Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Ask Me Anything

Whenever I do outreach or a workshop like the one I conducted at the True Color Conference on Friday, I begin by saying, "You can ask me anything." (You can also ask me anything by e-mail.)

My standing offer resulted in questions at my workshop and by e-mail. I have answered these questions here in the past, but these three come up so often that I am rerunning them today.

What do you recommend for developing a feminine voice?  

I highly recommend Melanie Anne Phillips' female voice course "Melanie Speaks."

Practice, practice and practice. It took three weeks of practice for 30 minutes every day before my feminine voice arrived, but it was worth the wait because it was amazing!

What do you recommend for hiding a beard?

After a close shave using a shaving gel (like Edge) and a multi-blade manual razor (like Gilette's Fusion), apply a beard cover to your muzzle. Then apply your usual foundation over the beard cover.

For beard cover, I highly recommend RCMA BC2, which is available from Alcone. It is expensive, but lasts forever because a little goes a long way.

I was looking at your photos online. How did you achieve your amazing cleavage?

Since puberty, I have had boobs. I assume I have gynecomastia, but I never sought out medical help for the "problem," so I don't know for sure.

Anyway, my breasts fill a B cup bra, so it does not take much to femulate cleavage when I wear something revealing. I just add a little padding to push my girls up and closer together and the results are fabulous!

Source: Romwe
Wearing Romwe (Source: Romwe)

Shpat Kasapi
Shpat Kasapi femulates Marylin Monroe on Albanian television's Your Face Sounds Familiar.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Full Femme Friday - Część Druga

After my workshop at the True Colors Conference, one student came up to me to ask some questions that she did not want to ask in front of the other attendees. I happily answered all her questions and she went away a happy camper. (Check out tomorrow's post for the questions and answers.)

I returned to the Student Union to turn in my paperwork and meet up with Diana and Maryann to head out to the Adams Mills Restaurant for an early dinner. I gave Maryann the address of the restaurant so she could program it into her smart phone's GPS, then we went our separate ways to retrieve our vehicles and drive to the restaurant.

Thirty-five minutes later, I arrived at the restaurant. Diana's car was already there, but Maryann's car was not. I went inside, found Diana seated in the upper dining room, ordered a drink and we bided our time until Maryann showed up.

Forty-five minutes later, we gave up on Maryann and ordered our meals. Our male waiter referred to us as ladies and he could have not been nicer. I ordered baked stuffed shrimp with rice pilaf and grilled vegetables. The meal was delicious.

We left the restaurant around 5:30 PM and I headed in the general direction of home. Google Maps indicated that the route I normally take was a mess on the west side of Hartford, which is typical for a weekday evening. The alternate southern route was not so messy, so that's the route I took.

There were a couple of areas where the traffic slowed down, but in general, it was not bad and since I was in no hurry to go home and had gotten my second wind after eating, I decided to visit my favorite Roz & Ali (nee Dress Barn), which was located only a few exits further than I normally would exit to go home.

Entering the store, I did not see any of the sales reps I knew by name and vice versa. This did not surprise me because they usually work days, but I was hoping one of them would be working later so I could see and greet them, but it was not to be.

I had received a $10 Roz & Ali coupon in the mail for my birthday that I had to use by the end of the month and I had recently taken notice of a polka dot jumpsuit on their website, so it was a perfect shopping storm.

I found the rack containing the jumpsuits (see the photo above) and took a size 12 and size 14 to the dressing room. The size 12 fit perfectly, so I returned the 14 to the rack and took the 12 to the cash registers.

The sales rep asked for my phone number, typed it into the terminal, which I assume turned up separate accounts for my wife and myself.

"And you are... ?" she asked.

"Stanley," I replied.

As expected, she did not react negatively and rang up my purchase. And that's all I have to say about that.

During the 30-minute trip home, I reflected on my full femme Friday and felt that it had been very fulfilling and I look forward to more days like it.

Source: ModCloth
Wearing ModCloth (Source: ModCloth)

Polish girl wearing polka dots
Polish girl wearing polka dots

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Full Femme Friday

Friday was a full day out en femme. My primary objective for the day was to go to my alma mater, the University of Connecticut, to attend the True Colors Conference and conduct a workshop titled "Cross-Living: Out Among the Civilians." There were also other planned stops during the day.

Getting going was a problem. My 15-year-old blind dog started barking while I was doing my makeup, so I had to stop what I was doing, put her on a leash and take her outside in case she had to do business with the great outdoors. This occurred four times and as a result, I left the house about 30 minutes later than I intended. Once on the road, I encountered a five-mile backup on the Interstate due to a truck fire, so I lost another 30 minutes.

By the way, I wore a houndstooth sheath dress from Dress Barn, black opaque tights from Hue, black bag and black patent high heel pumps from Payless, a black scarf and white and gold watch from Avon and silver hoop earrings from Napier. I also wore a white fake fur jacket from Fashion Bug.

