Ijust wanted to ask if you or any followers have a good suggestion on where to buy shoes? I wear a size 13 in men’s and a 14 or 15 in women’s and it’s been a real task to find anything that’s not over the top or just plain boring. Hope someone can help a shoeless girl.
Girl, I feel you. I look at all the cute styles at stores but once you get beyond size 11 there’s nothing but brown loafers.
There are SO many fabulous websites and blogs out there that talk about the… practical side of crossdressing and presenting femme, whether it is how to walk in heels or applying makeup. For better or for worse, I try to focus on the mental and emotional aspect of (gestures vaguely) all THIS. What I mean is there is no real practical workaround (if you will) when it comes to certain aspects of who we are physically.
For example, there are practical and functional and useful techniques when it comes to makeup covering up the annoying shadow that facial hair can create. No matter how closely we shave, we can’t win that fight for very long. Even if the stubble isn’t visible, there’s usually the subtle, blueish hint along our jawline. But there are a few things we can’t get around. Some t-girls think they are too tall to be girls. Some girls think they are too tall to wear heels. While it’s true that there’s nothing you can do to, well, be shorter, I try to discuss why height (or anything else) shouldn’t hold you back from wearing the five inch stilettos.
Sometimes I say something that I think is kind of clever and I always try to be helpful, even if I miss the mark completely. I still keep at it. When I have an idea for my blog or something that I want to write about, I’ll make a note on a tiny Post-It or open up a tab for my website and write a few prompts with plans on returning to it in a day or so to expand on that little flicker of an idea. Sometimes what I planned on writing changes or is tweaked by, well, something happening. This is what happened yesterday. I received an email from a reader wishing they were brave enough to go out en femme. Usually when I read an email I immediately start formulating a response in my mind and while I was reading her email I realized that you can’t be brave if you’re not afraid. There are things I do, places I have gone, dresses that I have worn where I have thought that I was being really brave in doing so. But! while I may have felt brave it was only because I was also feeling afraid.
You can’t feel courageous if you’re not scared.
I thought it was, well, maybe not insightful but perhaps a good reminder for girls like us. I might be brave, I might look courageous but at those times I am also scared out of my mind. I opened my website, jotted a few notes in a draft and uploaded the photo you see here with plans on writing more later. I chose this picture, which is from a photo shoot I did for En Femme in the before times (prior to COVID) because I felt very scared that day. I had to be very brave. The shoot took place at the Mall of America which at any given time has more people in it than most small towns. Ulta has a salon at the mall which made it convenient for booking my makeover. I don’t do my makeup (for obvious reasons) before a makeover, so it’s extremely stressful to walk from the parking lot to where I have my appointment scheduled while I look very BOY. Yes, I have my hair and my outfit and jewelry, but without my makeup I look hideous. Walking through the mall looking and feeling like a man in a dress takes an insane amount of courage.
And yes, I know this is all very superficial but I don’t care.
I felt (and looked) better after my makeover, but I needed to keep being brave. Wandering around the Mall of America, especially during the holiday season, means you’ll pass by approximately over a half a zillion people. Being around that many people increases the chance of being noticed by someone who is less than supportive of girls like us, to put it lightly. But I walked through the mall with my head held high, being brave and afraid at the same time. It was also a little nerve wracking to pose for pictures at various places in the mall. A photographer taking pictures of someone tends to draw a few curious onlookers, so I had to be brave and not pay attention to them. In the end it was a fun shoot and Shannonlee and I took some great pictures and I was proud of myself for how brave I was.
My intended post was originally going to be about this shoot (and I suppose it still is, lol) but the point I wanted to make was that a trans person knows how much courage it takes to be true to ourselves. I don’t ever feel brave in male mode because I don’t ever feel scared (well, at least not often) in male mode. But Hannah is brave. And you are brave too.
I had planned on writing about all this the next day while having my morning coffee, which is when I do most of my writing. But as I mentioned before, sometimes things happen which can change my perspective on something and therefore shape my thoughts and feelings as well as what I planned on blogging about. Sometimes something happens which helps reinforce what I am thinking. The latter is what happened yesterday.
I know everyone is entitled to their opinion but sometimes someone’s opinion is completely wrong and uninformed and dangerous. I don’t understand why some people are famous (or why they are STILL famous), but their opinions still attract media attention which can be very damaging. Look, if you identify as cis gender I know that it’s not easy to understand or relate to someone who feels that the gender they were assigned to at birth feels wrong to them. As a trans girl I can tell you I don’t understand it either. But I don’t need to understand it. You don’t need to understand it either. I don’t speak for the entire gender non-conforming community but I don’t think anyone needs to understand us. Just accept us. Or at the very least stop going out of your way to hurt us, whether with words, weapons, or with legislation.
I recall a poem by Leonard Cohen called ‘Tired’ which had the following lines:
… believe the word of God Who has told you so many times And in so many ways To love onе another Or at least not to torture and murdеr In the name of some stupid vomit-making human idea That makes God turn away from you
I am not naive, I understand that there will always be those who want to hurt people in the LGBTQAI+ community. I understand that there will always be those who don’t understand those like us. But what I don’t understand is why someone feels it’s… acceptable to share such a hurtful opinion on a community. If you don’t like or understand a community that you are not a part of, please kindly shut up. Your perspective doesn’t benefit anyone and it is needlessly cruel. Your celebrity status doesn’t make you an authority on what is and what isn’t acceptable when it comes to someone else’s identity.
