Annabelle; A Study In The Female Gender

I was entering my senior year at college, majoring in sociology with intentions to get my Master’s in the field. I was an avid student with a 3.9 GPA, fairly outgoing and able to get along with most anybody. My sister, one year younger than me is also in the same field, but wanted to teach when she graduated. The brother/sister relationship was like most, confrontational and constant back and forth about most everything. I loved her dearly, but to admit that publicly broke every rule about sibling rivalry.

I tried to watch out for her, making sure that she is not being harassed, or bullied. I got caught by her once speaking to one of her many boyfriends, reminding him that she is a relation of mine, and if anything caused her to be upset, I would have to be dealt with. She didn’t confront me immediately, but several days later thanked me for standing up for her. In his case it was not necessary, she disliked him and had since dumped him. I did receive a kiss on the cheek, and a warning that if I chased off someone she really liked the price to me would be extreme.

I still watched out for her, but minimized my direct contact with any of her dates. Since we both had the same majors we often studied together, since a lot of our classes were the same or similar, with my advanced courses just more of the same ones that she was taking but in more detail. She was getting a taste of things to come and I was being reminded of the basics of the subject. It was on one of these study sessions on a Saturday that we were talking about gender roles and societies influence on them.

For instance, if you liked athletics, and played baseball or football, society exerted an influence on you to dress a certain way and act like a jock. Not all baseball players chewed tobacco, or wanted their hair short, but society exerted so much influence that the habit was usually adopted by the player. In females, not all cheerleaders were blond and acted like a bimbo, but the influence of society had its effect and when a group of cheerleaders are seen most of them are blondes, bottle if not natural, and act as if there IQ is lower than average.

The discussion lasted for several weeks during our study sessions with each of us deciding where we stood on the subject. Then as if the Gods decided that was a taboo subject we quit discussing it. I was able to get a job as a sociologist for a large corporation, with some credit toward my graduation if I completed a year with them. The money was the deciding factor, I would receive almost thirty thousand dollars a year, plus health care and other benefits.

The job entailed interviewing personnel cases finding out as much as possible about the people involved in them. This could include two employees involved in a dispute, a manager/employee conflict, or behavior that threatened to spill over into the workplace. I tried to find out about their upbringing, their home environment, and what if any conditions that might show up as stress. That information was then passed to my boss for any needed action.

The corporation worked closely with the University thus the credits. Sis was not in favor of this arrangement, but after I had explained it to her she acquiesced. So at the half term I became a corporate player, I hate to admit it but any type of schooling does not prepare you for the harsh reality of real life. A sociology text book and the real world differed greatly.

My boss, a PhD was easy to work with, showing me as I performed my job the difference between what the text book stated and what actually happens in society. Her name was Emily Shephard and is five years older than me, her experience courtesy of her Mother, a sociologist who had written quite a few books. She also possessed a PhD from a European University, known worldwide for its training in this subject.

I know it is frowned upon, but I ended up forming a friendship with her because of us working together. There was nothing more to it than a mutually shared friendship trio, even though we did many things together as would a couple. Once she met my sister, she was included in the friendship. We frequently ate dinner together, twice she obtained tickets for us to see the local theater group production of a play. On weekends we occasionally shopped, or went to a flea market just to past the time and to see sociology at work.

We had just finished dinner at a local Italian restaurant that had the best lasagna in the region. We were sipping our drinks, her and my sister’s choice was white wine, while I just had a soft drink. We chatted about some trends that were popular among the younger generation and how they would impact society in a few years. It was a lively discussion, lasting for over an hour, and three refills of our drinks.

Emily asked as we were gathering our things about me doing a study of some of these current trends, of course, at company expense to see what effect they might have on the corporate workplace. We were outside before I could answer and the subject was dropped as we got into our respective vehicles and made our way home.

Later in the week at work Emily again asked if I had thought about the subject. I told her that I had thought about it a little, but couldn’t think of a trend that might impact the workplace. She giggled, telling me that they all will make a large impact over the next few years, and that applies to our company as well.

We got busy with some other business and the subject was again left for some other time. Then about a week later after Emily returned from the University where she had monthly meetings with several of the professors she approached my desk and sat down in my one chair in front of my desk. She told me that she and the professors had been discussing some possible studies and what we had been talking about came up. They had some discretionary money available and wanted me to take advantage of it.

It needed to be about our employees and designed so that the largest internal group, in this case the age 20 to 25 female, mostly unmarried were the focus of the study. We were looking at trends that were just gaining popularity or had been popular in the last six weeks. She wanted me to concentrate on the trends as they affected the individual. Then include other people’s reactions, effect on their work if any, and the overall impact on the company from there employee’s indulging in that trend.

