Authenticity

Now that I have discussed Roles (and Multiple Roles) and Impressions, it is time to go back to the questions I posed about being an imposter or intruder last week.

The other day, I found myself having to switch back and forth between my two selves.

I woke up and went to a neighborhood cafe to write my blog as Janie.

But, I knew that my lunch was going to be with family members who expected “him” and this was to be followed by a little road trip to meet some people in the evening: more Janie-business.

It is a bit of a trip switching back and forth. Here is a stream of consciousness about my day: I put on an androgynous t-shirt and light-colored feminine jeans that roll up to capris, showing off my new anklet; I went to the bathroom at the cafe in the morning an used the women’s room; while working, my hair was getting in my face, so I took out my hair clip and pinned my hair up; just before leaving for lunch, I rolled down my jeans to cover my legs, and went back to the bathroom – this time the men’s room; as I was leaving, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror which reminded my to take that hairclip out of my hair (sheesh!), at which time I decided that a manly pony-tail was more in order; I had my lunch date, and then transformed myself back to the way I looked in the morning for the drive…

Each change of clothes entailed a change of mental focus and body language. I certainly prefer to just get comfortable in one role and stay that way for extended periods, that’s for sure; this was exhausting.

But, I AM both genders. I take BOTH roles quite seriously, but one at a time. I was never pretending even through this crazy day. At any moment, I was exactly what I presented myself to be; no deception, no ulterior motive, no interloping.

Ultimately, it dawned on me that the feeling of being an imposter was not, and is not at all about how others see me but how I see myself.

What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?

This weekend’s New York Times Magazine cover story had the same name as this post. I recommend it to you. Click here for the article.

When you read it, note the hundreds and hundreds of comments it generated in its first days. That should give you an idea of how sensitive this issue is.

It is astounding to see how the world has changed, and also to see a pattern of commentary that shows some folks stuck in the past and others racing ahead of where we are.

Any sea change in social structure tends to follow the same course. Think of the resistance to women wearing pants, or becoming capable leaders, or showing their elbows in public, or getting the vote.

The most amusing thing about all this is that people look at what their life was like, what their parents did, and perhaps what their grandparents did and think they know all of history – enough for sure to judge what’s normal and socially acceptable.

The truth is that boys wore frilly tops and skirts, the same as girls, for many years and in many cultures in previous centuries.

Strict rules dividing the sexes were put in place probably for religious reasons relating to the fear of homosexuality. Since then, they have slowly been peeled away – re”pealed” if you wish.

Simple thinking places everyone in easy-to-understand little boxes. But, there will always be those who don’t fit, and are doomed to bridle at the confines of their restrictions, or blow them up and, in so doing, become either a hero or a disgrace.

Well-meaning parents wanting the best for their children, tend to direct their kids to the tried and true – the ways that have the best odds of succeeding.

But, that’s not the kind of thinking that produces exceptional people, and I dare say that our greatest thinkers, musicians, performers, leaders have all bucked that trend and instead gone after what is improbable.

They dared to dream and to color outside the lines. We should too.

Flog Blog

So many people have told me how transcendent an experience being flogged can be, how it can transport you to another emotional dimension, how pain and pleasure can become so intertwined.

Well, I gave it a shot tonight.

I haven’t been spanked since I was a mischievous child. I didn’t like it then, and it hasn’t improved much with age.

Of course, the practitioners of this art take great trouble to slowly bring you up and carefully bring you down; it is hardly the stunning, shocking strap of a disapproving parent or teacher. Pains are taken to use various different type of impact – sharp, flat, heavy, light, etc. and to vary the rhythm and stroke, placement and intensity.

But, after about a half-an-hour of this kind of attention, I wasn’t moved by the experience,even though I understood a great deal more about it. What I enjoyed most were alternately the flogger’s caresses and her pulling my head back by my hair to speak to me.

I can see where flogging might be an interesting part of a power exchange scene – where one allows another to take control over them. But, in and of itself, it falls a little flat for me.

Gift Horse, Mouth–Need I Say More?

As I throw around the idea of whether Janie’s place in my life is for good or not, it helps to remember that my experience so far has been something like having the Red Sea parted to allow me to walk, in heels, down life’s road.

So many CDs or tgirls are confronted by daunting obstacles in their efforts to become what they need to be. They show courage and perseverance and determination, and often suffer through heart-wrenching compromises. I salute them.

IMG_3243a1I often ask myself whether I wouldn’t have quit in the face of their challenges. But, I also wonder why I keep questioning something that, it seems, I was destined for, if for no other reason than that it has been so easy.

I am the right size, and the right proportions. I have feminine facial features (well some, anyway). I can buy my clothes off the rack in regular stores and my shoes in women’s shoe stores. I live in an extremely tolerant city. My job and financial well-being are not threatened by it. My relationship is not an issue, and in fact has been improved by it. My social network is a relatively small concern. I have my hair, and it turns out to be curly and fun. I have a relatively feminine voice. I find it easy to walk in heels. I have a decent fashion sense. Feminine posture has actually helped my back problems. Janie’s presence in my life is the answer to a number of personal issues (maybe not the best answer, but not a bad answer). I could go on…

It’s almost as if it would be ungracious to turn my back on all that…

Green Acres is the Place to Be

Imagine a couple living in Manhattan, with a subscription to the opera, an enjoyment of the restaurants and nightlife and shopping, and the buzz of the city… when the husband, 20 years into this lifestyle, taps his wife on the shoulder and says he has decided to become a farmer and they need to move to the countryside.

“No, New York is where I’d rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view; darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue.”

How many women would go along? How many would trade in “the stores” and “Times Square” for “chores” and “fresh air?”

She would have to deal with changing her lifestyle, finding new friends and losing many old ones; in many respects she would feel like the rug was being pulled out from under her and her expectations of how they were going to live their lives. And, of course, the question of, “How long have you been thinking about this without telling me?” would come up, along with a sense of betrayal. If the man is unwilling to compromise his choice, there is every chance that marriage will fall apart.

The relationship issues brought about by this change of heart by the husband are, in my view, very similar to – and quite probably much less challenging than – what happens when a man tells his wife he needs to live as a woman.

And, just because we may feel it is something about which we have no choice doesn’t make it much, if at all, different for her.

She still has to cope with a change in her lifestyle that she never bargained for. She still has to deal with the reality of laying waste to her social life. And she has to deal with knowing that her spouse kept this information from her for many years, regardless of any justification.

On top of that, sexuality and sexual attraction are fickle things. Asking “Why ‘just because I changed my gender’ are you no longer sexually interested in me?” is a hugely unfair question, even when qualified by the fact that “I am still the same person inside.”

It is only a lucky few whose mates will say, “[I am your] wife, Goodbye, city-life… Green Acres we are there!”

Feeling Female

quotes1You have lived in and enjoyed your male body for roughly 40+ years, some of your pals, even longer. Given that you have this need to “express yourself in a feminine manner”, just how exactly do you quotes1 - closeexperience that? When you go out, ‘en femme’, do you actually FEEL female? Is it about being seen and treated as a female? Does it not feel extremely odd, even disingenuous, going back and forth?

