“It’s a Man’s World” — Not

gggg6-05-26 20.05.06

Choosing to live openly as the trans girl that I am, I’ve also transitioned from functioning in a male role in business culture to the female equivalent.

Before, during and after, I’ve heard the expression “it’s a man’s world” on the premise that guys basically control the business world and it’s for us females to get along to get ahead, or to pointedly start our own show (with limited likelihood of glowing success).

I’ve finally figured out why I disagree with that notion.

It’s NOT an man’s world. It’s a world where, male or female, you’re vastly better off with allies, male or female.

As an example, Louis Renault was a successful automobile magnate. He started humbly, personally building one car and selling it, and things gradually increased from there. In WW1 some Renault-built taxis were used to transport Allied troops to the front, and helped win the war.  In WW2 after France came under Nazi control, Louis Renault was commanded to build military vehicles for the Nazis, yet he refused to do as told, and argued them down to something less useful to them — a courageous and admirable man.

Those adjectives also describe how he made a principled stand before the war, against some communist-backed entitlement-mentality strikers.

In the chaos that followed right after WW2, those same strikers whom he’d opposed before the war managed to get him framed as a Nazi collaborator. The post-WW2 French government imprisoned him and stole his company (“nationalized it.”)  He was innocent, but he had no allies motivated or powerful enough to come to his defense. He died in prison a month or two later, due to severe neglect that caused kidney failure. This is an act of vast injustice.

Something can be learned from this. As I proceed in life, allies (male and female) make life vastly nicer and easier for me, and I reciprocate.

Though it seems so temptingly simple, choosing allies based on gender is a principle I avoid. Choosing based on an individual’s gender –on merit — has worked well for me.

That premise has served me well, even though “Have allies” needs to be well-synthesized with “Don’t burn you bridges” and “Don’t compromise on your principles.”

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Smile, and Half the World Smiles Back

ggg2016-04-28 21.29.04I’m a trans girl who likes girls, and I used to befriend and date club strippers. In so doing, I learned a lot of insider information. For example, the girls are sometimes high before they go on-stage because they’re feeling horribly self-conscious about walking out on stage right then. And by “high” I do mean using chemicals that aren’t the type you can go pick up at your local pharmacy.

Some days, I relate. I do my software development work from home most of the time, and not just do I save commuting time, enabling me to get an impressive amount of work done per day, but I also can live in my little safe nest where nobody sees me. That’s good since I don’t want to be seen. If all the world’s a stage, then I don’t wanna go out on stage until I’m good and ready.

However, I also try to not become a hermit. Every day or two, I do go out to enjoy the world, work on-site, visit family or friends, or buy groceries. Before I do, I go through a process of getting ready, emotionally and aesthetically. I enjoy it.

By the time I walk out of my apartment, I feel ready to take on the world, and oddly, it really seems to show, in how it affects others.

For example, today, I went out to buy groceries. The deals were good but nothing specific was smile-inducing to an overwhelming extent. I was just happy to be there, and happy to be me.  As to strangers, I have my eye-contact routine fairly well-optimized.  When I make eye contact with a guy, the odds are pretty good that he’ll glare at me when he’s alone, and much greater yet … when he’s not alone. So, I avoid eye contact with guys and I smile at whomever is left … girls. Today, it was downright wonderful how radiant a set of smiles I got in return. However good I felt about the world when I walked in there, I felt even better about it by the time I walked out.

The late-afternoon weather suggested that a lovely Nevada sunset was likely, so I drove home via a fifteen-mile detour through the local rural, lovely, green countryside. I ended up near the home of a friend who lives out in the boonies, so I dropped by to say “hello.” Right as we were standing outside, chatting, the most beautiful sunset appeared.

Life is good — and preparation helps. Had I stumbled out the front door, ready or not, it might have been a very different day.

I grew up singing and playing the guitar. Ironically, I’ve recently been listening and practicing my singing to the song “Manic Monday” as composed by the late Prince and performed by the Bangles (and no, Susanna Hoffs is NOT the lead singer, and saying she is — that’s a sore point for her, and doesn’t do her any favors). The song is about a girl whose day begins with insufficient sleep due to her alarm clock going off at 6 a.m. after being up late. From then on, it’s a mad rush so as to get to work on time at 9 a.m., which she fails to do in spite of having rushed.  It’s a lot harder to salvage a day after a bad start.

Even though I work long hours, I don’t make much money nowadays but I make enough, and the flexible schedule and work-from-home option sure make it nice.

