How much of a woman?

How much of a woman?

How much of a woman could I make myself into – on the outside? I’m fifty, fat and full of wheeze – as a vulgar version of the song goes. And how can I satisfy girl-inside – who has been hiding since I was a kid. Was I aiming to be an old age mutton-dressed-as-lamb girly, or a strong woman-of-age?

I’ve been investigating the options much more often recently. After all, I’m getting to an age where I think many people won’t care what I do. And those who do matter to me – I think they won’t mind. And as for the many more who don’t matter to me – I won’t mind what they say. I do know that there’s some genuinely unkind people out there and they MIGHT target me. But I live in a quiet country town and I do believe that prejudice, intolerance and nastiness are (a little) less common hereabouts.

Like I say, I live in a quiet town – but not with a quiet wife. I’ve been dressing for years now – in secret, in hiding, never as often as I would like. I go out to ‘Quiz Evenings’ but actually some of these are to the once a month TV meetings in Barnmouth, the next town along the coast. I keep my dressing to a minimum because I have no idea how Sandy would react. Would the dressing or the secrecy be the worse for her to learn about. I do wonder now and again whether I do conceal my special hobby. I mean it is so hard to go to the shops and NOT look at the windows. And I look at things that most typical men don’t look at. And I watch the women – not for their sexual potential or even as objects – but at their clothes, the way they move, their femininity.

I’ve gone through many stages of dressing up. Underwear under my business suits. Dresses, skirts and blouses that I’ve thrown away more than once. Sometimes, I save a particular favourite - but I have to keep my wardrobe tiny - and hidden. I've begun to hate keeping my inside-girl hidden away for so long. It's such a cliché to want 'that perfect girl to teach me more about being a woman'. But it's a worm that's crept into my skin. And I'm tired of waiting. Now I'm getting closer to retirement - which would mean being around the house a lot more - I know that I wouldn't be able to keep my girl hidden forever. So - time to be a big girl and get it out in the open! I feel like writing that with about twenty-seven exclamation marks!!

Talking of being a big girl, I’ve tried boobs for a while now. And while I started with C cups, I now have a more hefty E cup. I love the feel of them. I talked about how I love the proper outline with the double curve instead of the usual not-satisfactory male shape I usually see at the bottom of my eyesight. I love the bulge, the sway, the heft, the weight, everything. And boobage can be taken off and put away. Do I do anything 'permanent? Like hair or piercings or whatever. Hairwise - I know I don’t tape or glue because the sudden absence of hair would be so obvious. Piercings - don't be silly. I’m over 50 and my wife, Sandy, is not actually stupid. Massively ignorant and, I think prejudiced about anything trans – but not stupid.

Once you start looking on the web, there’s so much to consider. Do I buy this, that, them, those, these, so many choices.

I’ve even been looking at gaffs and vagipants and all that sort of stuff, hip-pads, bum-pads and all the elements which give a female figure to the apparently-male. I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to buy a gaff. The idea of squeezing my balls into a tiny tube and …. no, thanks. Bending my penis, just doesn’t feel comfortable when I’ve tried it. Shaving or waxing all around – again, just a bit obvious and in my situation that would be a mistake. Glue in sensitive places – again, no.

But – there’s a lot of temptation. And I don't know how much of a woman I want to be. I don't even know how much of the woman-stuff I need to feel comfortable. Like I say, my target, if I dared to have one, would be to present as a confident and comfortable woman in my fifties. As if that would ever be possible !?!?!

How much of a girl do I want to be? How much of a woman am I? How much am I pretending? How much is it just the clothes? Is my dressing just so I can get a sexual thrill? That I can answer as a ‘no’. But what would be revealed if I talked to a psych as part of ‘getting to my inner reality’? That I don’t have an answer to. Do I like have a cock and balls? I think – yes. Do I like making love? Again, I think I do? Would I want to cut them off so that, as some transfolk believe for themselves, I could make love properly ….. I can’t find an answer that definitely says ‘yes’.

I think, at least I think I think, that seeing myself done up properly as a woman would help me make my mind up.

