Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Last month my wife and I celebrated our anniversary by going on a long trip together, and there were some moments of self-discovery that marked a change for both of us in the way we view my clothing preferences.

I have mentioned in the past that my wife is completely neutral on the subject. For over 25 years she has neither complained nor criticized nor encouraged me; the one time I brought the subject up she said that it’s “not one of the things I like about you best” and regards the way I dress as a personality quirk that she puts up with lovingly because she knows I also put up with her less-than-perfect traits without complaint.

It doesn’t really affect our lives much because I am totally in the closet: I live in a conservative rural community where one peek of my hairy bod in a dress would become front page news the next day and I’d probably be run out of town by an angry mob with pitchforks.  I’d love to convince them that what I do is not a crime or a perversion, but I just don’t have the fight in me.  And since I present myself as fully male with the typical male lack of concern for appearance, I’ll admit that an unshaved, uncombed, hairy-armed guy with a big beer belly stuffed into a dress with full skirts looks kind of odd by anyone’s fashion standards.

Anyhow, we were on vacation and I had packed along a couple of items to wear in the privacy of our hotel room, knowing that most of the time we’d be out and about so I would be in my standard jeans-and-t-shirt uniform.  She called for room service one day and I remarked that I would have to get dressed, and she surprised me by saying “Why?”

Why indeed?  We were thousands of miles from home on a tropical beach, and the only person to see me in our room was hotel staff who didn’t know me from Adam, would never have any contact with anyone who knows me at home, and whose tips rely on being courteous no matter how weird his guests are.  He’s probably seen it all.  So at Mrs. Ralph’s pointed comment, I stopped worrying what others would think.  I still did not want to stir up trouble by walking outside the room in my preferred clothes, but I stopped trying to hide how I was dressed if people saw me in my own room.  The real surprise here was that my wife didn’t mind either, and that alone was worth all the expense of our tropical vacation.

As it happens whenever room service showed up that week it was fairly dark inside and I was partially obscured by the door when I opened it, so if they saw that instead of pajamas or a bathrobe I really had on a long black sleeveless dress, they didn’t react.

There was, however, one incident that amused me.  My wife is handicapped and used an electric scooter whenever she went out without me (otherwise I pushed her in her regular wheelchair).  I had purchased a nice floral tropical sundress and was wearing it one morning when she came back from shopping, and I held the door open for her while she wheeled herself in.  Another guest happened to be passing by at that exact moment, and as he squeezed past her wheelchair he turned to make sure she was able to get through… and did a hilarious double-take when he saw this hairy guy in a floral sundress holding the door open.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall listening in when he got back to his room and told his family what he saw.  I never saw him after that and I’ll never see him again, so I don’t really care what he thinks… but his reaction was funny.

My wife’s reaction wasn’t at all earth-shattering or life-changing, but it was a nice peek into her unspoken thoughts about how I dress around her.

Ralph on hotel balcony in sundress 

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Saturday morning cartoons just got interesting again

I’m curious about how my friends, both those who embrace crossdressing and those who are trying to stop, react to this new children’s cartoon.  I’ll chime in after the other comments, so as not to steer the conversation in any direction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyi0_gnjixI

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Someone who gets it

“Most are traditional crossdressers. They want to be seen as women when they crossdress and thus they get all dolled up in bras, dresses, long wigs, high heels, full make-up, etc.  They even give themselves female names and try to emulate female curves using silicon appliances. Some even go full princesses, that is super girly in pink and lace and all frou-frou. This is not me and it’s harder for me to relate to these people.”

From Fashion Freestyler, formerly known as Casual Crossdresser.  This dude gets it.  He doesn’t want to be a girl; he doesn’t want to make clothing a part of his sex life… he just wants the barriers between “what women wear” and “what men wear” torn down and be free to wear what he finds comfortable from either side of the aisle.

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Something Serious In The Funnies

This week’s tranny comic comes from Bizarro by Dan Piraro.

