Friday, 26 November 2010

Having booked the day off work, I made my way to Manchester finding just how frustrating it can be on our road network in the process. A journey that I regularly make in less than 2 hours took almost 3 ½ hours.

Nevertheless, with no fixed agenda, or critical times I just chilled out and watched the scenery and the drivers around me as we slowly wended our way.

The New Union where I was staying organised my room so that it was vacant which gave me the opportunity to book in at 1030am and gave me the chance to be changed and out for 1130ish. As I was intending to go shopping in the Arndale Centre, I decided on a skirt suit and blouse, black opaques and black kitten heels. Over the top I wore my ¾ length woollen coat which protected me from the cold but was a touch too warm in the shops and the Centre. You just can’t win!
Making my way from the hotel up into town, I felt totally at ease and relaxed. I noted that my choice of clothing was one shared by a lot of the women I was walking with and reduced me to just another woman in the lunchtime pedestrian traffic.

My first port of call was Superdrug where I picked up a new mascara and whilst there tried a few different lip colours. One which I tried was a lip stain from Max Factor. Even now some 24 hours after trying it on the back of my hand, the colour remains. I think I will have to be particularly careful when I use it for real! It is a nice experience being able to pick up, examine and try out make up without attracting strange looks when you try it as a guy.

Out of the shop and making my way to Primark, I received a text message from Karen that she had just arrived at Piccadilly, I sat down on one of the benches outside Primark to reply. Suddenly this woman came over and asked me for directions to the station. I got up and told her indicating the way and that was that, not a single sign of concern just a pleasant thanks and she was on her way. I know it’s not exciting but it is such a nice feeling of acceptance in a busy city centre.

Having contacted Karen, we agreed to meet back at Taurus and I made my way back there. It was the first time I had met Karen in guy mode and we spent a short time sipping our drinks and catching up on the gossip before walking back to my hotel where she made use of my room to get ready (her hotel room would not be ready for a couple of hour yet). Sitting at the bar, I made friends with a couple of guys and spent a pleasant half hour in their company before the call of the shops became too loud and off I went again.

I made my way to Debenhams looking for a nice necklace, possibly new flats and a pair of fancy tights. Whilst making my way through the beauty hall I was accosted by a young saleswoman and I ended up buying a couple of make up presentation boxes which will be nice Christmas presents for our daughters.

Upstairs, I found the tights I wanted only to find they didn’t have any on the shop floor in my size. Having asked one of the assistants, we ended up in conversation about a wide range of topics as I also was interested in replacing my Spanx full slip with the next size down. I did manage to pick up a nice chunky bracelet in red which I was pleased with. At the Faith franchise I managed to miss the seat when sitting down to try on a lovely pair of ankle high boots! Other than my dignity I was ok and the girl and I had a laugh over the incident – just hope it doesn’t feature on u-tube!

Before leaving the store, I needed to use the toilets and followed a couple of women into the ladies, grabbing the last free cubicle I did what I needed and then discovered at the same time as the woman in the adjacent cubicle that there was no toilet paper! Luckily I had a couple of packets of tissues in my bag and was able to help her by passing one of the packs to her which she was grateful for as we afterwards stood next to each other washing our hands.

From Debenhams, I decided to seek out a jeweller’s to look at buying a silver necklace. I have till now always made do with cheap costume jewellery but was fed up of my neck turning green! Passing by Beaverbrookes I decided to risk it and popped in. I asked one of the assistants to show me their necklaces and that I needed a 20” chain. We found one I liked and I added the letter E to it. I was then offered a coffee while she then produced a pair of matching silver hoped earrings which I also decided to buy – hard sell or what! During our conversation she casually asked me if I was on my way home from work!

Paying for my jewellery, she asked me for my details starting with Miss, Ms or Mrs. At this point I realised that with my address, I may end up having catalogues addressed to Emma Walkey arriving at our home and trying to explain that to our youngest so I hurriedly asked her to change the name to that of my wife. She just looked at me blankly at this as if not understanding. Either she was a very good actress and saleswoman to boot or I was passing better than I thought. I assumed the former but she certainly had me going for a while. Who knows! She soon recovered and I left the shop feeling good about myself.

Meeting up with Karen again we strolled through the Centre, window shopping and in one shop whilst Karen was picking a top, I got chatting to the sales woman. I was admiring the white roll necked pullovers and mentioned to her that trying to stop them getting make up on them was near impossible and so for me the jumper was remaining on the rack. We then chatted about how the sizes varied shop to shop before moving on, Karen having finished her purchase.
Approaching 4pm, we entered the Mac shop and I asked one of the girls to help me. Guiding me to a stool in the middle of the shop, I removed my coat and sat whilst explaining what I wanted. Basically, I was looking for a base/concealer for under my foundation to neutralise any shadow, a replacement foundation and fixing powder, some ideas for my eyes for daytime, evening and party and a suitable red lipstick which would suit my colouring.

Setting to with gusto, the scary bit – I had to remove my current make up! She was very complimentary about my make up before we started, which made me feel good. (The more cynical of you out there may note that this could have been part of a sales pitch – I also thought that briefly and then decided no – I would go with the flow, we all need compliments don’t we) For the next 2 hours Holly showed me how to achieve the various looks I wanted and we tried all sorts of colours. ImageIt is a wonderful feeling having a professional applying your make up and one I would recommend wholeheartedly. I finished the session with the evening / party eyes including a pair of false lashes added. It was funny whilst sitting there in full conversation with Holly that none of the woman around me even bothered to check me out! The only funny looks I did get was from a mother who in between giving her student daughter some grief over choosing a suitable foundation and lipstick, looked me over a few times.

Having parted with a substantial sum (this being a woman can damage your wealth!) I walked back to Taurus where I met up with the rest of our party for the evening meal. ImageSharing a bottle of wine during happy hour we caught up with news before moving onto Eden’s and then making our way over to Villagio’s for our meal. We were to have been joined by two “new” girls but they didn’t show. We decided on only a main course this time to allow us to visit the Manchester Concorde girls over at New York New York.

As I wasn’t dressed for the evening, I quickly departed for my room and changed into a short dress, (and I do mean short!) fancy tights and new shoes before rejoining the girls around the corner. Passing Via I elicited some complimentary comments about my legs from a couple of business guys leaving the bar as well as some voiced suggestions which even made me blush under my make up, though it did make me smile.Image

At New York, New York we caught the end of the quiz and then stayed for the music, meeting up with Claire, Mary and Bev amongst others before moving on again. The others then decided to go direct to Napoleon’s but I wanted to go elsewhere, so we parted company and I walked down on my own to Tribeca and sat down with a bottle of wine. ImageSurprisingly the place was really quiet and I ended up chatting to one of the bouncers until leaving.

I finished the night at Napoleon’s and got back to my hotel late, waking up the next morning having missed my 5-15am alarm call by a few hours! Never mind, I made up the time at work in the evening finally getting home at turned 9-30pm that night, absolutely tired!

Looking back on the day, I believe as I get out more and more as Emma, my increased confidence, experience and better presentation skills all seem to reduce the incidence of adverse reactions from those around you. I certainly no longer have any problem interacting with anyone when out these days (call me gobby if you like!). For those who still have doubts, try relating to me – a 5ft 9”, 16stone rugby player in a dress! If I can do it, so can anyone of you.

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