Archives for posts with tag: fashion

sexy mcsexyshoes

…even the Fashionable Straight Friend likes them. Not to mention – my mother picked them out because the similar women’s laceless wingtips don’t come in my (formidable) size.

I am a-flutter. Thank you, Steve Madden, thank you.

Eyeliner befuddles me.

I still don’t know how I feel about this fashion transition I’m going through.  BUT – I’m going to go all the way with it, as far as I can muster.  In my lifelong quest to stop being the quitter my mother always told me I was (because I was REALLY miserable playing basketball when I was eight, I mean, come on— run back, run forth, run back, run forth… who wants to do that when I could have been at home playing GI Joes?) I have decided first to come to Los Angeles and admit that I am an actor, despite being rather queer, and second I decided I would not quit being an actor until I had absolutely given it my best and fullest try. The try to end all trys. Which, at this point, means I must work on the Fashion.

Except that I didn’t realize that part of the Fashion includes… The Making Up of the Face.

That’s right. Makeup. Wearing it. Not necessarily every day, but when it counts to look more put together. And frankly, since I’m rapidly approaching the next decade of my existence, I need all the help looking put together that I can get.  If that help comes in a little pot of pastel goop, so be it.

I experienced the first of two major rites of passage a few weeks ago (the second came just last week, but I’ll get to that in another post).

It started with a little YouTube research. Then I went to the drugstore. And bought eye shadow. And I went home and put it on.

I know. I almost died too. I mean, I’m less uncomfortable buying non-lubricated condoms wrapped in menstrual pads and acne cream. But I did it in the name of The Professional Photos Which Will Be Shortly Taken. As part of the Assignment. As part of discovering this new/old side of myself.

And although I had a healthy intro to makeup back when I was doing a ton of musicals in high school, and from watching the PGF and those who came before her getting dressed up, I realized that I have no idea what I’m doing. And then I realized that most women, when first learning about makeup, have to go through a weird adolescent period where they actually put makeup on often enough to get good at it. Ugh.

So I’ve been trying to wear eye makeup. Some days, days when I’m temping at the World’s Most Boring Office, I go all out. Foundation. Powder. The whole deal. I’m terrible at eyeliner, but I keep trying. It smudges everywhere. I feel like a sad drag queen who just lost the lip sync contest. No glitter dildo for you, Patsy!

And the worst part is, the part of me that likes girls recognizes that the makeup makes me look… I hate to say better, but, more finished somehow. It makes my eyes stand out. It evens out my skin. It makes me look a bit younger.

But the part of me that is clinging to my butch comfort – that part that can wear the same t shirt and jeans four days in a row and never removes the belt from my pants until they’re getting washed, that part that knows just enough hair product to get the proper ‘hawk going and wears only one sensible yet still quietly stylish pair of shoes – that part can’t deal with the effort. Makeup requires upkeep. It requires planning, and at least ten minutes. Ten minutes the Coach has instructed me to add to my routine. Ten minutes that require a kind of focus that stretches my every gay muscle.

What’s a pretty boi to do?

 

 

 

It honestly never occurred to me before that to wear women’s pants that fit well one must also wear women’s undergarments.

foxy

so long, sexy briefs

not part of the assignment, but day-am.

So I’m having a difficult time with the “assignment” from my acting coach.  I totally  agree with him that a) I need to exhibit some sort of style and b) that style should be current.  What I’m discovering is although I have managed somehow to stay alive for nearly thirty years, I seem to be barely able to cover my naked body in an acceptable way that showcases my Extreme Good Looks while minimizing my Severe Gender Dysphoria.  To whit:

Today I went on a shopping excursion both to fulfill one of the main tenets of the assignment and to seek out two staple items for my closet: a pair of jeans that doesn’t buckle at the waist and crotch in a ridiculous way (read: uglygirlbulge), and a pair of shoes that fits my masculine sensibilities and also my feet. These last two in particular are, sadly, not usually synonymous.

