The BIG Adventure - I'm ready now.

The BIG adventure – I’m ready now.

Even when you go out filled with confidence - there are nasties offering endless pain. For first-timers, the risk may be more than they can bear.

No, not that sort of adventure – we’re not going on a bear hunt – that’s for children.

Again, No – we’re not fighting pirates or going to the jungle – we’re being braver than we ever thought possible – we’re going out dressed in our preferred clothing – for the first time.

Now THAT’s what I call really scary – really frightening – really adventurous.

And I’m not pretending to do it. I’m not writing about doing it. I ‘m not imagining doing it – I’m actually going on this great big adventure.

Who dares say that my adventure doesn't compare with jungles - have you seen the humans, near-humans and sub-humans who live near here. There's a real jungle in every city nowadays.

Not so. I need the adventuring skills and enormous luck of a Horatia Hornblower or a Harriet Potter. A bit of magic would help, obviously.

I’ve sat around for too long. Dressed up with nowhere to go. I’ve sat alone – with no one to do things with. I’ve sat – worried and wondering – well bollocks to all that (and yes I still have mine even if prettily wrapped in satin and lace panties) it’s time to be a big girl.

Because that’s part of the problem. I’m not a dainty teenage boi with soft white skin and androgynous looks. I’m not able to ‘just slide into pretty clothes', add a touch of makeup to my 'oh-aren’t-you-lucky' skin and suddenly ‘wow I’m gorgeous’. I don’t have a mentor or a BigSister who willingly helps me to learn the tricks of womanhood. It’s just me – a male-shaped girl.

So which version of the adventure should I pretend is happening – PLEASE can I pretend so that I don’t have to do it for real. PLEASE.

I know, I really know, that everything will go better as long as I am confident – but what does it take to have confidence.

I see all the real girls and I see what, for me, makes them real.

Breasts – oh they have such lovely breasts – small, large, perky, droopy, ordinary, lovely globes of flesh which quiver at every step – oh. They’re so gorgeous.

Legs, Hips, Waists – all those beautiful components which create the female figure.

Neck, Chin, Cheekbones, Earlobes, lobes with piercings, pretty ears with sparkle.

Lips, lips with succulent colour.

Eyes, eyes with all the variety that practice can apply.

Oh, I wish.

But I have …….

Well, what do I have. I have a masculine body and a fond and foolish desire to clothe it in feminine fripperies.

I am a six foot solid ex-rugby player. I’m mildly overweight, unfit, with an appallingly cylindrical figure such that my skirts and panties have a depressing desire to slide past my non-existent hips to the unwelcoming floor. Now – that’s not in any adventure I ever read about.

And as for confidence - even the least feminine of them (and some are indeed less so) has had decades of femme-101 and has learnt all the signals to watch for and indeed all the signals to give. They are girls - and even if I can know (so deeply) that many of my depths are feminine - I'll never be like them. And their years of experience give every one of them a basic confidence. They may have issues (who doesn't) about body image, social skills or any of the available 571 character issues [there's bound to be a list on the web!].

But confidence about being a girl in public.

They've got it - and I don't.

So - I'm going to have to pretend really hard. I'm going to have to use my best camouflage. And - yes - today's the day.

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How did my adventure start?

I can’t really remember.

Ever since I was a little boy, no I nearly wrote ‘girl’ – no perhaps …….let’s try again . . . . . . ever since I was small I have had a preference for silky and smooth and soft and furry and soft and shiny and gentle and ….. all the words that people attach to feminine and sweet and pretty and lovely and gorgeous.

What I wear doesn’t have to be pink – that’s just a phenomenally successful amount of indoctrination since the 1930s. But I don’t want DRAB. I don’t want grey or brown or black or any of the colours that MEN are expected or allowed to wear.

But I’m a man. On the outside. And ONLY on the outside.

On the inside, I’m not a woman all the time. I just want the choice and the opportunity to wear what I like when I like.

If you expect me to be 100% girly on the inside – well, that’s a silly as expecting anybody to be 100% anything. We are human. We are changeable. We can even be nice some of the time and nasty some of the time. Compassionate & Harsh. Kind and Vile. Happy & Sad. Boring & Interesting. Competent and Daft. Even Feminine and Masculine. And not one of these tips to 100% or 0%. We are all a complex mixture.

