Mrs Stace managed to make a liar of me this week, in a very good way I’ll add.
On Wednesday I answered a comment from Melissa that Mrs Stace was not ready to go out with Stace just yet, that she had to go at her own pace and that I was not going to push matters.
Well that all changed that evening over food. We had already planned to go shopping that weekend, Mrs Stace wants some new trousers and I need a new outfit. Over dinner Mrs Stace said that she had been thinking that it was time to bite the bullet and go shopping with Stace instead of male me.
So Saturday came, I went running – with a lot of pain in my jaw still :( - and got ready as Stace. I had a bit of confidence crisis, resulting in me putting on too much make up as I was convinced what remained of my moustache was showing through the foundation like a beacon. Mrs Stace told me that there was nothing showing, and that I was panicking for no reason. I think that both of us were getting a little worked at the point of leaving, it was a big step for both of us; the first time out with me as Stace for her, and the first time in a really busy place for me.
The first job of the day was to find out where everything was (as we had not been to that shopping centre before and find somewhere to eat. I actually felt pretty good, once out of the car. When parking and changing from my driving shoes into my boots I was a bag of nerves (just what you need when parking in a narrow, busy multi storey car park!), but once I stepped out the car it was too late to panic. Walking through the shopping centre I actually felt pretty OK. There were no obvious looks, or following glances. We found the shops that we wanted to look at and went to a department store to eat. We had a chat and some lovely sandwiches – salmon for me and ham for Mrs Stace – and sat for a while before starting to shop.
Or almost starting to shop – first up I needed a bathroom break. I was really hoping to avoid this; it is one thing to need a bathroom break in a nearly empty café at the end of the evening but in a busy department store and having to queue before going in. In the end it was worrying about nothing, no looks, and no comments – just a pleasant attendant taking my money. So the hurdle jumped time to start shopping in earnest.
I found an Esprit trench coat for spring in beige – and actually trying that on in the shop made me feel amazing self-conscious. I don’t know why but I suddenly felt on display – I tried to hide it and carry on regardless. Mrs Stace also seemed to struggle at this point – though she could not say why. I loved the coat, and but cannot fathom why sizes vary so much. When I was looking for a winter coat I had to go for an XL (though Mrs Stace says there is no way that it is XL). The tops I buy are M, and skirts and trousers are 36/38.
And then I buy a coat that is 40, as the 42 buried me. I have a suggestion for the fashion industry… Why not make a range of standardised sizes so that when out shopping it is easy to find the size you are looking for by picking up an article that is the same as your normal size so you have some idea of how it is going to fit. We looked around some more – Mrs Stace picked up some trousers and a nice top and we went to the changing rooms. Oddly enough in Holland this is a non-issue as they are mixed anyway so there were no nerves here.
She didn’t like what she had picked when on so she went to put them back and I went to pay for the coat (another nervous hurdle jumped!) and we went to look in other shops.
We browsed through some other shops and ended up at We. There things went a little wrong for me (my fault, I was a little stupid). We had picked up an amount of things and I then found a lovely skirt. The problem was that it was the skirt to a jacket that Mrs Stace brought last week. I was stupid enough to say “I’ll leave it; you don’t want me stealing your jacket do you”. That manage to get a look apparently – the first one that either of us had noticed (maybe I need to start believing my therapist on my passability a little more). I kind of brushed that off, we went into the changing room and tried our selections on. And again with the sizes… I was walking around in a 36 skirt, I had taken a 38 skirt into the changing rooms and… It only just fitted (where as the 36 skirt that I had on had a little breathing room), and didn’t fall the best. And the top that I had wanted to try was also not the best. And was even worse when I took it off and found I had left some foundation on it…
That experience, and the fact that the painkillers I had taken for my jaw were wearing off, made me want to just go home – so we left at that point.
But, the day in general was a success I think. Mrs Stace coped well – she was nervous at the start and a little uncomfortable but she said it was not as bad as she was expecting. I’m going to count that as a result for the first trip. And I managed to keep my head for most of the trip – it was a real confidence builder for me.