Any of you who have followed the comments thread on my last post understand all too well the unpleasantness of dealing with a relentless commentator trying to teach us a lesson.

I plead guilty to allowing the whole mess to continue for far too long and allowing her to hijack the discussion. I will do better next time. I see it as my job to create a safe space for you all to share your feelings and make your opinions known, and I faltered. Sorry.

That said, our commentator does have her moments, such as posing the interesting questions at the top of this post.

And so, on with my answer… (I hope readers will offer their own in the comments.)

First, I want to address what I see as an inaccurate inference in the question. I do not become Janie to go out, or to be seen. And, if I may further clarify another potential misapprehension in the question, I do not become Janie by getting all dressed up.Snapshot_20120526b

Like any person, I have feelings and moods. It just so happens that I understand some of my moods – the bigger, broader ones – in gender terms. There are times when I feel feminine, and others (though fewer and further between than before) when I feel like a guy. I have found that I am happier following my moods than trying to overrule them, so when I feel feminine, I am Janie; when I don’t, I am not.

My clothes follow my spirit, and not the other way around.

And, when I am Janie, that presentation communicates to the outside world that I wish to be treated as female – not for kicks, but because that is what I am.Snapshot_20120526_1b

Explained this way, it should be apparent that it is not disingenuous. I am not faking my femininity, but rather, honestly expressing it. To address the other part of the question, I will not deny that one may consider it odd.

Do I actually FEEL female? This is a hard question to answer, since I am not sure what “feeling female” means. I’ve wondered about that for some time – how, apart from sexual feelings, does feeling female differ from feeling male? 

Rather than referencing my entire sense of self at any moment – as I imagine a genetic woman might, including her masculine characteristics – I often perceive my femininity by its difference from my masculinity. I don’t feel as competitive, aggressive, arrogant or powerful. My attention is much more focused on serenity and beauty and people.

And, then, of course, there is the huge sexual difference, which spills over into many other areas – feelings of attraction to men, vulnerability, sensuality, and so on.

I would certainly be interested in hearing opinions, especially from GGs, on what it means to “feel female.” And, as I said before, I’d love to know your answers to these questions. (If it puts any of you more at ease to share, know that our “relentless commentator” has become so exasperated with me that she has given up.)

Not a Man

IMG_6750a1For me, the biggest doubts about being a woman concern the betrayal that it may be of the guy that I always understood myself to be, who I thought I was, who I thought I was going to be.

I use the word “guy” because I am not sure that I ever entirely got to the point of considering myself a “man.” There were and maybe still are issues of maturity and other things that are mixed into that psychological mess, but I never acquired, in my own eyes, the gravitas that being a man – as I understand the term – involves.

And, more than likely, being female as I am now is either a cause of or a result of that same thought process.

Or, maybe both.

Bridling

It has been quite a comedown, getting back to “normal” after being away. SC1_8687small

I was female non-stop for a sizable number of consecutive days, and without any restrictions on where I could or couldn’t, or fears of running into anyone.

You may have noticed that I was enjoying myself…

Now, I am back to worrying about my neighbors and certain areas of town – and it feels even more restrictive than before I left.

I am sure I will re-accustom myself to things, but for now it imposes a burden on being Janie that both discourages me from bothering and weighs on me regardless.

The disparity between the way I feel when I am away and when I am home may naturally fade in my consciousness with a bit of time, but I would be a fool to disregard it, or allow it to go unaddressed.

Something’s gotta give… either my actions or my attitude…

Human Rights

The government of Ontario has become the first jurisdiction in North America to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under its Human Rights Code.

Woo! hoo!

But, while I am ecstatic to be protected from discrimination, I cannot escape a nagging feeling of dread.

I am generally wary of the abuse of power by the unelected officials of Human Rights Commissions, who have repeatedly shown – at least in this country – an inclination to overstep their mandate and meddle in the freedoms of people to disagree or express opinions they don’t like, without regard for balance or reasonableness.

I guess I am hoping that these new protections are not abused, either by the Commission or by claimants.

It will be up to some unseen bureaucrat to determine what “gender expression” means. Will it cover someone who likes to crossdress occasionally at work? How about men, or MTF trans, in 6-inch platform heels and micro-miniskirts? Will it allow businesses to impose any kind of dress-code on trans people, or require that they conform to the expectations of the gender they are presenting? Will it allow a business to ask that a person choose one gender or the other?

Applying these protections with some sort of sanity and balance with the needs of work and business decorum would be wonderful.

But, to me there’s a danger here.

As the HRC has shown a tendency to go all the way rather than take a balanced approach to its mandate, a very positive piece of legislation may turn into a mockery rather than a shining example of the protections we seek.

One example: I would be happy to see the same expectations for grooming and attire applied to an MTF trans-person as to women generally. To allow the trans-woman to come to work in wholly inappropriate female attire and successfully claim that this is the way she expresses her gender would undermine the serious and important aims of the new law.

That would be a huge setback. Other jurisdictions would take note.

Let’s hope these badly needed protections are applied judiciously…

Doing What Comes Naturally

If you read my recent comments on the effects being Janie has had on my life (here, and here), you should note that I have never indicated that I had a torturing or desperate need to express my femininity. I am no transsexual.IMG_8251a

It should be relatively clear that the female side of my self – which is utterly genuine – is something I express because it serves me.

Yes, it is something that comes naturally to me.

Yes, it is the most fulfilling expression of my sexuality.

Yes, I love being this way.

Yes, I am hoping to follow my feminine leanings in terms of building a better life for myself – maybe I can improve on the results I achieved as a man.

There are countless reasons why being female works for me, personally – coincidences, conveniences and others, which I will recount for you one day – and I have to say that I have doubts as to whether I would have followed this path if not for a virtual Red Sea parting before me along this path.

(I suppose some might say that the life context that has facilitated my being Janie was the result of the way I am rather than a happy coincidence… dunno, maybe…)

And, lately, a new development: the boost in determination and self-confidence I have received from being Janie has filtered over to my male side and resuscitated his energy.

For the longest time it was hard to yield my skirt for his pants; I found it quite upsetting. I wasn’t enjoying my guy life even before (which, I hasten to add is wholly different than not enjoying being a guy), but then all the drudgery was left to his side of the equation with half the time to deal with it and things became progressively worse.

Plus, I was having such a good time as Janie that any time I had to stop was frustrating for me.

Now, though, he has been feeling better, and I am enjoying his (limited) presence. I am finding a better balance, but also, Janie is volunteering to take over some of his burden.

Rather than a transition, I see this as a hugely supportive step for my male side.

Though it is but a remote possibility, it vaguely occurs to me that I might be travelling in a large, multi-year healing circle back to where I started. I doubt it, but ya never know!

100 Steps Back

There was a time when I dressed only to go out to a club, or on a trip, in search of, basically, sexually charged fun.

