This is a rerun, so it’s now a bit longer since Dee first went out.
Yesterday was my four year anniversary of going out on a regular basis. Please indulge me while I take a look back.
In October 2016 my wife was away for four days; mid-day Monday to mid-day Thursday. I was extremely nervous about going out, but equally determined to make it happen. I planned my outing for the two months prior, and ended up with a four item “bucket list”:
- Shopping; and
- New wig.
Prior to these four days, I had only been out a couple of times, a couple of brief outings on Halloween and a day-and-a-half in San Francisco (including my first ever Makeover). Doing this was a GIGANTIC step for me.
I scheduled the manicure first, on Monday afternoon, so I would be “pot committed” (in poker terms) to follow through on the last three items. I went to the salon as a guy, and was ready to use a cover story that I was doing it for Halloween.
However, my nail tech, Cailee, was so friendly, I went with the truth, and told her my plans. She said what I was doing sounded great and a lot of fun (she was right). She asked me what I planned to wear, so I showed her a picture, and she picked a color to match. Even though I was getting my nails done in the middle of the store, I wasn’t nervous.
I was so pumped about getting my nails done I went home and got dressed, and decided to return to the salon to show Cailee in person and buy the nail polish–and I did. Cailee was complimentary and took my picture, and her co-worker (also friendly) took the picture of the two of us. All of the sudden being out in public wasn’t so daunting.
On Tuesday I had a afternoon makeover at Sephora. I was nervous walking in, wearing the black top and skirt (and no makeup), but I managed. Julie, the MUA, was fabulous. She walked me through the steps. I wrote notes, and I loved the look. I now knew what steps to take, plus the right foundation and right products (not cheap, but oh so worth the cost). The makeover gave me confidence I could do my own makeup.
Following the makeover I floated over to Nordstrom. I had told them I was coming and they prepared a room with about 15 dresses. I was in heaven. For fifty years I had wanted to try on dresses and see how they looked on me, and now it was happening. A bigger bonus was meeting Falon, my sales angel. She made me feel at home, and gave me loads of support and understanding (and eventually friendship).
I planned to go to Nordstrom only one day, but because of various reasons (and the biggest one was Falon’s friendly nature), I returned both Wednesday and Thursday. I tried on the red floral dress and loved it, and it’s still my favorite dress.
On Wednesday I made an appointment with a wig shop. Once again, I went in dressed. The assistant wasn’t overly friendly but she was helpful. I tried on several wigs but then found the “one”. It helped complete my look.
There is a saying that every journey starts with a first step. These four days were my first steps.
I went from being fearful to go out to anticipating when I could go out next.
I expected scorn but received acceptance and encouragement.
I’ve been out a couple of hundred times since, in stores, restaurants, bars, hotels, concerts, trains–and even Hamilton–and have never had an issue.
I’ve received compliments on my taste in clothing, my look, and definitely my legs, often from strangers I haven’t met before.
I’ve made friends and the SAs (and even a store manager) at Nordstrom enjoy seeing me, and a colorful SA in Melbourne calls me “her favourite customer”.
I found the confidence to go out from blogs like Kandi’s, and from posts on message boards. I went from being afraid to even posting messages on message boards, to going out–and then to posting my stories and pictures here for all to possibly see (and to Kandi calling me a “lucky sonofagun”).
My fondest hope is that someone reads my stories and decides, “I can do that too.”
The last four years has been a lot of fun.
Go out and make your own fun.
Editorial comment: This pleases me greatly to know I had a little (very little) to do with helping someone, who happened to become a friend! Pretty cool!!
Dee, I loved this account of your outings which just oozed positivity. Once again, you’ve proved that female acceptance is there for the taking – it’s just a case of playing the game by their rules!
And you look sensatonal in the final photo in the purplish dress!
Now almost two years after writing this post, and almost six years of getting out, my hope remains the same, that someone out there decides it’s their turn.
In the last two years, I’ve been out frequently, at least a hundred times. I’m going to Pride in St. Louis today, was out dressed in Chicago the last two days, and at my former college the day before that (stories coming to a blog near you). A week ago Saturday I went to a concert.
Probably my biggest change is expanding my comfort zone in terms of styles. I’ve learned to love summer clothes, like spaghetti strap dresses and tops, and other clothes that show bare shoulders and a lot more skin. They’re fun and colorful and cooler and I have learned not to care.
What remains the same is being bold and going to stores for help. The Sephora makeover was the best thing I did. Call them, or Ulta or MAC or whoever and make an appointment–and then go. Find a friendly wig shop–I’ve bought another wig I love–and go. Find a friendly store and book a style session–and then go.
Ask yourself, if not now, when? And if you want to do it tomorrow, why not today?
My ONLY regret is I didn’t do it sooner.