Sunday, September 29, 2019

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Mom would have been 100 years old today. 

She raised my sister and I in the 1950s, while my Dad worked two jobs to finance our raising. With my male role model out of the picture (or out of focus) most of the time, Mom became my role model and as a result, instead of raising a son and a daughter, she raised two daughters.

The older daughter (me) was her favorite and received more attention; I was babied, pampered and spoiled, whereas my sister often had to fend for herself. As a result, growing up under Mom's tutelage, I turned out to be very feminine and learned to act like the lady she was.

A lot of us femulate our mothers to some degree. I, for one, favor styles that my mother would wear. 
For example, Mom loved high heels, always wore them when she went out and she owned a closet full. Like mother, like daughter, I love high heels, always wear them when I go out and I own a closet full, too.

I resemble my Mom’s side of the family, too, and I look just like her. (My sister recently remarked how much I resemble Mom. Interestingly, my sister has never seen me in girl mode and she was looking at a boy mode photo when she made that comment.) 

And my resemblance to Mom went beyond facial features. She had shapely legs. When she worked in an office before she married, her nickname was "Legs." Again like mother, like daughter, I inherited Mom's legs and a transman once dubbed me "Leggy.” 

I love being my mother's daughter and I guess I have become my mother in many ways.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Max Mara coat, Nanushka dress and Zimmermann booties

Pavel Arambula
Professional femulator Pavel Arambula

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Mattel Releases First Gender-Neutral Doll

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels," said a Mattel rep.

"The creators of Barbie are releasing what they’re calling the first gender-neutral doll.

"Mattel’s new Creatable World line offers six dolls with short hair, flat chests and slim figures in a range of skin tones. Announced Wednesday, the dolls are available at retailers including Amazon, Target and Walmart ($30 each). Accessories allow kids to customize the toys with wigs to create long hair or clothes including tutus, jeans, camouflage pants, graphic tees, sweatpants, red flannels, purple jerseys, rose-printed bomber jackets and splatter-paint overalls.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Source: Unique Vintage
Wearing Unique Vintage

Thank you Paula Gaikowski for the information about this ad.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Plateaus to Confidence: I Am Marie

I am Me and Me is Marie.
The more I am Marie the more I am Marie. 

By Marie Anne Greene

This is not a typical Marie Adventure. It is the combination of multiple thoughts and memories, which have been stirring around in my cranium for the past several months, perhaps longer, but each was superseded at the time by other obligations, which claimed a higher priority. This delay and the mental reexamination (mulling) that subsequently transpired, almost every other night, has resulted in this soliloquy.

This is not a claim of “dysphoria" which is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as "an emotional state characterized by anxiety, depression, and restlessness." This term is often used in articles and by some blog authors as an almost "throw-away" term when discussing the contest between our physical gender and the inclination toward our preferred gender. Given the dictionary description as stated above, I decided to conduct a study, "A Case Study of One."

One of the original prompts for this effort was rooted in Kandi’s (and other bloggers) repeated admonition to her readers to grow your own level of confidence by going out among with the reward being that it can be fun on many levels: externally, the satisfaction of blending and being accepted, and internally, by a tinge of excitement and inner self-recognition. However, as Kandi and Rhonda have repeatedly stated going out should be done with care and confidence.

This is very well founded advice and I believe it should be supported by a period of planning, learning and evolving experiences and possibly the most important factor being self-acceptance of your female persona. This latter acceptance is a challenge that can be overcome. Many, if not all of us have been conditioned by society for a period of 20-30-40 years to suppress our inner feelings and inclinations. This includes the full spectrum ranging from physical, emotional, intellectual, moral and social.

In the very early days of my experimentation there was desire and exploration on one hand and anxiety and worry on the other hand... the latter particularly, if publicly caught engaging in this societal forbidden behavior.

Before I came alive in my full-blown girl persona, my early adventures were short lived baby steps into the unknown, often with a deep sense of trepidation and fear of disclosure, humiliation and potential loss of job and family. The greatest fear was being involved in a traffic accident where identification would be required and a police report of some type might be filed and conceivable published in a local paper or even on a television news spot.

Throughout my early exploratory adventures into femininity, most of which were tentative and measured from a few minutes to a few hours, these fears made all such excursions an exercise in timidity. What was missing was knowledge and confidence of what is required to be or at least present as a woman.

This icannot be accomplished overnight and is in my opinion, an evolution in values, attitudes, skills, awareness and confidence. Before I came to the fore, my predecessor for at least 10 years was an unnamed "Guy in a Dress" (GID) and I recall several instances where being terrified was the correct description of the incident.

Perhaps the first recollection of this type occurred when on business trip when I picked up a mix and not matched set outwear, blouse, skirt and shoes, but no jewelry, makeup, etc. These were beyond my skills and budget at that point. The first terrified instance occurred while standing en femme on the balcony walkway outside of the second-floor motel room gazing out over the adjacent parking lot. I noticed a man walking toward the motel, then he looked up at the balcony and after 20 seconds or so waved. I assumed he was signalling to the “woman" on the balcony. I was instantly terrified by the thought of the stranger knocking on my room door seeking some kind of interaction with the “balcony woman.”

I immediately abandoned the balcony and fled into the darkness of my room, locking the door, turning off the TV and the room lights, shedding the female clothes and changing into male apparel while waiting for the dreaded knock in a petrified state for at least 30 minutes before slowly relaxing, and mentally replaying the episode numerous times over.

The next incident transpired a few years later, although not terrifying as the first, it was scary in another way and again was on an out of town business trip. I had become bolder and was dressed in a black pseudo-leather miniskirt, soft form-fitting Angora sweater, hose and three-inch heels, nicely done makeup and a small black handbag containing the essentials lipstick, a purse-sized perfume, hair brush and car keys.

The plan was simply to exit the hotel, calmly walk through the parking lot, slide into my car, relax a little, perhaps listen to a music station for a few minutes, apply a touch up to the lipstick, a quick brush of the hair and add a spritz of perfume and return to the room through the lobby. I was torn wanting to be seen as my feminine alter ego and at the same time scared of being noted as a GID. This was my internal dilemma.

That was the plan and I was nervous when I stepped out of the room, walked the long hall feeling more feminine and relaxed with each step. Wanting to avoid meeting anyone in the close quarters of the elevator, I chose to proceed down the emergency stairway two flights to the street level. I was becoming more relaxed as I descended. Beyond the door was a pedestrian walkway with shops, bars and restaurants. It was busy being close to 8 PM on a summer Saturday evening when I opened that door.

As I pulled back the door, I was greeted by a trio of smiling, boisterous singing and slightly inebriated young twenty-something males with beer and wine bottles in their hands. The opposing apparitions momentarily shocked both me and the three songsters. Shock, surprise and terror coursed through my body. I was the first to react, spinning on my heels and fleeing like a scared gazelle up the stairs with the click of my heels resounding in the stairway to the sounds of male firsts pounding on the door accompanied by the muffled sound of “Hey, baby doll, open the door.” Needless to say, this misadventure, although not quite terrifying was fearful and stifled my inclination for similar forays for quite a while.

This incident was surpassed about a year later and the momentary terror of the two previous events was replaced by a period of concern. While stopped at a traffic light, I was rear-ended. I was not injured, but did have a gym bag in the truck containing a femme outfit. My vehicle was not drivable and I was informed it was going to by towed to a disposal yard. I extracted the gym bag from the trunk, crossed the road deposited it in a public garbage container.

A person in a nearby fast-food restaurant witnessed this action and thinking, the action was suspicious (possibly drug-related) told the police officer who was writing up the accident. The bag was retrieved and contents examined by the officer who then asked me if it was mine and why I had deposited it in the garbage container. I responded yes and I was embarrassed. He informed me the bag would be impounded and could be recovered from the county police evidence locker in 30 days if it had not been linked to any criminal activity.

Fortunately, the accident occurred several counties away from my family resident and there were no local newspaper reports of the matter Bottom line: for the next 30 days I was very concerned. On day 30, I went to the evidence locker, signed for the bag and its contents and promptly disposed of them at the local garbage dump. No dysphoria... just extended concern of possible discovery.

Another incident on a far lower scale occurred in an upscale hotel with carpeted hallways, mirrored elevator waiting areas and a large vendor machine alcove on each floor. This sojourn into part-time womanhood took place 18 months or so after the previous event and in the interval I had evolved in both attire, presentation and confidence, but was still extremely worried and cautious when venturing outside of my hotel room except for an occasional short excursion to elevator lobby or vending area.

This particular evening, I was wearing an expensive pearl-trimmed two-piece floor-length cream-colored “mother-of-the-bride” outfit, which I had acquired that afternoon at an upscale consignment shop. It felt absolutely wonderful and fit just right. This moment of near terror, no that is not correct, a brief moment of concern occurred when with full and carefully applied makeup and jewelry, I crossed paths with a group of nine young folks coming down the hallway making their way to the elevator area.

Fortunately, the group was busy chatting amongst themselves and did not pay any attention to the woman coming out of the vending area with a soft drink in one hand and room fob in the other. I smiled at one young woman as our eyes briefly met and continued to calmly walk back to my room. Arriving there I smiled broadly, pushed a stray hair back over my left ear and admired the pleasant and elegant looking woman I saw in the full-length mirror as I entered my room.

