Friday, May 31, 2019

Weekends Were Made for Femulating


I knew I had the perfect pair of high heels to go with the dress I plan to wear to my high school class reunion. Since I had not worn that pair of heels in years, I thought I should check their condition in case they needed to be dusted off or cleaned.

When I inspected them, I noticed that the plastic tip on one high heel was gone exposing the metal dowel that held the tip in place.

I have no recollection of how I lost the tip, but I knew that I had to get it fixed before I could wear the shoe. There is a shoe repair shop about 10 minutes from my home, but I thought I might be able to repair it myself, so I looked online and found iFixit's guide for high heel tip repair.

After reading the guide, the fix seemed easy enough, so I moseyed on over to Amazon to find what I needed for the repair. I ordered a kit for $11.78 that included 30 pairs of replacement tips in five different sizes and a pair of pliers for removing the tip.

The kit arrived yesterday and it took me about 10 minutes to replace the tip. And I now have a lifetime supply of high heel tips!

Which Blog?

In addition to Femulate, I also have a low-traffic blog where I write about my radio adventures.

It is "low-traffic" because I publish a post once or twice a week and it gets about 450 hits per day (as compared to this blog where I post 5 or 6 times per week and average 5,000 hits per day).

And so every year while I am staffing our booth at Hamvention, at least one stranger will approach me and say, "I read your blog."

I always ask, "Which one?" even though I am pretty sure they are referring to Femulate and not my low-traffic radio blog.

When their response is "Huh?"or something similar, I know that they are not a civilian, but rather are one of us.

Source: Moda Operandi
Wearing Oscar De La Renta (Source: Moda Operandi)

Huntz Hall
Huntz Hall femulating in the 1943 film 📺 Clancy Street Boys.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Small-Town Salon for Femulators

Scarlett and Katie
Back in March, Slate published an article that flew under my radar until now. "Finding Femme – The quiet resistance of a small-town stylist for trans women and cross-dressing men" by Lily Moore-Eisenberg tells the story of a woman who is a feminine image consultant working out of the basement of her rural New England home.

I found the article while searching for something else on the Internet and I probably would have passed over it except that I recognized the name of the consultant's business, Scarlett's Makeovers, which is located in northeastern Connecticut

I saw Scarlett perform her magic at Fantasia Fair back in 2012 and later that week, I dined with her at an upscale restaurant in Provincetown. I broke bread with her again along with her femulating husband, Katie, a year later at One Big Event in Hartford.

So I just had to read the article about Scarlett and her thriving business. It was a good read and I am sure you will enjoy reading it, too.

Source: Joie
Wearing Joie

Jake Manabat
Jake Manabat femulating on the California stage in 📺 M.Butterfly

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Vintage Drag Strips

Dotty Dripple was a daily comic strip modeled after Blondie. It ran from 1944 to 1974 in newspapers throughout the land and also appeared in comic books of that era. 

The above strip appeared in October 1953 in Horace and Dotty Dripple #32 and in my humble opinion, was the model for That's Our Dad, which appeared in National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody in July 1978.

Source: New York & Company
Wearing New York & Company

Boys will be girls and girls will be boys.
Boys will be girls and girls will be boys.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Today is Tuesday

We Will Miss Dress Barn

Heather informed me about this interesting Vox article "When I couldn’t tell the world I wanted to transition, I went to Dressbarn." I'm sure many of you can relate to this piece as did I.

Stairs and High Heels

This how-to from Abby of Vivian Lou Insolia insoles fame is worth reviewing even if you read it before.

While it's quite empowering to dress up and get out and about, I've been reminded (on more than one occasion) to be careful on the stairs!

Let's quickly review the 'how to' of stairs in heels.

Going Up

:: Visualize a straight line going up toward your end point, rather than looking down at your feet as you climb.

:: As you walk up the step, place your body weight on the ball of the foot. This means that the back of the heel will most likely hang off the step.

:: While ascending, place one foot right in front of the other on the next step.

:: Hold on to the railing if necessary.

Going Down

:: Hold the railing for support. Keep your grip strong, but relax the rest of your arm and shoulder. Gently glide your hand down the railing as you descend.

:: At first, you may need to look down at the stairs to determine depth and steepness. After a few steps (if possible), visualize a straight line going toward your end point, rather than looking down at your heels.

