30 July 2015

Twilight Zone – Stockings III

o into the last ‘run’. So where to start, well let’s see...
[Ed: How about starting where you left off last time, you know just a suggestion like, nothing complicated.]
Good idea..
[Ed: Also you won’t be finished here; you have rambled on so long we will have to split again, with the rest appearing in part IV.]
Oh! Ok if you say so. Where was I, yes, last time I went back to swollen ankles after burying my first compression stockings, as they were ruined by constantly having to pull them up when they lost their grip.
[Ed: Like you]
[Ed: Grip loss]
?.. No.. I buried them before I lost anything... 
.. Well about 4 months later, I was back at my phlebologist for a check-up and told my sad story of the grip-less stockings. She had sympathy with me, but no constructive advice other than a prescription for a made-to-measure stocking with build in garter belt. I must backtrack a little here to the deceased stockings. I forgot to say that they were open-toed. My phlebologist had asked me, closed or open toe, as she was rummaging around in her cupboard. I was a bit hesitant and said open. I think in my mind I reasoned that open gave more freedom for the toes and let the air circulate better - nothing more. I saw no connotations in her asking or in my choice for that matter. 
 It was only when I went on the search for pictures for this post, that I came across this picture and a light went on. I searched in the net for open-toed compression stockings and found the following text on a website and the light shone brighter. 
..Are you looking for top quality compression hosiery that is versatile enough to be worn with your favourite open-toed shoes? If you want to show off your newly pedicured toes in your favorite strappy shoes, our womens open toe compression stockings prove that you do not have to compromise comfort for style... 

I don’t suspect my phlebologist though anything about it when I picked open, and as I didn’t at the time paint my toes (yes I do now, you will have to wait for the twilight post on nails), it never occurred to me there was a reason for open-toed compression stockings other than those I thought of when choosing. 

Another thing, although I wore compression stockings on both legs only one leg was a real problem, but as I had the feeling the other was going on the blink and as there was two in the box, I thought it would be a good idea, prophylactic like, to stocking up the other as well.  I was therefore only handed a prescription for a build in garter belt stocking for the one leg. So with my prescription tucked into my handbag..
[Ed: What!]
Sorry wrong film. 
So with my prescription tucked into my ‘pocket’, I was off to the local hosiery shop for a fitting... 

I’m not sure why, but I have, since my mother started to drag me (literally) around department stores up to the time when Mrs.A would do the same (ok not literally, but under mind control), whenever we entered the hosiery/lingerie or cosmetics departments I went all quiet and tried inwardly to distance myself from what was going on around me, disappearing with any feeble excuse whenever I could. 
With my mother, I just went red in the face and made a right nuisance of myself until I was promised that we would visit the toy department before leaving if I kept quiet for now. 
As a kid in the confinements of our home, I routinely raided my mother’s wardrobe and helped myself to her makeup (see Windows posts). However, out in the open a very different scenario. I had to make sure I didn’t give anything away. It got to the point that the only way to cope was a sensory shut down - less said and bored look the better. I don’t think I grew up and created this as a tactical manoeuvre when out with my mother, it just appeared, brought on I think by an extreme level of embarrassment that just numbed me. 

In my teens, shopping solo, if I have to pass through such a dept. to get elsewhere (no, not to the toy dept., usually high-tech, music etc.), then I would look straight ahead, avoid eye contact and make a beeline for the exit, even holding my breath if I thought it would help. 

For example, passing through cosmetic departments I had a paranoia panic that if a bored cosmetician would shout out “Hey boy! you have a cute face, how about a free makeover!” I’m quite sure I would have spontaneously said “yes please!” and promptly fainted. Then on recovering, as well as leaving with a shopping bag full of free samples and smelling like a perfume factory, I would have a bill for all the products which would be arranged with perfection on and around my face. 

With this vision in mind any form of detection, confrontation was absolutely undesirable.

This is only speculative but if I had been brought up as a girl, I think I would have jumped at the chance to handle the lingerie hanging around in the endless racks, with the classic question “Mum, when I can have a bra like this?”, or at the cosmetic counter “Please buy me a pink lipstick, just this once, you only have red ones, please!”. I will never know. I am now trying to 'makeup' for lost time, but of course it’s not the same. 

