Saturday, November 16, 2019

My Magic Skirt

By Penny from Edinburgh

I have a magic skirt.

I found her in the wonderfully named Mary’s Living and Giving Shop, a boutique charity shop, a sort of thrift, in Stockbridge on the edge of Edinburgh’s historic New Town. As soon as I tried her on, I just knew that she was meant for me.

She’s a lined tartan pencil skirt in a pattern of shocking pink and mid-green on a black background. She sits perfectly just below the knee at the narrow point of my legs.

Part of her secret is that her three main colours: pink, green and black mean that she goes well with a wide variety of tops. I have had her on with, for example, a black crew neck cardigan, a green long sleeved T and a pink sleeveless polo neck top. She can be dressed up or down according to my mood or the occasion.

I don’t normally wear pencil skirts. Other profiles usually work better for me: A-line skirts give the illusion of a smaller waist, while mermaid or trumpet midi skirts give the impression of curves. However, my magic skirt makes my hips look bigger. I think that this is because being a tartan skirt, she is made with much thicker material, so she has body and doesn’t just hang limply.

Also, her style is smart and conservative, but is colourful, and suits Penny, my femme self, perfectly.

But her real magic is not in the fit, the style or the colours; it is that when I put her on she gives me that extra confidence. Wearing my magic skirt, whatever I do, wherever I go, I simply am Penny.

Source: Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper

Zack Powell and Rick Hammerly femulating on stage in The Legend of Georgia McBride.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Josephine, Daphne and Me

At the end of my previous post about my first crossdressing sightings on TV, I wrote, “Then there was the first television broadcast of Some Like It Hot and all hell broke loose in my little world!”

I’m not sure which came first, my viewing of the first television broadcast of Some Like It Hot or the revelation that the glamorous women appearing in nightclub advertisements in the Daily News were no ladies.

The Daily News was one of the newspapers that showed up in our house on a routine basis. In the mid-60’s, a New York City nightclub called Club 82 began advertising in the News with thumbnail-sized ads displaying glamorous showgirls with an intriguing caption that revealed that the showgirl “Is No Lady!” Rather, the showgirl was “a femme impersonator.”

My previous crossdressing sightings were all of the men-in-dresses variety. They were not trying to convince anyone that they were real women.

On the other hand, viewing the Club 82 ads and the Some Like It Hot femulations of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon showed me that some of the men in dresses were in fact trying to be convincing women!

If they could do it, maybe I could do it, too!

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus

Club 82
Professional femulators performing at Club 82 circa 1965.

Saturday, November 9, 2019


My previous post about Jerry Seinfeld’s fear of trying on a dress got me thinking about TV on TV and me. Whereas crossdressing is very common on TV these days, during my formative years, TV on TV was rare and I tried to recall my first encounter with crossdressing on the boob tube.

I came up with three suspects. I viewed these TV on TV encounters when I still measured my age with a single digit, so forgive me for not remembering which came first. 

📺 📺 📺

The People’s Choice was a situation comedy starring Jackie Cooper and a basset hound named Cleo. The show ran from 1955 through 1958.

As a youngster, I saw many episodes in rerun, but only recall one. In that episode, titled “The Male Ego,” Sock, a realtor, played by Jackie Cooper, loses the sale of a house because the prospective buyer's wife dislikes a minor detail.

Convinced that women are beginning to take over the world, Sock goes to sleep and dreams about a future in which the women are taking over and are in the process of acclimating men to their rule. All the women wear pantsuits and are shown forcing reluctant men to enter a transformation booth, which “refines” their personalities and attire. When they exit the booth, the men act in a feminine manner and wear miniskirts.

As Sock enters the booth, he seeks help from Cleo, but she refuses to help him because Cleo is female and loyal to the distaff side of civilization rather than her owner. The dream ends as Sock exits the booth as a girly-guy in a girly outfit.

That is all I remember, but it left an indelible impression on my impressionable mind back then.

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I was a big fan of the Our Gang comedies. One silent Our Gang film, titled Crazy House, left a big impression on me.

In that film, Jean Darling is a rich girl who invites the gang to her elegant home for a party. The gang is allowed to go anywhere in the mansion since her parents and servants are not home and things get a little out of hand.

One of those little things is when the little rich girl convinces one of the male gang members, played by Harry Spear, to switch places with her. After they switch clothes, the girl became aggressive and fights with the boy in the dress and tries to start a fight with other gang members to prove her masculinity.

Needless to say, seeing the boy in the little girl's dress is something I will never forget.

📺 📺 📺

Our Miss Brooks was a situation comedy about high school teachers. Eve Arden played English teacher Miss Brooks and in one episode, she volunteered to help her boyfriend/biology teacher Mr. Boynton (played by Robert Rockwell) to dress as a woman for Halloween or some other costumed affair.

