So what’s wrong with you? or… Needing a feminine influence

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This is not a posting about cross-dressing, at least not directly. In fact, it feels almost like a rant… but it’s not quite that either. Maybe it’s whining? Negative observations?? I guess it’s just a list of reality that can only come from a trans* perspective.

I suppose I should explain what I am talking about and how this all came about… I was chatting (internet chat room style) with a couple of other cross-dressers and Emily, a GG (genetic girl; still dislike that acronym/phrase, but it is descriptive). Emily said to me “I get the desire to wear women’s clothes, but I don’t understand why you would like to actually look like a woman if you are not interested in becoming one.” A valid question, and one I have pondered many times. It is true I would like have a completely female appearance even though I don’t want to transition. I do the eyebrows, want to cinch my waist (even with permanent effects) etc.

Her core comment was based on the idea that clothes were one level but looking and acting was another level. I guess I really don’t disagree, but that’s where I am. Her further comments were then centered around the idea that she would not mind at all if her boyfriend wanted to dress as a woman, but any sort of body change would be a different issue for her.

Fair enough. That’s how she feels, but I can’t just be a guy in a dress. I need the full feminine presentation to feel complete. I know in the universe of transgenderia, we all have different desires, needs, and goals. That is completely fine with me. If another CD can just put a skirt on with their male shirt and shoes and feel fulfilled, then go for it! Valerie simply requires a more complete feminine presentation.

The conversation then became of one of “what’s wrong with your male body that you want (need) to change it?” Well… simply put… then the flood gates opened! Below are the main issues that were brought up. Not all mine, but I can’t really argue with any of them. Some are more relevant than others to me, but they are not in any particular order:

Caterpillar Eyebrows:

One of my biggest dislikes about the typical male presentation. I don’t know why it bothers me so much but those long, wild, unkept brows disgust me. Clean arches are so much more attractive. Got to be careful though, go too far and you’ll end up with a bit of a Boy George look in your day-to-day life, which wouldn’t be good either.

Big Feet:

So disappointing to find you can’t get the shoes you would really like in your size. Some men have feet that rival skis and while I think my feet are too large, I know many with bigger! Seems to be getting worse with the youth of today also. Their feet seem to be huge comparatively (or is it just me?)

Big Hands:

Big hands can be a bit of a “give away” to those out and about. That’s not my biggest issue with hands though, I dislike not being able to find costume jewelry rings that fit my fingers. Also, being a vintage girl, I like the formal gloves my ladies used to wear and finding some of those to fit me is almost an impossible task.

Balding/Hairlines:

This doesn’t bother me too much because I need a short male business-like haircut anyway. However I have some friends that have their hair grown out long and love being able to have their own hair when dressing, but even if you are not balding, the hairline still tends to recede to a disappointing point.

Height:

Men are just taller than women. Typical men like it, but we really don’t. I would give up all the so-called advantages of being taller to have a better female presentation. Add that I like require heels with most of my outfits and it gets even worse.

Hairy Ears:

Might be even more disgusting that the eyebrows issue to me. Seems as we age the hair that might be leaving the scalp begins to take up residence in our ears. I simply can’t stand it!

Body Hair:

Any body hair is disgusting to me, but hairy arms, legs, chest, backs, butts, etc. are… well… disgusting! I guess top of the head and reasonable brows are the only body hair I can stand.

Shoulders:

Our shoulders tend to be broad. Even though I don’t have a muscular physique and really am a bit of a weakling for my size, my shoulders are too damn broad. The shoulders sometimes force us into larger sizes to accommodate them. Then the look or selection suffers…

Deep Voice:

The deepness varies person to person and the issue can depend on what you are trying to accomplish. But a deep baritone voice is never what you want accompanying a beautifully feminine presentation.

Adams Apple:

I fortunately don’t have much of an issue here, but some really struggle with it and claim that it gives them away more than anything else. It can also force some to wear only outfits that tend to hide it (lotsa scarves I suppose?).

Penis and Friends:

Yes if you are going to try and wear a string bikini at the beach this may be an issue, but with my choice of clothing, the tried and true “packaging” methods are fine for me. I should also note that while I do like to put them away, I don’t want them removed. They come in handy for other things…

Belly Fat/Big Gut:

Another issue that just tends to come with age. I am trying to get a small “wasp” waist and nature is fighting me tooth and nail. Seems like you practically have to starve yourself to win the battle. If your preference is to present as a pregnant female, nature may just have us covered.

There were many others thrown into the conversation, but I simply can’t remember any more of them at the present time. I’m sure more will come to me as soon as I hit the publish button. Come to think of it, isn’t memory (lack of) another one of those male traits? I’m sure each of us has a similar list.