Yesterday a movie… star? Director? felt that the world needed to hear their asinine thoughts on this. I am not going to give this person or their comments more oxygen or attention than they have already generated but they said that cowardly genes have lead to men swapping out jeans for skirts and that men have become wildly feminized. Apparently this person thought these opinions were important enough to share in an interview about a silly movie.
My first reaction was that I was taken aback how stupid and ill-informed these opinions were. These comments contradict what I was thinking earlier in the day about courage and essentially being true to yourself. I am not brave when I am wearing jeans. I am brave in a skirt. The day of the photo shoot I was the most courageous person in the mall, or perhaps in the entire zip code. It is not weakness, it is not cowardice that makes me wear a skirt. It takes a kind of courage and dedication to oneself that this person has never known.
My second reaction (albeit incredibly shallow) was that obviously skirts are waaaay better than jeans.
I am not sure what this person means by men being wildly feminized. I mean, I know that’s a fantasy for some of ya’ll but I don’t think that’s what he is referring to. Perhaps he means anything that isn’t MANLY, like having whiskey for breakfast, chewing glass, or wrestling bears. But maybe, and hear me out here, maybe someone who has an alleged history of abusing women isn’t the ideal person to listen to when it comes to acceptable behavior.
Trans people do countless brave things each and everyday, even if that thing is simply existing. We are brave when we come out to someone. When we get out of bed. When we schedule a makeover. When we wear a skirt. When we post a photo of ourselves on social media. When we refer to ourselves (even if it is only to ourselves) as a pronoun that is different from the one other people call us by.
I know how scary the world is. I live here, too. I know how hard and terrifying it is to be who we are. It’s scary to be trans. You don’t have to feel brave every time you are frightened. But when you are feeling scared about something and you do it anyway, that’s the definition of courage.
Hannah, I’m a twenty year old male who is trying to be femme, why do I have an erection when ever I dress femme?
The simplest answer is that you are aroused. But anyone with a penis knows that erections are caused by that. I think what you may be asking is why dressing en femme arouses you. Well… only you can answer that. For some of us, crossdressing/wearing femme clothes is a kink, a fetish. A fetish is something, it could be anything, that one associates with sex and/or arousal. It could be anything from a body part to a 6 inch stiletto. No one really knows why somebody has a certain fetish, it’s just how someone is wired. At one point in someone’s life, usually in childhood, they saw something and immediately liked it and were intrigued by it. They looked at it in a way they’ve never looked at anything else before… and it became a fetish.
IF crossdressing/wearing lingerie (or anything else) IS indeed a fetish for you, it will likely ALWAYS be a fetish. You MIGHT always be aroused by it. OR! you will simply get used to dressing and the sexual nature of it will diminish over time. Gender identity is something that evolves over the course of a lifetime. Dressing femme might be a turn-on today, but you may realize someday that THIS is more than THAT.
When I look into a mirror it’s easy to… well, reflect. And I don’t necessarily mean reflect in a literal sense (because obviously that’s how mirrors work), what I mean is that I’ll start to associate with how I appear with how I feel and how our bodies and our faces were shaped by our experiences. These experiences could be from over the entirety of our lives, or even after a stressful week.
When I am en femme I look at EVERYTHING. How my shoulders look in a dress, whether a skirt is too short it probably isn’t), how my makeup is doing its best to contour my square shaped jaw, among other observations. But I can be just as critical in male mode, too. Last week I went in for a haircut after a very long week of very long days. Like getting a makeover, having your hair cut is going to take place in front of a mirror. And you can’t help but stare into your reflection. I looked… tired. I looked exhausted. I looked liked how I felt, I was a literal reflection of a very long and stressful week. I stared into the abyss and the abyss stared back.
As we age the years of our lives take their toll. Wrinkles and lines and bag under our eyes appear and our bodies are designed to look more careworn, older, and more tired. Of course global pandemics don’t hep either. It’s normal and inevitable. But knowing that doesn’t make it easier to accept. Part of you realizes that today you look tired, and slowly over time this will continue. Aging is not reversible. Not really. Of course there’s always plastic surgery and Botox and all that, but that can only do so much. I feel tired a lot but I also work a lot. I wake up each day and wonder if I will ever feel rested. Do you know that feeling?
As the stylist got to work, I made a very blunt and perhaps overly cruel assessment. I look like death. A LITTLE dramatic but goodness I was feeling the week. But I was in male mode soooooo the feeling dissipated rather quickly. I try to be presentable as a boy but let’s face it, it’s pretty easy to do so when the expectations are pretty low. A clean shirt and a less than disheveled appearance and that’s usually enough.
The flip side to this is literally the flip side to my gender identity. I am waaaay more critical of myself en femme. When I am getting my makeup done and when I am getting dressed, not only am I trying to look feminine, I am also trying reduce my masculine features. Makeup and clothes have to do both for me. Foundation might be AMAZING but is it going to cover up the blueish hue that a five o’clock shadow brings? A dress might be cute but will it minimize my frame?
