Friday, May 28, 2021

Going to the Prom

It is prom season, a time when many a young femulator’s heart is all a flutter thinking about the pretty prom gowns he won’t be able to wear to his high school’s spring formal.

In high school, I did not date much. I interacted easily with girls on a day-to-day basis, but when it came to dating, I did not interact successfully.

Looking back, I realize that interacting with girls was easy because I was feminine. However, dating girls was difficult because I had to act like a male and that was so foreign to me that I was lousy at it.

When I attended my high school’s prom, my sister had to set me up with her best friend as my date. That date went fine because I already knew my sister’s friend well; it was as if we were two girls out on a date. The only problem was that one girl had to dress like a boy. I wore a white tux and that was probably a good thing because back then, I was about 50 pounds heavier than I am now. Squeezing into a prom gown would not have been a pretty sight, but I am sure my mother would have sewn me something dreamy to wear and would have had me fitted with the proper foundation garments so that I would be voluptuous in her creation. Of course, it did not happen, but I dreamed about it nonetheless.

Times have changed. As Ray Davies once sang, “Boys will be girls and girls will be boys” and today, at some of the more progressive schools in our nation, girls do wear tuxedos to proms and boys do wear gowns.

Lucky kids!

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe

Jean Pierre Rene
Professional femulator Jean Pierre Rene at the Juan-les-Pins club in Paris. 1956

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How Do I Know

Samantha Riedel
I just read an excellent them. article by Samantha Riedel, which is “A guide to questions I asked myself when I began to wonder if I was transfeminine — and questions you may ask yourself, too.”

The article addresses questions that many of us have/had. Here are a couple of pertinent quotes from the article. 

“Clothing is as gendered as we want it to be, and as much as I love skirts and skater dresses, I've never stopped being comfortable in good old denim jeans and a dorky graphic tee. Anyone who tells you that you need to present a certain way for your gender to be valid has way weirder ideas about what constitutes gender than any trans person. If cis women get to be butch, so do us transfems. That's it, the end, have fun.

“There's no wrong way to be trans or nonbinary; if you feel like those words approximate what you're feeling, then run with it. The only person who gets to decide your gender, and what that means, is you.”

I highly recommend reading Samantha's article.

(Thank you, Velma, for the relay.)

Wearing Tina
Wearing Tina

A “wedding tableau” full of pretty femulators in Sydney, Australia, circa 1930
A “wedding tableau” full of pretty femulators in Sydney, Australia, circa 1930

Monday, May 24, 2021

Going Straight

By Gina V

When I stopped working for the man and embarked on the road less-travelled, it was not exactly coincidental that it took me to a provincial city that happened to have the largest and best-known gay scene in the country. As they say, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” so I deduced there would be a fairly active transvestite one within it. And my intuition proved me correct. So once I had broken the ice,* I filled my (3-inch) boots accordingly.

However, if taking a diversion into Straightsville was ever going to be an option, I knew that would always be a much tougher task. For unlike the gay scene, there would be no quarter given and experiencing such a trip without being subjected to ridicule (or worse) depended on being 100% convincing in every way. 

Plus, unlike others in my position (like Stana, for example), despite being informed on numerous occasions that I could pass when dressed, my chronic low self- esteem told me otherwise. Not to mention the fear of experiencing a similar fate to the soldier who goes AWOL by disguising himself as a woman in the film The Triple Echo! Therefore, my few steps into that world were taken very gingerly.

My first experience was going out with my landlord (who was in “mufti”) one afternoon in his car to visit a trans chum of his. With that in mind, I wore a much shorter wig and far less makeup than usual (in the hope of looking more like my sister than Joan Collins) plus a sober grey skirt suit to try and blend in with the scenery. 

But, as if being out in Straightsville in broad daylight for the first time wasn’t scary enough, he insisted on stopping on the way to visit an off license in one of the roughest parts of town – leaving me on my own in the car, where suddenly the windows seemed to get a lot larger. Despite making sure the doors were locked, I was petrified that a gang of youths would come around the corner any second, immediately twig what I was and then smash the windows to drag me out onto the street for a good kicking! But we made it back home with said friend being another who complimented me on my convincingness.

My second (and final) daytime exposure was when I wanted to get a new wig from a salon in the city center and my landlord (who was again driving in mufti) advised me that I would only really know if one suited me if I were dressed for the occasion. So again, I tried to present myself as best I could (perhaps, my hemline could have been a bit lower in retrospect!) in order to merge in seamlessly with the many shoppers and others going about their business. Even so, the walk of a few hundred yards from car park to shop was an ordeal of fire, with me half-expecting a lynch mob to give chase at any moment. However, we arrived at the salon without incident and I wore my new purchase as we made our way back to the car (again, without anyone seemingly being phased).