Nature & Nurture – not an argument I can be bothered with. Anyone with common sense and without a vested interest in just one of those components will accept ‘It’s a Mixture’.

But I’m talking about my decision today. I can’t be bothered with the psychological whys and whethers, interesting though they might be on a different occasion. I’m recognising that part of me is feminine. I’m deciding that I should stop hiding my feminine side and be bold enough to get outside and show that I’m comfortable with who I am.

And before today I’ve never been brave enough for such an awfully big adventure. Yes, I do know that that’s a reference to Peter Pan and his view of death – but perhaps that’s going a bit far for a simple story about why I was going out dressed for the first time.

And unless things went dreadfully wrong – there was no likelihood of death in a small southern England town.

But a small English town is not real for most people.

I know where I live – and I know that the rest of the world is very definitely a much crueller place. My town is several decades behind the pace of London life or most typical metropoloseroseries (or whatever the plural should be). It’s a bit like the plural of banana has to be banananananana.

THEY are cruel in the real world. THEY are intolerant, vicious, vile, nasty, thoroughly rotten, an accumulation of all the ugly attitudes and behaviours that THEY lash out at those who are perceived as ‘different’.

But I AM one of the ‘different’. I’m not ‘normal’. But who are THEM who make these value judgements, who decide these stereotypes, who perpetrate these ugly prejudices. I suppose that it isn’t too startling that they hate and fear things and people that they don’t understand.

What does each of know about being ‘normal’.

I’ve spent my life not quite fitting in. I’ve never been able to work out why or what I’ve done ‘differently’. I like people. I’ve been told I’m a good listener.

I know I have difficulty joining in with conversations. I walk up to a group of people and if I feel that they’re having a jolly good conversation but a little private or personal – I walk away. If I move towards a group and the shoulders fractionally close in my path – I instantly take that as a signal that interruption is unwelcome. I’m a bit shy – especially new people.

But I can be open. I can be almost too open with new people that I’m confident that I’m unlikely to meet again. I’ll tell them details of my life, details of my worries and problems and concerns that I would never tell a friend or familiar.

Am I strange? Is what I do wrong? How can being socially inept be a reason for intolerance? But that’s what it feels like. For a while I invited people for dinner – in twos and threes and fours and even sixes. I did this so that I had some evenings of good conversation and pleasant company – but I did expect that once in a while an invitation in return would arrive. It didn’t have to be dinner – although that would have been nice. But a trip to a pub, for a film, for an evening out, even for a coffee. But no. Nothing. So I stopped having dinner parties. So I met nobody. So I gave dinner parties again. What was going wrong?

But I do know about more active forms of bullying, discrimination, intolerance, unkindness and prejudice. I may be white, male, mildly Christian, English, nearly six foot tall, married, well educated, quite well off; house-owning (mortgage paid), and a whole range of middle-of-the-roadness and this means that I am not aware by actions or attitudes directed at me of the major areas of discrimination by race, colour, gender, sexuality, age, size, disability, religion, politics or similar.

But I have been hated. I have been bullied. I have received abuse. And I guess that the effects are still there even if I’ve bottled them up as far out of sight as I can manage.

I can say that there can be no doubt that I have, in my turn, [whether deliberately, casually or even unconsciously] been unkind and have been prejudiced and have discriminated against my peers and especially my not-peers. How much of an excuse will it be before my final judge – ‘I had no intent to do it’; ‘I never saw that as wrong’; ‘Now I see what you are talking about’; will it all be too late.

How do my friends judge me?

Do they judge me?

Which me do they judge?

Since I’ve hidden some of my important characteristics and attitudes and interests – how would they judge me if they knew that I wanted to wear dresses, panties, stockings, heels and the full panoply of womanhood – probably even a bra otherwise the clothes wouldn’t hang right.

Judging by stories, true-tales and anecdata, some would accept me, some would shun me, some would hate me and perhaps some wouldn’t be bothered.

