• Stephanie Ashton

Cheap Thrills

Sia ft Sean Paul, This is Acting, 2016

It is a funny old world just now, right? For some people, the new normal that goes with the Covid pandemic is a happy end to commuting and has provided the perfect excuse not to visit the in-laws for the best part of a year. As a good friend recently observed, a large part of the UK populace is taking full advantage of the situation to do as little as possible, or as we say, ‘gaming it.’

And yet, for many people this new normal is desperately oppressive and that is the case for many of my dear friends who currently have no opportunity to dress and go out and about in the world. If you are in this position, then my thoughts are with you. Sadly, I can not do anything to influence the change that you need, but I can share what is going on in my life and some photos to hopefully keep you amused and inspired until it is your turn again.

So, whilst the global economy melts down and the masses sit at home dumb founded with our new reality, you will be happy to learn I am an island in the stream and have remained constant. It is true that my social life is heavily curtailed with the closure of pretty much anything I enjoy but I am managing to stay positive through a combination of work, exercise, shopping, and transition activities.

Blue sparkly jumpsuit dressed up with fake fur and matching Faith shoes and clutch bag

Under normal circumstances the people in my part of the country have the downside of being along way from any real action or big venue entertainment. However, in the current environment we now have the benefit of being remote, having access to wide open countryside and importantly…all the shops and restaurants have remained open, albeit now with no alcohol. As many dear readers know, I do enjoy a good shopping trip, so it is a real plus point that I managed to get out last Friday for a shopping spree and lunch with a good friend.

There are also pictures in this blog from a photo session I did at home with a variety of outfits I just had in my wardrobe. I had been planning to go to Boys Will Be Girls with a collection of stuff gathered over the years, but with restrictions becoming tighter I decided there was little point in taking the risk of going to London for the amount of hassle currently involved in such an expedition. As the new normal is all about compromises, I decided instead to get out my old DLSR camera and take some truly average pictures. Hopefully, you will get the idea of the outfits, even if the image quality is shocking due to my poor camera skills.

Regarding transition, my hair removal programme has started again and after session number seven there is no dark hair left on my face. Due to the travel restrictions, I had to find a new laser technician closer to home and I now have a new block of appointments for removal of hair elsewhere on my body. It was a disappointment that I could no longer travel to London for my facial hair removal treatment. Why was that? Well, I really liked my technician, Amy, and we had built up a friendly relationship. Plus, I think it is a good idea getting to know someone before baring your buttocks to them. Or at least, that is a rule I have tried to follow :D

Blue sparkly jumpsuit now dressed down with tan jacket and shoes. What fun!

After completing facial hair removal in the ideal world my next step would have been to get my first hair transplant. However, I have been reluctant to book the procedure. The local Covid restrictions in Scotland have a horrible habit of changing at short notice and I would feel stressed if the appointment were to be cancelled at the last minute. So, the next step will be hormones and that is an equally difficult proposition right now. The cancellation of the GIC and health services necessary to get on hormones has been a real pain. Fortunately, I have new hope from recent discussions with a close friend who has helped me find a way forward. I will not be doing anything silly, but I do not have another year to wait, adding onto the 25 years I have been putting it off already. Now that I present female 99.99% of the time it is no longer a choice but a necessity, plus having to pretend to be a boy with a boy’s name is now a complete bore.

I continue to miss my friends overseas and further afield, who traditionally I would have visited by simply jumping on an aeroplane. Remember how safe and easy that used to be? Last year was epic in terms of miles covered as Stephanie. Indeed, you would be forgiven for thinking that I somehow knew there was trouble on the horizon, given how often I got on a plane to go partying in 2019. Sitting back and thinking about it now, I can see that all my travel was not great for the environment and I suspect that once this terrible mess is over, I will need to change my ways. Whatever is left of the aviation industry is likely to be reduced in service and far more expensive, at least in the near term. Regardless, for all my friends overseas who I planned to see in 2020…I love you all and will hopefully see you soon!

