“Here she comes – the great Leveller…”

Yo, what’s happenin‘? 🙂

The ironic use of ‘street’ aside, hello peeps. I hope you’re well.

An old friend of my mum’s passed away recently leaving two (now grown-up sons in their 40s) and her husband. I was leafing through the cards in the shop, looking for one that felt right. We’re not overly close, but still, you don’t want to see the people you like get put through Life’s mangle do you?

So back to the card selection. It was a rather odd experience in that how can a card with a simple verse help? I’ve been on the receiving end of grief – as no doubt you good people have too – and as someone who’s not grieving, it feels… cheap. No, that’s not the right word; more a hollow gesture. Like shouting into the void. Equally, you don’t want to be over-the-top nor in-their-face. Some people want to talk about it, some don’t. You just don’t know do you? But negativity aside, I remember seeing all the cards sent after my sister’s death. The person you love may not be there, but I hope it shows that other people cared for them and also for the people left behind. I hope they draw some comfort from it.

F***. This is cheery, isn’t it? Okay. Let’s talk about shoes or something vapid before I well up! 🙂

Ahhh… Balls. I’d written a paragraph below about social networking (see Groundswell if you like) but it was dry and my heart just wasn’t in it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I stall on what I want to write. I talk around the topic (like now) rather than just coming out with it. I wonder if it’s my subconscious getting the idea straight before I get to write about it.

Deep breath, Lynn.


Earlier tonight the ever lovely Mrs Jones set off for a night out with the girls. She looked fab – and I told her. New trousers, groovy top and foxy shoes. See, shoes don’t just do it for trans folk. Anyway, as I kissed her goodbye before putting the nippers to bed, I wondered if this line is true: “women dress more for each other than for men.”

I remember reading this many a moon ago and it’s one of those lines that stick in my mind. I think we all want to dress nicely if we want to seem attractive. I don’t just mean sexually attractive, but socially attractive too. Do you want to hang around someone who dresses *really* badly or who hasn’t had their yearly bath? Shallow yes, very much so, but we make all sorts of judgements about a person who appears a certain way. When we’re not so shallow, we look past the outside and deal with that person as an individual.

Heh. Somewhat amusing, here I am – your typical cross-dresser – crowing about treating people on how they dress. Mind you, you do get to experience the extremes the above. 🙂

Anyhoo, the article went on to explain itself a bit further but as I read I began to disagree. Not all men notice, but some men do. I’d wager that some trans folk do. We’re wired to take in a women’s appearance, perhaps more so that your average Joe. Of course, we’re looking with an eye of ‘that looks nice’ as much as ‘Sue looks smart today’, but there you go. 🙂

Talking as a guy, I don’t have the confidence, and perhaps this is a good thing, to say to female colleagues/acquaintances ‘you look nice today’ when they do. Not everyday stuff, but the biggies like a new look: hair, clothes, jewellery, etc. I guess it’s the fear that they’ll think I’m hitting on them in some way, so instead, I say hello and move on. The funny thing is: sometimes I’d like to. Doesn’t everyone like a genuine and deserved compliment?

That’s enough waffle from me.

Take care!

[ Today’s lyric: Too Real by The Levellers ]


  1. People deal with grief in different ways, in my case cards and well wishers were welcome. If it isn’t theres nothing lost in my opinion.

    I have complemented female friends before, though not as often, for the fears you outline.

  2. I can’t believe some of the truly awful sympathy cards that exist. I just cannot imagine wanting to send (or receive) such a thing. Particularly the ones with verses inside. It’s got to be a personal message, in my opinion. A “sorry to hear…” with a mention of how the deceased touched upon your life for the better… and (if realistic and sincere) an offer to help in some way.

    Ain’t no Hallmark Card that comes close. Bleh.

    And don’t worry too much about paying a woman a compliment. They won’t instantly assume you’re after them. Of course, some have never learned to accept a compliment graciously. Neither have I!

  3. Lucy & Suomy: Costs nothing but a stamp and that's worth the gamble (IMO).

    I did hear from the gent in question and he was – bless 'im – really touched by how many people wrote to him. Not just a card – as Suomy says – but lines that people had taken the time to think about and write.

  4. Sympathy cards with verses, eh? Somehow that strikes me as about as tasteful as dance remixes of funeral dirges. I don’t think I’ve ever had cause to send anyone a sympathy card myself – which is a bit odd, I suppose, given my line of work, and the fact I’ve become quite attached to some of the people I’ve met through it over the years – although I did once buy an 100th birthday card for one of the residents at the home. Not only was I quite fond of her, but I also couldn’t resist the sheer novelty factor of buying such a thing for someone – I’d never done it before.

