first beard for at least a year and I can still remember the first time I shaved it off.  My face had physically changed in that year of rampant, testosterone-fueled puberty.  When I looked in the mirror after removing all that hair, I saw a stranger.  I literally did not recognize the face looking back at me.  It was radically different from the last time I saw it.  Though I knew reasonably that it was my own reflection, I would not connect with it again, I would not see myself again until I began my transition years later.

This pain, I share with you.

Much is rebalanced now.  I see myself in that brutal mirror.  The woman I am.  But that woman still has to spend 20 minutes everyday just scraping the fresh hair off of her face with a never-ending series of increasingly dull and unjustifiably expensive razor blades.  And it hurts like hell.

Simply LoreleiNot just emotionally either.  It is physically very painful..  Not only do I have a very heavy beard, but I have very, very sensitive skin.  And I shave much, much closer than an average man would ever bother doing.  I have to shave twice in fact to get smooth enough and invisible enough to pass muster and not have to worry about too much returning stubble by evening.  I shave first with the grain, and then re-lather to shave again, against the grain.

It is, as I said, intensely painful.  Like dragging fire across my face to begin everyday.  And there is always blood.  Often lots of it

After years of experimentation, I have discovered that I have to shave before I shower if I’m to go on with the day not looking like an extra in a zombie movie.  The only thing that stops all the blood and soothes my blazing face somewhat is a good warm shower and my face in the spray for at last a few minutes.

If I’m lucky, my face will not be too red and irritated looking when I get out.  If I’m really lucky, there won’t be some nick or cut that keeps bleeding all day.  Drying up into an ugly scab only to start bleeding again while I’m out and about.  Prompting strangers to tell me I have blood pouring down my face.  Always fun.

In point of fact, this routine adds a solid 3 hours to every morning of everyday for me.  2 hours if there’s an emergency….  I have to wait at least an hour after I wake up for the sleep swelling of my face to subside enough for me to be able to get that really clean shave I mentioned.  Shave too soon and there’s stubble half way through the day!

Then there’s the razors.  Really the only one that does the trick well enough with not too much blood and irritation is the Gillette Mach 3.  But the blades are crazy expensive!  $15 minimum for a 5 pack!  And if I use a blade more than twice, the quality degrades fast, while the pain and blood amps right up.  Gods forbid I get cocky and use a cheap disposable thing in an emergency.  We’re talking real horrorshow blood oh my droogies.

This need to shave everyday seeps into every aspect of my life.  I rarely date, because I’m afraid to go home with a man.  I’m terrified of waking up in the morning covered in stubble in a strange bed.  Or worse of having to exit quickly in the dress I had on, with an unshaven mug on the bus.

Jungle LoreleiIf I’m out at night I feel like Cinderella.  I have to get home before the stubble pokes through my makeup and I turn into a pumpkin.  Even worse, for someone who loves saying yes to adventures.  My need to shave and have a hot shower afterwards severely limits my ability to just go!  I must make sure, no matter where I rest my head, that there are shaving and showering facilities available in the morning.

Still not done though.  Because my beard is so heavy, there is a “beard blue” hue to my face that can only be hidden by careful and fairly thick makeup.  I can never just throw on a little lipstick and mascara and be done.  I have found that a little makeup, with out the beard cover and foundation, makes me look, for lack of a better description, like a bad crossdresser.

So it’s lots of makeup or none at all.  And none at all has it’s own consequences.  With none at all, you can see the slight redness and irritation from shaving and that hint of “beard blue” under the skin.  And at 6’4”, well, it’s a good thing I’m okay with being Out as trans….

And not that “passing” is all that important to me.  I know I can be a beautiful woman without having to “pass”.  But there are some days where I would like to blend in a little bit better.  When I’d like to just be read as an average, if very tall girl, out and about.

So, while GRS might be the end all and be all for other transwomen to be able to feel truly like a woman (and I do get that), for me, not having to shave, not having that daily and painful reminder would be a huge step to being able to just be me.  To be the woman I am, doing the things I do, with a lot more time to do them!

So, this is why my friends, who have heard this all first hand at one point or another, have launched this campaign to raise funds for me to finally afford to have laser clearance done on my face.  It’s not that much really if all the people I have affected with my work and my activism can pitch in a couple of bucks.  I would really appreciate it.  And it would indeed help me to do even more of what I do!  Saving the world with a clean face!!

As for saving the world….  Well, that’s why my friends have timed this around my 40th Birthday.  You see, the day I turn Forty (shudder) is December 21st, 2012.  Just a couple of weeks from now.  And as it happens, it’s also the day the Mayans predicted would be the end of the world.