Although time is stubbornly marching on and doing what time does to me physically (my stressful job isn’t doing me any favors in this regard either), I am feeling more confident and comfortable with how I look en femme. Yes, I have days where I feel like a man in a dress and I have times where I feel less cute than others, but it’s getting easier to shake it off. This hasn’t always been the case. There have been times when I start to get ready and I would take a long look in the mirror and see the dark circles under my eyes, a week’s worth of facial hair, and a very tired man staring back at me. I wonder how on earth am I going to turn THIS into HER? One step at a time, baby.
As I continue the process (because it IS a process), HE starts to retreat and SHE starts to appear. This happens not only on a physical, visible, tangible level, but also on an emotional one as well. I know you know what I am talking about.
I spent the entire day en femme last Saturday. Well over fourteen hours. It was glorious. I knew I would be en femme for longer than I usually was and I thought about that as I got ready. As I shaved my face I wondered if my makeup would be able to fight back against the stubborn and persistent return of facial hair. It did! Thank you Dermablend. I had hoped that the little sleep I had the night before was enough to lessen the inevitable dark circles under my eyes. It wasn’t! But there’s a reason concealer was invented. I wonder if my boots had too high of a heel to spend the day in. They weren’t. They never are.
Although my male side can easily shake off how HE looks and it’s not… HIS problem, it IS Hannah’s problem, if you know what I mean. Hannah’s the one who has to contend with a middle age man’s face and body. SHE is the one who puts on a cinched corset to create a more traditionally feminine frame. She’s the one who does color correcting to balance out any hint of facial hair. It’s like leaving a huge mess for someone else to clean up. BUT! that someone else is, well, me. Do you know what I mean? I bet you do.
As I got ready on Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but think about how I felt the night before as I when I was getting my haircut. I felt and looked like death (yes, still waaaay overly dramatic) the night before but now I had to attempt to create a beautiful painting on a worn out canvas. Some men use WD-40 or alcohol to deal with their problems, I use a corset and foundation. Thankfully between my makeup artist, my outfit, my hair, my breast forms, and my attitude, everything somehow fell into place. I looked and felt cute and was ready for the day.
I spent most of the day shopping and of course in a mall and in stores there are mirrors everywhere. I can’t help myself from looking into one whenever I see it. When I am unsure of how I look, I look into my reflection to, well, decide. If I think I look cute, the mirror will confirm that. If I am feeling ugly, I use a mirror to see if I am still ugly. I am arrogant and insecure, usually at the same time. Thankfully I am letting my reflection dull my sparkle less and less these days. I don’t think I am looking BETTER as time passes, but I am feeling less critical and happier with how I look. Of course, accepting yourself is a BIG part of this.
How we move through the world (or the mall) is usually a result of how we feel, and often times how we feel is impacted by how we look. YES! it is shallow but I don’t know about you but when I feel AND look cute, I STRUT. My head is held high. This is a wonderful feeling. But there have been just as many adventures when I don’t feel cute and my head is bowed a little as I go throughout my day. It happens. It will continue to happen. As I was getting my haircut I wondered how I was going to turn THIS into a cute girl the next day, especially when I had a long day planned. I still felt like I looked like death the next day, but with coffee, lipstick and a razor in hand, I started to come back to life. Going from one gender presentation to another is often a rebirth and that morning was no different.
I don’t think I looked amazing or anything that day. I knew I would be doing a lot of shopping and I knew the day was going to be cold and the sidewalks were icy. I knew from experience that five inch stilettos and slippery sidewalks are not a good combination. The weather and the planned events for the day shaped my wardrobe. I wore a cute sweater, a black leather skirt, and black knee-high boots. It was a cute outfit and thank goodness it looked cute on me. That’s not always the case. AND! I felt cute. Three for three. The day started with a makeover and I spent the day running errands, getting coffee, shopping (panties, jewelry, sparkly heels, and a few dresses!) It was lovely.
It takes a special kind of bulletproofness (I know, not a real word) to live your life or even get through the day without someone impacting you in a negative way. Adventuring out en femme takes a certain type of balance when it comes to noticing the people around you. On one hand I am SUPER paranoid about anything I do and anywhere I go. I need to keep my heavily mascaraed eyes wide open to make sure I don’t see anyone I know. I am also watching for those who might want to cause trouble. The pointers, the laughers, the haters. If I notice anyone paying TOO much attention to me, well, I need to be aware of that. We need to be constantly on guard. I do believe paranoia protects us. On the other hand, I need to go about my day and live my best life without wondering what others think of me. Sure, someone MIGHT stare at me in a less than friendly manner but MOST of the time I tune them out. But sometimes it gets to me and I get a little self conscious.
This was one of those days when I was so comfortable and very much in my own little world that I didn’t think ANYTHING would rain on my one t-girl parade. This rare feeling is usually a mixture of feeling cute (I know, super shallow) and feeling so content and at peace. It’s been a stressful year (26 days into 2022 and it’s ALREADY stressful) when it comes to work and it’s been hard to step away from the endless barrage of angry and urgent emails and meetings. But for one day I was able to tune it all out. This feeling was… well, it felt like a gift, in a way. That morning I looked disparagingly into my mirror wondering how I was going to a dilapidated building into Cinderella’s castle. I wondered how I would be able to strut confidently through the mall when the work week had its toll on me. But makeup is magical. The right outfit can do wonders. I am not going to apologize for being superficial. You get it. You can relate.
