The Clothes Make the Man

And the clothes, makeup, shoes, and jewelry make the woman?

Not to perpetuate cliches or gender binary standards, but I am kind of a cliche. What I mean is as a woman I am traditionally feminine, rather than the young hipster neither-here-nor-there kind of in-betweener, jelly-beaner kind of vibe.

Because I am not young or a hipster, mainly, but also because I’ve always gravitated toward the traditionally feminine.

be ready in a minute

So to make me look the way I want to look (or as close as I can get right now to how I want to look), there are a lot of moving parts. And they all have to come together at the same time. All the time. When they do, I feel okay. When they don’t, I’d rather not go out.

Last week I was in Palm Springs at a medical joint with Carol and one of the nurses said, “Ma’am? You have to wait outside.” To me. Probably because I was wearing makeup and a skirt and bracelets and carrying a purse – the whole rigamarole. The whole picture.

The more secondary sexual characteristics – or gender visual cues – I can fling out at the world, the more likely the world is to see me as female. And I need a lot of help. Like I said, there are a lot of parts needed to make one Hannah.

Evidence of that happened the next day when I was out with Carol again, but I was wearing pants and a regular man shirt. No rigamarole. And a woman said to me, “Dude! Your hair! Women would love to have that hair. Men always have the good hair.”

So I was called “ma’am” and “dude” about 30 hours apart. My fingernails are long, my hair is long, but without the other building blocks, I was “dude.” Which is to be expected. I know I have to try real hard not to look like a dude. But even why I try real hard, I can’t erase all the dude.

And I’ll tell you, I don’t know anything about makeup. Which isn’t good for someone who needs it as much as I do. I mean, I just kind of wing it, and it’s not good. I was looking at myself the other day thinking, “I’ve got to learn how to cover this beard shadow,” because it’s a bit much.

I might be the only one who notices it, but I still don’t want it to be there on the front of my face, so I turned where everyone turns to learn something new: YouTube. And YouTube did teach me how to cover the beard shadow (a lengthy five-step process involving a bunch of products I didn’t have), but it also told me that I’m doing everything else wrong.

Which I already knew, but I don’t want to do everything wrong forever, so I’m trying to learn. And doing makeup right involves a giant pile of products, none of which come for free in cereal boxes. As a lot of you out there know all too well. One of the many things a lot of girls (and some boys) learned when they were 12 years old.

So that’s kind of where I am. Trying to learn things that 12-year-old girls are learning. But 12-year-olds have a lot of advantages over me. Like their skin isn’t all saggy and they don’t have beards. Most of them. I don’t want to generalize. 😉

But all I can do is hang in there and trust that it will get better. My makeup skills, my clothes, my body, my everything. My being. It’s just a time thing. I’ve waited half a century, but now suddenly I’m incredibly impatient about everything. Ha.

Which reminds me, last week I wrote about being nervous about going to the Desert AIDS Project to get signed up and start seeing doctors. Well, I got myself all glammed up – or rather, semi-presentable – and showed up, but the dude I was supposed to see wasn’t there. And I didn’t want to wait through their lunch hour to see someone else, so that was a wash.

All that nervousness wasted. Well, now I know where to go and what the place looks like, so maybe I’ll be less nervous next time. Eh, unlikely. But hopefully, I’ll be back down there this week.



  1. Idk if it’s any consolation but I’ve been watching makeup tutorials for 15 yrs and I’m still no good at doing make up.

    • My thoughts about makeup have changed so much from the before times to now. Before I started hormone replacement therapy, I was very wrapped up in what I’d do to make myself appear feminine. But about a year into HRT, everything changed. What I felt about myself changed. I felt happy with who I am from the inside out, and it dawned on me that’s all that matters. I haven’t worn makeup since. I probably will in the future for fun once this @$%!# electrolysis is over. But now I go bare-faced.

      What I really came to realize is I’ve always been a hippie punk, and hormones don’t change that style. So I go out now wearing whatever. Sometimes fem, sometimes not so much. Sometimes a mixture of both. I think they used to call it “finding yourself.” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *