Shopping for Sophie

Sophie is caught wearing mum's new dress. This would be fine ..... except that Sophie is a 15 year old boy. Sophie's mum is, not unreasonably, upset and angry. Next day, Sophie is taken shopping for her proper clothes.

One of the minor characters is in a SisterDom story "You want to be in the Gang".

This is not good. I am standing in my parent’s bedroom. And I am not doing anything a normal boy could acceptably make an excuse for. My mum has come with me into the room and she is not pleased at what she found downstairs. She is being quite loud about it. The room is overflowing with Why and What and How long and When and I’m going to have to answer soon.

I am standing in my parent’s bedroom – and I am wearing my mother’s new dress. I am wearing her pretty cream and yellow bra, panties, suspenders and camisole. I adore the slithery, slick feeling of the satin on my bare skin. In addition, there were touches of lace and ribbon to enhance the lovely undies. I am wearing her new cream linen dress with the brown piping. I am wearing stockings tied to the garters of her suspender belt. The way the nylon stretches and pulls and catches on my skin and on the soft hair on my legs is especially interesting. I am wearing her shoes even though they are a bit loose. The way they distort my balance and that is - exciting. The heels on these particular shoes are only 2 ½ inches and yet they make my legs stretch lusciously in the crisp sheer stockings.

I feel so ….. pretty. I saw her wearing this outfit at the weekend and so wanted to try it on. I like the way the hem of the dress fruffles against my legs. I like the way the style of the dress catches my steps as I walk (so differently from the feel of trousers.). I adore the slip and slither as the sleek, sheer arms of the dress brush against the dress and the slither of the lining. So unlike the roughness of my usual clothing. Ooooh, so niiiice.

For me, it is so fortunate that I can wear her clothes with no real worry about stretching or distorting anything. We are very similar in height, and size even though I am a fifteen years old and she is a 34 year old woman. I must confess that I have been making a real effort not to build muscle or fat so as to stay close to her size. I also agree that shapewise I have not got exactly the chest or hip measurements of my lovely mother. She is 5 ft 6 inches tall, weighs in at 125 lbs. Her bra is a 36B, and she wears panties size 14 so her hips are about 37 inches. Most of her clothes are labelled Small or Medium. I have learnt that different shops and different manufacturers offer clothes that fit really very differently.

Her attitude was remarkably reasonable all things considered. And, in case you hadn’t guessed - I am a boy. And I was wearing a particularly pretty and girlish outfit. And, though I say it myself, I didn’t look completely awful either.

Back to the now – she is not happy. She is speaking very firmly, not quite shouting. “What on earth are you doing? Why are you wearing my clothes? Why are you wearing my new dress and, as far as I can see, why are you wearing my best new underwear? Why are you wearing anything of the female variety – when I left here this morning you were looking rather like a boy – and I do know that, at least, technically and physically you are male. How long has this been going on?”

There was a pause. “Now strip. I don’t want you wearing those things. I’m appalled. I don’t understand what you are doing, why you are doing it or anything about your current display of whatever it is you think you’re doing. ……. I said ‘strip’.” The last was said with sudden loud emphasis.

Hurriedly, I took off the clothes, and even though I was getting rid of the things as fast as I could – I still took time to fold them neatly and place them carefully on the bed. I saw my mother’s eyebrow twitch as she noticed this.

As soon as I was naked – and shivering with a combination of fright, fear, embarrassment and maybe excitement – my mother approached me and poked me in the chest.

“I want to know what’s been going on? How long, how often, when, where, maybe why if you are able to say. I don’t want any stupid mumbling or ‘don’t know’-type answers. It is obvious that this is not a one-time effort. I want answers and I want them now.”

My mother might have been of average height but she had what the army calls ‘command presence’. Her blue-chip eyes and her short bobbed platinum blonde hair were additional evidence of her take-no-prisoners style. There was no possibility that I could make any excuse or offer any evasion that she would bother to hear. I would have to tell the truth – actually it was going to turn out that I would tell myself the truth too. The truth that I had ignored or even avoided for some years.

It was me that had got myself into this disaster. I had had no help from anyone. Nobody had encouraged me. As far as I knew, nobody knew what I was doing in my spare time when my mother was out. Father – oh he had walked out a few years ago. The fear of my mother had eventually been outweighed by the pneumatic charms of his secretary. We saw little of him nowadays. He was fairly generous as regards money but mother actually made more money in a typical year in her work as a behavioural consultant. Actually, I didn’t really knew what that meant – she didn’t tell stories about her work.