Shopping ready. Picture in the car, at the car park, and with mask attached ready to hit the shops

So, until such time as travel becomes a safe and sensible option again, I am content to stay at home and get by with frequent Zoom and Facebook calls with my dear friends. I have to say, it is great that in these times of restrictions we have Zoom and house party to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Had this event occurred even 20 years ago it would have led to a much more solitary existence for many people. And yet for all the benefits, these IT tools are a long way off replacing face to face contact. In addition to loss of hugs and physical tactile presence, the loss of verbal and non-verbal cues makes for some quite odd cross conversations, misunderstandings, and outright silliness. One friend started using the “raise hand” function when they wanted to speak and that was met with great laughter. As my friend said, we all use these tools so much for work these days it has just become part of how we behave. Nonetheless, I have the means to stay in touch with my friends and this is an important part of my coping mechanism as I mentally brace myself for the potential of further lockdown measures and physical isolation over winter.

In addition to keeping in touch with my friends I also have plenty of interests to keep me merrily occupied in the dark months ahead, which leads me nicely onto my next subject. Over the past 10 years or so there has been a definite change in my hobbies and interests. I was thinking about this recently and do not recall setting off with the objective of eliminating all interest in the boy world, and yet that is what seems to have occurred. As I have progressed to becoming a truly authentic person, I have simply stopped doing anything in my free time that I do not genuinely enjoy. As it turned out, most of the activities I found a chore were those expected of me as a boy including team sports, golf, fixing cars, and DIY. It is true that I was good at many of these activities, but it was more a case of things that had been expected of me, rather than things I wanted to do.

Picture in a shop with mask removed...shock and horror! Middle is a funny picture of me in a lift...

So, would you be surprised to learn that all the things that I love with a passion are now within the domain of the female world? Indeed, these days I focus my efforts on the activities that I truly love including creative pursuits, helping others, and taking much better care of myself than I ever did before. Maybe if I had grown up in an environment where clothes, make-up and nurturing behaviour had not been the guarded possessions of the opposite sex then I would not be so obsessed with them now. It is a thought I have had many times along with the truth that growing up in a bum hole part of the country I was heavily indoctrinated into being “male.”

It is therefore with a sense of wonder that the last great bastion defending my manhood has collapsed and no longer holds any interest for me. Indeed, this is the first year since early childhood that I have had no interest whatsoever in the start of the new football season. This is a fact that even I find oddly amusing. Then again, the beautiful game in the UK has been ruined with the introduction of VAR and a complete lack of atmosphere in the empty stadiums. At the beginning of the season I found watching games so boring that I simply switched off and that included my own team whom I have always been passionate about. Alas, I fear the Premier League through its failure to protect the spirit of the game has voted itself onto the bonfire of male interests that I no longer need in my life. Football on a Monday, a Tuesday, every day, every hour seemingly. Same teams playing the same opponents repeatedly in an endless loop. Phww, who can be bothered with it…certainly not me.

Quite literally out to lunch and enjoying a virgin Mojito

I do continue to exercise frequently but that has also moved away from team sports and is instead focused on cardio, yoga and basically anything not involving being physically roughed up. Now that I think about it, the only male pursuit that I still enjoy is playing my electric guitar, providing my nails have not just been painted. I never mention or post pictures with my US Fender Strat or Ibanez guitars because although they are beautiful instruments, for myself there is something deeply incongruous about it. I suspect that my hang-up is rooted in the fact that I spent years trying to get neanderthal men to remove naff calendars of nude women from my employers workshops; hence I am not that keen to now be a pin up girl doing something corny on a bike, lying on a car or holding guitars and big power tools. I guess on the spectrum that makes me a pro-feminist alpha female. My word, that is a revelation in a blog!

Anyway, time to move on and talk about genitals. What?! Yes, that was exactly my reaction to people just dropping it into conversation.

Another peculiarity of my recent life in lockdown has been a distinct change in the type of social media interest I am receiving. It goes without saying that girls like us are always a constant source of fantasy for a range of nice men and undesirables alike. And just like so many of my dear readers, I receive an endless barrage of messages and enquiries that range from notes of appreciation to suggestions that are so disgusting it is not true.

Outfit for going out for lunch on Saturday. Grey jeans and Camo top, Black suede heels, and lovely faux fur tan gilet. Nice :D

And yet, I am mildly surprised by the growing level of interest in my genitals. Historically it has been on average 1 in every 10 men who has asked me whether I have had bottom surgery within say, the first three messages I receive from them. And yet since the first lockdown, the level of interest has soared to a staggering 1 in 3 men asking me about the status of my genitals, and it is increasingly the first question asked. Is a complete loss of social grace just another previously unrecognised side effect of Covid, I wonder?

