Nov 28, 2009

Black (Skirt) Friday

Barely recuperated from Thursdays' surfeit of food and wonderful holiday company, I waded into the mall melee yesterday. For visitors who have never witnessed the American post-Thanksgiving shopapoloozo known here as Black Friday, picture the Pamplona Running of the Bulls with everyone carrying flailing purses.

Let us, for a moment, trust Wikipedia, and believe that the expression, applied to retail sometime in the 60’s indicates the day of the year that a retailer had better be moving into a profit position for the year, thereby moving from Red Ink, into the Black. Plausible enough I suppose. But don’t dwell on the thought too long or that lunatic in the jogging pants will tear the hanger right out of your hand while you dither.

It’s a bloody mad-house out there.

And I am not kidding about the jogging pants. Its either wear fleece or be fleeced it seems, but please, ladies, would it hurt to dress up just a little? So many pretty things on the racks, being mangled by harridans of barely discernable female form, still spittle-flecked from the parking lot squabble and determined, dammit, to shop, and to hell with appearances.

Many things we are, here in America, but chief amongst them we are consumers.

Personally, I have for many years shunned the fun. Shopping for guy-me is just not worth the bother. This however being my first Black Friday firmly in the acknowledged kid-glove grip of cross dressing, well, what would I be if I did not try? You have to try.

We start with JC Penney. They continue to pleasantly surprise, featuring a cute contemporary line, Bisou Bisou that catches my fancy. These are not heirloom pieces dear friends. They are made on the cheap, but have enough caché to warrant the small investments required. The
high-waisted lace skirt endows the wearer with a true come-hither slither. A saucy little slit at the back bares thigh to admirers lurking in your wake. She is of modest length, but that is the only modest thing about her. The highly elastic fabric clings, stretches and drapes quite well. It feels yummy. Nicely re-enforced at the broad and high waistband, it provides constant gentle reminders that you should move, always, like a lady. It’s a fine look, and I paired it with a black jeweled collar thin jersey knit with a beautiful sheer back detail top. Racy. My own glowing product review on the JCP web site can be seen by following this link.

Toute l’ensemble - $36.02., down from $88.00.

From JCP I waded into the busy mall, and popped fruitlessly into a couple of shops. Victorias Secret was about to go China Syndrome, 50 deep at the cash desk. 180º and out again. Nordstroms still too pricey. Nothing in H+M moved me to tears, either of delight or laughter. On then to the somewhat quieter and always warm embrace of Ann Taylor. Across the board 40% off everything through noon, including some previously seriously discounted beauties. I need another skirt like I need another leg, but I do so love this shop. I will allow myself to believe that I am merely making up for experiences not enjoyed in prior drab years, and can be forgiven the purchase of the odd unnecessary thing.

So, where the JCP goods have a night-clubby feel to them, today’s AT goodies have a finer corporate feel to the fibre. The black wool,
fully tailored pencil skirt is close to heirloom quality. Taken care of I could make this last 100 wearings. In short I have a great interview look for anytime between now and 2045. I paired it up with a very cute little tuxedo blouse. They look terrific together, and the fit of both pieces is superb. Alas I am not sure that I will take the tags off, and make them mine permanently. First, the price, and then the reasoning.

Toute l’ensmble$82.67 down from $195.00

And yet we may part ways. The skirt is just too, too much at the knee. Again, let us put this down to the years of missed opportunities to display my gams. I like to show a little more leg than this skirt affords.

As to the blouse, women in a smartly fitted and tailored shirts always get my attention. Versatile, confident and just gently unconcerned with gender conventions, the man-shirt reincarnated as the woman-blouse is a complete winner. But perhaps not for me. I think that I want more femme than this. More cling than crease. More bows than buttons. I am not a rash person though. I will sleep on the decision a couple of nights at least.

I am finding it interesting though that my feminine shopping habits are diverging greatly from long established drab shopping habits. Anything I buy for guy-me has a 1 way ticket out of the shop. It is correct or it is not bought. Period. Recently though, and unconsciously, I am developing the concept of a probation period for purchased goods. Its kind of like casual sex without the whole sex bit. Petra-mode shopping seems now to come with the privileges of indecision. There is a price to indecision though. Back into the mall I will go again. Quite likely that my arms will not be empty on the way out, but my purse will be.

Happy dressing and everything else for your weekend.

Nov 26, 2009

Voyages en Rose is One Year Old today.

A little over a year ago, with my wife visiting family overseas, and the tidal pull running high and hot, I shopped, dressed, and pressed my cross dressing limits. I made a decision to yield to my desires, and to see where they might go with me. Instantly, it all became very, very real. This, I knew, is me.

A long suppressed vein, or rather, a gusher of emotion splashed out and required thought and consideration. I wanted to attempt to put words to the feelings. In this happy, frightening chaos was Voyages en Rose born on 26 November, 2008. And such a cute pink little thing.

The very first thing I wrote under my newly minted nom de femme went like so:


Petra emerges from within me from time to time. This odd desire to periodically express myself in a feminine form has been with me forever now. It washes in and draws me out. I often swim against the tide. I sometimes let it pull. I don't believe its going away, and so its time for me to court it formally.

This is still true, and I still like the way it reads. It was written as an introductory note, not only for early visitors, but for myself. With the outlines of a feminine persona, and a wobbly authorial voice, I went ahead and created a first post. You are all far, far too young to remember this gem, published under the headline, "Nice Legs, Shame About the Face" :

...This is neither undue flattery or false modesty. I have terrific legs. And I have a face that draws attention for all the wrong reasons while out en femme. As a male face, it works, its serviceable. Not so handsome that guys don’t trust me. Not so ugly that women run away. As a woman’s face though, its just sad.

There are a whole pile of issues big and small. There is too much nose. The shadow is dark. And I feel poorly about my smile. I think this pulls my eyes down. And all the mechanics from that drive through shoulders, tits and ass too with a predictable impact on my gait and passability. But for now back to the face.

I will spare the stories of how badly I have done myself up in the past. I have achieved looks only marginally better than vintage Twisted Sister and Little Orphan Annie. It was time to put myself in the hands of professionals. Here is A Tale of Two Facials. ....

From a years remove, I am surprised at how true this blogs baby steps are to how I express today. I am now perhaps a little more insouciant, and little less coarse, but writing with essentially the same voice.

That voice has expressed in 89,000 words, spread over 112 posts the tiniest fraction of what I have felt, experienced and hoped for. These words have attracted the attention of some 17,000 unique individuals visiting over 26,000 times from 4,202 cities in 122 countries. The amount of time you all have spent here surprises too …. some 42,000 precious minutes have sped past here. This to me is dizzying and gratifying.