As a result of that, one thing I learned that can head suspicious straights off at the pass is to step out in the company of a man. Especially one that is straight (or at least straight-acting/looking). I was once out on the local gay scene with an admirer and we queued to get into a club on a night transvestites were admitted free of charge, while everyone else had to pay. And when it came to my turn, the doorman informed me it would cost me two quid!** As such, when my companion walked me through the city center afterwards, it was no surprise that no one batted an eyelid at what they saw as an ordinary couple heading home after a night on the town.

So on the odd occasion out and about in Straightsville, I have managed to get away with it visually. However, the voice is the enemy of the convincing crossdresser! Although I can sing a lot higher than most men (and in a more-than-passable female tone to boot), sadly, I know that I need to work on my femme speaking voice. And as such, I envy my American cousins for their casual drawl allied to relative-freedom to express themselves emotionally, which means they are more likely to succeed in that regard than stiff upper-lipped Limeys. So until now, that has been a good reason why my sorties into Straightsville have been few and far between.

However, as one whose trans persona is becoming ever more apparent, maybe the time has come to try and overcome that hurdle in order that my public appearances are no longer restricted to gay zones? As they say: Watch this space…

* On my first night out on said scene, someone told me I looked like Monica Lewinsky!
** I now wish I had just paid up rather than protested – ha ha

Wearing Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper

Brian Deacon femulating in the 1972 UK film The Triple Echo.
Brian Deacon femulating in the 1972 UK film The Triple Echo.

Friday, May 21, 2021

When “Crossdressing” Becomes Just “Dressing”

Modern womenswear and menswear

Today, most females dress as males did in the past – wearing pants, flats, minimal or no makeup, shorter hairstyles, shaved heads, etc. Meanwhile, 
some males today dress like females did in the past – wearing skirts and dresses, heels, handbags, makeup, longer hair, etc. 

In the past, these females and males would be considered “crossdressers.” However, for a long time, females have been getting away with dressing like males without being called out as crossdressers. The old saw says that when a female dresses like a male, she is attempting to emulate the superior sex and is applauded, rather than derided for her efforts. So when a females dress as males did in the past, it is just considered “dressing” not crossdressing.

On the other hand, femininely-dressed males are still called crossdressers even though feminine male styles have been gaining popularity for awhile. The antithesis of the old saw says that when a male dresses like a female, he is demeaning himself because he is trying to emulate the inferior sex and as a result, he is mocked.  

But times are changing. Females are gaining on males. They are catching up and often surpassing males in many endeavors. 

When I started working in the 1970s, my managers were all males and they reported to males. There were very few females in managerial positions. Before I retired 35 years later, my managers were all females and they reported to females. Females filled many managerial positions company-wide.

The days of male superiority/female inferiority are numbered. As a result, slowly, but surely, males dressing in a “feminine” manner will be just that, dressing not crossdressing and thus, turning that old saw on its head. 

Will males dressing like males dressed in the past, that is, like empowered females dress, be considered crossdressing? Maybe not because a new version of that old saw says that when a male dresses like a modern empowered female, he is attempting to emulate the superior sex and is applauded, rather than derided for his efforts.

And so it goes.

Wearing Stella McCartney
Wearing Stella McCartney

Tim Hovey (right) femulating in the 1956 film Everything But the Truth.
Tim Hovey (right) femulating in the 1956 film Everything But the Truth.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

No Roadtrip Again

In past years, I would have begun my annual 750-mile roadtrip to Dayton, Ohio, this morning to attend the biggest ham radio convention in the world. But due to the pandemic, Hamvention was cancelled again this year.

Attending Hamvention gives me the opportunity to present as a woman for five days. Needless to say, that extended stay en femme is something I always look forward to and have sorely missed in 2020 and again in 2021. (The photo above is the gang at our booth at Hamvention two years ago.)

Due to my age, my family is urging me to fly rather than drive to Dayton in the future, so next year my “roadtrip” could be decidedly different if I take their advice. I am sure I will enjoy flying as a woman for the first time. And it will allow me to check off another entry on my bucket list.

Actually, there are not many undone items left on my bucket list. A lot of the undones are low priority; it is not important to me whether I ever accomplish them or not. Maybe it’s time to revisit y list and edit it accordingly.

Wearing Zimmermann
Wearing Zimmermann

Jawn Galliano
Jawn Galliano