Friday, 21 January 2011

Coathooks, Muffins and Bristols

You could use those as coathooks (Wikimedia)
    She was a very neatly turned-out middle-aged lady, standing with a glass in one hand and chatting to the other t-girls in a restaurant somewhere in the South of England. Fortunate in her facial proportions and not too tall, wearing a sensible tweed skirt, white sweater and cardigan I wouldn't have given her a second look had I passed her in the street.
    Unfortunately she had ruined the presentable impression by selecting a set of breastforms with erect nipples the size of acorns. Clearly visible despite her sweater, they became objects of fascination like a bald man's comb-over on a windy day, so awful you had difficulty not looking at them. You really could have used them as coathooks, they were that big.
A muffin. With a top. (NCI)
      I was reminded again of the lady with the eye-catching breastforms recently when I saw another t-girl acquaintance of advancing years wearing a skirt that was far too short for her. Showing off your legs is a good thing. Showing off your legs while wearing a nice set of stockings can also be a good thing. Doing the above in such a way that the tops of your stockings and too much of what goes on above them is sometimes visible is definitely not a good thing. You might just get away with that in public if you are a teenage Japanese girl in a Gothic Lolita outfit but even then as I've quoted my friend Dawn here before: "You wouldn't wear it to Tesco, would you!".
A nice pair of Bristols (Wikipedia)
      Fortunately for us getting it wrong is not restricted to t-girls, but the same rules apply to us as to anyone. My female-at-birth colleague from the early years of the last decade had a breast augmentation. From where I was sitting those she grew naturally seemed perfectly acceptable, but she evidently felt they weren't enough and gained a set of implants that left her impressively well endowed. All very well, but mere possession of an imposing new cleavage does not behove you to thrust them at your colleagues like a soap opera barmaid. There really is such a thing as Too Much Information!
    How do you tell someone that they've got it so wrong? You simply can't. I'm sure both the t-girls above would have been crushed by a "quiet word", and when such a thing can re-open the closet for its recipient that's no joke. Yet the effects of not doing so can be just as damaging, I recently saw a forum discussion of just this subject prompted by the unfortunate tale of someone whose transition is going badly off the rails, "why didn't anyone tell her" was the question asked. You first, dear.
     I like to think I've avoided such things through listening to the criticism offered by my wife. If others are noticing things and keeping me in the dark, it's not without a lot of effort on my part to avoid that situation. But if I did commit some awful faux pas and by some unholy miracle my wife didn't notice, how would I want to be made aware of it? I'd hope my more trusted friends would feel able to tell me, but the question is, would they appreciate it if I did the same for them?


  1. I would vote for honesty every time. Yesterday, the wife of a Tgirl friend pointed out that my bum was not big enough to look like a real girl (I wonder how many real girls would love to hear that their bum was not big) and I really appreciated hearing that. At least I can use more padding while real girls don't have the option of shedding any.

  2. I agree with Louise, honesty is the best policy. It is a very delicate subject and as you have stated Jenny if broached in the wrong way can cause upset and a return to the dreaded closet. Tact is the operative word. Saying things like 'I hope you don't mind me saying', or 'May I offer some advice' might just work as long as they are said in private to the recipient but even that doesn't always work. I think you need to know the person before taking the plunge. Better still, get them to read your post!

    Shirley Anne xxx

  3. Oh dear such a can of worms that could be opened when we speak of fashion bloopers. I know I made several when I was single by divorce and had no one to give me advice, but we all learn what's appropriate if we are must live 24/7 as just another woman.

    When Kay and I attended Southern Comfort last year, I was amazed at some of the outfits the women chose to wear. I know that for some of them are at the conference at their only time they have to present themselves as female. But some of the outfits shouldn't be in the house, much less in their closet. And they are encouraged to dress appropriately when attending the conference and when out and about around Atlanta.

    Kay had to remind me that as a Health Care Provider and attending their conferences, some of those women take the opportunity to wear similar outfits that we have seen at Southern Comfort.

    I am so thankful that I can trust Kay to tell me what looks good and what's not.

  4. I think we all have to live and learn from our mistakes. The longer one has been at it, more one seems to know what is appropriate. Some people though, just lack good taste, and common sense. Even polite advice, discreetly offered would be lost on them.

    Love the Bristols!

    Melissa XX

  5. The Bristols are cool, I often check out the factory web site. Sooo expensive tough, new or vintage.


  6. I have always thought it takes a real friend to tell you about the 'thing' that is hanging out of your nose. These sort of fashion blunders are a bit tougher because they fall into 'a matter of opinion' I suppose.

    I must be old because your 'pair of Bristols' while very nice, made me think of Benny Hill and his "nicest parakeets". :D



  7. Tough call... Would I want to know? Yes, does thay mean that someone else would not be mortified? Who knows...

    As an aside my therapist has warned me that in a couple of years I will look back andf think 'I wore that!?!?'

    Here's hoping that it doesn't happen too much...


  8. i'm not sure, jenny. i don't really think it's anybody's business to criticise anyone else's appearance. there's enough body/clothing/appearance policing of (cis and trans) women and other trans and gender variant people from the rest of society, surely we don't need to buy into that same attitude ourselves?

  9. Morning everyone, indeed I've opened a can of worms!

    Bristol Cars have their showroom in London just up the road form the Olympia exhibition hall. I once took great delight in winding up an annoying female colleague who had gained her feminist ideals from womyn's groups at university and couldn't see beyond the exterior of anyone male by exclaming "Phwoarr! That's a lovely pair of Bristols, make no mistake!" as we drove past it. Probably the only time I've ever used that phrase.

    I think I err on the side of not telling someone too. Simply from the undermining of confidence point of view. Both my acquaintances above go out without discomfort to themselves so would I be wanting to tell them only to ease my own discomfort at other people's reactions to their appearance?

    In conversation with Mrs. J since I wrote the piece we identified something important. I hope to be told if I screw up, but I ask. I ask her and I ask other friends I may be with when I'm about to go anywhere in girl mode. Then I expect honesty, something I certainly get from Mrs. J.

  10. I've seen so many out there who just do not dress their age...and that includes ciswomen and t-girls. The T-Girls, however, with the big shoulders and skirts obscenely short are just plain embarrassing to be around. I know that sounds awful to say that. I have told some of them but it goes in one ear and out the other.

    Although I rarely dress, I prefer everything natural, without forms, and the blending-in look.

    Calie xxx

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Really enjoyed this post Jenny, Smiled my way through in agreement and chuckled at the pair of bristols. Nice touch, (no pun intended) :)

    I think its a terrbly difficult think to say to someone 'you got that one wrong babe' I have discovered that there is a huge divesity in what people believe is good taste or sexy. The only thing I really struggle with is short skirts, stocking tops and bush hairy legs!!! Why????

    Helen xxx

  13. Absolutely, why?

    It should be compulsory training for any wanna-be crossdresser: sit down in a coffee shop and people watch!

  14. There's no definitive rule. Some will learn from their own mistakes others aren't bothered and I support their right to self expression. If you can help the former without putting your foot in it then go ahead.

  15. Having rather large feet, I think I might find putting my foot in it to be too easy.