I have to say that I always try to be positive, and with the exception of when speaking about Amanda, I exercise my mother’s good advice. If you have nothing positive to say, then say nothing. Wise words.
You will understand how writing this piece has been a challenge, and yet one I feel I have to complete. However, after considerable deliberation and talking with both Sylvester and Auntie Kittie, I have put pen to paper. Auntie Kittie pointed out that sometimes you have to grasp the nettle and say that which needs to be said.
“It’s like that time in South Africa,” said Auntie Kittie, “when I had to tell a trans friend, who was staying at the school out there where I am a school governor, not to sun bathe naked. The grade 9 biology students a confused enough already!”
“No, Kittie,” I replied. “It’s not like that at all, but I still have to write it. There are some members that might need to hear it.”
It’s going to be a very long weekend. Before I get into the ‘why’ let me first wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving weekends, if you are in the US, and if not, you know my thoughts are with you anyway.
I would also ask you to share this as widely as you dare, as I am trying to build followers. I appreciate your help. Let me adjust my skirt and tell you what this is all about. Being a crossdressing advertising executive does give me something of a unique perspective on things.
Now, the weekend. It all started when I overheard Joe, at the advertising agency, saying very intensely into his phone, “when it comes to feminine hygiene products, I’m your man!”
I remember a hot morning in Johannesburg, at Jan Smut’s
Airport (now renamed to O. R. Tambo International Airport). A small group of reporters
and photographers were out on the apron, in front of one of the hangers.
The Highveldt air was still and heavy. Not a blade of the dry
grass stirred on that windless morning. The sky was so blue it would make you
almost sing just to look at it.
A new aircraft autopilot landing system was being
demonstrated by Airbus. This was a hands off landing system, and fully
automated the final approach prior to landing until it came to a halt on the
runway. It was a pretty advanced piece of technology for the time.
The press boys were all grumbling about the early hour and
sipping coffee. There was no smoking on the tarmac either. Some of the
engineers from Airbus were meeting with us to talk about their innovative system
and were chatting away in French in a small cluster a few yards off.
Sit down and enjoy the latest episode of Clothes Maketh The Man. Think of a nice warm fire on the beach, the waves, the soft sea breeze, and the gentle smell of the last of Andy’s self respect disappearing in a puff of smoke.
The Crossdresser’s Guide To Marital Bliss is a series of episodes taking a hilarious look at how one crossdresser brought his wife to a place of understanding and acceptance. It’s also instructive and full of good advice to those of us who wish to introduce our dressing to the principal relationship in our life. I hope you enjoy it. Fiona
I sat in the garden enjoying the cool spring breeze.
Sylvester crossed the lawn carrying a tray of tea and ginger biscuits.
“I’ve just had yet another experience with one of my members
that leaves me feeling quite sad,” I said as Sylvester’s ham like fist gripped
my delicate tea pot and poured.
“What was that, then?” he asked.
“Well, I had this chat with another member who just felt he
couldn’t talk to his wife about crossdressing. I mean, really, it’s awful. So
many of my lovely gurls are out there and barely even able to talk to anyone.”
“But that’s what you’re here for,” said Sylvester.
“Well, yes,” I replied. “But there are certain things that a wife can do that even I may struggle to!”
David closed his eyes and wanted nothing more than to escape to his bedroom and feel the cool silk of his new negligée next to his skin. It would look perfect with those slippers. He began to feel clammy. “I need a drink.”
Sandrine looked around and spied the kitchen. She handed the slippers to David. “Why don’t Lucy and I get the drinks while you go and make yourself more comfortable?”
David hesitated a moment. “Are you FtM?” …
Wait. He of all people should know better than to ask such a personal question to a woman he barely knew. And she was a work colleague. What the hell was he thinking?
He was about to apologise when Sandrine replied.
“I like to be fluide. I don’t put myself in just one ‘ole. Is that ‘ow you English say it?” Sandrine flashed her eyes at David before fixing them on Lucy.
