Saturday, April 13, 2024

He's a “Perfect Size 12”


I am so old that when I was just starting to get my feet wet in heels, a “perfect size 12” was a goal for many woman. Today, I don’t know what size stylish women hope to achieve, but it sure isn't size 12. Today’s size 12 is larger than size 12 of yesteryear. (I even managed to fit into some of today's size 12 dresses!)


Source: Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper


Vesna Prague
Vesna Prague, Czech Republic femulator

Friday, April 12, 2024

Thin Woman


Up and at them Thursday morning, I made breakfast and sat down in front of the tv to see what’s new. The tv was tuned to TCM, where I left it Wednesday night. 

I was about to change channels when I saw William Powell in the film that was now playing on TCM. I thought it might be one of the Thin Man flicks, so I pushed the Info button on my remote control to find out what I was watching. 

Turned out that the film was Love Crazy. I thought, “Isn't that the film in which William Powell crossdresses?” I’ve seen photos of his femulation in that film, but never saw the film, so I hung in there despite the fact that the film had less than 30 minutes to go.

As luck would have it, the crossdressing began shortly after I tuned in. Powell's elaborate costume was too good to put together in the short time that passed in the film (he even shaved his mustache!) Despite that, his femulation was very good. His mannerisms were feminine and his voice matched his costume even though he did not change it much from his normal voice. It was the contents of what he said, rather than the sound of what he said that sold his female persona. It was one of the better film femulations that I have ever seen.

Not seeing the film from the beginning, I can’t honestly review it. However, being a Thin Man fan, Love Crazy seemed like another Thin Man film with the humorous give and take between Powell and Myrna Loy. So based on that, I would give it two thumbs up.


Sorce: Ann Taylor
Wearing Ann Taylor

William Powell
William Powell (left) femulating in the 1941 film Love Crazy.
Click here to view the film’s trailer on YouTube.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Run Away



Source: Paige
Wearing Paige


Nick Sinckler, Kuba Szmajkowski, Marcin Januszkiewicz and Ewelina Flinta
Nick Sinckler, Kuba Szmajkowski, Marcin Januszkiewicz and Ewelina Flinta impersonate The Pussycat Dolls on Polish television's Twoja twarz brzmi znajomo.
Click here to watch this impersonation on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Voice

As a closeted crossdresser from age 13 to 33, my voice was not important. The only crossdressed interactions I had with civilians was on Halloween. I was not trying to pass, although I often did (“who is the woman not in costume?”), so my male voice made no difference on the crossdressers’ national holiday.

Attending my first support group meeting, I noted that most girls used their male voice, so I fitted in, but the handful of girls who used a femme voice intrigued me. I wanted to be the best crossdresser I could be, so I began investigating how to feminize my voice.

I found Melanie Ann Phillips’ course “Melanie Speaks.” When I purchased the course, it was only available in VHS format, so I dubbed the audio to a cassette tape and played it every day on my commute to and from work.

At first, I was disappointed ― my voice still sounded the same and nothing like Melanie Ann Phillips’ perfect femme voice. But one day after about three weeks in, this fabulous femme voice came from my lips. I was shocked and could not believe that voice was coming from me!

However, I felt uncomfortable using my femme voice. Whereas all the other accoutrements of crossdressing, the dress, high heels, makeup, wig, handbag, were real to me, the voice felt fake and I was loathe to use it especially since my normal voice seldom gave me away. 

For example, there was my first Halloween at work en femme when I ran my pantyhose. Femulating fanatic that I am, I drove to nearby CVS to buy a new pair. I entered the store and to avoid causing a commotion, I went to the first saleswoman I saw and explained that I ran the pantyhose of my Halloween costume and needed a new pair.

“Hosiery is in aisle eight, Ma’am,” she replied, unfazed by my Halloween costume hint.

I guess I was not going to cause a commotion, so I went to aisle eight, picked out a pair, then I went to the register where the same saleswoman rang me up without a clue.

