We all can agree that your clothing can make you feel more confident or insecure, attractive or embarrassed and a myriad of other emotions. We know that some people use clothing to express their personality or to identify themselves with others. What many people do not realize is that clothing, especially costumes can enable one to get in touch with and express feelings and beliefs they did not realize they had.
As children we all played pretend and some of us even did a little acting. We might have worn full costumes or maybe just one piece such as a hat or a table cloth used as a cape. We would put these items on and let our imaginations run wild pretending to be someone or something else. Were we really pretending, imagining and making things up or were we pulling information from our brain about what we believe to be true based on our experiences and feelings about those experiences? Perhaps there isn’t any difference.
Watching people pretend can often tell you a great deal about their views. If three little girls were playing house they would have to decide their roles. They could choose many roles here are a few examples:
1 Daddy, Mommy and Baby
2 Two Mommies and Baby
3 Mommy and two babies
4 Grandma, Mommy and Baby
One girl may think a girl can not pretend to be Daddy and another may think you can’t have more than one Mommy in the home. They may argue for a while before they come to an agreement because each girl has had different experiences and therefore has a different view of what is “right” or realistic.
I have often asked my transgendered and cross-dressing friends their opinion about what some cross-dressers are trying to tell me with their clothing. For example if a 50+ year old, over weight, 6 foot tall man wears a micro mini skirt, 5” platform heels and a see through blouse with black lace bra showing what is she saying? Here are a few possible answers: “I want to have sex tonight.” “I want to be young and sexy” “Women are sex objects and I want to be one also” “I feel like a teen age girl” or “I have the brain of a teen age boy”. If a genetic woman over 50 wore the same outfit I would think she is not in touch with reality, must not have mirrors at home or is desperate for attention and love.
I wanted to experience for myself what it was like not only to cross-dress but to pretend to be the opposite sex for a few hours. On Thanksgiving Day when my three cross-dressing friends were busy putting on make-up I was busy gluing on a mustache. For reasons I can not fully comprehend I chose to dress like my father. Perhaps it was simply because of access to appropriate clothing, but I was also very drawn to a blonde handlebar mustache like he used to wear when I was a kid. I slicked my hair back with gel just like he does but I pulled mine into a low ponytail at the nape of my neck and made it as flat and smooth as possible. I drew my eyebrows in darker then added sideburns and a few whiskers with mascara. I put a waist cincher right over the center of my nipples and flattened my breast like pancakes. I threw on a white tee and white button down shirt. I pulled on my black jeans but pushed the waistband down low under my belly before buckling the big black leather belt. My black socks and boots went on and as I was about to step out of the bedroom my husband opened the door. He stood there stuttering for a few seconds, laughed then said “wow.” I asked, “Do I look like a man and does it weird you out?” “Yes you do and as long as you do not come to bed like that tonight I am ok with it.” Oh if only my friends had understanding, cooperative and accepting wives that would respond to their husbands the way my husband responded to me!
My daughter saw me and walked past then came back, “Mom? Oh it is you; I thought you were someone else. Wow!” Her boyfriend was speechless or perhaps afraid to say the wrong thing. My sons just pretended they did not notice at first then the oldest asked, “Why are you dressed like that?” “Just for fun” I replied. He seemed satisfied with that answer or perhaps he just did not care enough to discuss it any further. My children are not shocked or appalled by cross-dressing. They have seen plenty of it in school theater, in movies and of course at our house.
My parents arrived and I greeted them at the door. My father usually gives me a big hug but this time he gave me two very firm pats on the back. I laughed, “Oh I get the man greeting today, huh?” Yeah, well I’m not gonna kiss anyone with a mustache.” He grumbled. That’s interesting I thought. Mom still gave me a kiss and a hug and ignored my mustache. My father went down to the basement where he wouldn’t have to look at me any more. Then our friend Tom arrived. He was stunned when he saw me. He said I looked just like my father 20 years ago. He went on and on about how remarkable the resemblance was. “Do I still turn you on?” I teased. Without giving the question a moments thought Tom responded, “Not in the slightest!” After we smoked a cigarette and I practiced flicking my ashes like a man Tom went to the basement. He annoyed my father for an hour by going on and on about the resemblance which my father adamantly denied seeing. Upstairs I laughed to my mother about my father’s reactions. “Why are you dressed like your father anyway?” Mom asked. “Just for fun” I said. “You just love to make your father crazy don’t you?” I thought, yes I do, but today that just happened to be an added bonus.
As I went about the house preparing for the Thanksgiving meal I tried to imagine how to act more manly. I tried to walk differently, hold my shoulders wider to appear bigger and attempted to talk a little deeper but I found that uncomfortable. I tried to use more masculine gestures like putting one hand into my pants pocket when I talked with someone. Then I started to realize my own stereotypes about men and women. I thought that the men who are dressed as women should go to the kitchen and take care of the meal! They were eager and willing to do it too. If I am the man and it is Thanksgiving I should be downstairs in the family room with the men, sitting on the couch, telling crude jokes and watching TV. That lasted all of 15 minutes. It was too far away from my real personality for me to act that way very long. But I did enjoy referring to my fake penis and playing with it. Perhaps it was simply something new or because it made an obvious bulge when I sat down but I wanted to touch it and talk about it. Perhaps it was penis envy. Men are able to touch themselves, readjust their underwear or scratch an itch RIGHT THERE IN THE LIVINGROOM but ladies have to go to the privacy of the bathroom if their panties are bunched up or they need to pass gas.
I went in male mode to the kitchen and continued preparing the meal. I started thinking about my uncle who loves to cook. Every get together he spends most of his day in the kitchen. He is still masculine. Maybe I should be him instead of my father. But what did I really know about him or his life or his thoughts? Not enough to imitate him that’s a fact.
After taking a few pictures I was ready to change back to myself. The mustache was starting to itch and my hair felt crappy glued to my head. The waist cincher squeezing my breasts didn’t feel great either. But before I went back to my room I asked my good friend Breanna (yes, she is one of the cross-dressers I mentioned earlier) what she thought. She had been silent and I assumed she was taking the approach “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” Being forced into giving me feedback she said “you look good.” I asked “Does this appearance turn you off?” Her answer was quick but seemed to have been thought out, “No, it doesn’t turn me off because I know what is really under there!” Even that would be a better response then what some men hear from their wives and girlfriends when they are caught cross-dressing. After all it is just clothing isn’t it? What is the big deal? Isn’t it the heart of the person that matters? If you like or love someone don’t you love them no matter what they wear? But I found out it really is more than just clothes. Cross-dressing allows a person not only to pretend to be someone else but to express a part of themselves that others (maybe even they themselves) never see.
I realized that aside from riding my motorcycle and occasionally using a power tool I do not want anything to do with anything traditionally masculine. I put on a little black dress and my favorite Mary Jane pumps, fluffed my hair, painted my lips and felt good about the world again! When I came out of my room this time my father hugged me, I teased him about being homophobic and we all sat down for Thanksgiving dinner.
Go to http://www.lefemmefinishingschool.com/index_files/Page576.htm then scroll down to see a picture of my father 20 years ago next to my transformation picture as well as other before and after pictures.