Trading the soft drink can for a long-stemmed glass, I stepped out to my balcony and stood for a few minutes admiring the lights of the city and then scooping my skirt behind me, gently settled into one of the softly cushioned chairs, crossed my right leg over the other and relived all the events of the day with my elevated self-confidence.

While sitting in full exquisite feminine regalia and a cloud of feminine scents, slowly sipping on the soft drink, I began mentally reviewing my history of adventures and misadventures. I was enjoying those that were especially memorable as well as the half dozen close calls, two which have been mentioned above. Two other incidents came to mind during this kaleidoscopic review. These occurred much closer to home; in fact, both occurred in the family home.

One took place when my spouse was out of town visiting her mother. I found a new nightgown that the lady of the house had left hanging in the bathroom. I did not notice it until preparing to take a nighttime shower. I could not resist the pink polka-dot empire-styled nightgown. I slid it over my freshly-shampooed head of hair, sat down at the makeup table and brushed my shiny black hair in a fluffy feminine style and then rolled back the light blue satin sheets of the canopied king-sized \ bed. I GID snuggled under the sheets, positioned my tousled head on the king-sized pillow and quickly fell asleep.

When I awoke with the sun pouring into the room, a shocking but very pleasing sight registered. The vision was the pronounced dual mounds of soft breasts peaking out of the cups of an empire neckline. The view and realization were pleasantly surprising and exhilarating. Those were her breasts, not some substitute. I did not have another opportunity to enjoy this experience as mysteriously, that delicious nightie shortly disappeared after the lady of the house returned from her visit.

Another recollection then flashed into my mental movie screen of  a similar nature. The couple had recently visited an upscale mall and my spouse with me in tow purchased a fantastic LBD at Nordstrom. It was expensive with a scrounged style bodice and a full floating double layered skirt, perfect for the dance floor and either a tango or a waltz.

As might be expected, I was captivated by this example of pure femininity and inwardly dreamed of slipping into this absolute vision. Less than a week had transpired, when I gave into the dream and donned the LBD. It fit beautifully and felt totally thrilling, however, I had gone one step too far.

Captivated by the feeling and the image of the sophisticated lady with the pearl drop earrings and three strand-necklace reflected in the full-length mirror, I completed the experience with a few sprays of the Vanity Fair perfume. With regret, I divested all and placed them back into their proper place including the LBD to its cushioned hangar.

It was a few days later, I was confronted by a determined spouse with the LBD in hand saying she could not wear this and I want you to return it to Nordstrom and get full credit and it is up to me to explain the return. Without another word, I accepted the dress with all the tags still attached and did as the lady of the house directed. The incident never came up again, however, often at social occasions whenever a woman complimented me (in male mode) for being helpful, the lady of the house was quick to say, "Oh yes, although he has a few issues." I took this to be an implied threat.

During the next few years with only one opportunity a year, I essentially went into a self-imposed long-term hibernation. During that elongated period, I slowly worked through the thoughts of all those elements and incidents and came to the slow recognition along with some physical clues that this gender identified male was more than that and was to some unknown degree, at least partially female physically, mentally and emotionally.

I was now cognizant of these facts and accepted them as reality and after assessing the situation, determined that until my living and working situation changed, I would apply a discipline I had learned and exercised previously when faced with decisions that could not be immediately resolved or if a decision was made in a rash moment, the results could prove to be disastrous and irrevocable.
With that decision made, I put Marie Anne into a mental vault with the proviso not to be opened until a set date arrived or until my living and employment situation changed.

That change came five years later, when during a nine-month period, three events coalesced. The first came when the children were married, leaving the nest and the state. The second was an offer of an early corporate retirement accompanied by a generous bonus. The third and last was the sudden and unexpected demise of the lady of the house from heart failure. Less than 30 minutes from the onslaught of attack to death. It spelled the end of a major portion of Marie’s adult life.

It would be the following Halloween, nine months later, when our I, still locked in the mental vault, received an invitation to participate in a costume affair to raise funds for a nearby children’s hospital. The choice of costume was not a personal choice, but by a hospital committee in a random drawing. I drew Wonder Women and with the encouragement of a female friend,  my successful presentation led to invitations on another Halloween and then a Marti Gras party.

Our GIDs' acceptance and fun were major milestones in the transition from just a GID to a full blown femulator and the emergence of Marie Anne (Veronique) Greene.

Two circles of friends facilitated this relatively short journey. The first were cis women beginning with Dream Maker and then my hairdresser/barber who became my "Never had one Sister,” followed almost immediately by another my makerup artist and then "The Nail Specialist." This little group of four was augmented by an understanding and highly skilled dressmaker who could make any and everything fit beautifully.

