Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Knowing Smiles

By Paula Gaikowski, Contributing Editor

One of the good things about being 60 years old is that you have an overabundance of life experiences to draw on for self-counseling and for writing in Femulate. I’ve been meaning to write another article for the blog that we all call home, but have been coming up dry. Last night, I remembered an incident from my youth that I think might be of interest.

In 1979, I was stationed at Ramstien Air Base in Germany. Having a week off at Christmas, I took a USO bus tour to Barcelona. These trips are a mix of active military and their dependent families. They are always fun and you make friends quickly while enjoying the tour.

I made friends with an American family and their teenaged son who was only a year or two younger than I at the time. He was a bit of a rock ’n' roller with long hair and we spent an afternoon together perusing record shops in Barcelona looking for rare vinyl records.

On the way back, our tour guide announced a “Topsy Turvy” contest to be held that evening. (We would call it a “womanless beauty pageant” today.) This set off a purr of laughter and a buzz amongst all of us.

One of the ladies riding with us asked me if I’d like to borrow somethings for the contest and I regretfully declined. I would have preferred to dress up nicely and not present a caricature as many would that evening.

The turn out for the event was overwhelming with over 20 taking the challenge and appearing in the contest. Looking back through my eyes as a now experienced femulator, I can see that about a half-dozen of these ladies were ready for the event and had planned ahead.

How do I know they weren’t civilians? The ladies who were pretty and passable had wigs and wore shoes and dresses that fit. The spur of the moment gals presented your typical guy in a dress – look at me and laugh. The non-civilians shaved their legs – it was not their first rodeo.

The three runners-up were really into it and the crowd, especially the married ladies, enthusiastically applauded and appreciated them. Most memorable was my teenaged friend, who turned out to be every bit the glamour girl. In a black, long sleeved, sequined gown wearing black pumps, his long hair was coiffed and teased and his makeup was perfect with what looked like false eyelashes. I just remember how stunning her eyes were.

We found out that his Mom was a beautician and had competed in pageants when she was younger. She was quite proud of her creation, but it was definitely a team effort with a very willing accomplice. I have no doubt he was a budding femulator as it takes one to know one.

I ended the evening at the bar and after midnight saw him come in with a group of young people who had gone out to the local night clubs. I waved to him and gave him the thumbs up. He gave me a knowing smile and I smiled back – words weren’t necessary, we both understood each other.

This photo, which appeared in Colorado Springs' Wasson High School 2001 yearbook, so screams, “Not a civilian!” (Source: Starla).


  1. Paula, was the "teenaged son" still a lovely girl when you waved at him later in the evening -- or had he devolved back into a "civilian"? Do you always have such good timing on your trips???

    1. Oh yes she went out in all her glory and was really digging it

  2. That was my first reaction Stana!

    Mr Phillips NOT A CIVILIAN!

    To well put together and of course we all know that smile!

  3. For many the opportunities to get out and present en femme are few and far between so we tend to opt for our best presentation when we can. I hope to get out this pre-Hallowween weekend but I will be dress nicely...not as a comic book or over the top.

  4. In the UK pupils call male teachers Sir and female teachers Miss
    I can guess what they called Mr Phillips, for some time, after they saw him like that