Do I dress completely at home? No, I’d never be able to do it even adequately. I don’t do makeup. I don’t do body-shaving. I don’t have figure-shaping clothes. I don’t …. so I don’t. I keep my clothes and accessories out of the way. I managed to build a hidden back into my wardrobe – only some six inches deep but, well packed and folded, you can fit a great deal into a small space.

So – who do I ask for help? Where do I go?

Do I look at one of the ‘Transformation Services’ that are popping up here and there?

Would a few hours be enough?

What about going out in full dress? Could I do that?

But the idea of looking down, between my legs and seeing a sort-of vagina instead of a penis – that’s got my attention. I nearly said ‘Big time’ but that really didn’t sound right.

What does a gaff feel like?

Tight panties or even a couple of pairs is kind of nice – but squeezing and pushing and pulling – not so keen. And if it’s made of rubber or latex or something like that, isn’t it going to get all hot and sweaty and significantly rank and reeking after a while? I don’t know. It’s differently embarrassing than asking a woman ‘what do you do when your breasts get hot and sweaty’. I mean, asking another transperson how they cope with or hide their genitals, it’s sort of reasonable to ask someone who probably has more experience than you.

I haven’t got a clue how many use a gaff. How many do push their balls up? How many tuck? How many do anything? I no longer feel as alone as I did because I know there’s a lot of transpeople out there. Have I met any to talk to – no. Have I tried to link up with any on social media or even my email – no. Am I scared of doing so – no – not really. I’m massively incompetent at anything much more than email – so, mostly, I’ve not tried to find anyone to link to.

But I’m getting more and more interested.

But there’s a number of issues.

I don’t or rather haven’t pushed my balls up. I’m in my fifties and the idea never came to my attention. And I think it would be pretty uncomfortable if not difficult. Similarly, I’ve never bent my penis down and that’s supposed to be quite painful without the ball-push first. And, like I might have said before, I’m pretty comfortable with my penis. It does its job when it has to (less often than before sadly [at least I think I’m sad]). Do I want it out of the way? I don’t think so – but the whole idea of seeing what I look like as my feminine alter-ego interests me greatly.

It doesn’t excite me. I’m not looking for a sexual thrill out of this.

And the reality of a gaff when you use the toilet. Ones or especially Twos – I can’t see how it’s going to be anything other than messy. I mean it’s quite enough to compare the ugly usefulness of the male hosepipe with the simple zip-and-go option compared with the complexities of accessing the female version. Perhaps most of you will have noticed the queue for the ladies’ toilets. Okay, there is the stench from the male urinals as an offset; but smell versus speed. For those of us with the TG-factor, we are the most likely to experience both situations. But then messy also means smelly, uncomfortable, unattractive, not-nice. I’m not going to draw pictures or offer a smellogram. Not-nice has to be sufficient for me to say NO.

So, for me, the idea of the gaff is one thing. What I believe of the reality makes its use unlikely. But I do like, adore, love and enjoy having breasts. Almost whatever the fakeness of the material – I love my boobage.

What else do I need to make myself feel feminine.

Starting at the top – I love the idea of a feminine hairstyle – but I’ve tried wigs and they’re hot and sticky and complicated. But I don’t have and never have had enough hair to give myself a female styling. Now that’s a shame.

I suppose ears come next – what about piercings. I’ve worn clip-ons and they’re okay but those marks of the female would really mean something special to me – as well as being far too obvious to those who noticed.

When you get to eyes as well as brows, lashes – then you’re into the realm of makeup. Oh I wish. Oh I do so wish.

Lips – more opportunities for makeup. I have tried lipstick because I’m confident that you can remove all or enough of almost all to prevent improper detection. Detection by the wrong people or at the wrong time would be ungood.

I’ve bypassed the face as a topic – covering the issue under the vague area of makeup.

But then there’s two of the big male difficulties – beard and adam’s apple. I don’t want to fixate on these. The beard can be covered with maxi-concealer and other products. The adam’s apple is most often hidden by a lace-collarette or similar. Yeas, and according to the stories, there’s the minor surgery scrape-and-rebuild option. Like for cheekbones and chin-line. And the statistics are so overwhelmed by vague anecdata that it’s impossible to be confident. And you certainly wouldn’t take the advertising brochures of the cosmetic clinics as being quality or gospel. No no.