I learned soon there was another whole world of support out there. This began with Tasi and her Sister House, Rhonda of southern Florida; about the same time, I found Stana and her wonderful concept and art of femulation. From there, I established an e-mail dialogue with other girls including Kandi (of Kandi’s Land), and Barbara Jean and Carollyn (of Pretty T-Girls Magazine) and most recently, Cherry of the The Carolina Transgender Society in North Carolina. All have been immensely supportive and instrumental in my evolution and education into the wonderful world and inner joy of being a member of our special sorority.

Source: BooHoo
Wearing BooHoo

Terri Stevens
Terri Stevens, Canadian professional femulator

Sunday, September 22, 2019

My Profile

You may have wondered why I used this photo in the About Stana slot in the blog sidebar. It is a little blurry, it does flatter the outfit I am wearing and where are my hands? However, I love my profile in that photo!

I have very few photos of my profile. I never sought profile photos because it is not my best feature (too much flesh in all the wrong places, especially under my chin). 

When I saw the recent profile photo, I was very surprised. That flesh in all the wrong places is gone and I even look a few years younger than my 68 years.

I am very proud of my weight loss. Thirty-two pounds and counting down.

Source: BooHoo
Wearing BooHoo

Canadian professional femulator Jean Guida

Friday, September 20, 2019

How We Became Transgender

By Paula Gaikowski, Femulate Contributing Editor

Last century, back in the 80’s, I’d stop at a corner deli on my way into the office in Morristown, New Jersey. In the back of the store was a collection of adult magazines. My eyes would scan the racks past the racier magazines to my favorite monthly The Tranvestian. I’m almost embarrassed to say the name nowadays. In the 80’s, our sources of information were limited. As indelicate as The Tranvestian sounded, it was tame featuring articles and photos we’d see today on many blogs. Of course, there were ads for all types of clothes, makeovers and other “services.”

I have often said that I knew I was transgender before the term even existed. Back then we were transvestites, although other less flattering terms were often used. We then became crossdressers and that term seems to hold a bit more dignity and didn’t have the connotations that transvestite carried.

Today, transgender has entered the mainstream and is used as an umbrella term for our community at large. I like the term and find it comforting and sometimes, when shopping for clothes or makeup, I’ll tell the sales associate that I am transgender so that they know that I am shopping for myself. This typically puts both of us at ease.

So how did we get here? How did we become transgender? Virginia Prince, the founder and publisher of another magazine, Transvestia, was one of the first advocates and activists in our community and is often credited for coining the term transgender.

However, there is empirical evidence that indicates otherwise. The term transgender was used by psychiatrist John F. Oliven of Columbia University in his 1965 reference work Sexual Hygiene and Pathology. In that work, he wrote that the term that had previously been used was transsexualism.

Other terms that were used in the early days of our community were transsexual, transgenderist and transgenderal. The later two were used by Virginia Prince and members of Triess to describe a person who changed genders, but not their physical sex. (Both Virginia Prince and Triess are not without controversy today, but I believe that both should be applauded for all they did for our community and viewed in the context of their times.)

Virginia Prince first used the term transgender in the December 1969 edition of Transvestia. So it was here that the seed was planted in our community. It then appeared in Practical Handbook of Psychiatry (1974) with references to "transgender surgery" and in the April 1970 issue of TV Guide, which published an article referencing a post-operative transsexual movie character as being transgendered. (Often, the word appeared hyphenated as trans-gender.)

In late 90’s, when Internet usage grew exponentially, the term transgender had already taken root amongst the better informed. When online communities began to organically form on the web, we saw the use of this term increase and become more common, although transsexual, crossdresser, transgenderist, transvestite and sex change were used as well.

Many transgender people rejected the term transsexual citing the fact that gender is separate from sex and sexuality. So nowadays, even outside our community, we hear the term transgender used when referring to a person who has undergone gender transition. It has now become the most often used term and the default term when speaking about gender non-conforming peoples. So when did transgender jump from our community into the public domain?

Time magazine published the “The Transgender Tipping Point” in 2014. A generational shift was starting, Millennials saw a wave of transgender persons in the media like Jazz Jennings, Chase Bono, Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner.

President Obama carefully included the word transgender in his 2015 State of the Union address. This was the first time a President had used the word in such a high-profile speech. Here we seemed to cross a threshold and gain significant momentum. Social monitoring tools recorded a sharp rise in the occurrence of the word by journalists, entertainers and politicians. A this point the word entered the common vocabulary and you could use the word in everyday conversation.

And that, my sisters, is how we became transgender.

Wearing Madeleine

Femulator Terri as she appeared in Transvestia in 1961

Thursday, September 19, 2019

From a Box of Wheaties

I have new respect for Caitlyn Jenner.

My wife and I like Alec Baldwin, so we decided to watch his roast on Comedy Central. When we tuned in, I was surprised that Caitlyn was one of the people on the panel to roast Alec.