Mother worked hard and once in a while had to work late or early in order to deal with some of her clients. I had got into the habit of wandering into her bedroom and enjoying the wonderful perfumes and the delightful feel of her clothes – especially the smooth and slinky feel of her satin and silk undies. The almost-scratch of the lace edging was also definitely pleasurable.

And from touching – I had moved on to trying them on and wearing them around the house. I had, what’s the right word, absorbed, borrowed, collected, stolen one of her soft and sheer nightdresses and I often wore this when the nights were cooler. Otherwise, I slept nude.

I was confident that mother knew none of this. It was a large house but the gravel drive meant that I could always tell when a car arrived. My room looked over the drive but even from the front gate it was impossible to get a clear view at my window because of the tree in the way.

But this was not a stolen evening – this was the school holidays. I had been expecting days of enjoyment dressed in the most delicious of frills and frottage. I had swirled upstairs after breakfast and gone into my bathroom. I had filled the bath with a wonderful bubble foam labelled ‘mango and ylang-ylang - for the discerning woman’. All I wanted was to smell beautiful.

I had tucked my hair up so that it would not get wet into a cap I had squirelled away in my drawers. My hair was quite long now and I continued to refuse to have it cut. It was last cut about six months before at a salon which I knew was aware of my preferences as regards style. Oh all right - I had told them to trim it and to show me how to have it in a girlish style as well as in a masculine style for school

The girl – Simone – had giggled when she showed me the result. And then she had asked if I wanted some lessons in makeup as the salon was empty for the afternoon apart from the two of us and it was nearly closing time. She was willing to give me up to an hour of her time. In fact, it was nearly an hour and a half before we had removed all the evidence of her teaching and my efforts to copy her examples. I had such fun and she had offered to do the same some time soon. Purely as a coincidence, we had been unable to meet for months but she had given me a slot for next week Wednesday. I was so looking forward to it. And I had been practising as often as I could. Buying the makeup and mascara and lipstick was no real problem – especially once Simone had given me a card with my best colours. The big difficulty was the removal of every trace and the quantity of gunks, lotions, wipes and so on required to keep me looking good. And they had to be hidden too.

And each time I had to remove my mask of girl – each time I hated doing so just a little more. I never thought in terms of being a girl locked inside a boy’s body. What I adored was being as pretty as I could be – being dressed in lovely materials instead of the drab and ordinary stuff that boys and men had available.

I had enjoyed the bubble bath and the slickness of the oil I smoothed on after I had shaved my pits and my legs. I liked the way my legs felt after shaving and smoothing. In fact I was proud of how they looked once I had stockings and heels on – they looked good. In addition, Simone told me that I had lovely skin and cheekbones that would make it easy for me to look like a gorgeous young lady. She had shown me how to tweeze my eyebrows – although she told me that I should not touch them any more as she had tidied them enough for several months.

Wearing makeup was a step further than just wearing the clothes – I did realize this. And this extra step did make me uncertain as to my plans and preferences.

After getting dressed, I had put on as much or rather as little makeup as I dared. It had to be enough to satisfy me and enough that it could be easily removed. Then I had gone downstairs, carefully, as shoes with heels were not my normal footwear and I had been tidying up in the kitchen. The clatter of dishes while I washed up had meant that I had not heard the noise of the gravel.

Suddenly, my mother had been there – glaring at me and hustling me upstairs to her bedroom.

I stammered. This was not a good response.

I stuttered – this was, if anything, worse.


Without me noticing it, she had picked up a leather belt – and the noise was what happened when it smacked onto the bed beside me.

“Stop right there. I asked simple questions. I will ask them more slowly, one by one so that I get coherent answers which will help me decide what is going to happen next. Do you understand – a simple ‘yes’ will be sufficient’.

I swallowed. “Yes, mother” managed to escape my lips.

“Number one – how long has this been going on?”

“For a year or so. I’m so sorry. I’ll never do it again.”

“An adequate first answer but barely exact. As regards being sorry and so on – we’ll get to that later when I know exactly what you’ve been doing. For the next few minutes you can drop the ‘I’m sorry’ routine whether it’s real or pretend or just embarrassment. Why are you wearing my dress and my underwear – no that can wait – have you been wearing this ‘costume’ just in my bedroom, around the house or outdoors.”

“Oh no, mother, only in the house.”

“So – you wander around the house parading yourself as a girl, eh? How often?”

“Quite often in the holidays, but only occasionally at other times.”

“Hmmmm. Every weekend then?”

“No, not always but probably two weekends in three, I find time to try something on.”

“Underwear mostly or full dress-up?”

“It began with underwear – but in the last couple of months I’ve been wearing some of your blouses, skirts and dresses.”

“Do you have any preference from your experimenting?”