The amazing thing is I never used my femme voice in CVS. I spoke in my normal male voice, which is admittedly soft-spoken, but definitely male. I guess the saleswoman’s eyes convinced her that I was a woman no matter what clues her ears might be picking up.

Moments like that convinced me to discard my femme voice, use my normal voice and damn the torpedoes.

(Click here to hear my voice on YouTube. I start speaking at the 6:39 mark.)

Source; Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper

Rachel
The different shades of Rachel

Monday, April 8, 2024

I've Got a Secret

People tell me I look good for my age in both boy mode and girl mode. Not bragging, but my experiences out among civilians tend to confirm that assessment.

I attended my high school’s 50th reunion in boy mode, but if I had attended in girl mode (something I had seriously considered doing and now regret not doing), I would have looked better than most of my female classmates. I was shocked how most of them had let their selves go and/or how badly they had aged. (In general, my male classmates held up a lot better than the girls. Go figure.)

In boy mode, I get the “look good for my age” all the time, but the most telling moment was when I was in the hospital visiting my wife last summer and one of the nurses thought I was my wife’s son, not her husband!

So what’s my secret?

For starters, I never smoked and I seldom drink alcoholic beverages (I probably average a drink once per month). 

I have been babying my face like forever. These days I use the following products on my face every day: Avon’s Isa Knox Anew Clinical Line Eraser with Retinol Treatment and Olay Complete moisturizer.

On my neck, I use Avon Solutions Dramatic Firming Cream. I originally used this product to remove the redness on parts of my neck due to sun damage. The cream successfully removed the redness and I wondered if using it was also the reason that I do not have a turkey neck like so many of my contemporaries. Not to mess with success, I continue to use the cream every morning even though my neck’s redness is long gone. 

I also have been using Avon Foot Works Deep Moisturizing Cream on my feet for years. Not many people see my bare feet so I don't use this product “for show,” however, the cream has done wonders healing rough and dry foot skin and increases my high heel stamina.

People do see my legs and after my knee replacement surgery, I was concerned about the scar. The healing process was slow, so I began using Avon Senses Cozy Vanilla & Coconut Body Lotion on my legs and that seemed to speed up the healing process. And I continued to use it on both legs as the scar is less of an issue.

Those are my secrets. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them.

(By the way, I am an Avon lady and have an online store. If you wish to purchase any Avon products mentioned above, click here to visit my store.)



Source: Rue La La
Wearing London Times


Cecil Beaton (center)
Cecil Beaton (center) and other femulators performing for the Cambridge University Footlight Dramatic Club, circa 1925.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Yet Another Dress Code Joke


 

Wearing Boston Proper


Remembering Candy Darling

"She wasn’t acting. She was living,” Cynthia Carr writes in a new biography.

By Elyssa Goodman

It’s hard to have one favorite photograph of Candy Darling, but mine lives in the New York Public Library’s Billy Rose Theatre Division. In this photo by Kenn Duncan, she’s wrapped in a white fur and a golden yellow dress, her signature blond curls falling loosely around dark eyes and red lips. She’s easily one of the most beautiful performers ever to grace analog film.

In her time, Candy Darling’s portrait was taken by some of the greatest photographers of their day, including Richard Avedon, Peter Hujar, and Cecil Beaton. As author Cynthia Carr shares in her new biography Candy Darling: Dreamer, Icon, Superstar, Candy was apparently only more beautiful in person. But Carr’s new biography, the first of its kind about the star, preserves her legacy as not just a great beauty, but as an actress, an artist and a trailblazer of contemporary transgender history.

Read the rest of the story on Them by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Missy's Prom

By Missy

Greetings! As a visitor to Stana's site and some of the blogs on her list (especially Kandi's Land) for a while, I finally felt comfortable enough to share a story from this past year. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read it.

Here's my brief introduction:

I have been fortunate for the past couple of decades to teach at a school that supports me. Beyond the classroom, my work includes coaching, advising, committee work, etc., but I have also tried to always be an advocate for students simply being themselves. I don't need to tell you how difficult that is for people of any age... but I believe teenagers need extra support when we can give it. My oldest daughter came out to my wife and me while they were at college a number of years ago and recently let us know that they are non-binary. That experience has given my work as an educator even more meaning.