    As for paying compliments to well-dressed women, that’s something I’ve often found myself wanting to do myself. Like you, though, I often don’t – much to my later regret. I don’t know why I hesitate in my own case, as I’ve no fear of being “outed” (my CDing is pretty much common knowledge where I work and everywhere else). Well, there was one instance where I can see why I didn’t. One of my superiors always dresses very well, and I was once tempted to tell her that she “dressed nearly as well as me”. Perhaps wisely, I desisted, however, not knowing if she’d appreciate the joke (she hasn’t been there long enough to become used to all my little eccentricities).

    Interestingly enough, I’ve also met other men that I later wished I’d complimented on their dress. One was a visitor to the home who was simply wearing the most exquisite floral silk tie (I’m generally indifferent to ties, though would have made an exception for that one), while another is a guy I know who has a great sense of style. Nothing overly flamboyant or androgynous – just nice, classical clothes combined with interesting little accessories. (Funnily enough, he plays in a heavy metal band too!) I suppose it’s not too late to pay him a compliment on the way he dresses…

    As for your closing comment that everyone likes a genuine and deserved compliment, how true that is. I was once surprised – stunned actually – to have a taxi driver tell me how good I looked in this rather bizarre shirt I had on when I caught a ride with him (a silver satin creation with oversized buttons and an equally oversized Peter Pan collar); he seemed genuinely impressed with it. My regret there was that I didn’t tell him his compliment had pretty much made my day. Damn.

  5. Zosimus: Most cards have some sort of brief verse in them. I guess some folk like that kinda thing, but in a ‘with sympathy’ card, it doesn’t gel unless the couplet is a full poem. I’ve read some cards like that that really worked. Person choice at the end of the day!

    I think you were right in not making that line with your boss. She may not have taken it quite so well. 🙂

    Ties. Mmmm. Novelty ties, no. A very nice tie – which depends on the wearer – yes. 🙂

    I know what you mean about compliemnts. I settled on: “Thanks. Very kind of you to say so.” I try not to make light of it because I’ve seen other guys do it and not everyone wants witty banter.

  6. Grief is hard, it seems like our aching souls long to comfort another yet our human gestures seem pitiful when weighed against the loss. How could a kind word of sympathy, a hug, or a long conversation possibly sooth a soul so troubled?

    Perhaps it’s not in what is done, but that you do it. In some small way saying ‘you’re here, you care’. When a few people show gestures that are seemingly small, the comfort and love experienced by the person grieving is magnified.

    Lots of words to say I really don’t know…

  7. Vanessa: Having been on the other end of grief, I found I was surprised in how much a simple conversation helps. I remember talking to a work-mate in the coffee room after his Dad had died. I remember saying: “Hi, Tim. How’s it going…? Considering.” He gave a wry smile and we talked. No-one else was about and it was one of those serious, personal conversations you don’t often hear at work. I listened, he talked. I hope it helped.

  8. Sympathy/consolation cards are awful. I’ve tended to look on them as the clumsy way people say “I am sorry, I just don’t know how to express it”.

    Another problem is the fact that often you only feel ready to talk later, when everyone expects you to be over the grieving. Nowadays people seem to think grief should have a neat tidy expirey date – like “Use before….”, but it often doesn’t work that way.

    Worst of all are the well-meaning advice types. Like you say, the best gift you can offer is to keep your mouth shut… and your ears open.

    As for the compliments… mmm, tricky one, I agree. I have had male friends compliment me on my clothing and not felt I was being hit on. As long as you say it, then don’t act on it, sensible females should understand that you’re just being observant of their good taste.

    A male friend once blurted out that my lipstick matched my dress perfectly… then dashed off in obvious horror at his own observation. I just thought it awfully cute that he noticed, but then he is an artist and colours are his obsession. 😀

    PS… I like your “Today’s lyrics” idea. 🙂

  9. Hi Michelle,

    I think cards can be clumsy, but if you take your time picking one that feels right, I don’t see the issue. Some folk like verses, some don’t. Some people will write there thoughts in the card when others put the shortest of messages.

    Someone once said to me: you never get over the death, you just get used to it. Sounds melodramic? Well, possibly, but when you’ve been through it, it makes a lot of sense. Even now, I still miss my sister.

    Ooo. Advice [shudder] 🙂

    LOL @ lipstick story. Be sure to check the state of his nails and eyebrows. Too neat and he’s joined the Dark Side. 🙂

    ps: Thanks! I hope the RIAA don’t mind 🙂

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