My first stop was the Christmas Tree Shop to exchange a purchase that was broken out of the box. It was actually my sister's purchase and she planned to make the 80-mile roundtrip to exchange her broken purchase. Since the store was on my way to UConn, I offered to make the exchange for her and so I did.

It was uneventful. I had to deal with a woman staffing the customer service desk and a man who fetched the replacement from the stockroom. No one reacted negatively to me and other customers paid me no mind. The only concern I had was loading and unloading a 20-pound box between my car and a shopping carriage without breaking a nail!

I arrived at UConn, parked my car and walked two blocks to the Student Union, which was the epicenter of the conference. The weather was similar to the past few True Colors Conferences — temperature hovering around the freezing point with a steady brisk wind that made it feel a lot colder and caused me worry that my wig might take flight!

After checking in to obtain my workshop paperwork and ID badge, I immediately began encountering old friends and acquaintances (Arlene, Diana, Holly, Lee Ann, Maryann, Robin and another Robin).

I also ran into Bob, who is someone I see at most ham radio conventions I attend. Even though he is openly gay, I did not expect to see him at True Colors Conference and he was just as surprised to see me. He was staffing the booth for a church that supports LGBTQ folks. We talked about his church and my involvement with the conference. As we parted ways, I said, "See you at Hamvention in two months!"

My workshop was at 1:15 PM in another building. Since it was lunch time, my assigned room would be empty, so I decided to go there to get my act together in peace and quiet. I had requested a room with a computer and large display to view photos of me out among the civilians. Turned out that the room had a huge display — approximately 6 x 8 feet, but I forgot my USB flash drive of photos. However, I was able to use the computer to access the Internet and use my blog and flickr account for the visual portion of my workshop.

I had a small, but attentive audience. No one walked out on me and there were pertinent questions and comments.

I emphasized that whether you think you pass or not, just get out there and experience the real world as a woman because in this day and age (especially in our neck of the woods), most civilians won't notice you and even if they do, they probably won't care.

Then I went on to tell them about my positive experiences out among the civilians, especially those times that I seemed to be accepted as a woman by other women. That triggered a comment from one of the students, who said that initially she thought I was a cisgender female! Her comment made my day, but it kind of blew the premise of my workshop out of the water.

And so it goes.

Source: Madeleine
Wearing Madeleine (Source: Madeleine)

Helmut Zierl
Helmut Zierl (center) femulating in the 1997 German television series Ein Mann steht seine Frau (A Man Stands His Wife).

Friday, March 16, 2018

True Colors Conference

Today, I am at the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs to attend the True Colors Conference, "the largest and most comprehensive conference in the country focused on LGBTQ youth issues."

At the conference, I will conduct a workshop titled "Cross-Living: Out Among the Civilians," which is intended to teach and encourage male-to-female crossdressers to escape from fantasy-land and experience the real world as females.

The Conference is usually a reunion for me where I run into LGBTQ people I don't usually encounter out among the civilians. So in addition to taking in all that the Conference has to offer, I also look forward to getting reacquainted with folks I may only see once a year.

In the next post or two, I will recount my Friday at the Conference and elsewhere, so stay tuned.

A scholastic womanless beauty pageant photo that Starla recently discovered on Facebook.
A scholastic womanless beauty pageant photo that Starla recently discovered on Facebook.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Good Thursday

Good Book Dept.

Joanna of Musings from My Daily Life fame, has written her first book. Titled Different, it is now available from Lulu.

Joanna's book is about her "observations on growing up transgender, how to grapple with it and come to self-acceptance, some gender theory and understanding cross gender arousal."

She also writes about her "experiences in public as well as some tips and pointers as to best blend in when out in the world and just plain being yourself."

Good ID Dept.

Suzy wrote, "I went in to have my driver’s license renewed as Suzy with a nice dress, hair, and makeup. Now my license says male, but the picture portrays my inner self."

That is so cool!

Suzy lives in Ohio near Dayton and her experience is in contrast to the experience of a teenager in South Carolina, who showed up wearing makeup and androgynous clothing for a driver's license and was told to man-up for the license photo.

It seems that your mileage will definitely vary.

Good Revival Dept.

I received news from Tasi that the Sister House website has been revived! Billed as "Fashion and Beauty News for the Trans Woman," you can see it for yourself by clicking here.

Goodbye Dept.

Nokie Edwards died Monday. He played lead and bass guitar for The Ventures.

In my youth, the top two items on my "future career" list were (1) female impersonator and (2) lead guitarist for a surf rock group. My parents bought me an electric guitar and I bought a copy of Play Guitar with The Ventures, an LP that was supposed to teach me how to play a guitar like The Ventures.

