Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Civilian or Not? Revisited

By Paula Gaikowski, Femulate Contributing Editor

Paula Gaikowski
Yesterday’s post got my attention. I have to admit I too am intrigued by the non-civilians in these Halloween and womanless contests.

Ms. Caulfield, does appear to be a member of our club. First off, it's Halloween and not a womanless pageant, so we know right off the bat that this was a choice of hers. Add to that the attention to detail that only a non-civilian would be aware of. You mentioned the eyebrows, yes, definitely a clue, the dainty necklace and blouse, a well-styled wig and perfect make-up. The clincher though is the smile ‒ we all know that feeling of true happiness.

As for Mr. /Ms. Waugh, well, the shaved legs, c’mon??? Oh yeah, you’re a swimmer or oh, a bicyclist, oh yeah that’s it. Also, who has a pair of sling back pumps in your male size hanging around that by the way, matches the stylish suit that likewise just happens to be in your size. Judging from her petite image, I’m guessing that Mrs. Waugh doesn’t wear a size 11 shoe nor a size 16W suit.

As for Matt Garber, he’s not even trying to feign civilian status, I am guessing Matt is more likely gay and not transgender and making a statement... just a hunch.

One thing I also noticed about these more recent womanless pageants, they seem to be attracting more realistic versions of womanhood than the caricatures of women in the past. By posing a comical exaggeration, the message was sent that the contestant has no interest in being or looking like a feminine woman, thus preserving their masculinity.

In the past, there seemed to be a denigration of femininity. Today, there appears to be more a celebration with contestants trying to actually femulate the best they can.

Perhaps now young persons who are questioning aren’t quite as hesitant to demonstrate an interest in showing this side of themselves in today’s less judgmental environment.

Who knows us better than our parents, especially Moms, who we see are willing collaborators in these most accomplished femulations.

What better way to for a young transgender person to not only have an opportunity to finally dress as a girl, but to send out a test message and judge the response to coming out.

“Hey, Mom, this might be fun. Can you help me?”

“Sure, sweetheart, let’s start by trying-on some of my dresses.”

“Maybe we need to do a little shopping this weekend. We’ll find you the perfect dress and you’ll be the prettiest one there.

“Oh Mom! Stop, okay let’s go!”

“I’ll have to confess, Mom, dress-shopping was kind of fun and I can’t wait to see myself all made up”

“Wow, I can’t believe I won! Everybody said how good I looked and how pretty I was!”

“I had fun too sweetheart and I was so proud of how well you did. You seem to be a natural?”

“Remember, the makeup, wig and your new wardrobe are yours to keep, I want you to know that you don’t need a pageant to express this side of yourself.”

“You will always be beautiful to me whether this side of you grows or not and please don’t ever be afraid to talk to me.”

Oh, in a more perfect world, one more perfect than the 1960’s and 70’s when I was coming of age... I guess that why I am so captivated by these stories. I truly envy their opportunities and see myself in their shoes grabbing and reaching for that brass ring.

Source: Macy's
Wearing Tadashi Shoji (Source: Macy's)

2017 Cinderfella pageant contestants in Cleveland, Oklahoma

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Civilian or Not?

Whenever Starla sends me a new batch of femulator images that she culled from online school yearbooks, I try to pick out the femulators who are not civilians, that is, girls like us and not one-time femulators dressing up for their school's womanless event.

It may be due to all those years operating the trans radar, but there is something about certain womanless participants who give off vibes that they are in it for the long run. And sometimes, there are other clues that confirm those suspicions.

Such is the case with Sean Caufield, whose image (above) was in the latest batch that Starla sent me. She is exquisite! Her hair, makeup and jewelry are perfect. And the extra clues move her out of the civilian realm. The clues I am referring to are her thin eyebrows en femme and en homme and the fact that dressing as a female is her choice for a Halloween costume and is not a femulation for a womanless event. And she is not alone.

I always suspect that something is up when a faculty member femulates along with the students like the student-teacher above, who "shows off his feminine side on Halloween." Does Miss Waugh's perfect wig, cleanly shaved legs, tailored skirt suit or slingback pumps hint that she shows off her feminine side on other occasions? Just wondering.

I was also wondering about Coach Ed (above), who goes by "Edwina" during her frequent forays in frocks, when she successfully passes among her students.

And then there is Matt Garber (above), who "was the only male student to wear make-up to the junior-senior prom," which begs the question: Did other male students attend the prom wearing prom dresses, but without makeup?

