January 31st, 2012
Ashley visits with family and friends during the yuletide season and her parents obstinately use the wrong name and pronouns for her, creating confusion among some guests. For Ashley, it’s like insisting on using a woman’s married name even after she split with an abusive husband.
During her visit, Ashley’s dad conspicuously mentions that it’s okay if she doesn’t attend mass with the family on Christmas, which makes Ashley wonder if her dad is telegraphing some embarrassment to be seen with her at church. While making sandwiches, her mom lobs Ashley a verbal punch in the gut, seemingly unaware of the weight behind her words.
Ashley tries to remain optimistic her parents will eventually come around but it’s hard to imagine what will lead them toward full support. Ashley’s already feeling anxious about her parents’ upcoming visit in the fall. However, they are surprisingly understanding when Ashley talks to them about her recent layoff.
Jay learns that concealer can be a stand-in for eyeshadow primer in a pinch, and Ashley shows off a nail protein base coat by Nailtiques. Jay also learns what Ashley means when she describes herself as being “thirteen in girl years”.
November 21st, 2011
Ashley talks about her parents’ recent visit and how she asked them to consider calling her Ashley rather than her birth name.
She also recounts the reprimand she received from her employer for using the bathrooms matching her gender presentation rather than those of the gender she was assigned at birth. Ashley struggles to grasp her employer’s rationalizations, but she resigns herself to workdays blighted by elevator slogs to restrooms on different floors.
Jay follows up on his earlier suggestion that Ashley buy some “girly glasses” and asks whether HRT has tempted her to drink more so-called “girly drinks” (even though Jay admits there’s no logic to that question). Ashley announces her nail polish bottle count and suggests a way to trade some of her lesser-used polishes in exchange for others she might rather have.
Ashley talks about which polish she finally decided to wear during her parents’ visit, Nite Owl from Orly’s “Birds of a Feather” collection, a taupe with just enough shimmer to keep things interesting. Ashley also espouses the value of the common cotton swab and makes the case for Johnson’s brand over Q-tips for this tiny but essential makeup tool.
November 14th, 2011
Ashley celebrates her first week presenting as her gender full-time, with warm words and open arms from her coworkers, a more comfortable wardrobe (as well as a new laptop bag), and some entirely unremarkable bathroom visits. She and Jay also talk about how it’s been different carrying around one’s day-to-day items in a purse rather than a wallet nestled in one’s back pockets (or, in Jay’s case, a messenger bag).
Ashley recounts some early shopping trips with friends soon after she had come out to them and how they had come along with her for a gleeful day of shopping while also playing the role as sort of a fashion tour guide to help Ashley learn the ropes of her new clothing options. She also reminisces about a recent trip to Nordstrom in which they not only had shoes in her size — oodles of them — but also shoe clerks with the attentiveness that made her feel like she had acquired her own shoe sommelier.
As time drew closer to her transition at work, Ashley sprang for a series of makeup lessons from both an independent makeup artist as well as one from her local MAC store. Eager to share some of what she learned, Ashley conveys how one can use a sponge wedge to help smooth one’s foundation and a trick that can make it easier to recover from small mistakes when applying one’s eye makeup.
November 7th, 2011
Ashley’s work finally makes the announcements to her coworkers about her transgender status, albeit with the grace of someone tripping down a flight of stairs, leading to cringes from herself and several of her team members. With euphemism piled atop euphemism, Ashley’s worried if everyone in the company will even be able to unravel the news their management is foundering to convey.
Jay talks with Ashley about her reactions to pet names she might come across — words like ‘darlin’ or ‘cutie’ that one might hear from a store clerk or a server at a restaurant. Jay also asks Ashley which name and pronouns she’d prefer when someone is referring to her in a story from before she came out.
Ashley also teaches Jay about two common types of toe separators one can use when painting one’s toes and weighs the advantages of each. Jay also learns about a new type of polish that allows one to wear two nail colors at the same time in which the second color peeks through a series of cracks in the first.
October 31st, 2011
Ashley’s work runs into some last-minute delays around finalizing her announcement and transition dates. Ashley also talks about her mundane experiences using the ladies’ room at shops and businesses outside of work and is taken aback when her company’s lawyers decide that transgender employees should only use the bathrooms that line up with their legal documents. The idea of being locked out of the ladies’ room pummels Ashley with nausea, and after pleading her case, some of the powers that be offer hints they may be willing to turn a blind eye.
Jay learns how orange sticks can be used to clean up nail polish that may have ended up outside the lines and a trick with Vaseline that one can use to help keep polish from falling outside the lines in the first place.
October 24th, 2011
Jay asks Ashley about laser hair removal (or at least reduction) on her face and checks in on how things are progressing on Ashley’s decision to grow her hair out.
Ashley also explains her frustration after transition delays at work, how she’s trying to keep her employer on track, and the tricky issue of the ladies’ room at the office.
Jay also learns all about UV-cured gel nail polish.
October 18th, 2011
Ashley explains how she prepared to come out to her boss, with some help from the Human Rights Campaign, and her conversation with the boss to start the process around her transition at work.
Ashley also ponders an upcoming visit from her parents and mulls over ideas on how she might ask them to call her Ashley.
Finally, Jay and Ashley talk about makeup removal and cleaning makeup brushes.