Jul 30, 2009

Mad Men, Powerful Women, and a whimsical time machine

Having a few minutes to kill, and prompted by Staci-Lana of Femulate fame and fortune I took a test drive through MadMenYourself.com and very truly enjoyed myself. I tip my Leopard Pill-box hat to you dear, and feel as though I have connected with a past life without the bother of a costly, creepy séance.

Viewers of quality television here in this part of the world have enjoyed 2 seasons of Mad Men, a terrific AMC program (programme for you speakers of another Queens’ English …) set in a golden era of marketing, fashion and foundation garments. I feel an almost inexpressible sense of loss for not having knowingly lived, thrived, dined and dressed in this peak time of imagined American possibilities. If I did, I am quite certain that my feminine aesthetics have been carried with me, wholesale, freeze-dried and perfectly preserved through the burning bras, de-sexed power suits and clumpy platform soled shoes of eras that followed too, too fast on the click clacking heels of this innocent and imperfect window on our then limitless, frightening future.

Apart from the terrific writing, the unsurpassed art direction, lighting and camera work, and the gorgeous, make you want to cry good wardrobe, this show is to be admired for its own marketing and promotion acumen and execution. Season 3 premieres on 16 August. Just 2 weeks plus till a long overdue sighting of Joan in a bullet bra. God speed the day. In the meantime do visit the site, and get caught up in the past. You will find a simple little interactive game that whisks you back in time, with the gender assignment you feel most comfortable in. A few clicks, a little thoughtful consideration about just who you are and/or were, and presto … a lovely screen saver or perhaps an internet avatar for your personal use.

Petra of the Past is pictured here. I have not made up my mind as to whether of not Sterling Coopers comps are up to standard for my luxurious line of intimates. Fully fashioned stockings, OBG,s and super-engineered brassieres for the beautifully shaped girl on the go. But I do suspect that in this life I was able to get my way, in a very efficient way. And I will unnerve the Account Director by insisting on paying for my own cocktail, thank you very much.

For a simpler, shorter trip back in time, I did muse a little about Mad Men and the long sad demise and near death of the feminine undergarments of my dreams here on Voyages en Rose. It might take you 5 minutes to visit those thoughts by clicking here.

Go have some fun, and may your closets and drawers of the present always be filled with pretty things of our past.

Jul 29, 2009

Fashion Crimes of Opportunity

Dear friends,

Most of us delirious with or afflicted by desires to cross dress as we are know that there really is no telling when tides will wash over walls, and even less telling the tides what to do, when they do.

Well my own dressing tide went out in early March. No trauma, just an absence of appetite for the surface elements of dressing.

During this easy, untroubled summer Drabbatical I have spent time cultivating friends, learning from them, and have kept up on my reading. Lots of thinking time too. Activity of the interior, investigation of the mind, and none of the decorating of the exterior.

As I grow a little older, the interior feels more important, and needs more catering. I feel now that recent time has been time well spent. I feel now as though I understand my whole self better then I ever have.

I believe as well that by catering to my interior, and by trying to better understand cross dressing and related issues, that I likely forestalled a bigger, less predictable and more dangerous eruption of need at some unpredictable moment in the future.

The future in my case began today.

Mrs. B has an out of town engagement. I am up to date on the couple of projects that I am running just now. And the urge pulled. Pulled me all the way up to the attic in fact to retrieve parts of my feminine exterior.

I am dressed just now as I write this, and want to tell you that I feel wonderful. I have not forgotten how to walk in perilously high and provocatively pointed pumps. A rather sedate, knee length sheath dress falls well, flatters and feels comfortable. My elbows have returned quite naturally to my sides, and my back is straight as I type. I feel calm and special. I do not feel excited or freakish. These are two extremes that many of us have felt, and are two extremes which really don’t do one any good.

And so, I feel good, and wanted to share that with you.

Happy dressing and happy everything else.

Jul 27, 2009

Cross Dressing and the Workplace

I had not intended to occupy Petra’s scattered mind too much this beautiful Monday. There is a living to be made after all dear friends. A trap was laid though and I fell in while checking up on my Google Reader page. There I came across another page of interest, the wonderful Jillian Page. She is a journalist and blogger who is documenting her complex, complete and often happy M2F transition here at Patent Pending. She is bravely, and necessarily “out” to her employer and co-workers, and has been, on the whole, well supported in her journey.

I encourage you to follow her.

