Friday, August 17, 2018

Snoop the Chute

I had a colonoscopy yesterday.

I was a little concerned going in because it was 12 years since my last one and they reccommend getting one every 5 years especially if colon cancer runs in your family like it does in mine.

I absolutely hate the prep the day before. I will not go into details, but if you have had a colonoscopy, you know what I mean.

Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist said I would be "asleep" for about 30 minutes. I dunno about you, but it did not resemble sleep to me. No consciousness, no dreams, no nothing... it is like I was dead for a half hour.

Just before I went to "sleep," I asked the doctor to show me the tube he would use to explore my nether reaches. I was expecting a tube approximately the diameter of RG-59 cable (the black cable that connects all the gizmos to your television). Boy, was I wrong! It was more like the diameter of a garden hose! Ouch!

Anyway, after I returned to the Planet Earth, my doctor informed me that I did not have colon cancer and did not have any polyps. (I assumed at a minimum that I would have polyps because I did have one the last time the doctor snooped my chute.)

He recommended that I keep on doing what I am doing because it is working.

Since what I wrote above has nothing to do with femulating, I have to add that both my nurse and my anesthesiologist made my day by remarking separately that I do not look my age... that I look much younger. So since I am so well-preserved, short skirts and high heels will continue to be part of my wardrobe!

Source: New York & Co.
Wearing New York & Co. (Source: New York & Co.)

Janek Traczy
Janek Traczy femulates Lana Del Rey on Polish television's Your Face Sounds Familiar (2018)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Back to School

Cradock High School
A 1950 womanless beauty pageant at Cradock High School in Portsmouth, Virginia
Commenting on last week's womanless beauty pageant post, my blogging sister Meg Winters wrote, "I can't figure out why the schools sanction these events. There must be some sort of educational explanation, but I cannot for the life of me imagine what it is. Do you have any thoughts?"

I believe that schools sanction the womanless pageants because they are a good moneymakers. The schools' investment is minimal, so most of the income is profit. It is a lot easier than selling chocolate candy bars door-to-door, which is what my high school made us do.

Historically, I believe the womanless beauty pageant was a descendant of the womanless wedding, which was a popular fundraiser in the Midwest and Southern USA in the 20th Century.

Except for the flower girls, the femulating participants of womanless weddings were adults. So when it came time to find fundraising activities for a scholastic femulators, womanless beauty pageants seemed more age-appropriate. The pageants began in earnest in the late 1940s, grew in popularity in the 1960s and today, is still a popular fundraiser despite pushback by transphobia.

Anyway, I sure would have preferred donning an evening gown and sashaying on stage rather than selling candy door-to-door.

Source: ModCloth
Go back to school in this preppy outfit from ModCloth (Source: ModCloth)

Miss Danny Hicks
Miss Danny Hicks was a vision of loveliness in the 1965 boy beauty pageant at Columbia (SC) High School.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Name Game

By Starla Renee Trimm

“That which we call a rose,” Shakespeare famously wrote, “by any other name would smell as sweet.” Well, perhaps. But if a rose were instead called a “fibbertywhatsis,” I doubt it would have quite the same romantic cachet.

Would John Wayne still be seen as a tough guy if he’d used his birth name of Marion Morrison? Would Cheryl Ladd (the “Shemp” of Charlie’s Angels) have had as successful a career as Cheryl Stoppelmoor? (A name that looks like a typo.) Would Gerald Ford have been more or less respected as President Leslie King?

Names matter. They have power. The wrong name can be an albatross around one’s neck; the right name can be one’s ticket to success.

Rightly or wrongly, we have a history of stereotyping people by their names. Remember when names like Bruce or Percy were associated with gay men? (They sound a bit fey when lisped  and of course, all gay men lisp, right? The malarkey we used to believe.)

Some believe that your birth name is prophetic and can shape the direction your life and career will take. When you think of a woman named Bambi or Brandy or Barbie, do you envision a future CEO or an exotic dancer? Do you think a young lady named Ethel, Gertrude or Hortense is likely to win Miss America? 

Therefore, many people change their name to try to minimize such problems. And not only in the direction you’d assume. In Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People,” a woman named Joy rebels against her saccharine, polyanna Mother by changing hers to the ugliest name she could think of: Hulga.