I managed to learn how to play "Pipeline" and the "Star Spangled Banner," but I spent more time learning how to impersonate a woman and eventually shelved my lead guitarist career. I also shelved my female impersonator career because it was not a "normal" career choice (I could have been a contender).

Paul Rudd
Paul Rudd femulating for a film poster parody.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Becoming That Girl

That Girl in the Mirror
As a youngster, I became fascinated with female impersonation after seeing weekly advertisements in the Daily News depicting glamorous women who were actually men performing at a nightclub, the 82 Club, in New York City.

One thing led to another and around age 12, I began experimenting with female impersonation myself. Whenever I was home alone, I would explore the wardrobes and cosmetics of my mother and sister. And over the years, I became adapt at transforming myself into a presentable female — so much so that when I attended Halloween parties dressed as a woman, other guests often wondered why I was not in costume!

Such affirmation of my impersonation was wonderful, but I was closeted and only displayed my talents on those handful of occasions when I was invited to a Halloween celebration. As a result, I was frustrated keeping my impersonation under wraps, but I also had fleeting thoughts that there was something more to my impersonation beyond all its trappings. I thought I might be transsexual.

That thought was contrary to everything that was “normal” in my world. So I forgot about it and concentrated on becoming the best “plain-vanilla” crossdresser I could be. But there just weren’t enough Halloween parties in my life, so I began exploring the Internet for other outlets for the woman I was impersonating.
Via a transgender group on CompuServe, I learned about a local support group for crossdressers. I joined the group, became an active member attending its twice monthly meetings and relishing its infrequent expeditions out amongst the civilians visiting restaurants, nail salons, clothing stores, beauty parlors and wig stores!

Through those expeditions, I gained the confidence to go out in public on my own and despite my fears, the world did not end when I did so. Instead, I discovered that I fit in as just another middle-aged woman — a fashionably-dressed middle-aged woman — but a middle-aged woman, nonetheless.

I also discovered that fitting in as a middle-aged woman was a perfect fit. I was not a female impersonator, rather I realized that I was actually a woman who happened to have a male body.

It all made sense. All my life I was naturally “feminine” according to society’s definition of feminine. And being feminine was not an act; it was not something I strived to be — it was just me being me.

A telling moment was when I attended a college Halloween party dressed as a woman. At the party, a friend mentioned that he never realized how feminine I was as a male until he saw me dressed as a woman. In his eyes, my feminine speech, mannerisms and appearance had all come together and at that moment, I was a woman and not a feminine guy.

(excerpted from Fantasia Fair Diaries)

Paolo Ballesteros
Paolo Ballesteros femulating in the 2016 Filipino film Die Beautiful.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Womanless Beauty Pageants: The Astounding and the Underwhelming

By Starla Trimm 

Those among Stana’s disciples who enjoy the efforts of “civilians” putting on womanless beauty pageants, and have immersed themselves in the history and practice of that cultural phenomenon that is most prominent among the schools of the old Confederacy, quickly catch on to one thing: we learn that there are PAGEANTS and then there are…well (yawn) pageants. That is, we find ourselves reacting to photos of many middle/junior high school pageants with a jaw-dropping “Wow!” and most high school efforts with an indifferent “Meh.” Many of the former are virtually indistinguishable from “legit” female pageants in the femininity and beauty of the participants, while at the higher level, it’s pretty obvious right off the bat that these are guys.

The most obvious reason for this disparity is, of course, biology. Middle school boys are just smaller and in general more androgynous-looking than their older counterparts. Take most any 12- to 14-year-old male,before the full ravages of puberty, body hair, and that final growth spurt have worked their masculinizing voodoo, and with just a little attention to makeup, a good wig, and a well-fitting pageant dress, he’ll be as pretty as a female of similar age. Many boys that age even sound more like girls; their voices not yet having fully dropped from juvenile soprano to budding baritone. But just a scant few years up the road, when the testoterone begins to really boil… beard shadow, broad shoulders, leg and arm hair… well, it just complicates things.

But there’s more to it than that. There is also, perhaps more importantly, the psychological factor. There is a vast difference between, say, a 12-year-old sixth grader and a high school senior about to turn 18 in their personality, self-image and the way they relate to others.

Middle school boys are more malleable at that age. They are much more likely to cooperate and yield to Mom and/or Sis’ cosmetic machinations (you don’t think they look that good on their own, do you?) and allow themselves to be transformed into a believable, attractive girl. Hell, a 6th or 7th grader is only a couple of years removed from a time when playing “dress-up,” in general, was seen as a fun activity and while they are beginning to rebel and leave “kid stuff” behind, there’s still a lot of “kid” there.

