The Cinderella Factor

Several persons of greater experience than I have informed me that I am presently in the most difficult part of my transition. This phase is difficult in that I am now ready, willing and eager to live as a woman, but I still look very much like a man, in spite of my efforts. Nowhere is this more problematic than when I go to the washroom; I have used only the ladies’ room all week, but I fear being seen in there out of the certainty that I don’t pass well enough. This lack-of-passing is reinforced by my interactions with people who have not yet learned of my new status, who apparently do not even notice that I have been wearing make-up and exclusively female attire all week (or maybe they’ve been too tactful to say anything; physicists aren’t generally known for their abilities to notice fashion cues, but surely the outline of my bra clearly visible under my shirt should raise at least a few eyebrows). Worst of all though is what I call the “Cinderella Factor.” You see, what will happen is that I will get up in the morning, shave twice, apply a generous dollop of concealer to hide my stubble (which is dark against my extremely fair skin, and thus clearly visible), put on some lipstick and eye shadow, and go out with a veneer of passable femininity. But like the princess of legend, this veneer will only last for a few hours, after which my stubble will grow-out enough to pierce through the layer of make-up (I am cursed with very dense, very coarse, and very fast-growing facial hair), making me look like a boy again. I suppose I could reapply the make-up during the day, but without a close shave, I feel like I would be fighting a losing battle.

Moreover, I suspect that I may have to dial-up the “femme”-ness. I have, thus far, been taking it rather low-key for a few reasons. First of all, I want to drive home for everyone the fact that I am the same person I always was; secondly it’s sort of my style. It’s not my intention to become a “girly-girl;” what I want is to be myself, only outwardly female. And part of being myself is maintaining some sense of formality in terms of my mannerisms and attire, which in practice means they tend to be on the gender-neutral side. I am not sure, however, that this is a luxury that I can afford at this stage in my transition; I may need to go further in terms of my style and mannerisms in order to compensate for my lack of inherent femaleness, just to emphasize the point that I am trying to present as a woman now. That probably means skirts, and more feminine styles of shirt (although where the latter is concerned, I will want to be waxed first so as not to gross everyone else out). I’m currently waffling on whether or not I should wear false breasts to school. Right now, I have a pair which alter my frame in a realistic enough manner (although they’re terrible to the touch, being as they are, essentially, bags of rice), but I’m afraid to wear them to school first of all because I suspect other people might find it bizarre, and secondly because I’m not actually “out” to my supervisor. That’s not to say that I’m doing anything to conceal my identity, and if he finds out I shall answer his questions honestly, but I’m not going to go out of my way to tell him. But I suppose that the agony of being percieved as a man in the women’s washroom should constitute a reasonable enough argument for me to wear them.

So I will put it the to my readers, many of whom have experience in this field : should I wear the breasts or not? Also, any other tips for feminizing my appearance are solicited.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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One Response to The Cinderella Factor

  1. P. rhoeas says:

    I completely empathize here. Especially when I started out I felt very pressured to punch up the femmy thing, and I resisted it because I figured if biologically-sexed females didn’t have to do the pink and the dresses then I shouldn’t either. Your experience may vary depending on the sympathies of your crowd, but mine was that if I wasn’t femmy, then I was just a man still [no matter that most of the butch-presenting women I knew were way more masculine in all respects than I]. It’s just one of those things you have to soldier through, I think.

    Paradoxically I’ve become more comfortable with being femmy over the years, in that I’ve found I like pretty dresses and pretty makeup after all, now that I’m more comfortable with myself and I have to think about the bullshit that is “passing” a hell of a lot less, and so I begrudge things less as well. Of course it’s entirely up to you what you’re comfortable with.

    As for the breasts, I wore a big pair of silicone falsies for a while. I hated them. They were sweaty and heavy and shifted around a lot. Finally I started growing a bit of a chest and was able to switch to a bra, but I’m still not very big on top. You might could just get away with a form bra. Or, you know, I’ve known women born with vaginas who had chests smaller than most men. Depending on your body type you might could pull that off right away. Regardless, I don’t want you to feel like you have to do anything, but for me it was important that I start showing a chest earlier than later, so that people [myself included] got used to seeing me like that.

    And facial hair and that sort of thing will change dramatically on hormones. My partner has a thicker mustache than me now, and I’ve never even had electrolysis or lasers. šŸ™‚

    Isn’t this aggravating, all the body policing shit? Anyway.

    As far as presenting more “feminine” … okay, this might sound totally stupid, but the best information I ever got was from What Not To Wear. It’s a cringeworthy show in a lot of ways, and sometimes even a little exploitative, but the hosts are in the specific business of taking people who don’t know how to dress / put on make up for their face / body types and teaching them what they can do to look good in all situations, casual or formal or whatever. Like, in my case, I’m super tall, small-breasted, and pudgy. From that show I learned that empire-waisted maxi skirts could hide my tummy, enhance my bust, and make my legs look shorter than they are. They were my best friends for a couple years.

    And makeup? I put “makeup tips” into Youtube’s search engine and tried to find stuff that was pretty and modest, stuff that looks good and isn’t all drag queenish. I can’t remember the exact videos I found but there was a lot of good info to be had. Nudes and neutrals work best for me. šŸ™‚

    I hope that was at least somewhat helpful. At the very least you have my empathy that this an awful confusing part that’s going to make you butterfly in your stomach like crazy. All you can really do is what feels like the right thing for you [as much of a cop-out as that might sound], and hold it in your head that this is who you are and you can do this. You can. If I could so can you.

    If all else fails, remember who loves you no matter what. The rest will come much easier.

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