Source: Madeleine
Wearing Madeleine (Source: Madeleine)

Halloween 2000
In honor of my last day at work, here I am the first day I went to work en femme (Halloween 2000).

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Got Happy Day!

DressBarn texted me that they were having a sale. Buy two things and the less expensive thing costs 40% off the list price.

Since I was all caught up with my work, I decided to take an early morning break (instead of cleaning out my cubicle) and I moseyed on down to my favorite DressBarn.

There were a lot of other women in the store, but that did not stop me from browsing the racks and taking my finds to the dressing room to try them on. If any of the other women were paying attention (I noticed a few that were), I gave them a story to tell their friends at their Memorial Day picnics about the "male" trying on dresses at DressBarn.

Anyway, I found a dress on the DressBarn website that I had to have and "happy day!," I found it (above left) in my size in the store. I took it to the dressing room, tried it on, but I was not sold on how it looked on me. I was wearing boy lingerie at the time and figured that the dress would look fine when I was properly foundationed, so I put it on my to-buy rack and browsed some more.

I found six more dresses to try on. Some fit, some did not, but one that did fit (above right) looked fab on me even in boy lingerie, so I had my second "thing," cashed out and talked to the manager about employment at DressBarn (see my previous post to read what I have to say about that).

After I arrived home Friday evening, I put on a bra and girdle and tried on my purchases. The "fab" find looked fantastic and really showed off my new figure and its new weight (or lack thereof). The "happy day!" find was a disappointment; it looked no better in girl undies than it did in boy undies, so I planned to return it.

After I shaved and showered Sunday morning, I decided to give "happy day!" one more chance. So I slipped on my bra and girdle, but this time, I added my wig and a pair of heels.

Wow! I was surprised by the difference that the wig and heels made! The "happy day!" dress became a keeper!

Source: Intermix
Wearing ALC top, Helmut Lang skirt and Valentino clutch (Source: Intermix)

Zachary Drucker
The always lovely Zachary Drucker

Friday, May 26, 2017

Working Woman

Working as a woman has always been one of my dreams.

My bosses and Human Resources encouraged me to come to work as a woman, but except for a half dozen Halloweens, I did not take advantage of the opportunity. Wednesday is my last day at work, so unless I want to go out with a bang, why start now?

In semi-retirement, I'd like to find a part-time job working as a woman. Dress Barn said they would hire me, if they were hiring. I have not looked for other opportunities because I want to enjoy June and July before I begin working again. But as things ramp up for the fall, I will begin looking and hopefully land a position, paid or voluntary, somewhere... as a woman.

UPDATE: I visited Dress Barn this morning to do some shopping. I mentioned to the store manager that I was retiring and she asked what were my retirement plans. I told her that on a previous visit, I inquired about working as a saleslady and the sales rep I spoke with said they would hire me, but they were not hiring at that time.

Today, the store manager indicated that now they were hiring for part-time help and she encouraged me to fill out their online job application. She said to let her know when I complete the application so that she could hire me.

👠 👠 👠

Amanda Hawkins' latest caption motivated me to write today's post. Of course, I could not leave well enough alone and I modified it slightly as you can see below.

Amanda is a girl after my own heart. I enjoy all her captions and I think you will too, so I encourage you to view them in her Reading Room.

Source: Madeleine
Wearing Madeleine (Source: Madeleine)

B. Scott
B. Scott

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Summertime, and femulatin' is easy

Summer was my favorite season until I began going out en femme in the late 1980s.

Back then, going out en femme meant attending support group meetings. However, there were no meetings during the summer because the meeting hall was not air-conditioned and the fear was that the average femulator in wig, makeup, and foundation garments, would melt away without air-conditioning.

I bought into the summer meltdown theory and did not femulate beyond my air-conditioned abode during the summer. As a result, I could not wait for summer to end so that I could start going out again as a woman in the fall. So I began to hate summers.

In the ensuing years, I had a occasions to go out en femme on hot days and lo and behold, I discovered that I did not melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West. I did glisten, but the heat was never a deal-breaker. So my attitude changed and now I no longer shun summer forays en femme.

After all, cisgender women can not pick and choose which days to be women; they are women in all kinds of weather. So, if I am truly the woman, I must be that woman in rain, snow, sleet, hail, and heat, as well as on nice mild sunny days.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Cinq a Sept dress, Alexandre Birman sandals and Elizabeth Cole earrings (Source: Intermix)

San Francisco, circa 1960
Three cans of Regal and one femulator, San Francisco, circa 1960

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Halloween Plans

Will they let her in the building?
Will they let her in the building?
Yesterday, 30 of my co-workers took me out to lunch to celebrate my upcoming semi-retirement. A good time was had by all and I will dearly miss my workplace family.

