I’m always on the prowl for blogs and forums where I might find like-minded men to talk over common interests with, and I almost always come away disappointed. Crossdressing groups generally focus on techniques for passing (changing voice, removing hair, changing posture and walk, dressing convincingly) or sexual compulsions (I really don’t want to hear about your panty collection or what you do in it when your wife isn’t around) or exploration of gay issues. Transgender groups, which in theory include anyone who deviates from the societal norms of sex identity, almost invariably focus on woman-trapped-in-a-man’s-body issues — wanting to have surgery, or preparing for surgery, or celebrating life after surgery. And that doesn’t even get into the really weird stuff.
So anyway, my ramblings yesterday landed me on a discussion group about androgyny. Once again it didn’t really describe my life and personality very accurately, but it did give me pause to think about how well I understand myself, or rather how poorly I do. Here’s what I ended up writing by way of introducing myself to the group…
After some 50 years of self-analysis and doubt, I’m not a whole lot closer to understanding who I am, although I’ve made great progress in discovering who I’m not.
Like most crossdressers, I developed an unexplainable attraction for girls’ clothes before puberty. It wasn’t a sexual thing; it was just a need that called to me. I feel more comfortable, more natural in a dress than in pants. For the first 10 or 15 years, before there was an internet to help me find out more, I was lost and confused — was I gay? Did I need to become a woman? Was there anybody else like me in the world or was I a freak?
Thanks to the internet and a very satisfying relationship with my wife I know at least some of those answers now. Definitely not gay — the few times a situation has come up to test that, I was turned off and had no interest at all in pursuing it; by contrast my sexual encounters with girlfriends were always incredibly fulfilling.
OK, that’s one item checked off. I also started hanging out online with transgender groups since I could at least find other men in dresses to talk to. But they talk about passing and hormones and surgery, and the more I discussed this with them and thought about my current life, the more I realized… that’s not me either. I really *like* being a man.
So here I am, still trying to find myself. Not so much to put a label on me — who needs labels? — but so I can find others like me that share common interests. Not really sure if androgyny is the right description either. It’s not so much that I am sexually ambiguous, with strong feminine features. It’s more like I have a wild mix of traits all over the board.
As I said, I’m a man. Lantern-jawed, beer gut, coarse hair all over my face and arms and legs that I couldn’t hide for all the electrolysis in the world; testosterone-driven competetive streak that makes me unyielding and vicious at scrabble and monopoly; a slob who leaves the floor littered with dirty clothes, drinks from the same unwashed glass for days on end, and on the rare occasion I stand up to use the toilet I never remember to put the seat down and rarely remember to flush. I love blowing people up in first person shooter games and I laugh along with my son at stupidly violent movies with car chases and explosions. My fingers are stubby and my nails chipped and filthy, I pick my nose, and I scratch myself unashamedly in all the usual guy places to scratch.
And yet… here’s this caveman sitting at his computer in a velvet gown (only because it’s too chilly for the satin I prefer) rambling on about my feelings; I openly admit to crying during “Beaches”; I’m totally incompetent at and uninterested in sports, hunting, fishing, cars, carpentry, and plumbing. I run from fights and find myself trying to placate others in an argument, largely because I have such strong empathy that I can understand both viewpoints and don’t wish to offend either side. I’m creative, nurturing, gentle… as well as competitive, sarcastic, and careless. That pile of dirty clothes on the floor is just as likely to include a satin prom gown as frayed jeans, all wadded up in a heap until I get around to doing laundry.
So tell me… is there anyone else like me out there? This is a lonely world I’ve constructed for myself.