Face Painting 101

I have a huge fear of doing anything overtly feminine. I fear that death, violence or overt harassment will befall me if I’m seen as transgendered person. So, I’ve always gone out of my way to hide any sign of my feminine nature. At a very young age, I broke myself of any perceived feminine traits I had. For instance, I taught myself how to throw a baseball like a boy.

One thing I have never done is try makeup. I know girls growing up have a tendency to experiment with makeup. I very wisely stayed away from it because I didn’t know what I was doing. And I never really liked it anyway. I’ve seen women who wear too much. It’s not a pretty sight. I think women look much better without makeup. Or if they choose to wear some, less is definitely more. I told myself that I wanted to transition without having to depend on makeup. The thought of spending so much time applying paint to my face before leaving the house EVERY SINGLE DAY made me want to crawl under the covers and die.

But, my curiosity got the best of me. Some friends suggested I at least try it. I fought it for a very long time. The thought of doing it, made me very nervous. But, last night my defenses were down. And I only had one hard lemonade. How did that happen? Did someone drug me?

Shortly after arriving at the bar after Thursday group, I told a friend who had offered to show me how to apply makeup that I was open to at least trying. I think I caught her off guard. But, she asked if I was up for doing it right then and there. I told her yes. I think I felt more comfortable because I was the one bringing it up. I felt more in control. If anything, by doing it then, everyone wouldn’t have anything to pester me about.

But, I had some ground rules first. We agreed that her house was acceptable. She has roommates who she is completely open too. But, I don’t know them. But, I was pleased to find out that her bedroom was the master bedroom. That way, we could use the bathroom without being bothered. No photography. And no one else would see me like that. And at anytime, I felt uncomfortable, we would stop. I had so many conditions, I’m sure she probably wasn’t sure what she was agreeing to do.

So, we piled my bike into her car and drove to her house. Although I had never been to her house, I knew the general vicinity. I knew that if things went awry, I could ride home from there. And contrary to what you might gather so far, I do trust her. It’s just that I knew I would feel very vulnerable.

Just as we arrived, one of her roommates pulled up. But, we didn’t stick around to say hi to her. We went up to her bedroom and before starting, we watched the last few minutes of the Bronco game. Then, we turned to a music channel. She went into the bathroom to organize a little bit and make sure she had what she needed. I stood nervously, backpack in hand against a nearby wall.

Years ago, I had the opportunity to get makeup applied. It was about 7 years ago. I had broken up with the girlfriend and had found an online message board for trans people my age. Shortly after joining, I decided to make a road trip to a meet up they organized for Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. I drove out there and had a very good time. It was the first time I had met a large group of trans people who were just normal people. All we did was just hang out and talk. I was one of two or three people there who were just starting out in transition and nowhere near full time or even part time. On the second day, we all went for a walk on Michigan Avenue. I got my ears pierced. But, other than that, I didn’t want to push the limits. I knew I was away from my local community. The likely hood that I would see someone I knew was low, even though there were quite a few Navy people there. One of the girls who hadn’t started full time decided to sit down in a chair in MAC store in the mall. She was very visible to everyone who walked by. So, I stood nearby off to the side against a wall. I couldn’t move. I think a few people teased me about it. But, there was no way I was going to expose myself like that. NO WAY.

When reading about this Chicago trip, you should remember that my social anxiety was no where near under control. And I had not dealt with being beat up when I was a teenager. So, in that context, I hope you’ll understand why I reacted the way I did.

On the last night, I had a really bad anxiety attack. But, that’s another story.

Anyway, back to last night.

I stood there waiting for her to be ready for me. And while I stood there, I planned out an escape route. My anxiety might be well under control. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I felt safe. I said that trusted my friend. But, I haven’t known her for very long. On our way upstairs to her bedroom, I made mental notes about the locations of doors and windows. I felt fairly comfortable that I could get out of there alive if I had too.

When she was ready for me, she applied some makeup to her face and told me what each one was called and what it was for. I stood there frozen. I mostly paid attention. But, I had my phone with me as a security blanket. I would occasionally look down at it when I thought I could get away with it. After she was finished telling me about what she was doing to her face, she asked if I was ready. My hands were shaking. But, I said yes. I leaned up against the door frame to her closet and held onto the doorknob as tight as I could. I closed my eyes and just let her do her thing. What really scared me was eyeliner. When applying it to herself, it looked like she was getting dangerously close to her eyeball. That freaked me out a little bit. It might not have bothered me if I wore contact lenses. But, I do not. So, that part is going to be hard to get used too.