“I love the feel of the silk and satin against my skin. It feels so very different from anything I’ve worn before. It’s just so ….. nice.”

“Hmmmmm. ….. ‘nice’ ….. ho hum. But looking at you now – you’re wearing considerably more than just underwear. Describe to me what you are wearing – and try to include the details so that I will understand whether you have noticed the important femininity of what you have stolen.”

“Er, I’m wearing “ I was interrupted.

“Did you wash before you put on my clothes? Are you clean?”

“Oh yes, mother. I had a shower and shaved everywhere. I wouldn’t put on your things and want to get them dirty.”

“Everywhere – what exactly do you mean?”

“Well, everywhere – my face, under my arms, my legs.”

“… and your crotch?”

“Well, it’s only a very few hairs there and I wasn’t sure about doing down there yet.”

“Hmmmmm. Continue with what you are now wearing.”

“First I put on your panties so I wasn’t naked. Then I put on your bra. I had time to choose which set to wear and this is just so pretty that I was putting it on almost before I had consciously made a selection. Something about the colour and the amount of lace caught my attention. Then the suspenders and the camisole before I rolled the stockings up my legs like I’ve seen you do. Then I walked around for a minute or so to feel that everything was, er, right and while I looked in your wardrobe to decide what I was going to wear to complete my costume. After all, I wasn’t sure if I was going to wear a skirt and blouse as before or to be a bit more daring and try on a dress.”

“You prefer skirts and blouses to a dress?”

“Well I’ve worn a skirt more often but now that I’ve tried on some dresses, I do like them as well – probably a bit more actually now that it’s summertime and you do have some lovely summer dresses.”

“Yes, I do don’t I – but compliments about my dresses won’t reduce my irritation that I’ve walked into my bedroom and found my son, my son mind you, wearing one of them. Even if it actually makes him look rather pretty and girlish.”

The unexpected compliment made me smile.

“To continue, once I had chosen that dress I decided that the right shoes to wear were the ones I’m standing in – even though they are not the most comfortable ones I’ve tried.”

There was silence for nearly half a minute.

“So – this is not a one-off piece of experimentation by a boy wondering what pretty clothes feel like – this is a boy who has done his experimenting and has already decided that pretty clothes are of interest.”

She came closer – “and now I look closely I can see residues of makeup in the corner of your eyes. How often have you worn makeup? Have you been busy in the more unusual corners of the internet or has someone been helping you? Hmmm?

“I do look at the internet … but mostly I got some help at the salon.”

“At my salon!!!!”

“No, at the one I went to last time I had my hair cut. Simone, the girl there was very understanding and gave me some good advice.”

“Sssssssssssssssso”, she hissed, “you prefer to get advice from a casual stranger rather than the mother who has looked after you all your life!”

“Mum ….. you have looked after a SON all your life – how was I going to talk to you about panties, skirts and so on.”

Rather cryptically, she replied, “You’d never know if you didn’t ask – so instead I discover my son flagrantly parading in my new clothes around my house at risk of being found by anyone who was in the house.”

“Er, mum, I never did this when anyone was around – I’m not stupid and I haven’t, wouldn’t have dared if I suspected I might get caught.”

“But you have been caught – and by your oh-so-unsuspecting mother. Enough for the moment. As I can see, you are past the stage of ‘experimentation’. You’ve given some answers as to when, where and how often. You must therefore have some idea of why you dress up as a girl.”

“I never actually thought of it as ‘dressing as a girl’. I think it’s more of dressing in lovely clothes and the feel of it all.”

“I’ve never had to think about this sort of thing before – so I’m going with the flow here. Do you think about having breasts? Do you want breasts of your own? Do you want to be a girl? Are you telling me that I have daughter not a son.”

“Whoa, mum. You’re going too fast. I can’t answer all that at once. I can’t deal with all the stuff that puts in my head.”

“Sorry, darling. Just put on the dressing-gown behind the door then come and sit with me on the bed so I can tell you what is going to happen, now, next and in the near future.”

“Er, mum, that’s your dressing-gown.”

“I know dear, but I think we’ve moved on to rather more important issues. You wearing one of my gowns doesn’t really matter for now. ”

I was considerably off-balance.

“Now, darling” [wuh, wuh, brain stoppage] “We’re going to have to look at some of the questions in a bit more detail. Soon I’m going to go and talk to some people. Clearly you have some confusion as regards yourself, your self and your presentation to the world. I am going to ask you no more questions. Perforce, I must cease being angry at your wearing of my garments in response to some fairly significant need within you. I AM angry still at you choosing to wear my best and newest – but that will no doubt pass. I am no longer angry but I am concerned that there are issues about which you can talk to others but not to me.”

