That old miss-ing costume.
Every now and again, one of the boys would go miss-ing. For some, was it the stage they were going through?
I was never too keen on fancy-dress parties. I mean, getting dressed up in stupid clothes in the pretence of looking like Superman, Popeye or whoever. And the costumes for girls were equally silly - especially those who simply went for the Disney ‘princess’ style based on whichever recent film caught their tiny attention.
As you can guess, I thought it was a terrible waste of time, energy and money. And I didn’t keep my opinions to myself.
On the other hand – every one of the rest of my family enjoyed the ghastly parade. They thought amateur dramatics was ‘fabulous’. They always knew somebody who had just worn the ‘most outrageous costume’ or ‘the most sensational …. Whatever-it-was’. AAaaarrrhhhggn. They loved fancy dress. They loved parading on stage – and I must confess that on occasions I was persuaded to do my share.
And Mum was always talking about it with other people. She’d find out that they had ‘long ago been involved’ and suddenly *kapow* they’d be hauled in to the net and made to get involve again.
One of these fish was Mrs Jenkins. She suddenly chirped up with ‘I’ve got some old costumes.’ And she proceeded to bring a couple of flat boxes full of clothes and accessories to the hall where we stored our gear, did our rehearsals and so on.
I was there when she and Mum went through them. At the bottom of the third box, Mrs Jenkins suddenly blurted ‘But I thought that was lost. It’s my old Missing costume’. Somehow the phrasing seemed a bit skew. There was a strange emphasis on the word missing. But nobody else seemed to notice.
Later on, the old lady came up to me. “I saw your face when we found that last costume. I saw you notice how I said the word ‘missing’. Can you think back and tell me what did you notice and why did you react like that?”
“Somehow, you seemed to have a special emphasis on the word ‘missing’ – what was that all about?”
“It’s not everyone who would have noticed what I said. But that costume is pretty and special. It’s what my Mum called my ‘miss-ing’ costume.”
“There it was again. You said ‘miss-pause-ing’ – what’s that all about?”
“I said it exactly as it should be said. That was my Miss-ing costume – for when my mother wanted me to be a ‘Miss’”
“Sorry, my brain seems to be, so to speak, missing something. Your miss-ing costume for when your mother wanted you to be a miss?”
“Yes, dear. For when she wanted me to be a miss ….. don’t you understand, instead of being a boy.”
“Don’t make so much fuss, dear. Or I won’t let you borrow it.”
“Why should I want to?”
“It’s part of the magic. When the costume knows there’s a suitable person around, that’s the only time it shows up. You saw it – you heard my words and tone and nobody else did – you’re not a big lad and you’ve got lovely hair. You’d do just fine in that costume. When do you want to try it on?”
“I’ve never …. Not me why should I ….. not …. No …. I don’t want to.” My mouth betrayed my brain – neither of them were capable of reasoned thought.
“Honey, (and nobody had ever called me ‘honey’ before) the dress is calling you. YOU are going to be wearing it – and the dress will do its job. Within a week or so, you can be a pretty young miss and a wonderful daughter.”
“But I don’t want that. I’ve never thought about it.”
“Child, look at yourself. You’re, what, 14 years old?”
“16, thank you.”
“Well, you’re not very big, you don’t look to be rough, tough and sporty. The dress can help you be who you were meant to be.”
“Huh, I’m meant to be a boy. I am a boy. I’m happy to be growing up exactly as I am.”
“I’m not going to insist – it’s just that I know that somehow, planned by you or not, that you will be trying that dress on before the end of the day. It’s how it happens.”
“What d’you mean that ‘it’s how it happens’ – have you made it ‘happen’ for others?”
“Not me, dear. While I have gained immensely from the change – there’s complications and hiccups along the way. The dress isn’t that powerful. Some people seem to notice that a change has happened – they just get a bit fuzzy about the details. But, yes, I’ve seen the dress turn quite a lot of boys into what I call ‘miss-ing persons’.”
She chuckled. I didn’t.
“I’ve seen it work on, er, a dozen or more boys over the years – pretty nearly one every 3 or 4 or even 5 years. Perhaps the dress takes time to re-charge as it’s about 4 years since Jenny turned up.”
“How does the dress come to have stayed with you.”
“I’m not sure really. Perhaps I’m sort of a custodian – I let my girls wear the dress and then, somehow, the dress comes back to me. But – look, your mum’s waving and holding the dress up too.”
My heart sank. Was my future already forecast?
