Being Julia

{December 24, 2007}   Jingle belles

xmas_smiles2.jpgWell here it is . . . Merry Christmas . . . Not a huge fan of the season myself to be honest, dominated as it is by commercialism and crap music. But I do enjoy choosing pressies for my loved ones . . . there are just so many of them that it’s a darn expensive time of year.

I’ve kept Julia under wraps since my last rollercoaster ride – think of it as a festive hibernation for the T-girl side of me. I’m just so busy with other things anyway and I’ve neither the time nor the money to indulge that side of me just now.

Never mind . . . the new year sales should be extra interesting this time round. I might just have to treat myself to a little something and we’ll see where that leads.

To all of you who take a peek at this blog (be you watchers, dressers or would-be’s) I wish you a happy, peaceful and as stress-free as possible Christmas and new year. Both Julia and “Bloke” wish you well and we’ll see you on the other side . . .

Here’s to 2008,




Wednesday. 7.40am.

I’m shivering . . . and it’s not just the cold. I’m planning to go further than ever before as Julia. To a bigger town. Walking among more people. I’m bloody scared. In the next hour or so I’ve got to make all my preparations – clothes, boots, wig, make-up, then head off to Mystery Location Number One to complete my transformation and then Mystery Location Number Two for a spot of Christmas shopping.

But first . . . I’ve got to de-ice the car.

 9.40am:  It’s taken much longer than planned to get ready at home. Lots of dithering around and trying to decide if “the look” is going to work. I decide not to take the fur coat . . . a bit OTT and drag queenish I fear. So instead I “borrow” an old coat of Dee’s, from when she was not quite so slim and gorgeous as she is today. I do feel guilty about this, but window shopping in the past week has not produced any positive results in my price range (which is practically zero, with Christmas fast approaching).

Also delaying me is my decision to put on my false nails at home instead of in the car (I’ll drive with my bloke gloves on) plus to start off my eye make-up at home. If you’ve seen earlier posts you’ll know that my in-car eye make-up sessions have not been at all successful. So this time I go for a very subtle approach in the bathroom mirror . . . the plan being to dash straight out to the car, head down and hope no neighbours see me.

Finally ready to leave, in bulky bloke coat , gloves, running trousers and trainers and clutching the sports bag full of the rest of my “costume”.

Disaster! One neighbour who I know quite well is standing outside her kitchen door, having a fag and a long conversation on the phone. No chance of sneaking away unnoticed so I just have to pace up and down and wait for her to finish. Suddenly it all goes quiet so I peek round the corner. The coast is clear and I’m on my way, but not before another neighbour (who I hardly know at all) appears in her front garden and waves. Keeping my head down I wave back and drive off into the distance.

10.05: I arrive in the car park of a big garden centre. Although there are a lot of cars already parked it’s the sort of place where anonymity is the name of the game, well hopefully, as I’m planning to step inside in full Julia mode once I finish my transformation.

I park up in the far corner, as far from the entrance as possible and get to work, full make-up now and a top-up with the eye-shadow and pencil. Looking much better than previously.

After about 15 minutes it’s time to get really brave, so I park up nearer the store entrance and just go for it.

I love walking in my boots, they’ve a near four-inch stiletto heel, pointy toes and some subtle buckle motifs, very comfortable although I still a little unsteady in truth, more of which later. The rest of the outfit (my only outfit so far) is a long, cowl neck black sweater, black polka dot skirt, Dee’s three-quarter-length coat, leopard print scarf and gloves with furry, leopard cuffs. Although I’ve “done” my nails I’m keeping the gloves on for now, as bloke’s hands are often a give away.

I’m inside the garden centre store in less than a minute. It’s full of Christmas sparkle, music and decorations. I’m still looking for a present for the office Secret Santa scheme so I’m soon genuinely immersed in looking a potential pressies. All rather pricey here though.

The place isn’t packed but there are a fair few people about and I’m soon aware of some looking in my direction. I get one or two second looks but it’s impossible to know if I’ve been “made” or not, or if tall women in boots and dramatic black coats usually get second looks (I know I would, if you see what I mean!). 

At one display there’s a mirror and I’m able to check how I’m looking. Not bad, the wig looks a little unkempt and windswept. Otherwise, although I can see me, I think I might just about pass as a woman of a certain age perusing the pot pourri and gardening books.

After about 10 minutes it’s clear I’m, not going to find that Secret Santa gift and anyway I don’t think I’m ready to interact with a cashier just yet, that would mean talking and bearing my hands.

