Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Working Woman

2013-04-03_Rhonda_web My thoughts about going to work en femme on a regular basis generated a lot of comments and e-mails including the following from my friend Rhonda, who does go to work en femme on a regular basis.

Hi Stana,

I very much appreciate you dilemma. Our need for self-expression and fulfillment does present quite a challenge especially when positive reinforcement seems to follow us everywhere.

I have always viewed my extra-gender activity as visits into the land of femininity. I guess it started very young viewing travel brochures (catalogues), progressed to quick visits and now I see myself as having a full travel visa. I visit at will and enjoy every blessed moment.

Would I ever want to live full time in the land of femininity? The thought has crossed my mind as extended visits have occurred and with the fact that I actually work full time there. Yes, dreams sometime come true. As with any extended trip, I am usually happy to have the option to return home. There I have family, friends, and obligations. Like you, I have made promises to others and myself.

Gender discovery and the progression as I see it, does not have to be a “either/or.” Why not both? We already know that our internal operating systems (masculine/feminine) are much more flexible than most, so why limit ourselves.

Eery morning I get dressed, put on my makeup, do my hair and go to work as any other woman would. There I interact in the office in a rather mundane way, do my assigned tasks, and enjoy every moment. There I am only known only as “Rhonda” and as an event coordinator and fundraiser. Much public contact is involved - evening dinners, cocktail receptions and private gatherings to mention just a few.

Do my constituents know? Maybe, but with confidence and a friendly attitude, I make it work. There have been weekend events and travel to business conferences that have made my time in the land of femininity seem to be extended stays but still, I return home. It is nice to have that option.

At the end of the day, I shower and comb the hair back into a masculine look. Some time after, I look into the mirror and see a sad man, but secondary comfort levels return. On weekends when I do not have business commitments, I wash the car, have woodworking and repair projects, and relax with my family unencumbered by my other life. I know that his type of integration might not be for everyone. Some see only fulfillment in being “true to yourself,” but I see reality in also being true to my commitments as well as self.

“If you look this good as a woman, why bother being a man?” Because you still enjoy it. You still have a home and family there. Be both, enjoy both, live both.

As a follow-up to her wonderful e-mail, I had to ask, "How does your family (especially your spouse) feel about you working en femme? How did you negotiate that?" Rhonda kindly replied.

I retired in 2001 after many years of IT consulting, traveling and too much general wear and tear on my body. My wife was already retired and the both of us home all day was just not going to work. To have back her quiet day, my wife was at that point to accept (willingly) anything. I started volunteering as Rhonda and from that came many job offers in the non-profit world.

Volunteering led to part time – part time led to full time and thus, a career in fundraising (8+ years now). I love what I do; I feel like I am giving back and “all dressed up and somewhere to go.”

I cannot overstate how  understanding and open my wife is. I honestly do not see myself retiring again anytime soon. As long as I am viable, enjoy the work and can make a reasonable presentation, I plan on continuing.


  1. very very sage advice in my opinion. I am following the same route and even if I do spend extended periods of time as Joanna I will return to my biological gender presentation happily. Why not indeed have the best of both worlds?

  2. Stana, Joanna and Rhonda, I am intrigued by this whole concept. Possibly a viable solution to an impossible situation. I would love to hear more details on how you are able to pull it off. Who knows? Are neighbors aware? Do they see you leave dressed? Do you have children? Are they aware? Is your work near your hometown? Do you fear running into people you know? How do you navigate the fine line of physical changes (eyebrows, hair style, nails, permanent facial and body hair removal, etc) that permits you to present very well as both male and female? How about legal name issues pertaining to your income and irs info? It seems it must be quite the challenge, I am happy for you that you are able to succeed at it! You look fantastic in your photo.

