Coloring Outside the Lines

I have FABULOUS eyebrows.


Yes, I love how I look.  Yes, I know it gets annoying.  But I work hard to have the body that I have.  Are there parts I wish I could change?  Sure, but as I get older I find it harder to think of what those changes could be.  Ten years ago I would have loved to be eight inches shorter, my shoulders less broad and my hands smaller but I don’t believe in passing and I am beautiful no matter how tall I am.  (I do wish I could wear a smaller shoe size so I could expand my heels collection, but you can’t win them all.)

I take care of my skin, I moisturize, and I exfoliate.  I do this because my skin is, well, skin is important.  A good makeover starts with good skin.  You need to take care of your skin at all times, not just the day of a makeover.  Your dentist knows if you just start flossing two days before your check-up.  Your makeup artist knows when you started to exfoliate.

Corrie Dubay of Femme Makeovers has written about skin care in her newsletter and she has kindly given permission to reprint her writings.  You can (and should) read them here.

Many men regard skin care as a “girl” thing.  Now, I have noticed that many men also have skin so the idea that taking care of your skin is something that only women do is kind of baffling to me.  Like leggings, clean and healthy skin that is well taken care of feels amazing and, like leggings, is something too many men won’t ever experience.

Taking care of my skin is something that both of my genders benefit from.  It helps with shaving and ingrown hairs and makes it easier to apply foundation.

There may be things that many of us want to do with our skin, our bodies, and our wardrobe that we are hesitant to do because it might leave, well, let’s call it evidence, of our femme side.  Skin care is not one of those things, however.  I don’t think anyone looks at my pores and thinks that I have beautiful dresses in my closet because I take care of my skin.

I also don’t care most people think.  It’s easy to not care what others think when you don’t actually know what others think.

Accepting yourself goes hand in hand with giving no regard to what others might think about you.  But for those of us in relationships our partners and their feelings are important and must be taken into consideration.  You might not care if anyone notices leftover traces of your bright red nails while you are in male mode, but your wife might not be comfortable with that.

In male mode I never really liked my eyebrows.  They were thick, bushy and curly and were growing closer with each passing year.  But I never really noticed them until I started wearing makeup and realized at how much they stood out.  Do you need to have pencil-thin eyebrows to be a woman?  To be beautiful?  Of course not.  There are no expectations or standards one must meet to identify as female.  Eyebrows are also one of those things that have trends that come and go pretty frequently.  My eyebrows might be stylish today but might be soooooo 2018 in a couple of days.

I like to keep my eyebrows well-maintained.  It drives me crazy when they look unruly as the stray hairs start to grow back.  There’s really no getting around the fact that if you do start to shape, thin and/or arch your brows they will look more feminine which is exactly the effect some of us are going for.  I get my brows threaded (google or youtube it), but you can also have them waxed.  If you decide to have a professional groom your brows, tell them what you want.  When I get my brows done, I ask the technician to clean them up, but I can also ask them to define them, shape them and thin them…either by a little or by a lot.  They are professionals, and trust me, you won’t be the first man to ask for a little definition in your brows.

However, the truth is that most men do not groom and trim their eyebrows, so it’s quite likely yours will be noticed when in male mode…but it is not very likely that anyone will say anything.  How often do you discuss someone’s eyebrows with them?

Has anyone ever mentioned my eyebrows to me?  Yes.  When I am getting makeovers the artist will often tell me that I have fabulous brows.  Has anyone commented on them while presenting in male mode?  Yes, but only from girls.  Girls notice things.  Girls appreciate a good brow.  If the girl at Starbucks notices them, you can bet your wife’s sister does too, however.  More on that later.

I know, the idea of shaping your brows can give you the look you want in girl mode, but it also will change your appearance in male mode.  Will people notice?  The short answer is probably.  They might.  Will people care?  Maybe?  But why would they?  I don’t care what your brows look like.  I care about mine, no one else’s.  I suspect you are the same.  Will they say something? Probably not.  How many times in your life have you come up to someone and said something about their eyebrows?

The point is that people might notice, they might care, but you’ll probably never know what they think.  It’s highly unlikely they’ll say something and I doubt many of us ask others about their opinions on our eyebrows.

So, pluck, wax, and thread away.  If you want.  You don’t have to do anything extreme.  You don’t have to do anything at all.  A simple and subtle arch and grooming can make a lot of difference.  Corrie also has written about eyebrow options here.

In addition to me loving my brows, I also have legs for days.


I promise all of this will come together.

I love my legs.  I work hard to have the legs that I have.  I am very tall and although I was initially bothered at how my height prevented me from blending in better, I realized that having long legs is worth it.  I like keeping my legs in shape and three hours a week on the Stairmaster at the gym helps me do that.