Next, bodywise, is the boobage of which I speak with my own preference and enjoyments.

As regards my figure – well I haven’t got one.

And actually I don’t have any information that I would call ‘better than guesswork’ as to how many cross-dressers do what, when, where and how costume-wise. Since there’s no adequate data on even the number of people who cross-dress on a regular basis (whatever is meant by ‘regular’) so guessing how they do it is almost fatuous.

An interviewer at Waterloo Station who succeeded in asking every commuter in a single day would still likely only get those people who were willing to answer more than one question on a very intimate aspect of their lives – really not representative. And assuming that every one of the non-answerers was therefore NOT anywhere on the trans spectrum would also be implausible.

Like my preferred version of the slogan goes ‘Garbage In – Guesswork Out.’

And I still have only guesswork as to who and how to ask about ‘are pretend-vagina-panties anything other than sticky and hot and smelly and uncomfortable and not possible to wear for hours’.

I’m going to do something about this. So it’s off to M&S to investigate their body-shaping items.

I’ve done it. I bought my body-shaper. Size 22 – because they didn’t have 24. So it’ll be a squeeze – but I want to try it on and feel how different it feels to be held tight and pulled in and ……. well, you know.

And it feels good.

-------------------

I’ve been wearing it for some while now – well, 10 minutes wasn’t long enough. It’s now getting a bit warm, but not actually uncomfortable. Well, not yet. I’ve been doing some outside work, even getting a bit of a sweat on – and it’s still feeling nice. I wonder what it’ll be like by evening. It’d be such a waste of money if you couldn’t wear it for more than a couple of hours without it getting mucky and stinky. How realistic are the stories about these things?

And then I sit in front of the box and read the news. There’s a whole pack of stuff that’s suddenly arrived about ‘Transgender Regret’.

I read. I think about it. I have no doubt in my own mind – based on zero real experience – that some people who are ‘dissatisfied with their bodies’ do fit the ‘dysphoria’ tick-boxes. They get to see psychiatrists and they do learn the words which will get them treatment. But for a few, it’s not enough or it’s still not right. The shrinks didn’t dig enough or in the right directions – and the ‘solution’ given to them apparently in accordance with their wishes – well, it still don’t fit. And that realization must be brutally hard. For patient and for their medical-psychological team. Bummer.

But I do believe that the number this applies to is very very small. But it is not zero. And these unfortunates are …… very unfortunate.

But this author is vitriolic, angry, beyond angry and …. yet. I feel his whole approach is trying to say ‘this happened to me and therefore it must happen to a lot of others’. That’s not good logic. He supplies no data – apart from anecdata. He hurts but is not persuasive. And by lashing out as he does, he helps nobody. I can’t see how he helps those who are close to being diagnosed as trans when that’s not actually their deep-down issue. He doesn’t help those who are trans. He spews hurt merely and solely because he has been hurt.

But I’m not in that box. I have no regrets. I like my life. I have a nice life, wife, two kids and a reasonable income, house nearly paid for, nice but not excessive holidays – and this small but secret part of my life. I’d like to be more open and wear comfortable clothes more often. And by comfortable I do mean dresses and skirts and all the sleek, smooth, slithery, girly options that are deemed as unmanly. As it is, I wear the clothes I must wear and, sometimes, feel a bit sad.

? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? !

Then things change. A lot. Beyond my most amazing expectations.

When I get home a few days later, Sandy is sitting there in front of the computer. There’s pages, lots of pages, in the printer tray.

She turns to me and says, “I’ve been looking things up.”

“Huh, I can see that. What has caught your attention this time?”

“You. And your special interests.”

“ME?”

“You’re not dim, Charlie. And there’s been a lot of stuff in the papers and media recently. And now the LGBT brigade are pressing for GPs to ask every single one of their patients about their gayness and their genderness. Apparently, so they can ‘prove’ that the NHS is institutionally prejudiced against minorities. Of course, they’re not really interested in all minorities, just their own little groups. Hasn’t the NHS got bigger issues to deal with?”