And hey, maybe it is.  Or maybe it’s just the start of a new chapter.  One in which Lorelei finally gets to feel as fabulous as people often tell me I am!

So please, if you are able to, click through the link to the fundraising page below.  Spread it around to your own contacts if you feel so inclined.  It just takes a minute or two and a few dollars each from everyone who reads this to help me reach the goal of $4000.  And save my world.

I love you all!

Slainte Chugat!!!

Friend Lorelei Feeling Fabulous at Forty

02
May
09

I Got My Hair done For The First Time!!!

I got my hair done the other day for the very first time!!!  It was a major milestone for me in my transition.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Umm, Lorelei?  How that heck have you managed to avoid ever getting your hair done?!!?!’

I mean, I’ve had haircuts certainly.  And I even had my hair stripped white once so I could dye it bright blue for my wedding.  It’s a long story.  Someday I’ll show you all the video.

Anyhow, like I said, I’ve never had my hair DONE.  All girly at the salon Done.

I’ve been letting my hair grow for a couple of years now, since I decided to go ahead and really, truly, actually transition.  It grows like a weed, I’m really lucky, and it had gotten really long.  Like halfway down my back.  It had actually gotten so long that it was getting caught in my armpits when I sleep and I would often end up cranking my neck when I tried to turn over.

I’ve actually had long hair for most of my life.  My parents were good hippies and in all the pictures of me as a little kid I’ve got longish curly blonde hair and people would always say when they saw the pics, “Oh, what a cute little girl!”  It is little wonder I have gender issues…  At some point though, anatomy got in the way and people started to say, “What a cute boy.  And what nice hair he has!”

I cut it for a minute in Middle School in a desperate attempt to get teased less.  It really didn’t work though so I let it grow back as soon as I got to High School.  The point between short hair and long was soooo wretched and awful and Mullet-esque that I felt greatly compelled not to do anything so foolish as cutting it again!

This caused some problems socially, as I considered myself neither a hippie (my parents were hippies and a girl’s got to rebel somehow!) or a metal-head.  The two main long hair social sets.  I thought of myself as more of a punk.  I preferred the Dead Kennedys and The Sex Pistols to The Greatful Dead or Def Leppard!!!

I was also fascinated by mod/traditional skinhead culture and style.  I was friends with a number of what I thought of as Garden Variety Skins.  Not the Neo-Nazi type mind you.  The ones I knew hated them for giving skinsheads a bad rep.  They weren’t necessarily rascist so much as angry and alienated.

Still, I certainly wasn’t going to cut my hair, so for a while when anyone asked I told them I was “A Skippy”.  A skin-hippie.  I dressed like a skin, but I had long hair and I have never been very angry or violent.  It did help keep all the short kids with a chip on their shoulder from picking on me though.

I also discovered that girls often liked me because of my hair and were not shy about saying so.  Let’s face it, I was a shy Doctor Who fan who liked to get all dressed up like a girl when I was at home alone.  I was going to take every compliment I could get.

Still, my realization of the fact that girls liked my hair gave me good reason to resist all urges to cut it.  Even to get that big Roostertail Mohawk I have always wanted!

After I got off Cape and moved to Northampton (the first time), my friends quickly began to notice that anytime I was hitting on a cute girl, I would take my hair down.  I usually kept it in a ponytail.  I often still do.

I would be talking to a girl and eventually, my hair would come cascading down, long, dark blonde and naturally wavy.   And  surprisingly, it usually worked!!!  I was absolutely incorrigible.  There’s more shameless tactics I used in my adventures trying to meet cute women, but that’s for another time.  Allow me to stay hair-focused here.

Eventually I moved to Boston and my hair stayed with me.  I became a club kid, and a Goth.   Concurrently.  Trust me it’s a much harder balance than you would think.

And I discovered Manic Panic!!!  My long hair entered it’s multi-coloured phase.  It was streaked purple and red and green.  All done at home.  Usually by girlfriends or drunk friends or even drunk girlfriends!!!

I got my hair trimmed every so often.  Every six months to a year usually.  And it was never more than getting rid of the dead ends.

Then, after my hair and I went traveling around Europe for a piece, I came back to Boston to a seriously unstable girlfriend a fair bit of apathy about my life there and decided it was time for a change.  Time to go, go, go!!!

So I moved to Chicago!  The windy city!!  And like I said it was time for a change.  I went and I found a reputable hairdresser and I said, “I want to cut it off.”  At the time of course that had a different connotation than it does when I tell people that same thing nowadays.

I cringed as I heard the scissors near my head.  I practically got my ears lopped off from flinching at the sound.  I got my first “guy haircut” in a little more than a decade.
I usually kept it in what I thought of as the “Superman Style”, short but slightly wavy on top.  This generally rapidly progressed to what I referred to as the “Mad Scientist” style.