Obviously, names are an issue for trans folk. Someone born male and transitioning to female can hardly keep their male birth name unless it happens to be traditionally neuter/unisex. And even then, one might want to change it just to have a clean break with the past. Even if one is not legally changing their name, the right chosen name can be of tremendous significance to one’s self-image, and how others see them.

Many MTF trans people simply take on a feminized form of their male name. Joe beomes Joanne or Joanna; Dennis becomes Denise; Robert becomes Roberta. It’s the simplest path; it’s easy to remember and easier for others who knew you from back when to get used to. I’ve heard some say that their parents told them something like “We named you Brian; if you had been a girl, we would have called you Brianna” and deem it appropriate to take on that name. Those who do have a unisex name may retain it, but change the spelling (Chris to Kris, Kim to Kym, etc.).

On the other hand, there are those who want nothing to do with their birth name, feminized or otherwise. Perhps that name is just too negatively associated with their pre-transition life, so they go in a completely different direction. Some choose a name that seems to fit the image they have of themselves as a female. Others choose a name that has some special meaning or significance. Canary Conn, in her autobiography (the first trans-penned book I ever read – it made quite an impression) relates how she was often mistaken for a girl when very young and how one day a woman heard her singing and exclaimed to her mother, ”She sings like a canary.” 

Myself, I’ve gone down both paths. For a few years when I was working as a female, but had not yet legally changed my name (in fact, I never did), it seemed simpler just to retain my birth name, but ask that it be rendered as just an initial in my work record. So, the people with whom I worked knew me by the femme variant of that name, payroll would issue a check with just the first initial and I could deposit it in my bank account bearing my male name and no one would be the wiser.

But in my non-professional life, I have always been Starla, to myself and later, to others, at least since the age of 14 when I entered high school. There I encountered someone who made a strong impression on me. To paraphrase Francis Pharcellus Church, “Yes, Virginia, there was a Starla.”

She was one grade ahead of me, a Junior to my Sophmore. A baton-twirling majorette during marching band/football season and a clarinetist in concert band. So even though we rarely had an academic class in common, our music-related activities kept her in my sight and on my mind a lot.

Starla was beautiful. Not a garish over-the-top beauty, but a very quiet, understated, natural beauty. She would not have been the first girl that caught your eye when you entered the room, but before long, you’d be hard-pressed to take yout eyes off of her. She was lithe, statuesque (about 5-10), with long silky hair that came right out of a Prell ad and a flawless complexion. (To put makeup on that face would have been a crime.)

No pants for this girl. Except on the coldest Central Florida mornings (meaning maybe 4-5 days a year), she came to school smartly attired in pretty patterned mini-dresses. (The better to show off those long, gorgeous legs.)

Moreover, she had a quiet, but delightful personality. Smiling came easy to her and she showed a kindness towards everyone she met. You could not find one person in school that had anything bad to say about Starla. Needless to say, she was totally out of my league. But I don’t doubt that had I screwed up the courage to ask her on a date, she would have turned me down in the gentlest, sweetest way possible.

Of course, I never even considered asking her out. Not just because she was a goddess and I was a fat little class clown, but because she confused me. Yes, I idolized her, but at that stage of my life, when hormones were starting to rage and I was first beginning to question my gender identity, I found myself constantly vacillating between wanting to be with her and wanting to be her. I’m sure many of you can identify with that.

So, that’s how I came to call myself Starla. I liked the name; it was unusual (still fairly uncommon today) and somewhat exotic without being too hippy-dippy. (It was the 70’s – lot of strange names floating around back then.) 

How about you? Did you choose a femme name that was unrelated to your birth name? If so, how did you come to choose it? Was there a person or incident in your life that made that name significant? Or did it just seem like a name befitting the woman you wanted to be?

P.S. Had this doll and its commercial been around 20 years earlier, I might have chosen another name after all. That doll’s creepy robotic voice would have freaked me out!

Source: ShopBop
Wearing Faithfull The Brand top (Source: ShopBop)

Jerzy Grzechnik
Jerzy Grzechnik femulates Britney Spears on Polish television's Your Face Sounds Familiar.