I found Jillian’s post today (linked
here and excised below…) really thought provoking. Perhaps you will too. …

...So, what about trans people who don't view themselves as transsexuals but just want the freedom of gender clothing expression? Would they experience the same level of acceptance in Quebec and Canada as I am experiencing? Is our society ready yet for a genetic male who shows up at work one day in femme garb, the next day in male garb, and the day after in a combination of the two? ...

Well, didn’t that little musical question knock me off my billable tasks? Quickly retrieved thoughts from just under my wig cap are organized here for your consideration and commentary.

M2F cross dressing is already visible in many office settings, but sadly in my experience, limited to Halloween. 2 sub-species of the rarely seen male cross dresser are commonly spotted in Autumn’s riotous annual flowering:

  • Homo DragQueenulous – the well adjusted and well accepted gay male in the office who takes full Halloween license to punctuate and celebrate their liberty with a well crafted and usually fashion-forward and office-appropriate outfit. Homo DragQueenulous will certainly not have to buy lunch that day, and will in many cases be tipsy and amplified that afternoon. Often, Homo DragQueenulous will delight in playfully coming on to straight males in the office who they suspect harbor latent homosexual tendencies and are known to have a pronounced blush reaction. In short, Homo DragQueenulous will hit on every guy in the joint. Homo DragQueenulous will, against all odds and logic, maintain their legendary ability to get things done, and will, in a serious wig, heels and skirt bitch out and shame shirkers and slackers without any self doubt or sense of irony.
  • Homo Draghumorous – the senior manager secure in family and corporate position who leverages the day to display fabled ability to poke fun at himself in false display of sensitivity to the female of the species. Homo Draghumorous will cultivate a full weekend of sandpaper quality facial stubble to ensure that audience knows that the effort is solely and wholly “for the teams morale”. Homo Draghumorous is often at the very apex of the organization and possesses enough power to give it (power) up for moments at a time without suffering any damage. Homo Draghumorous will not be able to see his own feet all day long as a result of comically oversized breast prosthesis, likely fashioned with help of wife and water balloons.

The rest of us suspect that both Homo DragQueenulous and Homo Draghumorous will have much more interesting nights out (and in) than everyone else, with the possible exception of the young, normally shy one in accounts payable in the suprising cat costume (or was it the cute devil outfit?). Who knew she had such great legs?

And everyone resets to the normal and expected and accepted surface appearances and behaviors on 1 November for another year. Cross dressers wistfully on the sidelines the whole while for the most part.

As much fun as these hi-jinks are, they are arguably a set back to the possibility of broad acceptance of, or general indifference to cross dressing in professional settings. Cross dressing becomes a gag line. Serious, heartfelt “Femulation” remains beyond classification. Seditious and dangerous, and yet not to be treated seriously. Just beyond the pale and not invited back in.

Typically, I am a pretty upbeat cynic. But not on this issue. If there is a day that I am able to cross dress around co-workers and clients without limiting my career prospects, it is likely the same day in some inhospitable, apocalyptic future where everyone dresses the same. Picture those synthetic, Star Trek One-sies and that’s the very best you could hope for. I would not welcome that day. Vive la difference, even at the expense of choice and fulfillment for this cross dresser. This genuinely motivated, sincere in imitation and always aiming to flatter the feminine in all of us, cross dresser.

Some other day I will put some thoughts together on actively limiting career prospects with the express purpose of being a freer, fuller, better cross dresser. But I have a paying gig to manage just now.

How about you? Throw a few pennies of thought in the comment box would you darling?

Cheers - Petra

Jul 21, 2009

Polls, Blog Maintenance and a Pre-amble to a She-amble

Dear friends, just back from a perfectly empty headed vacation (meant in a zen-ish way, not in a vapid and vacuous way). Mrs. B, myself and extended family gathered in a quiet place and more or less unplugged from our complex, cluttered and distracting world. Food, sunrises, sunsets, long walks (flats only, Petra left out of the festivities entirely) and general contemplation of natural beauty. And superb wine. I return with the strength of 10 men, of which I might be able to form one barely adequate girl. Time will tell.

I left with a hastily written and by my standards, poorly crafted blog entry (looky
here….) on the topics of shopping and of a proposed expansion of the unofficial cross dressers dictionary. I shopped well, yes, but was entirely thrown from the saddle by my twitchy, coltish muse in my attempt to clear the word hurdle. Cravenly I left it to you in last weeks poll.

Bravely, 6 of you stepped up and gave voice to your views. The rest of you arched an eyebrow, turned smartly on your heels, and found comfort elsewhere. Really can’t say I blame you.

But in the interests of creating a field of study for future trans-lexicographers, lets look at the results.