But I do know that I’m a pretty reasonable bloke – albeit with an unusual interest in costume. I can over-analyse beyond reason – do I think so because being in a socially solid state I can look down at a lot of people and don’t actually need to be concerned about their view of me. Oooh – , that makes me sound arrogant – which is not my intent and not my understanding of myself. Too many words – trying to be too clever. Time to stop.

I do know that I’m different, even unusual. I love to wear women’s clothes. The soft fabric, the silk, the satin. The pull of nylon on my legs. The feel and sway of jersey – so much finer than the coarse equivalent allowed for males – and all they get is cardigans. I love the pretty embroidery, the lace, the detailing. Some men may be allowed a tiny bit of flamboyance on a tie or a waistcoat even – but a whole outfit in glamourous, glossy, adventurous, excitingness – no way.

What a shame.

And in the privacy of my house, sometimes I allowed Alice to escape. Her small and limited wardrobe lived in a hidden corner of the attic. She only came out when I knew that I/we had most of day alone. Every day, I shaved close and did a little to feel pampered. I felt that this helped keep Alice below the surface.

Some days I would allow myself to wear panties – but rarely more than two or three times a month. I did, as I’ve said about allowed flamboyance, give myself several waistcoats which a friend made for me. I’ve a selection of about a dozen.

But what I wanted was the feel of a dress first as the sleek lining slithers down my eager body, then the thrill of it swirling around my stockinged legs, the delicious swish of cloth on satin underpinnings, the pull of my bra and the wondrous weight of the breast-forms, the curve of those [oh so fake but lovely] breasts at the bottom of my eye-line. I’ve never been sure about makeup – the risk of detection after poor removal being too high.

So, my life passed. And every now and then, I got dressed and really enjoyed the day. Of course, other days had good things happening too, but the days I got dressed were kind of nice. I never felt I HAD to get dressed. I never felt I needed to dress. I never, or rarely (I think) ogled women or even spent time looking at what they wore; shops never called to me; windows of dresses and skirts never said ‘buy me’. Like most men, windows full of scanty underwear did catch my attention – but mostly in terms of wondering which of the nearby ladies were likely to buy – and which they might buy. Or maybe I was a bit of a dirty old man like the rest of my colleagues.

But even though I knew the percentage of men who sometimes wore women’s underwear was allegedly far in excess of 1% or 2% or even beyond 3% - yeah, yeah, which survey was that and is their sample valid and are the results reasonable …… I couldn’t believe that maybe as many as 2 people in my street, 10 people in my company, 20 people in my village, 200 people in my town, more than 1 in every 100 people walking in the street were behaving like me. I was confident that I wasn’t alone – the worry of every person who was a bit ‘different’. But I had not met anyone who could say ‘yeah, me too’. I felt alone.

Even when I had Alice to keep me company – I still felt alone, lonely and lone.

So I had my days when I dressed.

And I had my days when I was dressed and wondered about being brave enough to go outdoors to show my preferred costume to the rest of the world.

They might be completely uninterested – that’s what I hoped. They might be vile and intolerant; they might just be mildly accepting that I was a bit odd.

So, time passed and gradually the idea of going out on a beautiful day in a beautiful dress caught my fancy.

Time passed and my wife began to go off on courses and weekends away. This meant that Alice came out more often.

So came today. I had been by myself for five days. My wife was going to be away for three more days. And the weather was warm, clear, peaceful, really nice. And Alice wanted to go out to town. She wanted to be more real than was possible inside a house.

I took my time getting ready. I took off the nightie that I had worn every night. I got dressed in bra, panties, skirt and blouse as if it was normal. Later in the morning, after doing the housework, I decided that it was time. I sorted through my wardrobe trying to decide what to wear for an afternoon in town. I only changed my mind about three times.

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Do I need to go into the details?

All I can say is that a quiet summer afternoon out and a quiet drink in the corner of a winebar went very horribly wrong.