“Why this sudden interest? Hmmm.”

“Oh, Charlie, do you really think I’m not aware of your hobby. We go to the shops and you don’t look at books or food or clothes or take any real interest in anything. Well not unless you count the ways your eyes swivel and fixate at the clothes shops – for ladies, at the hairdressers – and I don’t mean the barbershops. At the way you look at people when we stop for a coffee. You don’t look at the faces, or the boobs or the legs, like most men – you look at the clothes. I see the way you hide what you’re looking at – but I’ve had years of practice. You’re fascinated by woman – and not in a sexual way. So – there’s the alternative explanation. You’re looking at the clothes because you like them. They interest you. Maybe even they excite you – though I’d prefer it if they didn’t.”

She smirked. “Why Charlie, you’re blushing. Well, your face is patches of white and scarlet – a fascinating combination of fear and panic and stress. Just sip your coffee, darling and take a deep breath. If I was going to get angry, I’d have done it years ago. I stopped being angry years ago. But there’s so much publicity about it nowadays. I was just wondering ……”

“Wondering?” I mumbled.

“Wondering what you’d do if I told you I knew.”

“Easy, I’d panic.”

“But if I said that I wasn’t going to throw you out and that I wanted to talk about it?”

“I’d panic first and then wonder what you really meant.”

“Oookay. First step. HHGG advice ‘Don’t Panic’. [HHGG = Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy]. Second step – how deep into this stuff are you?”

“How deep?” My voice wavered.

“Yes. How often do you dress up? What do you wear for preference? Do you just dress up, or just undies or the whole hog with makeup and all? Where do you do this? When? I suspect you don’t really have a clue as to Why – so I’ll put that aside for the moment. But I’m tired of keeping your secret for you. It’s not really a secret to me – and it’s only a secret to you because you feel you have to hide it. Be open. Be free. Of course you know lots of people – but how much does their opinion actually matter to you – to the real you? You know – the old slogan ‘Mind over Matter’ – if you don’t mind then they don’t matter’.”

“That’s kind of brutal.”

“Ain’cha heard, kid, life is tough. And especially if you go out of your way to be different. And wearing women’s clothes in public is about as different as can be. After all, almost every other activity that can be labelled ‘sexually perverted’ is performed in private often with others of a like persuasion. Wearing clothes is a public activity. Unless you don’t wear clothes at all and then public nudity is a different sort of sexual activity.” She giggled at that.

After taking a deep breath, I came back with my first thought. “I really really don’t like thinking of what I do as a sexual perversion. It’s not, for me, about sex. It’s not so that I can get an erection and whack off. Yuk to that. Not what I’m interested in. No.” I paused. “But I can’t make the rules can I? It’s all about what other people think. What ‘they’ say are the rules. And, if I could, Yuk to them as well.”

“So – you’re going to go ahead with this? Are you going to keep your clothes squeezed and crushed into the back of your wardrobe. And yes, I’ve known about it for some years now. And I’ve taken a decision and moved them into your main wardrobe. I’ve pulled out several things for ironing and dry-cleaning too. It’s time this all stopped – or else it’s time you spread your wings.”

“Um”

“Don’t be such a dip. Yes or No? Are you going to be a stunted half-person cramming yourself into a man-shaped box when you are part-man and part-woman or are you going to let that girl part of you out into the light. It hurts me to see you hiding what must be an important part of you. You wouldn’t still be looking at women’s clothes after so many years if they didn’t have an immensely strong attraction to you. So. Be real or back to dullsville?” Sandy’s voice was getting harsh and almost aggressive. “Are you at last going to stand up, be a man, and say out loud that you want to wear dresses a lot of the time. And if you do that, then I’ll stand with you. I still don’t understand the whole idea of a man wanting to dress as a woman. I’m pretty sure I don’t like the idea, let alone the actual practise of it by someone near to me. But I have to cope with both those issues, because you are not just near to me, you are dear to me. I do love you – so I have to take the rough with the smooth, to put it in the contrasting man-woman persona you so often adopt - so to speak I must take the stubble with the silks and the satins. And don’t come back with a smart quip about ‘Being a man and wearing a dress’. This is absolutely NOT FUNNY – from my point of view. If you balls this up, then we’re going down an ugly road with the possibility of no return. I have never been more serious in my life. This is a time for you to make a big decision. To choose whether to do what we both know is in or close to your heart.”