There was another pause. “Lie down here next to me, and curl up beside me or stretch out as may be – but just be here and relax.”

I eased myself onto the bed beside her. I enjoyed the slide of the sheer gossamer fabric on the satin cover of the duvet. I sighed comfortably, “mmmmm.”

“Nice, isn’t it. I like the feeling too.. But before I speak to anyone about you and before you meet any of these people to discuss the, erm, not problem, but situation – can I ask what it is you currently think you want. For simplicity, you can answer Yes, No, Don’t Know and Too-complicated-for-Now.”

“Do you feel like a girl?”

“Too complicated. What does ‘feeling like a girl’ feel like? I’m me.”

“Do you want to dress up every day?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Try to keep your answers to what I’ve suggested, darling. Would you like to have some of your own clothes or would you prefer to keep borrowing mine.”

“Oh no, I’d definitely like some clothes of my own.”

“To wear every day?”

“No, I think I answered that already – but to dress when I want to.”

“What if I asked you to dress as a girl – for me, as my daughter.”

“Don’t know – so far I’ve dressed only when I want to. Do you want me to dress up for you. Do you want me to be your daughter?”

“Be silent, child, I vill ask ze questions. Zo, you have thought only about your wishes and desires, eh?”

I giggled. It felt both wrong and yet somehow right.

“No – I do not want anything – what I want is for you to be the best and most real person you can be. If dressing up is important to you – then I do want it done properly rather than in secret. I want you to enjoy everything you do – with confidence and poise as necessary. If you’re going to dress up that is one thing – if you wish to become more focussed on taking the part of a girl more often then that’s a step further than we need to think about now.”

“If you have any firm thoughts about the immediate future – then give me some indication as soon as you can.”

“Erm, [good start] erm, I think, I repeat I think, that what I want is to wear lovely clothes – like yours – when I want to. I’ll think about it some more – but I think I’d like to be able to go out with you dressed up and to enjoy some time with you – not necessarily as your ‘daughter’ but I certainly don’t want to be caught out as a ‘boy in a dress’.

“That does take us a few steps further – on tiptoe perhaps – but it gives me more to think about and more to prepare for.”

“Now, off you go to bed. If you wish, you can take one of my nightdresses. Oh, an one extra point – you may consider carefully because I am in future going to treat you as someone grown up enough to make decisions and to accept consequences – what do YOU think should be your punishment for the following poor choices by you – one – borrowing my clothes without permission – two – asking someone else for help and advice instead of me – three – more than a year’s worth of lying and concealing your behaviour and – four – whatever other misbehaviour you feel merits my disapproval.”

“So, be off with you, think pretty thoughts and look forward to the morning. At the very least, we will be buying you the beginnings of your own wardrobe. So after spending far too few moments on the bad thoughts I have forced upon you – you can begin to plan what to wear tomorrow and what to buy tomorrow. Get away, you smirking girl, you.”

I couldn’t help it – the rapid switch from excitement to scared to excitement was too sudden. I fainted and fell back half on the bed and half on the floor.

Mum caught me as I slumped, “you can add that in either as the first part of your punishment – being scared out of your skin – or you can treat it as ‘just another day in this special summer’. I can promise you that if you work with me, this can be a wonderful summer of learning about yourself and about half of the population that the average man never gets to have a clue about.”

“Mum, enough already. I would like to borrow a nightdress just to see if I like sleeping in one. Yes – I will spend some time thinking what punishment I deserve and I do agree that some punishment is deserved and yes, I will think about dressing up tomorrow. As a start, I will come to your bedroom after breakfast and ask for your help with getting ready. At this point I have a condition, I would love to go out with you but I will only do so if we both agree that I look good enough to be safe.”

“I wasn’t trying to pressure you. Nor was I wanting to upset you. I’m proud of what you have managed so far. I will be delighted to meet my son tomorrow but before breakfast. If we are spending the day together then I want to start as early as we can both manage. When you are up, I want you to bathe properly, to trim or shave anything that needs it – you can take a new razor from my bathroom unless you have your own. It’s a false economy to reuse a razor too often. Oh, and I did notice you were wearing perfume – be a good girl and splash a little onto your pillow – it’ll give you a little extra to enjoy the night. As I said, when you’re ready put on your nightie and get ready for bed.|”

I went to bed and lay there resting and thinking for a while before falling asleep. What would happen in the morning? What sort of punishment should I determine for myself – I thought about options such as banning me from the computer or the internet; forcing me to do something unpleasant. But all too soon I fell asleep, snug and sleek and slippery in my borrowed nightdress.