Now, why was that not good enough for me again? Why did I need to go further?IMG_8148a1

Part of the issue was the kinds of connections I was making. I craved something more.

Of course, my friends are great, but they are all across the continent, and as such, not part of my day-to-day life. Also, as much as I enjoy their company, I have found it hard to make deeper connections given the context and frenetic nature of our get-togethers.

In addition, I wanted to meet a nice local guy who would treat me like a human being and date me or invest his time in a friendship with me, rather than a guy in a bar who was intent on having sex with me that night and hopefully never crossing paths with me again.

To meet a real guy, I reasoned that I needed a real life.

Simple. But hardly complete…

(The rest, tomorrow.)

Time in a Bottle

Last time, I spoke about trade-offs that I make in my effort to be capable of assuming both masculine and feminine roles.

In a conversation with a friend, who confided that it took her 3 hours to get ready each and every time she went out, it hit me there are some compromises I am simply not willing to make.

I am not judging her – she’s totally fabulous, in fact! But, the truth immediately hit home that among the many things I am willing to change, give up or massage in order to allow Janie to flourish in my life, a 3-hour lead time was nowhere to be found.

I am just the girl-next-door… ok, with a twist… and maybe some exotic spice added. The point is that I am just regular people, and I want to be able to be who I am any day, every day.  It is not a performance; it’s not an event; it’s just life.

My life is mostly just about going out for dinner, dating, hanging out with friends or shopping. It usually takes me about fifteen minutes to get ready to go out; if it took 3 hours, my night would be over before it started.

It’s simply a question of practicality for me. I am Janie almost every single day, and a 3-hour lead time would discourage me mightily. Something that’s supposed to be natural wouldn’t feel that way to me if I had to go through a 3-hour process each time.

Trade Offs

I spoke last time about my concern about getting a bruise while playing hockey as a guy.

But, that is just a little part of the bargain I have made with the devil.

As I live on both sides of the gender divide, I am finding more and more that compromises have to be made on each side in order to allow the other side to thrive.IMG_6648 -1a

For the most part, the compromises on Janie’s part are about the things I don’t do to myself – like hormones and breasts and facial feminization.

Though I never really quite thought it all through in advance, my guy side has been making compromises that are becoming all the more obvious as I go on.

First thing to go was working out with heavy weights; I replaced that with low weight-high reps to tone but not build bulk. Easy enough, but of course, I do not have the power I used to.

I will no longer do anything that requires strenuous use of my hands that might develop callouses, or worse: big, thick, strong hands.

Coming home after a manicure, I realized that fixing the light that was broken on the side of the house was out, as was getting my hands dirty in the garden. In fact, I am hesitant to unthinkingly grab at anything for fear of breaking a nail.

Sometimes, being female can be crippling!

Of course, I won’t keep this up for long. I have some events to go to and I want to look nice. But, I can see how a focus on feminine beauty can get in the way of actually doing anything.

It is high time I learned that I simply cannot be both to the extent I could be one if I dropped the other. It seems obvious, but I am only now cluing in.

It’s all about balance. And, I am quite lucky to be able to choose where to set the dial.

Vegas, Baby!

I’ve told you all  in years past (see here, here, or here for example) about our annual Las Vegas shindig… well, it’s on again, starting today!

I am already in Sin City, but things haven’t gotten underway just yet. Still, no shortage of things to do…

I spent the better part of the day at a ghost town not too far from here that is basically a million great photo ops! Just the perfect place for me!

We took literally hundreds of photos, and if 50 of them are not among the 100 best I’ve ever taken, I’ll eat my hat!

No, check that – I have eaten way too much already – and I have only been here for a couple of days!

IMG_7011a1

My friends are arriving starting today, and the party is about to blast off. For all you kittens that want to follow along in our debauchery and merry-making, check out Twitter under the hashtag #VWS12.

As a Canadian, it is a royal pain for me to use twitter in the U.S. since I either have to find a wifi connection or roll up the truck to Fort Knox to pay for using their cellular network. But for my loyal followers, no effort is too large, right?

Pampering Myself

As I am going to meet my girlfriends after a long time apart, I decided to treat myself to my first ever pedicure, and added a manicure (less nail color – for the benefit of IMG_6780 -1athe customs and immigration officials, as well as the airline employees who, in Canada, are not supposed to allow men who look like women on board a plane).

It was a wonderful experience.

IMG_6817 -1aThe place I chose had really great massage chairs in which to sit while the beautician cleaned, softened and massaged my feet and legs, followed by attending to the specific IMG_6765 -1amatter of doing my nails.  A similarly sensual experience attached to my manicure.

When I was done, I was prettified and relaxed.  All in all, a good start to my trip!

Bacon-Stuffed Janie

Well, there goes my diet!

IMG_6868a1I have been in Las Vegas for not even 24 hours, and I have probably consumed more calories than I normally do in a week.IMG_6886a

Instead of a small bowl of granola and yogurt for breakfast today, I started with a Bloody Maria and finished with a giant portion of Sage-fried Chicken and Bacon-Stuffed Waffles with maple syrup.IMG_6874a

But I will say that GF’s “Hand-Hammered Pork Tenderloin Benedict” took the prize for gluttony. The photo doesn’t do it justice; it is 12 inches across if it is an inch!

(As always, click on each photo to enlarge it.)

Um… Is This the Men’s Room?

I shouldn’t really get a kick out of confusing the poor uninitiated, but for some reason, I do.

I was in a suburban restaurant the other day, totally in guy mode, when the need arose to use the loo. Of course, I went to the men’s room.

As I was standing at the sink, washing my hands, the door (which was slightly behind me and to my left) opened and a man came forward. I turned to look and saw him stop in his tracks as he took in the sight of me, look back at the sign on the door, then back at me.

Then, he stepped back and let the door close.

A few seconds later, the door opened again, and I turned to him and said with a friendly smile, “Yes, you’re in the right place.” I paused, aware that he still wasn’t completely buying it, and reassured him, “And, so am I.”

He snuck one more glance at the sign on the door, and then, meekly, entered.

“Happens to me all the time,” I commented, though, in point of fact, this has never happened to me before.

It is one thing to be mistaken for a female when in male clothing and of a male mind, but quite another for someone to see me with what is effectively a sign pointing at me saying, “Man!” and not be able to find the male in me. He chose to doubt the sign rather than my femininity.

Considering that I am trying to lead a serviceable male life part of the time, I shouldn’t like this development. After all, what strangers see is what friends see.

Shouldn’t like it at all… Winking smile

Thoughts on Thoughts

As regular followers have no doubt noticed, I have not been posting with my usual regularity recently.

Ah, the blogger’s life…

In the years that I have been writing this blog, I have never lacked for things to write about – such is the nature of the wondrous self-discovery that is part of the t-girl life.

And, to be honest, there are no shortage of ideas rolling around in my empty large head (too large for my body, if you ask me) at the moment.