It was a good chat and much of it was pretty light-hearted, while some was very serious. In the end, Emily said” You may be right. Men can be repulsive in a lot of ways, but I still like them that way… but they need a feminine influence”. Well, a feminine influence is one thing we certainly already have built in…

-ValS

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There is no male equivalent…

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I had mentioned in a recent post the fact that when I was growing up I thought a whole lot about weddings, and more specifically wedding dresses. Typical boys don’t think about such things… EVER, let alone fantasize about wearing a white gown and one day walking down the aisle. But as I said in that post, but then again there are boys like me.

Some recent emails with a new friend (Linda) have brought me round to thinking (OK, obsessing) about wedding gowns again. It is the ultimate dress in my opinion. Women stress and obsess over a gown they will wear once, for a short period of time, where money is often no object, and it simply HAS to be perfect! There really is no equivalent in the male world, and most men think it’s crazy how women think of weddings, gowns, bridesmaids dresses, etc. However I understand completely why they put such extreme value on such things. In an alternate universe, I would do the same thing.

Way, way back in time, I used to love looking at wedding albums and pictures of the wedding parties. I knew it was taboo for a boy to like or want to wear a wedding gown, but I also knew I wished I could. So as I grew and heard girls and women talking about such things, I grew ever more envious and fascinated by the whole experience.

As I said, I knew boys didn’t wear wedding gowns as early as I can remember. What never occurred to me was that I was not supposed to care about wedding planning at all. It also never occurred to me that if I did get married, not only would I not get to wear a beautiful gown, I wouldn’t get to walk down the aisle either. Once while attending a wedding with my family, I asked my mom why the groom came in from the side and was standing at the front of the church. Why didn’t he walk up the aisle?

She said men don’t do that. She then filled me in… the bride is paraded for all to see and then presented by her father to her husband. Sort of from one man to another. (I’ll leave out all the archaic issues here, because remember… I love weddings). The groom just kind of enters inconspicuously from the side to pick her up. I guess that’s just how most men prefer it.

What also had never occurred to me is that the bride would be given away to a man. I dreamed of walking down an aisle and then… well… never really thought about the rest. It was just about me. I just assumed there would be another bride at the alter waiting for me. Or maybe one would walk down the aisle after me. I dunno, but that’s when reality began to ruin weddings for me. Still I love them like only a cross-dresser can.

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But to this very day, I am still in awe of the exalted wedding gown. I watch wedding planning television shows and especially like “Say Yes to the Dress”. My wife will watch these shows and I “just happen” to be in the room while they are on. That’s the cover story for the family. When it’s just me and my wife, we will talk about the gowns and we know what each other will think of the choices, because we know each others tastes pretty well. Occasionally my wife will say “that dress is horrible” and I will say “I like it”, to which she will smirk and say “of course you do”. I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I prefer the full, princess style ballgowns. It’s just the Valerie in me. I like many styles from the 50’s as well as many from the 1980’s (god forbid) with full skirts, poofy sleeves, and huge trains. But I love modern gowns also, as long as they are feminine x10. “Traditional” is the word I use… white, ballgown style, minimal bling (crystals that is, pearl beading is good!) etc. My wife calls it “old-fashioned” and I know she’s right… but I like what I like.

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But from these recent email conversations I have once again been dreaming of going into a bridal salon and trying on a multitude of gowns. This is because Linda has done it and is telling me all about the experience. A wonderful story that makes this cross-dresser pink white with envy. In those conversations, we have both wondered why the average woman (already married or not) doesn’t want to go try on wedding dresses on occasion. They could make an appointment, go in and play dress-up any time they wanted. Many women obsess over gowns like me and many plan their wedding days down to the minutest detail, so why don’t they want to do this like we do? I told Linda I would ask my wife, but haven’t had the nerve to do so yet. I have flooded her with issues lately and want to ease up a bit.

My wife knows I like wedding gowns, and actually knows I own one. I bought one a few years ago. I always knew I would get one when I had the means, and really just thought it was a culmination of lifelong desire. In retrospect, it probably didn’t help my case about being thought of as straight to my wife, when I bought myself the ultimate symbol of being given away to another man. As I said, I never really thought it through to the end. It was just about me and a wedding gown.

Anyway, this thought of why everyday women don’t still fantasize about wedding gowns, or go try them on, has me thinking… is it because they CAN that they don’t feel the desire to do it? Is it a case of it not being forbidden fruit? As I told Linda, I guess I could go try on a tuxedo anytime I wanted, but who in their right mind would ever want to to that?? Is it the same thing? I don’t think so because as I said earlier… there is no male equivalent to the wedding gown.