Image

Sure, he’s just going for cheap “guys in dresses are funny” laughs, but this brings up a point that has always bugged crossdressers: To most of the world, a woman in a baggy sweatshirt and jeans is perfectly normal and acceptable — some even find it sexy to have a girlfriend or wife wear her man’s shirt — but when a guy wants to do the same thing, he’s a freak.  To most of the world, all men with a nonstandard approach to gender roles are the same.  Crossdresser, gay, bi, transsexual, androgynous, intersex, metrosexual… as far as they are concerned, there’s no difference (and they’ll happily add pedophiles to the list, too).

The world isn’t fair.

 

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Every Boy Needs a Hobby

After several weeks of extended hours at work and domestic stuff that needed attention, I had a few hours of slack time this weekend so I used it catching up on my imaginary friends in Second Life.

I’ve written about Second Life before: It’s a virtual world, that is to say you control an avatar that represents you walking through an imaginary landscape. For some that means 3-D roleplaying games — you can edit your appearance to look like a knight fighting dragons (or other knights), a 19th-century cowboy, a space explorer, or whatever. For others, it’s an extended social network where you can actually see the people you are chatting with, or at least see what they want you to think they look like. For people with gender dysphoria of any type, it’s a dream come true: You can make yourself over into the woman (or man) you always wanted to be without the real-life hassles of social stigma, expense, and regrets. Just click a button and you become your own sex kitten (and speaking of sex, there are more things you can do besides fight battles with other players, if you know what I mean and I think you do).

Anyhow, for me it’s a combination of the social interaction and a way I can show myself to the world as I really am without the unpleasant side effects like getting beaten to a pulp or run out of church because of the way I dress. Certainly showing up at a party as a muscular, hairy man in a pink dress is a guaranteed conversation starter, even if the conversations tend towards advice on how I can change my appearance to that of a woman. They just can’t grasp the idea that I don’t *want* to look like a woman, I just like to wear the dresses.

Unlike a lot of similar virtual worlds, Second Life has absolutely no limits on how you can modify your appearance or dress your avatar. It’s also free for the most part. You can spend big bucks if you want private land or you want to wear realistic clothes that someone else put a lot of time and effort into, but you can also find enough free stuff to keep you entertained for years without ever spending a dime.

I mention this by way of saying that over five years I have accumulated a LOT of inventory, some of it free and some of it paid for (the real secret to how Linden Labs can afford to give the game away for free… eventually you like the appearance of some trinket enough to be willing to spend real-world money on it, and those micro-transactions of a few pennies to a few dollars add up across hundreds of thousands of players a day).

Mostly, I collect outfits that I wish I could wear in Real Life but could never afford or find that fit me (that’s the other advantage… with a few clicks you can either resize your body to fit the clothes, or resize your clothes to fit the body. Would that it were that easy in RL!). Since I prefer to use an avatar that resembles the real me but buy clothes designed for barbie doll models, this means that I have to put in a bit of work resizing the clothes to fit me.

Today I found an outfit I liked a lot, so I put more time than usual into getting it to fit just right — stretch the skirt to fit around my beer-belly waist, stretch the puffy sleeves to fit around my bulky biceps, stretch the collar to fit around my huge shoulders.
SL-ralph-in-victorian

As I finished, it occurred to me… this is another trait that makes it difficult for me to identify with or fit in with my male friends. Most of them are avid hunters, ranchers, and mechanics; they probably spend just enough time indoors to sleep and eat whereas I go outside a couple of hours a day for exercise and the rest of the day and night I’m either asleep or at my computer for work and play. I can’t imagine any of them wanting to spend one second playing dressup with imaginary characters, even without the crossdressing aspect of it. “Wait a minute, you’re saying I should buy pretend boots and a pretend cowboy hat to put on my pretend avatar? Why the hell would I want to do that?” I’ve always tended towards more creative, imaginative pastimes than my male friends as far back as I can remember. It’s one of the things that made me wonder in years past if I was truly transsexual.