The assignment part of the excursion involved trying on way more clothes than normal, and many different styles than I usually would, and taking photos of myself in everything. Everything.  In that horrible fluorescent changing room lighting that makes your skin look like you were attacked by a vacuum hose to the face.  I swear they hide tiny follow-spots in the stalls that are trained to shine directly on any zits you have and make them glow like lightning bugs, completely distracting you from looking at the stupid clothes because of the flashing blemishes.  It’s a wonder to me that so many women choose to participate in this ritual regularly, since the experience is totally punishing to anyone without ironclad self-esteem.

Regardless, I approached the task at hand as methodically (surprise!) as possible – I allowed myself a few limitations: I wouldn’t take a picture if the clothes didn’t fit, I would stick to my color palette unless something looked really promising in another color or pattern, I would focus on trying women’s clothes first and men’s second so that I had something to look forward to, I wouldn’t even think about things like skirts, dresses (gasp! Ten years and counting til… forever!), shorts, or capris.  Or tank tops, for that matter, although I would like to feel comfortable in a tank top – but the majority of tank tops I saw looked more like lingerie and less like actual clothing.  Shirt-thoughts, I call them: reminiscent of shirts, but not quite the real deal.  The idea of a shirt without substance. I imagine taking a roll of dental floss and fashioning a halter.

In any case, I discovered a few things that had been floating un-formed around my consciousness for many years, but were dragged topside into the gross fluorescent light as I tried on weird top after weird top and skinny-jeans after skinny-jeans.  (Digression: I never really understood that women’s shirts were referred to as “tops” and “knits” and words like that. Seems like a lot of trouble to me. But then so does wearing more than just my grandpa slippers and some boxer shorts on any given day.) The discoveries spanned the pros and cons pretty evenly. Con: I discovered that I HATE, LOATHE, and DESPISE the fabrics that most women’s clothes are made out of.  Pro: I discovered that I do not hate boat-neck shirts, although I can’t really see myself buying one. Con: I discovered that I still am WAAAAY not ready to wear anything that could be classified as “tight,” “slinky,” or “form-fitting.”  Pro: However, slim-fit shirts tend to be ok.  Especially if they are (cough, cough) AMAZING button-down imported men’s shirts. Which I may or may not have actually purchased.

In terms of pants and jeans, why on earth don’t women’s pants have usable pockets? I know most girls carry purses, but why even put pocket on the pants if they’re not usable?  And I’m not even talking about pockets that are sewn shut and you have to rip the seams out to get into them.  I was dismayed to discover that my thinking is a little askew regarding how women’s pants are supposed to fit – I was under the impression that if I wore a pair of women’s jeans, the crotch and waist area would sit fairly flat against my body and not buckle in an ugly way when I shifted my hips or walked or moved at all.  I could not have been more wrong.  I mean, I’m still getting used to even being acquainted with my hips again, let alone moving them and clothing them, but I hoped the pants would simply fit better. Alas, there are so many new factors to deal with.  Men’s clothing is so much more standardized – sure, trousers can be cut in slightly different ways, but on the whole there’s a lot less to think about.  Incidentally the one pair of men’s jeans I put on looked dashing but was a good Ben Franklin over my budget, and would clearly have begun to Crotch Buckle as soon as the cotton relaxed a bit.

Regarding shoes, here’s my beef: WHY are the only women’s shoes available in my size Hooker Heels, off-brand athletic shoes, Incredibly Ugly Wedges, or all of the above???? The counterpoint to this particular distress is that my size in men’s is also EVERYONE ELSE’s size in men’s (meaning, most actual guys’) so all the cute guy shoes are always gone from the rack in my section.  It’s like they’re punishing any girl over 5’9” for eating too many hormones in her meat.  Gods of Consumerism: “Women shouldn’t be as large as you in the first place, and because you are abnormally huge, we will shame you with glitter-athletic-casual-stacked-mules!! They will perfectly match the only shirts in your size, made from cheap, discarded restaurant table linens, and only come in children’s primary colors MUAH HAHAHAHAAAA…. “

All of this discovery, and corresponding disappointment, leads me again to the question: what is my style?  If I could wear exactly what I wanted everyday, what would I wear?  Excluding the tshirt and jeans option, which I have exercised diligently for the past, oh, twenty years.

no offense meant to the cute young'un in this shirt.