The reason for sharing this small episode through Stana's site is simply out of "sisterhood." We are both educators and I appreciate her efforts. And... I just figured it was worth the effort to connect and share with somebody beyond my own circle – something which Stana clearly supports on her blog.

I have crossdressed for as long as I can remember. In the instance of how much time it would take to give the entire background, I will skip over my full history. But like most of us, I have had highs and lows and there have been numerous internal debates and battles with boundaries as I have worked to learn more about myself and find my comfort zone. Let's leave it at that.

With so much LGBTQ+ news getting both positive and negative attention in the media, I decided to be a part of the conversation in my school community by throwing caution to the wind last year. Over the past year and a half, I took the opportunity to be more fully myself in public and join students for their various "themed" days and events at school. This opened the door for some really fun "costumey" opportunities like Britney Spears, Mother Goose, Wednesday Addams, Taylor Swift, Barbie.

I am pleased to report that in addition to quite a few turned heads and subsequent discussion, there was almost complete support from both my colleagues and (more importantly, perhaps) my students. Or at least there were no actual difficulties... and there were some good conversations. And as I'm sure you all know, there was also a personal "freeing" factor that came along with these opportunities. Given the nature of many schools around the country, I continue to feel extremely fortunate to be in such an open and accepting community.

But... those are just costumes, right? Part of the ongoing struggle is trying to determine what "feels right" and how much of one's self can be shown on a daily basis. And so, as prom season 2023 neared, I pondered and internalized deeply and came to an important decision. That is actually the story to which I was initially referring, by the way... but I figured at least some setup was necessary, so thanks for playing along.

The 2023 prom story is told below via the email exchange between me (in red) and my Head of School (in blue). Very little of the original back-and-forth has been altered... only some names and school references. Here goes:

Hi Chief.

Heck of a year. I'm pretty much ready to wrap it up with a bow.

Before that happens, of course, are the festivities – my favorite of which is prom. A lot of my colleagues call me nuts to chaperone the event every year, but I love the atmosphere... I love the free-spirited joy, I love sharing the laughter, the smiles, the music (most of the music, anyway), the pageantry and I simply love being with students outside of the classroom. Plus, I was granted a "lifetime prom chaperoning pass" upon stepping down as a Dean a few years ago, so I might as well use it, right?

So... here's the thing.

I've been thinking about it on and off and then on and off and on again, but there was a strong resonance over the past week or so, which you echoed in our recent text exchange. I wholly believe in my own advice that I promote to students. Be yourself. Our school has, for the most part, allowed me to unabashedly be myself. I'm pretty sure you have enough evidence of my efforts to that effect.

As I have shared with you, my oldest daughter often had a bit of a hard time being her best self during her time at our school because of the somewhat homophobic corners of the community. She is beyond that now and knows and loves herself much better, but as a colleague reminded us recently there are lots of students who need support, safety, kindness, and role models on their journey to being themselves.

So therein lies the purpose of this email. It's in my nature to "ask for permission rather than for forgiveness," as the saying goes. Honoring the promise I made to my daughter (which I mentioned at the end of the Day of Silence this year) to try to be a better advocate for our LGBTQ+ students... but in all honesty, to also be true to myself, something like this photo (right) is my plan for prom, because... well, it's a part of me I embrace and have fun with, and which I feel our community has also embraced.

In theory, this shouldn't be any big deal, right? In fact, I'm hoping it doesn't even come across as "asking permission," but rather just a heads up... and the chaperoning will simply go on as usual without anything being out of the ordinary. Odds are strong that there will be a wide array of student fashion choices anyway, that run the gamut with regards to how many of them will present themselves, so should engaging with students in this manner really be of any concern?

I don't want to be phony and I would rather we not seem hypocritical with what we strive for with our students through our mission statement. I see this as a total "putting my money where my mouth is" opportunity and to paraphrase a recent student's presentation, I don't mind being vulnerable because that's how all of us will learn and grow.

