Resignation and contentment

I haven’t blogged here for a while, so I thought I gave it another try 🙂 First of all, in spite of the title, I’m not frustrated or depressed! I’m just reflecting a bit on my life, and sharing my thoughts, in the hope that they might be useful to someone else.

I’ve been regularly crossdressing for about 15 years now. A bit more, to be precise, but I will not count my first years as “regular”: they were very confusing years in terms of admitting to myself that I was a crossdresser. Once I got over that bit, I slowly — very slowly! — resigned to myself that there were three things I could do about it.

The first would be to completely suppress my urges and drive myself to insanity because of that 🙂 All literature I read about that simply told that this would lead to nowhere, except to deep depression. At that time I was a bit scared about depression — so many people I know wallow deep in depression, and that is completely non-functional: it’s just suffering and suffering and being unable to anything with one’s life. That was certainly not for me.

The second thing would be to go ahead full steam and completely change my life. Of course, 15 years ago it was even more impossible than now. But I had some crazy goals back then. Having finished a relationship (and not yet sure about the upcoming one!), my energy was spent in becoming a millionnaire before I was 30. That’s right, I’m not joking. My idea was simple: I have very few material needs. With a million sitting in the bank, I could live off the income on my savings, and forfeit work forever. I would get a tiny apartment, easy to manage and to clean, in a peaceful neighbourhood away from everybody I knew, and just spend the remaining decades in comfort and no more financial stress.

This would allow me to transition as well, of course. That was part of the plan. Knowing by then how hard (if not impossible!) it is to get a good job as a transgendered person in my country (or even elsewhere!), the only reasonable choice would be to be in a financial position where work would be optional. By then I already spent most of my time telecommuting anyway; my job is based on providing services over the Internet, and, most of the time, I don’t even need to meet my customers “in the flesh”. So I would be able to continue to do those odd jobs now and then, but even if I didn’t got a regular income, I wouldn’t need to worry.

I almost succeeded in my plan. I didn’t become a millionnaire with 30… but with 31. And I still live in the tiny flat I bought (with cash, so as not to depend on any banks!) back then. All seemed to be going according to plan!

Unfortunately, a lot of circumstances changed after that. First, of course, I was unprepared for dealing with so much money. Money attracts creeps: the worst of them are the banks, but how was I supposed to know? Between the hordes of swindlers and creeps who wasted half my money in schemes and plots, and the incompetence and malevolence of the banks who managed to lose everything, after 5 years I was not only penniless, but in huge debt. A debt which I might not be able to pay until the end of my life. So all my plans were shattered.

To make matters worse, computer specialists end their active lives as “hireable” employees around 30 years or so. There are so many computer experts around, and every year the universities spew out a few hundreds of thousands more, that the market is completely saturated. With computers, “experience” matters little. You either get hired as a top executive before you’re 30, or you’re a blot on the landscape — useless and worthless. Of course, the alternative is working on your own (which was what I did before I was 30). Or you might teach — teachers are still respected after they’re 30. But that’s pretty much all there is.

So I had to go back to the third alternative: getting used to the idea that at least for this life, my best-laid plans had utterly failed, and there are no alternatives left except enjoying as much crossdressing as I can and be content with that.

In that regard, I believe I can be termed to be lucky. I have a loving wife who tolerates my crossdressing (so long as I refrain from shopping too much, since we can’t really afford to do so), even though she’s not excited by it. She just understands that there is nothing I can do about it. So we can work it out among ourselves: crossdressing one day per week is acceptable, two is pushing my luck, more than that is out of the question. And everything has to be dealt with patience: seven years until I “came out” to her, seven more years until she (very reluctantly) accepted that I have to go out once in a while as Sandra. I’m only allowed to do so when she’s deep asleep. But I’m fine with that: managing relationships is about setting limits that will make both parties comfortable. It’s like striking a business deal: a good deal is not about how much money you make, but by having both parties happy that each got the best they could from the bargain. Relationships are not much different, at a superficial level: the limit set on what you are allowed to do is what prevents your partner to become unhappy. If both do that to each other, both will live well together.

