Pictures put in your head

Hi,

The other day I was browsing the online sales to both pass the time and on the off chance that something we need might pop up. Maybe even snag a bargain Christmas outfit. Snag is a word you need to be careful typing using autocorrect. 🙂 I didn’t, however, see anything we really needed or that I wanted.

One thing that did catch my eye was an IPL machine. There’s been a few occasions when I’ve touched my face and, pretty obviously, felt stubble. That’s not unusual, ‘cos you know, I’m a bloke, at least physically. Mentally, oh let’s just not fall down that rabbit hole 😉

What’s troubling is that on a number of occasions, that feeling of beard has… bothered me. I’m not sure if it’s laziness that means I don’t shave each day or that there’s a deeper reason: one where of if I can ignore it, that makes it easier to skip over, and not be reminded of my maleness.

So, no, I’ve not bought said gadget. However, I very much felt the appeal of it. The idea of not having to shave my chest, to have finer arm hair, or indeed be able to remove my beard, certainly pushed a few buttons. Buttons I didn’t know I had and that could be pushed, either.

As someone with a fairly pale complexion, the thought – no, I’ll be honest here, the wish of being not milk bottle white and body hair only where I want it, is compelling. I could’ve written the words dream, fantasy or desire, but they have connotations that take us down a path that’s not accurate. Oddly, if a female friend said they liked having a healthy glow and/or didn’t have to faff about with razors or waxing, somehow that’s different. Internalised transphobia anyone? 🤔

What would be a better fit would be the vibe of my body being how I idealise it. That me at my best that’s only achievable in sped up reality shows, video games, or The Matrix 😉 Pretty sure none of those are realistic.

It is, however, just a passing day dream. Thinking about the reality, it’s not feasible. It’s not just the money, but the time required, and the gap between reality to marketing guff. All of that around hair removal and, of course, my skin tone remains as it is.

Yet, the lure remains. Perhaps I’ve absorbed the advertising images of just the right amount of tan and hair where it should be. You’d think advertisers would focus on us trans folk more. I mean, many of us have two wardrobes, two sets of bathing products, and seem as easily targeted for nudging as cis folk. Maybe I should stop now 🙂

A photo from Pexels

Perhaps I should follow the advice of body neutrality, where I become okay with what I have. I don’t need to love my body and maybe I’m not quite at that point where I can. While I’m mostly okay about weight, height, tone, and condition, I think realistically, aiming to just accept would be an achievable goal. Certainly more likely than the dream self I’ve cooked up.

But, hey, that’s how we sell stuff right? 😉

L x

10 Comments

  1. Ha. Wait a decade or two when bit start to fail or drop off and that milky skin gets covered in little brown spots. In the meantime (from someone who didn’t at the time) lay in a stock of Olay and moisturise like hell. You’ll be glad later, before it becomes impossible to apply eyeliner without looking like a panda with a child’s crayon.
    I’ve had an on/off relationship to my body for a long time. Not to the extent of actual dysphoria, but more of resigned/exasperated amusement that it’s either too flat or too bulged but in all the wrong places. And don’t look at fashion photos. They bear as much relation to the model in front of the lens as an M&S food advert does to what comes out your oven.

    1. Things have certainly started to head south over the last few years. I’ve sort of made peace with going bald as there’s not a lot I can do about it. I’m a bit frustrated with my eyelids starting to droop, but compared to folk with serious health conditions, who are a similar or younger age, I feel things could be worse.

      Wise words about moisturising and if I may add to that, do include a level sunblock too.

      As to the panda and crayon effect, that prompted me to get my eyesight tested. Not to ‘improve my makeup skills’, but more that it was the only close up work I did. 🙂

  2. In case you are tempted with IPL (I think a few people, like Kelly, have tried this.)
    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/product-reviews/fashion-and-beauty/g30853233/best-ipl-devices/
    “Naturally light blonde, red, white and grey hairs contain little pigment, so IPL typically isn’t as effective on people with these hair shades, whatever their skin colour. They also don’t work on dark skin tones. Typically, those with pale to medium skin and dark hair are the best candidates for IPL.”

  3. An interesting post Lynn.

    I’ve looked at hair removal gadgets in the past in my quest to rid myself of body and facial hair but I think the only solution for me would be electrolysis. Permanent removal of chest and facial hair continuously pushes my button and I’d be tempted to try electrolysis in the future should I have the finances and the time.

    I went through a phase of visiting tanning salons a couple of times a week after I first came out to my Wife. I liked the results and it make me feel happier but obviously with the risk of skin cancer I realised it wasn’t worth the risk and knocked it on the head. Tanned is nice but I have grown to like paleness with time.

    It’s nice to dream though, I do it often myself.

    1. Thanks Lotte, it’s a tricky thing this hair business. Ideally, I would like to be without beard (as I’ll never grow one and even in lockdown, couldn’t) and my chest hair is so patchy, I’d feel happier without it. The hypothical question is how achievable that is in the circumstances I find myself.

      I think on listening to friends at Chams, laser seems quite quick to reduce growth, but it’s not permanent. IPL seems to fit into those experiences. Conversely, electrolysis is much slower, but is much more permanent.

      I’ve never been one for sun worship and I think my use of sunblock meant I came back from North Africa as pale as before 🙂 I think any tan would certainly be bottle based, but again, one can dream of being different.

  4. The perfect body takes so much maintenance that, frankly, I can’t be bothered and put up with what nature gave me. It’ll do. Wish I had less hair from the eyes downwards and more right on top, though.

    As for marketing aimed at those with several wardrobes, you may be aware that a lot of bathroom products are identical for men and women, just packaged differently. Nivea for Men or Dove for Men or Babyliss for Men are usually exactly the same deodorant glop or hair removal goo or shaving slop, but with slick, manly packaging as opposed to soft, curvaceous, nature-pretty containers. Chunky, robust boxing and executive-grey, firm, go-faster-striped plastic for your manly hands to hold in a confident, manly way so you can smell great, look groomed and – rrrr! – pull those chicks … who have used exactly the same formula glop, goo and slop for 75% the price. Or, ladies, those soft, feminine, pink razors – you know, that gentle kind of cutting blade – that are twice the price of the men’s ones. And don’t get me started on kids’ plasters, toothpaste (or cereal, yoghurts, etc.) with the latest cartoon characters on the packet that cost way more than the same junk in a plain adult box. Oh, they’ve sussed that multiple wardrobe issue already! Any trans-targeted version would be more costly still.

    Sorry, was that terribly cynical? Must be the hormones! Now for a relaxing shower. Which gel to use? now which …?

    Sue x

    1. I hope you’ll be using shower booth number two which is dedicated and designed to bring out your feminine qualities 😉

      Perhaps the cynicism is well placed given much of the bunkum used to try and flog us stuff.

      I’m not sure I’d ever reach perfect. I think getting to ‘good enough’ or better than now would be okay. That or perhaps more sensibly, learning to accept what I have as me.

  5. Wise words as usual.

    I’ve found traditional methods effective-ish. For about six hours, maybe, sometimes less. But, like you say, ‘good enough’ is something to be satisfied with. Short of monkeying with endocrine systems or having the time and funds to use electrolysis I suspect the drag of a razor in a morning on my face, for me, will be ‘good enough’.

    One thing I am aware of, however, over this last fortnight is just how powerful acceptance of one’s self can be. I haven’t, yet, had the spike of concern over the things that I should want to be different that seems to follow most people’s experiences of realisation of true selves. So, again, to echo and add weight to what you say: being ‘good enough’ is a powerful thing indeed!

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