About 25 years ago I was friends with one of the secretaries at work (only friends), she was quite lovely and her makeup was always perfect. One day after work I invited her out for a meal, afterwards we went back to her place for a coffee (only a coffee I might add). She had a room that looked like a cosmetic studio with a reclining chair, lights, the works. We started chatting about her hobby and I remarked that this explained why she looked like she had a professional makeover before coming to work every day. She was flatted by this, with a smile she asked if I might like to see how she would do my face. I was a little taken back and I’m still not sure if she meant it in enhancing my face as a boy in some way or making me look like a girl. I’m still kicking myself to this day for not accepting and finding out what she intended to do to me. 
In the last year, when I’m out with Mrs.A and we end up in the cosmetics dept. I interact with her as well as I can with the knowledge I have gathered from YouTube videos and make suggestions where appropriate, but also I’m critical if I don’t like something on her. I am at the same time in my head having a running commentary with myself about what I would like to wear. I haven’t todate checked out sample lipsticks on my own hand, although when I think about it she has used my hand sometimes when she has smeared hers full. 
I think the earlier panic / embarrassment attacks where due to not really knowing I had deep down in me a girl side. Now after ‘personalising’ her with a name, I now realise how important Abigale is to me and having her react with the world. Ok, it brings a lot of frustration with not being able to dress when I want, maybe I would become more Abigale if she was let lose more often, but that’s the way it is at the moment. 
I don’t have to keep that much of a wary eye on her any more as I understand myself better. Although there has been some near misses and tight situations, like being asked in a shoe shop if I would like to try on some heels, and then having to weigh up pretty quickly what to say without giving the game away! (see ‘Heels for health’)

[Ed: I think that’s enough flashback.]

Ok. Now where was I, yes, prescription, fitting for a stocking..

.. So I entered the small hosiery shop around the corner from work, my prescription tight in my mitt and with that ‘I should be somewhere else’ feeling in my stomach. The shop had hosiery but also corsets and other foundation garments I couldn’t put a name to. There was a customer just paying, the shop assistance and the woman were chatting like friends and so I suspect they were. They didn’t notice me at first, but when they did the chatter abruptly stopped and the women went to leave. I smiled and held the door open for her, she thanked me returned the smile and added a nod. I was just about to follow her when I remembered why I was there in the first place. 
So it was about turn and with the prescription held out at arm’s length quickly advanced on the assistant to get this all over with. If I hadn’t smiled and said ‘hello’ she would probably have disappeared backwards into the dark recesses of the shop and out the back door. But she was brave and held her ground, took the prescription scrutinised it, grabbed her tape measure and beckoned me behind a curtain and asked me to drop my trousers.
As I was loosening my belt, I had the long drummed into me thought. 
Did I have clean underwear on?
[Ed: and if yes, did I have underpants or panties on?]
No, I didn’t think that! You know well enough I hadn’t any at that time, today is different but then strictly drab boy underwear. 

She started to take measurements, jot them down, then back to the tape measure, it took ages. I had the feeling she had more scribbled details about my leg on her notepad than I would get with a CT or MRI scan. Then it was up to my hip and waist for the last measurements, we made out a fitting date and then I was released and free! 

The experience was uncanny in some way. It’s not as if I’m not use to having my measurements taken done there. My father carted me off to Savile Row for a fitting because of an evening at the Savoy. He wanted me, as he put it, dressed ‘proper’ at least once in my life. I had no problem when I felt a pair of hands in an unusual place and was asked ‘left’ or ‘right’ and before I understood what he was going on about, the assistant had decided for me! And you know what, he was right with left! As said no problem. 

But here with the fitting, I felt slightly embarrassed. It was only a surgical garment, nothing more nothing less. But a stocking is still a stocking, compression or not, and with years of conditioning in wanting to wear stockings because it was sexy, feminine and I felt good in them and at the same time it being forbidden, a taboo and just ‘not done’, I was and still am in conflict with the situation surrounding them. 
TED: thromboembolism-deterrent
At the appointed time I went back tried it on and it fitted. There was a problem with having to first put both legs in the belt (one piece no join) then trying to get the stocking onto the leg without compromising the belt in some way, then pulling up the stocking and the belt at the same time. This was not easy and in no way elegant. The belt part sat ‘okay’ but the test would be how it went the rest of the day. 
Well sitting around was no problem, but too much walking (coffee machine and back) things started to slip. Not the belt, this was a little tight and with not being that thin in the waist area would only budge when I wanted it to. But the stocking had other plans; it started to sag down to the knee. The 15 cm wide strip of material woven in between the belt material and stocking was just too weak to counteract the stocking doing its own thing. It was stretching like a rubber band. The whole contraption was a farce. I went back and complained, was measured again and got a Mark II to try on a week later. Ok it was better, but lasted only a couple of hand washes until it died from the same weakness as Mark I.

