How to trap - practical advice
Something I composed for a thread on the Animania forums, written with that context in mind. Personal experience and research, no warranties provided. Please enjoy.
A few quick things for clarification:
- This is what I've picked up on my own; I don't dance/act/sing/perform or anything like that, and I'm a little antisocial. As a result, some of it's probably a bit naive, and some things might seem really obvious to other people.
- I work, so I've got money to pay for things. There are probably much cheaper alternatives to some of the stuff I suggest, the tradeoff is that it'll probably take some time.
- I'm half Australian/Chinese and fairly lightly built. Your mileage with anything I say will vary.
- Your most valuable assets will be a brave spirit and resolute attitude; an air of self-confidence and belief goes a long way, too. I'm going to contend that crossplaying is much harder for boys than it is for girls, both physically and socially.
- I don't consider myself experienced at this at all, I'm hoping we'll be able to hear plenty of useful advice from both guys and girls. Crossplay is what excites me, I hope others can share my enthusiasm.
I think I speak for everyone when I say the world doesn't need another Man-Faye. This is not for you.
- Don't be too serious, 'kay? This is a hobby, so have fun and take it easy.
If you can find a copy, there's a Japanese book that covers pretty much all of this, it's called オンナノコになりたい！ (Onnanoko ni naritai! lit. I wanna be a girl!) I can't read it (it's all Japanese with sprinklings of English), but the images are somewhat helpful on their own.
The cover of Onnanoko ni naritai!
You probably have to deal with:
- Arm and leg hair
- Facial hair
Arms and legs
The cheap option (several dollars a tube) is a depilatory cream or gel, like Veet/Nads/etc. It basically dissolves the hair so you can wash it away. It's pretty quick and effective, but it's easy to miss spots because it's hard to ensure even coverage. It smells a bit, and might cause skin irritation.
Also cheap: shaving. This is slow and tedious because you'll keep clogging the razor (unless you're stropping a cut-throat), and some areas are hard to do effectively because your body has curves (eg. knees).
Awesome option: waxing. Your cost will vary. Your pain will vary (I say it's not very painful, grit your teeth and bear it). The important thing is to find a place that you're comfortable with, preferably one that advertises as catering to men and women (it'll be less awkward). I've only been to a little asian salon in No.1 Dixon st. Sydney CBD, it's $35 for legs and $30 for arms. Your hands and wrists are very hard to shave, which another reason waxing is good. Your skin will probably be irritated for a couple days, so don't do it the night before an event.
Pro tip: unless you have something like thigh-highs as part of the costume (aka. the hottest things in existence), pantyhose are good to have if your legs are showing. They'll smooth out the skin tone and hide blemishes; it's like photoshop airbrushing, but in 3D! Their opaqueness is measured in denier (technically, the fibre weight in grams-per-NINETHOUSAND-metres). 15 is standard for "sheer" (aka. mostly invisible), 90 is normal for fully opaque. You want sheer, find something roughly close to your skin colour. Places like Myer and DJs will have a big selection.
- You can't/shouldn't use depilatories on your face, the tube says so.
- Waxing will be very painful and ugly (red marks, possible bleeding) if the hair follicles are thick and/or deep. I find this is the case for stubble, so waxing isn't an option.
Get good at shaving with a razor. Use a new one each time, for maximum sharpness. Shave once to get rid of most of the hair. Shave again, against the direction of the hairs, to get things really smooth. If you're lucky, you have light coloured hair, so there's less of a "shadow" after shaving. If your hair is dark like mine, you'll need extra help from makeup.
I'm seriously considering getting IPL sometime, the doctor tells me it can make the hair substantially finer, if it doesn't get rid of it entirely, somewhat permanently. I hate the stubble anyway, and I reckon noone looks good with a mo' (exception: Captain Price from Call of Duty). Downside: very expensive, needs multiple treatments.
Edit: I got LAZOR and it's awesome. Same caveats apply as for IPL.
PLEASE do this! It's a huge giveaway. Girls' eyebrows tend to be thin and nicely curved. Guys tend to have thick, bushy eyebrows.
You can probably pluck them with tweezers, but it'll take ages and be painful. You may be able to shave or trim them. Really, I'd suggest waxing, it'll cost like $15 or so. There'll be some tears, but it's quick. There's a place that can do eyebrows in the same arcade as Pepper Lunch (George st., Sydney), but it's less azn and more expensive.
(Warning: naivety ahead)
There's plenty of advice that applies to girls that boys can use too. Ideally you can get some help from a close friend who's savvy. Theatrical makeup has a lot to offer. If you visit an outlet you can ask them for advice, just say up front that you want to do drag.
Stubble shadow is a pain in the arse if it's dark, because it's difficult to hide completely with regular makeup. For covering shadow, I've used this before: http://www.mehron.com/Tattoo_CoveRing_p/505-t.htm It's made for masking tattoos, but it's ideal for this as well because it's so opaque. Get some triangular latex sponges as well to help you apply it, it's very thick and waxy.
This section needs some rewriting
Play with some mascara while you're at it, if you get the chance. That stuff is like magic! ("OMG no way my eyelashes are that long")
Boys and girls have different shaped bodies (duh). Illustrative example from the aforementioned Onnanoko ni naritai!
- Girls are skinnier at the waist, boys are mostly rectangular.
- Girls have more shapely thighs, boys are a bit more well-defined and muscular. You can simulate this a little by pulling your knees in.