Everything I did, everything I wore, everything I bought that day was for ME. I don’t want that to sound selfish but it’s true. I don’t spend time wondering what some random dude at the mall might think of my outfit. I didn’t care what other shoppers might think as I picked out new panties. No one should care about these things. And! since I didn’t care what others might think, or were thinking, I certainly didn’t need anyone’s affirmation. That doesn’t mean I don’t like a kind word or a compliment, though. A girl at a shop told me she loved my skirt. Another girl at a different store complimented my makeup. Even some random guy approached me and said I looked really good. All these words felt sincere. I sometimes have a hard time picking up subtleties but Hannah’s sincerity-detector runs high, hot, and hard. If someone pays her a compliment I immediately scan and analyze it for sarcasm and cruelty. Maybe I was delusional or wrong or annoyingly optimistic, but everything checked out.
After a long and wonderful day, I returned home and looked in the mirror. My foundation was still strong but it was a long day and dark circles were beginning to be a little more noticeable under my concealer. I looked like a girl that just spent the entire day shopping. Transitioning back to boy mode (because it is a bit of a transition) comes with, at least for me, some regret, sadness, but contentment. Not because I feel that she is my “true self” but because when I leave Hannah’s world of shopping and avoiding responsibility, it means I am making my way back to a world of meetings and stress. But I like my boy life so it’s not as bad as it sounds.
I look at my reflection and I see Hannah remove her wig and something so simple has such a significant impact on… everything. I have crossed the threshold from one gender presentation to another. I am in limbo, I am in the land of in-between. The process I started early, early that morning begins to be undone. My boots are unzipped, I remove my jewelry. I slip out of my skirt, I take off my sweater. I take out my breast forms, my stockings are put back in with my hosiery. I undo my bra, take off my panties, and finally my gaff. I am still in full makeup but I peel off my eyelashes and wash everything off. Even though this can take a bit of time, much of my eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, lipliner, highlighter concealer and foundation start to disappear with the first wipe of a makeup removing cloth and water. I clean away the remaining, stubborn traces of mascara. I put on new panties, and boy clothes. He has returned. My wife and I catch up on each other’s day while we have a late dinner.
The next morning I wake in a nightgown, dress in leggings and cozy clothes, have a little coffee and think and reflect on the day before. It was a good day. We don’t get enough of them.
Well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that others wish I was fun.
I get a lot of messages, whether it’s a direct message on Twitter, an email, comments on posts and photos, as well as Ask Hannah questions. I respond to almost every email, and I post about half of the Ask Hannah questions I receive. The half I don’t post are usually just shorter responses, perhaps a link to where one can buy a gaff, for example. If it’s a question I get asked a lot, such as what to do with your voice, then I’ll reply with a link to a previous Ask Hannah question or article.
Sometimes I don’t post a question because, well, the answer isn’t fun. Oftentimes I have a feeling it’s not what the writer is hoping I respond with. For example, a common question I get is along the lines of “I just bought a pair of panties and I love them! Now I want to take hormones. What do you think??” Obviously I love panties and will never have enough lingerie, but going from panties to transitioning is… well, a little rash. Transitioning doesn’t simply mean you’ll be able to wear what you want whenever you want (I mean, you can do that anyway), it is a serious, life-changing process and it’s one that shouldn’t be taken lightly or without a lot of soul-searching. My typical response to questions like this is me trying to be supportive but realistic. I will usually recommend that the writer seeks out a gender therapist and speak with their doctor. I know, I’m not fun. Perhaps the writer is hoping I provide them with a link to buy estrogen or simply telling them to go for it.
Most emails I get are asking about coming out to their wife. I could write on and on and on and on about this, and I have and will continue to do. Coming out in it of itself is a GIANT, irreversible moment. It will FOREVER change your life and the person you come out to. Coming out to your spouse?? This will forever change your MARRIAGE. In EVERY single aspect. The person you may own a home with. The person who you may be raising children with. It is probably the most serious, relationship-impacting conversation you will EVER have. There’s absolutely no way this revelation can be summarized with a paragraph. Instead I refer the writer to my previous writings about this very thing. I write a lot about the complexities and the potential aftermath of coming out, but I also write about how this will probably make one’s spouse FEEL. I think most writers are hoping and expecting I can provide them with a few key things to say to help make their coming out as easy (and successful?) as possible. It’s not that easy. Most of what I write about when it comes to coming out to your spouse has to do with respecting their feelings, what they may be thinking and feeling, and being prepared for possibly breaking their heart. I know! Not fun at all.
Real life isn’t fun. A lot of what I write about when it comes to this side of us and our gender identity focuses on being realistic about decisions and expectations. It is not realistic to come out to your wife of fifteen years and then expect to jump into the car and head to the mall to go shopping for heels together. But… that’s what some people are thinking that’s what will happen. I mean, I totally get HOPING that’s what will happen, but again, it’s not likely. What will probably happen is tears, confusion, stunned silence. Perhaps anger. Likely a zillion questions. Perhaps never talking about this ever again. Days and weeks of tension. Perhaps even counseling. I wish I could tell people that this talk will be easy-peasy but for those who have come out to their partners know that this (usually) isn’t simple.