:: Place as much of the shoe (heel and front of the shoe) on the step as possible. Depending on the depth of the step, you may want to push your shoe back until it touches the back of the step to make sure as much shoe as possible is making contact.

:: If the stairs are narrow, you may try tilting your body at a 45 degree angle feet and stepping down on an angle. Place one foot in front of the other on the next step down. This method definitely takes practice!

:: Go slow. Take your time heading down stairs in heels. Better to be safe than sorry!

As with most other difficult tasks, the more you walk up and down stairs in heels, the easier it becomes.

Finding the Right Eyebrow Color for Your Hair

Women like us can switch hair color faster than you can say "Henry Margu." When I switched from blonde to the brunette-red mix I wear today, I noticed that my eyebrow color did not look right. Did I need to go lighter or darker?

This article from InStyle would have helped and will help you if you make the switch.

Me on YouTube

I appear at 1:57 in this YouTube video collection of photos from Hamvention.

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus

Yours truly
Yours truly wearing Venus

Monday, May 27, 2019

Padding Your Hips and Rear

I recently obtained a Padded Rear and Hips Shaping Girdle (PR&HSG) from Glamour Boutique.

Glamour Boutique claims that their PR&HSG adds four inches to overall hip measurement (one inch to each hip and one inch to each side of the fanny/bottom) to give an instant realistic feminizing shape.

One inch may not sound like much, but the difference with and without a PR&HSG is very noticeable. I could not believe how hippy I became wearing my PR&HSG. Wow — what a difference!

Glamour Boutique also claims that the padding used in the PR&HSG is carefully sculpted to give seamless curves rather than the bumpy effect so often seen on other padded shapewear.

I wholeheartedly agree. After I slipped on my PR&HSG, what I saw below my waist looked authentic. There was nothing to giveaway the fact that my hips and rear were artificially enhanced.

The PR&HSG also features a crotch flap so you can go to the ladies' room without removing the garment and has hidden garter tabs so you can attach stockings to your PR&HSG.

Very important is the fact that the PP&SG is very comfortable to wear and you will not know you are wearing the PR&HSG unless you see your shapely figure in a mirror. You can wear the PR&HSG all day long and not feel any discomfort.

There are no zippers or hooks and eyes to close after you slip into your PR&HSG. Instead, you must pull a rather stiff garment up over your hips (in my case, I had to pull a garment with a 34-inch waist over my 42-inch hips.) It was so difficult when I "slipped" on my PR&HSG for the first time, I thought that it was the wrong size, but after I managed to pull it over my hips, it fit like a glove. I imagine that after a break-in period, the PR&HSG will have more give and be easier to slip on, but that remains to be seen.

Overall, Glamour Boutique's PR&HSG is a quality product that will improve the figure of any femulator whose lower torso is not naturally well-endowed.

Rogers and Starr
Professional femulators Rogers and Starr, circa 1960

Friday, May 24, 2019

More Hamvention Shorts

My Hamvention picnic outfit
I have been attending Hamvention most years since 1978. Before 2010, I attended in boy mode. Since 2010, I have attended as a woman.

As a well-known writer in the ham radio world, I made a lot of friends and acquaintances and when I attended Hamvention, I was on a first-name basis with a lot of the people staffing the booths at the show as well as with the makers and shakers in the hobby, many of whom made presentations at Hamvention.

When I began presenting as a woman at Hamvention, the only people who were aware of the change were the folks I came out to. Everyone else had no clue. Either they assumed I was the wife of a male ham attending the show or I was one of those rare female hams.

As a result, I had to reintroduce myself to the makers and shakers and folks who staffed the booths. And to tell you the truth, the first few years I attended as a woman, I was very shy and did not perform a lot of reintroductions because I worried how people would react.

When I realized that most people reacted positively to the change, I became more confident and outgoing and began touring the show with great abandon just as I did when I attended in boy mode.

Now I am again on a first-name basis with the makers and shakers and folks who staff the booths, but now that first name is "Stana" not "Stan."

📻 📻 📻

I lost one earring (a favorite from Napier) and my lip brush at Hamvention. Actually, my lip brush probably never made the trip. Last time I looked, it was in the bag that holds my makeup brushes, but when I did my makeup in Ohio Thursday morning, it was gone.

