You haven’t seen the last of me…

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“You haven’t seen the last of me”… that was the sentiment I wanted to leave on my blog as I wandered throughout the technology landscape, trying to determine the best course of action for future Val and in-turn, “So Very Deep”.

It’s only been about two weeks, but it feels like more. I have come to depend on the various internet based outlets for my feminine persona to express herself, and cutting Valerie off from the world (albeit limited) was tough.

I have to say thanks so much to both Kate and Matt for all the advice and insight you gave. I truly appreciate your helping guide me through the multiple options and “tech talk” to help me arrive at what I feel is the best option for Valerie and SVD. Pinks stars for both of you!

But anyway, I am back… so there… “you hadn’t seen the last of me”. I thought about using the completely overused Arnold Schwarzenegger cliche’ “I’ll be back”, but obviously Valerie is nothing like Arnold, and the reference just seems laughable.

I assumed that the phrase “You haven’t seen the last of me” had to have been uttered countless times by villains in classic movies, and that I should be able to work that into the blog quite easily. But as I researched the quote, it kept coming back to a 2010 Cher song “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”. I’m a big music fan, but not a Cher fan. That aside, the fact that it kept leading me back to Cher seems to be another small part in what sometimes appears to be a big cosmic joke starring Valerie South.

You see, about three weeks ago I came across a collectors edition Barbie doll of my favorite muse… Grace Kelly. She was wearing the classic black/white Edith Head gown from the movie “Rear Window” and I immediately thought I needed to have one of these. (I have a thing for Barbie dolls, but that is another story…)

In a bit of an awkward conversation with my wife, I told her about the doll and that I would love to have one. Without batting an eye, she said that she’s not surprised. I thought she meant because of the 50’s style, but then she said (tongue in cheek) all gay guys in denial are drawn to Grace Kelly. Then she said it was the same phenomenon that caused us “drag queens” to be drawn to Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and (you guessed it…) Cher.

At the time I really didn’t want to debate the point with her, because I’m sure she was just wanting to tease me and have a bit of fun, and also because I was caught off guard. I do love the Wizard of Oz, but doesn’t everyone? I just said Liza and Cher do nothing for me and left it at that. She smiled slyly seeing I was a little rattled and said, “whatever you say sweetie”.

Since that conversation with my wife, fate seems to have me on a collision course with all things Cher. I mean, in a normal week, just how many times do you normally run across something Cher related?? Once maybe? Twice is uncommon. More is just unheard of.

Even so, as I drove to work one day there was a commercial on the radio for a entire evening of Cher on a NPR radio station. Then a news story flashing up on a concert tracking site I frequent, about a Cher canceling several shows due to illness. Then a Cher song on the car radio as my wife and I were out driving (I waited for a comment from her, but she either didn’t realize it was Cher or was just being kind). All just coincidence I know, but it did give me sort of an eerie feeling like deja-vu.

So when this Cher song kept popping up as I began drafting this post, I really did feel like fate had me in her cross-hairs and that I must be the punchline to some big cosmic joke. So I decided that maybe I shouldn’t fight fate and just let the Cher song be the name of the post. ”You haven’t seen the last of me” is the right line, even if it does keep me spinning in this cosmic loop. I guess I am more like Cher than I am Arnold.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back.

-ValS

Houston (and everywhere else), we have a problem…

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Well it has finally happened… my computer drew her final breath, let out a blood curdling beep, and faded to black. All attempts to revive her have been futile, and I must now come to terms with the loss.

Existing in the closet means there can be no comingling of computers. That is a huge risk that I never take. Valerie’s world exists solely on a separate computer and all memory use is on flash drives. So, the bad news is Valerie’s computer is kaput. The good news is everything is backed up on flash drives.

But what this means short term is that it will now be extremely hard or even impossible to keep up with the emails, forums, blogs, and chat rooms. I just can’t sit in the middle of my living room and use the family PC, and I never (make that NEVER) access my personal side on my work issued computers.

