29 April 2015

Windows: Bathnight..

mentioned at the end of the post Windows: If the dress fits.. that I had discovered make up, well this window post centres around this experience. I probably had other contacts “of the second kind” with makeup at home but this one stands out and is just as fresh in my mind as with nearly getting caught by my father in one of my mother’s dresses in the same said bathroom in which this story unfolds.
Again, I was in my early teens and it was a Friday night. It being so long ago, how do I know it was a Friday? Well, because it was bath night and that was synonym with Fridays, a weekly ritual that never changed unless we were away on holiday. I must say, I was always rather reluctant to take a bath. I ummed and ahhed a bit until my mother gave me that “look”, and then it was an about turn and quick bee line for the bathroom before her wrath would have led to a contact of another kind!
After the introduction of a makeup session into my bathing activities, I even looked forward to bath night. My mother was presently surprise and pleased that I had finally “come around” of course she had no idea of my real reason for the seclusion. Funny enough once I had overcome the initial “shock” of getting into hot water, I would usually stay in it for as long as I could. This was now to my advantage, as my mother knew I would be occupied for the next hour. What she did not know was that most of the time I was not soaking in the tub!

The evening would go something like this: 
I would lock the door to the bathroom and run the bath. Then quickly bathe, dried off and don my bathrobe. Instead of pulling the bath plug, I would leave the water in the bath. The water going down the plughole and the gurgling noise issuing from it could wake the dead. This would have indicated to my mother that I was finished ahead of time, but of course, I wanted to use the rest of my allotted time for some girl related fun.
My parents as usual where in the living room at the front of the house watching the box (TV). The distance from the bathroom to living room was only about 5 meters along a corridor. I had to make sure they would not hear me on my excursion. I opened the bathroom door entered the corridor and close it behind me. I turned 90 degrees on my axis and open the door to the morning room (our bungalow was very small), passed through and closed it. I had only gone a distance of about 3 meters but it was through two “semi’ creaky doors and over a set of ‘normal’ creaky floorboards! In all this time, I had to listen for any signs of suspicious noises and possible movements above the bubbling background noise of the TV, talk about nerve wracking!
Once in the morning room, I opened the draw to the sideboard, which was adjacent to the door I had just come through. Again, I listened like mad while groping around for my mother’s makeup bag. On extracting it from the draw, I removed her compact and one of the older lipsticks. I was super cautious, anything brand new or little used was taboo. I closed the bag and replaced it in the draw, turned on my heels and retraced my creaky way back to the bathroom. On locking the door, I sat on the side of the bath, swish around a little in the water and calm myself down as best I could. I have no idea how long the round trip took but at the time, it seemed like ages.

It was now time to look at the booty. On removing the two objects from my bathrobe, I would open and close them as quietly as possible so that their characteristic sounds would not leave the room. It is funny but I can still hear the sound of the compact being closed and the dull metallic “pop” sound when removing the lipstick top. It reminds me of how loud and demonstratively my mother would close her compact after refreshing her lips, as if to say, with a glance towards my father, “well I’m ready now, we can go!”.
The two objects in my hands represented to me the ability to make a face feminine, a way of heightening the girly-ness in me and turn my own face, even for a short time, into a female one. I had thought about mascara, but it would have meant more application time in total and the use of removal pads afterwards. No, timing was critical here and also I just could not take the chance of close scrutiny from my mother, powder and lippy was washable, mascara then not. I had tried it once, the chemicals in the pads stung my eyes and it was oily. Just too much work and detectable.

First I would apply the face powder. Ritualistically I would open and close (with that click) the compact; just handling it was part of the pleasure. I would then remove the pad and smell it, a smell I will never forget. I would gather the powder on the pad and apply in the way I had seen my mother do a dozen times. I had to be careful not to apply too much otherwise; it would start a bout of sneezing. I had one once, trying to suppress a sneeze can be painful. I would checking in the compacts mirror that I have covered all of my face with the powder. I had now a light beige complexion in total contrast to my normal ruddy cheeks that I had inherited from my father, very similar to Prince Harry (no relation).

Next came the lipstick. I would remove the lid, and extend it slowly to its full length. The colour was usually a classic red; I cannot remember my mother wearing anything apart from shades of red. She was not that experimental when it came to makeup. I would have liked that she tried pinks, as they were becoming more popular in the early sixties. All I could do was use what was available. I think from this time my preference in the type of lipstick I would like to use was made. I do not mean the colour, but the shape/form and handling. All the lipsticks I have ever bought have the classical form, not these thin stick like contraptions that look more like a paintbrush, or are applied like nail vanish, thin pencils or a board marker. I am quite conservative in this and in the art of applying, one could say old school. (I must also admit I have a tick for Yves Saint Laurent lipsticks, the casing is a work of art, you realise you have something in your hand when brandishing it).

Using my reflection in the compacts mirror, I slowly and carefully painted my lips with broad strokes. I would look on fascinated in how the colour had transformed my face. After one coat, I would critically check for mistakes, correct the best I could and then go over once again with a second coat just for the heck of it. When I was satisfied, I would mimic my mother by blotting with a Kleenex and gaze at the red stained tissue and my reflection in the mirror now off in a girly daydream.
One of the things I would dream about was having the lipstick and compact in each of my jeans back pockets and after playing about (of course only with girls) we would sit down on the grass and take them out and refresh our lips and check our appearance.