The roasters always take jabs at the other roasters as well as the primary roastee. But by far, Caitlyn got the worst of it. In my opinion, she was roasted as badly as Alec, if not more.

Despite all the low blows, Caitlyn was a good sport and laughed out loud at all of the jokes that were at her expense.

When it was her turn on the dais, she closed with the following.

"There's a lot of hate in the world but we can still laugh at ourselves. Honestly, that's why I'm here tonight. I've seen it all and I've even gotten threats and I want other members of the trans community to know that if I'm strong enough to sit up here and be ridiculed all night... you can handle anything.

"Some of you hate me just because I'm me. Some of you hate me because of things I've said in the past. I'm not perfect. I’m a person trying to figure out my life, just like everyone else. All I want is for future generations of transgender people to know that if I can find the courage to be who I am, you can too. If you have a problem with that, you can suck my d**k… if you can find it!"

Could have done without the last sentence in her speech, but considering the situation she was in, it was fitting.

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus

Bruce Jenner, Bob Hope and Merlin Olsen
Bruce Jenner, Bob Hope and Merlin Olsen femulating on a 1981 Bob Hope television special.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fake Brides

I have read a few stories about girls like us going to bridal shops to try on wedding gowns just for the thrill of it with no intention of making a purchase. Typically, the girl calls ahead to make an appointment and the bridal shop staff welcomes her with open arms.

Maybe I am a too jaded, but I find it hard to believe that a bridal shop would allow a girl to try on gowns knowing that she was not buying (not to mention that the girl was a boy).

Did the girl not tell the whole story when she made the appointment?

Or did the girl agree to pay a fee for the opportunity to try on wedding gowns?

Or do the folks running the bridal shops just enjoy the challenge of crossdressing boys?

I would sure like to know how other girls have pulled it off because I would not mind doing it myself.

Source: Veronica Beard
Wearing Veronica Beard

Circa 1950
Circa 1950

Monday, September 16, 2019

Wedding Gown Femulations

By Paula Gaikowski, Femulate Contributing Editor

It was a typical busy weekend filled with family errands and activities. My wife and I were off in separate directions to meet later at a friend’s house in Putnam, Connecticut. On my honey-do list was to drop off clothes at the Salvation Army.

I was on my way to Putnam before I realized that the clothes were still in the back. I found a Savers thrift shop on the way to Putnam and stopped in with the clothes to drop them off. Most of my girl clothes come from thrift shops and I couldn’t resist a quick look around.

I was almost on my way out the door and there it was: a tea-length wedding dress. It drew me closer… a size 18, “Yes!” and it was beautiful. The fitting rooms stood a few feet away. What the heck! Into the dressing room I went. I unzipped it and then stepped into the dress, gradually pulled it up and pushed my arms through the sleeves. As I reached around and tugged the zipper up, I felt the dress begin to close in around me and as if it held a little magic or maybe that magic was inside me, I became for just a second a bride. I stood there spellbound looking in the mirror. Another two or three minutes of wedding bliss and I retreated into my prison uniform (cargo shorts and ducks unlimited t-shirt).

Back in the car, I sat and thought for just a second and noticed my eyes had teared up a bit. Wedding dresses are powerful and emotional garments. They carry with them dreams and hopes of a lifetime. It was a powerful experience for me. I would be a bit off and distant the rest of the evening.

If you have ever worn a wedding dress, you may have had similar feelings. As transgender women, many of us miss out on this experience.

I was elated to see an event recently held in Denver. WhXYte Wedding, an all-transgender model bridal fashion show celebrating and benefiting transgender women. The organizer, Hana from Hana’s Designs, has been a friend of the transgender community for decades. Back in the 90’s, her salon became the place to go for transgender women in Denver.

As those more mature amongst us remember pre-internet, it was businesses like those where a transgender person could find support and network with others in the community. When Hana became ill with cancer, the outpouring of support from the transgender community was remarkable. She never forgot.

A recurring theme she often heard from many transgender women was the desire to be a beautiful bride. This motivated her to produce WhXYte Wedding which permitted some transgender women to live out their visions of being a bride at an fashionable, enjoyable and elegant event.

The event included a wedding ceremony celebrating a transgender woman and her wife renewing their vows, a gourmet menu, TED speaker Paula Stone Williams, dancing and a silent action. This event was a fundraiser to assist Denver area organizations that deal with the problems faced by transgender people.

What was awesome about the event is that the brides came from all walks of life: a Navel Commander, State Legislator, Scientist, Doctor and Firefighter. It is wonderful that now we as a transgender community have finally come out of our safe havens and can celebrate an elegant and fashionable event like this with dignity, pride and most importantly, hope.

