It’s Not Easy Being She

| Sep 20, 2021
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Michelle Rogers

If you made the transition to female well in the past, you have probably learned all the inside information that cis females learn in their childhoods, like makeup, clothing, and all the rest. You should feel totally comfortable in your female life, knowing that you present yourself in such a way that almost everyone will instantly recognize you as female. You should revel in your femaleness.

But what about those of us whose transition is much more recent? We are just as female as the rest of the transgender ladies. But we have not had as much time to learn all of the nuances of feminine presentation as our other friends. We did not get to learn how to put on the various items of makeup or how to find a flattering outfit in the stores — at least not yet.

I definitely fit in the latter category. It has been almost three years since my transition to living as female. Furthermore, a good bit of that time was taken up writing my book, Trans Right. It means that I have not had all that much time to work on the details of female presentation. I also have not had that much help in learning this material since I live somewhat like a hermit.

Below are some of the areas in which I still need to improve my feminine presence, along with comments about each item. I hope that neo-trans people can gain some knowledge while listening to my litany, and that the more experienced trans women can remember their younger days. Maybe they will be motivated to share their knowledge with the youngsters.

Boob Job

This is the one that I long for the most. I want my own pair of knockers. I am rather tired of needing to wear falsies whenever I go out. They look reasonably good, and I have received a couple of compliments about their natural appearance. But I want them inside me.

The female hormones have caused my natural breasts to grow a small amount, but you would never look at them and presume they were female breasts. I do not want huge breasts. Even in my days living as male, I never got off on the ladies with super-sized mammary glands. One wishes to see breasts that are in proportion to the rest of the woman’s body.

I would be quite happy with a C cup or something similar. Not only is this more proportionate to the body, but the large hooters are tough to carry around, as witnessed by the number of women who have breast reduction surgery to lighten the load. I just want big enough breasts to make it clear that I am supposed to be a female.

Top Hair

I have been blessed and cursed when dealing with my follicles. My top hair is extremely curly, which is not the kind of hair that I would have chosen. Even straightening treatments never worked on it. Its color has remained light brown even at my advanced age, which I never imagined would happen.

Another problem is that I made the transition in my 60’s. By then, most of the top hair had departed my scalp for parts unknown. Only a few patches remain up there. This makes pulling off a female presentation quite difficult. I almost always wear some kind of head covering when out of the house.

Some folks have suggested Rogaine or hair plugs. I feel quite certain that I will not try the plugs, because there is too much scalp to cover and people have reported that it causes a great deal of pain. I may try the Rogaine eventually, but am skeptical that it will do much good and hate to throw good money after worse. As a male, I always told myself that I would not get upset about losing hair or seeing it change color. Now, though, I see things differently.

I have considered coloring my hair and may still do so. I actually like the look of a blonde wig on me. I could also color it gray just to look more age-appropriate. I wore a gray wig occasionally and could accept it.

If I could find a way to straighten it that would actually work, I would do it in a nanosecond. Having my hair grow out has helped somewhat in that regard. As a male, I normally kept the hair super short to avoid the curliness problem. It still gets very messy the day after I have washed it. It can be almost impossible to make it assume the desired position.

In my earliest days after the transition, I wore wigs to cover up my super-short hair. They worked well enough, but were hot and not always realistic in appearance. I still have them but almost never wear them now.

Top hair will be a major problem for the rest of my life. I hope that as it grows longer, it will become easier to manage since it weighs more and might stay down better. Be thankful if you can grow the kind of hair you want. Many of us cannot.

Facial Hair

For whatever reason, I ended up with the weirdest facial hair you could imagine. Almost all of it is below the jaw line. There is just enough hair on the lip to be noticeable but not nearly enough to grow a proper moustache. Even the hair below the jaw only grows a certain distance before petering out. It also showed signs of curliness.

I  tried a few laser hair removal treatments. They did not work at all. My hair was too light in color to be affected by the laser. The hospital kept trying to sell me more treatments, but even I could see the pointlessness of it after a while.

I tried one electrolysis session. It was a disaster. The numbing cream was based on aspirin; that probably made it hurt worse. The technician finally gave up after about fifteen minutes since I was feeling so much pain. She also said that the hairs were being stubborn.

She suggested a different numbing cream, which I now have in stock. I will try again eventually, but it is not high on the agenda. For now I keep shaving. Maybe I will have to keep shaving for the rest of my life. It is a pain in the ass, but I do not want to go out in public with stubble on my face.


There was once a politician about whom it was said that the man had no eyebrows. I am almost in that situation. They grow. But they are so thin and scraggly that they look horrible.

Eyebrow pencils allow me to come up with something that looks somewhat acceptable. I also cut them back frequently to eliminate the old codger look.

I would like a more permanent solution. I checked the Web site of a local center that works on this part of the body. They mentioned a treatment called microblading. However, the site told me that I was not a good candidate for microblading because I am both over 55 and a person who takes blood thinners. It seems that they have to make a large number of cuts in the eyebrow areas to deposit the pigment that allows the new brows to be seen.

I will continue to look for eyebrow treatments that might work for me. Again, it seems to be a difficult situation. It makes you want to tear your eyebrows out.