And while we’re on the subject, I know how many different emotions and thoughts we can have when it comes to coming out. Excitement, fear, anxiousness, uncertainty, optimism… the list goes on. Sometimes we are blinded by the Pink Fog and we’re not thinking things through. Sometimes we think how coming out to one person went means it will go in a similar direction to another person we come out to. It’s not the case. I know from personal experience. Every relationship and person is different. Coming out to your spouse is not the same thing as coming out to a coworker. Most of my coworkers wouldn’t care how I identify, they just care if I am getting my share of the work done. But my spouse? Yes, my spouse cares about my gender identity because what impacts my life affects hers. When you date someone, you are probably thinking about what you want or need out of a relationship and if this person is the right person for you. As time passes and as relationships (and your own gender identity) evolve, it’s normal to still think about that. What one wants or needs from a relationship can absolutely change over the years. Coming out to your partner will probably cause them to think about whether or not they want *this* in their marriage. It’s a hard realization to accept, but again, real life isn’t always easy. Relationships are sometimes hard.
I think it’s easy for us to forget how our coming out will be processed by our partners. WE may love who we are and we may love wearing lingerie, but this side of us rarely thrills our partners (and yes, I know there are wives out there who DO love this side of us). It’s also hard for us to equate what this revelation can mean to our partners. Us wanting to wear a skirt is not the same thing as our wives wanting to wear pants. In today’s world, it’s normal for a girl to wear pants (this wasn’t always the case but that’s another topic for another time). It’s not (and it won’t be for a billion years) normal for a guy to put on a pencil skirt. Unfortunately, clothes, for the most part, are genderized. Yes, a dress and a boy shirt are both pieces of fabric stitched together, but on the other hand, I would rather wear femme jeans than boy jeans. Not necessarily because femme jeans are softer, but sometimes I want to wear femme jeans BECAUSE they are femme jeans.
I suppose the closest thing I can think of, from an earth-shattering emotional perspective, is learning your partner has been secretly texting an old boyfriend. I have been in relationships before where this happened and it’s thrown my world off its axis. It changed everything. What were they talking about? Is she going to leave me for him? Was she meeting up with him when she told me she was visiting her family? It puts EVERYTHING into question. When I came out to girlfriends in the past, they had similar fears and thoughts. Again, it may not be a perfect comparison but I think you know where I am coming from.
HOW one comes also comes up a lot. Most of these questions are people looking for the right words to say and when to have this talk. To be honest, I don’t think there ARE the right words for every relationship. Again, what “works” for one relationship isn’t necessarily going to work for another. Timing is also subjective. Honestly the best time to have this conversation is BEFORE you get married. BEFORE you get engaged. BEFORE you live with each other. And yes, I know all of this is easier said than done (and may be too late for some relationships), but two people need to have ALL the difficult conversations before the relationship gets too serious. Divorced? Have children from previous relationships? Financial trouble? Gender identity? Struggle with addiction? Spent time in jail? Ya’ll need to TALK about this stuff, even if it’s hard. ESPECIALLY if it’s hard. Again, not a direct similarity but if I was married to someone for a year and THEN I found out they were $75,000 in credit card debt.. well, let’s just say I would have preferred to know that before we walked down the aisle and tried to buy a house together. Your spouse likely will feel a similar way when it comes to the clothes you want to wear.
Although there’s no universal right way or right time to come out, there are a LOT of wrong ways to come out. And this is where I am Not Fun. I get emails from girls like us telling me that they want to come out to their wives by surprising them. Trust me, no matter how or when you come out, this WILL be a surprise. Some ideas others have had and have run by me (ya’ll don’t need my approval, but I am flattered by someone asking my perspective) include going to a drag show and then telling their wives on the way that they want to do drag. Other ideas have included surprising their wives in the bedroom by wearing lingerie or “letting” their wives find their panties in their sock drawer. Although I can understand why one would entertain these ideas, I don’t think these methods are thought out… at all. Coming out is going to throw your partner off-guard anyway, and adding to the surprise in such a way isn’t going to help. Sexy, intimate time is probably not the best moment to come out. See?? I am SO not fun.
Of course it’s possible you may have come out to your partners by doing these things and perhaps it worked out so it’s entirely possible that I have no idea what I’m talking about.
My point in this, as with ANY conversation about this side of you with your partner about your gender identity MUST be taken seriously. Keeping their feelings in mind should be the priority. Doing what you can to make them feel loved and listened to is THEEEE most important aspect to your coming out and every day after that.
And YES! again, I know this is easier said than done. And YES! I know I have a supportive wife which makes THIS side of me in our relationship a little easier. BUT!!! I have had relationships before where this side of me WAS an issue and absolutely made things more difficult and likely contributed to the relationship ending. I’m sure the girls I was dating had reservations about being in a relationship with someone who wore lingerie. I get it. At the same time, I myself had thoughts about whether or not I wanted to date someone where I couldn’t be ME, you know? Relationships have to come with full disclosure. Two people need to put all their cards on the table and show the other what they’re getting into (for lack of a better word). And! doing this also lets your partner know what you need from the relationship. The first girlfriend I had that I came out to didn’t react well to my coming out. So I told her I would “stop”. By the time I came out to the girl I married, I had accepted who I was and knew that this side of me wasn’t ever going to go away. My future wife needed to know that.
