I was sitting in a friend’s living room yesterday. She and her daughter welcomed me into their beautiful apartment having saved me from spending Christmas alone. Even though I’m Jewish, Christmas has been important in my life for more than thirty years. For a variety of not very mysterious reasons I’m not welcome with my wife’s family.
That make Christmas a lonely and dismal time for me and for so many other trans people who’ve been rejected by their own family or a spouse’s family, by children who are angry, upset or just plain non-accepting. Banished from hearth and home we make do with the company of friends. It may lack the warmth of a Norman Rockwell painting, but frankly even when I was welcome it lacked that.
Two years I was almost welcome. I had started my transition but wasn’t full time yet, and I still had male clothing and could fit into it. All my mother in law wanted was for me to show up as a man and breathe not a word about my situation. My spouse, to her great credit, told her mother that the ship had sailed. I wished my spouse to have a good time at her mom’s and I don’t recall any activity around the holiday. Last year and this year there was no point, and her mom is ailing and definitely doesn’t need the conflict.
Three years ago I thought I was going. The wife had told me the conditions (show up in male mode, don’t talk about it) and I had agreed. I was hoping to see our daughter and figured I could run away after a day or two if things were rough. Closer to the holiday I ended up on the phone with my mother in law who kept asking me if I was going to meet her conditions. She asked over and over again despite my telling her I was going to. I was so uncomfortable I stayed home; dramatically afraid I would be watched like a hawk and evicted at the slightest infraction. We both stayed home and had a nice Christmas eve dinner at Le Petit Robert. After a bit the waitress even understood I really speak some French, so I had fun with that as well.
The conversation at my friend’s place was wide ranging but a fair percentage was about trans issues. Her daughter had gone full time a year ago, and I originally met them at First Event in 2014. She and I had a lovely time talking and have stayed in touch since.
One of the subjects was that at least some transwomen put enormous effort into many aspects of their presentation but think as long as the hair is long, it’s feminine. For my part I had never really thought much about it and as I’m in my fifties, having really long hair isn’t a typical look. I go with shoulder length and frankly that’s enough work!
I needed to see some examples and an iPhone was passed along with pictures of various young twenty something transwomen. To a girl they all had great makeup and their faces were mostly extremely passable, but in many cases the hair was awful.
My message to my fellow trans women is this. If you don’t know what style is going to flatter your face, and since you’re doubtless new at this and won’t, go to a stylist and get a good feminine hair cut and instructions and keeping it up. Whatever you do, don’t style it like you’re still a dude. I saw one poor girl with a very male part to her hair and it was not helping.
I wish I had specific advice but I don’t. I know some things to do with my frizzy curly hair to tame it and make it presentable. I’ve gotten this way by seeing a good colorist that makes my hair and hairpiece match pretty perfectly. I’ve talked with folks about products and I use them. It’s totally crazy but if you want good hair in this era it is expected.