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus

Femulating man and wife
Femulating man and wife

Friday, September 13, 2019

A Festival for Men as Ladies

It does not take me long to browse the Internet and find something completely different. Such is the case with a recent find related to crossdressing.

Ever hear of Kottankulangara Festival?

The Kottankulangara Festival is an annual Hindu festival in Kerala, India, where thousands of men irrespective of their religious faith dress as women. The festival takes place at the Kottankulangara Devi temple at Chavara, Kerala, which is sacred to the goddess Bhagavathy. Every year this festival is celebrated on the 10th and 11th day of Meenam (mid-March).

On the festival day thousand of devotees visit the Temple to seek the blessings of the Goddess Bhagavathy. The men dress up in the female attire of their choice. Some wear Set saari, Pattu saari, half saari and even dance costumes.

Chamayavilakku is also a much-anticipated event for the members of transgender community, as it offers them an opportunity to celebrate their real identity. During the past few years, there has been a steady inflow of trans persons not just from Kerala, but all parts of the country.

Around 4000 people participate in the Chamayavilakku.


Crossdressing blessed by the church!

Can you imagine if the Catholic Church sponsored a Blessed Virgin Mary Festival where men dressed as women to seek the blessings of Saint Mary?

I can picture the exploding heads of evangelicals from sea to shining sea.

Source: Paige
Wearing Paige

Femulating at the Kottankulangara Festival.
Femulating at the Kottankulangara Festival.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Out Finally

I made a promise to myself that as soon I was finished with physical therapy, I was going to have a girl's day out. My final physical therapy session was last Tuesday, so I checked my calendar and this Tuesday was open.

Lazy girl that I am, I did not maintain a clean shaven body all summer because I knew I was not going out anytime soon. So Monday afternoon I took on the task of removing a summer's worth of body hair.

The Philips Norelco Bodygroomer I bought last year made the job easy and in about an hour, my body was hairless again. Truth be told, my legs have been shorn so many times during the past 55 years that there is not much growing there anymore, so most of the hair removal was on my arms and torso and just a few tufts of hair on my knees and toes.

Tuesday morning, I shaved my face, showered, ate breakfast, watched Morning Joe, did my makeup and got dressed. I wore the Calvin Klein floral scuba shift dress that I bought last time I shopped at Dress Barn in the spring. I felt it was appropriate to wear that dress because one goal for the day was to go to Dress Barn and use my gift cards before they shutter the store forever.

The high heels I chose were loose and kept slipping off my feet. My wife warned me that my feet would shrink if I lost weight and I guess she was right. Thirty pounds lighter, I had to try on four pairs of shoes until I found a pair that was less prone to slipping off my feet.

The solution was a compromise because there still was some slippage and by day's end, my feet were tired from gripping my shoes all day long. I guess it's time to go shoe shopping. (I so miss Payless!)

I drove to the Dress Barn in a strip mall that is a stone's throw from my former place of employment. I shopped there so often that I knew the staff by name and the staff knew me in girl and boy mode.

I began perusing the racks and I was greeted by the store manager. I told her about my lost summer and we discussed the demise of Dress Barn. I mentioned that I received a letter last week that my Dress Barn credit card would be no good after October 31, so I thought that might be the day they finally close all the stores. She thinks that the last day will be December 24, which makes more sense.

You would never know that the store was going out of business. The racks were full of fresh fall fashions and I took three dresses to the dressing room to try on. All three were size 14 and all three fit perfectly and to make matters worse, all three looked great on me!

I was afraid to try on anything else, so I avoided the racks and made a bee-line to the store representative staffing the cash register and burned through my gift cards.

I took my purchases to my Subaru, then drove to WestFarms Mall where I thought I could do some window shopping and if I got hungry, dine at Brio Tuscan Grille or P.F. Chang's. I perused the racks at Macy's and found another dress to die for, but lucky for my purse, they did not have it in my size.

After window shopping for a half hour, I was a little hungry and my feet were a lotta tired, so I flipped a coin and went to Brio for lunch.

Not too much to say about Brio. As usual, I was treated like a lady and the food was delicious. The waitress said my dress was "beautiful" and she applauded me for wearing heels as I exited the establishment.

Back home by 4 PM, I was tired, but exhilarated by my girl's day out. I will have to do it again real soon now.

Source: Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper

Kazik Mazur femulates Alicja Majewska on Polish television's Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Zero to 60... in the wrong body

By Paula Gaikowski, Femulate Contributing Editor

Turning 60 this year has led to a lot of self-reflection. Anyone who is transgender knows many a night is spent laying awake at 3 AM wondering, imagining and wool-gathering over our mysterious puzzle.

A few nights ago, I found myself tracing the progression and struggle of Paula from an early age to now.