I have a lot of fun being who I am. I DO have fun outings and love fun dresses. I LIKE fun. I don’t take life or myself tooooo seriously, but I take my relationships, and my identity, seriously. I have fun identifying as two gender identities, but I also feel that my life/lives come with some responsibility and repercussions which are totally the opposite of fun. I do love reading emails and comments, and I ultimately believe in being true to oneself, but BIG steps, whether estrogen or coming out, must be taken seriously with a lot of things to consider.
The world is filled with exciting and fascinating places, but is there anywhere more thrilling (and humbling) than a dressing room? Most of us know the fear and excitement that bringing a dress into a changing room can bring. Within a few minutes either your mood is ruined or you feel like a princess. And yes I know this is a little superficial and extreme but there you have it. Before I was ready to leave my home en femme, I did my shopping in boy mode. After a while, with an extreme amount of courage, I started to take a few dresses into a changing room. When I was ready to shop en femme, using a changing room was easier mainly because I didn’t look like a man in a necktie stepping into the changing room to try on a dress. This also got easier because I was brave enough to step out into the real world as Hannah, so using a changing room was a breeze.
Trying on clothes is a wonderful and super fun thing to do, but it can also be frustrating. I can try on two dresses that are the same size and one can fit like a dream and the other I can’t zip up. How one presents can also change how a dress fits. In male mode a dress might fit me but I don’t get the full effect until I have my curves, courtesy of my corset, breast forms, and thigh pads. But this can also work against me. Foundation garments can add a tiny bit to my waist and bust and all of a sudden a dress that fits perfectly in male mode can’t be zipped up.
As I mentioned, this can be a humbling experience. Some dresses look super cute on the rack but when we try them on we realize it’s not quite the dress for us. If we can’t zip up a dress we might feel fat. We might feel not-cute. Or feminine. We might feel foolish that we ever thought we could be pretty. As often as a dress makes me feel like a queen, there are just as many, if not more, outfits that make me feel ugly, fat, and MALE. None of these feelings are kind and I don’t like feeling these things. No one does. We need to remember that we can’t let a dress or a skirt or anything to have that much negative power over us. And yes, this is waaaaay easier said than done.
My birth certificate was checked MALE when I was born because of my anatomy. And I still have all the parts I was born with. As I grew my body developed the way bodies for most cis male do. I’m tall, I have broad shoulders, and no curves. I am a rectangle. When I present as male I don’t give my shape or body a second thought. But when I am en femme or trying on a dress then I put myself under a microscope. I do my best to not be tooooo critical in a changing room. I try to resist any thoughts about being too male, too fat, too anything for a dress. I try to be objective and not let a dress hurt my feelings, if you will. When I try on a dress I try to look at it as if it’s right for my style, right for my body, and just… right for me.
Recently I visited Blackbird, a cute boutique in Mankato and I found SO many cute things and since I overthink I had a lot of thoughts when I was in the dressing room and I thought I would share them here!
The first dress I tried on was this cute sparkly dress. It was stretchy and super cute. The zipper glided up and fit like it was made for me. Since I look at my body under a microscope when I try on a dress, I checked myself out from a few different angles and thankfully still liked how I looked. The only thing I didn’t care for was the shoulder pads (my shoulders don’t need the help) but thankfully they can be removed. I unzipped the dress, put it back on the hanger, and hung it on my “keep” peg.
Next up is this super sexy green party dress. I walked past this dress a few times and with a little encouragement from the salesclerk I let her put it into the changing room. As much as I adore plunging necklines and high slits, I had a feeling this dress wasn’t going to end up in my closet. It fit and had I tried it on in male mode I probably would have bought it. BUT! since I was wearing stockings and breast forms I quickly realized that this dress wasn’t for me. For starters, the neckline was waaaay too plungly. The bra I like to wear with my breast forms was showing too much and that’s sometimes not a problem because I can just tug the dress up a bit. BUT! the high slit just got higher when I did that. The top of my stockings were showing (as you can see in the photo) and between showing off waaaaaaaay too much leg and flashing everyone my bra, I decided that this dress was a better fit for someone else’s body. I know I could skip the stockings but I love how they smooth out my leg and even out my skin color. Nylons and pantyhose could do the trick, but they can make using the ladies room a little trickier especially when I was wearing a tightly cinched corset. AND! I prefer stockings for a very practical reason. If they get a run I can replace one stocking as opposed to tossing out a pair of nylons or tights. And! I prefer stockings for a very superficial reason. They are sexy.
As a t-girl, I have a love/hate relationship with dresses that have sleeves. Sometimes the sleeves are too tight, sometimes there is not enough accommodation for my broad shoulders (which can lead to split seams), and sometimes the sleeves simply aren’t long enough. I wasn’t expecting to love this dress as much as I did because of the sleeves, but I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with it. The dress also has a nice cut which compliments my bust without it being toooooo plungy. The dress is short which, if I am being honest, I have no issues with. 🙂 This cute dress is hanging in my closet and I’ll probably wear it on my next time out.