  3. i think you are so wright as we can learn to enjoy both genders , i think we are so blessed to be able to have the option to live in both worlds as we chose and have two sperits and reconize how fortunate we really are i reallly enjoyed your thoughts thanks for shareing

    hug,s susie

  4. This story actually took my breath away. I just sat here re-reading in wonder and admiration. I’m a few years behind Rhonda, right now I am an IT consultant who is traveling. I can see myself looking for a career that helps society and gives back. The idea that it could be Paula that does it is icing on the cake.
    We all want to know more about your situation Rhonda. Tens of thousands of transgendered women have amassed outside the gates of Femulate World Headquarters chanting for more Rhonda!!!! We would all love a few articles about life as you know it. So many of us would appreciate it and learn from it.
    Thanks Sister

  5. Stana,
    Rhonda has achieved a state that many of us would love to achieve. I am a generally happy person, both as a guy and as a girl. I have been around 61 years as a guy and I have a decent job with many work acquaintances. I also have a great family and many wonderful friends. All of these people relate rather nicely to the guy that they have known all these years.
    As I write this I am listening to Paul Simon's "Still Crazy after all these years." I think that this applies to both sides of me. I enjoy being a guy and being a girl. I sometimes wonder if being a Gemini has any bearing on that. I would like to have a circle of friends and series of activities that I can do as a woman. I really like the idea of a second career en femme. The idea of doing volunteer work after I retire is very appealing.
    Stana, you are a heroine to me and I thank you for introducing us to Rhonda, who in my view has achieved instant heroine status.

    1. I am overwhelmed - Thank you all for the so very kind comments. Click on the "Rhonda" in Stana's opening paragraph to send me an e-mail and I will make an effort to respond and answer questions.

      Thank you so much...


    2. Rhonda -

      I love what you're doing, and sent you an email with questions. I'm thinking that if I get laid off, that while I'm searching for a full time position (en-homme), to do some volunteer work en-femme to keep me busy AND to interact with more people as a female.


  6. Hear Hear to all that Rhonda says, I still love being a man, it's just that I love being a woman as well. I also love a woman who enjoys being. SO a good way to square the circle.

  7. An interesting paradigm, and one I've thought about for post-retirement (and one my wife has suggested I embrace). It makes more sense the longer you consider it. After all, career women put themselves together to go to work, but on their days off, they usually tie their hair back, pull out the jeans or shorts, and don't bother with the makeup. I could definitely see myself doing this, the work I'd likely volunteer to do would be practical enfemme, but too many of my hobbies are not practically done in a dress and heels.

  8. Dear Rhonda and Stana,

    Thank You, ladies, for sharing each of your wonderful and interesting accounts of your femulating journeys. Perhaps oddly, for the 99% of my life spent in male mode, I feel almost “gender-less”. I don't mind being a guy, but I don't love “being a man” either. For me, masculinity or “being a man” is overrated. I love the times when I femulate, and enjoy feeling and acting feminine.

    I love the process of transforming myself from guy to girl and then being that girl for awhile, either by myself or with friends and either at home or out in the world. But, oftentimes, I'm quite content with just rolling out of bed and not having to spend extra time in shaving and applying makeup, putting on a wig and breast forms and bra, jewelry and accessories, and enduring sometimes painful times in beautiful high heel pumps.

    Another passion of mine (besides femulating) is singing. Although I have sung “en femme” (if I'm already presenting that way), I prefer singing as a guy. My singing voice and style are very male, and I just let the music flow out from deep within me naturally. On the few occasions when I have sung “en femme”, I make no attempt to alter my voice or singing style, so I sound very male but am dressed and made-up as a woman. I do this because singing is a passion and very important to me, and I do not want to alter the natural way the sounds come out. A couple of times, someone would ask why I don't try to raise my pitch and sing in a feminine way … I just tell them that I am a “Bea Arthur impersonator” and that I am singing just like she would.

    So, we each have unique comfort levels with “en homme” time vs “en femme” time. Rhonda and I and some others are fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose when we are a guy or a girl, and we're comfortable in either presentation. A friend in my Orlando area T-Girl support and social group has mentioned on more than one occasion that she notices how content and comfortable I seem whether “en femme”or “en homme”. I feel for the girls who would love to be “en femme” more (or permanently), but who can't (for various reasons).



  9. I was having an off day today and re reading this article really perked me up and made me appreciate how fortunate I am now to be able to express both sides of me on a very regular basis. Thanks again rhonda....