So I was stocking-less again.
This wasn’t getting me anywhere. I started to surf for others in my situation. That is 'male', hairy legs, desperate to keep stockings up.

[Ed: it’s a wonder you didn’t put a contact add in certain magazines. With that description the replies and offers of help would have flooded in!]

Yes it would have been interesting. But I was just looking in forums to see what the census was to my problem. Between the numerous threads from males with a, shall we put it, affinity to pantyhose and Co., I eventually found a thread on compression stockings and hairy male legs. Of course I ‘knew’ deep down what I could do about the slippery stockings, but at the time I just couldn’t think about it without the “girly” aspect of it rearing up. On reading the posts I came to the conclusion that I had little choice in the matter. 
There was: 
  • sticking them on, 
  • the wearing of heavy duty garter belts with 4-6 straps,
  • the shaving of the legs and 
  • a few others that reminded me of the stapler on my office desk. 
Well if that’s going to be the content of my stocking bucket list then I should weigh them up and decide what to try first. 
I started with the ‘sticking them on’. Most of the companies that supply stockings also sold their own wash solutions and roll on water soluable glue. Gluing sounded okay, no girly inferences at all. Good! that’s it then. But I got to thinking, one of the reasons, if not the main reason, was the grip on my hairy legs, sticking would only partly work as they would be sticking to hairs as well as skin. Hairs that would slowly be pulled out by their roots. Ouch!
Ok, next on the list. The idea of garters and straps, heavy duty or not, made me come over all funny, too girly for my boy mode, wouldn’t be answerable for myself. But I still looked round in the Net to see what was available.
Daria commented in part II and send a link to Rago shapewear, I checked it out and found this (see left). There was another link in Goggle with the same article code and I ended up with this (see right). By the look of the stockings the garter belt is not in the heavy duty category, still a nice combi with the bra.
With a further search I found four companies that had garter belts that are supposed to stand up to being pulled down. One was from the NHS in the UK, it was too ugly by half and in a sort of NATO like green! Maybe it was for the National Health personnel when on military manoeuvres, no idea. 
Here are two (Jobst on the left and Therafirm right) that look like they could cope with the strain. The Jobst looks like something I could get used to as an alternative to sticking. It could be a little tight and looks like its formed for female hips. By the look of it I doubt if there is a chance of it slipping. The problem is I can’t find any store here in Europe that sells garter belts of this type, only in the States. 
One thing I’ve noticed, in all the pictures displaying garters here or in the Net they are worn over panties. It looks better that way, but is totally impractical when one has to visit the rest room. Of course I’m talking here from practical experience not just 'in theory'. 

It looks like I need a break after mentioning the rest room. 
So I’ll finish this next time, promise.
[Ed: You said that last time if I remember.]
I know, didn’t think I would need so much space.
[Ed: Too many diversions getting in the way. And what are you going to go on about next time?]
I’ll go on about, as you put it, support pantyhose, rubber gloves and the fun I had when buying my next pair of stockings. Also the next point on my check list is shaving and in this vain I'll end with this card.

12 July 2015

Twilight Zone – Stockings II

ell there I was sitting on the side on the bed looking at the stockings in my hands and hesitating, of course I knew I have to put them on and that was a part of the problem.

[Ed: If you are wondering about what she is on about then you should read Stockings I before carrying on here]

I knew that putting on compression stockings was not going to be fun, with the semi-horror stories from within my ageing family and having to get in external help mornings and evenings to assist with them. They were going to resist being stretched and would fight back as far as they could, brute force was on the cards. 

First a flashback as background regarding my hesitation.

It's not that I hadn't some experience in putting on stockings of lesser denier, far from it. Over the years I would whenever the opportunity raised itself, don a pair of my black stockings with seams and with a contortion act check that they were straight. Next heels, at the time my first and only pair (see picture, how I came about them in a new post). Then walk or sit around, trying to act girl like. I tried to distract myself as far as possible from looking at my legs and feet. This was difficult as I was fascinated from my appearance even with my hairy un-lady like legs. 
And what did I learn while applying and removing these delicate garments? That any contact with stockings and pantyhose eventually leads to the dreaded ladder.