Uncharacteristically Lucy had been silent for the past minute and a half, her nerves possibly still reverberating from asking Sandrine if she was a lesbian. Now her eyes were on David, and he couldn’t help thinking she was worried for him. Well let her be!
He needed space to breathe. “I think you mean ‘box’ but ‘hole’ works too. Help yourselves.”
“Oh, come on,” said Lucy, heading to the kitchen, never one to hide her impatience, or linger at the back of the queue when there was a glass of wine to be had.
“Why can’t Professor Daniels take her to lunch? It’s his department she’s come to visit. I know bugger all about 17th century French poets!” David heard his secretary’s long sigh on the other end of the phone.
“Professor Daniels has to complete his paper on ‘Horses in the Middle Age—”
“Has to complete his paper? He’s been writing that thing for the last five years.”
“Well, he says it’s urgent now.”
It was David’s turn to sigh. After catching a brief glimpse of Madame Lafayette with Daniels, he could understand why the professor may well wish to finish the paper he wished he’d never started. At five foot two and almost as round as he was tall, the professor was in his early sixties, wore a bow tie and waistcoat daily, and regarded anyone who didn’t know the French poet, Jean Chapelain, as something you might have the misfortune to find on the bottom of your shoe. The university’s guest from Paris, on the other hand, was tall and skinny with poker straight, raven black hair, and he guessed, in her mid-thirties. Her black tailored trouser suit accentuated her ghoulishly pale skin, and David couldn’t help thinking she resembled a teacher of the dark arts in a Harry Potter novel. No doubt she knew all there was to know about Jean C, but Daniels was probably scared stiff of her.
When Elizabeth died my world stopped revolving and it seemed my life ground to a halt. It was an unexpected death, as so many illnesses are, but mercifully swift.
Merciful, that is, for her. It left me with an empty life before me. How many years? I don’t know. I suppose it doesn’t matter.
So it was months later that I found myself waiting on lonely shore, in a gusty wind looking out at the bleak expanse of water, with Hobbs Island several miles distant, feeling desolate. But that was how each day felt at the time. Completely empty. It had been just six months, and my world had gone from full, exciting and fulfilled, to something as forbidding as that shoreline itself.
I should explain. I’d arrived a few days early for the workshop I was scheduled to give, with the intent to use the time to write. I had a piece to complete about the psychology of addiction, and it had been my intention to use those few days to complete the article in the quiet of the retreat. I suppose I should have checked with the organisers more carefully. I’d just assumed the hotel would be open, even though it was out of season.
After walking from the railway station to the quay, I made the call to my contact only to learn that the hotel on Hobbs Island would be closed. As it happened, the owner had been contacted and gave me permission to stay, even though I’d have to fend for myself in the empty old building.
Ivy showed the Metropolitan police inspector to what she called ‘the drawing room’. It was in fact the living room, but since she and her husband had inherited the place in 1971 they’d always called it that.
“Your husband’s family seemed most concerned,” said the inspector as he sat down in a love seat that had seen better days, and less weary lovers.
“Oh, don’t mind Mildred,” said Ivy, seeing the inspector looking at the sleeping form of a woman in her mid sixties, dozing beneath a brightly colored blanket. A soft snoring sound emanated from the form of the sleeper.
“She has her good days, and she has her bad days,” continued Ivy. “Alzheimer’s. Can you believe she’s barely four years my senior?”
“You’ve got a free trip to Singapore? You lucky sod!”
David’s best friend, Lucy, had him chuckling into his phone. “Yeah, but hey! I have to work for it.”
“Work, my arse! You’re just gonna chat about your precious topic on some quantum physics shite, and then have a ball with whoever’ll fondle yours for you.”
“Fat chance of that with Singapore’s lack of LGBT rights. Anyway, I’m scheduled to give three lectures with Professor Amanda Lo. I’ll be flying home before I know it.”
David cast a quick glance at the sleek turquoise gown hanging on the back of the door. At the very least he planned on having an evening out, just for himself, with the chance to be who he wanted to be.
“You’re just jealous.” He laughed, relaxed now that he was almost ready to leave his apartment for five days. “I promise I’ll bring you something back.”