Now, of course, I know that’s not the case. I *am* a man, “fearfully and wonderfully made” just as God intended. I just happen to enjoy some activities that are extremely uncommon among men. As I told my children when they were growing up, being different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You just have to decide if the way you are different is worth the problems it may cause if you flaunt those differences in a society that, for the most part, abhors that which is different. Being a little eccentric, I can handle; most of my friends think it’s endearing and the ones who despise my eccentric behavior aren’t friends at all. But this side of me… the side that likes to wear dresses and play dressup and socialize in an imaginary world… it’s just not worth it to me to try and convince people that it’s a harmless diversion that doesn’t make me any less of a man than they are.

Their loss!

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It’s something Freudian

I bet you always wondered what that expression means.

pearls.20130512.pinkslip

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Crossdressing Mannequins

Today’s crossdressing funny: Something I always wanted to do, put dresses on obviously male mannequins in a store.
retail.20130407.mannequins

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Gridiron trannies

I don’t care a whit for sports in general, and the more spectacular the contest, the less I care about it… somewhere beyond Little League it turns into an ugly, commercial spectacle dominated by ego and celebrity and of course money. So if I had my choice, I wouldn’t watch any of the Bowls or Series or whatever… but a close friend always invites me to his place to watch, and I always go because, well, he’s a friend and his wife cooks great chow.

Imagine my surprise and delight when the infamous Super Bowl ads came on and this was presented:
superbowl.20130203.princess-dad
Now, I realize it was played for laughs… but it’s still important. The men aren’t portrayed as freaks or perverts; they’re portrayed as nice, straight guys who would do anything to make a little kid happy. They’re obviously not drawn to crossdressing as a hobby, yet they’re clearly enjoying themselves.

It also means that millions of people SAW normal, straight men enjoying a little game of dressup in a nonjudgemental context. Baby steps, people. The more this stuff gets wide airplay, the more society will start to accept that men can wear things like this and it doesn’t mean they’re deviant.

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From Her Point of View

Last month I wrote a lengthy reply to a married lady who was upset upon the discovery that her husband is a crossdresser.  I didn’t take sides; I explained the nature of crossdressing and tried to make it clear that it’s not something he chooses to do or wants to hurt her with, but it also isn’t something he can just turn off light a light. On the other side, he also needs to understand her feelings too and together they can explore what it is exactly he is seeking and what it is that upsets her, so they can find some middle ground where he doesn’t feel neglected and she doesn’t feel violated or betrayed.

Anyway, I had a nearly identical conversation with a completely unrelated “crossdresser’s widow” on another forum. My comments, similar to the ones posted here, were just a few of many similar suggestions from crossdressers and their wives about building up the marriage to be something bigger and stronger than crossdressing (and note to Thorin et al, I also stood firm in the face of claims that it’s “impossible” to stop and held y’all up as examples where it is indeed possible).

I mention this by way of introducing her final comments on the subject.  Yes, there are so many ways crossdressing can destroy a marriage — if he lets it take the place of marital affection (sexual as well as nonsexaul intimacy), or lies to cover up his actions, or lets the dressing become more important than any other financial responsibilities or recreational pursuits, etc.  But if both parties are willing to understand the issue from each other’s point of view, and he in particular is willing to take responsibility for the effect his actions have on his wife and make sure her feelings are always more important than his own… that relationship can still thrive and grow and be healthy.

So with that backstory aside, here is what she said after a couple of weeks wrangling with it:


I have come to realize a few things after the last few days. Maybe it is the fact I finally cried and let it out – not sure, but after heart to heart talks I have realized the following:

“My husband is not going to stop coming up behind me and kissing me on the neck, he is not going to stop giving me the playful grab as I walk by him, he is not going to stop finding me attractive and wanting me, he is not going to stop sending me little message texts throughout the day sometime which are naughty – all the things that I fell in love with him for are never going to stop. He is not going to stop wearing business attire when he goes out to a meeting (which I find sooooo sexy to see him in a suit). He is not going to stop being the Man I love He will always be in my life and he is never going to leave. The fact that he is discovering his Fem. side makes him a better lover and a better friend and a better husband.