Back home grocery shopping on Wednesday, I checked the makeup aisle at Stop & Shop. Although they have a large makeup aisle including a big selection of makeup brushes, they did not have a lip brush.

Next I tried Rite Aid which has an even bigger makeup aisle, but still no luck. In case I missed the brush among the huge array of products in the makeup aisle, I asked a sales representative and she said, "I haven't seen a lip brush for sale in years. Does anyone even use them today?"

I replied, "I do."

Since I was in boy mode, she laughed.

I ended up ordering a new lip brush from Amazon. And I found the earring on eBay. Yay!

📻 📻 📻

As a ham radio operator, usually you have no idea about the people you contact over the air.

For years, Bill and I were key operators in a ham radio network spanning Connecticut and we worked together to make the network function efficiently. I never met Bill until I ran into him at Hamvention. (Yes, we traveled over 750 miles to meet each other even though we lived about 40 miles apart.)

After that first encounter, we usually met up at Hamvention each year, until I began showing up as a woman. As I mentioned above, I was shy those first few years attending as a woman, so I did not go out of my way to find Bill. Then about five years ago, I saw Bill sitting in the audience of a forum I was also attending and when the forum was over, I made a beeline to Bill to reintroduce myself.

Bill was surprised, but seemed OK with the revised me and said that I had to be true to myself. Since then, Bill and I usually meet up at Hamvention as if nothing changed.

This year, as I was returning to our booth after making my presentation, I heard someone call out my name and I turned around to find Bill waiting in line to buy lunch from a food truck. He informed me that he retired as a state police officer (I had no idea he was a state cop) and had moved to South Carolina. And then he said he wanted to introduce me to his wife, who was also waiting in line.

It does my heart good when a friend or acquaintance wants to introduce me to their spouse. It is so meaningful to me because they have accepted me as a real person, not a freak, but a woman.

Source: Veronica Beard
Wearing Veronica Beard

Scott Willis
Scott Willis femulating on stage in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Hamvention Shorts

Making a point during my Hamvention presentation
Making a point during my Hamvention presentation
In my previous post, I mentioned there was a scheduling foul-up and my Friday morning presentation was postponed until Saturday morning and I would be presenting to a different group of people – not my usual crowd. My Powerpoint presentation was designed for my usual crowd and I would have liked to have tweaked it for my new audience, but there was no time for that.

As a result, I was very nervous and feel that I did not do a good job. On the other hand, the audience seemed to react positively to what I had to say and a handful of people said I did a good job, so maybe I am being too hard on myself.

Like last year, my presentation was videotaped, so when it gets posted on YouTube, I'll see for myself how I did.

📻 📻 📻

I saw about a half dozen Femulate readers at Hamvention this year (you know who you are). All were disguised as males, but it was great to see them nonetheless and I appreciate that they stopped by our booth to say, "Hello."

I also saw about a half dozen transwomen presenting as women. Some I know are post-op, the others, I dunno, but none stopped by our booth to say "Hello" to me. Although one post-op stopped by to see what our booth was all about. She spoke with me briefly, but there was no recognition on her part, so I assume she doesn't know me from Eve.

📻 📻 📻

As I mentioned before, going to Hamvention, I travel in boy mode in order to get on the road as soon as possible to avoid the commuter traffic in this neck of the woods. And as I did this year, I usually stay overnight in a Best Western on the Ohio border and depart for Dayton in girl mode the next morning. And on the way home in girl mode, I stop at the same hotel for the night and proceed home the next morning.

This year was the first time that the person at the front desk was the same coming and going.

When I showed up in girl mode Sunday evening, the front desk clerk did not seem to recognize me. At this hotel, I always request a room on the north side because the one time I stayed in a room on the south side, I was kept awake all night by tractor trailers downshifting on the exit ramp 200 feet away. So when I repeated the same request I had just made four days earlier, I thought she might recognize me, but she did not.

I asked, "I stayed here Wednesday night. Do you remember me?"

She replied, "No, I don't."

After I handed her my driver's license and she looked at it, she said, "Now I remember you."

And she added, "You look very nice."

📻 📻 📻

I overpacked again. (What else is new!)