The problem for me has been quite the opposite. I have had so many thoughts and emotions flitting in and out of my consciousness lately, that I feel like a kitten among mice running around and birds flying about… I can’t focus long enough on one to pin it down.

And, the feelings have been particularly personal and intense, which makes it all the harder to be able to distill them into coherent thoughts worthy of sharing.

So, bear with me. Stuff’s coming.

My introspective interlude is about to be rudely interrupted by a week of wild t-girl partying (dare I say debauchery?) in Las Vegas and renewal of wonderful friendships.

I will be sure to report from Sin City, so keep an eye out.  And, perhaps during lazy days by the pool recovering from the prior night’s shenanigans, there will be time for deeper thoughts and an openness to receiving the real truths I have been seeking.

Keep it tuned here and follow me on twitter. I am going to try to tweet in real time, and I believe the girls are going to use the hashtag #VWS12.

How Do You Love Me? Let Me Judge the Ways

Sometimes, the most fundamental questions are sitting right in front of your face and you think and philosophize and argue about so many things, never noticing that basic question.

A discussion group in which I am a contributor provided me with a thought about dating that I read, and then stopped, and then read again, and then and ever since, am completely puzzled as to why the issue never even occurred to me, nevermind the answer.

Here it is:quotes1 - close

quotes1

When dating, do you want a man to like you as a female or as trans?

 

 

Maybe you all out there are different than I am, but it occurred to me that I never really considered the difference.

For the author of that quote, the question was easily resolved; she is a transsexual who wants her boy parts gone, so she wants to be appreciated as a female, and any appreciation for what she is trying to shed is patently unwelcome.

But, it’s different for me. Not only do I like both male and female aspects of myself and the ability to change from one to the other, but I seem to have developed a certain comfort for the particular kind of female that I am, if you know what I mean.

It’s a good thing too, because retaining the ability to assume the role of male or female involves certain compromises that make my feminine appearance more masculine than it need be. Among others, I have a flat chest, I have a strong chin, and my skin’s texture is masculine. I recognize that my appeal lies in the way I am so much the same yet so much different than a GG, and I have embraced that.

I expect to be treated exactly as a woman would be treated, both inside and outside of the bedroom. In fact, I insist on it.

However, I recognize that I am not exactly a woman, and that the men who are interested in me are after something that women can’t or don’t offer them. This could be an experimentation with a “gay” experience, an easier emotional connection or more compatible sexual attitude or maybe just a kinky time.

If I could snap my fingers and turn into a fully-equipped female whenever I wanted to, and then back again, I would absolutely do it. Then, I would want to be desired purely as a woman.

But, as that is not possible in the real world, I can either hope to be desired for what I seem to be (and perhaps wish, at times, to be) or for what I am.

My answer to the question is this: I am happy to be desired as either, and in a sense, as both. I want to be desired and treated as female, but with the understanding that my femininity is a special one.

Or, I could answer the question this way: I have had men interested in me who thought I was GG-female. When I have told them I was a t-girl, their reactions have ranged from polite excuses to increased enthusiasm. Should I prefer the first or the second group?

And, beyond that, should I prefer those who want me in spite of my “difference” or because of it?

Hey, wasn’t that the question in the first place?

Take This Down

“Ok, I’m done writing,” she said, throwing her pen and pad on the floor.

Her skirt fluttered down shortly thereafter.

Sitting down and pulling one knee to her chest, she looked over at him with a strange mix of exasperation and seductiveness, dominance and submissiveness. “Next time you ask me to ‘take this down, Miss Black,’ you had better mean something completely different…”

IMG_9995a1

Go Ahead, Dear

I’ve been Ma’am-ed before on several occasions while in male mode, but this is a whole new thing.

When someone refers to you as “Ma’am,” they see you as a blank stranger – another person in line, a customer, someone in their way… whatever.

But, today, I was getting on the plane, and a fairly good-looking man in his 40s or 50s stepped out of the aisle to let me pass, looking straight into my eyes with a smile and softly saying, “Go ahead, dear.”

Certainly not an affirmation of my masculinity, that’s for sure!

I am equal parts puzzled, concerned and pleased.

Puzzled because the only difference I see between my male self today and in years past when this never happened is the length of my hair (and it was tied back in a pony tail, BTW).

Concerned because evidence is mounting that I may be losing my grip on my masculine self.

And pleased… well, that’s because it’s an affirmation of the fact that my feminine self is real and perceptible to others.

For me, the goal has always been to be one or the other. It has usually been a struggle to conceal the male part when being Janie. But, now, the challenge for me seems to lie on both sides of the gender divide.

Cappuccino and Muffin

As I do a lot of work on my computer, I like to get out among people instead of being alone at home.

The result has been a sharp increase in coffee intake, and an appreciation for what’s good and and intolerance for everything else.

I generally drink cappuccino instead of regular coffee – and I do so primarily because it contains a full serving of milk (as opposed to a tablespoon of cream). That makes it less fattening and much healthier.

There are two main things that make or break a cappuccino: the coffee and the milk. IMG_5850b

The espresso must be fresh, the beans must be ground to the right fineness and the steam temperature and pressure must be just right to coax all of the good flavor and none of the bitterness out of the beans. The visual confirmation that this has been done correctly is a layer of crema on top of the espresso which is thick enough to hold up a sugar cube for a couple of seconds. (Incidentally, any place that draws its espresso into a shot glass first and then loses half the crema in pouring it into the coffee cup has lost me right there.)

Then, the milk must be frothed so that it turns into a thick, creamy topping; the air should be so well incorporated into the milk that no bubbles are perceptible. It takes some talent to get it right, and involves technique and speed; it should only take a few seconds to froth the milk – more and the milk will be too hot to froth properly. (If you are ever served a boiling hot cappuccino, you can be sure it will be awful.)

Combine the wonderfully potent espresso with the creamy, soothing milk and you have an intense and pleasurable drink over which to contemplate life, or write that report. Add a magnificent wild berry muffin and what could be better?

Mary, Mary, Quite a Pair, We!

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Mary was one of the first people I connected with on a personal level online, and wouldn’t you know it, she lives within commutable distance from me!

Well, it took the better part of 5 years, but we finally met! And, I am glad we did.m412a1a

Her clever and funny comments on my flickr photos belie a creative intelligence and wit, and so it is no surprise that Mary-Margret is a delight in person – in fact, even more winning in the flesh than online.

We laughed, we danced, we had a great time.

Can’t you tell?

The T-Girl Has No Clothes (Actually She Does)

In all the talk about the reasons for and against posting nude photos, an interesting and truly profound related issue was missed, i.e., what makes a naked t-girl female at all (especially where she has had no surgery or hormones)?

Differently posed, how do you go about being “trans” in a theoretical world where there are no clothes?

That is, in essence, the question asked of me by an insightful reader comment on a post from last summer entitled Cause or Effect? that questioned whether I was trans or not.  His feeling was that my answer to that question – or my attempts to answer it – would provide insight on the subject.

And, I think he was right.