Finally we have a vegan leather dress. I love love love leather, and I particularly love vegan leather. It has more of a stretch, it’s shinier, and it usually tends to be more affordable than real leather. This was the first dress I picked out when I started shopping and as long as it fit, it was a definite buy. Ironically enough, this dress also caused the most uncertainty of everything I tried on. Although vegan leather tends to be stretchier, I am never super confident how well it will fit. I picked the same dress in two different sizes to try on. I am happy that both fit (especially the smaller of the two, lol) but therein lies the dilemma. I liked the smaller size because it fit better. Leather is supposed to be somewhat form fitting and I like to show off my curves (again, thanks to my corset, thigh pads, and breast forms). BUT! the larger of the two was a LITTLE baggy. I looked, to be honest, a little frumpy. Can’t have that. The smaller size was sexier and hugged my body more… but it was shorter and hung on my body differently. I couldn’t decide if I wanted the tighter dress or the slightly more modest one. This might be a surprise but there are some dresses in the world that even I think are tooooo short. In the end I picked the smaller size. I actually picked two colors (one black and the other white) of this dress. I can never have enough black leather dresses but I didn’t have a white one. Although the dress is short, I reminded myself that some dresses are meant to be worn while I am sitting, and some, like this one, should only be worn when I am standing.
I am happy with what I picked out. I hope my thoughts, my insecurities, my circular decision process was insightful if not relatable. You are more than a dress size. Not every dress will fit you. Not every dress is designed for every single body. Don’t let an ill-fitting dress ruin your day or dull your sparkle.
Although the term is probably outdated, when I first heard the word ‘crossdresser’ I immediately associated myself with it. By definition, I was indeed a boy who liked to wear women’s clothes. I was around twelve years old when I started to secretly identify as a crossdresser and although later in life I learned how sexually charged and fetishy the majority of the world thought of the term, I was still a crossdresser with a few caveats. By and large it felt that the world viewed crossdressing as a kink. For me, crossdresser didn’t FEEL like a kink. Yes, I was a crossdresser but it wasn’t really a sexual thing. I didn’t want to dress up in lingerie and have sex, I wanted to dress up in lingerie and read a book.
As time passed the word still had it’s complicated meaning (at least to most people) but I started to feel that although I was a boy that liked to wear women’s clothes, it didn’t seem to fit. I started to de-genderize a lot of things such as clothes and even myself. A dress wasn’t a piece of cloth (or leather!) that a girl wore, it was a piece of cloth that anyone could wear. Yes I had “boy parts” and traditionally boy features, but really, did we have to label people as men OR women? Why not both? Why not neither? What difference did it really make? My journey (ugh) took me from panties to skirts to makeup to wigs to finally a femme name. The word ‘crossdresser’ simply didn’t feel right anymore. It didn’t feel… big enough, if you know what I mean. I was more than a boy that liked to wear women’s clothes. I was a different person, or at least a different aspect of myself when I was en femme.
I’ve identified as transgender (using my own personal meaning of the word) for a while now. If I want to get more specific I identify as bi-gender. I am happy and content in both of my gender presentations. I don’t feel conflicted about my identity regardless of the pronouns I am using or the shoes I am wearing. But if we take the words ‘transgender’, ‘non-binary’, and ‘bi-gender’ off the table, and we look at EVERYTHING, whether it is a person or a piece of clothing through a binary lens, then yes, I am a boy who likes to wear women’s clothes.
So! Let’s talk about that. I think many of you who are reading my website (based on the comments and emails I get) are like me. We love panties and lipstick and pretty clothes but part, or even most of our lives, have a stiletto in the boy world. I know that’s how my life is. Being bi-gender means I have more than one gender identity and wardrobe. Having an identity, gender or otherwise, means that identity may come with obligations and responsibilities as well as friends and relationships. Hannah has friends that my male self does not. If Hannah’s “job” can be considered blogging and working for En Femme, then her career is different from the career I have in my male identity.
My point is that both of my lives are very different from each other, as I imagine both of your lives are as well (if identifying as bi-gender is appropriate for you). BUT! even in my boy life I am always connected to my femme side. I am connected to Hannah’s world through clothes, whether I am awake and wearing leggings or sleeping in a nightie. When I am in boy mode (either because that’s the gender I choose to present as for the day or because I have to attend to obligations that my male life has) I am, by definition, crossdressing.
Of course, what one DOES leads to who one IS. I believe in nuances and since I separate my life and gender identity (and closet) into two halves, If you wanted to get into the weeks and get specific, I suppose the male me is a crossdresser whereas Hannah is transgender. Together “we” are bi-gender. Does that make sense? It does to me and I think many of you reading this understands and likely can relate. I do think that I personally put too much time and energy into terms and it’s rather unnecessary but there you have it.
Even when I am presenting as male, I am never 100% “boy”. Even now I am wearing a femme cardigan, panties, and leggings. I am also wearing a boy t-shirt and two days worth of facial stubble. I am a boy wearing women’s clothes (if we insist on genderizing clothes). As soon as I finish this cup of coffee I am off to the gym where I will wear a pair of black leggings that look like boy workout pants but I know the truth. Afterwards I will put on boy clothes (and panties, of course) for a doctor appointment. When the day is over, I will pick out a nightie and go to bed. And tomorrow the in-betweening begins all over again. Since so much of my life and day are punctuated by clothes, and since Hannah is always thinking about what outfit to wear on her next adventure, it’s easy to think that *this* is all about clothes and wearing what I want as opposed to gender identity. But I know it’s not. It’s more than that. When I am en femme I am in a different mindset and a part of me emerges that, although is there in male mode, it is more easily revealed.