I underestimated the strength of our numbers and I overestimated the degree to which I felt my circumstances were unique. Our numbers are strong, and while many cross dressers and transgendered face challenges on the way to expressing and living as we would want, one of those problems is not a lack of company and kinship along the way. And so to you visitors I am deeply, eternally indebted. Nice to have pleasant, like minded people on the path.

Writing is inherently solitary labor. Many writers give voice to the philosophy that the labor is the thing, and that what it causes to happen in the minds of the audience is something that they are not responsible for. Only a handful of great writers and the perfectly medicated can happily sustain that lofty belief. I am neither.

I do have, however one year later a much better understanding of, well, me, and am proud to count myself much richer in friends. These friendships have started often with comments left on posts here. There have been over 200 comments and I am happy to report that I have published all of them (excepting the 1 profanity laced, drunken, abusive and anonymous screed). Insightful and supportive, they are indeed raindrops in the desert. As are the friendships.

These friendships forged here on the Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Intertube Highway (apologies for the obscure reference to non-politico’s and overseas visitors) are what I am most thankful for, vis a vis my journey. I won’t name names, but you know who you are. Thanks for everything, and thanks as well for your own fiercely honest, illuminating, artful and often funny blogging.

A new year begins for Voyages en Rose now, and for me in my continuing embrace of my whole self. Thanks for sharing with me on this road.

Nov 24, 2009

Cross Dressing SNAFU. (Situation Normal: All Femmed Up)

On the too infrequent occasions that I am out, en femme, in the big wide world with my somewhat big wide hips on, it is my primary aim to blend in, to disappear, to not attract undue attention. To, as much as possible, just be one of the girls.

I have advantages. I am not a terribly bulky person. I have a terrific walk, and can comfortably stride about in 3” pumps for hours at a time without knocking my wig off on door jambs. I have a friend who is a superb make-up artist. I have a good deal of experience in theatre and vivid memories of high school: as such, the prospects of public performance and public embarrassment do not represent a real handicap to me.

There are disadvantages of course, and I am ok with them. I can “pass” at a quick glance or from a distance, but any sort of up close encounter is sure to set senses tingly that something is just a little off. I am a guy in a dress. No worries. Witch burning more or less seems to be a thing of the past. Yes, I want to be pretty, but I am not out to pass. I am out to experience.

So here is a quick note of thanks to a few people who had close encounters with me last week who just went about their business without any kind of fuss. They each effortlessly added to my experiences.

Matronly Lady who forgot where she had parked. A little up-fouled by the odd floor naming conventions at Phipps Plaza, she accepted my offer to hunt down her car. We took a short elevator trip together, and she got her bearings back. Hooray! Crisis averted.

Nordstrom’s Sales Assistant with the cute furry boots. I had to tell her that I was covetous. She said thank you, regarded my feet, returned the compliment, smiled, and returned to work.

Handsome Waiter at The Tavern at Phipps. The lunch special recital was first rate. Sorry to be a boring client and for ordering the Grilled Chicken Salad with the cheap glass of white. Bonus points next time if I get offered a black table napkin though. My dark tights were a little linty after a well served meal.

Expert Tailor at nameless alteration shop. This was so charming. I had a couple of skirts that needed a bit of a slimming. I walked into the very busy little shop, said hello, held my skirts aloft and asked if they were up to the job.

I should here tell you that I do not make an effort to cloak my voice. I turn down the volume a bit, but do not attempt to effect a higher register feminine voice. Its partly a matter of competence, and somewhat a matter of vanity. With work, I could become more competent, but out of vanity, I continue to use my everyday voice. I like my voice. It is the instrument I use most often to project myself into the world. That voice is an integral part of me, in the same way that my feminine aspects are. I am happy that my one voice represents my whole self. For now. But back to the tailoring episode.

Into the fitting room I go, down with a zip, off with the dress, up with a hotsy-totsy little party bargain from J.C. Penney (yes friends, JCP, over on the right. Link here, with my online review at the base of the page) and out onto the platform with the panoramic mirrors. The gentleman with the pins and the chalk with accurate and slightly accented English started pinching here and marking there, and said:

O, so nice a skirt sir. A new style…”

... and continued at his craft. The whole “sir” bit was just completely cute. And not meant in any other way than to respect the customer. The International Brotherhood of Tailors and Garment Workers does not have a uniform code of language and does not provide sensitivity training in the use of pronouns, or at least not as standard curriculum for dues paying English as a Second Language members.

I slithered into skirt number 2, repeated the process, re-robed and returned to the counter where a line of clients piled up behind me, and took their proper turn while my tailor efficiently did the paper-work.

Small triumphs, all of them. I felt quite pleased with things. Pleased enough to pop out for a little drink, and so here I finish with:

Brian, Bart and the nice Yahtzee playing lesbian couple at The Stage Door. Yes, it is a gay bar and entirely welcome of all sorts of paying clients, but still, it is nice to chat about the everyday things without commentary about how one or the other looks. We determined over a short while together that Comcast is minutely less evil than Bell South, that Pabst Blue Ribbon has an undeservedly poor reputation, that Atlanta drivers are impossibly self-absorbed, and that we would endure bankruptcy to care for our dogs.

And we then said so long, see you next time. As I say here.

Thanks all, and a very happy Thanksgiving from one who has much to be thankful for.

Nov 23, 2009

Does this font make my butt look huge?

Recently, my work has required me to analyze and twist larger mountains of names and numbers than is usually the case. For the first time in my life, after long days at the monitor, I have found my eyes just a little fatigued. Signs of age I suppose, and nothing to be alarmed at.

In this slightly weakened condition though, I have taken a new and not so fresh look at my own blog. I hadn’t noticed it before, but it is a bit dense ( …easy on there, Lynn ... too easy a set up for you …).

I have always been a small san-serif font kind of a scribe. I am a bit of an insensitive boob too, ready to believe that the rest of the world will be fine with my standards. Nature seems today ready to compensate for the failing eyes though with a little booster pack of empathy. Watch for the effects …. now.

Darling, if I made you squint, I am sorry. I’ve got some eye-wash somewhere is this damned purse … now where the hell is it …..

I am not really religious on the matter of size, font or otherwise, and have pretty much recuperated from my own stay in data hell,. I am ok with the present font size. But this is not about me. It is about you. I am asking for, and will act upon your advice this week. Please, all other considerations aside, let me know if things would be made more enjoyable for you with a little style sheet adjustment on my part. The poll on the right will be running through the weekend. One vote per customer s'ils vous plait.

If you want a larger font, I must in fairness warn you of the next problem:

You will probably get an index finger arthritic condition from having to scroll even more often. I am a windy little thing, and don’t see my postings changing from their current and corpulent 700-1000 word payload size. Sorry. There was the Blarney Stone somewhere in my youth. And I will go again, next time leaving a smart L’Oreal smack on the gabby old rock.

Some other minor site tweaks to mention while I am tidying the joint up for the holidays. The online product review section is now up to date. Some broken links removed and strong new ones forged. I do like a nice little bit of shopping.

Posting may be a lighter than usual this week, what with house guests and turkey induced torpor. Nudge me if I am snoring, would you? I will try to fit in the grand finale of last weeks big day out tomorrow though…

Ta ra for now m’dears…

Nov 21, 2009

Stations of the Cross Dresser – The Brassiere Fitting

My eyes are often cast down not for reasons of shame or poor posture, but out of sheer delight in what I believe to be some of creations finest handiwork. I am a devoted admirer of legs. Womanly legs. When I am not cross dressed, I am a leg man. When I am cross dressed, my own legs are on good display and I think of myself as rather a leggy woman. But there is more to us than legs, ne c’est pas?

To put not too fine a point on it, there are breasts too.

I have a terrific pair of silicon forms, modest in size and rather life-like from a weight, shape and feel perspective. If you have not splashed out on quality breast forms, and want to improve both your experience and your appearance, they are a key investment. In the cross dressed game of poker, a nice pair tops every other hand in the deck. I have long felt though that I have never merchandised my forms, and therefore my own form to the fullest extent, focused as I have been on matters south of my equator.

My smallish selection of bras fit me, well enough, I suppose. Pretty yes, and not uncomfortable. My old favorite (a splendid little Victoria’s Secret number) does not slip at the shoulder or ride up at the back. It is well made, is laundered and stored carefully, and has provided me with the required support. But I want more don’t I?

Access to very exclusive places of feminine experience is something that I want. I envy genetic women their private rituals. I want small glimpses of those places for myself, and in those moments, to grow my kinship with the fairer sex. As far as powdered, perfumed and pretty places go, you cannot get much more exclusively feminine than a fine lingerie shop. And once there, when you place yourself, quite literally in the hands of a skilled personal shopper and fitter, well, lets say this is an intimate moment. A moment worthy of mention in my own personal CD Bucket List, the 12th shrine in what I have called The Stations of the Cross Dresser. Background notes on the whole concept can be found in older posts, including this one
here.

This past Wednesday, the Bra Fitting was as the very top of the to-do’s. It had been many months since I had been out en femme but after a mere couple of hours though of driving, chatting, shopping and walking I felt fully immersed in my Petra-ness. Complete, tranquil, attenuated to the world around me, and fully ready to enter and enjoy the experience at
Intimacy.

Intimacy operates 8 or so major-market boutiques here in the US of A, and makes a proud specialization of expert advice and fitting services. Change your Bra, Change your Life, is the very serious mantra of the whole zealous squad. You have to love people on a mission. And a fine mission it is say I. Here now is how mission gets accomplished.

First things first, one does not simply stroll in and start pawing away at the nice things. No, no, no… the polite, firm and certainly not-to-be-ignored concierge at the shop entrance welcomed us, and inquired how she could help.

“I am here for a fitting”

“Good. Here, please take a moment to fill out this form, and a fitter will be with you presently”

Now, having visited a doctors office or 2 in my life, I can typically handle a clip board and a ball point with the best of them. I had not however done that seated on a stylish and low quilted bench, having to figure out where to put my purse, and with which hand I should smooth my shortish skirt. Hmmm. There is always something new.

The form was a questionnaire, a sort of bra-ography. How many bras do I own? How often do I wear my favorite? What is the commonest flaw from a fit perspective? What features am I most desirous of? My darkest fears plumbed, and fondest hopes held within view, but still out of reach. I passed the moments flipping through a Vogue and chit chatting with Ramona wondering … what comes next?

Having now confessed my frailties, I was deep into a process, and somebody else was driving. I was a happy captive of quitely whirring silken machinery. Jennifer appeared after a few minutes and in a no-nonsense but friendly way, led me to my private fitting room. She then talked through some of the philosophy of Team Intimacy, much of which simply bounced off my feathered head. I really wish I could report the details. It was all so overwhelming, and I do not mean that in a bad way. I was being wordlessly unzipped by a stranger. My thoughts first, next my dress, then the Danskin turtleneck leotard, and there I was surrounded by mirrors, clad from the waist up only in my black bra, most assuredly putty in Jennifer’s hands.

We talked then about my fashion sense. I wanted a flesh tone bra, the better for lighter blouses. I wanted a smooth finish, the better for tighter knits. I wanted something lightweight, not over padded, something that would allow me to feel as natural as possible. Jennifer listened, and nodded, and vanished, pulling the door closed behind her.

Whatever doubts one harbors as to whether or not they are a dyed-in-the-wool, bred-in-the-bone crossdresser will not survive the next 3 precious minutes. Yup. There you are, made up, dressed down, with nothing to do but to regard your infinite reflections and wait, patiently, for your bra. Magic friends, pure magic. The rest is trivia. I am glowing now, days later, just remembering and reliving the moment.

I went through a bakers dozen of candidates, each lovely, most just imperfect in some tiny way. I became increasingly discerning and discriminating as the silky river of sad failed contenders piled up on the benches and hung from hooks all around me. Too much lace on that one. A little loose here, too tight there. Too stiff, too frail, wrong shade. Aubade’s, Freya’s, Chantelle’s, Fantasie’s, Contourelle’s and LeJaby’s ... an embarrassment of quality, exclusivity and femininity.

The puppy in the pound, knows how to look at you, hold your attention, and find their way home with you safely. I am not sure who exactly was the puppy in this exchange, me or the
Simone Péréle (pictured at right, the Liz 3D Plunge). It matters not, we are one forever bound by our special introduction.

It is perfect. It moves with me, it feels pliant and real, the color is a rich pewter tone, and quite clearly it is made of wonderful fabric, and finished in part by hand. It is a pricey piece of French Lingerie, possessed of everything that a pricey piece of French Lingerie should be. It is tough to justify spending what I did spend on a bra. But some moments demand a little abandon. It was a priceless experience. I wish the same for all of you here, and especially you genetic girls. Some luxuries are necessities at least once in a life.

Here now, close to Thanksgiving, I hope you have whatever luxuries and necessities your lives require.

Happy dressing, and everything else.

Nov 19, 2009

Less talk, more walk.

Long time followers of these Voyages en Rose have suffered through my long ruminations on life in the drab lane, observations on cross dressing lifestyles tendered from the observers deck and my fumbling recent entry in Limerick form. Bless your big hearts, you clearly have the stamina for a long day in high heels.

Me too. Had a nice one yesterday that I want to share with you. So much to say, it will be broken into appetizer size portions, the holidays are well nigh upon us and a girl must watch her figure after all. This post starts with some advice and a big note of thanks. Here goes.

Go out with a friend. Here is mine. Even the most experienced pilots have a co-pilot along with them for their voyages. It makes the day safer and more sociable for cross dressers and flyboys alike. Yes, Wonder Woman flew solo, but Wonder Woman I most certainly am not. And if you are Wonder Woman, pray tell, what exactly is that lariat for?

I have made mention of my friend, Ramona before. She is the proprietress of Explore Your Feminine Side, a top-to-toe Transformation Service for the male-to-female Cross Dresser / TG set.

So, Ramona is my co-pilot on my too rare en femme outings, and I suppose that I am one of her many apprentices in matters of Femulation© (Hi Staci Lana!). Just about 1 year ago, after many years of rather furtive and less than convincing cross dressing on my part, I struck up a relationship with Ramona. This relationship has super-charged my experiences and heightened my enjoyment of our shared gift of gender interest. I have had a discrete little link to Ramona here on the blog forever, but today I want to put her front and center and encourage you if you live in or near Atlanta to give her a call and just talk a little. Perhaps she can help you enjoy your gift more. Ramona is pictured here at the recent Southern Comfort Conference, just glowing too, around the same time as I was up to my axles in flood water. She was clearly having more fun.

IN any event, her salon is located in a beautiful home in a gorgeous leafy neighborhood, she has wardrobe to fit (hello size 13 ½ pumps) and all of the foundation garments, wigs and outer layers a girl of any dimension could want to use. As to make-up, she is first rate. Believe me, I need a great deal of help to not scare the women and children, and she is more than up to the challenge. Out of town friends may be interested that Explore Your Feminine Side also offers a Bed and Breakfast package that features a fully appointed private suite, surrounded on all sides by the stuff of dreams.

Beyond the technical skills and the well furnished setting though, she is just so in tune with people like we. She has a good sense of what drives us, and what hopes we have when we start exploring our own feminine dimensions. Yes, it is a business, but a business with a genuine heart. And don’t just take it from me: She is a respected friend of
Sigma Epsilon / Tri-Ess, and a very well received presenter at our annual Southern Comfort Conference too.

You can email Ramona for more info, or just call toll free to (866) 901-5383 to start the better adventure. So there. You know what to do.

And now, back to yesterday. The ensemble for the day was the newish Ann Taylor animal print sheath over countless counterfeiting and concealing layers of padding. On the legs, a nice new pair of Hue opaque tights, (noir, naturalement) and all of this perched on a smart new pair of Etienne Aigner closed foot 3” bootie pumps . The brand new shoes were a treat for the full 9 hours, and my Hue’s never for a moment even thought about losing their smart, clingy elasticity. And where, O where, did this ensemble lead me?

- back into
Ann Taylor, as the swans (or is it swallows?... ) return to Capistrano.
- into
Intimacy for my first proper Brassiere fitting,
- off to
The Tavern at Phipps for a light lunch and a mid-day glass of wine
- a brief intermission at
Ramona’s for a call of nature that the previously mentioned layers would not allow me to easily execute in a public loo
- a fitting session with a tailor for some newly acquired things, and
- finishing the day off at the Stage Door, a lovely bar welcoming of all sorts of unique people, and
- home lastly, done too soon, but with my cup clattering over in joy.

The only catch in the day is that my inventory of press on nails is only at 9. I am missing a pinky somewhere, god help me. Its always the little things is it not?

In any event, I will prose on about all of these loverly chapters in soon to follow posts. The bra fitting is of course a real highlight, and as one of my official
Stations of the Cross Dresser, deserving of its very own and very detailed exposé.

Today, a deep dive on the Ann Taylor visit. Ann has offended some of her longer term customers this season with a refreshed line of merchandise that has thrown some loyalists a curve ball (a googly for you girls from cricket playing nations). With that said though, the new designer seems to have had me expressly in mind. I do not think I can make up the revenue shortfall, but I promise to try. I love everything in the store. It is not an inexpensive shop, but for quality, clean lines and just all-around gorgeousness I maintain that Ann represents the very summit. Less important than the clothes though, is the treatment one receives here while en femme.

Gentle welcomes upon arrival, and enough space left to us to just generally look about. I had had my eyes on a terrific be-ribboned skirt that had suffered a slight mark-down owing to general global economic circumstances, found it, a couple of other smart items and, with arms loaded was properly introduced to Robyn.

“ Terrific, here dear, let me take those and prepare a room for you …”

And in a perfumed hush she glided off to the fitting rooms with my selections. Now, let me describe the fitting rooms. Lovely finished carpentry with ample bench space and hooks galore. Measuring 6’ x 8' spacious and airy. For you girls living in New York, that makes a 48 sq ft studio with panoramic mirror views and sleek Scandinavian interior styling in a great location that you could probably swing for about $1,000 monthly given retail rental costs in Gotham. Free wi-fi and very fashionable neighbors and dead quiet after 9:00 p.m.. It’s a steal really. Mention my name to the landlady.

I think that the thing I wanted to mention was just how natural, private and respectful the whole experience was. The fitting rooms circled a large, well mirrored salon area where I was simply one of the girls trying a few things on, putting a critical eye on my appearance and exchanging pleasantries with other shoppers. I needed to make a couple of sorties back to the racks to switch out sizes and then retire smoothly back into my private realm for the quick changes. There were no questions posed, nothing along the lines of “how often do you dress?”, or “my that looks good on you (for a guy) ...”. I was simply a valued customer. Nothing out of the ordinary.

It might seem strange, given that cross dressing is not really a normative behavior, but the experience I most seek once transformed fully into Petra is to simply disappear into that persons life. To not ruffle feathers, to not challenge society, to not stand out for anything more than the notice people typically get in their every day lives. Ann provided that to me, and has in return earned my deepest affection.

I ended up being between sizes on the desired skirt, and it is far too elaborate in construction to consider tailoring. Zounds though, I did find a beauty at 20% of list price just a couple of inches above the knee with lovely elastic shirring that I believe to be a real flatterer, aching for a really dressy night out. There was of course the nice sheers that will be reviewed in full in next weeks Panty Hose Parade, and a warm, happy sense that I had found what I wanted and more after all.

There will be more notes on this special day showing up in posts as time allows over the next few days too. I wish all of you and everyone you love as much joy as I had yesterday.

Happy dressing and everything else…

Nov 14, 2009

A Cross Dressers Incomplete Life in Verse

A boy lured by pantyhose
And garments that cling when they close
Rifles closets for dresses
And imagines long tresses
And hope he is not one of “those

As a teen, with a pretty girlfriend
I arranged some new means to an end
When sometimes at playtime
Whats her's, I could make mine
Harmless fun, not a problem to mend.

Yes, blue clothes are less fun than pink
Soon sex and cross dressing are linked
Surely not something permanent
I’ll not grow old that bent
I'll contend I’ve a temporary kink.

These thoughts never quite go away
Watching women at work and at play
Their wardrobes are sexy
O, my longings perplex me
And I work hard to keep them at bay.

This work, done and always in vain
Doesn’t stick, do the trick, and it’s plain
That odd cross dressing sessions
Serve to fuel my obsessions
And to wallet are somewhat of a drain

Then 30, the surprise of my life
A meeting, a courtship, a wife
Love consuming, explosive and true
With the power to urges, undo
And to carve from me as with a knife

Our home, my laundry, her kitchen
Nice division of labor, no bitchin’
Filmy things though, they serve as a taunt
To try on, to feel, and to want
Then return, to my marriage, to pitch in.

Loving couples have so much to share
Secrets too, wrongly kept from truths glare
When we played (once or twice), with my feelings growing
with her limits found, with her fuse close to blowing
I said, I’m a Stallion, no Mare.

More a leopard though - unchanging spots
So stealthy, and not yet been caught
While En Femme, here and there, and so thrilled
To be “out” with fond wishes fulfilled
Briefly “hot”, then concealing in “not”.

I see now that I’ve built a cage
When I truly require a stage
For myself to uncover
And to share with my lover
What I do know, and should, by this age

This phase has now lasted a year.
So much learned, fine new friends, but I fear
That real fabric is tearing
In my life, and its wearing
Not sharing, and not being clear,

About this big part of my being
Without which I am not fully me-ing
In fairness, it's past time to engage
With my wife, with her anger and rage
Which may move her, and rightly, to fleeing

But dammit I do lack the nerve
I take a deep breath, then I swerve
From disclosing this truth
That’s been true since my youth
That I sought not, but want to conserve

Busy friends and cross dressers in blog land
With precious few moments now on hand
You've spent some, with these stanzas of verse
Just one left, so for better or worse
I must ask: how did you make your own stand?

Yes, your comments I seek in conclusion
So to read and to lessen confusion
Thoughts that help this cross dresser,
Help my Missus, god bless her,
And perhaps save the odd bruise or contusion.


With abject apologies to anyone who living or in the great beyond who has an actual talent for poetry.

Happy weekend - Petra

Nov 12, 2009

Petra’s Pantyhose Parade – Anti-Pantyhose Defamation League Edition

Darlings, two things, first: Don’t believe everything you read.

Some samples for your consideration:

…They too got quite a large run in them the first day, it's continued to get larger….
… don't plan on taking them up and down more than a few times before you have an enormously wide runner …
… First wearing yielded several holes and runs. Nail polish patches. Second wearing? Huge runs and they went in the trash,
(and lastly)
… I wore them for one day....there are multiple holes & runs in them already.


These comments, gleaned from the Target web site, were read before I purchased (and with no small trepidation friends), this weeks model and sliding them under my high resolution thighcroscope©. You can imagine, I was prepared for a let down. Happily, a let down that did not happen. I was reminded of something a rather wise person said to me under forgotten circumstances years ago, and so secondly: A good carpenter never blames the tools.

Now, before I go to this weeks product review I want to tug on your scarf a second. Ladies and sometimes gentle men, take your time dressing, take care while dressed, and take care undressing. Please. Yes, I understand that life is busy and that we have many pressing demands. But dressing is a nice ritual, so take an extra minute, catch your breath, and be mindful of what you are doing. This will not only help you look great and feel comfortable, but will allow you to get value for your money. When that happens you will likey spend more time being happy about your choices, and that cannot be bad.

Before naming and reviewing the slighted tights, I will refer you (you genetic girls and full-time women too), to two helpful links:

For a primer on hosiery care please visit the erudite Tights Lover at

The Panty Drawer . Sound advice.

For a game-changing, step by step tutorial on how to correctly don a pair of tights, take a minute after that with
Shapings.com. For those of us made neither of money or porcelain, knowing these things will help.

And now, back to our previously scheduled programming. Thank you for your patience.

Long time readers of these Voyages en Rose know that I harbor a smoldering crush on the founder and leader of the
Spanx empire, Sara Blakely. Smarts, initiative, innovation and beauty, there is a lot to like. Truly, the world owes here a little round of applause for breathing modern life into a foundation garment industry in long decline. Her Power Panty’s helped raise consciousness about butt and belly shaping aids, and in so doing, brought them out of the intimate recesses of the boudoir and into the boardroom. This ever growing class of underthings have, in the process of their popularization, eradicated an aggregate length of visible panty lines that would stretch to the moon and back. God bless Sara.

I had worn (quite happily) the Spanx High Waisted sheers in the past, but for a couple of reasons did not review them here. My formula is built to evaluate standard issue sheers and was not as kind to Sara as her super-reinforced, stealth technology shaping hose were to me. I wanted to redress her absence from my rankings here this week, and so picked up a pair of the Spanx value brand entry,
Assets by Sara Blakely. Assets can be found at Target amongst other such places, while the principal and pricier brand, Spanx, is found typically in slightly more upmarket shops. At the top end is the Haute Contour line, luxurious figure fixing finery to be loved and desired surely, but for me, shunned until I get down to 1 mortgage payment.

In any event, about the
Perfect Pantyhose. I will first focus on the unique, and superb element of these hose that I would want to see on everything I wear. An absolutely superb waistband (pictured above). Broad, soft and sure, with a gentle, accordioned elastic that breathes with the fortunate and flattered form contained therein. It is the very height of comfort. Throughout the panty, the weave has a strong bias against being hoisted unattractively above ones skirt line, which, given how much time I spent propped up on high bar stools is a key consideration.

Modesty preserved then, let us travel now in a southerly direction. Superb comfort, excellent fit, and all the smoothing and trimming elements that both cross dressers and any women desirous of a flatter tummy requires. Booty territory gets some attention too with a little lifting effect in the right place. Thigh slimming reinforcement runs to roughly 4” down-leg and fuses smoothly with the sheer boot portion. Lastly on fabrication, the toe seam is very subtly and beautifully finished. Sandal ready, again provided you put a moments care into pulling them on.

Clearly, in construction, this is a garment meant to withstand long days, and many of them, notwithstanding the harsh words from the reviews above. I have now given these 2 full days of wear and one washing. Good as new. A very durable feel without the sacrifice of any of the nice feminine softness that we want from our prettiest things. And now, to the leg, where the feel, finish and fashion elements show.

From mid-thigh to tip-top, this well elasticized 16% Lycra run resistant yarn has a nice dressy, but not flashy look. I suspect they are close to 15 denier sheerness which is fine enough to say “come hither” at the same time as they effectively obscure the blemishes you may have picked up shaving or falling out of trees in your youth. Glide happily from day to night without being out of place, any place. Comfortably too, as cool as they are. I can distinguish no material difference between the look and feel of these relative to the marquee Spanx line of sheers. Possibly just a little softer even, but with at least 99% shared DNA in the pretty little family. Yeah, at nearly half the price.

Price must always be a consideration though. At $12.00, these retail at 2X of a recently reviewed entry from
Sears. Are they twice as good? By any objective measurement, no. But there must be some subjective impulses we follow, and follow these I will. Good, strong scores all around with high Random Merit points for the waist construction. Even burdened with a not-everyday-wear price point, the Assets Perfect Pantyhose slide and shimmer into 8th spot on the crowded Pantyhose Parade Podium with 162.1 points in a mathematical tie (our very first) with Victoria’s Secret Flatter-Me Control top. I drop Victoria a notch down by virtue of the truth that she exists only in imaginations while Sara exists in the flesh. Truly, there is a woman I could go shopping with. Any of these terrific tights are, to me, go-to choices if what you are out for a just a little less of you and a little more of oomph. Just please take care of them, and they will take care of you.

Happy Dressing, and everything else…

Nov 11, 2009

Bullet Bra Blogging

Google Reader alerts me to blog updates from a rich variety of sites of different types. Me, I follow quite a few fashion and foundation garment commentators. As a part time cross dresser, I have much to learn, and a lot of catching up to do knowledge-wise. Yeah, and the pictures are pretty, I must confess. I have followed Tomima (pron. toe-MY-mah) Edmark, the proprietress of HerRoom.com for some time now. Tomima’s own blog (linked here) is typically pretty rich in tips and tricks to finding the right underwear and getting the most out of them. Really informative stuff.

Her post
today had a little reference to cross dressing that moved me to write a little note to her. I am all about recycling and so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone here by sharing the conversational volleys so far. I hope the discussion continues. Take a minute to read the post if you can. And then do come back here love, would you? Here is a short summary to save you the trip:

1. Cone shape bras are showing up on runways. 2. This silhouette always appears in troubled economic times. 3. Women will not welcome this – too, too unpractical. 4., and lastly, I will quote directly from Tomima (italics, mine):

...That said, we do get phone calls every once in a while asking which bras we carry at HerRoom that give a pointed silhouette. And, I will tell you that most calls asking this are from men who like to wear ladies lingerie. But, if you happen to like this silhouette, the Fantasie Belle 6010 and Goddess Longline 689 are two good choices. ...


Interesting reference I thought. My comment here:

A terrific and welcomed post. Yes I have been seeing some of the same silhouettes and breathless commentary about bullet bras from the commentariat, and have a couple of thoughts on the matter.

The designers who start the trends tumbling downhill surely into our closets are motivated in part by doing something different than last year. Change being at the heart of creativity. Change is clearly at the heart of commerce too I suppose. From short to long and back, from natural to de-natured and back, from round and soft to hard and angular and back we go and hope we can find a good parking spot at the mall.

Bullet bras and the resulting Russell-esque shapes will be seen in greater numbers for a while yes, but I suspect always near cameras and stages, catwalks and nightclubs. Boudoirs too I suppose for women and men both who like a little playful time and perhaps have a sense of nostalgia for an era they missed barely or by decades. God bless the girlfriends and wives who are willing to humour their spouses for a few uncomfortable hours.

I suspect that most of the men that inquire of your personnel about conical brassieres are possessed a little by that nostalgia, and perhaps a desire to feature the campier and less flattering aspects of “drag”, rather than the sincerely admiring and envious “femulations” undertaken by the vast majority of periodic cross dressers.

Speaking as one of the sincere latter, the search for comfort, support and prettiness remains paramount. I look for bras that contain my breast forms well, and disappear beneath my dresses leaving only the most setting appropriate and flattering figure lines up front. The experience of cross dressing is for many, if not most, the experience of blending in and being. Not standing out and being seen.

Thanks, sincere thanks, for your many blog posts. They have helped me be a smarter consumer of foundation garments of all types. Any time you have any thoughts or advice for the studious cross dresser or committed transgender, I would love to see them here. I can assure you that a surprising number of your current readers will be happy to see themselves respectfully addressed.

Fond regards

Again, a fine and educational blog, highly recommended. If I see anything catering to the CD/TG audience there, I will let you know here.

But tell me friends .. bullet bras? Yes or no. Leave a comment,

Happy dressing.

Nov 10, 2009

A Cross Dressers personality

In prior posts (here, there, and o yeah, over here too) I have spoken about The Gender Analyzer. The Gender Analyzer is a piece of web gadgetry that makes an educated guess as to the gender of the author of a blog by examining the language used and how its put together.

I was typically a little delighted with “fooling” the machine, but more delighted by confirming my own feelings of, and pride about what I believe to be a healthy mix of gender characteristics in my outlook on life. Gender Analyzer said at different times that it had a 68%, 74%, and most recently, an 82% degree of certainty that Voyages en Rose was written by a woman. Nice.

Staci-Lana of
Femulate (86%, go Staci!) directed me to another tool/toy from some people that use the same technology as The Gender Analyzer, over at uclassify.com. Amongst the tools at this site is something called the Typealizer. Typealizer does a lot of the same things in terms of analyzing the writing for “tells” about the gender of the author, but it goes a step or two further.

It goes in fact into the same territory as those personality typing tests that many of us have may have doddled through on the way to winning a job, or to addressing somebody in HR’s concern that we are perhaps doing the wrong one. Job that is. Ah yes. Personality typing. One of the grand-daddies is the Myers-Briggs. Not too far in the shadows is the Keirsey. There are countless others, but these, I am familiar with, and there is a Keirsey outcome in this post.

I have thought, in the past, when taking such tests that I was driving repeatedly past the same building having taken four left turns to get back where I started. And having forgotten how I answered the seemingly same question the first, and second time around. It always seemed to me that these exercises are a better test of whether you have control over your sweat glands and blush response than they are determinative of ones personality, but I am happy to cede to the professionals what they profess to know. There must be something in all the smoke and mirrors.

So imagine my delight at being able to take the test without a career hanging in the balance, and even better, minus all the sweaty and blushy bits. Simple as popping the Voyages en Rose URL into a box, and in less time than it takes to buff a nail, presto:

ESFP The Performers. More on that in a moment, but first off, I love that they got my fashion sense right and placed me in my natural environment. An attractively dressed young thing with fine taste in boots and a bubbly beverage held happily on a bar. Bullseye! I love these people.

The language used to summarize my type follows:

ESFP = The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to
pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics,
bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don’t like
to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves. They enjoy work
that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They
tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can
make it hard for them in management positions.

Hmmm. Killing me softly, with their code, telling my whole life, on their site, killing me softly, with their code. They just get better by the minute. The observation on management is really trenchant.

I have quite pointedly pursued work that gave me as much responsibility for outcomes as I could handle, with the absolute minimum responsibility for the well-being and productivity of direct reports, otherwise known as people.

People are a daunting responsibility. I take it very seriously when responsible for a persons career track and general happiness in the workplace. I get better at it with time and practice, but its about the only aspect of my work life that I have constant second thoughts about. I truly worry that I over-said this, or under-stressed that. Some people call it throttle-control, which I sometimes took to mean controlling the urge to throttle a co-worker, but turns out to be about the even, constant and predictable application of force against an objective. Ah well, clearly this ESFP bar-fly has much to learn.

Further into the analysis, and with a familiar hand on my thigh, our newish friends at Uclassify lean in close and share some sweet uttering’s on the very workings of the pink fluff between my ears. Pictured here:

This visual happily sorts well with how I think my brain works. You will note an overcompensation to the lower left quadrant. Order, habit, detail, all of the things I focus on, perpetually, to sort out the otherwise busy jumble of impulses that I am besieged by when not mindful of my, well, my mind. Resolute concentration on how things are and fit together help me get along reasonably well in the face of my own self-diagnosed case of CDADHD. That would be Cross Dressers Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

In any event, if you blog, go ahead and learn something about yourself here. And if you do not blog, but visit my blog from time to time, I am glad that the personality you see expressed here is in some way curious and interesting to you. Come again.

Happy dressing and everything else ….

Nov 9, 2009

The Technology of Cross Dressing

It is natural that we think of ourselves as living in unique times, and in unique circumstances. Many will agree with me when I suggest that if there is something that defines our time today as unique, that thing would be technology. More specifically, the technology underpinning the communications explosion facilitated by what we think of as the Internet. “www” is, by any measure, a unique signature of our time.

But technology has long had an impact on the lives of cross dressers. Sadly much of this rich history lays obscured beneath the rustling crinolines of yesteryear, lost to historians and orphaned from our present day.

We all learned, for example, as school kids that the very first words uttered into a telephone by the great innovator Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant Thomas Watson were “Watson come here I need you”.

What is less well known though is the shocking rest of the conversation. Watson replied:

I’m busy dammit what do you want?”

I need help with my zip

Well baby, we’ve come a long way. As I approach my own mid-century mark I marvel at how different life can be today, for the transgendered, for cross dressers, and by extension, anyone who at anytime in their life asks themselves this question:

Am I the only person in the world who does this or feels that

There was a time in my life where I could only assume that I was the only boy in the world curious about the touch and feel and sensations conferred by women’s clothing. I had no evidence to the contrary.

In my early teen years, I was startled, slack-jawed really while reading a letter to the editors of Penthouse Magazine that began predictably enough with… I am a sophomore at a small mid-western college …. but moved from the mid-west to the darkest recesses of my imagination a couple of paragraphs in, when our hero confessed to how explosively good it had felt to be dressed as a woman by the random (ed. and of course totally hot, playful but somehow menacing, wise beyond her years and yet coltish still) girl from a dorm across campus.

No literary merit in the letter of course, but I felt at the time I suspect very much the same way as the inhabitants of Easter Island must have in 1722 after 1400 years of complete isolation, all of a sudden other humans just pitch up and say, howdy.

Wow. I am not alone.

This perpetually aroused teenager let his inner detective and amateur anthropologist loose on the world in search of evidence of delicate heel prints and lipstick smears where they might surprise and was not disappointed. With a little digging about, I found a good amount of “specialty literature’ and indeed photographic evidence describing and depicting people in outfits (and positions and predicaments) that I fancied I might like to try out, just to satisfy my curiosity of course. Only until I grew out of it all quite inevitably and naturally.

On the predictable path to that not happening, I was noticing a growing number of increasingly public and outrageous flaunters of gender conventions in the arts and culture spaces. Bowie lead a long parade, Boy George, Adam Ant and David Sylvain and countless more made up and laced up, threatening the very moral foundations of our society by … well, by exploring. Not much of a threat as it happens.

I further found around that time in the classified ads of weekly alternative newspapers a growing number of entrepreneurs, veritable Florence Nightingales’ (except that they might dress you as the nurse) who might be engaged with to actually transform the willing into the woman of ones dreams. This discovery was available to me though in part because of my stridently urban life style. I lived in a city. A big city, a cool city, a rich city. 50 miles from where I was may as well have been Easter Island. Isolated, unknown, untouched.

Fast forward, not too far, to today. Most of the world, certainly all of you reading here today, live in a massive city. The greatest metropolis ever imagined and perhaps never imagined. A city of 3, perhaps 4 billon people with another few billion knocking at the gates and sure to take up residence in the next pretty flutter of a generational eyelash. And while many will not have the luxuries of time and comfort in large enough measures to explore their multi-faceted gender compositions, more do have, and many more in the future will have those luxuries. How much easier is the discovery today, and how many more people will make that always unique discovery that they are not alone?

And now, not being alone, what do we say and do with each other, and with the rest of the world through our technologies?

More heavy ponderings along these lines in the never too distant future.


Happy dressing, and etc ...

Nov 7, 2009

Cross dressers of the world, unite!

There are slender odds that a tiny trickle of you kind, beautiful visitors are not fully acquainted with and trans-crushing on Staci-Lana over at world famous Femulate. If you are in that trickle, be a complete lamb and meet me quietly in the next paragraph for a little chit chat.

Yes. I am addressing you directly here. If you do not know Femulate, now is the time.

Staci-Lana is running a poll for a few days. The more participants, the better the insights. Not only for a dear friend, but for you too. Well, that is to say that you can see results in near real time. Please visit. Then put a little thought to how you identify yourself. Then vote. This is good practice. Remember, 2010 is a Census year here in the good old US of A, so limber up for that labor with a mere flick of a mouse on Femulate today.

After that, give yourself a treat.

Long time visitors to Voyages en Rose know that I take my pretty hosiery pretty seriously. I have attempted to turn my passion for pantyhose into a science (without losing the thrill along the way) here in a weekly feature I call Petra’s Pantyhose Parade. If you have enjoyed those posts, or just generally have an eye and a thigh for fine things, then you simply must visit The Panty Drawer. Our correspondent, Tights Lover, goes places with a passion for hosiery and foundation garments that I admire and endorse.

I then suppress a small eruption of jealousy at TL’s ability to effortlessly swan around in a seemingly endless ocean of up-market, high-end, far from bargain-bin leggings and etc., because jealousy does not serve well in any circumstances, right? Of course. There, Petra is all better now.