I looked at my partner of so many years with an expression that must have veered between fear, shock, excitement, concern and love as well.

“I do hope that once you get past the shock of me knowing and, to all intents and purposes, accepting what you do – you’ll say yes. I’ll go and get us each a small drink – but that means you’ve got about a minute to catch your breath and say something about my offer. If you decide that you’re a complete idiot and that you want to stay dressing up in secret and keeping secrets from me – then that can be a choice too.”

She left, with her skirts swishing around her excellent rear. I admired the view, and thought ‘Can I go through with this? Can I go public with my desire to dress up? Can I NOT do it with such a wonderful offer of near-support from such a wonderful woman.’

Sandy came back with our drinks. I had done some quick thinking about how to tell her about things which had been in my mind for so long.

“You want me to be up front and open about this. So, first, I thought I’d show Alys to you. If I look appalling, and I hope I don’t, then you say so and that’s pretty much the end of it. I don’t want to be a freak out on the streets – that would probably be awful for both of us. I want to present as a fairly typical yet confident woman. If I need some help with that, then let’s do some work or find someone to help us. It may amaze you, but there’s people out there who are willing to give the likes of me lessons and coaching in feminine presentation and behaviour.” I saw both eyebrows raise in silent comment.

Then I made a decision for myself “You did ask to meet Alys. I’m going upstairs for a while. I’ll be back and you can say how well or how badly Alys presents. Then we can talk about where we go from here.”

I ran upstairs to get changed. First off, I had a quick shower, then clean panties and bra, a satin cami as a liner for the blouse and a matching slip to go under my long skirt. I did wonder about putting on the new dress, but decided not this time. I put on a pair of 2 inch heels – open-toed to show my nail polish on the occasions I used it. Then I went downstairs to show Alys to Sandy.

“Now, there’s a surprise. Turn round, slowly, so that I can see the whole outfit.”

I span, surprising myself a little that I twirled so well on my heels. I was expecting to be nervous this first time – but apparently not.

“First impression. You’re not as obviously a ‘man-in-a-dress as I thought. Probably, some will wonder if there’s something a bit ‘off’ about you – but most people won’t notice. And even if they notice, they mostly won’t care. Having both ears pierced will be a big sign – as generally only women have that. As for what you’re wearing. Not bad. Quite a pretty combination actually. I don’t know whether to be impressed or not. But it helps with the next decision. I assume you have a purse or handbag to go with that set, yes, no?”

“Hold on, just a moment.” And she came up to me and checked more closely. “Those falsies, there’s something that doesn’t look right. Perhaps we can look for alternatives.”

I kept quiet, knowing that the cheap boobs I had bought some time ago were not in good condition. I smiled at the idea of getting better boobage. And of getting boobage advice at the same time – by implication from a professional at a shop and from Sandy too. I wondered if she would encourage me to get my ears pierced soon.

As soon as Sandy stepped back, I scurried upstairs, ignoring the fact that I had heels on. Normally, I would have been much more careful. I came back with my little red bag. I only had three. Where could I hide more than that?

“Fine. Okay, we’re going out to the coffee bar in Lower Hampton, the one overlooking the harbour.”

I stopped in my tracks – just for a moment. Then realized that if I accepted being open with my dressing to my wife – then if she wanted me to be up front with it – then that was her choice and I had, implicitly, accepted the new situation.

