Seniors & Aging

Pam Stone | Passing on a few tips to being a girl

Without a doubt, one of the largest television audiences of the year tuned in to watch the transitioning of Bruce Jenner into, what is for him, his true sexual identity.

Personally, I think this takes far more guts than winning a gold medal in the decathlon, and well I remember his Olympic triumph, wrapped in the American flag, not even looking the least fatigued.

How my 16-year-old heart fluttered because he was such a hunk.

It takes an awful lot of courage to undergo something so radical, so controversial, at the age where most folks are looking at a condo in Florida or taking up woodworking. Being both a celebrity, a father, and still attracted to women, makes this even more of a challenge, but one’s own truth cannot be denied. It can be put on the back burner for a while, but it can’t be denied forever.

Throughout my life, I’ve had a lot of gay friends and a couple transgender acquaintances as well, so I am very relieved that, while I sympathize with Bruce’s difficult journey, boy, am I glad neither I nor my friends know him personally.

Why?

“Hey, Pam,” greeted a friend, cautiously, over the phone. “You remember Mike, who transitioned into Michelle?”

“Mmmhmm,” I replied, with equal caution, as I knew what was coming.

“Well, because she’s never worn makeup or shopped for women’s clothing, a few of us were talking, you know, and your name came up … ”

“Because I’m over 6 feet tall and the closest thing to a man that happens to have female chromosomes?” I cut in. “So if I’m able to carry off looking remotely feminine, I’m the go-to gal to help someone who looked like Ed Asner look like Kathy Bates?”

“She’s lost a lot of weight, so probably more like Renee Zellweger,” came the reply, “before her eye lift.”

“But here’s the thing,” I said, exasperated. “Have you seen my wardrobe? I’m not a girly-girl; I can’t help Michelle with clothes shopping; all I wear are riding breeches or cargo pants. I think I own one pair of dress shoes for church, and that’s only because duck boots don’t make a pump.”

“Well, OK, but you know how to do makeup.”

“That’s because I was on TV, and the makeup artists showed me how. I have no idea how to put makeup on somebody else. You’re far more feminine than me, Carl — you help Michelle.”

And for a tall woman, I don’t even have that big a trotter — a size 10, which, yes, is big, but I’ve known shorter women that were an 11 or even 12. I always feel very bad for them because the choices of shoes that size resemble either a Kia Cube or the twin hulls of a catamaran — not particularly dainty.

“Well, alright,” said Carl, disappointed.

“Sorry,” I said, then relenting, adding, “but for foundation, make sure to tell her less is more. Putting on too much base will just seep into her crow’s feet and make her lines look far more prominent.”

“Oh, OK.”

“And if she’s going to wear blush, she needs to invest in a good, rounded, makeup brush so it blends evenly. Tell her not to use the little, cheap brushes that come with the blush — it’ll just end up making her look like she’s got fever spots on her cheeks.”

“Will do.”

“Oh, and a diffuser on her blow dryer will really help her hair have more volume.”

“Right. Anything else?”

“Nope,” I said, running through the female Rolodex in my brain. “Nope. That’s pretty much all I know about being a girl.”

And that’s the truth.

You’re on your own, Bruce.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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