I write about my life and my day from a transgender perspective, but since I believe in nuances, I don’t think I write about being a crossdresser (if we are splitting hairs) very often. When I am en femme part of my mind is in survival mode. This manifests in a few ways. Is there anyone I know in this store? Is anyone following me in this mall? Is the sidewalk too icy for these heels? In male mode I am far less paranoid but still aware. When I choose my panties for the day I need to make sure I am careful if I need to kneel down to tie my shoe if the panties have a high, pink, lacy waist band. If I am wearing a bra I am very cautious whether or not the strap or band is visible. I am very aware of who may be around if I am in the lingerie department of a store.
Aaaaand that’s really about it. But it’s enough. Yes, Hannah is looking out for a million little things when she is out, but she is not protecting or trying to hide that she is transgender. I am read very easily and I am fine with that. I have no problem with people knowing Hannah is transgender. I know she is transgender. I am not trying to blend in. Although there’s no standard as to what a cis women looks like, between my square jaw, height, boy voice, broad shoulders, it’s not surprising that people think that I was identified as male when I was born. But in male mode, I am fiercely protective of the fact that I am a crossdresser. No matter which pronoun I am using at any given moment, I am on guard (is it any wonder I have anxiety, lol). It’s just a different kind of paranoia but I do believe paranoia protects us, even if it drives us crazy.
Being a crossdresser isn’t easy. It’s exhausting hiding this side of us. I think on some level it’s harder to explain why a man likes to wear lingerie than it is to explain why someone’s gender identity is different than the one they were assigned to at birth. But as hard as it can be, it IS wonderful. I love having my femme life, AND I am also really happy crossdressing. I love wearing panties every day, I love wearing a nightgown every night. Clothes make me so happy. And yes, I know that this is shallow and superficial but I wouldn’t change a thing about me.
Met with another dresser at a restaurant and enjoyed the conversation En drab. Both of us are closeted dressers in a DADT relationships with our wives. Received a invitation to stop by for a tea at others home while his SO is working a 12-hour shift. Opportunity to dress in a relaxed manner presents itself, and wondered what your thoughts were on breaking new ground dressing with another?
I thought about this question for a few days and initially I didn’t have any thoughts beyond this really sounds lovely. My thoughts haven’t changed THAT since that initial reaction but I do want to expand just a bit.
Friendship between t-girls/crossdressers are crucial, especially if one is still primarily in the closet. Only someone like us understands (and can relate) to someone like us. We don’t need to explain who we are or the nuances or the complexities or the joy that this side of us can bring. So, yay! I’m happy you have found a friend.
Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell arrangements (for lack of a better word) are usually just that. It’s an acknowledgment from our partners that this is an important side of us and it’s not going away, but it’s not a part of our lives that they want any involvement or knowledge about. DADT agreements are not ideal but let’s be honest, they are more than what most girls like us have. Does going over to your friend’s home fall within the DADT they have established with their spouse? Well, yes, I suppose it does. But this MIGHT be crossing a line. Although some DADT situations usually are accompanied by an understanding of never wanting to discuss THIS again after the DADT has been established, it MIGHT be a different scenario with inviting someone into a shared home that the other person doesn’t know, and doesn’t know is happening. Although DADT can be the be all and end all when it comes to discussing how non-cis gender identity and a relationship coexist with each other, it should probably still come with a conversation about boundaries. A spouse might not want to hear about their partner’s day en femme or what they are wearing under their boy clothes, but they may not want their partner posting photos online or visiting certain parts of their community lest they see someone they know.
Personally, if the stiletto was on the other foot and I was married to someone where we had a DADT arrangement, I don’t think I would want someone that I didn’t know in my home when I wasn’t there, especially if I didn’t know it was happening. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong with accepting an invitation to visit your friend, but your friend MIGHT want to revisit the DADT conversation with their spouse when it comes to this.
Relationships and crossdressing is not easy to navigate. These situations often come with not being forthright with details, it can come with some lying, and deception. And I totally get it. I’ve been in relationships where the last thing I wanted was for them to discover who I was and what I wore when no one was around. This side of us puts our partners through A LOT. Adding in the possibility of going behind our partner’s backs BECAUSE of our crossdressing just makes things worse. Try to think of it from our partner’s perspective. On one hand they are in a relationship with someone who likes to wear lingerie and has a femme name which can trigger a LOT of anxiety and tension and stress and questions and fear… and on the other hand their partner is lying, or at least, not being completely upfront about this side of them.
Again, on a literal level and from a certain perspective, anything related to this side of us COULD very well fall under DADT, but out of courtesy and respect for one’s spouse, your friend MAY want to have a conversation with their wife about boundaries. It’s commonly said it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission but that doesn’t necessarily apply to girls like us.
This past weekend was the first MN T-Girls event of 2022 and THEEEE best way to kick off the year is by doing a little shopping. We were invited for a private shopping event at The Blackbird in Mankato.
The Blackbird sells clothing, accessories, and gifts and it’s probably the cutest boutique I have ever been to. And I found so many cute things! I strutted out of there with four new dresses, some accessories, and some jewelry. It was so fun.
I can’t wait to wear my new outfits and to return to the Blackbird for new clothes. Much thanks to Ali and Brie for hosting us and helping us pick out new items for our closets. Mankato is a BIT of a drive from the Twin Cities but absolutely worth it.