So, we got to the coffee bar, and we started talking. I was probably being more open about my dressing-up and my need to dress-up than at any time in my life. e

“I still really have no idea as to why I like to dress, the deep down reason. But I do know that I like toi do so. That sometimes I feel I need to dress, and again I can define no identifiable reason for the feeling. It’s not that I feel particularly stressed, or that something bad has happened. Nor that something good has happened or that I feel particularly relaxed. But, there it is. I like to dress and I really enjoy the feeling of being dressed.”

“Do you need the underwear more than the overwear?”

“Not really. There’s times that wearing a pretty pair of undies is sufficient – although I have to be careful about the putting on and the taking off and the washing thereof. I have always been quite certain that you finding a pair of panties not in your size would be, er, troublesome. But overwear, that requires more effort – and is therefore more complete somehow. I do like it better to be wearing a dress or skirt.”

“And falsies? Or what they call a ‘gaff’?”

I have worn and do use falsies. Again, they add to the completeness. I don’t feel I want to have breasts, but so many of the clothes just don’t look right without the relevant superstructure – which means the clothes need boobage and so I need boobage and that means a bra and all the rest of it. As for a gaff, I’ve never tried one. I don’t like the idea much. Squeezing and pulling and so on. I like my package the way it is. I do wear tight panties to reduce the obviousness of any erection if and when it occurs while I’m dressed. But since I don’t get dressed for the sexual thrill ….. there’s usually not much of a problem. And if false boobs can and do get all hot and sticky – then I really don’t like the idea of my nethers getting even hotter and sweatier than they already do. No thanks. No gaff for me!”

“That is, perhaps, more information than I really needed to know. But I’m sure I was going to ask and be told eventually. Do you like the feel of a bra?”

I wriggled my shoulders to remind me of the feel of the straps and the weight of the falsies. “Yes, I rather do. It’s become part of the dressing process. So, while it’s not that essential, it has become important as part of the whole feeling. To be open and up front, I now love the feel of the weight,of the straps. I particularly love the double curve in my eyeline. Do I like it when they get hot, and sticky, and heavy – no – but not everything in life is perfect.”

“Would you want real breasts? Implants, perhaps? Would they make things ‘more perfect’.”

“Since I knew I’d never get the chance, I’ve dealt with what is and what I can do rather than any thoughts of more. I think I’d have to think a lot about something that permanent. So – for the moment, I’ll keep my boobs exactly as they are. I would be happier with some bras that fitted properly. I have thought about going into a shop and asking for some help. I’ve read that since the shop assistants view such requests as potential sales, then some are quite willing to help. But I’ve never tried.”

“Would you like to.”

“I think I just said I would like to. But I certainly wouldn’t expect ….”

“What, you wouldn’t expect me to help, or be there? Mind you, I’ve not thought about that either. Let’s leave that for a while. If you do go and get a fitting, that’ll be up to you. If you tell me about it beforehand, then I’ll deal with that. If you tell me afterwards, I’ll respond to that. Moving on - Do you ever use makeup.”

“Very seldom. It would be a bit of a giveaway, don’t y’think. And, tempting though it might be, I don’t use perfume either.”

“Would you like to use perfume? Perhaps instead of aftershave?”

“That, I would like. But I haven’t got a clue what perfume would suit me or what I like.”

“What, you’ve never lingered in the perfume department and sprayed touch here and there.”

“I did, a few times, very long ago. Before I met you actually. And my mum asked about it and her comment must have put me right off the idea. I can’t remember even approximately what she actually said.”

“Did she know about your, er, interest in clothes? Did you ever try on any of her things?”

“When I was about five or six, while she was getting dressed I put on one of her slips as if it was a dress, and danced around her bedroom. She wasn’t very impressed. I think she told me I looked silly and that boys didn’t wear their mummy’s clothes.”

“Was that all?”

“I think it can’t have been that much later, I was in her bedroom again while she was getting dressed – and I asked about stockings. I said they made her legs shine so prettily. To my surprise, she brushed one against my face and my arm and said ‘they do feel smooth, don’t they. It’s one of the things girls enjoy. When you’re much older you’ll know what I mean. Obviously, she was meaning that when I was older, I’d have the chance to stroke a stockinged leg – from the outside.”

“And when did you first try on some stockings.”