The majority of my co-workers are male and that was reflected in the number of females (three) who attended the lunch.

While people were telling tales about me, asking questions about my career and what I plan to do in the future, one of the women at lunch asked, "Are you going to come back on Halloween dressed as a woman?"

After the laughter subsided, I replied, "If a strange woman shows up on Halloween, I hope you will let her in the building!"

Source: Veronica Beard
Wearing Veronica Beard (Source: Veronica Beard)

Femulating on Halloween.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Older and Occasionally Wiser

I'd wear this if I was 29-years-old
I'd wear this if I was 29-years-old
I am getting older all the time, but I still think and act like a kid.

In that regard, being a femulator is a blessing. If you are adept at applying makeup, you can look younger than your actual age.

Wigs help a lot, too. A nice wig can subtract a decade from your real age especially if your hair is gray, thinning or gone.

You can try dressing younger, too, but I think you can only go so far with that. For example, let’s say that you are a 45-year-old femulator. With the proper wig and makeup, you may be able to look like a 35-year-old woman, but don’t think that dressing like a 20-year-old will make you look like a 20-year-old woman. Instead, you will look like a 35-year-old woman trying to dress like a 20-year-old.

If you are successful in knocking off a decade with the proper wig and makeup, be satisfied and dress appropriately for your new age, i.e., if you look like a 35-year-old woman, then dress like a 35-year-old woman.

My problem is that when I look in the mirror, I see a young woman, who can wear anything and get away with it. The proof is in my photos – I can fool myself when I look in the mirror, but I am not so fooled when I look at my photos. So I often snap a photo or two before I go out wearing a new outfit to make sure I can get away with it.

Thought for the Day

My mind is blank!

Source: Macy's
Tadashi Shoji (Source: Macy's)

Dave Castiblanco
Dave Castiblanco (Source: New Male Fashion)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Opportunity Missed

A brief glimpse of me (far right) at last year's Hamvention
A brief glimpse of me (far right) at last year's Hamvention
I did not go to Hamvention this year. I apologize to those who expected to see me there, but the decision not to go was last minute and as a result, I did not post the news about my change of plans until Friday.

Good news is that I missed the 2-hour wait in traffic trying to get to the new site in Xenia and I missed the swamp, which is what the flea market became after 3 inches of rain fell Friday and Saturday.

Bad news is that I missed a lot of potential video presence over the weekend. A few booths down the aisle from my group's booth was a camera that streamed live video from the Hamvention throughout the weekend. Quite often, the camera was pointed down the aisle at my group's booth, so if I had been present, you would have been able to clearly see me live and in person just as I was able to see all my ham radio friends who were staffing our booth.

Wait 'til next year!

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus (Source: Venus)

Indian womanless beauty pageant
A contestant in a recent Indian womanless beauty pageant

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Images of a Booth Babe

I did not make my annual trip to Ohio to attend the Hamvention this weekend, so I don't have any new stories or photos from Hamvention to share with you. Instead, I will show you some of my favorite photos from my previous trips to Hamvention.

At the Therapy Cafe in downtown Dayton in May 2009.
At the Therapy Cafe in downtown Dayton in May 2009.
At the TAPR-AMSAT Banquet during Hamvention, May 2010.
At the TAPR-AMSAT Banquet during Hamvention, May 2010.

Dressed to kill for the Hamvention Contest Dinner in May 2011.
Dressed to kill for the Hamvention Contest Dinner in May 2011.
Ready to attend the TAPR Board of Directors Meeting, May 2012.
Staffing the TAPR booth at Hamvention, May 2012.
Staffing the TAPR booth at Hamvention, May 2012.

All dressed up to go to the Four Days in May banquet at Hamvention in 2013.
All dressed up to go to the Four Days in May banquet at Hamvention in 2013.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Booth Babe

I did not make my annual trip to Ohio to attend the Hamvention this weekend. Since I have no new stories to tell about attending Hamvention, I decided to repeat the story of my first trip back May 2010. I hope you enjoy it.

There is so much to write about my long weekend en femme, but, first, let me set the scene.

I am well-known in the world known as amateur radio or ham radio. My notoriety in that world is as a writer/author. For over 30 years, I have written for the leading ham radio organization in the USA.