“What’s up, mum?”
“Well, there’s this dress at the bottom of the box and it matches wonderfully with the costume that Dad and I have been given for the next play ……. and, er, we are needing a young girl to make up the family group ….. would you, er, be willing ….” Her voice drifted off.
“You want ME to put on this dress for one of your plays. Mother darling, are you, let’s be careful here, are you bonkers. I’m a boy.”
“I’m a boy and boys don’t wear dresses.”
“Well, only on stage and if they want to. And I’m asking very nicely. Please, pretty please, Jack.”
“I don’t want to.”
“I really don’t want to.” My brain mumbled ‘it’s not Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’. “Are you going to keep on at me until I say ‘yes’.
“Oh, darling, as if I would try to manipulate me with my motherish wiles.”
“As if …… Hah, I know how you work. Yeah, under much protest, I’ll give it a go.”
I didn’t have a clue how this would go. Would I put the dress on and *bingo* or would it be gradual. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mrs Jenkins watching.
“Oh, Jack, that’s so sweet of you. For that, you can have a present, something you’d like for yourself – a medium.”
We had a family habit of giving unbirthday presents – and if there was a reason then they would be graded as tiny, medium and biggo.
“I’m doing it more because you asked nicely than for any gift – but that’ll help."
We smiled at each other.
“Let’s go over to the costume corner.”
We moved over, and mom held the dress up to me. “Surprisingly, it looks like it’ll fit you with almost no alterations. Strange. It looked shorter and wider when I first picked it out.“
I gingerly took the dress and looked at it with not-quite disgust and certain trepidation. “I suppose I have agreed. But, I really don’t want to. You know I’ve never dressed up as a girl – even for one of your plays. I’m not keen on this.”
“I know – but, even if a bit flimsy and unwilling, you did say yes. So let’s get on with it.”
“Yeah, yeah. Huff as much as you like. But I think this is a pretty dress and will actually suit you. Come on, we haven’t got all day.”
Yeah, but maybe the rest of my life …….”Okay, I’ll do it. I said I would and you want me to and all that.”
I took off my shirt and shoes and then my denim shorts. As naked as a teenager ever gets, I stood there in my briefs – waiting for my first dress.
At her instruction, I put my arms up and forward so she could drop the dress over my head and let if fall down my body and over my hips. The slither of the lined cotton over my skin was …. delicious, exciting, wonderful, kind of nice.
Mum saw this and smiled back “Not so bad, then.”
“It’s not quite the end of the world. I can cope.”
“We’re going to have to get you a few more things for when you’re onstage.”
“What are you talking about” I tried to put a threatening tone in my voice.
“Darling, there’s not much to that dress ….. and stage-lights would show you almost naked to the audience. I’m sure you don’t want that.”
“What’s it feel like to wear a dress like that.”
“Not as bad as it could be. But you’re saying I’ll have to wear more.”
“Well, most of the pants you have wouldn’t be right for a dress – and obviously without any, er, superstructure the dress won’t hang right.”
“Do you mean a brassiere, mother dear. A brassiere for your son, hmmm.”
She giggled. “I can’t see any other way for the correct shape to suddenly appear for you.”
Huh. I could. If the dress really did have some magic. “I suppose. If I’m going to do it at all, then as per the family rules ‘I’d better do it right and I’d better do it thoroughly’”
“Oooooh, lovely boy.” [It ain’t half hot, mum 1960s TV]
“Oh, get off, mum. I’ll try the dress and see what happens. Ok.”
“Let’s just give it a go, darling. Walk around a bit and see what it feels like. Do the usual stuff, y’know, sitting, walking, turning.”
I had worn stage costumes before – you have to give them a good workout before saying ‘yes, these often ill-fitting garments will do the job’. But it was my first time doing it with a dress.
And the dress felt so good. It wrapped around me and swished so ….. nicely, so pleasantly and so, yes, excitingly. I felt good wearing it – and I smiled a really big happy smile.
“You like it,” exclaimed Mum.
“I can’t explain it – but something about it is very ….. satisfying. I can’t say that something as feminine as a empire-style satin dress with puff sleeves and lace trimmings should give me pleasure – but it does.”
“Well, something has caught your attention. You’d never have even thought of such a description ever before – but put you in that dress and you have picked up all the right words to describe it. You actually look really good in it too. It seems to soften you, make you almost girlishly pretty as opposed to the young boy you’ve been until now.
To my horror, I twirled to make the dress flutter and swirl around my bare legs.