After 15 years of crossdressing, what have I learned? I have a few images from my early attempts, and some not-so-old videos of myself (long gone from all public sites), and I can be very critical about them. Like many crossdressers, I started with a mix of “drag queen” and “slut” — a completely unrealistic image — and, besides, all was done wrongly. That’s understandable, it’s part of the process. Some CDs will want exactly that image and persist with it — it’s their fantasy, after all. In my case, I still had my old goal in mind: I wanted to be a woman that could “pass”. So that meant paying good attention to how women dress, move, behave, and even talk in public. Observing women, fortunately, is an accepted pastime for males 🙂 and even though my close friends would probably be imagining how to get the “hot babe” we were ogling in bed, I would look at her with the same degree of concentration — but pay close attention to what she wears. How she flips her hair. How she poses the head. How she smiles. What accessories flatter her. Sure, the thought of getting her in bed would naturally also cross my mind, but that would be secondary (let’s say it would be “an extra bonus” 🙂 ): what still matters most to me, when I watch women with some intensity, is how they carry themselves. Sometimes this gets a bit overwhelming and I feel like I’m a pervert, drooling at all those women… but when I’m dressed as a male, who cares? We live in a male-dominated, chauvinistic society. Males are expected to behave like that. So, while I’m careful enough not to look too much like a pervert, I certainly pay constant attention to all women around me, and enjoy that very much.

I don’t look only at the gorgeous women, although God knows how many of those are around! Either this is a consequence of being past 40, or something happened in my country, because these days, it seems that I live inside a Hollywood studio. I remember being in Paris in the late 1990s. French women are supposed to be exquisite and have an excellent fashion sense, but the truth is, there were very few of those around. Perhaps one in ten was worth a second glance, and yes, those would look rather nice. The remaining 90% were ugly as hell, poor girls. Much worse than what I was used to see around my place.

These days, however, I’d say that half the women around here are definitely worth a second or a third glance. Even the rest makes an effort: there is often not much that they can do, but at least they can look clean, well-dressed, well-manicured, with a nice haircut — which will go a long way. And it was on those that I actually spent more observation time.

Why? Well of course I prefer to look at gorgeous women 🙂 But for my own crossdressing skills to improve, I wouldn’t benefit from looking at those gorgeous supermodels with 6″ height and skinny as an ironing board. What would be the point? I have not such a figure! I can appreciate how they look (even though I don’t like the skinny types), obviously, but to learn how to dress and behave, I had to look to the ugly ones.

We project our own image of ourselves. I remember that quite clearly on my first crossdressing sessions. When I finally managed to apply some makeup that didn’t look like something the cat has thrown up, I saw myself on the mirror, and said: “Wow, what a gorgeous woman is looking at me!”. Back then I didn’t take many pictures, but I had a few. Weeks later, after the excitement from the CD session had long since faded, I would look at those pictures, detached from the exuberance of what I felt while I was dressing, and launched a critical eye on them. Who was I kidding? I looked ugly as hell. A bulldog with a wig would look better than me.

And it’s not just being plain and ugly; it’s being ugly and having it all wrong. Wrong hairstyle, wrong hair colour, wrong makeup, badly applied; wrong clothes, wrong poses, wrong everything. But this didn’t frustrate me. Rather, it made me question, over and over again, what I was doing so wrongly.

The pictures of CDs on the Internet normally aren’t that useful to me. The most good-looking ones have already such fantastic bodies that anything they dress will look right on them. The remaining CDs look as ugly as I do. But there are a few exceptions, and I have learned a lot from them.

These are CDs who know very well that they don’t look like Angeline Jolie and never will. However, that doesn’t mean they cannot enhance themselves here and there: showing the best of their features and hiding the others. This means changing wardrobe; choosing the right styles to wear; picking up a suitable hair colour and style; knowing what to do with the makeup. I was coming across pictures of CDs two decades older than me, with a worse figure, who, however, looked so much better than me. Wow! What was their trick?

Actually, the “trick” is repeated in most crossdressing manuals over and over again, but I paid little importance to it: they remind us that women, just like men, come in all sorts of shapes. And for each shape there are appropriate tricks to apply. You might look like a barrel and be completely disfigured and exuding “maleness” from all your pores, but do it right — applying the tricks that pertain to your body type and look — and you can be in a gala with Angelina Jolie next to you, and still get some compliments. It sounded crazy, and I didn’t really believe in it much, but it’s true.

And it’s not so hard actually. Of course it takes practice and training. It means experimenting a lot, since even on those manuals and tutorials, they tend to address some “stereotypes”, and we never fit exactly into a single one. So we need to figure out what works and what doesn’t. But this means two things: being a very good observer and being very critical about yourself.

That’s what I did. In fact, I’m now aware that even though I wanted to drive out as Sandra 7 years ago or so, when I first talked about my crossdressing to my wife, she told me that “I wasn’t ready yet”. And she was quite right. Now it’s very easy to see how many things I was doing so wrongly back then! Even my whole body movements were all wrong. It’s not just that it would be impossible to pass, it would be ridiculous to go out that way!

So I had seven long years to experiment. Once in a while, very rarely, my wife would give me a few tips. She’s not really a fashionista, and doesn’t dress that well herself, but at least she benefits from the experience of also having to deal with a body type which is hard to turn into something that looks great (that she managed to do so successfully is proven by the fact that she obviously caught my attention, 15 years ago 🙂 ). For example, in my case, necklaces had to go. Overdoing the makeup also had to stop. Wearing too-fancy dresses would make me look twenty years older (I still have to improve my wardrobe, though!). And being a platinum blonde definitely won’t work with my skin type, even though I thought otherwise!