Morning came. I could detect from the smell of coffee and the general clatter that mum was up and busy in the kitchen. I wondered whether to join her immediately or whether to do the first few stages of ‘getting ready’ that had been mentioned. In the end I decided to get ready as quickly as reasonable and hope that there was time for breakfast.

Because I had shaved so well yesterday, I only had to remove a very light amount – which made things easier. But it all took time.

Once I had gone downstairs, mum said, “Let’s have breakfast then we can talk a little more. I still need to be convinced about what has been happening and then I need to decide what will be happening. Some of this will be similar to what I asked last night. I spent quite some time on the internet last night. I have also spent a lot of time thinking about options. Now, once again – tell me again why you were dressed as a girl – even if you were wearing clothes designed for an older woman, I do assume that your intent was to emulate a girl of your age not a woman like me."

“I don’t really know, it’s just something I like doing. I don’t know why I do it.” I’m not sure why but I was crying now, tears streaming down my face as my fears flooded out past my defences.

“Alright, but we do need to talk about this. First off, I was shocked last night, and some of what I said was almost angry. I am puzzled, rather confused and I need you to give me answers to questions which other people are soon going to be asking you. This is a chance to begin to think about your answers. You are only fifteen and your whole life as an adult is ahead of you. You have a long way to go in your life. You are also intelligent enough to understand what I am saying right now. You say that you don’t know what it is that you like about dressing up. In the near future – think about it. Is it the material? Is it being a sort-of-girl? Is it pretending to be a girl? You’ve said you like wearing feminine clothes – but you don’t really know why you do it. If you had the choice right now, would you like to be a girl instead of a boy?"

I looked at her with a startled expression. Then put my head down like I was frightened or ashamed.

“What’s the matter, darling. I won’t be upset by either answer.

I looked at her and said. "Mom, I don't want you to be mad at me again. I don't want to hurt your feelings or even make you upset like I did when you came in and got angry."

She put her arms around me and hugged me and said she was sorry, but that she would like an answer to her question.

“What I want is complicated, mum. I would really like to have the best bits of being a boy and the best bits of being a girl. I love playing sports because I am good at it – but I love dressing up too. Girls having fun seems to be so different – and I like that. They don't have to worry about who won the football game or who the best wrestler is, or whether they can save the universe from invading aliens. Girls get to wear such pretty colored outfits, have sleepovers and do each other's makeup and tell jokes and all sorts of girly things."

“If they’re a bit like boys, then they talk about guys and the boys at school and who likes who and so on. I’m only fifteen and I think I’m a bit behind the curve on that one – but I do want people to like me and eventually to find one special one who loves me."

"Guys on the other hand, are vulgar and rude. Always getting into fights, passing gas even in crowds and think nothing of it. They use very vulgar and obscene words to describe the female anatomy and even their own anatomy. They dress like they are style blind, and most of the guys I see don't have their shoes polished or cleaned. But when I’m being a guy, I don’t mind some of that. But there’s times I don’t fit in. For example, my shoes are always wiped off if they get a smudge on them. And when they stand, they act like they're taking up the entire aisle or sidewalk, or doorway. And they always walk with their hands in their pockets. Some of them sweat and stink, some of them have body hair which looks just awful.

I was cut short by mom when she smiled and interrupted, "Darling, some men are apes, Joe. Oh! We can't call you Joe if you're a girl. What name did you choose for yourself when are a girl?"

"Sofia, recently or Sophie" I answered.

"Okay, Sophie, I'm sorry. You were saying, about guys?"

"I was going to say, sometimes I don't ever want to be a man, with hair all over my chest and body. And I don't want to sweat like a waterfall, either. I don't want to worry about if I have male pattern baldness or not. Compared to them I just want to be a sweet smelling, pretty clothes wearing, giggling girl. But then I see other men, and they seem to be smooth, kind, nice and so on – the only disadvantage is they can only wear drab, boring, brown and black and blue and beige – yuk. And it’s all so scratchy and rough."

“Wow, that was a lot of bottled-up thoughts in a hurry to get out. Can I tell you what I heard?"

“Of course, mum. You’re the grown up."

“What I heard was ‘I love feminine clothes; I want to avoid being a big hairy male; I’m not sure whether I love boys or girls; and I’d like to look at how I can be a man and still wear pretty clothes."

“I guess that’s more or less what I said."

“Well, like I said before, you’re only fifteen and things can change. I can promise you that if you meet a pretty girl next week who loves the idea of a boy in a dress – then you’ll be keen to do what she asks. If you meet an attractive boy who sees the girl as well as a pretty boy – then that may be the route you follow. I’ll be here to help you and guide you. I don’t think I need to tell you that there are several options which will be more difficult and more painful than others."

“Oh, no, mum. I do know some of these things."