Deadlocked and inconclusive. The only certain taking from this too too small sample is that the word Sheruption is an absolute non-starter. Fair enough. And in hindsight it’s a word that would better describe the process that a female Hulk© might go through. A little too tectonic and violent to fairly describe the tranquil and beautiful outcomes that the embrace of ones feminine self produces.

So with a photo finish, I will take Publisher Privilege and anoint a winner.

Tranceformation connotes that the process of emerging from a long drab spell subverts the will. I am far too willing to require a trance.

Shemergence leaves me with a picture quite like time elapsed photography of a flower budding. Beautiful yes, but too constant in process and too predictable in its final frame.

But Girlwind I am coming around to. The girlwind feels just a little more chaotic and unpredictable. It does buffet you, but you have anchors nearby to hold on to. And there is nothing quite so still, fresh and clear as the aftermath of a storm.

I was helped along to the view by a dear correspondent some of you may know, and who is a part of my Blog Maintenance here today. Leslie Ann likes Girlwind. And I like Leslie Ann’s blog “
Out of My Mind” which is now in my Essential Reading Blogroll over on your right…

Essential Reading is, essentially, just that at this point. These blogs are favorites of mine because some combination of the qualities of honesty, humor, advocacy, exploration are mixed earnestly and carefully by writers who clearly respect themselves, and respect the people who might read them.

If you have not visited these sites my friends, please do. And if you can find the time to start at the start and catch up to where our sisters have found themselves today, you won’t regret setting the time aside.

I have moved the flouncy eye-candy elsewhere. While you can never have too much of that sort of content, it is now separated from the more literary efforts and listed under the Fashion, Foundations and Femininity Links section, again, right column.

And as to a pre-amble to a she-amble, well I simply cannot say when Petra will be ambling about exactly, but as evidenced by my recent attention to this blog and to wonderful friends met here online, I will confess that I am feeling stirrings of interest. The first gentle gusts of the Girlwind. So there is the pre-amble. More to note soonish, and perhaps more frequently.

Thanks all for visiting and for your friendship. Happy dressing and happy everything else - Petra

Jul 10, 2009

Keeping a hand in. Part II

So, I am a little flustered with work weeks end drills and prep for a smallish holiday, but I did want to finish what I started friends in Part I of this tale right over ….. here.

I guess I was feeling a little chuffed after my innocently self inflicted outing the other day. For those of you who were neither raised or bedded by a Scottish Nanny here is a definition for "chuffed" tendered by the always entertaining and academically suspect Dictionary of English Slang over at

Adj. Pleased, delighted. Compare with 'dischuffed' and 'chuffed to buggery'. E.g."I'm well chuffed at the result."

And do you know, being open about cross dressing, and engaging with a perfect stranger about it reminded me just how fun this whole thing can be and, should be. Chuffed and well chuffed indeed. You will gather from recent posts that cross dressing has been more a matter of rumination for me of late. Lots of thoughts bashing around within my unwigged and sometimes unmoored head, but no urges to dress. The feelings are never too far from mind it seems even when the wardrobe is. And all the pondering is, well, ponderous and absent of the whole fun thing.

But there I was, yes, chuffed, and finished with my next meeting, with a little more time on hand, went back shopping. In drab. Openly for myself. Wolford’s was on sale and I simply could not resist the temptation. Then, to the bargain end of the retail trade then for a quick run through the always reliable and still surprisingly fresh JC Penney for a really terrific suit at a wildly low price. Things that will wear well a little later in the season when Georgia cools off and Petra warms up.

And so now to the previously promised 2nd new cross dressing word. Except not quite. You see I have been hunting around for the perfect expression for the process of coming out of a drab phase. Experience tells me that my present torpor, partly inspired by the weather, will end some day. Experience suggests as well that it will be a slow dawning rather than a light switch. Experience also gently points out that resistance is futile. And I want to encapsulate and prepare for all of that with by coining a cute and useable word that describes the phenomenon.

Alas, I have fallen short, and so am going to pitch the effort over to you dear friends. A new Petra’s Poll of the Week is presented here. Its just over to the right and a little scootch down. I have a few candidate expressions. I am not in love yet. So, I am here in need of your counsel. Please take a look and pick a favorite. Perhaps this is an experience and a feeling you have had, and that we share.

Comments and suggestions welcomed as always. I will be out of town and off the grid for a nice summer holiday for the next week, and look forward to hearing your thoughts upon my return around the 20th of July.

And whether we all are able to settle on a perfect word or not, I really am looking forward to the process. And it will be fun.

Very warm regards, happy dressing and everything else in the meantime…..


Jul 8, 2009

Keeping a hand in ...

A very fine day to you all, and a double-cheeked air kiss for good measure. Lets leave out the hugs though shall we? It’s a tad warm, and I don’t want to wrinkle your collective blouses.

A couple of newly minted cross dressing words will be tendered here in this dispatch. It’s a longish article, with dialog and background notes, so settle in for a little while ( a smart G+T is Petra's cocktail of choice) for a read now that you are here. I will apologize for the length of this post. It seems as though, even in boxers, I cannot be brief.

So, yes, the Drabbatical continues. I do keep my hand in, so to speak though, online. Lots of nice sites, blogs, words and pictures here and there. Entertaining and comforting to know the resources are within easy reach, and that I am not alone in my habits and their patterns in my life. And I do receive the odd email from a few of you whose virtual friendship I really truly value. Thanks all!

This online activity (and now long overdue update of Voyages en Rose) is a nice low stress surrogacy for the actual cross dressing. Lets call it Surrodressing. Hence newly minted word o’ the day #1, with formal definition here:

Surrodressing [sur-uh-dres-ing]
- verb

  1. an action that substitutes for dressing, specifically cross dressing
  2. to tend to dormant cross dressing habits through interaction with online media, specifically internet enabled technologies.

So, yeah, that has been all well, good, healthy and adequate for Petra’s few and seasonally petulant demands. But yesterday was interesting and I wanted to share the story with you.

Mr. Bellejambes requires man clothes of course. I am not large by any definition, and like most guys (sorry about the generalization, but stereotypes are real time-savers) I don’t really enjoy shopping for my (drab) self. My dimensions compound this. Its tough to find my waist size, and when I do, the inseams are … Capri-like. Its frustrating as hell. I enter shops expecting disappointment. I leave with expectations in tact and arms empty.

So yesterday, bearded and with frayed khakis I had some time ‘tween meetings and dropped into a Banana Republic. Completely fresh faced, attractive and smart young Sales Assistant approached after I had been poking about for a few minutes with no luck.

“Hi, can I help you find anything”
“I doubt it, but lets try … do you have anything in a smaller waist with a 32” inseam?”
“Sometimes we do, but they go quickly. If you didn’t see anything here I can check the back for you…”
“Sure, knock yourself out. In the meantime, let me try these 30’s on just in case I have lost bone density or something”

So, yeah too short, but Lindsay was back in a flash with a couple of hopeful pants (ed. trousers I mean). And yes, they fit and I was able to snag a couple of pairs of perfectly anonymous and serviceable khaki’s, on sale no less. I guess I was happy enough to not guard against loose lips then. We engaged conversationally….

“We really should carry more in this size, they always sell out…”
“Yeah, and it kills me. I swear, its easier for me to find a great fitting dress than a
pair of pants for crying out loud…”

Slight pause

“I wouldn’t lie to you”
“O. Hmmm. But, you know, I can see that would be true.”
“For real. I sometimes have to dart in a skirt waistband a little, but dresses, never a problem”
“We have some nice things on sale upstairs. Do you want to take a look?"

I was tempted. Banana Republic does stock some yummy stuff. But time pressed on me.

“Nah, I’m OK for now, but I’ll be back. Thanks for all the help though! Which way is the cash register”
“Just up the stairs … nice to meet you and thanks!”

So, there I was, having needlessly outed myself, and quite satisfied. I suppose there is a little sedition in cross dressing. A little playing with the worlds reflexes and assumptions about people. And I take satisfaction in those acts too.

And now dear friends, a confession on my writing process. When I started laying out this piece, I had lost a key and relevant encounter from earlier in the day. It's just come back to me. You ready?”

I was in a check out in a Pet Smart, and the mother daughter team was conversing behind me. Thus spoke the 5 year old:

“Mommy, why did we get the blue collar?’
“That is so people can tell the boy dog from the girl dog. We would get pink or purple if our doggie was a girl doggie.”

Well, friends, you and I know that our little 5 year old is going to meet some cross dressers in her long and prayerfully happy life. I really truly hope they are out to her, and she reacts the same way as my Banana Republic friend:

  • No biggie, and how can I help?

And I hope she has a boy dog with a pink collar and maybe a girl dog with a studded leather one.

I promised you two new cross dressing words at the top of the post and have only tendered one. You have already indulged me enough getting this far today. So I now promise you the rest of my yesterday, and a new word in a soon to be thought through and pecked out ramble over the next day or so.

Happy dressing and happy everything else in the meantime.


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