Strangely enough, the thing that usually is the more difficult to do, I caught up naturally very quickly: body movement. I have mentioned before that I’m actually slightly homophobic, and I’m sure that came from a reaction I had when I was 14 or 15 and suddenly figured out I wanted to dress like a girl, but didn’t want to have sex with boys. Being scared to become homossexual, I generated a strong aversion to them (which is irrational, I know), and this still lingers. So I thought to myself, well, I have overcome that, but there is a problem here. Women don’t move as men do: they do it completely differently. If I want to pass, even at a distance, I have to move like women do.

What bothered me is that I didn’t want to adopt gay mannerisms. Even when dressed as a women, these bother me. So I observed. And what I found out is that women actually do not move and gesture like some gay people do. A few do, sure, but they’re the minority. In fact, the vast majority of women move, pose, and gesture differently then men — we pick that up immediately! — but they don’t overdo it like some gay people do. And like some “ultrafeminine” types do. Well, I had to be critical about myself: with my body type, I would never look “ultrafeminine” — not even with major surgery! So I should adopt gestures, postures and poses from the women with body types similar to mine, and not emulate other types of women which have nothing to do with my own type.

This became surprisingly easy. I think that what mattered most is that I had some reluctance in adopting “flamboyant”, drag-queen-style gestures and poses, and, by avoiding that trap, I adopted much more natural gestures instead. Looking back on some old videos and comparing them with the more recent ones, there is no doubt that I made progress. While I’m still surprised at some comments on those videos saying “you look so feminine, congratulations!” when I know perfectly well I couldn’t fool anyone, I now began to realise that it’s not just the look they’re paying attention to, but the posture and the gestures: because they are now appropriate to a woman of my age, height, weight, and body type. And that’s pretty much the “secret”. I proudly admit now that I can convince my most hardest critic: myself. Some of the latest videos in the past two years or so are really convincing, even though in almost all of them, I’m enacting a fantasy and that leads to some exaggeration.

Sure, when walking around in public, I still have to remind myself about some simple tricks — things that all male crossdressers quickly forget. Elbows have to be always tucked in. That is my first and most important rule of all. I have seen videos of gorgeous crossdressers who forget that all the time. They look lovely at first sight until they start to move about; the illusion is immediately shattered because having the elbows stucking out is so male that it will overcome the most glamorous, feminine dress and the most perfect makeup. Secondly, when walking, I have always to remember that the legs have to be as close together as possible, and take small steps. As a male, I’m so used to do exactly the opposite that it’s hard to remember that all the time.

Of course, we non-genetic females have those extra bits between our legs, so naturally we keep the legs apart. It’s hard to walk otherwise. Even if we are wearing tight panties, that is usually not enough to make us remember that we have to keep the legs close together. In my case, I get the best results with combinations of garments like gaffs and my “special” padding that allow me to keep the legs very close together all the time without being uncomfortable, but that takes some getting used to. But it makes all the difference.

The third trick is the whole body posture: straight back, no slouching. Slouching is a habit we males have, and the older we are, the more easily we slouch. It immediately shows off our “maleness” and shatters the female image. In my case, it helps a bit to remember having the elbows tucked in; because the easiest way to do so is to keep a straight back! So, yes, these things tend to go together and reinforce each other.

And, finally, smile. That must definitely be the least mentioned secret — although many manuals and tutorials mention them. Smile all the time, even when you are on your own and nobody is watching you. In almost all my early pictures and videos I tried to “look sexy” with a sultry look… and forfeited the smiling. These look simply horrible. With the kind of face I’ve got, it’s very hard — not impossible, but almost — to look sexy and remain serious. I sometimes manage that, but it’s way too hard, and I guess it’s just a lucky shot. It’s far easier to smile, smile, smile. That will work wonders all the time.

You might say, “but women don’t smile all the time!” Well, no, but many do; and most will smile more than the average guy. The difference is that smiling will transform your whole face, making it more radiant and happy, and these are features we associate with being female. Also, smiling is easy, even though some people who never smile might think that a forced grin is worse than just remaining serious. I would disagree. Force your grins, baby! They will become more and more natural over time; also, a smile will take years away from your face. What could be best? 🙂

Of course, I don’t do all these things all the time, and this is why I often watch my videos again. Here I forgot to smile; here I was worried about something (like ash dropping from the cigarette) and forgot to keep the elbows tucked in; here I bent down and kept the legs apart more than I was supposed to do. Well, yes, there are all those flaws here and there, but, in general, it’s getting better. It also becomes more and more easier with practice; in most cases I don’t even remember doing what I do, and it’s just afterwards — with an inward smile! — that I notice what I’ve been doing. That’s what is supposed to take to successfully pass in public.