To be clear, I'm not looking to take anything away from students; I'm not looking for self-attention and this isn't a "coming out party" by any means. I simply want to share the night and some memories with the students, but it's also a chance to remind those that need support that I (and we) see and hear them, and that we "get it." But... I think it will be fun, too, in the spirit of "you be you."

I also don't see this as "my prom" so I'm not planning anything over the top, but rather just dressing for the occasion as any chaperone would do for such an event. The few opportunities earlier this year during which I dared to be myself were received very positively by the community (from what I could tell) and supported, especially by the students and colleagues who bothered to say something and a few parents who went out of their way to let me know that they appreciated my efforts on behalf of their children. That meant a lot to me. At least there was no backlash of which I was aware, but one never knows what goes on behind the scenes. Thus, I am hoping that this would be just more of the same.

If, however, you do not feel that the time or place is appropriate for whatever reason, I will respect and stand by that decision because this is a want, not a need, that I think has the potential to help our community, especially during Pride Month.

Whew. That wasn't easy to write (and I didn't know if I was ever going to hit send), but I had to do it and I feel good having verbalized it. I appreciate you reading an email of this magnitude, and as always, I appreciate your support in my daily workings at school.

Please let me know your thoughts, so I can plan accordingly. Thank you.

Hi _______.

This is easy – sure!

Thanks for checking (which I view more as a sounding board that comrades rely on one another for – to “check our own weather report,” if you will). Thanks also for the openness and candor. I’m honored.

You embody our mission, core values, and mottos through your actions every day. And while your craftsmanship as a master teacher is inarguable, it’s your authenticity and the joy you bring to school that allows you to build such great partnerships with kids, colleagues and families. Prom is meant to be a joyful, fun celebration and I love the idea of you embracing and having fun with it.

As TB12 would say, “Let’s GO!”

Thanks Chief.

I appreciate the quick response and your kind and affirming words… and your accepting forecast of my “weather report.” [:-)]

Let’s GO, indeed.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

And that was that, dear readers.

Once it was cleared with the powers that be, on the afternoon of prom, I let all three of my children know what I would be doing, via this note, accompanied by that email exchange with our Head of School.

Hi kiddos.

When you have the chance, please read the thread of the conversation between me and ____ from a few days ago.

Tonight I'm going to be a little brave, a little vulnerable and have a lot of fun (I hope) and hopefully, do a small thing to help out an important part of our community.

I just wanted you to hear it from me first so there's no mix in the message... and hopefully you simply "get it." Meh, might not even come as a surprise to you. [:-)]

Thanks for reading. Love you a bunch.

Dad

They were wholeheartedly cool with the idea as was my wife (she has learned along with me for the past 30 years). I am blessed with children that understand the need to be supportive of others, empathetic and as open as possible.

Two of my children are starting their careers as educators this year and I like to think that this was just another lesson for them.

Oh, the Prom itself? 100% Amazing (photo right)

I won't lie. I have dreamed of being fully dressed for an event like that for a long time, so I went all out and loved the result. And as has been the case, my colleagues were fantastic and most of my students embraced my choice... or at least were tolerant, which was a minimal expectation.

A few students obviously wanted a photo or two, and many asked why I was dressed as I was. Thus, I got to talk a bit about my daughter and their struggles while at school and how I was choosing to use one of my "superpowers" to hopefully raise awareness of the difficulties that come along with personal gender journeys, the need to pay attention to mental health, and again... the importance of simply trying to be yourself.

But I'm also pretty sure many of them knew that it was an indescribable night for me, too. Now well into my 50's, I think about the "you only spend time on this big blue and green ball once, so make the most of it while you can" mindset more than ever.

So that's the story I have wanted to share with a wider audience for a while. I still try to keep some things somewhat private, but sending this note to Stana was potentially therapeutic. I have also been thinking about Prom 2024 for a while, so... we'll see how that plays out.

Thank you again for taking time to read part of my evolving story. 

Missy



Source: Rue La La
Wearing Michael Kors


Kevin Kline femulating in the 1998 film Wild Wild West