Female Clothing

Finding attractive and sophisticated female clothing for my larger size has been a most frustrating endeavor. I am actually attracted to suits. Yes, I know, wanting to wear a suit in today’s world risks marking you as a hopeless fuddy-duddy. I do not care. I still like the look of a real suit. When Barney Stinson did the production number about wearing a suit in “How I Met Your Mother,” I got the joke but I also agreed with Barney.

I am not so hidebound as to want to wear a suit for slouching around in daily routine. I have my jeans and blouses and T-shirts. But I want to look classy and sophisticated. I am also a larger woman. I have carried a fair amount of extra weight for most of my life. It is my curse. Even when I managed to lose it for a while, it always came back. I have no idea how to lose it except to stop eating. That does not work for the long term.

Living in a smaller city, I have very few options for buying appropriate clothes at all. The major department stores are about as good as it gets, and that does not say much. I buy most of my female clothes from websites that cater to plus-size women. They are the only places that I can find even moderately acceptable clothing that fits my body.

If you are wondering, I have looked at custom-made suits. One local firm makes them. They wanted around $1,000 for a suit. That was too much for my taste. For that matter, I wonder where the female politicians get their suits and how much they cost. They must get those pieces somewhere.

I desperately need help finding the kind of clothing that I would want to wear. The bigger stores supposedly have consultants who will help you, but that does not help if you do not care for their clothing or cannot get into any of it.

While living as a male, I found an image consultant who offered to work with the general public. She was based in a bigger city close enough to drive to. In the end, the shirts and pants that she picked out for me were nice enough but not horribly different from the items I normally wore. The experience soured me on that kind of consultant.

I desperately need to find a fashion consultant who can help me locate the type of clothing that makes me look good and is large enough to wear. I would even pay a reasonable amount for these services. I do not know if these consultants are readily available or if I could afford them. If not, I will stumble along doing the best I can. But I will not be happy with the clothing that I can wear. What is a girl to do?


Young girls spend many hours learning all the fine points of how to apply makeup. They obsess about mascara and foundations and lip coverings and everything else a woman needs to look her best. They learn this stuff almost as soon as they are aware of the world around them.

Living as male, I did not get that opportunity. I have to try to learn all this stuff on my own with very little assistance from other people. It has been a bemusing experience.

I have managed to learn a few things here and there. I can put on basic face makeup. I can apply eye shadow that looks halfway decent. I can put on lipstick or lip gloss. I can paint my nails reasonably well if I take my time.

But there are so many types of makeup that are still beyond me. Part of the problem is that until quite recently, I was spending much of my free time writing a book about being transgender and politically conservative. Along with still working in the computer business early in the transition, it did not leave much time to look for help.

Many people say, “Just look for online videos. You can learn everything from them.” That does not work as well for me as for other people. I am not sure why that is. I am not a huge fan of looking for videos online. I probably should do more of it.

The major areas where I still need a lot of help are:

* Eye Liner. It scares me to death to put anything that close to my eyes. I know most women can do it, but it still scares me. What can I say?

* Mascara. Again, the thought of trying to put anything on my eyelashes truly scares me. I have yet to try any kind of lash makeup or false eyelashes. I would like to, but it has not happened yet.

Areas where I could get better are:

* Lip Coverings. I can never quite get the looks I like. I see women whose lips shimmer. They seem to be wearing some kind of lip gloss. I have tried to find lip coverings like that with very little success. Also, the lipsticks and lip gloss that I put on never last very long.

* Eye Shadow. I can use a brush or applicator to put it on. It never seems to be very thick. I also have trouble putting it exactly where I want. It always seems to spread around to places where it should not be. I do not seem to be getting any better with practice.

* Fake Nails. I would like to try them but have never worked up the courage to do so. I keep my real nails very short since they frequently crack and tear if they get any length on them at all.

* Voice Feminization

This is a strange issue for me. My voice has always fairly high and somewhat reedy. I have sung in choirs as a tenor and could hit quite high notes. But to this day, many people who hear my voice still think of me as a man. I cannot figure out why.

Clearly, I need help in this area. Finding that help will be difficult. There are probably not any resources in the place where I currently live. I might be able to find help in some online locations. I am not sure how much of a change I can make in my voice. I will eventually try to do something about it, but the situation frustrates me greatly. I believe I could sound like a female, but wonder if my efforts will be successful. This one hurts.

Could there be any other issues that could help me present as female more convincingly? I cannot find them yet. I just know I need to put more time into it. The problem is that the time I put into this will take away from my efforts to establish myself as a writer. How do I balance the competing desires?

All of us transgender females have the same problem. We never learned any of this knowledge when we were growing up. We have to learn it as we go. Not all of us have much help other than the Internet. All we can do is struggle to improve day by day.

If you look at one of us and think that we are not doing a very good job of presenting as female, please try to understand. Most of us are doing the best we can. Perhaps you could remember what it was like for you in your day. Bear with us. With hard work and some luck, perhaps someday nobody will ever question that we were ever anything but female.

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Category: Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

Michelle L. Rogers is a transgender female from Chattanooga, TN. She has been out as trans female since October 2018. She is retired from the computer industry and is the author of the book Trans Right.

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  1. j2emily j2emily says:

    fyi-re: the areas of your scalp where you have remaining hair-a dermatologist can perform PRP which causes new growth in that area. it is expensive