[Ed: Not all ladders are accidents, these days ladders are used for effect, its part of the mode scene]

Yes I know, I think it’s to make a statement, although I’m not sure what one. For me, if anything more a show of disrespect. When I grew up there was a different attitude to stockings, they were not the throw away commodity of today. I speak not from personal experience but as a young bystander, for my mother ladders were a calamity, she would go through the roof when it happened. I think it came from before my time when she was young and stockings were a rare commodity and very expensive, a pre-nylon-post-war syndrome. 

And the main culprit in the ladder game - finger nails. 

I always took it that girls in general looked after their nails better than boys did. I thought it was because they wanted them to look pretty with nice shapes and different colours, something not in the job description for boys. But now I think there was an underlining logic in there somewhere, possibly having to do with their pocket money or well earn cash rapidly dwindling on having to replace ‘clothing of the laddering kind’. In the long run nail care saved money. 
 I had no incentive to look after mine. I grew up in boy mode, was not of the nail biting type and as I had nothing to ladder and bring my mother down on me like a ton of bricks, it meant my nails looked like the silhouette of a jagged mountain range! 
No, I had nothing to ladder, but my mother did! I weighed up the possibilities of getting away with trying them on again (see My first time ... ).
 The idea was to start to regularly manicure my nails on the off chance of being able to raid my mother’s hoard with a good chance not to ruin them. This not typical boy / me behaviour would have certainly got me funny looks and questions asked at least from my father. The only other choice was to stick to unkempt nails and away from any stockings. 

What did I do? I kept to jagged nails.

Deep down I just knew that whatever precautions I would take, however slow I would go concentrating like mad with the traditional tongue stuck out, a ladder or nick would appear out of nowhere. Knowing my mother with her sixth sense and built in ladder radar, she would eventually get around to wearing them and then in a slow and with perfect articulation my full name would be shouted out for all the neighbours to hear. 
 Interrogations would commence and explanations would be demanded, far more complicated than those concerned with “just” manicuring would have. And, as I at the time would have been at a confused hormone loaded age; my answers would not have been adequate for all concerned, including myself as I slowly descended the ladder of no return. 

After leaving home I could, without too much stress (apart from the embarrassment in buying them) ladder to my heart’s content. It’s funny that every time I ‘caught’ myself in putting on stockings or pantyhose, I would roll my eyes and ask myself how the h*ll did I do that! Lightly rubbing a finger over the suspect nail, I could not detect anything. I had the feeling I would need a high-powered microscope to see the perpetrator! 
 It was always the same; I never thought about filing and shaping my nails beforehand, “a waste of precious time”, I did think. I have always had a life-long background panic of not enough time and getting caught, not the best attitude when dealing with 20 den, silly but there it is. 

So now you have some idea of my relationship to ‘ladderable’ garments and why I’m still sitting on the bed looking at them and wondering how this would end.  

[Ed: Come on get a move on! I know what’s going to happen, but the folks out there are getting bored and will soon click, or have clicked elsewhere ages ago. I suspect your talking to yourself again]

Ok got your point. 

I started with the left leg, gathered the stocking up in both hands. Yes there was resistance and I had more material in my hands than I was used to. So over the toe and up, I got as far as the heel and that was it. It would not budge any further. I just could not get the stocking over the heel, well not the amount I had in my hands in one go. So I started again, after two attempts I was over and free! 
I panicked a little thinking I would hear a rip any time now, but all was well and I slowly pulled/rolled the rest of the stocking up and over my knee. Then I ran out of stocking! This cannot be right, where was the rest! Were they the wrong size? I checked the table on the website against the label in the stocking, nope everything ok. Still, I was missing about 15 cm up to my thigh. 

Yes dear reader, the full length, not your common and garden knee stockings. When in passing, I mention to people I have to wear compression stockings - like one does over a cup of coffee - most of the time they assume I mean the knee type. 
Funny enough I get an astonished look when I demonstrate ‘no up here’ with my hand on the top of my thigh. Up to now, no one has said, “don’t believe you! Go on show me”. I’m not sure if I would be willing to let my trousers fall to prove a point and have them fall around in fits of laughter. 

