Frequently Exhilarated, Often Exhausted

Let’s read it again!  This was written a while ago, so a few things may have changed.

I cherish each and every Kandi outing I get.  While I often do the same thing when out, every experience is so different.  I have talked about my desire to get my mug in front of as many people as possible.  On a two hour Kusama shift, for example, I see at least 400 people, usually more than that.  Four hundred people that I greet, speak to, smile at and/or engage in a conversation.  I don’t skimp on presentation either, so I am usually in heels.  Most volunteer gigs have me standing, except that comfortable desk at the science center.  It is rare that I am just quietly out.

Also when I am dressed, I am “on”.  I never let my guard down.  I am at minimum aware of my surroundings for safety reasons (be smart).  I am also aware that I represent all of my sisters when out, I always want to leave a good impression.  Kandi is a bit of a performance.  Yes, she is me and I am her, no doubt.  But I am also more outgoing, a bigger personality that I normally am.

Things hurt when I am dressed.  Clip-on earrings, over time, become painful.  I have this Clark Kent thing going on.  I wear glasses, bifocals.  Kandi wears contacts, purely for vanity purposes.  My eyes are not conducive to wearing contacts long term.  Eventually, on a long outing, my eyes tire or on occasion, become very uncomfortable.  I have focusing issues in contacts.  You have seen a few Kandi photos in glasses.  For cost purposes, Kandi’s glasses are either distance or reading.  Therefore, I cannot see well when wearing her glasses. My typical pair of glasses (bifocals) cost well over $800, so she has to make a concession.

When dressed, I treat my body differently that I would otherwise.  While I am 100% comfortable using the ladies room, I avoid doing so whenever possible.  Also without getting graphic, I am, shall we say, not as loosely underdressed than I would be otherwise.  I don’t eat as much as I would normally when out and chose only items that I can consume in a “put together” lady-like fashion.  I am often slightly physically uncomfortable when dressed.  At my age, when you deny yourself the opportunity to “go” you sometimes don’t get that opportunity back again.

We have talked before about the time invested in just being out as Kandi.  The work and thought associated with the day’s outfit assembly.  Shaving, shaving, shaving…… Makeup and getting dressed.  The commute to wherever I am going (usually at least 30 minutes one way).  Returning home and how I do that.  Getting cleaned up and putting everything away.  That point was driven home to me as I spent a good two minutes getting ready for Mass with my wife the other Sunday, while she was still applying makeup in the car after 45 minutes in the bathroom.

Kandi is a labor of love.  She lifts me to highs, different than highs associated with family and friends, but highs nonetheless.  A simple complement or as we talked about in my Pandemonium post, touching and deeply meaningful complements, lift me, thrill me to no end.  I am honored, blessed and exhilarated by my Kandi experiences.

But…….I am often exhausted.  Tired.  Beat.  I still have a job, still have household responsibilities, still cherish my time with my wife, children and friends.  No day is complete without daily exercise, usually a run or at least 45 minutes of activity.  My male interests have gone nowhere, I still love a good game.  And oh yeah, I am old!

Kandi, The Great Time Sponge, frequently exhilarating and often exhausting!

You Just Never Know

Yesterday I had a physical scheduled. My doctor, my first real such doctor, is located in my hometown. Under any circumstances except the office location, I would have taken my physical as Kandi. But you never know when a neighbor or friend might walk in, but I did go in stealth Kandi mode. Basically I was dressed, with a running pullover allowing for some plausible deniability, with the exception of hair and makeup. I am just now establishing a relationship with my doctor (a woman) and I want to be able to trust her. Well, let me tell you, I have the best doctor imaginable! After having the assistant do a few things and run an EKG, requiring me to remove my bra (she was sweet as well), my doctor entered the room. I was all put back together. I met her last year for a referral on my achilles, but given my crappy memory, didn’t remember much about the visit.

Well, let’s see….she’s a runner, ran the Cleveland Marathon half, is a lesbian and about the same age as me. Instant connection! My attire, a nonissue, although I opened the door for a few questions about transitioning and things like that. I appear to be in tip top health, have to (finally) get a colonscopy (I’m about eight years late on this) and ended the appointment with a hug. We’ll both be at Pride weekend next Saturday, so I told her to look for me.

Frankly I was nervous about the visit (only because it was in my hometown), but once I got into the office and out of the waiting room, I was at ease.

Bathrooms

My friend Paula, in a recent e-mail, asked me to talk about my experience with bathrooms while out. Happy to (although it took me a few months to do so)!