I wasn’t wearing anything ‘stupid’ or ‘provocative’. God knows how silly I would look as a drag queen. I’m not and have never been a ‘drag queen’. Nor am I a ‘sissy’. Nor am I a slut. I’m just a man who enjoys dressing in the clothes of the opposite gender even though my body is not suitable for the task. I do think that it is unfortunate that my bodyshape is very unsuitable for posing as feminine. It’s got none of the curves that should be there – it’s a cylinder – the hips do nothing to stop the skirts plummeting to the ankles; the waist is a wasteland of

I was wearing an M&S bra with C-cup fillers; it’s white with a lacy stitching and a little bow at the front; a rose-pink slip with darker pink lace edging round the cups; an ivory blouse with short sleeves from New Look; a skirt from Debenhams, a kilt-style even with a pseudo-tartan, tights and wide-fit size 9 /43 2 inch heel open-toe black shoes. I was trying to look ‘ordinary’.

Despite the first-timeness of it all I did feel comfortable. And that made me feel confident. I hadn’t bothered with makeup – there didn’t seem to be a great deal of point in painting a pig. But I had a wig and a scarf which added a little to my attempt to be (let’s hope) not too noticeable. But, let’s face it – my shape is far from typical even for a large woman. I suspect that I’m walking like a man rather than swivelling my hips properly.

I wish there was a class available – well a lot of classes. I would have taken any and every class available to be able to make Alice a bit more real.

I parked the car – and had to ask an elderly man for change at the machine as I only have notes. To my entertainment, he said ‘I’m glad to see a kilt at this time of year.” Silly old man, I thought to myself, – but somehow I find the outcome delightful and happy-making.

I wandered along the streets and look in the windows. I went into a couple of the shops that I have never been into before – certainly not while wearing a blouse and skirt. The assistants are pleasant – which is beyond nice. One asks ‘what sort of things I am looking for’; ‘do I know my sizes as the clothes in this store are usually quite generous’; ‘there’s some lovely summer dresses in the sale’.

It’s difficult not to get interested in what she is saying. I would love to have a summer dress that I had chosen openly, that I had tried on in the shop, that I had openly bought as a cross-dresser buying ladies clothes for myself. Part of me thought why not, part of me screamed don’t be silly.

Which result would surprise you – did I walk out of there with a bag of new, beautiful clothes or not?

I walked out of there with one bag – with a gorgeous blue dress – ultramarine with a white and teal twisted cord edging and decoration on the collar and pockets. And I had been persuaded, encouraged, almost-bullied into buying new underwear to go with it.

I had a wonderful time with those two girls in the shop. They were so kind. Part of me knew that they had an ulterior motive – they wanted me to spend money and, with their help, I spent more than I had ever intended. But they made me feel good about myself and my slightly unusual hobby – leisure activity.

Their endorsement of what and who I was helped me go into two shoe shops where I managed to escape without buying even one new pair of shoes; and into an accessory shop where I bought a new handbag, and some costume jewellery.

I persuaded myself that going into a hair salon was viable – and yet again, they were so nice. After only a little chitchat, I had been given the prices for all the options which Lucy thought would be lovely for me.

She said, “I know you’re probably a bit uncomfortable talking about this, but we do have people with your especial needs once in a while. WE can’t do much about your hair – as what we normally recommend is a wig and for that we send you to Juliette in Borchester. But I would guess that you have never been given a manicure or a pedicure; that you’ve never had a massage.

I am completely certain that you’ve not been waxed or had your eyebrows shaped. You have so many options which will add to the pleasure you can have when you’re dressed up. And we can give you lessons in makeup too. You may think that there’s nothing to be done with a skin like yours - but we can show you so much that will make you so happy. And we’d love to help you.

Soon I knew that the mani-pedi would take about an hour; that the waxing would take about an hour-and-a-half; that nail-varnish would be another half-hour. A full session would take more than half a day – but I was becoming open to all these new experiences. And in addition, I knew what I hadn’t before – that waxing did often weaken the hair growth but one would still need to deal with stubble and then re-waxing about every three weeks, that a mani-pedi lasted about the same while nail polish depended on the material used and the work done by the nails.

Each encounter proved two things to me – first – that a lot of people were very willing to be helpful and talk sense even if you were being a mildly, if not blatantly, ‘different’; secondly – that if you didn’t ask questions then you were never going to get answers.