But once in high school, attitudes change. Guys now have much more invested in their personal masculinity and they are more reluctant to be seen as enjoying themselves in silk and satin, lest their friends raise an eyebrow. They are far more likely to treat a womanless pageant as a joke and present a slipshod image that cries out, “Hey, I’m still a MAN – I don’t take this crap seriously.” And even the ones that do still make some effort cosmetically and sartorially, often adopt a kind of “fierce” drag queen look – more RuPaul than Miss America.

There are exceptions, of course. A fellow friend of this website once suggested that high schools that really cultivate an overall attitude of excellence and achievement among their students often produce excellent womanless pageants. The same young men who strive and compete to excel in sports or academics may well approach a pageant with the attitude of  “well, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to be the prettiest 'girl' on that stage and win this thing!” and put forth as much effort as they would making the football team or aceing the SATs.

There are also schools like Glenvar High School in Virginia (with its decades-old annual “Groovy Teens” pageant) that have a long-standing tradition of putting on a pseudo-professional pageant with many realistic femulations, in which case it’s a matter of school pride to play along. To buck tradition and not go all out would be unthinkable.

But, for the most part, if you enjoy seeing excellent (and sometimes truly remarkable) amateur femulations, younger is definitely better.  (Actually, that’s pretty much true in a lot of life’s arenas, as this just-turned 60 and wondering how I got so old so fast girl can attest!)

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus (Source: Venus)

Gabriel Sanches
Gabriel Sanches femulates in Brazilian television's The Big Catch.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Very Good Day

A Perfect Size 12
A Perfect Size 12
My favorite girdle has seen better days. It is old and showing its age, so I shopped around and found its clone on the JCPenney website. After recently returning girdles and bras to Amazon because of sizing issues, I am not anxious to order online again. So I measured old reliable with a tape measure and took my figures to JCPenney in West Farms Mall after my lunch with Diana on Friday.

Entering the store, I found a vast unmentionables department, but searched high and low for the girdle without success. Revisiting the website when I returned home, I noticed that the girdle was available online only, a small, but critical detail I missed going in.

C'est la vie! So I started perusing the dress racks.

I found a beautiful green blazer on the clearance rack. Tried it on and it fit perfectly, but the sleeves were too short (or my arms are too long). Either way, I hung the blazer back on the rack. A 50-something woman noticed me trying on the jacket and made a sympathetic sad face when she saw the sleeve/arm-length problem.

She struck up a conversation with me as I checked out a beautiful to-die-for black and white dress, mentioning that she has so many black dresses, but she can't resist buying another. I said I am also a black dress girl. She commented that the dress I was wearing was also beautiful and I thanked her for the compliment.

The dress I was checking out was not available in my size, but considering that my last dress purchases (all size 14s) were a few months ago and that I was still losing weight, I thought that maybe size 12 would fit. So I took a size 12 to the dressing room.

I thought to myself that I was dreaming, that it would not fit and that I was wasting my time and I almost hung the dress on the discard rack when I found all the dressing rooms were occupied. Just as I considered abandoning it, a woman exited a dressing room and I took it over.

When I slipped on the dress and zipped it up, it fit perfectly (see photo). I was so happy! It looked great on me and even better, I have achieved something I never thought possible: I was now "a perfect size 12."

I took the dress to the cashier and found a half dozen people in line. While waiting patiently for my turn, a 30-something woman behind me said, "Hi" and held up the dress she was purchasing.

"Purple, right?" she asked.

"Yes, that is a very purple dress," I replied.

She was very excited about her find, told me how she was planned to accessorize it and asked me what I thought about her accessorizing plans. She complimented me on the dress I was buying as well as the dress I was wearing and we had a 10-minute conversation about fashion that ended when it was my turn to pay for my purchase.

The cashier, a 30-something woman, also complimented the dress I was buying. She asked if I was going to use my JCPenney credit card and I said, "Yes." However, I had not used the card in ages and the store had cancelled it.

She said if I applied for a new credit card, I could get a 20% discount on all my purchases that day. How could I refuse? So I began entering pertinent information into the mini-terminal next to the cash register. When there terminal asked for my annual income, I remarked that I had just retired and was not sure what my annual income would be.

She said, "You're too young to be retired."

I retorted, "My birthday was yesterday and I just turned 67."

She said I looked much younger than 67 and added that whatever I was doing, keep it up.

I thanked her for the compliment, finished applying for the credit card, paid for the dress, exited the mall and drove home.

I would say that I had a very good day out. I have had brief conversations with cisgender women in the past, but never had extended conversations like I did on Friday... not to mention I had three extended conversations on Friday. During each conversation, there was never that aha moment when the person you are conversing with suspects something is up. I am sure the cashier realized I was not cisgender female when I handed her my photo id to apply for the credit card, but she never said anything about it.

And so it goes.

Source: Madeleine
Wearing Madeleine (Source: Madeleine)

Janek Traczyk
Janek Traczyk femulates Anna Wyszkoni on Polish television's Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo.