When we of the CD/TG inclination explore our wants and investigate our desires, I think it is safe to say that our first big hurdle is self-acceptance. When we find out that we are not alone, well that is helpful. My one year of blogging and lurking around online has been therapeutic to the max. I am OK with me, and on the whole, greatly comforted by the smarts and sensitivity exhibited by my sorority mates. Or sisters. Hmmm. Never mind. Never was much with pro-nouns.
For me, (and I suspect I am not alone in this either), the next group of people whose acceptance we would seek are the important women in our lives. There are a whole host of reasons that this can be a difficult and dangerous bridge to cross. I won’t recapitulate the particulars here today, but I have to say that I have not tottered fully across that bridge. Yet.
I am preparing to though.
As I prepare for this ...( words fail me) event, I wanted to pay you a little tribute, by way of thanks for your happy, non-judgmental acceptance of me here. It helps me to “normalize” my cross dressing. Ladies, as individuals and as a special group, you have my respect. Respect is important. It is the core theme of this post.
Perhaps you have been exposed to gender bending in nightclub settings. Remember the be-wigged and bombshell breasted drag queen at the microphone, lip synching Half Breed or some other syrupy musical tribute to the mighty Cher? That was not me.
But for a straight guy, I have seen a fair amount of this class of cabaret over the years. At the peak of her game, the dedicated gender illusionist is something to be admired. For contemporary theatrical female impersonation, I would single out for positive notice, the statuesque RuPaul (pictured right, photo credit to Albert Sanchez). Respect for performance craft is displayed in RuPauls’ work, and to my thinking, a sincere respect for women too. Those traits are borne of self respect. Self respect is a precondition for anything of value. So, a tip of the Tiara to RuPaul and the select few (or perhaps countless) who approach their own transformations from that place of respect.
All too often though, Cinderella’s step-sister, the Drag Queen is more spectacle than spectacular. Knavish behavior is seen often under the spotlights. Something catty, something demeaning gets brought to the ball. Traits are exaggerated, the walk, the hands, the hips. Colors are unnatural, the hair, the cheeks, the lips. Body parts and prosthesis are poured in and pressed up, the boobs, the butt, and god help us, the bulge. Often there is skill in the craft, but not much evidence of respect for the fairer sex. It sometimes approaches and passes mean-ness. Mean people are not known for self respect and I suspect that this is a reason that this sort of show gets old for me awfully quickly.
Drag performance does have its uses though I suppose. The weaponized, inflated and slightly distorted parody of femininity is satire, and satire does make us think. The drag artist forces men and women both, (but mostly men) to challenge their own feelings about what is attractive, if only for a few gin soaked moments. This too is a healthy and periodically life changing challenge to orthodoxies. The performer of course has the experience, the microphone, the spot light and therefore all the power too, and often spends it mercilessly on defenseless amateurs in the audience. Again, a nice challenge to typical power structures.
Drag performance pre-dates Shakespeare and perhaps goes back in time through Classical Greek drama and, for all I can surmise, may have taken it's first pre-historic, hip-sprocketed baby steps after supper one night around the fire in front of the Caves of Altamira. I am not knocking the tradition. There is room in the world for a little over-the-top spectacle. The the women I know and love are able to stand a little lampooning, and able to enjoy a laugh at their own expense. Furthermore, if someone is able to make a living not swindling widows and orphans, well, who am I to complain?
The larger than life performing Gender Illusionist is designed and presented in such a way that they cannot be ignored. I, however do want to be ignored. I mean to say that when out, en femme, in the big wide world with my somewhat bigger hips on, I aim to blend in, to disappear, to not illicit undue attention. To, as much as possible, just be one of the girls. I suspect that too is the objective of regular visitors here who share my inclinations.
I remain as hopeless baffled in my attempts to understand what “real” women want at any time as I have since puberty. But I remain dedicated to figuring you out as well as a guy can. And so to you natural women, I say:
… I appreciate your acceptance. I hope to have your respect. On those occasions when I have the privelege to unearth, explore and present my undeniable feminine facets, I truly aim to respectfully represent the beauty that I see in you everywhere, and especially close to home, every day.
You have helped me see that I can cross the bridge in front of me. Thank you.