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Pished as a newt. And spirits only give me a hangover.
So much for Gin.
I really don’t understand why some people seem to cut me dead. They slide away when I come near, breaking off conversations almost in mid-sentence. I’m pretty sure I don’t smell. I don’t have any visible bad habits. I’m appallingly average, rather ordinary and probably a bit dull.
I don’t drink much. I really don’t. I don’t really have any behaviours that the average bloke would see as addictive. I don’t smoke, I’ve never bothered with drugs, pills or chemicals other than white sugar (eeek), occasional alcohol and perhaps too much bread and biscuits. So, I’m a touch overweight at 12 stone (75-80 kg).
But I do like to wear pretty clothes. I love panties and stockings. I’ll wear tights if I have to. I really insist on a slip or lining on my skirt or in my capris which means I hardly ever wear denim. Even when washed enough times, it never gets soft enough to feel gentle on my skin.
But I’m confident that nobody knows about this little, er, foible. I know well enough how people display their dislike of ‘people who are different’. Just try being a redhead, or too clever for your fellow school’mates’, huh ‘mates, yeah. Or being too short, tall, fat, skinny, or just not fitting in. And that’s before any talk of skin-colour, religion, sexual preference (overt, perceived or guessed-at). Try dealing with the grubby attitudes splashed all around you by having crooked teeth, ugly braces, cheap spectacles, hearing-aids, a limp, a twitch, a stammer, - oh yeah. I’ve seen the brutes attack and defile people in every one of these categories. It’s really grubby, petty, unnecessary and plain nasty. And all too common.
Like I say, I have this undisplayed and potentially unforgiveable habit – but somehow I must have other differences that put me outside the socially acceptable bubble. And I don’t like it. I’d give anything to be me – to be real. But what would I lose in the process.
I’ve been getting braver and bolder in my costumery. Even though I’m sure I’d be dead unlucky or socially dead or real dead if anyone found out. It’s hard to keep a secret when you want to tell anyone who’d listen, “Sorry, I wasn’t concentrating for a moment there, I had to adjust my bra strap.” Oooops.
I shave my legs quite often – and as I was told, the hairs are steadily getting less visible and less significant. I shave my pits too – just like most girls do. And fortunately I don’t have any significant chest hair. I know some girls have a hair or few but that’s rare. I’m a boy, well young man now, and I have to be immensely grateful that I’m not hairy like most blokes. Yes – time to get obvious – I’m male and I love to dress in girl’s clothes or rather, remembering my age, in women’s clothes.
I don’t want to go off in a big rant – but it’s so unfair that these days it’s the girls who can wear the colours and the textures and the silks, satins, lace and taffeta. It used to be that the men were the peacocks, glittering and glowing with sheer, sleek, soft and shiny.
I heard on the radio a few days ago that it was Winston Churchill in the Second World War who actually went against all male preference and said that women SHOULD wear lipstick as it was an encouragement to the menfolk.
And then the next day, I heard a massively stupid comment that the pink-and-blue demarcation between boy and girl babies was a rule and had been the case for centuries. How dim. Anyone who has investigated the issue for more than a few minutes knows that it was an advertising campaign in the 1930s.
I can’t write any better than this extract :-
According to Smithsonian.com, the shift toward pink and blue happened gradually. For centuries, all children had worn practical white dresses, which could easily be pulled up to change diapers, and bleached when said diapers inevitably exploded. Pastel baby clothes were introduced in the mid-19th century, but according to University of Maryland historian Jo B. Paoletti, author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, the colors weren't gender-specific at first. From Smithsonian.com:
Ladies' Home Journal article in June 1918 said, "The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl." Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.
In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene's told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle's in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.
In the 1940s manufacturers settled on pink for girls and blue for boys, so Baby Boomers were raised with wearing the two colors. But that wasn't the end of the story. Paoletti says that due to the women's liberation movement, more unisex baby clothes came into style in the late '60s and '70s. Yet pink and blue came back in the mid-'80s, with the development of prenatal testing. Once parents could find out whether they were having a boy or a girl, they could outfit their nursery in the "appropriate" color. Manufacturers pushed the fad too after realizing affluent parents would buy a whole new set of baby products once they found out Junior was expecting a little sister.