First of all, I have no idea what Ohio law is regarding the use of bathrooms and could not care less. When I am dressed, I am a woman and I use the ladies room. Here are a few common sense rules I follow.

  1. Minimize the use of the bathroom when out. I know I use the restroom less frequently when I am out dressed for a number of reasons. I am aware of it so I consume less liquid. And I’ll be delicate here, when tucked, I cannot operate as easily as I would otherwise. So I am able to hold things longer than usual.
  2. Be smart about it. Get in and out. Don’t linger. We all like to touch up our lipstick or fix our hair before leaving the restroom, getting that female experience. The restroom is not the place to take risks. If it’s crowded, just wash up and leave. Get a feel for the others there. I have had other ladies engage me in conversations, I have even had a conversation with a young lady while she changed her dress in front of me. But I never assume anything. I act like I belong, but do what I need to do and leave.
  3. When I am in a public restroom and young children enter, I stay put. If I happen to be in a stall, I stay until they children leave. If I see them entering before me, I wait. If they enter while I am washing up, I quickly finish and leave. It’s all about being smart here as well. Nothing good can happen in this situation with children involved, it will only be nothing or something negative.
  4. I always carry Purell in my purse, which allows me to skip the hand washing process when needed. Depending on the situation, I apply my Purell in the stall and simply exit when finished.
  5. Focus on what you need to do, not who is in there with you. When using the mirror, I tend to my business and leave. I’m not in there trying to make friends or watch what someone else is doing. There is a big wide world out there to do that.
  6. Walk in, lock the stall, do your business and get out in an appropriate fashion.
  7. I spend quite a bit of time at the art museum. I know a ladies room in a corner of the building that is not often used due to its location. I’ve probably been alone in there at least 20 times. That is my bathroom as I know the odds of an issue are minimal. Use the more isolated facility.
  8. For goodness sake, do not take selfies in the ladies room. Do I need to explain?
  9. Act like a woman, look like a woman. Women, shall we say, make noise when they pee. They use toilet paper. You get the point. Keep your feet pointed straight and together as many women have their panties and/or hose down around their legs forcing this stance. And NEVER stand to pee.
  10. Pay attention to where you are. Read the room. There are establishments where I might be hesitant. There are other places where I am just one of the girls. For example in a volunteer situation, I have already been accepted as a woman, so I am more comfortable. At a play in an upscale theater, I’d be more careful. That is more of a general public situation, caution is advised in those situations.
  11. Using the ladies room is not a bucket list item. It is part of being a human being. Treat it accordingly.

This all really boils down to simple common sense. Act like you belong and the odds are pretty good that no one will pay you any attention. For me, it’s no different than my rules for going out in general, be smart, appropriate and confident. Just remember, everyone is in the restroom for a reason. Take care of your business and get out of there.

One editorial comment. We all want to get to that place where out attire is not an issue. Behaving in the ladies room is the first and biggest step to that day.

A Query From Pricilla – Part Two

Hi Kandi, Thanks for your response. By doing make up so often you also must be good at removing it!!! I find removers and soap very irritable to my skin. Maybe you can help there as well. Looking forward to your response. Hugs, PBK

Obviously, every one’s skin is very different. I am not immune from irritation when removing my makeup, but I do have a routine that works best for me.

So once I get home and get everything off, the first thing I attack are my eyes. I use a oil free eye makeup remover I get from Walmart, of course. I get their “Equate” brand. It is essentially the same as the Neutrogena brand, only much cheaper. I half soak a cotton ball and hold in on the eye, to begin loosening up my mascara and liner. Then I wipe, gently, until everything is removed. I currently have two eyes (although neither one works very well), so I do it again on the other eye. This is very important, no matter how well you do at this, odds are you will still leave some mascara or eyeliner behind. Make sure, maybe the next morning, you lightly wipe your eyes. You’d be surprised.

Lipstick is removed using the Equate makeup remover wipes. You can use tissue if you’d like. Then I hit the shower, it’s just easier than doing it over the sink. I get a wash cloth and put some body wash on it, one that exfoliates to kill two birds with one stone. Scrub everything, rinse and I’m done! I can tear down in about 15 minutes. The last thing I do before I am done is moisturize my face. For that I use a Gold Bond lotion. This is done more because of what I went through to get ready in terms of a close shave. That shave is not my favorite part and wearing makeup seems to help, until that makeup is removed. A very close shave, for me, is painful. Makeup seems to make my face feel good, but once scrubbed off, I am a bit raw. The lotion is very important. I rarely shave between outings for a few reasons. One is simply to allow my face to recover from the multiple shaves that go into a close shave. Secondly, when seen in public, I generally have stubble and/or the beginning of a beard. That help form the mental image of me in other’s minds, so if they see me or think they see something, it usually doesn’t register. I am not saying this is foolproof, but so far, so good!