It took quite a bit of finagling (is that a real word??) to get this written and posted to let you know what was happening. But the bottom line is I will have to “go away” for a while, until I am back in the 21st century, if I’m ever really there to begin with.

Being only so-so tech savvy, I am not sure what type of device I want. Another laptop? A tablet? Not sure…  I do know that I would love an iPad like device, but am not sure what works best for the sites I participate in… WordPress especially, since that is turning out to be one of the most enjoyable experiences. Is an iPad suitable? Is an android device better? Is one of those Surface devices even better yet? I’ve been told iPads are fun, but can’t be used like computers. Huh? So it’s a giant iPod?? I have also been told other tablets have a fraction of apps that the Apples do, so what is the answer?

If any of you have suggestions of what you use and especially what works best for WordPress, please let me know.  You can still reach me at valsouthcd@gmail.com . I may not be able to visit sites, chat and post, but I will still get my emails most of the time.

Until then, stay warm, be good to each other, love your friends (and your enemies even more), and keep your petticoats fluffed to their full potential. I hope to be back sooner rather than later, but we’ll see!

Your friend,

-ValS

Lost in trans-lation… or, what a long, strange trip it’s been

It just had to be a TWA image... didn't it??

It just had to be a TWA image… didn’t it??

I had never really thought much about cross-dressing from a global perspective. I didn’t need to, being that I rarely go out of my house as Valerie, let alone travelling to far-off exotic lands. Would love to do it, but… well, you know the drill.

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But work sometimes takes me to some distant countries, and many times the evening wining and dining sessions become great conversations about cultures and general similarities and differences between groups of people. For example, on a previous trip to Bangalore, we spent hours discussing my host’s perception that in America we will sue anyone for anything, even over our own stupidity. Not only will many of us sue, but we also can win, and win BIG! They were just blown away by the story that an American woman sued McDonalds because she ordered hot coffee, put the cup between her legs without a lid, and got burned when it splashed in her lap. She won a great deal of money (can’t remember how much) and now every McDonalds cup proclaims “HOT, HOT, HOT” all over the brim. They just thought this was absolutely crazy, and to a degree it was.

Point is, this has happened many times before over many topics, but never really touched on the oft taboo realms of sexuality and gender, but they did this time around! Believe it or not, it wasn’t me who started the conversations, but I definitely participated in them.

In the sub-continent again, someone asked why gay marriage was such a hot topic to us. One of my group said that it was more about religious beliefs than anything else, but that it could be a huge dividing factor amongst Americans. The conversation ended up going into a discussion that Indian’s just don’t worry about such minor things. In fact, they mostly accept that there are three genders… male, female, and those in-between (I don’t remember the Indian word they used). They all acknowledged that there were many homosexuals, cross-dressers and transsexuals (mostly pre-op because the vast majority couldn’t afford surgery) in their society (Hindu that is) and that has always been the case. They just couldn’t understand why it commanded so much emotion in our world. They were clearly “live and let live” when it comes to sexuality and gender, and I thought it was great! India got that one right!

Before I get a bunch of hate mail, I know India gets many things WRONG also. Like treatment of women and the poor, amongst many other things! What was disheartening was that while the group of Indian professionals I met proclaimed to be very open-minded, they admitted that the vast majority of Indian’s saw women as a lesser class of people. Therefore, this “third-gender” was also by default a lesser class of person. So they were completely fine with anyone being whatever they wanted to be, but at a huge cost in a social caste-system sort of way.

I have found India to be a country of contradictions, and clearly this was a bitter-sweet discussion. I said that if they (we) are treated as lesser people, you weren’t accepting and OK with the third-gender. They were adamant that the two issues were separable… (1) be whatever you want, and (2) know and accept your fate if you choose such a path. No one’s opinion would be swayed over dinner and drinks, but it was an interesting conversation.