[Parenthetically, note for reference how eloquently the photo of me walking nude on the highway speaks to this entire issue – or could if it were uncensored.]

Aaannyyway…

It is impossible to crossdress in a world where there is no dress, and no dressing.  So, clearly, in a world with no clothes, a crossdresser (defined here as a man who dresses like a woman but maintains his male identity throughout) is simply a man.

Clothes or not, on an external level, part of what sets women (generally, to varying degrees) apart from men is their preoccupation with their appearance.  Practically, this means things like adorning oneself with longer hair, perfume, jewelry, nail-polish, makeup, etc., removing bodily hair, buffing off calluses on feet and hands, caring for ones skin, taking care not to be too rough and tumble so as to bruise or scar oneself… 

These external visual clues are more than just skin deep; they are manifestations of a genuine feminine way of being.  But, let’s take the exercise further and go beyond vanity.

Internally, I have felt much more in tune with my body, with my movements and with sensuality.  In my feminine role, I am more sensitive, more tentative, more nurturing, giving, yielding, quieter than as a man.  I listen more carefully and seem to be aware of more of the background (emotions, motivations, context) of what is being said than simply the words themselves. 

In a world without clothes, I believe that not only would I easily be able to feel feminine, but that I would be perceived in that way by others (as I have, at times, even while wearing men’s clothes).  Femininity is perceived in posture and in ways of relating to others.  There may even be an aura. 

Of course, it would all stand in stark contrast to the obvious physical manifestation that is unobscured by fig leaf or fabric. 

Am I trans?  The tempting inference from the above is yes.  But, there remains the question of whether my behaviors and even emotions (and perhaps choice of clothing?) are the product of nature or nurture.

Which leads to interesting thoughts about dropping gender labels entirely.  What difference does it make whether I am man, woman, trans, both or neither?  Is there a need to label this behavior or that emotion masculine or feminine?  Wouldn’t things be better if we could just say “I just am.” 

I am what I am; I like what I like; I do what I do. Why do we need more? 

Why Do Nudes?

There is much to be said for the artistic merit of tasteful nudity.  I have covered that.

There are many who are simply uncomfortable with nudity regardless.  I have covered that too.

Furthermore, I have discussed long ago (on my, now defunct, Naughty Blog) the idea  that nudity is a futile idea for adding interest to my blog.  Once I have done that, what do I do for an encore?  After all, it will only be new and exciting for a short time.  If I find that my creativity has waned to the point that I can do no better than falling back on nudity as a draw, I am better off quitting beforehand as it is only delaying the inevitable, at the potential cost of my reputation.IMG_2853a1

Question is then, “Why do it?” 

There is no doubt that certain people will be offended, or think less of me.  There is the possibility that I will regret it later.  So, why even consider it?

The answer is simply this: it excites me.

Yes, it excites me sexually a bit, but I don’t expect that to last.  And anyway, that’s not what I am talking about.

It excites me as a potential form of expression. 

I have been writing this blog for a long time, trying to express my feelings, thoughts, needs, desires and so on in words.  I believe that much of what I am about can be expressed more profoundly in art.

Some of it requires no nudity at all, of course. 

And, I am not interested in nudity for its own sake.  I am not interested in being shocking or titillating, except to convey a message.

As a t-girl, my sexuality is a wondrous thing, contradictory and amorphous – and an essential part of the whole experience.  I don’t know if I will find someone who can capture the right message in a photo or on canvas, but I am going to look.

Then, I will have one more chance to change my mind.

Compulsive Crossdressing

I recently published a post on Tough Love, which invited members of our community to be more realistic and perhaps judicious in their unconditional support of crossdressers.

Given the consequences of our behavior, I think any of us should be more than happy to defend our choices against strong, well-intentioned opposition.  Such an exercise can provide us with more clarity and a better understanding of ourselves.

As I stated in that previous post, I had a comment from a blogger who claims to have been emancipated by his escape from the habit (or addiction) of crossdressing.

For those CDs in our midst who want to read a good challenge to their decision to wear women’s clothes, I refer you to an interesting post on his site “Healing From Crossdressing.”

The post to which I refer is his attempt to equate crossdressing with pornography, both being unhealthy compulsions. 

It is not that I agree with his arguments, but I think there is enough there to set a gurl thinking about what she is feeling.  And, that’s the point.

I went through it and tried to keep an open mind about each of his arguments.  Some clearly held no water for me; others really provoked some thinking. 

In the end, I was unconvinced that my crossdressing was a compulsion, negative or otherwise.  But everybody’s different, and you may be surprised at your own conclusion.  Or not.

Tough Love

I received a comment a ways back from a blogger who claims to have been emancipated by his escape from the habit (or addiction) of crossdressing.

His story piqued my interest because it is very different from the vast majority of what I hear out there – what most of us hear. 

Truth be told, there is a lot of supportiveness out there – perhaps too much. 

Don’t get me wrong; it is wonderful that we all encourage one another.  But, it is good to remember that crossdressing may not be constructive for everyone who undertakes it.

I have struggled in the past with my own doubts about my feminine side, and I think we all do. 

I believe that giving a fair airing to the arguments against going forward for any individual are as important as the reflexive support and encouragement that is everywhere.

We can go on all day about how crossdressing is harmless and should therefore be accepted, but it is undeniable that crossdressing is often a destructive force in a person’s life.  It can and often does lead to divorce, alienation, job loss, dishonesty and shame. 

At the same time, the biological or psychological necessity of transvestism is far from beyond doubt in all who practice it.

So, yes, there’s nothing wrong with crossdressing in and of itself.  But, people who do it should take a long hard look at themselves, and actually invite others to challenge the validity of such a choice, before going forward.

Sometimes, unconditional acceptance doesn’t do the recipient any favors.  True friendship requires more of us.

Day in Court

I had a date with the judge today on the small matter of a particularly vexing parking ticket.

I don’t normally fight these things – SUCH a waste of time! – but the sneaky guy actually gave me the ticket while I was in the car.

So, I got dressed in a sports jacket, black trousers and white shirt, tied my hair back in a neat pony tail and went to court. 

I presented myself to the prosecutor, who took a quick look at me, and said, “And, what’s the name, ma’am?”

I showed her the ticket with my male name on it.

Unfazed, she inquired, “Are you his representative?”

Wow, she was really quite sure of and comfortable with her perception of me as female.  “Nope, that’s me.”

Of course, she apologized, and of course, it didn’t bother me a lick.

But, it does get me to wondering what has happened to my masculine presence.

I mean, all the visual cues were there for her to perceive me as a man.  Jacket, shirt, male documentation.  In fact, it is doubtful she could even have seen my pony tail from her perspective.  I wasn’t wearing jewellery, or perfume, or any color but black and white.  And every single other person in the room was a man. And yet, her natural instinct was to perceive me as a woman.

Maybe I was nervous being in court so I wasn’t assertive.  I don’t know.  But, I still have to wonder why friends, family and business associates would not perceive me in the same way she did. 