“In the meantime, I do not want you wearing any more of my clothes. And certainly not my underwear."

My face fell and I knew I looked sad and dismal.

“Oh, don’t be dim, darling. What I mean is that we need to go shopping at once and buy some new clothes for Sofia. After all, you said, you don’t want to wear those scratchy, rough, heavy boy’s clothes any more. We’ll be looking at soft and pretty and girly and swirly – yes. And I guess this means that some of the time you’ll be a pretty daughter and some of the time you’ll be a boy. Today will be a girl day – for me and my daughter."

I know that I jumped up and into her arms with a great big smile. “What shall I wear?”

“Anything you like, dear. I can fluff your hair a bit, lend you one of my dresses and some underwear – for the last time mind you - or – I can go out and buy you one or two outfits and then we can both go out."

“If you say I can do it, mum, and that I’m safe with you – then let’s go out now – together. That’ll make me so happy.”

In a few minutes, I had dressed in some of mum’s underwear – pants, bra, camisole with a pretty flowery summer dress on top. No stockings, and the shoes only had a two-inch heel.

Mum came out with her own purse and one for me. I smiled when I saw that she had loaded it already – a twenty pound note and some coins, a lipstick, a tampon because I knew that sometimes ladies asked to borrow one and a handkerchief.

As we sat in the car on the way to the shops, I asked the big question. “What’s Dad going to say?”

“I think that you have put it as clearly as possible – sometimes you want to dress and even behave as a pretty girl and sometimes you want to be an ordinary boy. This means that this is still an incomplete process as far as you are concerned. I did stay up late doing rather too much research on the web. Exhausting. But I did find a lot of information – even if some of it was contradictory. Hold on a sec – I’m going to pull off the road – I need to be able to concentrate on what I’m saying for a few minutes.

“As things are, you are 15 and, I guess, perhaps a bit behind the curve as regards puberty, sex, and becoming a typical macho teenager. If this is a phase you are going through then we will deal with it as a phase and support you in your hobby, interest, pastime until you lose interest. The key will be for you to look good enough as a teenage girl so that nobody sees you and outs you as a ‘boy in a dress’.

If this is not a phase or a mere pastime but something more significant then we have to deal with that too. And it will be more difficult for you and us. It is very clear from what I have read that you are near or on the transvestite-transexual spectrum. And not every person in that group behaves the same. Some, apparently the majority, like to dress up now and again. Some eventually live as women, some go as far as having breast implants, and some, errr, go further.” She shivered a little. “I have little understanding of why some would do that but if their mental and emotional need is so great that they can take the mental and physical abuse that often occurs and go to surgery to ‘correct’ their body then they must be suffering greatly. – And I think it is wrong for people to suffer if tolerance and kindness can prevent much of their pain.

“As a very separate issue, the LGBT [lesbian-gay-bisexual-transexual] label is very unhelpful. The LGB refers to sexuality and the interest one person has in sexual activity with other humans. The T label has little or nothing to do with sex as it is a question of gender and gender-perception. From what I have been reading, the T label almost seems to ignore what seems to be the typical cross-dresser who is usually male – since women can cross-dress without anybody making any sort of fuss – like I say, usually male and generally heterosexual. Why this group is so implausibly attached to the LGB groups is unclear. I don’t deny that the whole bunch – and I know there’s other letters too – is actually a pretence at mutual support against the enormous majority of intolerant normal. And again, we hit my barrier of tolerance – I hate intolerance and all the attached unkindness and abuse that the majority splatters on a quantity of minorities and that some minorities try to use to claim moral superiority. Yuk."

"And from what I have read last night about gender and the whole idea of gender-variation and gender-uncertainty – there’s a lot of it about. The percentages may be small but there seems to be absolute certainty amongst the medical and the sort-of-medical experts that there really are people who don’t fit into the nice tidy male and female boxes. It’s difficult to believe but I found a list and there are some 50 or so different labels attached to this guesstimate of 1% of the population. I do find that statistic hard to believe – I mean that would imply that in your school in every year there may be one child who is gender-vague. Wow. I mean, Wow. In my last company where there were 1,500 people then somewhere between 10 and 20 of them were men who felt they should be women or women who thought they should be men. No – stop a second – not thought they were. They were in their own minds and souls women who were for some unknown biological reason in a man’s body – or vice versa. They have to go through life wearing the clothes of the wrong sex, behaving in the wrong way so as not to be detected as strange, odd, wrong or worse deviant. It sounds horrible – and I still don’t want to believe the statistics. I told you last week about having come across the gorgeous word ‘anecdata’ recently – where a sufficient quantity of stories and alleged reports begins to be treated as genuine fact. Well, I do hope that this 1% has more validity than being based on a quantity of never-validated approximations. But, let’s put that to one side for the moment."

