by Missy Crystal
I have always enjoyed fashion. There were a lot of gay and lesbian students at FIT, sounds like it should be about clothes, right? The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. I was the first trans-woman to complete the program. Yep, that's me, BFA. Sexist. Why "bachelor." How about TGFA. I'm going to start a campaign right after they figure out which restroom I can use to pee. Back on topic. As I completed the different design and business classes, I realized that women's clothes were designed for, ta da, a woman's short torso, narrow waist, wide hips and long legs and men's clothes were, wait for it, for a male's body. Nobody designed bras for men or panties which would accommodate a little something extra. If there were such things, then maybe men could enjoy the same pleasures of lacy lingerie as women and the world would be a better place. Men in panties and bras don't start wars. That's where the idea for Gay Guise was born. Not world peace, although that would be nice. Missy the entrepreneur. Cool, according to spell check I got it right. I'm always getting the r's messed up. Sorry, back on topic.
All I needed was about a hundred grand to get going, which is why I was working at Saks doing window dressing instead. That's when I met Eric. He was the assistant manager of the shoe department. One day I needed some pumps for a display and he got them for me. It was love at first sight. The pumps, not Eric. Jimmy Choo black patent four inch stilettos with the classic red soles. Eric was kind of cute too, in a gay way, which he was for sure, but I flirted with him anyway. A girl can always use an extra discount and those shoes were sooo hot. Sometimes the display items don't go back into inventory and you can pick them up cheap. Buy me a pair of expensive shoes, those puppies were about a grand, and you can pretty much have your way with me. Actually, forget the pretty much. Just thought you might like to know. So, Eric and I got to talking and he was interested in fashion design too. No surprise there. I told him about my idea for Gay Guise and he was like all over it. We should open a store. He would talk to his father who was an investment banker.
Daddy Bigbucks was in for ten percent and Eric got fifty. Do the math. He had his lawyers draw up a partnership agreement which I gladly signed. We couldn't afford New York rents and selling men's panties and bras from a suitcase in the subway did not seem a practical way to launch a fashion dynasty. I was sure that Calvin Klein did not start that way. Eric had a friend in Provincetown. Doesn't everyone in the rainbow brigade? He had a shop on Commercial Street and would give us some space. That would let us use our funds for inventory. I spoke to a friend of mine who did web design and she would build us an e-commerce site and manage it for 5% equity, which I negotiated to 2% and an option for another 2%, if we hit a benchmark for on-line sales. Those business courses at FIT paid off. I'm not just another pretty face. Actually, I am, if I do say do myself, which I just did. Just thought you'd like to know.
Of course, you can't sell an idea. Well, yes you can, but not in a shop, so I needed to start designing. All of my fashion courses were for women's clothes, so I had to do a lot of research. It turns out that there is a lot of information on line about men's anatomy. No, not porn, although studying the male actors did give me an education as to plus size dicks that I would need to accommodate. No, in their own panties, not mine. Seriously, all business. Uh huh. I figured mine was about average and, luckily for me, not him, Eric was on the skimpy side. Actually, south of skimpy. He gave me a good discount on the Choos when I took down the display and I'm a woman of my word.
Thinking about it, for however long men have been wearing women's clothes, they have been clothes made for women to wear, not men. My idea was that, instead of wearing their mother's or sister's or wife's or girlfriend's bras and panties or surreptitiously browsing in the lingerie department for themselves: "Yes, Valentine's day, oh, heh heh, it's only September, um, I meant Christmas, right, getting it done early;" men should have their own. No secrecy, no guilt and no embarrassment. I have to digress here. Well, I'm giving you fair warning. Patience is a virtue. Also a cute name. No, that's not the digression. Me and my ilk, the ones with a store bought rack, not the ones with a rack on their head, we wear women's clothes because we are women. Not everyone is that lucky. In an age of equality, men are not equal in the underwear department, figuratively and literally. That's me, making the world a better place one pair of panties at a time. Did I mention world peace? Back on topic.