Whilst gazing at my painted toe-nails in the bath this morning, I even found myself musing if the state of my genitals may have some bearing on the current pandemic, given the volume of requests and apparent urgent need for this information to be shared with the public at large. I genuinely thought it was no longer possible to shock me given the sordid requests I have received both on Facebook and Instagram including a flood of cock shots and “I wanna FuQ U” messages. Yet, the status of Steffi’s genitals seems to have gone viral online, surprising even me.

Naturally, I am only jesting because this is the life I have chosen and if we post ourselves online in open communities then we must accept the pros and cons that go with it. That point aside, I would say that I have been very amused of late by the messages I have received from clearly very desperate men. These poor souls are almost certainly stuck at home with their real-life partners and unable to escape into whatever fantasy world they normally visit.

Of course, I know exactly why so many male followers ask this question…it is in pursuit of being a slave to an older trans dominatrix. Naturally, I have absolutely zero interest in such practices but it is a big market apparently. A good friend in Chelsea is engaged in exactly this line of work and has assured me that a slave is often much more thorough at housework than any paid house cleaner. Maybe it is something I consider after all...

Glamour girl i n navy blue glittery dress

So, having shared lots of pictures what did I get up to on my shopping trip last Friday? Well, the day started much like any other with my cat sitting on my head and meowing at me to get fed. I then had brekkie in a big fleecy dressing gown before getting ready to go into town. The weather was quite changeable on Friday so I dressed down and wore comfy shoes in the knowledge that I may go some distance on foot. My shopping trip started in the mall and then we went for lunch before going for a general tour of the remaining shops. It is a shame that we cannot try on any clothes at present but that only really effects changing room type clothes. It is still possible to try on shoes galore and the result was that I bought three pairs of new heels from Dorothy Perkins. Aces!

Despite having dressed down on Friday, I was told on three separate occasions how wonderful I looked, and these kind remarks led into nice conversations each time. As there are not so many trans people out and about in this area, I am sure that part of the interest (when spotted) is that nice people just want to know what you are about. I therefore always make a point of being extra polite and friendly to people who treat me nicely. After all, if the trans community wants the respect and acceptance of society at large then it is far more powerful to be an advocate for the change we want, rather than sitting at home whining about JK Rowling and the horrid bile she types from behind the safety of her computer screen. When society decides that transgender people are cool based on experience of meeting decent girls like us, then it will no longer matter what pawns for the establishment say on social media. They will just be disregarded as people who are intolerant and out of touch. Welcome to your historical entry JKR :D

And so that was my little shopping trip that ended with a fantastic haul of clothes, shoes and new make-up products in the sales. Having been back to the car twice to dump new purchases I decided come 3pm that I was done. Daring an illegal hug and a kiss, my friend and I parted company and I drove home to my rather annoyed cat who complained bitterly about being left alone all day. No, I have not gone mad but if you live with a cat you learn the meow that means “and just where the hell have you been?”

Left: Super little Make-up Revolutions pink eye shadow palette that I just had to buy. MIddle, make-up applied at 8am still going strong at 6pm. Right: changed to PJs and ready to watch a chic flick

To finish this blog I will share with you what has happened in 2020 that has been fantastic and improved my life considerably, because this year has not all been Covid doom and gloom. Since getting a remote working from home job fulltime, I now have the benefit of being able to live one life – my female life. On Friday when I came home from shopping, I tried on my new purchases rather excitedly and then by 7pm was in PJs on the sofa with the cat snuggled in my lap. This may all sound quite mundane but it is such a relief to be able to live my single life as a woman and be able to dress down at a time when historically, I would just have been getting dressed up to grasp a few hours of Steffie time of an evening. The ways in which this simple change have improve my sleep, health and overall outlook cannot be expressed sufficiently. I am immensely pleased and grateful to have arrived at this point and despite this year having been a bit of a bummer, there are still positives to take away.

And so there we go, another little update on my life today. There can be little doubt that we are all missing the freedom and entertainment that was available in constant supply pre-Covid. However, it is important to stay positive and find joy in simple things. For myself that is cheap thrills from a little shopping trip, lunch and sharing a kind moment with the people I meet.

Stay safe my friends and if you take nothing else away from this blog then remember that a tame slave could be the answer to all your household chores... providing you can get them to stop asking about my genitals.