They have all seen me with my hair down.  Some have even seen me in shorts and I have no hair on my legs.

Perhaps I am fooling no one…

Is Gender a Part of Crossdressing?

(…continued from GenderBlender Offender, Contender, Pretender)

I was considering the experience and approach of a guy who dresses as female without changing anything else about himself as compared to my approach of changing just about everything…

Maybe he’s the one who’s got it right. I mean, after a while, being two people is exhausting… and it gets confusing… and you’re never really two people anyway, right?

Sadly, the common online representation of my friend’s approach is the “hairy man in panties.” It is the bane of my online existence and I can’t seem to avoid it, much as I try. Most of the guys posting these photos are projecting a very crude sexual attitude at the same time. There’s no softness, no respect for the feminine – just vulgar displays of sexual bits, and, not surprisingly, usually no faces.

I am driven to wonder whether these guys are representative of most men who crossdress without changing themselves in any other way, or whether they are just the black sheep of the group.

Also, I’d suggest that the HMiP are not even mixing genders; rather they are simply men using feminine objects to get themselves off; gender never really comes into play.

Which begs the question, “When does presenting as the opposite sex involve questions of gender and when might it not? Does it for you, dear reader? And, where is the line, do you think?”

Perhaps if I saw a different class of photos from men like my friend, who just like to dress up, or mess with gender, I would have a more positive impression. Perhaps if I met more decent men who projected a gender-mixed image that I could comprehend.  I am certainly open to trying to understand and appreciate the concept, even if I am not sure I will be able to.

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I know a guy who dresses, in public, as a female but has a full beard – great guy, but I just don’t know how to perceive him; my brain is not that advanced, so I concentrate on his mind, which is agile and interesting. I am waiting for a light to go on.  I don’t judge him, but neither do I understand him.

He is certainly playing with the rules of gender in his own way.   How appealing one finds it is a matter of personal taste, I suppose.

Personally, I remain loyal to fairly traditional expressions of gender and gender roles, at least for myself and those to whom I may be attracted.  I recognize that there is a certain self-serving convenience to the idea that my rigid views on gender have found just enough flexibility to accommodate the way I am, and even allow me to find joy and excitement in that.  Is that rationalization or simply my coherent truth? 

Dunno.  But it makes me happy…

GenderBlender Offender, Contender, Pretender

As most of us know and accept, there is an infinite variety of gender-mixing experiences and attitudes out there.  I like to try to compare the approaches of individuals I encounter with my own to see if there is something I can learn.

As those who follow me know, when I dress as a woman, my intention is to be a woman. As much as I may forgive and even come to accept the masculine part of me showing through, it happens despite my best efforts to the contrary. I cannot conceive of looking like a woman without mentally and emotionally taking on the persona of a woman. For me, they are intertwined – one and the same.IMG_4694a1  Fortunately, that usually feels pretty natural to me.

I recently met up with a guy in a dress who thinks of himself as a man. His dress is mostly outward. Sure, he tries to look like a woman, and walk in heels as best he can, but he feels like a man, thinks he should use the guy’s washroom, and talks in his male voice. And, he uses his male name. He is the person he has always been, but now experimenting with wearing a woman’s clothes and the different kind of attention that might bring.

I wanted to explore the differences between him and me just a bit.  I think it is interesting to conceive of what he, with his starkly different approach, is getting out of his experience.

He is messing around with gender, mixing them on purpose, refusing to color inside the lines, refusing to be bound by what is expected in terms of gender.

I’d be fooling myself to think that I wasn’t mixing genders too, albeit in a markedly different way. In fact, I have often admitted to revelling in my difference from genetic women; I find that it makes me a special creature – a connoisseur’s delight (as I have said before), if you will allow me the conceit.

(Of course, that attitude can be seen as self-preserving in the sense that I could never compete with real women on their turf, but it is also a reflection of the fact that I never have aspired to become entirely female and am therefore, at least to some extent, an self-confessed gender-blender.)

Unlike my friend though, I am mostly constrained by traditional gender lines, but for the odd hint of the biological difference; I must be spiritually female, and my appearance must be (almost) convincingly female, otherwise the whole thing doesn’t work for me.

…more on this tomorrow…

Men Being Men

A couple of days ago, I asked a question about the way crossdressers portray themselves photographically.  Today, I will offer an opinion, which you may infer from the title.

I have made mention in the past of men’s inclination to represent themselves by their sexual organs, often to the exclusion of their faces.  Oh, they take pictures of it from every conceivable angle and then share it with the world as if it were the most amazing thing.

If you’ve got something, show it off: my car is faster than yours; my drill is more powerful; my cellphone is newer, etc.

Crossdressing doesn’t seem to change this:  my heels are higher than yours, look what I can fit in my… (I just can’t say it), and so on…

Men get right down to the nuts and bolts.  As in, “I am crossdressing so, here’s my dress… here’s my ass…  got it?”  IMG_5136a1

The thing of it is that imposing male behavior into the expression of femininity is highly discordant.  To me, it is not unlike imposing one’s fingernails onto the blackboard.

Being a man is great; I know this from personal experience.  And, God love ‘em, boys will be boys!  Men have a wonderful way of relating to each other, and bring their specifically masculine attitudes to the table when relating to women; I wouldn’t have it any other way – not as a woman, nor as a man.

But, in my view, portraying femininity requires a change of behavior.  Crossdressers who continue to act as men while dressed as women obviously do not feel that way.

And so, quite opposite to my worry, expressed in day before yesterday’s post, the prevalence of this sort of behavior shouldn’t cause to me worry that I might be like them.  Rather, given how much it bothers me, it should prove to me that I am quite different. 

Not better, just different.

Ahhh… I feel much better now.

Me and the Jacaranda Tree

While you all ruminate of yesterday’s question, I will try to entertain you with a little photo of my own (click the photo to enlarge it):

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People Pleasing

Amazing!

I wrote in my recent post, Masculine Photos, about my observations on the popularity of certain of my photos that I felt betrayed my masculinity – much to my chagrin, mind you.

Well, that post was the most popular one I have ever done!

So, history repeats… and confirms my impressions…

Apparently, photos of myself all prettied-up, wearing nothing but lingerie, a tux jacket and heels doesn’t hold a candle to a strong jaw and maybe a slight crease where it doesn’t belong.

Go figure…

And, so I sit here trying to figure out what to do about it in terms of offering material that satisfies the most people.

I don’t really like seeing my guy self in Janie, but I am at peace with it.  Obviously, there’s lots of folks who prefer it.

So help me out, then.  If you tell me what you want, you’re much more likely to get it.

Punctured Charm

[continued from My Tall Drink of Water…]

I have found that online interactions are very helpful in breaking the ice for an ultimate in-person meeting.  It mitigates the awkwardness of approaching someone or being approached by a stranger, and gives you some context in terms of conversation.

I had just met this guy in a bar – but then again, we already kinda knew each other a bit from our online interaction.

