All my longer-known trans friends are looking great. It's amazing what two or three years of hormone treatment can accomplish. And the oestragen will carry on doing its slow and subtle work for years and years ahead, softening and smoothing the skin, plumping the figure out convincingly, and generally making one resemble Barbie much more than Ken.
Some friends have helped themselves on the way with a little facial and throat surgery to get rid of heavy brows, fat noses, square jaws and jutting adam's apples. And to give a pleasing and girly fullness to cheeks that aren't prominent enough, and to lips that don't pout sufficiently. Plus botox injections here and there, to smooth out wrinkles. Then of course there are breast implants and the use of liposuction to reduce fat tummies. And any amount of nips and tucks can be considered.
I've not had any of that, but I admit the results of such work have generally been pretty good, and if I still had a spare couple of thousand I'd be at least be looking at some of this stuff - a nose reduction in particular. However, noses are tricky and expensive, the facial feature most subject to long-term gravitational droop, and perhaps they are best left alone. Besides, any surgery may leave numb patches. And it's not hard to see that one surgical correction might make another necessary, to keep the face looking 'right'. Then one could slide into a regular cycle of enhancements, in the quest for perfection.
Perhaps it's just as well that I have no money left for this kind of thing!
I must admit that those friends who have made the most of their face and bodies seem well set-up for the dating game. Of course, if you're dull and boring, if you're selfish and uncaring, you will be found out and your lovely new relationship will not get far. But it's the first impression that matters. When you're looking to catch attention in the street, or want your photo to stand out from the rest on a dating site, then you must have a face and figure that arrests the eye. Cynically speaking, a sexy face and figure. Given this reality, I will say that if you're serious about finding a partner, for sex or for long-term, then corrective and cosmetic surgery is perfectly justified.
I had a brief look at dating sites a little while back, and was put off. And in any case...well, you know what my current thinking is about any fresh relationship. It's not what I'm looking for at all. But it's impossible not to find yourself being eyed up by men who assume that you are available and must be looking for love.
An incident arose at the end of my recent holiday in the West Country. Now at Bude there's a picture of the 'Stratton Giant', Anthony Payne, who grew to be 7 foot 4 inches tall. An interesting man: he was very clever, as well as very strong and active, and loyally served the Royalist cause in the Civil War, helping to rout the Roundheads at nearby Stamford Hill in 1643, and then in a later battle near Bath. When he died in 1681 they had to cut a hole in the roof of his house in order to get the coffin out. He was pretty outsize for the time! Here he is:
And this was me, standing next to his picture, and looking just as fat-faced:
Now you can gauge my height in millimetres! (1760 millimetres, when last measured at the hospital).
The point is, for I've digressed again, is that this is what I looked like when sitting in a hotel lounge at eight in the evening a day or two later with my Sony tablet, doing stuff using the free wi-fi. I was tucked away in a corner, with a large glass of wine for company. Then a man came in, and sat down in another corner. He spotted me, and came straight over. He said that he was on holiday himself, and staying at the hotel. He didn't drive any more because of his defective eyesight. So he travelled around the country by train, staying at hotels as he fancied, usually with a purpose: he was a great follower of certain singers, and liked to attend all their shows. He especially admired Susan Boyle, and got me to to display his YouTube channel on my tablet, where he had put together all the best videos of Susan Boyle for the benefit of other fans.
I've never knowingly heard Susan Boyle sing, but I understand she's a shy and sensitive performer with forty-something looks and a beautiful voice. It wasn't however a way into my heart. Was he suggesting that I resembled her in some way? And why?
But it seemed that he was chiefly interested in my tablet. He had to travel as light as possible, and he'd been thinking about a small laptop, but my tablet seemed just the thing. He even dashed off to his hotel room and back to get his reading glasses, so that he could examine the display more closely. He seemed satisfied with that, and pleased also with the sound volume. Yes, it did emailing and all the other usual things. He wasn't put off by the price. He made a note of the make and model.
The talk then drifted on into the practicalities of attending a performance. He was aged 62, rather tall, and confessed that sitting through any performance was an uncomfortable business for him, because the seating was designed for smaller people, especially in traditional theatres. I got the impression that there was no wife in the background, or at least not now, and that he lived comfortably on an MOD pension. The thing was, he treated me as a woman. Eventually I made a graceful and friendly departure, but he had given me his email address, offered me another drink (which I didn't accept), and the conversation had lasted for well over an hour. I chatted pretty freely, but I didn't give him any contact details. I promised to email him when I got home, to supply more particulars of the Sony tablet. (I didn't, because I couldn't decipher his handwritten email address)
Back at the caravan I mulled this encounter over. He definitely spoke to me much longer than strictly necessary. Was it a subtle chat up? Or simply one person on their own enjoying the temporary company of another? Either way, I clearly didn't need facial surgery to catch the eye of a man of my own generation! This one hadn't in any way extolled his virtues, or bragged about himself, or tried to flatter me. I think he even claimed to have had little education, although that couldn't be true. I didn't get a strong impression that he was interested in me, but I'm not yet skilled enough at this game to tell. Natal women I've mentioned it to have told me he might well have been wanting more than just casual conversation. But he seemed a nice man nevertheless, so I'm not going to look for a dark motive here.
Well. Food for thought.