Oh, girls also have boobs
Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Similarly, any sufficiently frilly outfit can make a boy indistinguishable from a girl. Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL) is a good candidate for this. Long skirts and intricate designs all help to divert attention away from the lack of a girlish figure.
I have a waist cincher corset and it's the best thing ever - I get a 66cm waist, which is way closer to a usable sizing on the back of a pattern envelope. It's also the most expensive thing ever, four-hundred-and-something dollars. I got mine from House of Fetish (Oxford st. Sydney), and their staff were awesome. You could also try making your own, patterns do exist for them (Spotlight/Lincraft/wherever).
Whatever you do, make sure it's comfortable (enough); you're going to be wearing it all day. This is just like "OMG breast binding is painful!", we've got enough of those posts around here
Guys basically don't have hips, there's *just* enough there to hang those silly baggy jeans off of. I haven't felt the need to improve my hips yet, the corset is already dead sexy. If anyone's done this, lets hear it! I suspect a little padding just below the hipbone would do nicely. You just have to take it easy, lest you look like a drug mule.
It is possible to buy hip pads and fake booty. It's probably easy enough (and much cheaper) to make your own, basically sewing shoulder pads to a pair of underwear-shorts.
Good luck with this. If your feet are small enough to fit regular sizes, I envy you. I was lucky enough to find the patent leather knee-high boots I needed in size 11; I think normal women's sizing stops at 10. Anyone know places with a good range of useful styles and larger sizes?
I've worn size 10 boots for a day, which was bearable but not much fun. Avoid it if you can.
You'll need a bra, and something to fill it with. Any girl will tell you that bra sizing is a bitch, so it's about equally hit-and-miss for a guy, except that you can't really try them on for size (unless you've got balls of steel, to use the vernacular). Try and pick a sensible cup size, B is a fair start.
Read the interwebs for information on bra sizing and take your best guess; I guessed correctly for a size 16. I've been to plenty of lingerie stores before, but it was still nerve-wracking (stupid brain, that should've been a cakewalk). You can pick a quiet time for places like Target et al., the staff should be bored enough to not bat an eyelid.
The suggestions mentioned before for filling the bra seem decent, I haven't tried them. I have a pair of inserts that I picked up when I was was in Japan, from Cosmate. They're awesome, made from a fairly dense, but soft foam. There are also more expensive options, like silicon breastforms. I don't know of any local places that sell inserts, perhaps someone else does?
N.B.: If people realise you're a guy at a convention, they're going to want to squeeze them. If you're going for a liquid-filled option, make sure they're strong enough to withstand repeated attacks.
This is messy no matter how you handle it. The link Glorfindel posted first probably has the best advice.
Best to ask yourself if you actually need to tuck yo' junk outta the way. I've only needed to do this exactly once, for a knee-length pencil skirt. In contrast, it wasn't needed for the BRS cosplay even though she's wearing really short shorts.
So, I don't have much advice here, except for:
- Shave and/or trim beforehand
I used industrial-strength tape, it Worked For Me
- Don't expect it to be comfortable
- Go to the toilet right before you start
- Don't drink anything during the day if you can avoid it, especially anything with caffeine
Posing, movement, etc.
I can't help much here, this is something you'll need to discover for yourself, and see what works for you. One of my own goals is to deceive people.
Personal theory: deceiving people is easier when they see what they expect to see.
Example: a feminine, hip-swinging walk, even if it doesn't quite make sense in context. Roll your feet inwards slightly (pigeon-toed gait) and take shorter steps, one foot in front of the other (imagine leaving a single, straight line of footprints). It helps if you take all the weight off the heel of your foot (already happens if you're wearing high heels). This'll cause some swaying in the hips, but don't overdo it. It'll also be tiring.
As for posing, the best ones probably come from your character. Everything mentioned previously (eg. AmenoKitarou) is good advice. Some (mostly hypothetical) things I'd keep in mind:
- As a guy, you're probably taller. If you have female comrades, you may want to find ways to make the height difference less obvious in photos
Guys have a more prominent adam's apple, which you may wish to hide if you're posting photos to 4chan. You can shift it out of the way with your muscles, but it'll mess up your ability to make non-stupid facial expressions. Easier just to not show it to the camera. A pretty bow or ribbon choker works as well.
- Girls have more subcutaneous fat, it's what makes them so soft and nice to hug! This extends to the hands, however; guys tend to have larger, more-defined hands, which can work against you. I'd keep mine outta sight if possible - I might be able to play a ninth on piano, but my hands are bony and I have prominent forearm veins.
I'd never used makeup before this. Steeling my nerves, I rocked up to the Clinique counter at Myer and told them I wanted to look pretty (lol). Remember: it's their job to sell you stuff. It's even better if they can keep selling you stuff. They're going to be helpful and they won't balk at what you're asking. I spent maybe 20min there finding out what I need and being shown how to apply it. Practice makes perfect, so practise a lot. You can do this on a daily basis, it should be subtle enough that you're confident wearing it outdoors.
N.B.: This is a very expensive way to do it; I got some foundation, a powder compact, a brush and makeup remover, and there wasn't a great deal of change from $200. If you have sisters/friends you can get help from, go for it. They can also give you first-hand recommendations on what products they think are good/bad (which you then buy cheaply from places like Priceline).
This makes my face a fairly smooth, even colour. Unfortunately the colour is a bit flat, which I'm told is a _manly_ sorta thing. A little rouge on the cheekbones would fix that, but I haven't tested it out yet.