Makeup is wonderful. I’m not surprised women love it. Over the years, while I applied all types of tips and techniques, I found out a lot about the wonders of makeup. These days, with so many makeover videos on the ‘net, I’m really impressed how a woman’s beauty so often washes out with soap and water. Of course there are genuine beauties out there, but among us ugly types, makeup is truly a blessing.

If I don’t forget to smile, and turn my head just so, I can get pretty convincing head-on shots of myself, and I have to proudly admit, once again, that sometimes I do a great job. Many of you wouldn’t believe how ugly I look as a guy (no, I won’t show). It’s true I have nice green-blue eyes and rather large lips, but they’re completely underplayed in “male mode”, and while they might have stood out when I was 25, with 43 nobody notices them. What they see is the ugly nose and the double chin. But makeup changes all that, shifting the focus towards the areas I want to enhance and keeping away from the ugly bits. Sometimes people ask me how I’m able to apply falsies so well, because they look natural. I don’t. I haven’t used false lashes in well over a decade. It’s just mascara and liquid eyeliner. Of course I had to experiment with different brands and techniques, but these days I surprise myself all the time: my “real” lashes are nothing special, and since they’re a very light brown, they completely fail to attract attention. But using the proper techniques they look super glamourous, or, well, they look like I’m wearing falsies 🙂

Similarly, I don’t do those complex techniques to “get rid” of the eyebrows — a mixture of glue and powder, or something like that, to disguise them and paint “false eyebrows” on top of them. No, fortunately, these days women wear their eyebrows a bit wider than in the 1950s, although super-thin eyebrows are still fashionable. My own eyebrows, in male mode, are pretty neutral. They used to be straight and a bit under a centimetre wide. What I did over the years, without anyone noticing (even my wife has some doubts if I have trimmed them or not), was to thin them very slightly and give them just the hint of an arch. In fact, it’s more important to get rid of the straggling hairs which grow widely outside the “line” than to do the “perfect trim”. Then I got a tip from my wife: brush the eyebrows, so that they look well kept, and do a last sweep pulling them horizontally away from the nose, towards the edge. This will give them a “kept” look. A bit of white pencil beneath the arch, and that’s all I need. A hairstyle with bangs will naturally help a lot — nobody looking at my eyebrows in female mode would suspect that they aren’t trimmed to be “female-looking”. But the cool thing is that even all this minor trimming isn’t noticeable in “male mode”. Why? Because people focus on other things instead, not on my eyebrows.

Alas, the problem is that I haven’t been able to disguise my profile. This is rather hard to do from the side, because the techniques I use work just from the front. The ugly, twisted nose is just too noticeable from the side; and so is the double chin. I can lose some weight — which will shrink the double chin until it’s not so prominent — but there is nothing to do about the nose. If I did any facial surgery, the first thing to go would be the nose. It’s also slightly lopsided — barely noticeable unless you know what you’re looking for! — so I’d definitely like to get it straight. And thin. And small 🙂 To be honest, when I go out in public, this is what worries me most: I look fine from the front, and perhaps not too bad from the back, but I look horribly male from the side.

Where I do wear a lot of “disguises” is… underneath. Now I know this is a matter of personal choice. I cannot say what is right and what is wrong. These days, it’s common among CDs who go out a lot to praise the “totally natural look”. That means they don’t even wear breastforms. They just keep themselves fit and slim, use push-up bras, and wear dresses that flatter their image — pretty much like any female who was not lucky enough to be born with the perfect image. The only “false” accessory that is allowed is a wig, and, even so, many CDs I know don’t even “allow” that, but tell other CDs they should just start to grow their hair long. Makeup, of course, is always allowed, but the less, the better.

And they might be right. After all, most women these days don’t have perfect bodies, either; they just wear fitting clothes for their body type, and go ahead with what they’ve got.

It bothers me a bit when I see some of my online friends, who go out together in public, but are are barrel-shaped. Many have gorgeous faces and flawlessly trimmed wigs; and often they have stunning dresses as well. But, alas, if they’re over 40 like me, they will have the most unflattering, un-feminine bodies, and it hurts me to see them looking like that. Because there are definitely alternatives!

Over those 15 years, I learned a very important lesson. When we talk about the “ideal” curvy feminine figure, we have those numbers in mind: 90-60-90 (in centimetres!). Obviously few of us male CDs will get those numbers without major surgery! Specially if we have drooping bellies; and if we don’t, it means we’re getting fit on the gyms, adding muscles to our body and having even larger shoulders, so we will look even less feminine that way! So it seems hopeless, even with appropriate clothing… doesn’t it?