“But back to specifics – which means you, darling. You asked about your dad. I do know him quite well, and I know that he will accept your new pastime and he will probably insist that you only go out when all of us are confident that you can go out with no fear of detection and no fear of abuse and hurt. Today, I am with you and I can confidently say that you look good and that you are completely visible as only a girl. As an extra reassurance – if we do meet anyone then you are my cousin – niece would be too difficult as you might forget to call me Auntie – but I know you can call me M as you often do and, conveniently my name is Marilyn. Do you have a name for when you feel especially girlish?"

“Um, like I said last night, it’s mostly Sophie or something like that, but recently I’ve liked Amelia. But I did like it when you called me Sohie.”

“Any preference today, Sofia, Sophie, Soph, Sophie Amelia, Amelia Sofia Jenkins, Amelia, Amy, - what do you like to hear me calling you?”

“I think I liked it when you shortened it to ‘Soph’ – so let’s stick with that, unless you prefer Sophie or something similar?

“It’s your name, darling. We might have given you your boy names but this is a time for you to choose your own, if you wish. Thank you for giving me the chance to be involved and I think Sophie fits better because I had a schoolmate Sofia and there’s a bit of bad history there. I’d like to be able to call you Sophie – will that be alright?

“Tho I might add Amelia later”

“No problem. Let’s set off again and get Sophie the beginnings of a new wardrobe – so that she doesn’t steal my undies again.” And she giggled and smirked.

Then we went shopping. Mum and daughter. At least for a while.

It was wonderful I felt so relaxed once I realised that nobody was looking sideways at me; that I didn’t look completely awful; that I was to the casual gaze an ordinary girl. It was okay.

And I was constantly being reassured and encouraged by my Mum. “That looks pretty; You should try that one instead; Oh, that colour is good for you; Look at the detail on that, isn’t it lovely; Sophie, darling, does that feel nice.” And so on.

Somehow, we had agreed that I would be getting a modest selection of underwear and probably two or three outfits. In boy-mode I knew that this would take about an hour and we would go to probably Marks & Spencers and one or two other shops.

Little did I know how different it would be this time. I had done a fair amount of people-watching when I was on my own in town. Oh, alright, GIRL-watching – but not as a boy watching girls to see if I fancied any of them or if I could persuade them to fancy me.

No. My girl-watching was watching what they wore, how they behaved, how they fluttered and flocked like wonderful butterflies. So different. So similar. So lovely. And I wasn’t one of them.

But today, I was getting my first real chance to try on butterfly-costumes. I wasn’t pretending either.

Mum walked me through several shops – just looking at clothes. Feeling the textures. Holding them up to me to in the mirror to get a quick idea of how they might look. I was often being asked ‘which item catches your eye’; ‘is there anything you really want to try on’; ‘which colours attract you’; and the variation ‘which colours do you think will make you attractive’.

I had to answer that one … “I’m not doing this to ‘attract anyone’ – that’s far too scary an idea. I just want to enjoy the clothes and the feel and the sensations. That’s enough for the moment.”

“So, you’re not consciously feeling ‘I am a girl in the wrong body and I already know how I want to be in the future as a girl attracting boys’.”

“Aaargh, no. Too much information. No. I haven’t thought about that at all. I’ve got too much boy-programming in my head. I love girls – well I love what they do and what they are and how they behave and how I seem to understand them. But since you seem to be thinking about , ugh, ‘SEX’ – no that’s not where I’m at. I guess I’m a bit behind the puberty time-table. Unlike most of my schoolmates, insofar as I have many ‘mates’ – I don’t think about sex every seven seconds - let alone sex with the opposite sex.”

“Umm, interesting. As you say, let’s not think about that for now. Let’s just concentrate on buying you three or four of the prettiest panties and then getting you fitted for your first bra’.

“Ugggh. What”

“Your first bra, darling. You’re certainly not going to be borrowing mine. And you’re certainly not going to be going without. Girls of your age wear bras – therefore you need a bra in order to be typical. You can blush as much as you like – but we will be buying you a bra and we will be asking one of the girls to fit you properly for it and neither she nor you will be embarrassed at needing a mini-breast-size training bra. You have only a little to fill a bra-cup with – and she will be well experienced in girls who need bras in order to fit in – so to speak’.

“So, stop being a traffic-light, calm down and come with me to the lingerie department.”

I was even more embarrassed at being caught by my mother in her dress. I think I was simultaneously white with fear, scarlet with embarrassment, greeny-yellow with anxiety and purple with shame (I can’t fit any more colours in!).