Paoletti says that while researching her book, which will be published later this year, she became more critical of the pink/blue trend. "The loss of neutral clothing is something that people should think more about. And there is a growing demand for neutral clothing for babies and toddlers now, too," she says. Evidence that pink and blue weren't always in favor gives us hope that neutral colors can make a comeback .
Little Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits primly on a stool, his white skirt spread smoothly over his lap, his hands clasping a hat trimmed with a maribou feather. Shoulder-length hair and patent leather party shoes complete the ensemble. We find the look unsettling today, yet social convention of 1884, when FDR was photographed at age 2 1/2, dictated that boys wore dresses until age 6 or 7, also the time of their first haircut. Franklin’s outfit was considered typical and gender-neutral.
But nowadays people just have to know the sex of a baby or young child at first glance, says Jo B. Paoletti, author of "Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America" Why have young children’s clothing styles changed so dramatically? How did we end up with two “teams”—boys in blue and girls in pink? “It’s really a story of what happened to neutral clothing,” says Paoletti, who has explored the meaning of children’s clothing for 30 years. For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. “What was once a matter of practicality—you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached—became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted’.".
I won’t pretend I’m a good-looking girl or even that I look good enough as a woman. I look fairly ordinary – which is just fine. I’m pretty sure I never wanted to be a girl – and I don’t want to be a woman. I want to dress so that I am comfortable and acceptable. I don’t think I want babies or breasts for babies. I think, more and more these days, that a small amount of breast, say an A, would make it much easier for me to be confident about going out in public. But that’s mostly wishful thinking for when I am dressed.
But it’s bloody December already – the Christmas parties are starting up. Gangs of wage-slaves forced to socialise with people they have no real interest in. And after the event, generally, there has been little or no improvement in inter-departmental liaison. I won’t count office affairs even as a temporary benefit because the damage, chaos and devastation when they stop is awful. I try to keep myself to myself.
Perhaps I’m more on the Asexual side than any other. I’ve never been interested in the G or the B varieties of intimacy, nor the sex either. I think that the I Intersexed do have a primarily medical issue rather than the mental dysphoria which is so much dependent for proof on the Real-Life Test.
LGB-TAIQ ……. Not possible, no, no, somewhat, maybe, no and dunno. You can see how much I’ve thought about all the boxes. And as for the 50+ gender categories that are alleged to be available when signing into Yahoo – no thanks, too complicated.
But I do so want to feel, er, normal, ordinary, comfortable, accepted. And I have to rely on my mask to fit in with my friends and colleagues. I daren’t go without it. I have to pretend ALL THE TIME. And I don’t like it but I daren’t take the risk. I’m scared.
But the pressure is enormous. And sometimes the drink can get to you.
I'd just spent some time unloading to this chap in the bar. He was the sort of chap you could talk to, but golly he was ugly. Fat as well, but somehow easy enough to talk to. I'd talked about feeling that something was wrong with me. I told him that I didn't smell, that I was quite bright and fairly interesting, my vices as regards wine, women and song were negligible. Why, why, why couldn't I live the life I wanted.
I just about remember blurrily propping myself up on the counter and talking to someone else, equally relaxed, and wondering how soon I could get away. And if I would be capable of getting home without disaster.
"So, wha' d'yer want, wha' d'y' really really want?"
"Sorry, fella, you're too pissed and too ugly to be one of the Spice Girls," I giggled.
“Yer can ‘ave a wish tonight. It’s the rules. I gotta give yer a wish. W’tever yer want. What’cher gonna wish fer?”
Blearily, I mumbled, “Wishes don’t come real. An’ what I want couldn’t come true anyway. Not for real. N’possible.”
“Nah, what’cher really want for Christmas. If yer could have anything. Six inches taller, three inches thinner, smaller waist, longer legs, bigger boobs, smaller boobs even. Come on.”
