The choices made during my transition nearly emptied my savings account, and since then the balance has bumped along, swelling a little in the winter months, evaporating at other times of the year. It's never large, and the long and short of it is that there is no pot of money for such things as cosmetic surgery.
But among some better-off transitioners that I know, cosmetic surgery, always expensive, has a high priority. The attitude is that one absolutely needs it to achieve that really feminine look. In fact you owe it to yourself. It's not something that one should shrink from, nor be afraid of. If you have the money, go for it.
They explain it to me with great enthusiasm. It's made to sound like a sensible investment in happiness. The skilful technique of the recommended surgeon; how
charming they are; and how they are able to offer a package of treatments
they wouldn't normally do at the price. All this is put to me like a sales pitch, something I should respond positively to. So that when I smilingly say no, it's not for me, I feel that I've said the wrong thing. That they are disappointed with my answer. And that by not wholeheartedly endorsing their surgery, I'm not endorsing them either.
Which makes me think they are really asking me to approve and applaud their future self-image. And that by not wanting to join them in this quest for perfection, I am putting them down and suggesting that they may be foolish. In fact I'm convinced that there's a psychological game going on here, which needs a careful response to avoid offence.
I do of course endorse without demur surgery to reshape a browline, or
a square jaw, or one's adam's apple, or a bulbous nose, or sticky-out ears, or any unsightly skin blemish. If you can afford it, or can get the funding, then yes, that kind of thing is definitely a good idea.
But what do you say when invited to agree that someone 'needs' much bigger breasts? Because clearly they have already made up their mind. They are of course, absolutely entitled to decide what their own bodies must look like, and I for one am not going to insist that they think again. But privately I don't think that femininity depends on having big knockers. Or, to put it more subtly, having a deep cleavage that you can only create if your breasts are large. Not that I decry cleavages. They catch men's eyes, and they definitely add interest and allure to a flat chest. But they also remind me of buxom barmaids, and tarts, and silly women flirting with silly men at wedding discos. Not exactly my kind of image. But each to their own.
The concern is that it will not turn out well for them, or that an alteration to one part of their face or body will lead on to additional work. That they will become surgery addicts. This is partly why I've tried so hard to live with my nose as it is. I still don't think it's especially feminine, but it will do. The hormones have done something to it, not much, but it's not as offensive to me as it used to be, and I firmly believe that even if I had some spare cash, I should leave it alone. Because tinkering with it would change my face, and might well make other alterations necessary. I've realised, for instance, that my nose droops somewhat over my upper lip, giving the impression that my upper lip is shallow in the usual feminine way. But if the tip of my nose were uplifted, then I'd suddenly have a broader upper lip. And that would then need surgical correction, which would affect the shape of my lips. And so on. Where would it end?
And cosmetic surgery isn't forever. Breast implants may need replacement after ten years or so - who is going to pay for that, quite apart from having to face painful surgery again and again, in ten-year cycles? Face lifts may look fantastic for a while, but gravity will inevitably make the face sag again, making further work necessary. And with advancing years, a youthful nose, or teenage boobs, begin to look incongruous on a body that is really getting well past its prime. So that instead of making you look 'better' you end up looking rather odd.
You know, I think I'd rather remain a plain-faced woman who will never stand out in a crowd. And spend my cash on nice holidays instead.