Later in the trip we moved on to China. Again we found ourselves in colorful discussions over dinner and drinks. Someone mentioned some of the discussions we had had in India and our Chinese guests were not so eager to discuss many of them. To sum it up, my understanding from this group was that anything homosexual or transgendered was considered subversive. They really didn’t want to get into great detail but said in some places such things could cost you your freedom or even your life! Not a place I should retire then…

We later had an opportunity to have dinner with some American ex-pats working for my company in China. They have a very good understanding of the locals and could also understand our positions on the various topics we had discussed. On a side note, one of the ex-pats said the Chinese have a different take on sexuality than most cultures, and it was really kind of liberal… if you were a male. For example, a man could have a wife and a mistress, and it wasn’t considered cheating. The mistress was considered as just flesh, not love. Flesh is not cheating. I doubt the wives see it that way, but I guess they also don’t get an opinion.

Another of the ex-pats who had also been previously been stationed in Thailand and Dubai, talked about the cultures in those countries also. In Thailand it was pretty liberal, but anything “deviant” was not so much accepted as tolerated. And there they are considered more of a novelty. He just kept saying Thailand was complicated.

Dubai was much easier to sum up… anything homosexual or transgendered could get you publically beaten and/or killed. There the prime objective would be to eliminate you from their presence. So in Dubai, or most of the Middle-Eastern world, they (we) would be considered much less than women. More like demons. I have been called many things in my lifetime, demon would be a first (I think).

These conversations covered many other topics besides the ones I mention here, but obviously these were the portions relevant to “So Very Deep”. They were entertaining and even educational. I participated while trying to feign only a bit more than casual interest and more than a few times I had to restrain what I really wanted to say. When one is drinking, that can get more and more difficult to do!

I do have to add that while many opinions were offered and discussed by the participants, this is not how everyone in each culture or country thinks. I am always one of the first to say don’t speak for me and don’t simply buy into the stereotypes that are presented. But for the people I met, it is how they perceived the world.

Whenever I return home after an international trip, I always say a little “thank-you” that I am fortunate to have been born and live where I do. As a closeted cross-dresser, I sometimes have a little pity for myself, but experiences like this remind me that it could be SO much worse in other lands… and for many of my sisters (TS, CD, and GG), it clearly is.

-ValS

Modern vintage… beautiful!

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I have been traveling a lot lately, and haven’t had much time to read, write or post anything for awhile. But I am now back at home and after some “catch-up” time will soon be able to fall back into my routine of life.

What my travels did allow for was some very interesting conversations with different people from around the world, and their take on life, sexuality and gender was NOT what I was expecting it to be. I found out a few other interesting things as well. I will organize my thoughts on the topics (best that I can, anyway) and post on it soon.

What I did stumble across while away was a great picture of Mila Kunis. You all may know her as Jackie on “That 70’s Show”, or the voice of Meg Griffin in “Family Guy” or even the girlfriend of Ashton Kutcher. What I will always think of her for going forward is this classically inspired Dior advertisement she had done back in 2012.

I always thought she was cute/pretty, but never down-right hot as many guys have proclaimed over the years. But in this picture I do find her to be beautiful! I’m sure it’s the 50’s/60’s vibe that she has that won me over, but I love it.

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Usually it’s the classic Hollywood starlets of the 50’s that I both want to look like and find attractive. The modern ladies of Tinsel Town are pretty, but don’t affect me like the classic ladies I reference in many of my posts. Maybe it is as much, or maybe even more, about the clothes and images of the times that attracts me to a woman as it is the woman herself. That is, presentation and personality more than just physical beauty alone.

Anyway, this got a little deeper than I really wanted to go in this post. I just wanted to share the photo and let you see more of what beauty is in my eyes. I hope to see more modern ladies in photo shoots like this. Class never goes out of style!

Let me add… I know I could never get my wife to start to dressing like this, just not who she is. She is a modern beauty and truly my soul mate. Actually, 50’s style aside, I still I own many more skirts and dresses than she does (like 20:1)… and I’m OK with that!

-ValS