Pricilla, if soap and removers are irritable, I am not sure what the alternatives are. Maybe you need to keep up with a twice daily moisturizing routine. I hope this helped.

As a further question to your make up response: What type of razor do you use: electric or blade? And….don’t your feet hurt after a day in heels!!!!!
Hugs, Pricilla

One must remember, everyone’s face is different. I generally shave twice when I go out and what I do depends. For example, if I go out on a Wednesday, after my two day workweek, I have a beard as I mentioned above. I rarely shave on work days and usually my last previous outing would be the last time I have shaved. Therefore I get out the shaving gel and the Quattro and go at it. If it is after Wednesday, I’ll take the electric and give it a shave. Then I use one of my electric leg razors to get under my nose. In either case, that is shave no. 1. Then I go into the shower, get the water good and hot, use hair conditioner for shaving cream and do it again, this time as close as possible. Oh yeah, all this shaving sucks for me! My facial hair grows in so many different directions and is course, it’s not pleasant. This is a principal reason I don’t do extended days or 24/7. I did that on one day recently at Keystone and practically need a blood transfusion to recover!

Do heels hurt my feet? Of course they do! They hurt everyone and anyone that wears heels. No one is exempt from pain. The amount of pain varies on the amount of walking, the shoes themselves, what I am standing on, etc… I do my best to minimize the pain. There is a toe taping (not toe tapping) routine that helps. Google it as I want you to get accurate information. We all know everything on the internet is true…..

I am long past wearing a pair of shoes for looks. They, of course, must match my outfit, but I always dress for comfort. That is why I own so many black shoes, they generally go with almost anything. A comfortable pair of black and nude heels and you can make almost anything work! My heel lengths have gotten shorter and shorter. It’s about being who I am, presenting myself as I wish, not about the act of wearing women’s clothing or a particular item.

And there you have it!!

Good Bye, Old Friend….

Let’s say farewell to one of my all-time favorite dresses with a little photo retrospective.

The photo on the right was from October, 2015 at the Erie Sisters Gala. It was early on for me and it shows. The other photo was a few months later (my wardrobe was limited back then) in which I took a more casual spin on the dress, at a local holiday flea. By the way, you can see that I was a blonde (dirty blonde, actually) in the past.

July 2017 I wore the dress to church and then to a community luncheon we used to have in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood.

Finally, the recent event for The Littlest Heroes.

Today I was going to have run a post about my adventures picking up my race package prior to the marathon (which I have always done dressed), which would have included a great photo at their photo spot and then some other plans I had afterward. But I simply wasn’t feeling it that day. I went to get everything as myself and headed back home. The night before I had attended a concert (saw The Revivalists, I cannot recommend them enough!) and we were dog sitting for our daughter. I had a few that evening and arrived home later than I normally would. Plus the dog sleeps in the bed and doesn’t always allow for a sound sleep for my wife and/or me. On top of everything, it was a drab and grey day, further adding to my weariness. Given the two races I had ahead of me, I took it easy and rested.

Here are my two previous pre-marathon photos. I had an outfit all picked out and ready to go too!

Well, suffice as to say that I didn’t qualify for Boston. It was a very hot and humid day, little relief from the sun. Sadly, a 23 year old woman died a mile from the finish. My result was very good, but again, since my secret identity can be discovered by being specific, let’s just say I did pretty well for an old coot. The best part of the run, at about mile 19, a 19 year old and I hooked up and pushed each other, which probably resulted in me saving a good 5 minutes in time. But youth won out and at about mile 24 I told him to go as my legs weren’t as spry as they had been. We hugged at the finish. The whole weekend was a huge success!

I’m not sure if this will ring true for many out there, but the race is the absolute “it” for me. Kandi is a HUGE part of my life, the only reason I am able to compete and a joy for me. But given the choice between the two (acknowledging that family always trumps everything), I will always select a race, the right race though. I have moved past racing just to race (just as I have moved past getting dressed just to get dressed), having well over 100 competitive races behind me. I now pick the races I want to run because of the challenge, or the course, or the field, or the charity, or for whatever reason. Concerts are second, Kandi adventures third. To have these passions and be able to participate in them is indeed a blessing, one I never, ever take for granted.