Actually, no. The trick about those numbers is the ratio between them. What looks “feminine” is having a chest size as large as a hip size, and a difference of 30 cm between both. This is a “trick” not often mentioned on beauty magazines, so it’s well worth sharing it. What this means is that a woman with 100-70-100 will look as sexy and voluptuous and curvy as one with 90-60-90, specially if she has a larger frame. Similarly, a petite-sized woman with merely 75-45-75 will have more curves than a panoramic railroad up the Alps 🙂 So the trick is looking at your real measurements, and get some padding to make sure you get that ratio!

Here is the major difficulty: males have next to zero hips, and, with advancing age, they get larger waists than their hips. Also, of course, without breastforms — or too tiny breastforms — they will not get the correct chest size.

In my male mode, I have a chest size of around 98, a waist size which varies with my weight but is usually around 100 or so, and the hips get 107 — I have been fortunate to be born with a rather large ass, lol. Still, as you can see, these numbers are nowhere close to what I need to look “right”!

So what I did first was to bring the waist size down. My corsets tend to bring me down to 84 cm or so, which is an improvement, but not enough: merely 15 cm or so is simply not enough. Since I adore breastforms, I experimented a lot with them. My first set was too small: it was labelled as a “C cup”, but I soon realised that “cups” go together with “chest size”. A C cup on a large chest size looks like a B… or even an A. On the other hand, a so-called C cup breast form on a petite woman with a 75cm chest will make her look like Pamela Anderson! Figuring out the exact size is not easy, and that’s why I got professionals to do it for me: I went to an Amoena shop to get the correct fitting. And, to be honest, the breastforms they sold me were enormous! I had seen their measurements and thought that I would be buying two sizes smaller. When the shopkeeper brought me the sizes she had picked, I told her that I didn’t want such huge breasts! She smiled knowingly and told me to try them on.

One popular mistake with crossdressers is that they get the wrong shapes for their breasts, mostly because obviously we have no experience with breasts (except as to what happens under the bed sheets with our female S.O. — but we’re probably not using a measuring tape then!). In reality, they grow from underneath the armpits and go all the way to the centre. If we’re very wide-chested — and most male CDs will be, compared to genetic women! — it means that we have to take in account that our breastforms will have to have “extra flesh” (or, rather, silicone) to allow for covering a much wider area. That’s why the “proper fit” will seem to be so big. Then, of course, one needs the appropriate bra which will hold everything in place to look natural — because even a D cup bra for a shorter torso, even if it has extra straps and such, will not deal with the breastform correctly. Then again, 80-95% of all women don’t know their correct bra sizes, either — so why should we be different? Even though we have an advantage: we can select the bra size we want, since we decide what breastforms we’re going to use! The added advantage, however, brings in the difficulty of needing to select the proper shape of the breast form we want. I remember my first breastforms: they were made of latex. Even though they gave me the desired chest size, they were shaped all wrong. It’s not the manufacturer’s fault — it was my fault for not really understanding breast anatomy! So, while I cannot claim to have “perfectly shaped breasts” (that doesn’t exist!), what I can say is that they are realistically shaped. I have noticed that mostly from the profile — my worst side! — where the breasts really look very natural.

All right, enough about breasts! To summarise, now I have something like 112-114 cm on my chest and around 84 cm on the waist. Perfect! That’s the desired “30 cm difference” which makes my body look so feminine. There was just the matter of the hips to deal with: at 107 cm, they’re simply too narrow.

For most cases, I’d say it’s pointless to worry much, and this is what I did for many years. Choosing the right fit on the skirt will cleverly disguise narrow hips, for instance. Add a wide belt, and the waist will be enhanced visually, taking the viewer’s attention away from the hips. The Internet is overflowing with tips to enhance “boyish” figures with styles that are appropriate for narrow hips.

All that is very nice to know, but I was not really very happy with the overall results. I even sent a dress to a seamstress to “improve” it slightly, making it fit better. But I wasn’t totally happy: I needed my extra 10 cm of hips!

So, well, padding to the rescue. You might have heard horror stories about padding: most systems are simply styrofoam or gel pads embedded in panties. Some look acceptable even if they’re cheap, but they are often of the “one-size-fits-all” kind, which, as you know, never fits anybody. I was actually lucky, because I had not thrown away my old Veronica 2 from Classic Curves, bought a decade ago. This is a custom fit undergarment. What you do is to send in your exact measurements — a lot of them! — and this gets input into a computer that will calculate the amount of padding to give you a realistic, feminine figure. So it’s not just about the hips: it’s an all-around solution for hips, behind, and shaping. Very sophisticated! It has, however, several problems. The first, of course, is that the measurements are so precise that if you gain or lose weight, it won’t fit any longer. This is why my Veronica 2 has been stored away for so long. When I lost some 10 kg or so, I gave it a try again, and I was really surprised about the results: all of a sudden, all my dresses started to fit correctly! And the resulting feminine imagine is simply unbeatable with any other trick or technique.