As I sat there in the bar talking with him, I was enjoying myself even though I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I continue to be fascinated by the things that strike me so differently as a woman as opposed to my other self.  For example, I could literally feel my attraction to him grow stronger when I realized from a story he was telling that he was a smart and sensible man – or at least capable of being one at times.IMG_1706a

I guess it made me feel like I was with a sane person with good common sense, and that made me feel safer.

But, his charm was regularly punctuated (perhaps the better word is punctured) by incorrigibly naughty words, crude actions or insensitive behavior – perhaps his way of making sure that I wouldn’t be inclined toward any sort of emotional relationship. 

Truth is, I had no delusions of any possibility of a relationship with him, other than perhaps a sexual one.

And, I was fine with that… so I ignored what I took to be his attempts to emphasize that fact.

But I nevertheless told him that I found his intelligence and personality more attractive and interesting than the size of his equipment. He wasn’t all that happy to hear that – “Whatever.” – but he should have been, because there is no way I would ever consider sleeping with someone where the reverse was true.

And, despite what he may have been telling himself, we did have a personal connection – highly sexualized, perhaps, but personal nonetheless.

The distinction between wanting a relationship and needing a personal connection as a context for sex may be lost on many men, but this girl was quickly coming to understand it, and herself.

All good so far.

(More next week…)

Winter, Yay!

I decided on a Back-to-School look for our first Back-to-Winter day.

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Oldie But Goodie

Just a bit of an older photo of me to compare to recent ones.  Goodness, my hair is so short and dark.

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First Week Finale

One more New Year’s pic to end the week (click to enlarge):

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Vani-T

I am grateful for the comments on my recent post The Irresistible Lure of the Lens, and I think that your explanations for our obsession with taking pictures of ourselves were intelligent and thought-provoking.

Here’s my two-cents’…

I have found that t-girls obsession with the lens is matched by our inability to walk past a mirror without looking at ourselves._w1a2885a

Both are momentary reflections of us that teach us what we may be doing wrong and impress us with what we are doing right.  And we are ever eager to learn about both.

For my money, the mirror is the better learning tool, as it is interactive.  Sometimes, it’s “Goll darn, I am doing pretty good!” but more often than not, there is some flaw that bears improving, and I can look away, take a deep breath and try to change my posture, my expression or whatever, to improve my result.

On the other hand, photos are better for showing (and showing off).  The t-community is very supportive and will boost a girl’s ego when she needs it, which is awfully nice.  There is also the opportunity among friends, to give and receive advice – and an outside opinion is immensely helpful.

For me, the whole preoccupation with seeing my reflection comes down to an endless fascination with what makes us look male or female, how trivial differences can change gender perception, and how to control these. 

Watchin’ Em Work It

Well, after the brouhaha that preceded ABC’s Work It, we finally got to see what all the fuss was about.

Of course the CD community is not going to appreciate some of the innuendo and outright specific comments indicating that crossdressing is nothing but a last resort for desperate people and not something any normal person would ever actually want to do.

I suspect the trans community will object to the trifling with their issues and with the whole concept of changing genders.

But, my opinion is that neither CDs nor TSs are really the true victims here. 

In my view the real victims are men. 

This show is nothing if not another “man=stupid” diatribe.  It is a continuation of repeated portrayals in media and advertising of men as unsuccessful, incompetent, ignorant, insensitive idiots in every facet of their lives – utterly useless human beings. 

The male characters in this show are morons and all male behavior in the show is portrayed as asinine.   The “smarter” of the two hasn’t a clue how to relate to his own wife until he “becomes” one of the gals.

“Oh, I didn’t realize that taking you out for a “romantic” dinner to the bar where my two idiot male friends will be waiting for us wouldn’t be a good idea!  Why are you mad at me?”

Men are being treated like drooling idiots, and this show is the latest and greatest insult yet.

Thank goodness the show is absolutely awful.  Begone!

Celebrating

It’s still the first week of January, so I feel alright about publishing another of my photos of my New Year’s celebration.  I hope you like this one as much as I do.  (Click to enlarge.)

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Now That’s Funny

America is a funny place.

The Playboy Club – a sumptuously shot, multi-layered program lasted barely 2 episodes before it was pulled, due in no small part to complaints from the religious right.

The Parents Television Council said: “Bringing The Playboy Club to broadcast television was a poor programming decision from the start. We’re pleased that NBC will no longer be airing a program so inherently linked to a pornographic brand that denigrates and sexualizes women … we hope other broadcasters heed the important lessons of this programming debacle.”

Now, along comes ABC with “Work It,” an idiotic “comedy” (premiering tomorrow) which needs no explanation beyond the poster at right.  Yes, yes, women have it so much easier in the workplace than men, so of course it would be necessary to pretend to be one to secure a job.

But you know who has it easiest?  Transgender women.  Oh yes.  Especially non-passable ones.  Jobs practically fall into their laps, and co-workers enthusiastically welcome them.

I have generally taken a positive view of being part of television shows, even when we are not shown in the most positive light (see Two and a Half Men (and a Tranny or Two) and Can We Laugh at Ourselves?). I figure we are becoming part of the fabric of society and will eventually become more understood and accepted.

But this resurrection of Bosom Buddies looks so stupid and ridiculous that it offends even me. 

In some sense, I think it is because we are not in the 80s any more; we have already moved past the sensibility that accepted Bosom Buddies.  In another sense, it may just be because I think it is really bad – as in not funny.

BTW where is the Parents Television Council now?  Or do they only object to programming that denigrates genetic women? Funny that.

Much has been made on other blogs and t-sites of the offensiveness of this show; my take on the trailer is that its biggest offence may be that it is just bad tv.  But, I, for one, have yet to see a whole show. 

If it is as bad as it looks, well, one presumes it’ll be gone before we have too much time to complain.  If it is (much) better, maybe we can find a silver lining.

Stay tuned.

Is It Just Me?

Ever look in the mirror and just ask yourself, “What the hell am I doing dressing and acting like a woman?” 

Cuz, I still sometimes do…

Cleaning Up My Act

You may have noticed a few little changes in the appearance of this blog… or not.  In any event, they are just the start of many to come.

The most significant change has been to close my Naughty Blog. 

At this moment in time, I am not sure if I want to continue to make the erotic musings of my mind available.  I certainly haven’t had the inclination to write new material for some time, and haven’t posted in ages. Though I will confess that ironically, I happened to come up, quite without trying, with a good story just last night.IMG_1139a

No matter.  It isn’t enough to change my mind.  I may write the story, but publishing it is another matter.

I will always be a highly sexualized woman, but I am having some doubts as to whether overly sexual content is cheapening my image.  What is over the line is a matter of personal opinion, but I think that much of that content was.

I reserve the right to change my opinion again, but for now, that’s where I’m at. 

I apologize to those of you who enjoyed my little stories; I was quite proud of the quality of the writing, to be honest.  Oh well.  I hope you’ll stick around for the content here, or at least leave a comment telling me what a mistake it was to take down the naughtycdjanie blog.