Bras are two pieces of material which cover and support the breasts, more or less, and are attached to a band which goes around the chest to hold them in place, more or less, with or without supporting straps, more or less. Men are like girls in the titty department, so what I designed was a pull on lacy adult training bra in varying degrees of modesty. A way for a man to feel the sensuous embrace of the materials against his skin, waxing recommended, privately, if he wanted to enjoy it, or openly, as a fashion statement. The material was a silky nylon and lycra blend which followed the contours of the chest. It could be worn inconspicuously by itself or with thin foam pads to give a subtle rounded shape. Anything more than that would mean the bra would have to be structurally engineered for support and the man would need a bodice to cover it. To differentiate it as a man's bra, I changed the way it was sized. Women's bras use the chest wall and breast measurements. For most men that would be a 38AA to 44A, which was impossible to find, and a matronly contraption, if you could. I decided to use the Australian system, which made no sense, but had nice numbers: 16 was a 38 chest, 18 was 40 and 20 was 42, etc. Cup size was irrelevant. Also, it corresponded to large dress sizes with which women would be accustomed, but not challenged that men were usurping their underwear.
Bras are unisex in the sense that men and women share a common rib cage. Ask Adam and Eve. But finding panties to fit me was always a problem. With no hips to hold them up, they were saggy, and with no butt to fill them out, they were baggy. The crotch was too narrow, so anything other than granny panties left my former boy bits playing peek-a-boo, and the cotton panel was useless. I had to redesign them using men's briefs as a template. Pretty and practical. When I had six panty and bra sets ready for manufacturing, we put out bids. Lingerie companies have years of sales information to customize their ordering. We had no idea about our demographic. Celine, our web designer, suggested that we take pre-orders, but pricing depended on quantity and we had to have enough inventory to open our store in P-Town by Memorial Day, when the tourist season began. I ordered the minimum quantity for a discount. In the meantime, we set up the store. The sign maker delivered the banner with our name, 'Gay Guise', in case you forgot the title of this story; our tag line, "Her Clothes For Him"; and our logo, the ubiquitous half male, half female silhouette. I wondered whether it would draw people in thinking it was a tg bathroom, but, to paraphrase P.T. Barnum. anything that puts asses in the seats is good. Well, he probably said something like it.
Our grand opening was May 1 for the locals and it was a big success. Gay Guise for gay guys. By the time we started getting crowds of tourists, a lot of the locals were showing off their feminine side. I mused with Eric about whether that was good. I wanted real men as customers. He gave me a look of derision, not easy to do with his neatly trimmed beard and pink glitter eye shadow, professing that he and his friends were "real men" and offering to pull down his adorable lilac with white lace panties to prove it. ROFL. Over the summer, we became so popular that Jeff, the store owner, moved us to the front. What surprised me the most was how many of our customers were women. Standing at the register, I could see couples stop, check out the window display and then the woman would drag the man in and select a set for him. I spoke with a local therapist about it. Not professionally, socially. He told me it was Halloween syndrome. You made that up, I challenged him. He agreed it was his own metaphor. Women, he explained, enjoy dressing men up in their clothes as long as it is make believe. You've given them an excuse to have Halloween year round.
I have to say, things have worked out, although not in the way I expected. Unlike women, who need to wear panties and bras every day and have a full wardrobe which gets replaced regularly or updated to coordinate with new outfits, our customers usually buy just one or two sets. Even so, looking to expand its business to the other half of the population, Victoria's Secret is in negotiations to carry our line of GG, double entendre there, lingerie and we are looking at expanding into a full line of women's wear designed for men. Heels and kinky boots too. Life does imitate art.
Author's Note: This is a fantasy of mine, so please don't go looking for our store in P-Town or on line. The story is copyrighted, but the idea is open and so is the name, gratis. Just give me credit when you win the Nobel Peace Prize. Missy.
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