That’s also a good way of ensuring a trans-friendly work environment: own the company. It is a very tiny company, but at least it’s something whose culture I can control to my intended benefit. And yes, it has a VERY trans-friendly restroom policy. I wrote it. 🙂

How a Girl Sounds, Part 1

I’m having my hair done today, and my hair lady is running behind schedule. I’m actually writing this blog post from inside the salon.

When I walked in, right on time, she was wrapping up with a customer, who seemed to be a quiet guy in his fifties … short dark gray hair, guy shirt, jeans, utility work shoes.  I didn’t give the customer any additional thoughts until I heard the customer checking out and paying. The customer had a 100% female voice!

I looked her up and down as intensely as I could without being rude. I could not notice a single feature that looked or even hinted at her being female. I looked harder. Nothing. I tried even harder. Nothing. Was the customer maybe  a trans guy? I listened and analyzed the style of talking … totally feminine, no hint of masculinity.

Visually 100% male, audibly 100% female. Wow.

My conclusion? Oops, I had been mistaken … the customer was indeed female.

Well, wait a minute. A better answer would be “insufficient data to decide” though a better-yet answer might be “it doesn’t matter anyway; he or she seems like a nice person regardless and that’s what matters anyway.”

In pondering my initial conclusion, I realized how useful it is for a trans girl to focus on speaking like the girl she is, or it’ll be tempting for others to emotionally react as to a male.  In my personal journey, few things made as dramatic a social improvement for me, as did sounding at least basically female.

Not enough … I’m right on the edge and unless I focus, then guys will read me as a guy. At least it’s no longer utterly hopeless.

On that subject, here’s a YouTube video by an amazing actor named Matt Bittner with the most amazing voice control.

When I wrote that article, three weeks ago, the last paragraph was: “Once a trans girl has a handle on technique, the rest is practice. Speak while recording, then listen, learn, revise, improve, and repeat.”

Yes, but “technique” must be understood precisely.

Brothel Party Cleavage

ggg2016-03-20 02.22.37I’m a t-girl and I have as such worked in a legal Nevada brothel, but before you become too impressed  … all I did was some computer-related work, mainly making them a database-driven website and some custom database software.

Believe me, I have had (or shall I say “still have”) fantasies about working there in another capacity but I doubt that I’d be a welcome applicant for such work there.

Even so, I get invited to their parties and it’s always enjoyable to me. I’m totally gay (a girl who likes girls) so seeing some utterly gorgeous scantily clad girls dance, sing and have a good time is like visual heaven on earth to me.

I understand that folks on both extremes of the political spectrum will assure me that working girls in brothels are all miserable and exploited, and they need to be rescued from their own decision-making process, but I disagree with that mindset on many levels. Certainly seeing all these relaxed, happy, confident girls only helped me be more skeptical yet of the anti-brothel mindset. If anything, I’d guess that on average the working girls there are happier and more grounded than the average of a randomly chosen set of girls of the same age group, who don’t work in  a brothel.  Anyway, this subject is not my battle to fight. I mention this only in case you wonder why on earth I’d enjoy attending a brothel party.

As you can imagine, the boobies and ample cleavage being shown off seemed to be very high-quality and very impressive to me. Because my own boobies are growing rapidly, it’s always interesting to me to compare how my own cleavage stacks up compared to professionally hot girls every few months. Large boobs under clothing are easy to get if you spend $100 at Amazon and buy some outplants a.k.a. bra stuffers. However, but for actual honest-to-goodness cleavage there needs to be at least some good raw material (some boobie material under the skin) for the sports bra and bra stuffers to do their cleavage magic. To make a mountain out of a mole-hill, there needs to at least BE a mole-hill, and that’s still better than barren flatness.

I wore bra stuffers, a sports bra over that, and then my normal bra over that (for height control), and then an elegant low-cut v-neck cocktail dress over all that.

At one point during the evening I ended up in front of a large bathroom mirror, washing my hands and evaluating my own reflection critically. As a t-girl I’m often unfairly self-critical but I disciplined myself to be objective. I had to concede that the cleavage in the mirror looked at least as good as that of the least-endowed working girls and probably even slightly better. Wow. Of course, girls with massive implants are in a class of their own and I can’t compete with them as such, but I didn’t include them in my analysis. And yes, I realize that this dilutes how impressed I should be with myself.

Later, I was leaning up against the back of a red velvet couch, and I glanced down at my plunging neckline to see if everything was basically still under control. I was amazed to see a clear vertical line, as in between two large round, soft entities touching, as in the typical picture of Dolly Parton.  Golly gee, I finally have some serious natural cleavage, albeit as yet with lots of help from modern technology, including medically-prescribed hormones.

I’m seriously enjoying my second pass through puberty, this time with my body developing to a shape that matches the gender of my brain wiring, yay!

