Being beautiful

You should not let your makeup routine get into a rut. I have been doing the same thing for years. My mascara brush was coming apart. My lipstick was down to the metal. And I have had a lovely time chatting about shades with Sienna. The shop was nearly empty and she gave me the time I needed, about twenty minutes.

There was a rich deep pink lipstick which made me feel absolutely beautiful. I used it until it broke, then I carefully brushed it on until it nearly ran out, and now I wanted to replace it with exactly the same shade. I had the idea the shop assistants would be able to do this. I had gone to darn a thin patch in the elbow of my favourite silk/cashmere jumper, and the shop assistant had found the thread of exactly the right shade, far closer than I could have seen myself. Sienna did not seem particularly good at this, smearing all sorts of colours onto a tissue, but we found a rather gorgeous shade called Deep Rose, which fits my skin tone perfectly. I also got one which is almost my natural lip colour, but adds the slightest sparkly sheen.


I want to be smoking. I want a particular woman to fall into my arms whispering “How could I have been so wrong about you?” (It isn’t going to happen, but a girl can dream.) I want to project confidence and presence.

Sienna had very heavy foundation. I have not used foundation since the time I was getting a lot of electrolysis: it can cover beard shadow if you have dark hair under pale skin, but not actual stubble which just pokes through and looks much worse, and shaving closely every day while having four hours of electrolysis a week is impossible. We talked of eye shadow. I said I wanted the kind of mascara that I could wear to the office and into the evening, but went for a Maximum Volume one which would triple my lashes. Not for the office, I suppose, but well.

I talked of no-makeup makeup. Round about the nineties, I pontificated, it was a thing, the no-makeup makeover that took an hour. No man would see that you had makeup on, and women might be unsure, but they would see your face slightly more defined. Sienna appeared interested.

When I was transitioning, a rumour went round that Boots shop assistants were taught specifically to deal with nervous incipient trans women, to put us at our ease and make us feel comfortable. The one I spoke to denied this, but was completely professional with a touch of the kindness I was starving for, giving me three samples of foundation to take away and experiment with in private.

The first perfume I bought was Amarige by Givenchy. I have a bottle of it now. I wore it to the trans club, then next day even after showering, when I went to work I could smell the faintest remainder of it on my wrist. Throughout the day, I took surreptitious sniffs at my wrist, which reassured and calmed me.

I will wear that, too.

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