This is turning out to be a lot bigger a deal than I first envisioned. The University had assured Emily that I would receive enough credit to graduate if I did justice to the study. Now all I had to do was to identify a trend that might have some sociological impact and follow its progression. Two weeks later, I still had no project, I found it very hard to identify something that might cause or become an impact to society. Emily had made several suggestions, but not a one of them stood out as a clear choice.

Jennifer, my frequent combatant in the brother/sister conflict came up with the idea. At this time acrylic nails were becoming popular for females. Nail salons were opening right and left, young females were flocking to cosmetology schools to learn to do them, and most females at one time had at least tried them. It looked like a fairly popular trend that might last for a few years, as the people indulging in this were still increasing.

Now how do I get the experience and knowledge of this, other than just talking to the women that have the nails? Jennifer to the rescue again, although I think there might be a little more involved here than me getting data to use for my paper. She suggested that I get a set for myself, that way I could experience getting used to them, working in them and what society thinks of women that wear them. I did point out to her that since I was not a female some of that input would be slanted.

Emily finally stepped in deciding that Jennifer’s approach had some merit, my work does not interact with much in the public spectrum, so the nails should not be much of an issue at work. I essentially interview employees about their work, conflicts between employees, and manager/employee relationships. Then Emily makes determinations about what needs to be done to avoid further conflicts.

Even though I had considerable doubts as to this avenue, it was decided to go ahead. I would receive a set of acrylic nails, complete with appropriate nail polish and keep them maintained and undamaged for three months. A weekly appointment would be furnished for fill ins and replacement of any broken or damaged nail. I was forbidden to wear any gloves or any manner of covering to hide the new talons that I would be wearing. They would be a part of me, glossy and colorful for me and the whole world to see.

I had to do normal things, my work and shopping could not be put off to keep the nails from being seen. It did take me a week to get the nerve up to subject myself to this project. I wanted to graduate badly, but after seeing more than a few females wearing these extensions to their fingernails, I wasn’t so sure that I could do it. Maybe in a disguise as a female they could be tolerated with ease. But to be dressed as a normal male, no makeup, and a masculine hairstyle and have these very feminine fingernails was going to be a very noticeable issue.

Since I had no idea of who to see to get a set of long and elegant nails, Jennifer made the appointment for me. It was for the following morning, eight A.M. at the Turnabout Gurl Salon in town. Patricia was to be my manicurist, and the process would take about two hours. My nervousness made sleep that night sporadic, and my appetite the following morning was non-existent.

The ride to the salon was brief, finding out that the salon was only three miles from my apartment. I ended up early for my appointment, but Patricia was already there and waiting for me. I was escorted back to her station, through one of the most feminine places that I have ever been in. Lots of pink, would be my comment on being asked what it was like.

She looked at my hands briefly to see what supplies that would be required for my elegant nails. Immediately she immersed my hands in bowls of warm water to soak. As they were soaking she picked out ten nail extensions that would fit my own fingernails. I knew that I would be getting extensions, but the length of these made me nervous. They really looked long as she matched each extension to my own nails. My hand was removed from the solution and she worked on my cuticles, removing any excess and pushing back the rest. Then she performed the same procedure on the other hand.

The process of gluing on the extensions was straightforward. Glue on my existing nail, more glue on the extension, then allowed to get tacky. Add the extension, placed properly to line up with my existing nail, then my hand was promptly placed under a UV light for twenty minutes. When my hands came out from under the UV light I realized what an impact these extensions would have on me. My hands were now delicate looking, with the fingers seemingly narrower and longer. I had no doubt that they would be noticed by anyone looking at me.

She carefully filed then into neat ovals, although no length was removed in the process, just shaping the sides of the nail. A base coat was added to seal the surface of the nail, keeping it from absorbing color from the polish. Then three coats of polish, a deep burgundy red in this case. I was told that a pink would be allowed once a month, but the remainder of the month I was to be sporting shades of red and burgundy. Then a glossy topcoat was added and both hands reinserted under the UV light.

Patricia pronounced me done, then she took the time to explain the care needed to keep them glossy and beautiful. I really doubted that they would get damaged since I had serious doubt that I would be able to use my hands with such talons extending from my fingertips. My weekly appointments would be Thursday at 8 P.M. so that my nails would look good for any weekend dates I might have, she did giggle when saying that.

It was planned that I return to the office after my nail appointment. My stomach was doing flip flops as I entered the building. As I approached reception, I forgot that I had my ID badge in my pocket. I reached into my pocket to retrieve it, then fumbled with it as I tried to grab it with my nails getting in the way. I finally got it out, and attempted to clip it to my shirt collar.