To my amazement, I found myself making an appointment for the next Tuesday late-afternoon. For all the options that they had suggested. And with a grin, I had agreed when Lucy said, bring that new dress you showed us that you’ve got in the bag and we’ll teach you the right makeup.

I window-shopped for another hour or so. I looked at dresses, underwear, accessories, shoes. Some shops I went into. I even tried on a few more items. I felt more and more relaxed as the afternoon wore on.

I did notice some sideways glances. One brave man in the security of his wheeled metal-box shouted something at me. He was easy to ignore. I kept my head up. I wasn’t going to creep along the pavement with my eyes fixed on the pavement. Confidence, Alice – go for it.

But I was getting tired. I didn’t feel ready to go home. I wanted something to eat, maybe something to drink. I was happy in my small town, comfortable that I had had a better than expected afternoon and that things were looking good. And I had a new dress and an appointment for Tuesday.

So I was feeling very content. I wasn’t feeling that this was the most wonderful afternoon I’d ever had in my life, certainly not the perfect day – but it was up there amongst the best. So, as I said, I was feeling good. I was feeling that life was definitely not awful. That I could move on with a new and better balance between my masculine reality and my feminine preference. I had been out in public and so far nobody had done anything more than shout at me, once, and look at me sideways, a few times.

And that certainty, that determination, that wonderful realization that I could get both sides of my life to be comfortable in the real world – that made me very agreeable to the idea of a beverage.

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So I moved on and saw a wine bar, not full, not empty, but I liked the look of it and the look of the menu by the door, and I did feel I deserved a drink for my bravery. So I went in and chose a seat at a table in the corner.

I don’t know what I did to become such an instant target – apart from the obvious. It must have been something particular that caught their attention.

I don’t know what was in their rotten minds that triggered them to build up their nastiness and hatred from a few muttered comments to a desire to chase, pursue and obliterate.

Then the comments came nearer. There were about six of them – early twenties, two girls who were winding up their ‘men’ to ‘do things’ to the revolting faggot who had invaded their turf. Even their slang was out-of-date. It made me so much more certain that they were only empowered by their willingness to be nasty and violent.

I was not comfortable. Actually to be more truthful, I was actually trying not to piss myself with fear, not to shake, not to show how scared I was.

It got worse somehow when they went away. Because there was now a threat that something would happen soon, nearby.

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I’m running. I’m running as well as I can in my heels and with my skirt restricting my stride as I try to go faster. One shoe twists on the pavement. I fall to the floor.

I feel the first kick go in. Someone stamps on my hand. I feel the gobs of spittle as they hit my hair and the pavement. This is so so so wrong. So so so unkind. And all because I’m different from what they have decided is ‘right’ and ‘nice’ And even as they kick me, a thread of thought responds ‘ and are these spitting, kicking bastards really typical – are they actually the normal people who should be deciding who and what is ‘right’.’

The thought continues – perhaps as a placebo to help me ignore the pain – ‘and are the apparently nice, decent people just as vile and nasty once their varnished surface is scratched and laid bare.’

The kicks continue. More stamps on my legs and arms. Someone with heavy toecaps kicks me in the neck and head. I feel sick, dizzy and very hurt. I know that these mindless morons have done real damage to my feminine-masculine body. The pain passes any threshold of resistance.

Dimly and distantly I hear shouts. The thugs begin to run – one gives a last farewell boot to my face and I feel the cheekbone crack and the whole side of my face twists and my vision distorts as the eye droops to the pavement. I hear the shouts of ?delight and definitely excitement as they run. They’ve had a great time. They feel masters of the world after their victory over a mere thing.

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I was wrong when I calculated that my quiet little town was a safe place to go out for the first time.

It hurts so much – and almost worst, some of the people who like me will change their opinions when they realize that I’m wearing a dress – and lying in the gutter – and I don’t even have clean panties any more.

Oh, it hurts so much.

But it’s getting easier all of a sudden. The pain is going away. Oh, that’s better, I can rest now. I can hear the sirens coming closer and yet getting further away at the same time. Oh, that’s nice. So quiet.

Peter Pan was right – Death is going to be an awfully big Adventure.

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