I was lucky enough to have a whole week to just be me. From mid-July to almost the end of July my nuclear family went to visit extended family in another part of the country. I had to stay behind for work reasons and I was able to combine this with some wonderful alone time. If you want to catch up with the action, Part One of my adventures can be read here and Part Two is here.. What follows is the final part of the week’s activities.
Saturday was definitely going to be an en femme day! I had made plans with my friend Dianne. We had hoped that we could go out en femme somewhere together and had offered her the use of our house for dressing, but sadly she just did not have the time available to dress due to family commitments, so we agreed to meet at my house for a chat instead. I got up and quickly dressed. I reprised my look from Tuesday. I decided that as I had missed ‘office casual’ it was probably perfect for a day at the mall. The only changes were that instead of the white ‘gypsy’ top I went for a black nude shoulder top and I substituted the embroidered brown scarf for a dark blue and aquamarine scarf we acquired in Paris in 2015. Wow, those cowboy boots were getting a lot of use!
I had just done my hair (no time for makeup) when Dianne arrived (on time as usual). We had not seen each other for quite some time and it was lovely to catch up with each other’s lives. It was also lovely to be able to chat with someone who just ‘gets’ me and I was totally comfortable doing my nails whilst talking. It seemed in no time at all that Dianne had to leave. We said our goodbyes and she left.
I went back inside threw on some makeup and headed out to Cresta for a spot of shopping. I was in dire need of foundation and the only place I knew I could get it was at the nail salon in Cresta. I also wanted some makeup sponges, some nails and a few other odds and ends. I also wanted a new pair of leggings, so off I went.
My first stop was at the nail salon. As you may know, I do not change my voice so conversing with people is always a bit stressful. If I have ‘passed’ up to that point, they are almost certainly going to experience at least some confusion when they start speaking to me. The voice they hear is going to be at odds with the image they are seeing. This is always at least a little awkward. If it is confined to just a few words things are ok, they may not notice, but as soon as it goes beyond a whispered ‘thank you’ I know I am in trouble. Nonetheless, one of the reasons I get out and about is because I want to have a ‘normal’ life en femme, where I do ‘normal’ everyday things like talking to shop assistants, so I bravely went where many a woman has gone before and asked the shop assistant if she had the foundation I was looking for. Fortunately, I had had the foresight to bring my almost finished one with me. We looked through their rather limited stock and found nothing. She suggested I go to their ‘pop-up store’ a few shops down, where they were running a special sales promotion. I thanked her for her help and went to the ‘pop-up shop’ as she suggested.
On arriving I found the foundation and started looking for the right one. This involved opening the boxes and trying to match the serial numbers with my foundation. The shop assistant came over and asked if she could help. Thus, I once again had to explain what I was looking for… STRESS! I must say she (and the staff in the nail salon) were very helpful and professional. If they did suspect that something was ‘up’, they certainly didn’t let on to me and remained helpful and professional throughout my interactions with them. They referred to me using feminine honourifics and pronouns at all times and I was very happy and felt comfortable, accepted and welcome in the store. Sadly, despite going through all the stock, we could not find the exact shade I was looking for, but we did get quite close. What to do, what to do? She suggested going downstairs to the beauty salon. She did she was sure they would have the right shade, but that I would pay a lot more for it there. I said I would go and have a look and that I would come back to her and get the shade close to mine if I could not find it.
I went down to the beauty salon and once again explained what I was looking for. They had it in stock! But it was a lot more expensive. I was tempted to go and buy the shade I was not looking for and save my money, but I decided that I should rather get the right shade. So, I bought the foundation from the beauty salon. This was more complicated than I realised. I had to first register as a customer with them. This meant I had to give my name and mobile number to them. At this point, something possibly unpleasant happened. Two shop technicians who had been sitting at the side of the cash register laughed out loud. I had not been paying them much attention up to that point, but it seemed to me that they laughed when they heard me speak, giving my name and mobile phone number. One of the assistants/technicians then said, ‘why even bother’. I am still unsure who she had addressed that to. Was it to me? Was it to her colleague? What was she referring to? Me? Or was it related to a previous conversation? I know I can sometimes be overly sensitive, but it felt to me that the laughter was directed at me and that the question was something along the lines of why bother taking down the information as it will be false (this is not true, I gave them my name and the correct mobile number). But I could not and I still am not sure. Nonetheless it was certainly less than professional behaviour, talking to a colleague whilst she is busy with a customer is not ideal and laughing out loud just jarred with me. One way or another I did not feel great about spending my money with them and I wished that I had been able to find the right shade of foundation upstairs at the far more pleasantly and professionally staffed ‘pop-up shop’.
I now went in search of my leggings. I have been wanting a pair of white leggings for quite some time and had been saving my monthly clothing allowance so that I could get some. As I had the whole day to myself I knew I could spend as much time as I liked browsing.