Cherry Dress logo

I’ve been shaving my legs for years now and it’s hard for me to remember having hairy legs.  I remember the first time I shaved them, however.  It was AMAZING.  Pro tip: if you do start shaving your legs you may want to give them a quick run with a pair of electric clippers first.

At first I was nervous about having smooth legs (and eventually arms) and was worried about what people would think and say.  But no one said anything.  I don’t know what people think because I don’t ask them what they think.  Notice a pattern?  Shaving my legs, like my fabulous eyebrows, are not a typical conversation topic.  People usually have more to worry about than my grooming routine, or at least I hope they do.

But shaving your legs and arms and arching your brows are not things guys typically do.  It’s naive to think no one will notice.  It’s not likely anyone will say anything, though.  The first time you talk to someone after having your eyebrows waxed you will probably feel as if everyone is staring at you.  They might be.  They might be looking at your face and realizing something has changed but they are not sure what.  Or they know but are processing it.  They may say something, but in my experience they probably won’t.

And if they do?  If someone says to me that I have great eyebrows I tell them thank you.  99% of the time the conversation stops there.  What else is there to say?  If someone asks me if I shave my legs I tell them I bike a lot.  Which is true.  It helps with keeping my legs looking shapely.   But no one asks.  I don’t think people think twice about it.

You are under no obligation to explain or apologize to anyone… unless you have a partner.  Want to shave your legs?  Sure, it’s your body, but we need to keep our partner’s feelings in consideration.  We will likely feel a little paranoid that everyone is staring at your newly groomed eyebrows…but your wife is likely feeling just as on edge as you are.

Probably more.

I underdress all the time.  Underdressing is a way to stay connected to that part of me that is beautiful when I am in boy mode.  A cute pair of lacy undies with a pink bow on them is about as femme as you can get when it comes to clothing.  But there are other things that I wear that do not scream GIRL as loud as a pair of panties.

As a boy I am very much a t-shirt and jeans person.  Hannah is very much a heels, stockings, winged eyeliner and a dress to kill kind of girl.  I have boy t-shirts and jeans and I have girl t-shirts and jeans.  Hannah doesn’t wear the girl tees and jeans, but I do in male mode.

I feel obligated to reiterate that I do not think that clothes are for boys or girls.  Heels and…uh, football jerseys, I guess, are for all of us.  When I say boy jeans and girl shirts I am referring to what part of the store that you can find these items in.

There’s no question that girl jeans tees are softer.  True, they are cut differently and have like no pockets, but I think they are simply more comfortable to wear.  Same with girl tees.  The necklines are different and the sleeves might be shorter but they do not feel as course as the boy version.

Some cis-women I know get frustrated about the endless options of jeans and shirts.  Want a black t-shirt?  Great!  Target has a zillion options.  Some are the cold-shoulder look, some have mid-length sleeves, some have a mesh overlay on top, some have an open back and require a different bra style with them.  And jeans are not easier.  Skinny, boyfriend, boot length and countless others.

If I need boy clothes it takes about thirty seconds of shopping and I’m done.  It’s easy but it’s also kind of boring.  I love the variety that is available on the other side of the store.  I like girl shirts with a large scoop neck so I can wear a cute cami or tank under it.  I love tees with mid-length sleeves.  But to be fair I am not shopping on that side of the store for any practical reason.  I am not looking for clothes for my everyday wardrobe.  If I lived full-time I would have a different perspective on shopping.

I wear girl jeans on a regular basis, but I do take into consideration what I am doing that day.  Running errands or staying home?  Sure.  Dinner with friends?  Probably not.  Now, I don’t think there are many noticeable differences between my boy jeans and girl jeans… but I might be seeing (or not seeing) what I want (or don’t want) to see.  I don’t get caught up in the pink fog as much as I used to but I recognize that sometimes I tell myself that this pair of jeans or this shirt look less girly than it really does.

Again, I don’t know or care what someone at the mall thinks about my clothes, regardless of what gender I present as.  But I do care that my wife’s friend might notice that my jeans look a little like her jeans.  Again, we need to be considerate of our partner’s feelings.  Someone might not say anything to us, but they might say something to our wife.

Our wives know that someone might notice.  They know someone might say something to them.  Or worse, someone says something behind her back and it becomes gossip.  It’s understandable that she might be terrified of that.  She probably is.  Our partners share the weight of our secret.  It’s not fair to them.  We need to remember that.  We should not take any risks that could potentially embarrass, or worse, our partners.

There are things boys do and there are things boys wear.  There are also things that boys do not do and there are things boys do not wear.  This is silly.  It’s okay to go beyond the typical societal norm and expectations of gender.  Everyone reading this paragraph likely knows that.  We know that it’s okay to color outside the lines, so to speak.  I just wish everyone else knew that, too.










2 thoughts on “Coloring Outside the Lines

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