Last night I said to two of my (extremely fashionable) friends that I would dress in a three-piece pinstripe suit, or trousers and shirt with braces (the suspenders-type, not the teeth grill) and the sleeves rolled up, every single day.  The catch now is that I would want that outfit to be tailored to fit my body well – not to be too blocky and big, or to gap or buckle in weird places.  A little Sylvia Scarlett, if you will.  In lieu of that, I seek the metrosexual middle ground.  I love me some button-down men’s shirts, good dark jeans, and sexy low sneakers.  But how do I take that look and make it showcase my new, light, yet still tall and broad (and overly-breasted) body?  In some sort of upscale, current way without being just another sad butch in an ill-fitting button-down?

 

sweet kate. ridiculous film.

 

(Something from September 2010)

I moved to LA for several reasons: one, to truly admit, for the first time in my life, that I am an actor and therefore need to do as the actors do.  Not become another cookie-cutter, Stepford actor, but rather to make my daily business the business of being an actor.   The second reason for my move was to find a better source of income (read: day job) whilst pursuing the business of acting, and since the best I could do in the Emerald Triangle was a 2-hour per week grunt job cleaning the sinks at a bakery for minimum wage, I figured a change of location was in order.

As usual when I first make a decision, the universe conspired to shower me with wonder and opportunities and fluffy kittens and the feathers of white doves.  I immediately began to be called in for auditions in LA that I was self-submitting for. I found a great and relatively cheap place to live with interesting, intelligent roommates. I effortlessly booked myself theater gigs for the entire first year of my move, which didn’t pay me much, but which validated the fact that I was ready to be a professional performer in a way I had never before embraced.

I moved here to fully be myself in a way I have been avoiding for over twenty years.  This involved grappling with the fact that I’m (gasp!) still queer, and that when I moved I was fairly overweight (roughly the size and shape of a baby killer whale, but who’s counting).  Stir those two in a big pot called “But I’m A Performer” and you get a freshly baked batch of insecurity drizzled with a crippling debt-to-income ratio.

But the doors continued to open – because I saw and continue to see a niche I can fit into; one that I can dominate. I will rant about the overall treatment of butch women by society in another post, but the point is that I have been watching the trends, folks, and there just aren’t many of us on tv or in films or shows.  But with the popularity of Ellen, the inestimable Rachel Maddow, Julie Goldman, Jane Lynch – all women who are not exactly the Hollywood feminine stereotype – I think things will soon be changing.  At least, I hope, and think it’s a valid hope.

Combine those ladies’ popularity with the surging numbers of lesbian characters in the media and eventually someone is going to want to put a few women who look like the rest of us in front of the camera.  And while I may not look like an “every-Woman”, I make a darn convincing lesbian on screen. 10 out of 10 viewing lesbians agree (totally biased unofficial poll amongst my friends).

And I’m not saying that I only want to play lesbian parts – at this point I want a chance to play ANY parts – but that would fulfill a huge dream of mine.  To play a lesbian character who actually looks like a real lesbian.  Sure, I can and will have a satisfying career playing park rangers and female prisoners and nurses and cops, but I believe the writers and CDs and producers are ready to take a challenge.  Put me in the ring.  The tides are shifting that way.  I know how to throw a few punches, and I may get clobbered, but I’m a big girl and I have to try.  Yes, I’m sticking my neck out by making this claim, hoping this hope, and trying to do it my way.  I owe it to the Myself I am working on being.

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