My first stop was at the clothing retailer Jet. They often have nice stuff at reasonable prices. Sadly, this was not the case that day. I then stopped off at Mr Price. Quality can be variable here and you have to be really careful with sizing but still it is cheap and cheerful and the discerning shopper can sometime get quite lucky here. To whit, my favourite pair of shoes, my black platform sandals were bought at Mr Price nearly two years ago, for a mere R180 or so (US$14) and they are still going strong. I was in luck! I found a wonderful faux leather jacket, complete with faux a leopard fur collar. It was on sale, in my size and reasonably priced. ‘But wait’, I hear you cry. ‘A faux leather jacket is not a pair of white leggings. That isn’t being lucky’. Now whilst technically true, I would counter and say finding the perfect jacket to go with the as yet to be acquired leggings is a huge slice of luck. The fact that it was on sale, in my size and cheap are just bonuses showing that the jacket and I were fated to be together. Also, this is what girls do. We go to the mall for one thing, come back with another and still count it as a success. Deal!
As an added bonus, Mr Price now has a ‘pay on the go’ option. If you are using a card to pay, you do not need to pay at the cash registers. You can find a roving cashier who has a card machine and simply pay her. One such person saw me heading into the queue to pay, asked me if I was paying by card. When I replied in the affirmative she told me about the new system that saves time. It really works and she was great the whole time. Using the correct honourifics and generally making me feel good about parting with my hard-earned money. Mr Price for the win!
I now felt complete and so I headed over to the pharmacy to get the various bits and bobs I needed. I eventually found the ear buds, makeup sponges, applicators and false nails and nail tape. But it did take some time to locate everything, especially as the shop was very busy.
By now I was rather tired. I played with going home, especially as the cafe I had wanted to have a cup of coffee at was oversubscribed. I wanted to sit, relax and sip a cappuccino, but I was not prepared to pay for the privilege. I decided to go home, but on my way to the parking lot I passed Dominique’s Cafe. I had wanted to try it sometime. They were busy but on enquiring (I really am getting better at this speaking to people thing), I was told they had a table for one available. I ordered a frullato and a half portion Greek salad. Unfortunately, the waiter must have misheard me as he brought a chicken salad. I corrected his mistake and he was very apologetic and quickly brought me my Greek salad. The manager came over and apologised as well. The Greek salad was very yummy and I thought reasonably priced too. It was perfectly adequate for lunch. I finished off my meal with my much anticipated and long-awaited cappuccino.
Feeling refreshed and fortified I decided to resume my quest for the leggings. I decided to head over to Pick n Pay Clothing. Once again, I lucked out. I found the perfect pair of white leggings. Now I just had to decide on a size. I took two options into the fitting room and I was very happy to find that the smaller option was perfect! I paid (unlike my last visit to Pick n Pay clothing in January 2016).
Feeling very happy with my purchases I headed home, where I played around with my new jacket.
I really enjoy how changing just the jacket and boots can totally transform an outfit. The black made my outfit far edgier, more biker chick.
After playing at some modelling, I decided it was time to get ready for my dinner date. My friend Ron was feeling more himself again and wanted to make up for missing out on dinner with me on Tuesday, so he invited me for dinner at his new home on Saturday night. I had a lovely bubble bath (a girl needs to treat herself) and then generally prettified myself before dressing for the night. I was very unsure as to what I should wear. I didn’t want to be too over the top, but on the other hand I do enjoy any excuse to glam up. As it was quite cold, but knowing that I would be in doors most of the time I went for my trusty black cocktail dress, black and gold stiletto sandals and my lovely faux leopard skin jacket (hmmm I am picking up a theme here, are you?) I hope I hit the right note without being too showy. I then indulged myself with a few snaps,
before rushing out the house. I grabbed the bottle of bubbly (non-alcoholic champagne, due to my liver’s inability to deal with life) and a box of chocolates (a girl can’t arrive empty handed, can she?) and drove the short distance too Ron’s house.
We had a lovely three course meal (I was very glad of the half portion salad at lunch) of creamed chicken soup, followed by lasagne, served with vegetables and a salad and fruit salad and a vanilla custard for pudding. The conversation was interesting and far ranging, as always with Ron and I really enjoyed my evening. At 1 am I decided that if I had not yet out stayed my welcome I almost certainly would very soon and decided to head home. I arrived home, removed the makeup and crawled into bed.
On Sunday morning, I was rather rudely awoken by a helicopter circling my bedroom! The Radio 702 Walk the Talk was taking place and they were using a helicopter to monitor the traffic situation. Having gotten home rather late I was less than impressed. But there wasn’t much I could do about it.
I decided to enjoy my last day of solitude and did so as best I could. I spent the day in a ‘no makeup’ femme mode. I was pottering around getting the house ready for the return of the family later that afternoon. Our guest also checked out that day and so I cleaned the studio. On emptying the rubbish bin, I discovered I wasn’t the only one to have enjoyed my weekend. I found empty wine and vodka bottles, empty beer cans and a number of used condoms. Clearly a good weekend had been had by all!
After a relaxed but productive day, I changed into more appropriate clothes, went to the shops to get some ingredients for pizza and arrived home to find my family had just arrived home. I was very happy to see them and although I had really enjoyed having the week to be myself, I was happy to have all my loved ones home again. I am not sure who had the better week, them or me, I am thinking it was me!