“Golly, you are getting into the whole feel of it. Oh what fun.”
I was appalled by what I had done – but as before – it had felt the right thing to do. And the feel of the sheer sleek satin over my legs did feel very nice.
“Relax, mum. I’m just trying to get used to this.”
“That’s nice – but like I said, we need to get you a few things to complete the image, however imaginary.”
“And what ‘few things’ are you suggesting, Manipulating Mum?”
“Nice shoes with a little heel – and knee-highs or perhaps tights. Underwear, of course – you’ll need some panties to go under that dress, and a slip or maybe two to stop the light shining through. A bra or two, so that you’ve always got a clean one – and we’ll have to talk with Milly the Costume about how to give you some sort of shape. And I’m going to have to consider whether it will look right for you to be a part-time girl or not.”
“Have I agreed to all that – just by trying this dress on.”
“Yep. It’s ‘all for the sake of the play’” and together we chorused the well-known family phrase.
I giggled. What. Yes. I giggled. I had never made a noise like it before – and it was wrong – but as with so much this afternoon , it was somehow very, very right.
So, we went shopping. I was told to leave the dress behind while we went to look for ‘suitable clothing and accessories’. I think I would have been more comfortable wandering round the lingerie department in something other than boy’s clothes – but there wasn’t much choice and I wasn’t going to volunteer to wear the dress in public.
But somehow, that word again, I left the shop with all the underwear that mum had listed – and some extra too. There was a waist-nipper, a sort of light corset, to squeeze my waist a bit. And, the squeeze in the middle went up – to give me breasts and down to give me hips. Again, the wrong yet right feeling.
At mum’s insistence, I actually got measured for a bra. She told the girl that it was for a stage-play so that she realized it was not some sort of pervy thing. The girl was very accepting of the whole thing.
She said, “It doesn’t happen often but there must be half a dozen boys who I’ve had come in to choose a bra. It doesn’t worry me. I’ve got a cousin who loves dressing up. I can never tell whether I’m going to be meeting Martin or Martina. He’s a real sporty boy and yet she loves to sit and sew the prettiest frocks.”
“And, as you say, there’s the occasional boy who comes in because they’re acting in something – like your lad here.”
“Thanks for being so understanding.”
“Like I said, I don’t worry about it. There’s some that do – I’d avoid both the shops in the little parade down Minster Street – their clothes look good but they hate the whole Martin-Martina idea. I think Jack could look very acceptable in a frock or a dress. And it’s all about confidence and attitude. Jack, I can promise you – if you feel comfortable and relaxed wearing these new and different clothes then people will be far less likely to take any notice of you.”
“That sounds good advice – but I’m only going to be on stage.”
“Stage is for pretending. You could look good enough to do it for real.”
I blushed. I blushed – what was going on – I had never reacted like that. Perhaps it was the suggestion that I could look ‘real’ when I had never before been near the idea of a dress or dressing up. What was going on with this suggestion that Mrs Jenkins had planted in my skull about the magic miss-ing dress.
Mum saw that I was getting uncomfortable and got us both away from the perfumed and scented pavilion of lingerie.
“Golly, you were getting all hot under the collar there. I’ve never seen you react like that. Perhaps it’s something in the air or maybe the idea of dressing up as a girl? Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I can cope. Just not with all of it in a rush.”
“That’s understandable. I’ll try not to push so hard. But it is exciting, especially seeing as how that dress somehow made you look so instantly pretty. Perhaps it was how the colours of the dress so exactly matched your eyes.”
Eeeeeerrrrggggghhhh, I shuddered. That dress was doing something to me, for me, with me, around me, maybe inside me too.
Mum looked at me, puzzled. “Something up, dear? You shivered – y’know.”
“Nothing to worry about. Just thinking too much. Let’s get the rest of the stuff you want for me. Ok.”
It took time. I was exhausted by the end of it. I had tried on shoes – getting two pairs with an inch and a half heel. I had refused to try anything taller. I had another dress – and I had no idea why I had accepted mum’s offer. I even had a skirt and two blouses – again I couldn’t understand my willingness to say ok. I had several bags of skimpy and lacy and stretchy undies – uuuurrrggghghghghgh. Too much.
But again with the wrong – right feelings.
Back home, mum persuaded me to try on some of the new clothes. And from nowhere she produced the Miss-ing dress.
“Milly dropped it off – so we could check it out.”
“Great,” and there was no real enthusiasm in my voice.