So now that I have realized that – it helps. This weekend I feel happier than I have in a while. I guess I have to realize that I have not lost a husband but gained a girlfriend. I was so scared that I was going to lose my marriage – I didn`t stop to think about anyone else but myself. We both stopped and realized how the other was feeling which is probably the first hurdle to get over. Will I ever completely accept her into my life – not sure – but I accept the fact that she is there and she is not going away.

Have a great weekend everyone – I know I will

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To The Wife Of A Crossdresser

A lady over on Experience Project asked
A couple of months ago my husband came out to me as a cross dresser. However, the more time passes when his en-famine I get more and more angry and almost resent her because I didn’t marry her I married my husband.
As it turns out, my answer is so long I ran out of room before I was halfway finished. So I thought I would post the complete answer here, and I can direct other upset wives to this answer in the future.

I’ll tell you the same thing I tell men who struggle with if (and how) to tell their wives: You have to work out what you can and can’t live with, and find some common ground in between.

From your point of view, it would also help to understand what your husband does and why he does it. There are no universal answers; only he can tell you that (and for some of us, just understanding for ourselves why we do it takes half a lifetime!)

I can tell you with certainty that it’s not something he can just turn off like a light switch. It’s an overwhelming compulsion, stronger and more compelling for some than for others. Trying to give it up is like trying to get used to writing with your opposite hand, or walking backwards everywhere you go. You can eventually manage it, but it will never be as comfortable or pleasant or fulfilling as doing things the way you were born.

And yes, I’m not exaggerating. We don’t just spontaneously start wearing dresses in our mid-30s or decide to on a whim. The urge calls to us long before puberty — for most of us it starts around 10 or 12, and I have read of others who can remember wanting to wear girls’ clothes from age 3 or 4. So please understand, he’s NOT doing this to hurt you; he can’t help the way he is and he can’t control it.

I can also tell you with some degree of certainty that he’s probably not gay; most crossdressers identify as straight (roughly in the same proportions as the general population, which is to say 3-4 percent identify as gay).

So with that in mind, you have to ask yourself if the crossdressing bothers you so much that it cancels out all the ways he behaves that made you love him in the first place. If the idea in any form, in any quantity, for any reason, at any time is so abhorrent to you that you can’t see the possibility of finding a way to accomodate him without making yourself miserable, then your marriage is in trouble. I do strongly urge you to see a counselor together who might help bridge the communication gap.

But now that I’ve (hopefully) helped put it in perspective and given you some things to think about, it’s time to get down to details. For that you’ll need to know more about what drives him, what fulfills him. Does he just like the feel of the clothes? Does it provide a sexual pleasure for him, or just make him more comfortable? Does he consider himself truly female in the wrong body, or does he just like to play at pretending to be female for a while because it makes him feel more complete? How does it make him feel to be dressed, and how does it make him feel when he has to do without the dressing?

That will give you some idea of what it would take for him to be content. Suppose you know that if he doesn’t go the whole way — makeup, heels, lingerie, dress, wig, bra, — at least once a week, he sinks into depression. Would you be willing to give him some time once a week to get this out of his system, provided he is all man the rest of the week? Would you be willing to let him indulge at home as long as he doesn’t go out in public or let the neighbors/kids/dogs see?

That’s just one example. For other couples, the limits may be more about how far rather than how often — the dresses are OK, but the makeup and wig is out. Or dressing during the day is OK, but I want my man with me in bed. I don’t care how you dress, but I’m not going to call you Alice.

You see where I’m going with this? You have a voice too, and your feelings are just as important as his. If he’s not willing to give in and meet you halfway, I’m totally on your side — and I say this as a married man sitting at my computer in a fluffy satin gown. I always tell married crossdressers, your wife is the center of your world and don’t you ever let her forget it or you’ll end up spending your life as pretty as you want and completely alone. His job is to make sure you DO always have the man you married, to make sure things that comfort and entertain and please YOU get as much or more attention as the dressing does for him.

I hope that helps, and I hope you are able to understand each other’s needs in a way that you can both be happy and stay together.

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