As said, the Veronica 2 (I haven’t tried other products of their lines) has other problems. The most annoying one is probably the zipper. There are zipper-less versions, but they’re allegedly “harder to put on”. The zipper, however, has the big disadvantage that it gets stuck on everything. Remember, this is really a very tight foundation undergarment. To prevent the zipper from sticking to things, they have sewed in a protection — a bit of silky cloth that gets velcro’ed beneath the zipper — but, of course, the zipper will stick to that as well, and the only way to get it unstuck is to tear the protective cloth apart. I’ve tried to sew it together — given enough time, I do sew reasonably well; my problem is sewing in a hurry — but sooner or later the zipper will get stuck at the seams, and everything will come apart. Of course, without the protection, the zipper will get stuck at everything — your panties, any frilly undergarment you may have, or the laces from the corset. And don’t even think about going without panties! It’s better to ruin them then to get the zipper stuck at… you know what! So, yes, it’s always a pain to get the zipper closed without getting stuck at anything.

The other problem is that the foam pads, after much use, will slowly crumble apart. Since they’re designed by a computer-driven robot, it’s not exactly the kind of thing you can easily replace — except reordering from Classic Curves. Also, like everything made of foam, they’re good for the visual illusion, but not for a “close inspection” (i.e. touch). Of course the garment itself will be over the pads, so that’s ok, but Classic Curves also sell gel pads, which are much more realistic and don’t crumble apart, but they’re far, far more expensive. And, very likely, they can be washed too — because you can certainly wash the Veronica, but not the pads. Classic Curves sells the shorter Veronica 1 announcing that it can be worn under “swimsuits” but I fail to understand what will happen to the foam pads if you decide to go swimming! (The gel pads should be fine, though.)

Problems aside, at the end of the day, the simple fact is that I’ve achieved my goal. No, I’m not 90-60-90, but I’m 114-84-114 or so, or close enough for the difference to be unnoticeable, and it shows. That’s definitely curvy material to work with! And it also means that all of a sudden, pretty much everything you wear will fit correctly — you simply won’t have a “male figure” any longer.

Of course it’s just an illusion. And one that has its drawbacks. For many T-girls, even breastforms might be uncomfortable; mine weight 1.5 kg, which is something “new” to handle (but I love it!). Corsets are still deemed by many to be a form of torture, and best relegated to the BDSM crowd. In all honesty, even though they take some getting used to, they’re actually very comfortable to wear for extended periods, because they force you to give up the slouch and keep your back straight, which is actually much more resting. You have to try them for extended periods to believe me, I know 🙂 There is just one problem with corsets: it’s when the whalebones stick through the garment. Ouch! On the other hand, the Veronica has some quirks for extended wear, on the crotch zone. You might ask yourself why I need both a corset and the Veronica. I’ve tried to go without the corset; it works with some outfits, but my pot belly will not be held in place by the Veronica’s elastic banding. It takes the strength of a corset to do that 🙂 Overall, the major problem is, of course, the heat: combine all of that and a wig, and it becomes next to impossible to dress on a hot day. While everybody’s sensitivity to heat is different, I have found out that I cannot wear all these things with indoor temperatures above 25ºC: I sweat too much and will ruin the makeup that way.

But even though it’s “just an illusion“, it comes close to what I had in mind back in the mid-1990s when I started to crossdress. The goal was to pass, and I’m pretty much near to the limit to what I can do to achieve that. There is always room for improvement: I’m not very happy with my outfit choices, but it’s actually hard to figure out what fits well and what doesn’t. For example, I actually prefer tops and skirts, but I found out that dresses fit me best; why, I don’t know, but there is just one combination of top + skirt that looks great, the rest simply won’t match well for some reason. Also, it took me a lot of time to figure out what hairstyles will fit me well, and I came up with something which I would have never bought from an online shop — it was just because I tried it out that I bought it, surprised that it looked rather nice! (I’m currently on a waiting queue for a custom-made wig, which I’m very curious about, since I have no way to know if it will look nice on me before it arrives; the best I could do is to use a website for virtual makeovers to get a preview on how it might look like) But the whole point is that it took a lot of time to get a feminine image that is relatively acceptable. Why so much time? Well, because I don’t dress every day, and I have no benefit of geting advice from family & friends like genetic girls do. They can go through the trial & error phase very quickly. Also, they start to do that when they’re very young!