The female security guard came around her desk, taking my ID badge from me and slipping in on a lanyard. Then she slipped it over my neck. I thanked her, but my red face and attempt to flee the scene was noticeable. She placed her hand over mine, telling me that it required time to get used to the nails, but mine were some of the prettiest she has seen. I repeated the thank you, this time with more conviction and made my way to the elevator.

Walking down the corridor to my office, I felt like all eyes were focused on me, but somehow made it to my office. I called my secretary on the intercom, to let her know that I was there asking if there were any phone messages. A few moments later she entered my office and placed three messages on my desk. I caught her looking at my hands and the brightly colored nails that were at the fingertips. She told me she liked the color, her skin tone didn’t allow her to wear the dark colors like she wanted to. I was asked where I had them done, and I told her the Turnabout Gurl Salon. She used them for her haircuts, but had never tried a manicure there.

She suggested that since I was not used to them yet that she could type up my forms for a few days until I could function in them. I was almost brought to tears with that simple gesture towards me. I thanked her profusely, then asked when my first appointment was. She told me the manager would be in first in fifteen minutes and then the employees an half hour after that. I tried to regain some confidence, but the extreme femininity at the tips of my fingers certainly slowed the process. My secretary Mary, suggested that I leave the intercom on so if there was any trouble or unexpected discussion that she could summon help.

She came around the desk and gave me a hug, reminding me how pretty my nails looked. I thanked her again for the support, her smile and her remark that us girls have to stick together made me stop and think. As she left the tears, previously withheld trickled down my cheek. Whether consciously or not she regarded me as a fellow female, just by the act of having my nails done. Now for the hard part, doing my job as a well-manicured male.

The nails almost stopped my paperwork flow, they kept me from writing in a readable style, and even the simple task of handling papers was quite difficult. I just couldn’t grab anything with my hands, the long nails keeping me from separating any of the forms that I filled out. The interviews were another sore spot. A male employee would look at my nails, not knowing what to say or do, then their attitude would turn angry, although with a very strict discrimination policy company wide, it was never vocalized. The female employees would study my nails, asking me where I had them done, and then often complimented me on their looks. I guess because of the nails they were more forthcoming, easier to talk to and relaxed more as they told me about themselves.

It is hard to conduct a bias free interview when one of the participants is reacting so negatively to you. I discussed this with Emily, she said she would work on a solution then get back to me. The next day she came into my office first thing in the morning and handed me a bag. It contained a blouse, and a solid color pair of ladies pants. Neither were cut very feminine, her idea was if I appeared more gender neutral, the client would presume female and drop the hostility. I started to protest but she wanted me to try it today to see if it would work.

My voice was kind of neutral, she just told me to talk a little softer. Of course, I was to not proclaim my male status when they came to my office. I mostly used a variation of my first name anyway, so that seemed to be a workable approach. Close enough to be recognized by me when addressed. The first interview wearing the less masculine clothes seemed to handle the problem. The male presumed I was female, had no negative reaction to my appearance and answered all my questions with ease and respect.

That turned out to be the norm for the next few days. My sister had purchased for me a couple of more outfits to wear, although she had a little more fun than Emily had. The blouses sported some lace, and the pants zipped up the back. Emily complimented me a couple of days later with my interviews involving females, they have been much more detailed recently, she thinks because they see me as a fellow female and thus are more forthcoming with information.

I still tried to go out dressed masculine, but with the gorgeous nails, on trips from home for groceries, or household needs nobody saw anything but the female me. Since most of the people that I deal with for these two things are female, I got a reaction, but also interest in where I had them done. I need to talk to Patricia to see if I can get a discount for sending customers to the salon.

The one really bad experience was when I had to stop at a garage to have the car looked at. The male mechanic from the moment he saw me and my brightly colored nails made comment after comment about my masculinity, fag, sissy, gay, homo were used extensively in the next few minutes as names for me. The only saving grace was the garage was owned by a couple and the wife came over to check on me. Her anger at the mechanic sent him into retreat and soon my car was fixed, a clogged fuel filter was apparently the problem. She made him apologize to me, he went through the motions but I doubt if he was sincere about any of it. The lady told me that there would be no charge, an attempt to make up for the way I was treated.

Still that kind of verbal attack made a lasting impression on me, suddenly dressing as a female to keep things like this from happening seemed like a good idea. Society, at least a small part of it, resisted any change from what they were taught when younger. Changing a person’s attitude to conform better to accepted gender roles was essential to get by. Because I didn’t fit a supposed gender role I was signaled out for harassment.