Marie’s Prom Dress Story

By Marie Anne Greene

It was many years after the two preceding memorable adventures and between the one described below.  This was the partial and first attempt to finally don a PROM gown with all the dreams and hopes that this first step from teen aged girlhood toward the threshold entry into womanhood.  I have always admired full-length gowns had witnessed in the Dry-Cleaners window the way to work after school.  In all those intervening years never had an opportunity to do anything more than admire these exquisite demonstrations of femininity.  After many years, was presented with the opportunity during a business trip.

Was projected to head home in four days and was taking a short cut through an Up-Scale department store.  There in the center court was a SALE sign that was almost glowing with its vibrant colors.  Definitely eye catching – At least mine!  There on a circle rack were about half a dozen Prom Gowns looking a little forlorn and picked over.  Prom season had passed two weeks previously and these were the remnants.  Could quickly see why most were still there rather than being in a girl’s closet.  Most colors were glaring garish – Glowing Orange, Bright Green, Flaming Purple and Sun-bright Yellow.  There was one – a totally opposite element of the rainbow spectrum – In fact it may not even be considered in this august array.  It was pure scarlet with high waist, flaring skirt adding to my feminine curvature descending to just below the knee.  Was captivated with possibilities and paid the salesgirl with a comment that my niece had missed the big event having been in the hospital doing the festive period.

When reached my hotel room on the interior fifth floor of a spacious galleria, quickly shed my male attire, plunged into the shower and just as quickly emerged and slid into the potential heart racing cloud of rayon and net.  After snuggling it down over my shoulders and on to my hips reached behind and began working the zipper up my back.  Was in imagination heaven when the upward progress abruptly ended.  Tried to move the zipper higher but only achieved less than a centimeter.  Sadly, realized no further progress was possible.  My rib cage and bust line exceeded that of the dress.  Reversed the process and let it glide to the floor and stepped out of its shimmering circle.  Examined it for possible solutions.  Found there were four “Darts”, two on either side of rib cage area.  An idea occurred.  Turned the gown inside out, located the darts and using a razor blade very carefully cut the stiches which collectively allowed the combined darts to expending the rib cage area by approximately four inches.  Using the hotel iron, steamed the dart areas and ironed them smooth.  The overall “operation” was a success and was our Gal was able to now fully zip up the gown.

Now to consider where to show it off. — First came the proper feminine face.  This did not take long, a light foundation, eye brow pencil, mascara, blusher and light pink lipstick – my favorite color.  All touched off with a fragrant floral perfume.

Decided to begin this adventure with a slow walk around the hotel balcony, then descend to the Palm studded open artemin and bar area in the main glass enclosed elevator.  Then remembered needed to add a few things to complete look and the feel – Quickly found a matching purse and wrap, slide-on the irreplaceable engagement ring and the diamond studded wrist watch, added dangling earrings and of course a few more sprays of perfume.  Finally tucked some cash into the tiny cocktail purse.  Did not drop the car keys into the tiny purse, would not be driving, however did double check that the room cards were safely in the purse.  Did not want to be locked out!  Took a few long moments to calm my pulse and the beating of my heart, however could not completely chill-out as was nervous to be making this debut.  Looked in the mirror at the smiling and graceful reflection.  Slowly collected my emotions, expectations (and trepidations) and with my heels clicking in a measured beat made my way to the glass elevator.  It was empty as it slowly descended to Atrium which itself was essentially bare of guests.

Exited the glass capsule and strolled to the center of the expanse accompanied by the tell-tale click of the heels and the slight rustle of the under skirt.  It was early in the evening and the expanse was empty. The bartender saw me coming and smiled broadly.  Was briefly panicked, but it passed almost instantly as I knew I looked wonderful – totally feminine in walk, appearance and confidence.  In response to his greeting and query as to my choice of drink, chirped a “Flute of Champagne would be perfect”.  As he departed to fetch the drink, fished several crisp folded bills from my pursue to pay.  When he placed the napkin and the chilled crystal goblet in front of my stool, thanked him, slide the cash forward and quietly stated “No Change”.

Then took out my phone and proceeded to call a Girl Friend and talked forever with an occasional brief walk to admire one of the nearby paintings which were displayed on tripods.  After about twelve minutes the flute was close to being empty and I placed it on the bar, ordered a second after which after enjoying the bubbly liquid and again paying the bartender, gathered my wrap, tossed it over my left shoulder, scooped up the purse and camera and waving the bartender a finger “bye” strolled to the far exit and ascended to my room in the conventional rear elevator.  Another adventure into a wonderful slice of the feminine experience – Almost Ecstasy.