But then the whole Beth experience made me think some other thoughts… Is the fascination with wedding gowns a fetish type desire? That is, similar to Beth’s claim that my 1950’s fascination is like a french maid fetish? I don’t think of it as a true fetish, because there is no sexual nature to it for me. However, on some level the desire to dress as a bride can be considered similar to wanting to dress as a 1950’s housewife. Everyday women don’t want to dress like either in their spare time… but I do.

Along those same lines, I have chatted with many other cross-dressers who share my love for wedding gowns, but it seems to be confined to our deck of the trans* boat. The only transsexual woman who really ever joined into our wedding gown conversations at a deeper level wasn’t fixated on the gown per se, but the overall life experience. That is she did hope to one day get married in the traditional sense… gown, church, bridesmaids, and even groom.

I don’t really understand my fascination with wedding gowns any more that I understand the my fascination with the 1950’s, Barbie dolls, or almost anything vintage or feminine. My wedding gown is just another item tucked away neatly in Valerie’s closet. On occasion I get it out and put it on, noting all the other accessories I need to obtain to complete the bride look I prefer. It’s another project I will work on during the “off-season” But every time I just see it hanging there, it makes me smile. There simply is no male equivalent…

-ValS

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The search is on for that “bigger closet”

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I have recently spent a decent amount of time looking into support groups in my area… or I should say anything within a 250 mile radius, because there simply isn’t anything close to me. There are “ghosts” of organizations that I have discovered while surfing the internet, but they all have led to disappointing dead ends.

Web searches frequently find what appear to be promising results, but when clicked lead to a “page not found” or some grossly outdated information that leads one to believe the group hasn’t been active for quite awhile. One link was so old it led to a Geocities page, and the Geocities web network has been defunct for well over 5 years or so.

I am willing to travel a bit if the group/organization is good. In fact, I kind of prefer it be a decent distance from my closet so that I don’t potentially run into anyone who knows me. It would be horrifying to run into someone who could cause me to be outed, but I guess they would be in a similar situation if I ran into them at a cross-dressing support group.

Still, I have yet to find any potential groups or organizations at this point, but am determined to explore the regional options fully before admitting defeat. I still have plenty of time to continue the search.

I had been discussing my lack of fruitful results to date with Samantha, who wondered why I needed a support group at all. Her point was that I am not in distress or suffering any real issues related to my cross-dressing, so what exactly do I need “support” with? This spawned much deeper conversation as I began to go down that rabbit hole… what was a really looking for?

Initially I have been simply looking for someplace to go when going out as Valerie. Sort of like a half-way house” to assist my transition to a more substantial existence outside my closet. This would be the the next or “bigger closet” as Kirsty and Ruth have described many times. Maybe not ideal for everyone, but a significant growth step for my closeted existence to date.

I will likely be going out next fall by myself, which is already a nerve-racking thought. Having a safe & sympathetic destination arranged would be extremely comforting. I suppose I could go to a trans* friendly gay bar, but I’m not sure that would be a good idea for someone not experienced in going out and trying to blend in, and I certainly wouldn’t want to have to contend with the idea of any sexual overtones. An organized support group just seems like the ideal next step.

So the conversation continued with the occasional person popping into the chat to say they either loved their support group or to describe some less than satisfying experiences. I recognize I may or may not find an ideal group but still need to have the experience first hand, regardless of how positive or negative others experiences may have been. Most of the others agreed that their experiences shouldn’t stop me from trying to find a good option and encouraged me to do so.

But it was during the conversation that I think I really realized what it was I am truly seeking… if I push aside all the excuses and insecurities… I think I just want someone to talk to.

I love chatting online with Samantha and the other girls. I love posting on some of the forums I have visited over the years and reading the many opinions in the discussions. I love exchanging emails with the people I have with come to know from various sources. I love the friends and acquaintances I have made through So Very Deep. But even with all the interactions, conversations, sympathies, common experiences, and shared stories… I just would like to talk face to face with someone like me, or at least someone who understands and accepts me.

I want a chance to be myself, dress like myself, and talk to other people in person. I don’t know why this is such a big deal to me, except that 1st person interaction is the one thing being in the closet does not allow for. My wife and I have have discussed my cross-dressing, and bless her for trying to be accommodating, but it’s just not her thing. I am just tired of being silent in real life.

I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know if it will be satisfying or severely disappointing. At this point I don’t even know if I will find a group, but I know I have to seek it out and at least cross this bridge to see what is on the other side.

Maybe I make some friends. Maybe I can grow with the group and eventually help it to grow bigger. Maybe it is a complete waste of time. All I know is that “maybe” and “what-ifs” are words frequently used by the restrained, bound, and yes… closeted. They are words Valerie uses frequently and I hate that. It is time for a “bigger closet”.

-ValS

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