Some transgender persons come to the realization later in life. For me, I always wanted to be a girl. As soon as I knew the difference, I wanted to be over there.

I remember the first day of kindergarten, the boys and girls were separated into two lines with the girls all in pretty dresses and shoes. I was so envious.

Those early memories continued and at 6 or 7, I remember going to a Halloween party where there was a girl in a beautiful party dress.

I asked, “What’s your costume?”

“I am a girl,” the little boy replied. Stunned at the realization that this was a boy, I could not take my eyes off him as he ran around the room that night in a pink dress with crinolines, tights and Mary Janes.

Perhaps if I couldn’t be a girl, I could at least dress like one.

Next came the start of crossdressing and a more intense desire to be a girl.

During my first Holy Communion, the church was filled with 1st grade boys and girls — the boys in white suit jackets and the girls in beautiful white satin and lace dresses with veils. I was captivated and a few weeks later, I found my sister’s communion dress and tried it on. It became a favorite until I outgrew it.

I remember sitting in Mrs. Carlson’s 2nd grade classroom and wondering what it felt like to wear the tights that most girls wore. I started raiding my sister’s and mother’s closets trying on tights and any other dress or skirt I could find that fit. When I think back, this wasn’t something I did on occasion — I did this two or three times a week. This continued and by the time I was 11 years old, I had graduated to lingerie, pantyhose, high heels and make-up.

Through middle school and high school, I continued to crossdress on a very regular basis. After school from 3:15 to 5:00, it was all-clear to play girl to my heart’s content. I would often try to mimic styles and fashions that I had seen during the week in school. I became an expert putting things back the way I found them. However, as a parent myself now, I think they must have known.

During high school, I would read anything I could find written about “sex changes.” In a garage sale, I found an autobiography of Christine Jorgensen that I read in secret. I would scan newspapers and magazines for mentions of crossdressers or transsexuals. At 15 or 16, when others were making career plans, I was taking a sex change into account. Everything I read told me that surgery would cost several thousand dollars.

The Air Force solved many problems for me. It got me out of the house and gave me a chance to save enough money for a sex change. Yes, no kidding, that was my thought process at that age. That’s why I’ve written that in today’s environment, transition would have been a certainty.

So off I flew into the wild blue yonder. Basic training was difficult not because I was transgender but because I was naïve and lazy. Then off to technical school in Biloxi, Mississippi. Then to Germany, with a follow-on tour to Andrews Air Force Base. The whole process was good for me as I matured, traveled and gained technical experience.

These are typically the years when a person’s sexuality matures. I knew I was transgender; however, I was also fearful of being gay because of the hatefulness and disapproval for gay people around me.
I was captivated by women. A pretty girl would always catch my eye. Thank God, I’m not gay. How could I be when I felt that way about women.

I made the mistake of confusing admiration and envy, with lust and sexual desire. Here are a few examples of how this manifested itself during the four years I was in the Air Force. There wasn’t any shortage of the guys going out to strip clubs and brothels that surrounded most military bases in Germany. I can remember feeling so uncomfortable for the women in these strip clubs, I wanted to rescue them not lust after them.

I would accompany my friends to the brothels in Frankfurt and finally, I acquiesced and decided to lose my virginity one night. I was trying to prove something. I remember the beautiful young woman very well and once inside I could not do it. I gave her extra money to wait out my time and then make a great show of it to my friends waiting outside.

I was very good at making friends with and talking with women, but I would never close the deal so to speak. This happened all the time, talking, flirting, nothing. I never would make a move, ask her out, hold her hand or kiss her. Looking back now, I believe it was due to my instinct as a female deep down inside. I just didn’t get the male-female mating ritual. I wasn’t programed like the other guys.
I could list several examples, but for sake of brevity let me tell one. I worked in a communications control center and on days off, I would head to Shenandoah National Park where I would camp and hike. I worked with Rita, a girl from upstate New York who also loved the outdoors. We hit it off well and talked about camping, hiking and kayaking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I missed all the clues that she was sending because I was surprised to see her ride up to the campsite on her motorcycle. Long story short, dinner, a few beers by the campfire and lights out in the tent with her on one side and me, the gentlemen on the other. This is how oblivious I was! It never dawned on me she was there to hook up. A few months later, she asked why I hadn’t done anything that night. My answer “I dunno” and I really didn’t know.

Just before I got out of the Air Force, I had this bizarre affair with a lesbian who I worked with. She and I were heavy drinkers and partiers at the time and would often wind up in bed. Nothing ever happened, but I had a big-time crush on her. We would sleep together several nights a week and yes, just sleep. I realize now she was using me as cover — back then, if you were gay you were out of the military and they actively looked for and prosecuted gay persons.

