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?