I smiled. “Almost as soon as she’d left the house. They did feel wonderful. But taking them off, I snagged one. I threw it away but she found it and asked me if I had been playing. I said ‘yes’ in a very small voice. And she told me not to do it again as stockings were very expensive and not for boys to play with.”

“When did you start dressing?”

”Maybe a year later. My mum had a friend to stay for nearly a month while she looked for a job She was tiny, only about five foot three. And they were all in the kitchen, the two of them and some others – old schoolfriends, I think – and one of them said something silly like “When are you going to grow up, Shirley.” And she replied, “I’m a big as I’ll ever get – but at least I’m taller than Charlie still.”

They all laughed, but I suddenly thought, “If she’s the same size as me …..” then the thought faded away until I was in the bathroom just after her and the edge of her panties was out of the washing box. The temptation was too much. I pulled and these gorgeous, frilly, satin undies were in my hand. I had to try them on. Don’t know why. But they felt gorgeous. Soft, swooshy, slithery, they help me differently than my boy pants did. Without the rough texture and thick material I was used to. Lovely.” I sighed and smiled and sat back – remembering that first time.

“I can see from your expression that it had a big effect on you.”

“Oh yes. But not that effect. I was only about eleven and my prick hadn’t started doing any tricks yet.”

“And …?”

“So I kept my eyes open for more of her clothes in the wash. And I tried a few on. Then she took me to one side one day. ‘You’ve been in the laundry basket haven’t you?’ The amount I blushed must have failed to keep my secret. ‘I don’t like it. Do you want me to tell your mum?’ I shook my head. ‘Do you promise to stop?’ I nodded my head. ;Okay then.’ That was the last of it until the day she left.”

“Oooh, what happened then?”

“She came to my room and handed me a package. She said, ‘You can throw these away if you like. Or you can do whatever you want with them. I’ve got a cousin who likes wearing my clothes too. So I got you some for yourself. I just didn’t want you doing anything with my own clothes – especially not ones for the wash.’ I had never guessed that there might be other people who dressed up. I had never guessed that she was more upset with me taking her dirty clothes than for wearing them in the first place. I asked ‘Can I open this?’ and she said ‘I’d like you to.’”

“So I got my first two pairs of panties, my first pair of tights and my first skirt.”

“That must have been a surprise. Do you now think your mum never knew?”

“Shirley said she never told – but sometimes I wondered.”

“What, you saw Shirley after that.”

“Oh, yes. She moved into a house about a mile away. Then she married and had kids. I sometimes went and babysat for them. Lovely kids – you’ve met them. Anne and Cathie.”

“Did you dress up at her house?”

“Maybe a few times, but we agreed that I shouldn’t do it once the kids reached four or five. So their babysitter Zoe went away.”

“What you were completely a girl every time you went there?”

“It didn’t seem sensible to do it any other way. I wanted to dress, Shirley didn’t mind. The kids never really knew as I’d come in while they were in the bath – we had a signal. Then I’d appear as Zoe, wait until they were asleep, change back and leave when Shirley and Ted got back.”

“And they never knew?”

“Like I said about mum – I don’t think so but I did wonder.”

“Now you’re going to be out more, they’re going to find out are they?”

“All too likely. We’ll have to see how it goes. If the flak gets too heavy, then I’ll stop and hope the fuss fades away. We can call it ‘an experiment that went wrong’.”

“Mmmm. That’s a lot to think about. Now, my big, badly-shaped man-type girl, let’s go and see what we can get for my girly-type man that’ll actually fit you and suit you. I’ve been testing myself as to how I can cope – and I’ve come to the conclusion – startling as it may be to you and incredibly amazing as it is to me – that I can cope with my husband wearing dresses. And if I can cope with it – then be blowed to anyone who doesn’t.”

“Wow. Can I say ‘wow’.”

“Darling, you can say whatever you want. Now, let’s get going. Onward.”

I did wonder exactly how far she would be wanting me to go. I wondered how far I wanted to go.

With Sandy's help, I could see a future where I could be that woman of my imagination. Strong, confident, comfortable at being a woman. Maybe.



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