I saw that most of the material was still below the knee and had no incentive to budge without force; this I realised was not going to be easy. So in with my thumbs on both sides, grab two handfuls digging in my fingers + nails and pull. Now my panic button was well and truly pushed, I could see my hands stretching the stocking, I though a break through or at least laddering imminent, possibly with a thunder clap with the way I was tugging. But no, I managed in the end to evenly distribute the material over my leg. The semi-laced band at the top was at the position of a normal stay up stocking but wider about 5 cm and with more than one rubber strip for grip. I had made it! 
I repeated the same for the right leg using the experience with the left one. Task completed. There I was encased, tightly packed in. A novelty at the moment, but would I hold out all day in them a week even the rest of my life, it was not something I wanted to think about.. 

So, day one had begun of a compression stocking future. I dressed and went to work; it was summer and I usually wore sandals and if I could without socks. See Stockings I and swollen ankles, but it looked silly so I put them on adding another layer to my feet making them hotter that they were. I can’t say I ever got used to them with the unusual pressure and tightness; they were far more a disruption factor than the surgical stockings I had to wear by my last hospital OP. So first impressions: restrictive when sitting, supportive when walking. 

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but I’m not that active in moving about on a normal working day. Its to the car and back, to the coffee machine and back, to the lo…. well you get my gist, and the rest of the time sitting/lounging in front of my computer monitors or in meetings (yes I lounge in meetings, except when we have customers). 
 All was well on my 1st stocking day until it came to lunch and out to a local restaurant with colleagues. Half way into our brisk walk to the local I felt a tectonic shift in my left leg. Something had happened but I was not sure what it was, it felt like 'freedom' in some way above the knee.
 When I got back to the office I sought out the toilets and checked. The top part had loosened/un-gripped itself from my thigh folded down and was flapping over my knee. The fold had also started to bite into the back of the joint like a tourniquet and was restricting circulation. Brilliant I thought, I pulled it up and for good measure also the other one, which had loosened but not yet slipped.
Well this was the first pull-up of the day but not the last. By the time I had got home I had lost count of the times I had to go to the rest room. I wouldn’t have minded if it was to refresh my lipstick or powder my nose or pull up the stockings in the picture right. Ok, in boy mode that would have generated other questions than what I was getting with disappearing every now and then. And having to excuse myself in meetings to go and adjust my stockings was not something I wanted to explain or talk about either. 
More than once I had starred hard at the stapler on my desk before leaving for another pull-up session. But as I’m not one for piercings except ears, I left it where it was. 

Well this went on for some weeks, frustration level going up as the stockings kept falling down. Not a happy state of affairs. I had in the meantime mini ladders from regularly pulling them up. This didn’t compromise the function of the stockings (my ankles were not swelling up as before) only the look, and as they were under trousers most of the time it wasn’t that much of a worry. 

It didn't come as that much of a surprise, as It was inevitable that one day the thunder clap would be heard. Well, it wasn’t really a thunder clap more of a low frequency rumble ripping sound, perfectly audible above my dam it! But now the one stocking was losing its staying up power and functionality and was now useless. The other stocking was not that far off from giving up either. 

That was it, I decided for the time being to go back to swollen ankles. So I lovingly folded them up put them in their box and buried it, no not at the bottom of the garden, but at the back of my wardrobe with the hordes of clothes waiting in limbo until the time when I eventually lost those extra pounds and fitted into them again. I thought I would take a picture to show how they looked when I buried them. So I dug deep in the wardrobe and eventually found the box.

[Ed: did you see a snow covered lamp post in there?]

No, I wasn't that deep! 

One may ask why I hadn’t gone into the other possibilities for keeping them up. Well I had theoretically, but I was not prepared at the time for the theory to be put directly into practice. It was only desperation with the state of my legs, the further frustration with my next ‘generation’ of so called stay up stockings that broke the ‘h*ll with it’ barrier and brought me to the present. There is an idea that this stocking ‘adventure’ is one of the reasons that Abigale finally broke out last year and let herself lose on the world.

[Ed: you still haven't got to the present!]

Yes, sorry I didn’t think this was going to take so long in telling.
I will conclude my stocking sojourn next time, 
in the mean time watch this ladder.
[Ed: Hey cute pattern!]
Yes, I thought it would be appropriate.