Walking the Grooming Tightrope

| May 20, 2013
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A modern metrosexual

A modern metrosexual

For a closeted crossdresser personal grooming can be a balancing act. Those who interact with work associates, family and friends in male mode and go out for fun on the weekends in femme mode must walk a tightrope in regard to how much feminine grooming they indulge in while still projecting their manly personae.

Fortunately the 21st century has brought a change in what it means for men to be well groomed. Especially for young CDs. Thirty years ago most men had no good reason to get their backs and chests waxed. Now a man can regularly go to a “mens’ salon” and have this procedure done with no questions asked. Even laser hair removal has become a common option that non-crossdressing men are taking advantage of. Young men today are not content to let hairs sprout from every pore and they’re not afraid to do something about it. Even male eyebrows are regularly trimmed and God forbid anyone ever spots nose hair poking out above a man’s upper lip.

The enemy: Body Hair

The enemy: Body Hair

Older men may still cause some questions to be raised at the salon when they request their back wax. Without tight pecs and taut abs the salon staff may say to themselves,  “Why would this old guy ever want to take his shirt off in front of anyone?” But since they offer waxing to those who can pay for it they won’t really care what your motivation is. Wax on, wax off! And the cash goes into the salon’s account.

If CDs had no worries about remaining masculine looking for their work or family lives many would opt for a lot of permanent hair removal, eyebrow plucking and feminine length manicures. It would make getting dressed up for fun so much easier if most of the prep work was already done. If some had no worries, by being totally “out” to everyone in their lives, they might just present femme at all times. Others would still prefer to go back and forth since their femme side takes the party girl role and their male side is the serious one who works to pay for her fun. But if being out about your dressing isn’t an option then for tightrope walkers it’s best to take advantage of every trend toward modern male grooming based on formerly female standards.



One area of mens’ grooming that used to be only for women and is now being marketed to men is the use of moisturizers. If you used a skin lotion in the ’70s or ’80s you had better have had a doctor’s note saying it was medically necessary. Now men are slathering lotion on openly in the locker room. One radio spot for mens’ moisturizer features NFL football players who keep talking about how soft their skin is after they use the moisturizer, while the sports announcer interviewing them keeps trying to talk about their football skills. Charles Barkley is featured in another moisturizer for men television spot. The one he’s selling has cocoa butter. Of course Barkley has done full drag for a television weight loss ad so what’s  a little moisturizer to him?

So all in all the 21st century is more forgiving of males who exhibit traditionally feminine grooming traits. Long hair and earrings are not uncommon these days. You may still raise some eyebrows if you show up at work with your eyebrows pencil thin and your nails long and polished but the strict standards of masculinity that were the norm in years gone by have relaxed. At least in some parts of the country. There are places where you can still be picked on and bullied for being too girly. (Or beaten up.) It’s probably not a good idea to show up  at a rodeo or county fair with tweezed brows, a pink tank top and a touch of lip gloss. But some of the bravest of our CD sisters in major metropolitan areas may start their weekend feminization a bit early by interpreting “casual Friday” as “androgynous Friday.” It would be nice to get an early start on the weekend’s glamor. Then you’d have more time to get out and about en femme, shopping and sipping girly cocktails in upscale watering holes. Stay pretty and I’ll see you all at the club!

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Category: Style, Transgender Fashion, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Assoc., Inc., former editor of its newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She was the Diva of Dish for TGF in the late 1990s and Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows.

Comments (2)

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  1. barbaraellis barbaraellis says:

    I think it is about time a man is allowed to have the same beauty rights as a woman. Why can’t a man want to feel good about his self. I have noticed they are now advertising on TV a “man pad” for those little leaks. This is basically a feminine napkin for men, can a man-ziere be far behind? I can hardly wait.