I portrayed the female gender role at work, definitely less aggravation that way. At home the same, shopping for clothes, groceries, and sundries a lot easier as a female than as male with beautiful polished nails. As the weeks wore on I became a little more attentive to my female guise, adding a touch of makeup or some feminine accessory to my outfit or person. I constantly received compliments on my nails, Patricia very appreciative of all the referrals I was sending her.

Jennifer, my sister was also hanging around more. From a phone conversation once a week to eating out once or twice, plus a shopping trip on the weekends was quite an escalation. It was always as sisters, I just never got comfortable going out as a male with those fingernails. We still studied together at least once or twice a week, varying from her place to mine depending on the week. We talked about clothes, current fashions, even nails since the acrylic extensions were really the hit with young women.

It was only a couple of weeks after I had my first pair that she also indulged in a set for her. We swapped stories of getting used to them, the helplessness when you first got them and the compliments that were received once obtained. On more than one occasion she thanked me for being a big sister to her, of course that bit was delivered with an endless stream of giggles.

For some reason I never approached Emily about stopping the study, it just never occurred to me. I had forgotten that I was a male masquerading as a female, the routine of getting ready, doing my makeup, and hair just a normal occurrence in a daily routine. When that thought first flirted through my mind, I was astounded, how can a person forget he is a male. That particular morning I dragged my feet getting ready for work, trying to figure out when that fact slipped my consciousness.

The more I thought about it, I realized that I had adopted the actions of a young female without regard to the fact that I was still a male. This worried me, what happened to allow that to happen. When I got to work I made my way to Emily’s office. I had to wait for a couple of minutes as she finished a phone call. She called me in and I sat across from her and explained my sudden awareness of what has been happening. She listened, aware of some of the things that I had been doing unconsciously.

I was aware that my gender had not changed physically, but my actions helped along with some social pressures had me living pretty much as a young female. I was wearing my longish hair in a high ponytail, I regularly used lip gloss and mascara, and now possessed a good sized female wardrobe. The only thing I had been spared was skirts and dresses. No bras yet, but I had changed to panties a couple of weeks into the study, because boxers and boy shorts do not bode well under a woman’s pants.

Emily made me see that it was a slow gradual change, with me seeking a middle ground where my male sex was not observed. She asked the obvious question that I had avoided with a passion. Are you liking the new you? How do you answer that type of question without condemning yourself? Thinking back on it, it was not something I wanted to do or set out to do, but because of the study I took it on. To survive without all of the name calling, I willingly made the changes so that I fitted in to the proper gender. An escalation here, something added there and soon my appearance was not androgynous, but female.

I was asked what opinions and feelings had I obtained from females that were indulging in the fad of acrylic nails. I told her that other than their constant questioning of where I had got mine done at, I really didn’t have much data. It seemed to be universally difficult to do things with them, but the attraction of having long beautiful nails offset that. I did feel that most thought that having them made them sexier, more feminine and attractive to a prospective partner.

Emily asked if I had any ideas of getting more detailed info on what females thought after getting the acrylic nails. I told her that interaction with that age group of female was needed, but here at work I don’t have much contact with them except in an interview. She told me to think about what needed to be done and then we would talk it over again in a couple of days. Jennifer had a solution, not particularly one that I favored, but at least a way to get more social interaction with the target group.

Unfortunately, it involved me coming to terms with my feminine side. She thought the best way to observe and get more data on the trend and how females truly felt about it was to become an employee. As an interviewer I only came into contact with a small percentage of the work force, but if I became a regular employee, I would be immersed in the middle of my target group.

Of course Emily betrayed me, thought it was an excellent idea and soon I was working as a receptionist in one of the satellite offices three days a week. That now required a new wardrobe, pant and blouses would not do for everyday wear. Since I was working as a female a name was needed to complete the scene. Emily in one of her more playful moods named me Annabelle Walker. When I was informed of the name I let out a loud groan, but was chastised by my boss, for not appreciating the work involved in figuring out a new name for me. I quickly decided that Annie would be sufficient as a female moniker, hoping that mention of the full name would not come up in conversation. Both were bad, the two together were horrible.

My boss for the receptionist position knew of my true gender and purpose, but thought that my immersion in femininity was comical. My full name sent her into a giggle fit, the first of many to come when people were informed of my name. She did watch my backside, keeping me abreast of office gossip, especially concerning what the male members of the office thought about the hot new receptionist working the phones. I quickly found a steady stream of male employees coming by my desk, trying to start conversations with me. I did notice that my breasts and nails were the focus of their attention most often.

