After dressing up to the nines on New Year’s Eve – and actually doing a pretty good job of my cosmetics – I’ve decided that I want to learn more about the mysterious arts of makeup – and so I’m inviting a professional beautician to my house, plus several of my girl friends, for a party!
New Year’s Eve, a few weeks ago now, wasn’t the celebration it was a year earlier. There was no Georgie looking radiant, there was no coming out to my closest male friend – and there was no gawjuss Dorothy outfit complete with ruby slippers.
But it wasn’t bad at all in the end. There was a murder mystery party – and there was a female character role up for grabs.
So along I tootled in a long black dress with opera gloves, black feather boa, new heels, new earrings and necklace. Oh, and a new pixie-cut wig, which cost about £200 when you include the stand, shampoo, conditioner and brush.
Most of the outfit was stuff I’d worn before – although not for a long time. I’ve been carrying a little too much weight the last few years, so it didn’t fit. The fact that my gorgeous LBD fit now again after dieting meant it was like having a new outfit.
Anyway, makeup! In the past, Georgie’s done my makeup – or a friend, or a previous partner. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did my own.
I do remember the first time. My mum had a book from the 1970s or early 1980s called Home Management. Inside were tips on everything from first aid to cookery. There was also a section on makeup, which gave basic tips on foundation, blusher and so on. Way too much blusher!
Back when I first dabbled – probably in the late 1980s/early 1990s, it did the trick. Now, on NYE 2016, I needed more guidance – I’d forgotten most of what I learned, and I needed much more up-to-date skills.
My makeup collection consists of hand-me-downs from friend Janice about 20 years ago – amazingly some of it still appears to be fine – and a few bits and bobs I’ve bought over the years. I also have a lipstick from my pal Sophia, and brushes, eyebrow pencils and a few other bits from Georgie from Christmas 2015.
Back in the days of Home Management, there was no such thing as the internet. Or, if there was, it certainly wasn’t widely available. Now there is – and there’s YouTube. And on there are hundreds if not thousands of makeup tutorials. How handy!
So, after shaving and getting dressed nice and early, I spent a little time trying to find one which could teach me how to do the basics – just a simple, everyday look with nothing too complicated.
There are trans makeup tutorials out there, too, but most of them concentrate on hiding the beard shadow (mine’s nearly all gone thanks to laser) and covering bushy male eyebrows (mine have had a female arch thanks to waxing and threading for several years).
I watched a few tutorials and settled on this one:
You wouldn’t believe how long it’s just taken me to find this video again!
Anyway, it’s brilliant. It’s by a beautiful girl called Kaushal (website here, YouTube channel here) and it was exactly what I needed on New Year’s Eve. It covers everything from foundation to eyes, lips and everything else.
For saying it’s an everyday makeup tutorial, there were quite a few items she used that I simply don’t have – highlighters and concealers, for example – so I just improvised with powders, eyeshadows and a bronzer that I do have and, amazingly, it worked!
I was really pleased with how my makeup turned out – and I went and won the Best Costume prize at the party by a big vote – might even have been unanimous, I can’t remember. I can remember winning a prize of five Lindt chocolate Santas – and my confidence being given a massive boost.
I was dressed as a woman with makeup to match, and I felt fantastic. On the downside, I drank far too much wine, which meant the murder mystery thing kind of passed me by. I’d post a picture of me in my finery, but ya know… *sigh* Hate you sometimes, society.
Mmmm, have just found the last of my chocolate Santas. It no longer exists.
Anyway, I had such a marvellous time (see a theme here – dress as a woman, feel fabulous?) that I decided I needed to learn more about makeup and that I wanted to go on a course.
I found one near me which was run on behalf of Mac – and there was a deal on Groupon, which meant it was only £29 for a three-hour course at a hotel. Perfect.
I emailed the organisers, the Association of Professional Makeup, just to ask a few questions and to check that I’d be OK going on it as a trans person with my cisgender female friend Michelle.
Four days later, they’d still not replied. So I wrote again. Two days later, still nothing. So I wrote yet again, adding: “I’d hate to think I wasn’t welcome because I’m transgender.”
That did the trick, and they finally replied:
Dear Andi, Thank you for your email. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, we have been extremely busy. Our Team have been trying to catch up with all the emails. We welcome everyone who wishes to attend our lessons. The lessons have a maximum capacity of 14 students. We look forward to seeing you both.
There was no name on it, and they’d misspelled Andie. Plus, with the delays, I was getting more uncomfortable with the idea. If I was to spend three hours with 13 cis girls (12 who I didn’t know) and a tutor, I wanted to feel VERY comfortable. Well, apart from the corsets, obvs.
A few days later, I was speaking to my ballet school principal Miss Sarah, and she mentioned a friend of hers, called Paulette, who does makeup professionally – both for the stage and for weddings etc. The eye makeup picture at the top is some of her work.
So I wrote to her on Facebook. I explained I was Miss Sarah’s friend and was looking to master the basics of makeup – and I asked her if she’d be willing to come to my house to host a makeup party.
To my delight, she was cool about the whole thing and said yes – £15 per head provided I could get at least four friends to come along – and I get to the be the model. She’ll start with the basics and then go on to more ambitious stuff, such as liners and fake lashes.
So, joining me on Saturday, March 4th, for an evening of cosmetics, wine and giggles will be the very lovely Carol, Jan, Michelle and now another friend who I only told about my trans side this week, Kay. There are several others I’m still waiting to hear from.
I’m pretty nervous – only Michelle has seen me dressed up before – but it should be a fabulous evening, and I intend to video the whole thing so that I can watch it back – there will be wine and my memory’s rubbish when I’ve had a few drinks.
I’ve also invited my three ballet teachers, past and present, and have a barre in my living room, so I’m hoping for some dance action, too, if they can come.
It all goes to underline that my girl friends are the best in the world – and that the trans “journey” is so much more fun and less scary when other women are walking each step with you.