I brought two pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans, a blazer, a shrug, a hoody, a jumpsuit, two belts and two wigs that I did not wear. I also brought some makeup, nail polish and jewelry that I did not wear.

Overpacking was not a big deal because I drove a car to Hamvention, but I plan to fly next year, so I have to improve my packing skills.

Source: Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper

Veit Alex
Model Veit Alex and his mother.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hamvention Wardrobe: The Long and Short of It

Full Booth Babe Mode
Full Booth Babe Mode
I had a wonderful long weekend at Hamvention. (But driving solo for 1500 miles puts a damper on the weekend, so somebody kindly remind me to fly next year.)

My wardrobe plans were to drive in boy mode the first leg of my trip on Wednesday so I could get out of Dodge as early as possible to avoid the morning commuter traffic in the Tri-State Area.

Thursday, I planned to wear my new Venus tailored romper for the second leg of my trip and to attend my group's board meeting in the evening. I thought I could enjoy wearing that leg-baring outfit without any pushback because not many people would see me. And most of the people who would see me were my peeps — the other board members and officers, people I have known for years and could count on to be perfect gentlemen.

Friday, I intended to wear my new Venus jumpsuit to Hamvention during the day and to my group's banquet during the evening. It was a conservative wardrobe choice because I would be making a presentation at the convention Friday morning.

Saturday, I planned to wear my vintage Studio 1940 ankle-length sleeveless dress to Hamvention during the day and to my group's picnic in the evening.

Sunday, I planned to wear my JCPenney white shorts and a new Haband short-sleeve print top to Hamvention in the morning and for the first leg of my trip home in the afternoon.

That is not what happened!

Thursday went as planned – I wore my new Venus tailored romper with my red Payless high heel pumps and matching red Kate Spade bag. I also wore a black camisole under the romper so as not to expose my bra.

On the road between Youngstown and Akron, the oldies radio station I was listening to played ZZ Top's "Legs" and set my mood for the day, not to mention the weekend. Although no one could see my leg-baring outfit as I traversed the Interstates, I felt very sexy wearing what I wore.

Arriving at my hotel, I checked in, moved my luggage to my room and took my laptop to the lobby to read emails and people-watch until it was time to go to the board meeting. In the lobby, I ran into a fellow board member, A, who was my ride to the board meeting.

As we stood in the middle of the lobby chatting, I noticed that I was being noticed. Almost every male, as well as a few females, who passed by checked me out. Some smiled at me and some mouthed "hello" as they walked by. Yes, she's got legs, she knows how to use them!

A suggested we repair to the bar before leaving for the board meeting. I agreed and while I drank a glass of wine perched high on a bar stool, the parade of admirers continued including a few who made suspicious repeated passes.

Another board member, B, who lives in Dayton hosted the board meeting. I have known him and his spouse, C, for over 20 years and they were very supportive as I came out.

When we arrived for the meeting, B was chatting with another board member, D, about some hardware timing experiments which did not interest me, so I visited with C in the family room. She gushed over my outfit and said I looked "cute." (That was a first.) And then she asked me if I intended to wear the outfit to Hamvention.

"Is it appropriate? Should I wear it?"

"You are young enough to get away with it."

"I'm 68."

She was incredulous. She thought I was in my mid-50's, not my late 60's.

"Well, you look young enough to get away with it. And if you do, just be prepared to receive a lot of attention."

Other board members were arriving, so I excused myself to join the boys and get on with the meeting.

📻 📻 📻

Up at dawn Friday, I got ready to attend Hamvention.

Made-up, underweared and stockinged, I slipped into my jumpsuit.

As I played with the finicky row of buttons on the front of the suit, I realized that it was not a good wardrobe choice. I assumed that I would need to visit the ladies' room more than once during the next 16 hours and having to get in and out of this jumpsuit would be difficult with its fussy buttons and my long fingernails. I have worn jumpsuits in the past that are easy off and on, but this was not one of them and I searched my closet for something better.

Something better was my vintage Studio 1940 ankle-length sleeveless dress, which I paired with a pair of black Payless ballerina flats (the most comfortable flats I own). In retrospect, it was a good choice because the weather was hot and humid on Friday and wearing the dress, I was comfortable throughout the day.