I did learn a lot of what a typical female thought about her nails, their care and the predominant reason that the female indulged in the practice of long and elegant nails. It seemed that one of the main attractions of the nails is the extra attention one recessives when sporting a set of them. A lot of my female co-workers thought that having them made them more popular, more visible to the male of the species. I agreed, but myself it seemed to be more of a confidence boost that affected the female, she felt herself to be more attractive, thus she is more confidant in her interactions with the male of the species.

My first draft of my observations met with rave reviews from the professors at the University. Particularly interesting is the one female professors reactions to my paper. She attached a page of notes and thoughts to her review, then asked if I had time she would like to talk some with me personally. I found the time, meeting her the next week late one afternoon. I came from my job, still dressed in a light business suit with a pink blouse on underneath. I hadn’t taken to wearing bras, number one reason nothing there to require support. My looks still very feminine, the high ponytail and the mascara and lipstick more than enough to sway the opinion of the one viewing me.

She welcomed me to her office, we chit-chatted for a while then she asked me about my paper’s first draft. She wasn’t interested in my observations, but my feelings on the matter, particularly why I got so engrossed in the guise. I don’t know why I kept adding to the illusion, maybe because of that one confrontation that bothered me so much. It is much easier to blend in then face the world as a male with gorgeous nails. Now it seems normal for me to fix my hair, apply the mascara and lipstick, and then slip on my blouse and skirt, even a dress now on occasion.

We talked for over an hour, she was fascinated at my way of blending in, sacrificing my masculinity in the process. I didn’t quite see it the same way, I was just taking the path that would avoid conflict with others. She cocked her head, then mentioned what I was wearing and my makeup. She added in my pierced ears, the feminine scrunchie and the heels I was wearing, to her that was sacrificing my masculinity. Not one masculine item on my person, kind of summed up where I was at that moment.

She suggested as a test that I try and stop dressing as a female for a day or two. Maybe over the weekend. When I get up in the morning dress in normal male attire, leaving off all of the feminine touches. Then try and function as a male for the day. She wanted my thoughts and if I was successful. I thought it would be a cinch, I probably will have to do it soon anyway, since it was nearing the time for the study to end.

I tried it early Saturday morning, got up took a shower and then went to the dresser where I kept my male clothes. I pulled out a pair of boy shorts, slid them up my legs and positioned my equipment in them. I looked for a t-shirt to wear, twisting and turning because the boy shorts were scratchy and rough. I ended up slipping them off and pulling on a pair of panties. Much better. I slipped on the male t-shirt, the same thing after only a few moments. Let’s face it I was used to a cami and a blouse, not t-shirts anymore. The jeans were rougher than my female ones and cut huge in the legs. They just didn’t feel right now. I then picked out some female clothes, at least I was somewhat comfortable in them, the itching and roughness now gone.

So now dressed in all female clothes I looked in the mirror, my face looking bland and lifeless. I had done my hair in a low ponytail, not at all like I did it when dressed as a female. Recently I wore it down, with barrettes on each side to keep it out of my face. I must have stood there in the bathroom for twenty minutes, looking at my image in the mirror. Finally I gave up, fixed my hair the way I have been doing it, added mascara and lipstick and went to the kitchen for some breakfast.

I did send a selfie of my look to the Professor, with the comment added, you were right, female it is for the near future. I think that was the first time I seriously thought of changing my gender to a female and living as such. To think that a look into the sociology of a female led me on this path, a path that I now traveled willingly.

I did continue with the guise of a female working with Emily and continuing my job as a receptionist. My paper was accepted by the university, and praised for its insights and relevant conclusions. A few months later my male clothes were given to charity, since I have seldom worn them in the last six months. Three weeks ago I found out that Emily was being promoted up the corporate ladder and I was the lead candidate to fill her position. Emily and I talked at length about this change to my employee status. I finally agreed with her that it is long overdue, the decision to become Annabelle full time has been postponed for too long. I made the change, the few remaining traces of masculinity were eliminated and the first of June I took over Emily’s old job.

It worked out well, four years later I am still in the position, and things are running smoothly. Looking back the study did impact me greatly, it was just at the time I did not realize how much and how profound. It was a turning point, one that I am glad I embraced.

Sis is getting married next week, and I am looking forward to the ceremony, my first as a bridesmaid. There is even a young male in my life now, maybe soon I can join her in married bliss. It is amazing what a study of the female gender can bring to light. Incidentally I still have the long nails, and twice a week appointments to keep them looking their best. In a way they are essential to my being, what made Annabelle real.

Story Complete For Now

© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker

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