During that time, I have written monthly columns for the their magazine, articles for their books, and complete books, one of which was a best seller, and currently, I write a weekly column for their web site.

I am also on the board of directors of another prominent organization that represents a sub-group (digital experimenters) in ham radio. I also serve as that organization's newsletter editor.

As a result, I am well known in the ham radio world; I was once told to my face that I am a ham radio "legend."

Each May, the biggest ham radio convention in the world occurs in Dayton, Ohio. I attend most years as I did this past weekend. I usually moderate a forum at the convention and staff the booth of the digital experimenters' organization.

By the way, I did not moderate a forum this year because I was undecided about attending at all and by the time I made up my mind to go, it was too late to volunteer as a moderator.

I came out to the other board members and officials of the digital experimenters' organization as well as my editor and her supervisors at the national organization I write for. In addition to coming out, I informed them that I intended to attend the Dayton convention en femme.

Not a discouraging word was heard. In fact, I received much support and offers of assistance, if needed.

Wednesday and Thursday

My weekend started with an early departure on Wednesday. I "cheated" and did not dress en femme because I wanted to get on the road as early as possible and getting en femme would have put a two-hour dent in my departure.

I drove 400 miles to Bedford, PA, where I stayed overnight.

Thursday morning, I dressed en femme and checked out of the Quality Inn. The woman staffing the desk during check-out was different from the woman staffing the desk when I checked in, so there was no confusion about who was staying in my room.

I arrived at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Dayton about 2:15 PM. At check-in, the woman staffing the desk loved my top.

By the way, I registered at the hotel as "Stana" to add credibility to my femulation. (My credit card has only the initial "S" as my first name, which lets me get away with using "Stana" or any other "S" name I desire.)

In my room, I freshened up, changed from a top, leggings, and flats, to a black and white floral print dress, and black patent platform slingback peep-toe pumps (see photo above left).

I took the elevator down to the lobby and visited the hotel's bar. I perched myself on a bar stool, ordered a drink, and relaxed before heading out to the board of director's meeting.

The bartender treated me respectfully and I nursed my drink, but it was boring. There were two other customers talking about some boring ham radio convention and there was a hockey game on the television.

I left, fetched my car from valet parking, and drove to the hotel uptown for the board meeting.

Entering the meeting room, I found two friends already there, who greeted me enthusiastically. As each of the other board members and officers showed up, they also greeted me as old friends even though I was sporting a "new look."

The new board members were less enthusiastic because we were not old friends, but they were respectful and seemed accepting. Our accountant, who was not aware of my status, also was respectful and the waitstaff, who served our food referred to me as a female, so overall, the weekend started off on a very positive note.

The meeting ended and I was back in my room by 10 PM. I went to bed as soon as I could because I had to be up at 5 AM for my first day at the convention.

Friday and Saturday (Days)

Friday and Saturday, I spent most of those days staffing our booth and occasionally, I visited the other booths at the convention. Both days were similar and in my mind now and it is hard to separate the two, so I will summarize the days together.  

Males dominate ham radio. Females only represent about 15% of the US ham population. This demographic was clearly evident at the Dayton convention and attending the convention as a woman was a revelation.

For one thing, there were no lines at the restrooms. Also, the restrooms were pristine and the floors were dry even at the end of the day. (Attending the convention in the past as a male, I usually avoided the restrooms after mid-morning because they are disgusting.)

Another thing, I was the object of many a male's attention. Staffing the booth or walking around the convention hall, strange men smiled at me, said "hello," admired me from afar, etc., etc. It was amazing.

During the two days staffing the booth, I met six readers of this blog. Three informed me beforehand by e-mail that they would look for me at the convention; the other three just showed up at my booth and recognized me, which was a little surprising because I had not announced which booth I would be staffing among the more than a hundred booths at the convention.

(Another reader e-mailed me saying that she thought she saw me walking near a specific set of booths around noon on Saturday. I confirmed that I was at those booths at that time on Saturday and wish that she had stopped me to say "hello.")

I am not aware of the comfort levels of the blog readers who met me at the convention, so I don't want to out them here by mentioning their names or worse, their call signs, but I want to thank them all for searching me out and giving me an opportunity to meet and girl-talk with them for awhile.

It was wonderful to meet and chat with the people I already knew, but it was also wonderful to meet and chat with people I did not know explaining the technologies displayed in our booth. I don't know if that qualifies me as a "booth babe," but in all my years of staffing our booth, mine was the first appearance of a female form on the booth's firing line. I wonder if that helped to attract visitors to our booth.