I should open a parenthesis in my thoughts. At this point, some of my readers will remind me that I look already great on the pictures and on the videos I post, and so I should stop complaining! You’re being very kind to me 🙂 but the plain truth is that I cheat. I tend just to show the “best” angles. I wear makeup that looks great on videos, but would look scary or daunting in broad daylight. Under a controlled enviroment, behind a low-resolution camera, I do, indeed, look acceptable. But that’s just the illusion behind the camera: out there in public, I’m just a very ugly woman that “looks wrong”. I don’t really pass — the best that might happen is to raise some doubts, specially when seen from afar. If I come close to someone else, they’ll be shocked to have mistaken me for a real woman. Most of you don’t realise that, since most of you are crossdressers as well and very tolerant and encouraging (this is a great community, btw, where we all encourage each other so much!) and are used to it. And, again, the camera helps a lot. I still get a lot of people on popular chatrooms that are tricked to believe they’re viewing a real woman — I tend to visit those chatrooms less these days, but sometimes I spend some time there, mostly to gauge the reactions. It just shows how good the camera is in hiding my imperfections — some people even think I’m younger than 30! But, again, this is not “reality”. It’s a convenient illusion, and I take full advantage of it. In “reality” I look much worse and are easily picked up.

The irony is that pretty much half of my life has gone by until I pretty much achieved my intended goal. I’m already starting to notice some aging effects which makeup cannot cover: wrinkled hands, for example. More pronounced lines — not really wrinkles — to the side of my cheeks, which weren’t there 5 or 10 years ago. In another decade, I will have to start wearing different styles of clothes, and probably wear shorter hair, which simply looks disgusting on me (I’ve tried!). In another 20 years I will try to pass as a nice old lady, full of wrinkles, and with overdone makeup. In 30 years, crossdressing will not be so fun — it will just be something I will have to do to appease my urges. And in 40 years I might be too old and in constant pain and unable to dress on my own. Time is very tough on us crossdressers, specially if we aren’t as regular as we wished to be. I often think back to how I would look like when I was 25 or 27, if I knew what I know today — I would pass much better! And with 17, when I was skinny, I’d look gorgeous as a woman — I had no muscles and no fat! But those days will never come back again.

I also think of my plans for when I was 30 years old. 30 is a good age — not too young, but not too old either. If I had transitioned back then, and went through hormones and extensive surgery, I’d still look gorgeous today — men age differently from women, we actually have some advantages in that regard. In my family, for instance, the male part rarely gets wrinkled skin before they turn… 80! By contrast, the women in my family start to get white hair and tons of wrinkles around 50 or so. My mother, 8 years younger than my father, always seemed to be physically much older (she largely compensates having a fantastic extroverted personality and smiling a lot). So, with surgery and hormones, I think I would be able to pass as a relatively good-looking woman for two good decades at least.

But not any more. Hormones today would have little effect — more psychologically than anything else. They might help to redistribute fat — removing it from the belly and put it on the behind, where it belongs, thus compensating for the lack of hips 🙂 and allowing me to get rid of the Veronica. It might round up the face a little, soften the edges, but I’m lucky not to have “chiseled” features anyway, so I can compensate with makeup. It might also tone down the muscles, even though I haven’t many, but it could help a bit, specially with the arms, which look “too male” for my taste. Of course there would be the advantage of getting a bit less facial hair (but I would still require extensive laser hair removal) and probably get some more hair on top. But it wouldn’t change much more: I would still have wide shoulders and be much higher than the average female in my country, because hormones cannot change that. And no, I wouldn’t get the so-desired breasts that all crossdressers love — in my family, except for one aunt, all women are small-breasted, so I would need surgery as well. My nose, as well as some features I dislike on my chin, would also require extensive surgery. Even with some fat distribution, it would probably not be enough: I would have to “aid nature” and get some hip implants. While the “pot belly” would get somewhat reduced, I’d still think I’d need to remove all fat surgically as well. Add that all together, and, well, it’s insanely expensive… for what? A few years having fun as a female, before the onset of old age? It seems a bit pointless to me.

Fortunately, that choice is taken away from me. So what remains is a certain amount of resignation: it won’t happen. Not in this life. So why worry? Instead, I should be happy in what I have achieved. There are still a lot of things that I haven’t tried out — namely, really going out with friends to a public place (and not merely meeting a CD friend on a remote spot). My wife warned me that I would become bolder once she gave me permission to roam the neighbourhood fully dressed (inside the car), and she is right: I’d love to go out during Carnival (Mardi Gras) and just pretend I didn’t care if people looked oddly at me, even when going to a very public place like a shopping mall 🙂 These are still goals in my list. I also have some fantasies of going to a baroque music concert in my best evening dress — where lights are dimmed and people cannot talk much or point fingers at me — or even going to the movies. I’d love to go to a non-LGBT esplanade or café or restaurant in plain daylight, even if fully knowing that everybody would know I’m a crossdresser, but not really caring about what they’d say — public places have the advantage that they won’t allow serious disturbances to happen. The worst that might happen is denying you entrance, but some spots wouldn’t really care — I could address them in English, and tourists and their oddities are welcome everywhere in my country 🙂 They might get me a seat at the worst possible place (to make sure I leave quickly!) but they wouldn’t deny me a place. And I’d love to travel crossdressed to another country where nobody knows me and enjoy myself a whole week fully dressed.