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-Climactic Coming-Out Events

I mentor a few t-girls, and one of them has just sent me an email that had me blinking back some tears.

Basically, as so many t-girls do, she realized she’s a t-girl but she actively hid her femininity from public view for years — or so she thought. She grew some facial hair and hoped that this would help. As to guys, it did. Most guys don’t exactly excel at social nuances.

Females, on the other hands …. are very observant. As it turns out, one of her female acquaintances had figured her out but had just kept quiet about it … for many years.

When the t-girl finally showed up without facial hair at a public event, the other lady exclaimed with “Finally! What took you so long to come out as the girl you are? I had you figured out many years ago; I was just waiting for you to come out publicly” — or words to that effect.

Impressive…

I discussed the above with my girlfriend, who has by now known me for several years and had been very non-surprised when I came out to her very early in the dynamic — long before we became a romantic item — as being a t-girl.

Today, she mused that she’s surprised that anyone had ever thought of me as being other than a girl. She elaborated as to some tell-tale signs that she had noticed (but that few others probably had).  Then again, she is one of the most observant people I know.

My point: if you’re a t-girl who’s stressing about coming out … maybe to the people closest to you, it’ll be much less of a surprise than you might think.

 

Looking like your Spouse

gg2016-04-05 03.13.55Every now and then I see a picture of a couple who’s been married to each other for decades. Their facial expressions are so similar that their faces look similar, so much so that any structural differences in their features don’t make much of a difference.  My point is that facial expressions make a HUGE difference in how a person looks.

Trans girls typically grow up while being told to fit into guy culture. We’re told that we’re boys and to behave accordingly. So, we try hard. We struggle yet fundamentally we fail because our brains are female. We simply can’t think as guys do. Fortunately, so many guys are culturally clueless that probably the only person who’s aware of how much of a misfit she is in guy culture is the trans girl herself.

ggg2016-04-05 03.16.51Trying to fit into guy culture includes putting on guy facial expressions: often scowling, frowning, looking mad and when happy or excited, looking deadpan. So, we simulate that.

As a result, when a trans girl  finally decides to live openly as the girl she is, she has many bad habits to unlearn, including facial expressions.

I had that problem — and more. I also had VERY male-looking facial features. Thanks to a wonderful plastic surgeon (the surgeon was human, not plastic, but her business card insists) I underwent feminizing eye-reshaping surgery and she also made the size of my nose smaller, from being the size of Alaska to maybe being the size of Tennessee.

gg2016-04-05 03.16.02Without me asking him, another surgeon in the same field later gave me his opinion as to my nose. He cautioned that her approach as to my nose had been too conservative and wasn’t likely to have a happy ending.  The eye-reshaping surgery, by contrast, got his approval. Sure enough, my eyes still look OK today but my nose has cheerfully grown back to close to its original size … maybe Texas, not Alaska, but … still not petite.  Ironically, now it looks exactly like my dad’s nose used to look. Problem is, that’s not a feminine look. And no, I don’t have the funding to redo it.

gg2016-04-05 03.14.28Even so, to my surprise, my facial features kept looking more and more feminine as the years went by. I look more feminine than I did a year after the surgery. My facial expressions having become more and more feminine is probably the reason why.

This article contains, interspersed, pictures of me taken with my cell phone at 3 a.m. this morning.  No make-up … though I do have semi-permanent glued-on lashes.

 

 

 

 

Unwelcome Adulation

ggg2016-02-26 17.08.34I wore this pink-top outfit again yesterday, as on the picture to the left, though that picture was taken several weeks ago.

While I was driving to my business parking lot yesterday afternoon in broad daylight, with friendly neighbors around, I noticed a derelict-looking sort of guy who happened to, just then, be walking out of my property. I pulled right in, in case there was reason to be concerned about vandalism to any of my classic cars parked there. I got out of my car, having assessed him as unlikely to be violent at first glance and in that context.

The guy was swigging on a large beer bottle and was clearly already inebriated. He started a friendly dialog. He had his fishing rod in a tube, and said he’s on the way to go fishing. He’d just stopped by to look at some of the cars in case any were for sale — a nuisance but understandable since it looks sort of like a used car lot. I do have signs up saying that none of these cars are for sale, but the signs are not all over the place.

A Q&A ensued. Was I the owner? Yes, I was. After hearing my accent, he asked: I’m not from the US, am I? No, I’m not. Where am I from? Raised as a German girl in Africa.

Then he starts telling me about a German friend and how he came here from Brooklyn … he stood in front of me, beamed at me and told me how pretty I look. He went on an on about that.