My hair has always been very fast growing and thick.  Despite my new attempts at “being a man”, I never got any better about how often I visited the hairdresser’s.  I tried to do it every six months at least, but that meant I often ended up with big, unruly hair.  Styling it for me usually consisted of running a strong brush through it and hoping for the best.  I begged, I pleaded, but more often than not, my hair simply did as it pleased.

I kept my hair short for some years after that.  Through Chicago and a Marriage and all the craziness afterwards leading to my move to LA.

I was desperate that if I kept my hair short, I could pull off this whole being a man thing.  Like I said.  It didn’t work.  And when I did decide to transition I immediately began growing it out, or more specifically, simply not cutting it.  For a fairly frightening minute or two, I looked a little like Kenny G on a bender.

Still, even when my hair was long and girly again, something was never quite right.  For all my bluster, I am as insecure about my appearance as any transwoman.  Any Woman for that matter!!!  My hair was the same basic style it had always been and so I always looked just a little like “Mac” to me.  No matter how girly I am becoming.

I had been putting off getting my hair done for the longest time.  Finding all kinds of excuses not to do it.  Finally though, I had a big show coming up.  I’m hosting Northampton Gay Pride!!!!  Kind of a milestone really.  An out and proud TransWoman hosting Pride!!!

I was going to have to look my absolute best!!  It was time to get my hair done.  But where?!!?  I agonized.  My very patient friends listened to me agonize.  At last, my friend Annie took matters into her own hands and arranged for me to meet with Debbie Droy, “The Foil Queen Of Main Street”!!!  Debbie is the owner of The Underground Day Spa on Main Street in Northampton.  And she is FABULOUS!!!!!!!!

I walked into the Main Street store front with the London Underground inspired sign and down a flight of stairs, it is indeed underground, and came out in a very light and airy and pleasant feeling salon.  It is actually only kind of underground, the widows open up on a nice bright and sunny back entrance.

Debbie asked me what I had in mind.  I should mention here that I know I am a nightmare type of hairdressing customer.  I haven’t been living as a girl very long and I don’t speak “hairdresser’s” at all.  I think I kind of stammered something like, “Kind of a trim maybe and some kind of coloring maybe kinda-sorta-thing.”

But Debbie patiently asked me all the right questions and had a great manner.  Very friendly and professional and sure.  She was fast, but she never rushed.  She washed my hair and trimmed it so it regained all of it’s natural bounce and curl. Then she put in the bleach for the blonde streaks I wanted and worked with my idea to do something fun without going too extreme.  I have a tendency towards doing extreme things.

She put the foils in my hair and talked with me pleasantly about all kinds of things and then I got to sit in the steamer for the first time!!!!  Debbie gave me the latest copy of glamour to read (at my request) and I felt so damned girly!!!!!!  It was great!!

I remember watching women in those steamer/dryer things at the salon as a child with my Mother and it seemed like such a special club!  And I wanted so badly to join!!

Here I was at last.  In the girl’s club at the salon, getting my hair done.

When Debbie took the foils off, I saw a brand new Lorelei emerging.  She had given me these wonderful looking blonde streaks and my hair looked so good!  She blow-dryed my hair so we could get a good look and it looked fantastic!  There was less “Mac” looking back at me from the mirror.  I felt new.

I thanked Debbie, who assured me if there was anything I was unhappy with I should come back and she would tweak it for me (my language here, a little tech-y, I know).

There was absolutely nothing wrong with my hair though.  In fact I couldn’t be happier!!

I thanked Debbie and asked for propaganda so I could tell my friends!  Then I walked out into downtown Northampton.  No makeup.  Sweating with the 98 degree heat.  And I felt Beautiful.  OMG!!!  I felt so confident and happy!  Like I could do anything.  Simply because I had a Great New ‘Do!!

I even got hit on in the street by a pretty young black man!  Very pretty.  Yum.

I never had any idea how marvelous it is to get your hair done!  I could never quite understand why all the women I knew were always doing it.  I mean sure, I understood the desire to be well presented and to want to look pretty.  But I had no idea simply how good it feels!!!

Yaaayyyyy!!!

So thanks Debbie Droy for my first real sexy hairdo!!  Thanks Underground Day Spa!!!

I highly recommend giving them a visit.  It’s well worth it.  They were more than trans-friendly.  They were trans-relaxed.  And they have a whole range of Spa services.  Massage, a steam room, facial treatments, waxing and of course Great Hair styling!!!

I’ll be going back to try them all!

Slainte!

Underground Day Spa
151 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
413.586.4050

http://www.theundergrounddayspa.com

Fabulous!!!

Fabulous!!!




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