In the coming days, I will re-post some of the tamer content from that blog over here – but not the erotica.

Under the law of unintentional consequences, I suspect that the temperature of this blog is going to rise just a few degrees as a result of not having another outlet for the posting of sexier content.  But, there will be nothing X-rated.

Missed It By That Much!

The title of this post comes from one of many punchlines in the brilliant 1960s TV series “Get Smart.” Come to think of it, the title of that series is probably some pretty good advice I should be sternly imparting to myself after today’s events.

Sometimes I think I must lead a charmed life…Picture 149a

Today, I was walking down the street when I heard someone calling my name from behind me.  I had just exited a shoe store, in which I had been examining a pair of shiny silver pumps, so hearing my male name startled me a bit.  I turned around to find the wife of a close friend of mine smiling at me.

Fortunately, I was in guy mode.

We had a nice conversation, yada, yada, yada…

Thing is, I am often on that very block at that very time as Janie, and but for a couple of totally random influences on my day today, that would have been the case this afternoon as well.

“So, what are you doing in this area?” she asked.

“I’m just going to have a coffee and do some work over there,” I replied, pointing at one of my favored mid-afternoon Janie-haunts.

“Oh, yes, they share space with this lovely salad place; I go there for lunch all the time!”

Wow…

Another Wonderful Day Brought to You by Kotex

I am just experimenting here, but I may have hit upon something simple that works relatively well… in the tucking department, that is.IMG_5119a

(For the uninitiated, “tucking” is the process by which we t-girls create the illusion of a flat front below the waist.  I have written a previous post, here.)

Far from duct-taping your privates – a thought at which I recoiled when I heard it was the common practice (still can’t fathom it), this seems relatively civilized by comparison.

Originally, I had considered simply using duct tape but putting a Kotex Light Days pad between the tape and my delicates – and I may yet try that.

But what I did today was merely use the adhesive on the pad; that is, turn the pad upside down, so the adhesive side is up, and tape yourself in.

For the hour or two that I had it on, it seems to hold. And more importantly, it came off without any screaming.  Also, I think the stiffness of the pad makes for a flatter front.

Anyway, I’ve included a few pics to show the results.  (BTW these leggings are really lightweight and hug the skin – you could see a pimple through them.)  As always, click to enlarge.IMG_5113aIMG_5111aIMG_5114a

Kid in a Candy Store

Black Friday found me on the premises of Charlotte Russe, an American clothier with no peer in Canada.  Their fashions are appealing, and their prices are hard to believe.

I was all over that!IMG_8743a1

I picked up a number of tops at under $4 each, and a collection of sexy mini-skirts at around $6 apiece.  Shoes under $30…  Dresses in the $20 range…

I must confess to having become helplessly overwhelmed by the number of choices I had and the bargains to be found…

I felt like a cat surrounded by lethargic, careless mice and low, slow-flying birds – too many to catch and which one first?

I had to get out of there and gain some perspective…

But, really, such deals are hard to pass up, and all the more when I get to this store but once a year…

Pretty please, Santa, can’t I have everything?

Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

Travelling sometimes means that it is harder to be in the right clothes at the right time, and the other day was one such time.IMG_8556a

Being at the door of a store full of yummy girly clothes, I just had to go in, even though I was totally in guy mode.

No matter… it seems my shame – at least in this respect – has vanished.  I was picking up items here and there and posing with them in front of public mirrors, and then went so far as to get myself a dressing room and try some stuff on.

Tried on shoes too.

The sales staff never batted an eye…

The Ups and Downs of Switching Genders

I gave the issues I last wrote about some more thought, and have a few ideas to share.

For me, being female is a joyous and intense state.  I am sociable, flirty and “on.” Being a guy is more of a contented and relaxed, comfortable thing.  Appropriate adjectives include strong, aware, capable.

Being Janie is still quite stressful for me – not so much about being discovered, or worrying about danger any more, but more about doing things that are outside my comfort zone.IMG_4100a

I still have so much to remember to do (and not do) when being a woman, from voice to manner to posture – things that are not yet completely innate to me. 

And then, socializing is not something that comes easily to me.  Though I have revelled in the friendships and interactions that I have achieved as Janie, meeting people has never been without stress for me.

I am so much more a social creature in my feminine guise, and getting out and partying and enjoying the company of others tends to acquire a certain momentum if I keep at it consistently. 

However, once I stop and go back to my comfort zone, inertia takes over.

…and that can be hard to overcome…

But, when I have had the benefit of perspective instead of being caught up in the moment of how I feel, my sense is that I have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the confines of my comfort zone as I have gotten older – and Janie’s emergence was part of that.  There is always the potential for backsliding, or conversely, for my male self to displace the female by finding his own excitement, but my best guess at this moment is that I will walk my road to happiness and fulfillment in sexy heels and hose.

Of course, forecast is subject to change…

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

Annie Lennox, the gender-bending artist who came to fame as the voice (and soul) of the Eurythmics in the eighties, has recently become the sole focus of an art exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London called “The House of Annie Lennox” – a take-off on her website name – The House of Me.  lennox

She is even going to personally, physically be part of the exhibit.  In what she calls “a mix between art, video and showcase,” she will do some of her work at a desk within the display, on view to spectators but not able to see them.

If you don’t know Annie Lennox, treat yourself to a quick search online for her biography.  Or, just click this link: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Diva+display/5452384/story.html

In one of the unusual anecdotes I read, she had to furnish proof that she was actually female before MTV would allow her Sweet Dreams video to air.

Sweet Dreams

Here’s what she says today, remarking on the presence of transgender models like Lea T and Nomi Ruiz on fashion runways: “Its a healthy thing that someone who is transsexual is being employed as model now. I feel someone who is transgender or a transsexual has always been on the fringes of society for many years. This is a way to break the mould of what gender means.”

Couple that with her new exhibit, which reminds us of her ground-breaking work and gender-bending success and high-achievement, and we can see some light out there.

Newspaper Apology

My post yesterday dealt with an ad (from the so-called Institute for Canadian Values – don’t you just love the way certain people decide that their values are the ones for all of us?) beseeching government to stop confusing young children with questions about their gender and sexual orientation – especially regarding transgender issues.

Interestingly, just today, the newspaper in which the ad ran issued an apology for publishing it.

The paper is of a right-of-center political bent, so the apology may raise eyebrows further.

Apparently, the editors felt that, while free speech is a praiseworthy goal and no opinion should be stifled just because it may cause offense, that the particular text of this ad (reproduced entirely in yesterday’s post) was too inflammatory in its use of phrases like “corrupting children” and was offensive to members of GLBT persuasion.

To quote the newspaper:

Where the ad exceeded the bounds of civil discourse was in its tone and manipulative use of a picture of a young girl; in the suggestion that such teaching “corrupts” children, with everything that such a charge implies; and in its singling out of groups of people with whose sexuality the group disagrees.

They pledged to donate the entire proceeds from the ad to “an organization that promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.”

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