There was no actual crossdressing shown on TV, but just the discussion of dressing a man as a woman stuck in my memory. 

📺 📺 📺

Then there was the first television broadcast of Some Like It Hot and all hell broke loose in my little world!

And so it went.

Source: Brahmin
Wearing Brahmin

Harry Spear
Harry Spear switched clothes with Jean Darling in the Our Gang film Crazy House.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

yadda yadda yadda

I use "yadda yadda yadda” as a placeholder for the blog’s text when I am putting the blog together, but I am still lacking the text.

When I start a new blog post, I often have images already in mind for the Femulate Her and Femulator slots before I have written the text of the blog. So I slip in a “yadda yadda yadda” for the text, insert the images and then I work out the blog’s text in my head and on my keyboard.

And oftentimes, the title of a blog post is the last thing I compose, so I insert a “yadda yadda yadda” in the title slot until I come up with something.

Big time Seinfeld fan that I am, I often recall the episode where Jerry is in a dress department of a clothing store and he remarks how he gets a little nervous being surrounded by so many dresses because he fears he might want to try one on. (Been there, done that!)

By the way, isn’t that a great image in the Femulate Her slot below? I love the composition of the photo, as well as the model’s outfit.

Regarding the Femulator image, I am still amazed at all the female impersonation that occurred in prisoner of war camps during the two World Wars.

One thing I learned after researching and reading articles and books related to the POW environment, some of the soldiers who femulated on stage to entertain their fellow POWs were not civilians, if you know what I mean. A few even femulated when they were not performing on stage, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus

Pinky Smith, World War II French prisoner of war, femulating to entertain his fellow POWs

Monday, November 4, 2019

Worn-Out Workshops

2013 True Colors Conference presenter
A friend returned from Fantasia Fair and reported that her workshop had only two attendees. Been there, done that.

Over the years, I’ve conducted about 25 workshops and a few times, only a couple of people showed up. On the other hand, a few times the attendance was standing room only.

Usually, the attendance is somewhere in between. Oddly, the topics of my workshops don’t vary much, so attendance (or lack thereof) must be due to other factors. 

I am sure that the description of the workshop appearing in the event’s program makes a difference.

One time, the description I provided was something like “how to femulate successfully.” The intended audience were students and attendance was poor. After all, how many kids read a blog written by an old white lady – so they were clueless as to what “femulate” meant? Next time, the description I provided was something like “how to crossdress successfully.” Same intended audience, but attendance was SRO. 

Another factor is the competition.

Are there a lot of workshops in your time slot, thus your potential audience has too many to choose from. Or are the workshops in your time slot sexier than your workshop and likely to attract a bigger crowd than yours?

I think my friend at Fantasia Fair had too much competition. There was a potential audience of about 100 attendees, while there were four workshops scheduled in her time slot. In addition to the competition from three other workshops, her workshop had to compete with all the extracurricular activities that Cape Cod has to offer. Unless you are Caitlyn Jenner, you have to work hard to attract a crowd in that situation.

My best showing at Fantasia Fair was when I had the “Femulate Blog Party.” I advertised it here in the blog everyday for weeks beforehand and as a result, about 15 people showed up. (My other Fantasia Fair presentations were less successful attendance-wise.) 

My friend added, “I don't think workshops are that important now. Not sure what is.”

She has a point. You can find lots of the topics covered by workshops on the Internet for free, so who needs to slog to a trans convention.

Are events like Fantasia Fair, First Event, Keystone Conference, Southern Comfort, etc. becoming more social events and less venues where you can learn something. Who needs another “how to crossdress successfully” workshop?

I guess I have been around the block a few times too many and I don’t need no stinkin’ workshops. But I still attend workshops – more to socialize than to learn. Afterall, I am at a trans conference, so I might as well fill the time by attending a few workshops.

On the other hand, novices will probably get more by attending live workshops than by viewing the same on the Internet. It is one thing to view “how to crossdress successfully” from the safety of your closet. It is another thing to get all dressed up and attend the same workshop in person en femme.

Until I attended my first convention, I was pretty much closeted only going out en femme to attend my support group’s bi-monthly meetings. By attending conventions in hotels filled with civilians, I slowly built up my confidence and eventually I was able to go anywhere I desired without a net. Not sure how much the workshops helped, but attending conventions sure made a difference.

By the way, it is that time of year when I can submit workshop proposals for two local conferences that occur early next year: True Colors and Transgender Lives. Not sure I want to do “how to crossdress successfully” again. Not sure there is even a need for “how to crossdress successfully.”

Let me ask you: If you were attending a conference, what would you like to hear me workshop about?

Source: Veronica Beard
Wearing Veronica Beard

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka femulate the Olsen twins at Heidi Klum's 2019 Halloween party

Saturday, November 2, 2019