Posts Tagged ‘style

25
Sep
12

Hiding in “Mac”

Sometimes, I want to hide in “Mac”.  I want to curl up in the old boy character I created and lived as for the outside world for so many years.  Put on a suit, a tie and a pair of two-toned Stacy Adams.  Slip out of the house and head to somewhere no one knows my name.  Some bar maybe in the parts of town I avoid, where nobody has heard of the fabulous Lorelei Erisis.  I would bind my breasts like a drag king or a transman and neglect to shave.

Of course, I have no idea what I would talk about.  I was never much into sports even when I was still pretending masculinity.  In point of fact, I’m a good deal butcher as a woman than I ever was as a man.  But it might be nice to play the part again, just for a few minutes.  To escape from the burden of being myself all the time

This may seem an odd thing to express, especially coming from such an outspoken advocate of visibility.  And make no mistake, it’s not a desire to de-transition either.  The choice to be me, to stop hiding was a decision I spend very little time or energy regretting.

But I did spend some thirty-odd years playing this character called “Mac”.  And despite hiding who I was, it was not a character I disliked.  I was even proud of the man I tried to be.  And I was not so very different.  I tried to be kind, gentle, loving, forthright and intelligent.  I tried to be the best version of what I thought a man could be.  And I often enjoyed the role.

Blasphemy, I know.

I was lucky enough to know the pleasures of falling in love on more than one occasion.  And fortunate enough to survive the torments of falling out of love, at least for the most part.  At least visibly.

And I certainly never tried, even as a man, to be like anyone else.  Blending in to the crowd mattered as little to me then as it does now.  I was afraid to let the world know I was truly a woman.  But other than that, I could give fuck-all if I stood out as being different from the herd.  In fact I went to rather great lengths at times to do just that!

My parents were hippies, as I’ve mentioned before, and I was therefore minus a lot of the stereotypical “male role” conditioning.  Sports were not forced on me.  I was encouraged to cry as well as to turn the other cheek when violence threatened.  The men in my life were unashamedly sensitive and the women were proudly strong.

And there was almost never an occasion I can remember where I was required to wear a tie.  Possibly as a result of this, when I found men’s formal wear.  Fitted shirts, tailored suits, nice shoes and silk ties.  It struck me as a sort of “Guy Drag” I could be most comfortable hiding in.  It allowed me some avenue of elegance that I was yearning to express.

I discovered very quickly that people treated me rather differently when I was wearing a tie than when I was not.  Also, given that my closest friends were punks, freaks and weirdos of the most wonderful sort, it allowed me to stand out even from them.  Ironically, my conformity to a dying standard of masculinity made me a non-conformist among non-conformists.  I also still have not a single tattoo or piercing, for much the same reasons.

After a while and several different lives lived, this became my uniform of sorts.  It was comforting to me to slip on my two-tone shoes, soles worn thin by miles and miles of city pavements.  Easy to put on a suit.  It took less thought than it did for me to dress “casually”, which was always a nightmare I could not understand.

In my late teens/early twenties when I was experimenting with all sorts of things and most especially, doing a good bit of acid, I would almost always wear a tie when I was tripping.  I found that the physical act of straightening my tie had the effect of mentally pulling myself together when I started to feel sketched out.  Also, it made authority figures much less likely to question what I was doing.

I remember for a bit when I was living in Evanston, Illinois, I took to smoking a pipe.  A real, old school, “Fifties Man”, “Bob” Dobbs style pipe.  I would fill it with mostly marijuana and a little bit of strongly scented pipe tobacco.  The smell of the pipe tobacco covered up the smell of the pot and dressed like a good, upstanding, straight white guy, I would walk through downtown in broad daylight, getting pleasantly high.  Nodding to policemen and greeting passers-by.

I remember that sense of privilege.  And I remember even then thinking it was kinda fucked-up that I was treated so differently, so reverently, just because I looked a certain way.

Of course, this is not precisely about that either.  I am not bemoaning the loss of that privilege.  What was it but the social equivalent of a sleight of hand anyway?  A fantasy perpetuated by mutual agreement.  I knowingly and gladly traded all that away when I began my transition.  And I would do it again.

But.

I do miss that character.  When times are hard, as they are now.  I want to so badly to be able to hide in it for just a few minutes.  Forget who I am.  Pretend my troubles belong to someone else.

Pull on my Stacys, straighten my tie, light a cigarette from a silver case and see where the sidewalk takes me.

How ironic that now that I’m finally not hiding alone in my room, or some anonymous crowd, all dressed up like a girl, that I find myself wanting to do the same thing again.  Except now it’s to be the character I was trying to escape.

 

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!!!

28
Mar
09

An Old Friend

A couple of nights ago I was talking to my girlfriend, my sweet love, Widow Centauri.  We talk on the phone as often as is possible given her hectic schedule as a Grad Student and Sex Intellectual and the three-hour time difference between Coasts.
She mentioned to me that she had seen Mac, or rather, someone who looked just like Mac.  Which is a strange and difficult thing, because Mac was really a pretty unique creation.

And Mac was me.

We talked about this “Mac” character as if he had been an old mutual friend.  Not directly disassociating, but rather, distanced from this person, a friend whom neither of us had seen in a long time.

This Mac doppelganger apparently had the height, the hair, the clothes and the distinctive shoes.

It had been kind of a piecemeal look for our own Mac.  Drawn together from years of watching and learning and picking at pieces of what Mac felt it was to be a Man in the world.  Standing straight and tall because that’s what John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart would do.  Hair wild and wavy because, well okay, because frankly that’s just what his hair did and there was no use arguing.  Clothes and style a distinct distillation of Punk, Film Noir Detective, English Country Gentleman and well dressed old black men.

That last was his favorite and also where the distinctive two-tone shoes came from.  Whenever he moved to a new city, Mac would find out where the well dressed old black men shopped.  Where the shoe stores were in the run down urban parts of town.

He never wore sneakers.  Even though his primary form of transportation was his own two feet.  He liked to hear the slap of a funky pair of Stacys on the pavement.  Even when he wore holes in the soles he would simply change those out as his “beater” shoes.

His attitude and mannerisms were the result of a lifelong study of what a Man ought to be.  The best parts of what he felt it was to be a Man in the world.  He was polite, courteous, friendly, kind, well-spoken and well-dressed.  Or at least he tried to be.

It was a strange moment hearing Widow referring to our old friend.  Obliquely referencing the man I tried for many years to be.  I often miss him.  Very like an old friend.  I do not for a moment regret my choice to be who I am now.  To be the woman I always knew myself to be.  But I did like Mac.  I am even proud of who he was.  He was the best man that I could be.  And I would not be who I am today without him.

She thought it best not to speak to this new Mac.  It remained unspoken, but she has been down that road before.




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