“Wha y wanna know for? Them’s all things f’girls.”
“So. It’s wishtime innit. C’n do anythin. Even tho I’m really really pissed. Y’just ‘ave t’say. Simples. I’ve got this sort of lucky charm – it works once a year at Christmas. And last year, I got about as pissed as this and the idiot I was talking to said ‘I wish you could realise what it was like being ugly and fat and permanently pissed like me’ – I’m hoping for something better this year. But as we’re both pissed I’m not hopeful.”
I looked at the chap beside me – and he was ugly, fat and well pissed.
“Just wanna be myself, ordinary, maybe doing a bit better and looking a bit better. Wha would y’ say if I wished you looked like you used to and I was a ….. dunno what I wan' wish for. ‘m too tired….an a bit pissed.”
I recovered my wits a few moments later – “Wah if I want somfin big – won’t everybody notice?”
“Nah, the system takes care of all that. It’s right clever.”
Unh, great. Sounds like you’ve had a bad deal this year, so I want you to look more like you used to, and if you had a great bod before, then I want to look better too. If this doesn’t count as a second wish, tell y system that I want to be …. er …. 10% better at everything – bit richer, bit taller, bit skinnier in the right places and so on, bit brainier too, nicer clothes, nicer flat – but pr’aps that’ll come with the better money. I’m so pissed and I don’ wanna be pissed any more.
“I can probly guess wha’ y’ want. Wi’ y’ long hair and so on …. And the tiny specks of makeup and nail polish that my super-magic eyes c’n see. You like dressin’ up. Wha’ if I could make it real.|” Yeah, I can see the gleam in y’r eye and the tell-tale smile that you almos’ hid away. Yeah. I c’n make tha’ happen. Wai’ for it’.”
The world went very blurry – perhaps it was the drink. If I hadn't drunk so much. I'd never been able to drink spirits. And my bar-friend was just as bad. What line of tosh did he think he was giving me. Ha. The only thing spirits ever gave me was a hangover. And I was learning this again. Ho bloody ho.
A drunken whisper drifted across from the other side of the table. “Since you didn’t really get all selfish and so on, the rules let me bend things a bit. I’ve done the best I can. But I’m pissed too and I’ve got to have a kip. Maybe I’ll see you later.”
“P’raps I’ll wish for that too.”
Gradually I woke up and realized I was still in the winebar, nearly sober and completely whacked. I stood up and wobbled.
I wobbled again – and realized that my long legs were interestingly clad in long shiny stockings atop incy-wincy gold stilettoes showing scarlet toenails and a touch of glitter. This wasn’t usual. Even when I went for a rare evening out in my occasional costume. The legs of an ex-rugby player are rarely so elegantly sleek and chic.
I wobbled some more – and calculated that I had a new and unusually super superstructure attached to my upper chest. I looked down and saw a remarkable and newly acquired double curve outline interrupting the usual view. Again, one has to state with certainty, that in the average rugby player, the typical upper chest rarely has such a female profile. ‘Moobs’ may occur but not in such a clearly defined form. But I did like the new shape. I enjoyed the gentle but definite wobble too.
I grabbed the chair – and saw that my nails were painted burgundy red with silvery tips. That my hands were at the end of arms prettily shaped and perefectly wrapped in slinky silk. I was beginning to think ….
No I wasn’t. I was pretty much incapable of thought. I managed to remember some of the previous evening. I’d met a Genie. No, I’d met a Djinn and he said they always spelled it so completely wrong. It wasn’t a Djinn or a Genie – in his case it was just Gin – a completely gin-soaked enormously pissed Gin.
And about as useful as a chocolate teaspoon.
What was the likelihood that a stupid wish would come true.
Ha ha ha, ho bloody ho.
My skirts fluttered against my stockings as I glided towards the door. It felt really really nice. I felt ….. right. Comfortable, real, elegant and so satisfyingly feminine. But I felt a quiver in my heart as I wondered what would happen at midnight.
I remembered one of my favourite authors …. And her character who says ‘Let’s wait and see.”
I smiled and strolled into the night.
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