A good friend of mine asked me how different it was being a woman – specifically regarding the time it takes to get ready or to perform normal everyday activities. I thought I would share my answer. Be warned, a paragraph below contains potential TMI (too much information), so feel free to skip this post. I include this because these are some issues and topics that no one talks about concerning post SRS life. If you are going through transition or considering SRS surgery, these are things you should know. Not that it makes much difference, but I wish I knew this before hand – if just for the information, but also now after SRS, it is ‘comforting’ to know this is ‘normal’. But you can only know that if you have close female friends that are open to discussing these issues.
A male throws water over his face and combs his hair once, wears the same clothes as last month with maybe a change of shirt to make it look different, although he doesn’t see why that matters. He might use a hair dryer but only to ‘dry’ his hair and only if he’s in a hurry. One pair of shoes is all he needs. They only thing he will change often is underwear and socks! 5 to 10 mins max and he’s out of there!
There are two things that totally changed this for me: being a woman, of course, and being post-opt. Both have large time requirements. And as far as sophistication, I’m probably equivalent to a late teenage girl (maybe I’m up to early 20’s by now…). Now and then I’ll ask Lisa for advice on the colors I’m choosing or matching the style of clothing to the jewelry I would like to wear that day. A hair dryer is for styling one’s hair – not for drying it – who would of thunk it! Time is taken to make sure fingernails and toenails are trimmed and proper. Body hair maintenance (not just facial, but legs, arms, chest, etc.) is a huge time component. If I’m going to work or anywhere outside the house, time is spent on choosing the style and look I want that day – things like where I’m going, who I’ll see, casual (and exactly how casual) or business (and what business message I want to project) and what the weather is like, all go into that decision. Thought goes into matching shoes, jewelry, outfit, purse and to a smaller extend hair style, lip stick and perhaps a small amount of makeup.
(TMI alert…) Being post-opt and having ‘womanly parts’ has brought an entirely new dimension to the time taken not just to get ready but also for mundane daily activities of which men just have no idea. After suffering through that UTI (Urinary Track Infection), I am now about as paranoid as the most paranoid women I’ve known when it come to cleanliness, especially down there: washing my hands before and after, washing down there, douching, even being careful with the shampoos, soaps and conditioners I use – making sure they are pH balanced and safe. Case in point: a guy usually only ‘wipes’ after a ‘#2’. Not only do I wipe after everything, but it has to be the ‘down and back’ and never reuse type! Also if the ‘spray’ was a bit to much (a common problem with a #1), then I pour water down there to get clean and prevent a rash. A guy is concerned about cleanliness of basically one orifice (#2) – I have to be concerned about three. Douching and maintaining a pH balance have been added to the list.
And on top of all of that – because I’m a post-opt SRS- for the rest of my life I will have to dilate. Right now that is 3 times a day: 5 mins to set up, 15 mins dilation time, then douche and clean after – totals up to about 1/2 hour for each. I do appreciate how fresh and clean I feel after. But that’s another point: as a guy I never could understand when a woman talked about feeling fresh and clean – oh do I understand now. As time goes on, dilation will reduce to a couple times a week.
Going to work? Who has time to go to work????
Men just do not understand. Before transition, I had an appreciation for the time a woman required to prepare, but it was nothing like the reality I now live. My hope is for those that are starting this journey, that you gleam some information (and perhaps wisdom) from this, that is seldom discussed or disclosed (due to it’s TMI content).
Be comforted in knowing that some of these time demands will lessen, Sifan, particularly after retirement. Makeup? Maybe some lipstick for an evening event. Clothes? Brown shorts or blue denim shorts and a coordinated top; black or brown slacks after dark. A few nice dresses and gowns, mostly for cruises. Jewelry? Wedding ring, ear rings. Diamonds for a night out. Shoes? Black or brown Hush Puppies, Tevas, and dive booties. Barefoot around the house. Summer and winter nighties.
Dilation? Yes. it’s forever. but frequency will decline. Some of us get to once a month; others remain about twice a week. Hey, it protects one’s investment.
Enjoy. It’s all about being comfortable with you.