All these are achievable goals. Transition is not. When looking at things from this perspective, I can see that there is a lot that I can still do and enjoy. Why worry too much about the things I cannot enjoy? It just spoils the fun! Instead, I should be happy for having so many wonderful opportunities of having fun dressing as a woman, all of which are perfectly achievable.

It often helps to think how much some of my friends in transition are suffering. I have already told you about the law changes around here, which make transition affordable and simple. Among a group of a dozen or so very active users of an online community I’ve joined a couple of years before the law changed, half of them are in transition. Most of them never even seriously considered it before. Some are relative newcomers to crossdressing. Every month or so, it looks like someone else is starting transition; often I think that I will be the last “plain crossdresser” of that group!

One would think that transition is easy and fun, or people would refrain from doing that! But it’s neither easy nor fun. Almost all transgendered people I’ve met online are in serious financial trouble of one sort or another. Some are unemployed and have been so for a long time; they are fully aware that their chances of getting a job after transition will be next to zero. Others are employed in male-only jobs — like building — and will have to quit their jobs, having no idea what to do afterwards. Most are anxious about the relatively long procedure until they are finally allowed to take a few hormones; and then they stress out about the lack of immediate effect and wonder how much longer they have to wait until they finally get to notice any difference. Some are clearly confused about their future anyway, and don’t identify neither to a “male” world nor a “female” world, but believe that they would feel better once they’re classified under the “female” label. So, overall, this is hardly a painless situation for them. I just find it interesting that their “real life” cases are so different from what has been reported about transexuals going under transition. And I think that the major difference is that those reports come mostly from activists, who live completely different lives. These people I call my friends, even if I just meet them online, are not activists. They just want to be themselves, alone, and not get pestered by anyone else. Some have support from their families; most had to sever themselves from their families to enter transition. There are a few interesting cases of incredibly female-looking individuals who, however, are not going through transition, but, over time, they have dressed more and more female-y even among friends and family and increasingly get more accepted that way. A few toy with the idea of getting hormone therapy, but they don’t think so much about it. Instead, they’re happy to have fun to dress as females and do what females do, even if they wouldn’t apply the word “transexual” to themselves — they simply don’t worry about those things. They’re the kind of T-girls that paint their nails in neon pink for the annual Christmas dinner; and after an initial shock from the more conservative members of the family, the women at the dinner start to ask more about the place where she had her nails done. For the Easter lunch they might undo their ponytails and show that their long hair actually has a very feminine haircut, which they obviously never show at the workplace, but, being among friends and family, they feel it’s ok to show off their hair as well — or perhaps a sleeveless top.

Of course not everybody’s family and friends are that open-minded, and this will work only in certain social environments. But my point is that these people are enjoying themselves. Instead of fretting about transition or no transition; instead of worrying about quitting their jobs and families and starting everything from scratch; instead of spending endless, sleepless nights in anxiety about their future… they just enjoy themselves more and more, dressing as women, perhaps not always fully, but having no qualms to appear among friends and family in the way they like. It’s like showing off a tattoo, for example: in some circles, it might still be seen as a “daring” move. But once you have a tattoo in a visible place, there is no way to hide it any longer — it would be pointless to do so. Instead, not worrying too much about it and making fun of the whole situation is the right way to go ahead.

These examples are very encouraging to me, and they show that there is “life beyond transition” for a crossdresser like me who knows that transition will never be an option. While my own family would probably die from shock, as well as my conservative friends, I keep going back to the idea that my mother-in-law would probably find it very amusing. On the other hand, just daydreaming about that will just generate expectations, worries, and anxiety — so why bother thinking and thinking about that? If the opportunity comes, I’ll seize it; if not, I shall not worry too much about it. That’s the way that leads to happiness — it’s called contentment: being happy with what you got and not worrying too much about what you cannot get.

Every month has small victories. My recent “boldness” brought me to a gas station (twice). Of course it was an automated one — nobody was around, except for the CCTV — but it still was fun to do. Before that was getting money out of an ATM. And, of course, meeting the lovely Patricia in person. Who knows what will happen next? The main point is: let’s not worry too much about it. It just spoils the fun.

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