Overnight, I decided to wear my romper suit to Hamvention on Saturday. Short sleeved and leg-baring, it would be a good choice as the forecast was for more hot and humid. However, there was a scheduling foul-up and my Friday morning presentation was postponed until Saturday morning. Do I dare wear that sexy outfit in front of an audience of my peers, which trend conservative?

I thought about it and decided to go for it anyway. So up at dawn Saturday, made-up, underweared and stockinged, I slipped into my romper, slipped on my red high heels, grabbed my red bag and took the elevator down to the restaurant for breakfast.

The restaurant was packed. Mostly with other hams attending Hamvention, mostly male and mostly looking at me as my high heels clicked on the marble-like floor of the lobby and restaurant.

Arriving at Hamvention, I walked along with D and E, who gave me a ride to the fairgrounds. As I approached one of the exhibit halls, a group of guys from a ham radio manufacturer were shooting the breeze near the entrance of the hall waiting for the show to begin. When they saw me, they stopped talking and all eyes were on me until I disappeared inside the hall. And that is how my day went.

While traipsing around the fairgrounds of the Hamvention site, I wore my ballerina flats, but while staffing our booth, I was in full booth babe mode and wore my heels. Either way, I was an attraction.

No one seemed to mind what I was wearing when I gave my presentation. They laughed at my attempts at humor and applauded me when I mentioned that this was the 50th anniversary as a licensed amateur radio operator.

All this may sound like I am bragging. So here is an excerpt of what Brenda wrote in a comment on Monday, "Stana was an absolute knock out in that dress and was turning heads all over. As an attendee, she gets my vote for most beautiful woman at show. She also gets the 'hottest booth babe' and 'best legs' award."

It was a thrill!

Source: Unique Vintage
Wearing Unique Vintage

Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey
Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey femulating in the 1960 British film Carry On Constable. (📺 Femulation begins at 4:20 of this clip)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Breaking (Heart) News: Dress Barn Closing

Dress Barn AKA Roz & Ali is going out of business. A half dozen readers have passed along the bad news, so I thought that I would pass along the news, too.

In addition to readers informing me about Dress Barn, I received a text message from my cousin relaying the news. I was very surprised to receive that text because I am not out to that wing of the family. How did she find out that I am a Dress Barn / Roz & Ali customer?

Turns out that my cousin had birthday-gifted my wife a Dress Barn gift card last year and she wanted to make sure my wife used it before Dress Barn shutters its doors!

(By the way, I am composing a post or two about my Hamvention weekend, so please stand-by.)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ham Girl Gallery - Part 3

I am in Dayton, Ohio, to attend Hamvention. My dance card is full and I am too busy to write, but I may have time to post a photo (or two) from my weekend at the convention.

Ready to attend Hamvention on Saturday morning wearing a romper from Venus.

Voted Most Likely

Today, I begin my trip home from Hamvention. I will post a full report about my long weekend after I unpack and settle in. Meanwhile, I leave you the following which I wrote last Sunday.

In high school, I was voted "Most Likely to Get a Sex Change."

I'm kidding. "Most Likely to Get a Sex Change" was not something voted on by my high school class, but if they had voted on it, I am sure I would have been in the running, if not the winner of that title.

As I mentioned many times before, I have always been feminine. It was not an affectation – being feminine came naturally to me... so natural that I was unaware of it. Only when my speech and mannerisms were highlighted by my peers did I become aware that something was amiss (pun intended).

Throughout my school years, I was abused and bullied because of my girly ways and it was no different in high school. That is why I am anxious to show up at my high school reunion as a woman, a good looking woman at that, and virtually spit in the eyes of my abusers.

However, I am still on the fence about going as a woman.

The indecision is on my mind all the time. I really want to do it and most of you who have commented on it have encouraged me to do it, but it is a very big step and I probably will not make up my mind until the last minute.

Yesterday, I purchased The Dress I will wear if I do decide to go en femme.

I spotted The Dress weeks ago on the New York & Company website, but held off making a purchase because the price was high ($79.95) and I know that New York & Company has lots of sales. I figured I could save some money if I waited and lo and behold, I saw the dress on sale at half price yesterday and ordered it as quick as a Playboy bunny.

You can see The Dress here and below in the "Femulate Her" slot.

I can't wait to wear it!

Source: New York & Company
Wearing New York & Company

Brendan Jordan
The always lovely Brendan Jordan