We walked over to the counter. “Can you help us please. It’s that time in a girl’s life, my pretty daughter needs a bra so that she is one of the girls – even though she’s rather late developing - you know what I mean. So, we’ll need a properly fitting training bra and some advice too.”

The girl smiled “Well, of course you will, and of course we can help. If you only knew how many girls use guesswork for their first bra – and it never looks right. And they get bad habits too. We have women who get their first proper fitting after years of guesswork – and they suddenly feel so much better and more confident. Because I can tell you – properly fitting and properly chosen underwear is absolutely necessary for being a confident girl – or woman.”

“Now, my name is Joy Firth. I’m going to take care of you today.”

“Have you seen any bras that you think you would enjoy wearing? There’s a rack over there. By eye, you’re going to be a 34 inch but if you pick a couple of 36 inch as well that might save time. Training bras are mostly AA or AAA but I judge that an A would suit you fine – and that’s out of the training range into the normal young girl’s sizes.”

We walked over to the rack and Mum passed me a bra. I didn’t have to be sneaky or secretive. I didn’t have to be embarrassed or guilty. Mum was treating this as absolutely normal – just an everyday kind of thing that a young girl would be doing with her Mum. It felt so …. freeing.

“I love you, mum. I don’t know how this is going to go – but I love you so much for being so supportive and so kind.”

“Well, of course I’m being supportive – that’s the only word to use about buying a bra. And the alternative to being supportive would be to be brutal, bullying, unkind, nasty and a whole lot of other words. I may not understand what it is that is going on in your head and in your heart. But as your mother I have no real choice.”

“I would prefer that this had never happened. I do know how hard this world can be if they detect you as ‘unsuitably different’. If we were rich enough then any uunsual behaviour would be acceptable as ‘mere eccentricity’ – but we are not rich enough. What we must do for the moment is investigate how deep this need of yours is – and gradually make some plans as to how you will choose to live your life. In normal circumstances, the choices for a teenager tend to be based on what subjects to study and what hobbies to have.”

“This particular hobby needs to be practised more carefully than some others. But, for now, we’ll treat it as a hobby and I’ll work with you to see how it goes.”

“It’s not a hobby that I can see going away, Mum.”

“Maybe so – maybe no. For the moment, just get on with choosing your bra.

Some minutes later, I was in the changing rooms with both Mum and Joy. She passed the bra to Mum to put on me as if it was some sort of feminine ceremony – and talking later with Mum I realized that it was. It was the First Bra Ceremony – and it was an intimate lesson to me that there are some things that an ordinary boy will never understand.
The bra felt wonderful. It fitted so much better than the borrowed ones back home.

A few minutes later, I was the proud owner of 3 new bras, a full week’s set of panties and two ‘for special’ as well as three camisoles and three vests.

By the end of the morning, as we sat in the food court, I had what felt like an enormous quantity of bags from what felt like every clothes shop in the mall. I had the undies I just mentioned, I had two skirts and three blouses, I had one dress and I had a pair of high-cut denim shorts that had called out to me ‘buy me’ – and I had persuaded mum to get them for me.

She had said, “I’m not sure about this – but you need to know what to do when a particular item calls out like that. Sometimes it is actually ‘it’, sometimes it’s lying and the message fades by the time you take it home. That’s one of the reasons that women never take the tags off a piece of clothing until it has been home and performed the ‘look-at-me’ fashion show. Even then, you don’t cut the tag off for at least a week if you don’t actually need to wear it straight away.”

I knew so little. But Mum continued to encourage me and help me to be confident. While we sat, having a lemonade and a small snack, she kept giving me advice. “We’ve chosen a few things for this morning and money-wise for today that’s enough. After lunch, we’ll go to a few shops for some expert advice and then home. We’ll get advice on your make-up colouring and that will overlap into your clothes colouring and even the best materials for you. Do you want to do that or are you tired yet?”

“I think what I’ve learnt most from this morning is to be confident. And if I’m not feeling confident then to pretend even harder.”

Mum smiled. “It’s a bit like being happy. If you’re happy then smile – and you’ll be amazed at how many people smile back. And if you’re not so happy, then plaster a smile on your face and the smiles you get back will quickly get you into a real state of ‘I’m happy’ as well. It’s a simple sort of self-hypnosis really.”

“But you smile all the time.”

“Yessss, but sometimes, for a little while, the smile is a pretend until it loops round and becomes real enough.”

“Oh, Mum, I’m sorry, I never worked that out before.”

“Sofie, darling, there’s things you just can’t tell a man but you can tell another girl. That’s how much I think you’re going to be my daughter some of the time.”

That was a magical moment.

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