“Come on, go with the flow, dear. It’s not that bad. And it does make you look awful pretty.”
“Pretty IS awful – as far as I’m concerned.”
“Oh, darling, don’t be like that. It’s not so bad wearing lovely silks and satins. You may find you quite like it after a while. You wouldn’t be alone in enjoying soft and sexy clothes like we girls get to wear whenever we want.”
I nearly choked – my mum was talking about sexy clothes – with me as the person to be wearing them. Errrk, yuk.
But I did put on that dress again. And it felt even better, even swishier, even more enticing. And there was a very subtle scent about it – almost beneath perception. I could feel it making me think feminine thoughts, sexy, womanly.
Perhaps there was something magic – but I found myself stroking and smoothing the dress against my torso.
Mum jumped in. “You’re right, you need a better figure to make it look right. Hold on a second, and I’ll get what you need. Then we can see what the dress looks like when it’s properly fitted to you.”
I knew. I knew that she was getting my first bra. Yuk. I’m a boy. Boys don’t wear bras. And she was getting that body-shaper. Boys don’t need their body ‘shaping’. That’s a girl thing. But I knew, I just knew, that whatever I said, it was going to happen. I – a boy – was going to put on my first bra. And probably panties. And whatever else my mum thought would make me look ‘real’ as a girl. And I’m a boy.
And it did happen – the bra, the panties, the slip, the dress, the hair, the necklace, the earrings, the jewellery, the shoes, the perfume.. And the wrong-right feeling hit me even stronger than before.
Mum’s eyes lit up with joy, excitement, delight and she got a tiny tear as she said, “Oh, darling, even though you’re my boy, you look almost beautiful in that dress. I don’t understand it. But it makes you look so lovely.”
“Don’t go on, mum. Or I’ll threaten to change my mind.” I don’t know what made me change what I was going to say. But when my lips began to move it was ‘Don’t go on mum or I’m taking this off’.
“Oh, honey, just stay with me on this for a while. I think you’ll actually enjoy it in the end.”
As you can guess – and I don’t know if it was inside me to begin with and I had been ignoring it for years – or whether the dress was indeed a magical miss-ing costume – but quite soon I was loving my dresses and skirts. I loved the slick of lipstick, I loved the weight of my breasts as they slowly, too slowly, but steadily grew to a gorgeous 34C.
I took part in the play, and it was just odd how everyone accepted me as a girl. How I began to accept and enjoy myself as a girl.
A couple of months later, Mum asked me if I was ever going to stop wearing skirts and blouses.
Quite casually and without really thinking, I said “of course not.”
It was the last time it was mentioned. By this time, Dad was regularly calling me Princess and Kitten and if I did get a name it was always Jackie. On my forms and school work I always wrote it the girl-way as Jacqui with a little ‘o’ or ‘heart’ above the i.
To all intents, I was a girl. My penis had seemed to gradually shrink while my hips and waist had combined with my lovely breasts to give me a feminine shape.
As Mrs Jenkins had told me quietly one day, I had a fever for a week or more and at the end of it, my penis had shrunk away and the relevant replacement had arrived. Soft curls covered the thin crack between my legs – but …. Well I’m not going to give you details about THAT.
My social world had evolved too. I had moved on from spending much of my time in my room doing –i- some homework, -ii- too much boy-type computing and –iii- resting from the exhaustion of being a teenager.
I had a group of girls that I did things with – and Eve was probably the most likely to swear pinkies with me as BFF. And therefore we had boys dancing attendance on us at school and out of school.
It turned out that I liked boys in the way that any girl should – and my life with the six foot tall rugby-playing Andy through the sixth form was ..... very nice. And I left school with the reputation of being a ‘good girl’.
Not unexpectedly, our relationship is beginning to fade as we are both go at university and are too often separated – but I can hope for the future.
I was helping tidy up at home. Mum and I were talking when I found the miss-ing dress at the back of my bedroom cupboard. Mrs Jenkins died a month or so ago so clearly I was now the custodian. Mum said, “I’d forgotten that dress, I don’t think I’ve seen it for it must be nearly 3 years now.”
Mum has suggested that the dress might be useful in the next play they’re doing. It’s a joint production with the nearby drama group from Amcaster, we’re doing Bugsy Malone. There’s a lot of boys and girls needed to make it look good. Perhaps the dress has re-appeared just in time. Perhaps the dress will make one of the boys ‘look good’ or even go miss-ing.
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