So it’s time to head back to the car and drive off to location number two, the charming little market town I discovered last week. I’m finding it just a little harder to walk in the boots as I make my way out and am adjusting my gait a little when I hear sniggering from behind. A couple are behind me heading for their car nearby and I guess I’ve been rumbled.

Got a choice here, panic, blush or just join in the laughter. So I simply shrug my shoulders and continue to the car, muttering: “I guess I’m fooling no-one.” I watch them get in their car and they’re looking over and laughing, so I effect a laugh too . . . what else is a T-girl to do?

I’m driving off when I decide to take off my gloves and give my hands and nails an airing.

Disaster number two: One of the nails has come off and I don’t know where. I pull over and check inside my gloves, on my clothes, around the car, all to know avail. This really hits my confidence. A sense of panic begins to set in as I really don’t want Dee discovering it in the car.

I almost . . . almost, turn back home at this point.

But I’ve come so far that I don’t want to abandon Julia just yet. Instead a small change of plan. I’ll no longer hit the town but instead revert to my original planned location, a medium-sized village nearby. I know the place quite well and it should be nice and quiet on a Wednesday morning.

11am: I pull up at the side of the road in the village, gloves back on. Check my make-up in the mirror and step outside again. A few pedestrians around, a few cars but nobody pays particular attention as I stroll down the road. I cross over and spend a few moments looking in the window of a lingerie store (can’t afford) berfore moving off and arriving at a lovely, cosy little card shop.

I need to buy a card anyway and there’s a nice buzz about shopping for it as Julia. I remove one glove (on the hand with all five nails) and sort some money out in advance so I don’t have to fiddle about at the till and draw more attention to myself.

The shop is tiny and there are a couple of women and a man shopping inside plus a girl behind the counter. I make my way down a narrow aisle and have to whisper a husky “Excuse me” to get past one woman, in her 50s or 60s I guess. “There you go darling,” she beams and it’s like a shaft of sunlight – a lovely, warm glow and a feeling of acceptance. Quite unexpected. We share smiles and I browse and finally find just the right card.

Got card, got money. But at the till there’s an old fella fussing around over cards and wrapping paper and all I can do is stand there feeling more and more obvious by the minute (I’m towering over him!). Bit by bit nerves start to show in legs and they start shaking uncontrollably. I have to lean on the counter a little to steady myself. But I’m determined to hold on in there and eventually the old guy is served and leaves and I’m about to partake in my first ever consumer transaction as Julia.

I’ve shopped here before in bloke mode and recognise the girl behind the counter. But she doesn’t falter once. I’m sure she wouldn’t recognise me anyway but I’m still wating for a furtive, inquisitive shadow to cross her face. It doesn’t happen, she’s as nice as pie and I’m soon paid up and back out on the street again.

I decide to head back to the car as those nerves are rather getting hold of me again. But I must be a little emboldened, as I’m thirsty as hell and so decide to grab a Coke from the village store.

I venture inside and find the chiller. At the shop counter there are two Asian lads in their 20s. I attract no noticeble reaction and am soon outside with a nice cold can of fizz.

On the way back to the car something nice happens. There’s a dark-haired girl walking towards me, 15, 16, 17. I’ve got my head down but I’m reminded of something I read on another T-girl blog, about how women are far more likely than men to look each other in the eye and smile, so I give it a go.

Lovely. She smiles right back, an honest, friendly warm smile. The highlight of Julia’s day.

But I decide that that’s enough for today. I really do have some Christmas shopping to be getting on with and I think I’ll be able to concentrate better as bloke. So I head off home, but not before stopping in the countryside to take a few snaps and then stopping again to de-wig, remove makeup and clamber back into my coat and jogging pants.

1pm:I manage to get back in the house with all my gear. I’m fretting about that missing nail. it really feels like it’s fallen somewhere like a timebomb waiting to explode. It takes a while for the remaining nails to soak off in hot water in the sink and then I lose another. Oh god! I’m really starting to swear, sweat and panic when I eventually find it and decide to put it away safely. Very safely.

So far I’ve split Julia’s clothes between a box in the loft and my under-the-bed drawer. But this panic  forces me to put the lot in the loft. I’m feeling the need to bury it for a while, at least until I can re-establish some equilibrium. It’s not the full purge and destroy feeling from the past, when I’ve consigned some gorgeous and expensive gear to the council rubbish skip, but it probably is related to that . .  a second cousin, perhaps.