While standing there, I tried to just talk with her. I tried to breathe. But, this was all very new. And something I had always been told was a taboo. There was no way I could just dive in with excitement. I stood there, imagining what I would do if a bunch of bad guys came in to kill me. How would I handle it. I was pretty sure that I could push away the person doing this to my face. From there, I might be able to make it the door to the hallway. If not, I knew where the window was. The window was a more likely escape route. I wouldn’t have to turn from where I was to get there.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to resort to that. My friend was amazingly patient and nice. I can’t tell you what exactly she did. I was entirely too nervous to remember everything she said. But, shortly after she started, she was done. I was kind of surprised. It hadn’t been that long. One friend told me it takes her over an hour to do her make up. It hadn’t been an hour. At least I didn’t think it had. Had I been drugged?

When I opened my eyes and saw myself in the mirror, I was a little shocked. Kind of the same sensation I felt when I got my haircut a month or two ago.  It took more than a few minutes to get used to it. I would look at my reflection one second. And the next, I would have to look away. But, the longer I stood in front of that mirror, the more I liked what I saw. I tried seeing what I looked like from different angles. From one angle, it looked like there was too much makeup on. From another angle, I didn’t look too bad. One of the last thing she did was fix my bangs.

Although, one of my conditions was no photos, I decided that I would be ok with taking pictures with my own phone. I think I shot like 15 pictures while the person responsible for this was standing behind me continuing to offer tips. And a funny thing happened. It was getting late. I was starting to feel like it was time to go home. But. But, that meant that I would have to take it off. What? WTF? What was happening to me?

But, off it had to come. Whether I did it at home or here, it would have to come off eventually. So, I reluctantly started rinsing it off. The foundation came off easily. But, the stuff around my eyes was getting into my eyes and causing some irritation. It took a few more minutes than I expected. But, it all did eventually come off.

Once it was off, my friend asked if I wanted to stop by one of her favorite bars before taking me home. I agreed. Although, I’m not really a big drinker. We didn’t have to go far to get to an old and rather small little bar. I immediately felt out place. It wasn’t only that I was in a place I had never been before. It was also felt like what I imagined a biker bar to be. There weren’t many people there. And there was only one guy who gave me a second look. But, I still found myself looking for the nearest exits. We sat down at the bar. And while I looked around trying to get comfortable, the young woman behind the bar, asked a question that I initially didn’t catch. I heard it. But, it didn’t immediately register. I don’t remember the correct wording. But, she referred to me as a female when asking what we wanted to drink. My mind was busy. But, my friend caught on. And she was quick to remind me. I denied it at first. But, I had heard it. I just didn’t understand why she had said it. I wasn’t wearing makeup. I was wearing men’s clothing. And when I spoke to her, I spoke with a male voice. I wasn’t trying to show her my female side. I don’t know if it was a combination of being with my friend who is trans and my long hair. But, it still doesn’t make sense to me.

I didn’t feel comfortable there. So, we left after less than 10 minutes. I felt bad. She is clearly comfortable there. But, it was too much for me in a such a short period of time. In less than 15 minutes, I was back home and getting settled into bed. One thing I kept thinking was how I could learn how to learn how to apply the right amount of makeup. I’m going to have to do it for myself someday. I might as well learn how now.

So, where are these pictures? Well, I did post them to Facebook. But, I’m not comfortable putting them here. One of my friends even suggested one I could use as my profile picture on Facebook. But, I’m not sure about that either. Although I’ve changed my name on Facebook, I am not really out at work. I mean my boss and one of the drivers know. But, I’m not OUT at work. By putting them up on Facebook, I was able to get some feedback. All of it positive. When I see my picture, I still see all of the male attributes of my face. My friends tell me they don’t really see what I see, though. I’m sure many of them are just being nice. But, I am slowly realizing that most people are not as observant as I am.

I’m glad that I finally did it. And now that I’ve passed this milestone, I’ll work on doing it myself. But, I’m still far off from leaving the house.

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About Frogtosser

A former sailor and pizza maker who is done hiding from the world and is now living life to it's fullest extent. I'm a single speed bicycle commuter who enjoys writing and photography. I'm a voracious reader. And a huge geek!
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