This whole experience was always short lived.
The bath water was in the meantime quite cold. I was also getting cold and as I had lost all sense of time, the panic phase started to kick in. I always had the recurring fear that the lipstick would not come off! I had heard that there were stay-on lipsticks out there and hoped my mother hadn't added one to her arsenal. Also, I was afraid that I would not get the makeup back in its rightful place before being detected.
I franticly washed my face until I couldn't tell if my lips were reddened due to the exhaustive scrubbing or from lipstick stain. After examining my face for tell-tale traces of my handy work, it was time for the final phase of the evening.
Now everything had to go quickly before someone heard the disappearing water, which normally triggered activity from my mother in the living room. I removed the plug, flushed reluctantly the red stained Kleenex down the toilet, pocketed the lipstick/compact in my bathrobe, and quickly left the bathroom for the morning room. Once there opened the draw and makeup bag, replaced items from pocket, closed bag/draw and then hurried off to the kitchen to put the kettle on for my coco. I could then stand around as if nothing was amiss apart with my heart thumping away like mad!
It was usually a close call at this point, as my Mother would come out to check the bathroom to see what chaos I had left behind and in most cases order me back to mop up the floor or something. As I was cleaning up, I could start to relax and swear to myself that that was the last time I would do such a crazy thing.
Of course wanting to do “girl stuff” doesn’t go away just like that and so you can imagine what happened the following Friday..

P.S: As I was writing up this episode, I remembered a lipstick that my mother once had where the lipstick and mirror were combined. It was her favourite and therefore I had to admire it from afar and never “play” with it. After she died, I found it in her vanity case the content long gone. It must have had memories for her to have kept the casing all that time. Of course, I pocketed it before everything landed in a black bag for the rubbish tip. I have it at home somewhere but I am not too sure where, but I know it will turn up sometime.
When it does, It will be placed to my own stash of lipsticks and bridge a gap of more than 50 years.
I was interested if I could find out something about it, so I checked the net and found in an antiques market pictures of the same model. It was a Stratton Combination Lipstick Holder and Vanity Mirror. (See pictures). I find it interesting that something like this is now an antique and then it hits you when one realises that one is also one..


  1. Oh dear, I so remember pinching my mom's cosmetics. This post brings back memories.
    The best part of the sixties though was the Mod scene and Glam-rock It was easier to purchase and use cosmetics away from school or work. I wore mascara, lipstick and foundation to school one day and got into a lot of trouble for it.
    Early to mid sixties were still very conformist. Late sixties and early seventies were looser.

    1. Hi Alice!
      Thanks for dropping by, yes later in the decade things were different. I started to work in London in the late sixties. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to let the girl out. Although as you said, it was easier to get cosmetics and experiment. I didn’t have in my circle of friends (mostly girls when I come to think about it) someone that could have introduced me to the scene. I was pretty conservative and introvert at the time, still am to a certain extent. I was at the centre of it all, but I only just scratched the surface of what was going on in the city at that time.

    2. Ah....a crafty T-Girl you were (are?).....

      Loved the story, Abi!


    3. Thanks Calie for dropping in.
      A crafty T-Girl? Have to think about that one. I tried as far as possible to emulate my mother at that time, as she was the only female at close quarters no sister or aunts nearby. Funny enough I can't remember thinking I was doing anything "wrong" with my craftiness as you put it, in trying to look (makeup and in a dress) for a short time how a girl/woman presented herself at the time. Of course, one can feel like a girl/woman even without external accessories and I think my female nature was (and still is) always around in the background. Only in my sessions as it were, I shined through.
      I never got caught, if I had things may have turned out differently. I don't think my mother knew what I was getting up to on a regular bases. On the other hand, it is possible she did but let it run its course observing and not interfering, will never know. In some way, I hope the latter was true.
      My mother was very crafty especially with my father, it is possible I got it from her. Potential daughter like mother!? Interesting thought. Even after half a century, I'm still having to apply "craftiness" to shine through, but that's my continuing story and something for future posts. x

  2. Lovely post, hon. I never experimented with makeup; I think I knew the allure would be too much. I wore my sister's clothes until just before puberty. Again, I think I knew subconsciously what would have happened had I continued.

    Thank you for sharing these memories, Abigale. I'm willing to bet they resonate with many of your readers.


    1. Thanks Cass, I'm glad you liked it. The scene of sneaking out and "borrowing" the lipstick and compact is just as vivid as if it was yesterday. I think things like that stay because its part of an intensive emotional roller coaster and the imprint is burnt in. I could have done this when my parents were out of the house, as with my dressing and with a little less stress i imagine. Maybe I did, I must say I can't remember.
      It's good that you have now continued and the allure of makeup has caught up with you.
      A lovely fiery lass you have become and no mistake!
      Hugs back

    2. Your story is such a part of our stories, Abi. Wearing nylons, heels or using lipstick for the first time as a child is the first step of a long ongoing feminization process and for some it's the beginning of the transition into a woman, that you can't stop. Transitioning is the only way of curing the deep desire to become a woman, to live as a woman you have always been.
      Thank's for the post.

    3. Thanks Feli for your comments, it’s always lovely to hear from you.
      I would love to have more time to let the woman in me free reign to see if the goal to become a woman is really the one I want.
      As a scientist, I need to have the chance to put my theories to the test. This would mean having to let Abigale out for a longer period than I have to-date. Through self-experiment maybe the results would help me decide if letting my female nature out into the open would lead to contentment and resolve certain internal conflicts I have in my life.
      The chance to portray myself as a woman on the outside (it’s a lot of fun - but not everything) is one thing, what concerns me more is the inner “me”. I have been told on good authority that I am a woman on the inside and as I don’t feel that much different than my life up till now, maybe I always was one.
      Revelation can come overnight but not ones true nature.
      I will continue to persevere to find the elusive me; some will say it’s starring me in the face. This could be, maybe I have just been looking in the wrong mirror all this time.