Sunday, 29 June 2008

Sparkle, the full (and long/boring) story


Petrified, feeble attempt at packing and getting organised. Wondering whether to turn up later to the hotel, check-in (they said 3pm check-in time) and then get changed there and off into town OR get changed at home to spend the entire day dressed up which would mean I could arrive earlier and just leave the luggage in the car or at reception. Obviously that would mean checking in as Fiona but all the details are in the other name (using points for hotel stay). So what did you think I did?


Yes, you guessed it, get dressed at home and drive in - if you're going to do something, do it properly!

So, I spent most of the morning panicing further and just worrying about the whole thing as well as my whole choice of lifestyle (did I *really* want to go to such an event, I mean, I'm not really serious about this, it's just a hobby ... isn't it?). Lots of packing at the same time and sorting out things and finally got going around 1pm (so much for trying to be early). Drive down was fairly uneventful and only had a bit of confusion when getting to the hotel - car parking there is rather odd.

Anyway, walked into reception and up to the desk - definite flicker of confusion in the eyes of the girl there when I said I had a room booked in the name of , and she didn't recover well enough to realise which title to use, I let her off calling me "Mr" but did make a mental note that it would be good to have points in a neutral identity or maybe find some other way of booking rooms with them in future, e.g. in another name!

Set off into Manchester, first stop M&S for a drink (thirsty work all this packing) and then onto Debenhams as I'd been told they had a nail salon there that was okay and I wanted to get a proper manicure. Unfortunately they were booked up for the day so had to make an appointment for Saturday. However, I did manage to get another little task done which was to get some Clinique (yes, I'm a snob when it comes to make-up, a poor snob at that) foundation that actually matched my skin tone a bit better. So had a "consultation" for this and got something that appears (now that I'm wearing it today) to be absolutely right.

While there I texted an friend of mine, Lucy, who I know from the online world but who I'd never met but was looking forward to seeing over the weekend. Turns out she was just across the road in another shop! So after some delay Lucy finally came over to meet me and she looked amazing! I should say at this point that the weekend included an awful lot of firsts for me; I have never been out in the Gay village (Canal Street), nor have I met anyone TS/TV/. I have led a sheltered life.

So having met Lucy I was then introduced to the group of friends she was with - some of whom were in bob-mode so I actually got given two names (this is quite bizarre, I have no chance of remember one name when introduced to people let alone having to cope with two) . We had a good wander round Manchester and eventually ended up meeting another of my friends from internet land (another Lucy, it's a popular name), and finally rounded off the day with diner along Canal Street.

Then it was time to get ready for the night out! I think this took me around 2hours in the end - bath, dry hair (annoying as the real hair isn't long enough to go out with but it is WAY too long to not dry properly now), get partially dressed, make-up, sparkly silver dress on and finally the fab silver shoes :D There was no way I was going to walk to Canal Street in those shoes so had to get a taxi - the driver was fab, really nice and chatty and dropped me close to the club I needed to get to and even pointed out the taxi rank (vital to get back to the hotel again).

Actually a few people have been extra nice and helpful over the weekend, like the American tourist in the lift who was very pleasant and chatty, and the girl who did my nails, as well as assorting shop assistants and such!

Anyway, the Friday night involved meeting even more people for the first time, lots of chatting, drinking and staggering around in ridiculously high heels! I've no real idea where we went and while I certainly saw lots of people in a variety of outfits I can't remember much about it now - I wasn't actually drunk though, I think I was just overwhelmed by everything and just trying to take it all in. I actually should have been a little drunk judging by the headache I had in the morning though some of that was simply lack of sleep.


Slow morning, just got up and had a nice long soak in the bath before going down to breakfast (this is en femme .... hmmm, I'm beginning to dislike that term, I'm going to say "as me" in future) in attempt to soak up the remains of the alcohol! Then it was time for the manicure!

Wow, I never realised how much stuff is involved in a full manicure, it took an hour to do including the french polish (white tips to the nails - looks like tipex - and then pinkish coat on top). Also takes a further hour for all of that to dry properly so that it doesn't get marked by the slightest bit of pressure. I headed back to the hotel to chill out and avoid anything that would make a mess of my nails; I was really pleased with them and I'm even considering keeping them like that tomorrow at work (see what comments I get).

Finally managed to get changed and made-up again to go out for the evening, back to Canal Street for more drinking, chatting, and also having my picture taken with the two Policemen there - this is apparently a common thing to do, and I have to say the two guys on duty seemed to be good sports anyway, the conversation I had with one of them went something like this:

Me: So this happens alot then?
PC: Yes
Me: And you don't mind?
PC: No
Me: Are you reading these answers from a script?
PC (smiling slightly): Does it sound like I am?
Me: Well, I just thought you might have standard answers for when people come up and want their pictures taking!

Anyway, more drink ensued as did more chatting with people. And then something quite odd happened. I'd seen a girl (RG) that I thought I recognised but I couldn't place her and was obviously too overwhelmed by everything else that was happening to really be thinking straight. And then she looked at me, and then again ... and then we both recognised each other! It was Jenny, the beautician, that has been doing my laser treatment!

The bizarreness (is that a real word) didn't stop there, she was out with her parents, they had all been to see the Bangkok Ladyboy show that, coincidentally, was on over the weekend as well. Anyway we all had a really good chat, her parents were very cool and had visited Canal Street many times as they have gay friends, although strangely it was the first time Jenny had been there though, but she said she'd like to go again so I think that's another person to add to the "night out on Canal Street" list for future trips YAY!


Quick summary as I've been writing this blog entry for ages and even I'm getting bored of it!

  • Got up, packed (too much stuff)
  • Checked out, had to get someone to help me carry the case down the stairs (lift out of action)
  • Lunch at Harvey Nic's (thought I'd finish the weekend off in style)
  • Shopping to get socks, nail strengthener and hardener and the first series of "The L Word" on DVD.
  • Drove back home and mainly unpacked now and time to get back to 'normality' unfortunately.
It was a great weekend, sadly the euphoria and memories of feeling fantastic, confident and sure of myself are wearing off now and all the doubts and questions creep back into my head. It WAS fun, and it was an amazing experience and I think I'll enjoy it even better next year (I hope) because I won't be totally clueless and overwhelmed by what is going on.

And I think it's now time to go to bed!

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