I’m also starting to feel rather depressed, a not-too-uncommon downer I’ve experienced before after T-girl moments. It’s a combination of the uncertainty about that missing nail (is it still in the car?) and guilt about borrowing Dee’s coat and then being dishonest with her about what I’ve been up to this morning. I’ve been “economical with the truth” as they say, telling Dee I’m out Christmas shopping elsewhere. Much as I love the drug of dressing up I am finding it hard to reconcile it with my dishonesty towards someone I love so much and who has shown me so much love and understanding.

In this mood I delete all of the photos I took earlier form my camera. I wasn’t happy with them anyway . . . far to much “me” not enopugh Julia.

3pm: I’m in bloke shopping mode now and feeling really down. I’ve decided that Julia can have a rest until after Christmas, that I really need to think about these feelings, not to mention try to find that missing nail before anyone else does. I’ve searched again and still no luck. 

But I do one good deed for the day. I donate my faux fur coat to a charity shop. It was a lovely garment but just a fraction too small and now I hope it will do someone some good. I feel quite positive about that.

And so Julia’s latest day out comes to a close. Still no sign of that nail, but I am feeling a little less down.  Julia’s not gone away, but she does a need a rest for a while, it’s all been a bit intense.

One nice footnote: In bloke mode I did find a nice Secret Santa gift for a GG colleague. She was absolutely delighted and surprised . . . It got out who had bought whom what and she said it was the sort of gift she could only have imagined getting from another woman.

If only she knew . . . 

{December 10, 2007}   Location, location, location

In two days time I’ve got a whole day to myself . . . and you know what that means! Oh yes, another dressing up day ahead. Another outing.

And another village? Well, no actually, since you ask. Julia’s going out on the town.

I don’t know what it is . . . A growing confidence? The desire to just push things further and see how far I can go? A “**** you, this is who I am” attitude?

A combination of all three, I guess.

The plan had been to recreate the previous excursions but this time to a slightly bigger village than the ones Julia’s visited so far. I had one picked too, just under an hour away, and was all set when work sent me somewhere different this week, a rather charming, smallish market town, with a lovely old, picturesque church, lots of charity and clothes shops to browse and where the population has an average age of about 76. Perfect.

You see, I’ve come to the realisation that I am going to be clocked at some point. I don’t mean recognised, heaven forbid, but outed in the sense of “there’s a tranny” or “that bird’s a bloke”. I’ve got to accept that, I guess. Funny that when I look in the mirror as bloke I see a soft, unthreatening face, but in Julia mode I look quite severe at times, my masculine angles somehow accentuated by the softness of the make-up and wig.

Part of this is most likely down to the fact that I still have so much to learn about make-up. Fellow T-girl Lynn Jones helpfully pointed me in the direction of a great video hints ‘n’ tips site called which I’m hoping will help.

But if I am going to be spotted I would much rather it was somewhere small, genteel and civilised than some chav-infested metropolis. One T-girl I admire so much is Helena Love whose weekend trips around our great and glorious capital never fail to inspire and encourage.

Helena is very honest about her look (which I think is great, by the way, Helena – I can just never get comments to work on your site!) and about the reactions she gets from time to time. As she points out herself, bustling London is full of every mix of culture, colour and gender imaginable, so it may be a more tolerant environment for a T-girl to step out into . . . if you’re brave enough to come under the gaze of crowds of that size.

In my case I’m going to be visiting my small town on a school day and it’s such a quiet place that there’s not much for any remaining truants or tearaways to do in the town centre, so I’m hoping I’ll escape the attentions of the local chavs and chavettes. We’ll see. Quite how tolerant the average Tory-voting, Telegraph-reading retired general is remains to be seen too.

I still haven’t replaced my slightly too-glam fur coat yet (see my previous post), so will probably have to step out in that again . . . but at least I’ll be able to look for a replacement as Julia. And this will be the first time I’ve worn false fingernails (thanks again Lynn). They’re the self-adhesive type which, crucially, come off much easier than the sort where you have a separate pot of glue. Last night I sat and painted them a real deep purple (cue music!) and now they (and I) are ready for our next little Julia adventure.

When I run though it in my head I am, like, sooooooo excited. And not a little terrified too.

Don’t know when I’ll get to blog it . . . but it should make for an interesting day.

Till we meet again.

Julia P


et cetera