Now it’s 1981 and I’m back home in New Jersey. I find a job at a computer company. My first paycheck comes. I cash it and go to the Willow Brook mall and buy a dress, shoes, hosiery and lingerie. All too small, so I purged.

My life began to revolve around work, drinking and hunting with my redneck buddies. I hardly even thought about being a girl. At work, I met my future wife. We talk, flirt and again nothing. We talk, we flirt and she calls me. Boom — we are off and running. She lets me wear her bra one night and she even buys me some lingerie — WOW!

This is perfect. I’m in love. We marry and off we go. However, what I thought was approval turned out to be tepid toleration. For a number of years, we would go forward and then backward. A few months of encouragement would then be met with resentment

Just to emphasize how strong my dysphoria was, I remember the morning of my wedding, being a bit melancholy, thinking well this means I’ll never be a woman.

A wonderful marriage, family, career, home, it was all there except for this one little problem of gender dysphoria. There were periods where depression would bury me. I kept myself busy with career, home maintenance, church, non-profits, elderly parents and child care.

Still, as I did when I was 8 years old, I would seek refuge, a few taboo moments of sanctuary dressed as a woman. When keeping busy didn’t work, overeating and drinking were brought in to cloud the ache.

Isolated, confused, and trans, I would sometimes stop and buy Drag magazine. I would read it hidden away in the back of a New York City deli or sometimes take my lunch on a bench near Trinity Church in the shadow of the twin towers. In relative anonymity, I would enter into a world where there were others like me.

In the mid 1990’s, along came the Internet and with it, a connection to a community and finally, information and answers. My world began to open up.

My crossdressing became an unspoken truth in our marriage, seldom directly addressed and sometimes talked about disparagingly. Don’t ask, don’t tell became the model for dealing with the issue. In my late 40’s, I entered a dark period sinking into deep depression along with anxiety attacks.

When I hit 50, I was overweight, drinking too much and in bad health. Finding an objective and informed person, you can discuss, share and solve your issues, which was a key ingredient in my journey. In my case, this was Dr D. I no longer saw being transgender as a problem to be solved. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I cast off society’s condemnation of being transgender and realized that I am a good person and that part of my personality and character involves being transgender. Attributes I see missing in many men, such as nurturing, kindness, compassion and cooperation are parts of my personality that I believe come from my feminine side.

Through the years, I had worked so hard and sacrificed so many things for so many people in my life. Now at 50, the one thing I wanted most, the one thing that had nagged at me since childhood was going to be left unanswered. I could not do it. I could not let it go. I needed to express that woman who I knew lived inside me. I may never transition, but I needed to experience the world as a woman in some way.

In 2009, I was emerging from the darkness of yet another crossdressing purge. But as any transgender person knows, purging doesn’t work. My need for feminine expression had returned with a vengeance. I had once again accumulated a wardrobe and around this time, I started traveling for business. I started going to M·A·C stores and found acceptance and support.

Next, I started shopping for clothes while I was in drab and I was surprised to find that the sales associates were enthusiastic and supportive when I told them I was transgender. City after city, I began to accumulate everything I needed.

Finally, in Memphis after visiting Graceland, I saw it in a strip mall a store named Graceland Wigs. The last piece I needed was a wig. With my new-found confidence, I entered the store and was overwhelmed by hundred of wigs lining the walls. After a few minutes of awkward browsing I came clean with the store owner and was soon sitting in a chair in front of a mirror trying on wigs and telling her my story. She was a bit of a character and after about two hours trying on dozens of wigs, I left the store with advice earned through a lifetime of hardship, an overabundance of amusing anecdotes, guidance on being a woman and a cute pageboy style brunette wig.

A few weeks later, I would step out of my hotel room in Denver and not look back. For the next eight years, I would travel all over the country and the world and during my free time, I would explore the world as a woman. I would shop, get M·A·C makeovers, meet friends for dinner, attend a transgender conference, visit the doctor, attend concerts and visit museums. I would go out as a woman in the UK, Canada and Australia. It was also during this time I started writing for Femulate. Those were glorious times and I began to feel somewhat fulfilled.

In 2016, I began having trouble with my back and it became chronic. I began to overeat and drink. The weight came on and the pain grew worse. I stopped dressing. I entered into a dark period with pain and along with it, a sense of despair and hopelessness.

In 2019, post-surgery, I am now coming back. I am eating healthy and I’m off sugar and junk foods. My back feels great and I started building back my wardrobe. I’m writing for Femulate again and feel a sense of renewal and hope. Where the next few years lead? Who knows? But Paula will be there.
That’s my story — the evolution of a human who is transgender. How I dealt with it and how I continue to deal with it.

Keep reading.

Source: Rachel Zoe
Wearing Rachel Zoe

Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel femulates in the 1927 film Sugar Daddies.