Field Notes In/On Transition.
Hair colour, Pride, and comfortable shoes.
August, thus far has been a bit hotter and stickier here in the “Groovy ‘Couv,” than the previous couple of months... my brain is a tub of molasses, it seems. Hopefully it will cool down so I can get back to posting as regularly as I have been all summer.
It’s “Pride Week” or for me really, the weekend at least, I went to the parade yesterday (Sunday, August 5th), after missing it last year due to extreme laziness. But this year I am feeling a bit more proud of myself, and I had a pal to hang out with and see the parade. I often end up going to things like this alone, and feeling less included than I ought to. More on that in a bit, first let me rewind to Saturday and talk about taking another one of those things that for me, is a big step on my journey: having a real “hair appointment.” (there’s a Bugs Bunny reference there somewhere)
I went down to one of those salons (The former “Joji’s” now called “Manifesto”) on The Drive that I’ve always stared wistfully into; seeing ladies getting highlights, style, flipping through magazines, yakking with the stylists and all the stereotypical things I imagined go on in real salons. As a dude, I’ve always gone for the cheapest haircuts I could find, and even then, only once or twice a year. (except when I was in Japan, and I often used those places where you would put the 1000 yen note in a vending machine, get a number and get your haircut by an ex-con) Here in Vancouver I usually would go to Sorrento’s over on Hastings. Get the old Italian barber treatment, for $15 or so.
The main thing I wanted to do though going to the “lady salon” (they do have lots of male customers too I imagine) was get my hair properly coloured, get rid of the grey. I didn’t get much of a style, and can’t get it to look like it did for those few minutes after it was done blown dry, styled properly, but I never expected to be able to. I really enjoyed the entire experience though, sitting there in the chair with the foil in my hair, flipping through fashion magazines, and overhearing all kinds of girl talk going on in the salon.
I really felt like I was part of the club, rather than the clumsy oafish intruding wanna-be that I always assumed I would be. My stylist helped me choose some colour, that I’m now very happy with. She made me feel really comfortable with each step of the process, and gave me a lot of tips about how to look after my now treated hair, and promised to be open to my coming in and getting more hair care tips between appointments. It was definitely the longest time I ever spent in a salon, and of course the most I’ve ever spent on a style/cut. It is also though one of the most satisfying experiences of my transition thus far.
I’m actually pretty excited to go to work and get feedback from those ladies (a few of my regular customers) who’ve been after me to take that step and have my hair match my new style of dress. It is pretty weird to not see the grey when I look in the mirror, but that’s because I’ve been at least a bit grey since I was in my 20’s. I feel like I look a bit younger than my 45 years, now as well, but that just might be the non grey talking. I feel 45, and don’t feel bad about that at all.
My only regret from “Style Day” was that I had no plans after wards to maybe go out somewhere and show off my new ‘do. I did stop off at work to show off a bit, but was not in the mood to go out and party, so I grabbed a cold beer from the cold beer and wine place, and went home and had a very relaxing evening on my own. Pride parade in the sweltering 30ish long weekend weather being the next day.
I almost wore my red party dress to the parade, but changed my mind and went for a more casual (not necessarily more comfortable) look, dressed as I do most days, at work or play, my favourite jean skirt, and a cute sleeveless top that I had yet to wear. I am PROUD to be able to wear that kind of thing everyday. Not so long ago, I thought It would never be the case. But it is. So I don’t regret that decision at all. The only glam I added to my usual look was a little pink lipgloss.
I managed to find the people I was hanging out with for the parade quickly and easily, and we found a good spot on Denman, near Davie, in the shade for most of the parade. The weirdest thing about the parade, was that I chose not to take any photos, for once. I actually watched the parade, rather than spending my time looking for the best pictures I could take. The parade wasn’t so different from other years, I thought, other than there seemed to be a few Orgs marching who I hadn’t seen before, like Border Guards, Corrections, and hearteningly a whole lot of Unions, Teachers, Public sector, and so on. Nice to see solidarity in a parade like that.
After 2 hours though, I had to leave the parade that seemed to me like it might not have an end. My feet were killing me, despite wearing my most sensible shoes. I had made a plan to meet up over in Stanley park with a facebook friend who was a high school class mate of mine, Cindi, who is up here visiting her sister and their family. Finding them in Stanley Park, where I never spend any time, other than maybe occasionally walking the seawall, or biking, same, was a bit of a chore, but we found each other and hung out for a few hours. I even bought a jade bracelet in a tourist shop.
I didn’t get any Pride swag, but I got some nice jewelry. We sat on the grass and caught up, chatted, then walked up the seawall stopping by the 9 o’clock gun, and watching a seal and some cormorants do what they do in the water. It was nice and clear, and you could see Mt. Baker in the distance, past the docks. It was very pleasant, such a nice family to spend the afternoon with. When they headed off home, I thought about heading over to the beach to check out the post Pride events and info booths, etc, but my feet and brain were pointing me homeward, so I trudged back down to Robson, at 5pm, half expecting the parade to be still going. :p
I grabbed some water, and a really good turkey smokie from a food-cart along the way, realizing I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I felt a bit stronger, and continued my trudge to the skytrain, where a guy gave let me have a seat, like I was “real lady”, (or maybe he could see how old, tired, and sweaty I was/felt) or something. I took it gratefully. I even had some bus karma when I got to Commercial and got the connecting #20 that I almost always just miss when getting of the skytrain.
In the evening, after returning a call from my brother, and having a really good chat with him and his fiancee, I snacked on some pita and Hummus, with an ice cold “Asahi Supa Dry” and watched a bit of the Olympics, including the 100 metre race.
I have some small regrets that I haven’t participated a bit more in the whole Pride thing, but am very happy with my weekend. On Wednesday I’m going to see both my “T- Doctor”, to see how the upped level of anti androgen is going; and in the evening after work, I’m heading downtown to see one of my heroes perform - Kate Bornstein. I may even take one of her books for her to sign, if she’s doing such a thing after the reading/performance.
Things are good.