Friday Night

Friday night, our organization has a joint dinner with another experimenter's organization, which usually attracts 100 to 200 attendees at a banquet hall south of Dayton. I attend this dinner every year I attend the convention, so I am familiar some of the attendees, who also attend every year.

I wore my favorite dress du jour: the retro green dress (see photo above center). I accented the dress with a gold scarf, my simulated snakeskin platform slingback peep-toe pumps, and a new matching simulated snakeskin bag.

The hem of the dress is short, so I was showing more leg Friday night than I did the rest of the weekend. I thought I looked very nice.

I drove to the banquet hall, bought a drink, sat at a table up front, conversed with the other folks who sat at my table, and tugged at the hem of my dress the whole time. I knew some of the folks at my table already and the others were new to me, but no one seemed to mind the new me.

The food was excellent as usual and I enjoyed the speaker, who is an old friend (we go back about 20 years).

Funny story... my speaker friend showed up at our booth early Friday morning and I made a point of saying "hello" to him. I thought I detected some confusion on his part and felt that I should have explained what was going on, but he was in a hurry to get to his booth.

I caught up with him before dinner and began to explain, but he interrupted me and said he knew exactly who I was and was very cool with it. The only thing he wanted to know was what name do I go by now.

That typified the whole weekend.

An aside: It was funny how some of my friends and acquaintances recognized me immediately despite my new look, whereas others were clueless as to my identity and we had to be re-introduced. Go figure.

Saturday Night

Saturday night, my plans were to attend the Dayton Contest Dinner, which is the big event for the ham radio contest community attending the convention. My editor, who is a big contester, had invited me to attend.

When I checked out the web page for the dinner, I noticed that most of the men in attendance were wearing jackets and ties, which was unusual for a ham radio affair.

There were no photos of females in attendance; I wondered what I should wear, so I asked my editor. She informed me that she always buys a new cocktail style dress to wear to that dinner.

Still unsure about what to wear, I sent her photos of some of my cocktail dresses. She loved the red dress I wore to my support group's banquet back in March, so that is what I wore to the dinner along with some bling and my black patent platform slingback heels. I also sexed-up my makeup and hair and tried a new trick to accentuate my cleavage. In my humble opinion, I thought I came as close to achieving the term "hot" as I possibly could (see photo above left).

I took the hotel shuttle to the hotel hosting the dinner and climbed a grand circular staircase from the lobby up to the mezzanine level where the cocktail hour was in full swing. As I climbed the stairs, a sea of 200 to 300 males congregating in groups around the mezzanine appeared and suddenly it seemed as if they all turned their heads simultaneously to look at me! I smiled back at them and worked my way to the top of the staircase, where I discovered I was the only female attendee present at that point in time.

I am not very active in ham radio contests and did not recognize one face in the crowd. My editor had not yet arrived, so I was on my own.

A lot of guys were checking me out, but not one had the courage to speak to me, so I worked my way to the bar and ordered a drink. Then I worked my way back through the crowd looking for a familiar face, found none, and decided to escape to the ladies' room to regroup.

In the ladies' room, I touched up my lipstick, took a deep breath, and went back out to the mezzanine. By then, the staff had opened the doors to the banquet room and people were filing in, so I joined them and found the table front and center that my editor had reserved. I chose a seat and sat down.

Eventually, the room filled up and my editor sat next to me. She introduced me as "Stana" to all the other people seated at our table. After my introduction, one of the guys at our table commented that he recognized my call sign, but the person he knew with that call sign looked very different. I dunno if he was being a wise guy or was actually confused.

The food and speakers were excellent and there was a mass quantity of door prizes. It seemed that 25% of the 432 folks in attendance won something, including me.

When they drew my ticket and announced my call sign as a winner of a ham magazine subscription, I came out en masse to all the hams at the dinner who recognized my call sign and happened to see me get up to pick up my prize. No one confronted me about the outing, so I assume it was not a big deal to anyone except me.


Overall, the weekend worked out great. Everyone I encountered accepted me one way or another.

All my friends and acquaintances were very ok with the new me.

The strangers who engaged me throughout the weekend, hams and civilians alike, accepted me as a woman, trans or otherwise.

I could not ask for anything more.

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe (Source: Bebe)

Stana at the Dayton Hamvention, May 2012
Stana at the Dayton Hamvention, May 2012