At that point, I really had mixed feelings about the situation. One of the things I appreciate about my fellow Americans is the simple benevolence that makes every day better. Here was certainly an example of that. And if alcohol removes inhibitions, then this guy in uninhibited mode was being benevolent. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s nice. It was not really the type of conversation on which I wanted to spend a lot of time … but I reminded myself that maybe I should just enjoy the benevolence and also appreciate that the guy had correctly figured out that I’m a girl, as opposed to getting hung up on my overly masculine facial features.

The conversation continued. He asked if I have a boyfriend. No, I’m a chick who likes chicks, I replied, nicely enough. He seemed to think that this was just fine too and he offered to introduce me to some girls. He was radiating benevolence even after romantic prospects for him had just become known to be zero. That’s commendable. Not everyone takes the news well.

I mean, heck, this is Nevada and small-town America. Folks are nice until there’s reason not to be. I like that.

Even though I didn’t have much time to spare, I didn’t see any point in being rude and saw more time being wasted and more problems being caused by me being rude about it, nor did I feel any resentment; he was just somewhat tedious to deal with.

Next, he shook my hand several times, said his name several times as an introduction, mentioned some nice things about himself, e.g, owning his own house and the car he’d just bought … then he wanted to give me a hug. I was bemused by this and while I was processing it, he stepped forward and gave me a bear hug. I classified it as eccentric and not dangerous, so I tolerated it and then eventually pulled away as he released his grip.

More adulations ensued as to how nice I look and how tall I am.

This is where my internal red flags as a t-girl started waving. If guys know I’m a t-girl and they think I’m pretty, hot or whatever — that’s  fine.  If guys don’t know I’m a t-girl and they think I’m pretty, hot or whatever — then when they find out, they might react in ways that inspire events that lead to candles being lit at the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance memorials.

So I wanted my visitor to be clear on that point, even as I realized that I was not dealing with a cognitively-razor-sharp audience. I mentioned to him that I’m a mix of boy-and-girl parts hence the tallness, larger hands, etc. I’m not sure he understood all the implications but he seemed no less enthused. Then another hug.  Then another handshake.  I decided to that I’ve discussed my status as a t-girl about as much as was likely to be productive at the time.

As to the hugs, in an adversarial situation you don’t let strangers hug you or even get close enough to have any hope of doing that. As per my combat pistol instructor, really 20 feet is the minimum for shooting someone in self-defense because a hostile human can traverse 20 feet of space very rapidly. However, this wasn’t an adversarial situation and it had no hint of hostility. Besides, it was happening in an open space in broad daylight, so I was even less concerned.

Also, even if things had gone out of control, I so know Judo, Karate and some street fighting quite well since my dad grew up as a street kid, which meant: good street-fighting skills. My dad had trained me in some of them, so unless someone who has me at close quarters is probably at more of a tactical disadvantage than I am, based on my peculiar mix of skills.  For those reasons, I wasn’t too worried.

A friend of mine worked at a local bank until recently, and she solved a complex-seeming problem for a guy with Russian culture — and she ended up getting a big, benevolent, sincere hug right there in the bank. By Russian culture, that’s not unusual. And, there’s quite a bit of Russian cultural influence in Brooklyn, NY — where my visitor was from, so … hugging is more typical as an expression of male-to-female fondness and it’s not as creepy as in some cultures.

I also know that some cultures, such as French cultures, can involve multiple enthusiastic handshakes during the course of a good conversation.

I’d factored all that into my evaluation of the situation. Even so, at that point I felt that it was time, or way past time, to set some boundaries — which also means sticking to them. So the next handshake he wanted got him a stiff-armed, long-arm handshake from me, from a distance, and as he approached, I told him “no more hugs” and I moved away. As he pondered that I said “respect my boundaries” while my body language underscored that. He proceeded to assure me he’s a good guy and he’d respect them.

Then he expressed some more compliments, and then he wanted to give me a kiss. Hell no, I said. Just on the cheek, he said. Nope, I said. Eventually he wound down and left to go fishing, still very friendly. I watched him leave and continue far down the street, apparently happy.

I reviewed how I’d handled it. I hadn’t wanted to give the impression of weakness or retreat nor hostility — nor did I feel any of that.  He was benevolent albeit a little annoying and so I dealt with it as such.

Maybe the alcohol made him seem less smart but he also seemed to not be intellectually all that sharp either; more reason for me to have been careful in how I dealt with it.

Throughout the dynamic, he was a a happy drunk and not a mean drunk. Part of what I tried to do is to keep the happy drunk from becoming a mean drunk while not violating my own boundaries in the process.

As things are now, I’d guess he thinks of me as attractive but also strong and assertive with boundaries that he respects. That’s probably as good as it gets.