So go visit, enjoy the views and insights, and leave a happier, smarter dresser. However you identify yourself.

Enjoy the weekend. Happy Dressing and everything else … Petra

Nov 5, 2009

Petra’s Pantyhose Parade – It is all about Hue

With abject apologies to Cole Porter fans everywhere

I’ve got Hue over my skin
I’ve got Hue, clinging to parts of me
From waist to the tips of my toes, they’re really a part of me
I’ve got Hue over my skin

I took care to not ladder them
So fine and frail that I walked in fear they would tear
But they have survived and thrived the test of my normal wear
I love Hue's over my skin.


I would sacrifice anything come what might
For a fine thing, the perfect dress sheers
In spite of the warning signs, that I own enough,
Enough now to last all my years ….

Yes friends, Thursday it is, and time for another high-steppin’ Pantyhose Parade. For newish visitors, a recap of the protocols. I like hosiery. I purchase a pair or 2 time to time. I wear them, and objectively as possible grade them so that we may some happy day possess a Rosetta Stone, a reliable periodic table, a statistically sound barometer of the relative merits of these bewitching garments that give so much and ask so little in return. I use a mathematical model as complex a those employed to bring Wall Street to its very knees last year to generate a Petra's Pantyhose Parade value, and have not yet received any kick-backs or threats of physical violence from the vendors I have subjected to my withering and/or longing glances.

So this week, as the poorly wrought lyric indicates, we have Hue up on the slab. Hue had always meant colorful, opaque tights to me. Lovely, useful items, but not fully in my fashion or editorial sweet spot. I was prompted to look more closely at this brand after noticing, in too much of a hurry to drop in, a Hue boutique in a nearby mall some weeks back. When I poked about the
website, I found a much broader range of goods than I had previously perceived, including the stuff frequently featured here. The sheers.

Hue, as the name suggests is typically a brand more interested in color. You have likely seen massive walls of bright tights and funky leggings in your favorite shops and may have stayed away from them if you are more inclined, as I am, to dressier fare. Winter is coming on though, and great strides on the fashion tights front are being made daily, so perhaps it is time to broaden our horizons a little. More on that theme in a future post I am sure. But for now, a short review on the Hue offering for the pantyhose enthusiast.

Hue, as it happens, is a Kayser-Roth mills product. KR is the parent company, and Hue has a better known sister by the name of No Nonsense. No Nonsense has come in for some pretty harsh language from me in
prior reviews. Truly a brand that brings out my own much unloved talent for caustic criticism. The net outcome of my reviews was that No Nonsense are the perfect fashion accessory for an armed robbery, or perhaps as a temporary fan belt replacement, and better kept off ones legs.

Nice to see, and to say then that Mr. & Mrs. Kayser-Roth have one lovely daughter. If they can forgive me for treating the other daughter coarsely, I would like to begin a serious courtship.

The tested product, the
Ultrasoft Control Top is a 17 denier dressy sheer that straddles the day-to-night (ed. enough with the Cole Porter already…) divide confidently. With a subtle glimmer in natural light, that amplifies nicely under interior lighting, the leg arrives, announces and attracts.

Lets go to the name now: Ultrasoft. When you lead with “Ultrasoft”, they had better, and I mean better, feel soft. These do, curiously so with a practically downy feel to the leg, but to the hand, polished, sleek and glossy. Not often do you get the 2 feelings at once. Complement that with lightness and very sure wicking, and you get cool comfort which is a key consideration especially now in heated, dry indoor environments. Things can heat up quickly with those nice new boots on. You know the ones.

So, agreed, they look good, and feel fine. What else? Quality fabrication. Subtle sandal foot seam and clean finishing around the waist and through the gusset of a nicely firm, smoothing control top. Very sensibly, the Hue name is stitched into the waistband, making them easy to retrieve from crowded top drawers. The waistband sits, patiently, happily right at the waist. No roll. Nothing fancy or femmy in the private bits, no lacey or floral details to appeal to my aesthetic sense, and this is fine provided the best resources have been allocated to the look of the leg, and the comfort of the leggy. Which, I am happy to report they have. Abundantly so.

With a price tag of $8.00 ($7.00 each purchased in twins and trips) they are suitably priced for everyday wear, and do a better than everyday job at it. If you are a TJ Maxx shopper, keep your eyes peeled for these at a penny under $4.00. Unassailable value there, and still really good value at full retail. If soft is what you want, these will be your go-to-girls. As to the rankings, they earn a laudable 156.3 Petra Points and nestle into the middle of the pack at # 11 after a day nestled on my legs.

I am sorry to report though that they closed down that local shop. Walked by there hopefully the other day, and where once there was an ocean of nylon, lycra and general prettiness, there were dark lights. Was I too late to my realization? Again, Mr. and Mrs. Kayser-Roth, I beg your forgiveness.

Happy dressing and everything else….

Nov 4, 2009

What Not To Wear. Why We Should Care.

My wife and I are fairly regular viewers of the fashion reality show, What Not To Wear (hitherto referred to as WNTW). Back in olden tymes (circa 2003-4), I cultured a crush on both Trinny and Susannah, the hosts of the original BBC program.

The premise of the show, for those of you in the TG community who are either dedicated to watching C-Span or simply anti-television is like so:

Trinny and Susannah would surreptitiously film a few days in the life of a walking, breathing, fashion sad sack. Then, in a very public setting, surrounded by friends and family, the intervention would begin. Shrieks of alarm, and a promise of a complete wardrobe do-over, on the WNTW purse, with one big catch:

The victim had to subject themselves to a caustic critique of everything that had ever worn, much that they had ever done, and all of what they were thinking in matters of personal style and presentation.

It made for great TV. Our hostesses were beautiful in completely different manners, stylish as could be, but not in ways that seemed too fussy or out of reach. Importantly, and charmingly too, they were both terrifically free with bodies, their own and their victims, always grabbing arses, bellys and boobs to emphasize points. Very entertaining and informative stuff. I always learned something watching them, and they never failed to take people from slouchy or freakish well through presentable, and often all the way to stunning in 22 manic minutes.

The same premise was maintained for the American transplant of the show, now at least 5 years on the tube here on The Learning Channel. There were a couple of changes, in tone mostly, with the sincerity dial turned up a little. This adaptation works in the American context in ways it might not have in the UK, works very well in my view. It could still use a little of the familiar fondling that the English lasses were famous for, but we are I suppose a nation descended from Puritan roots and pretty damned litigious. Might not work so well here alas.


As to the hosts, Clinton knows his stuff, and brings a good mix of droll, catty and funny. Stacey with her great hair, super-nova smile, killer legs and abundant energy, is hard not to like. Unless you are a girl who resents girls like that, which I most certainly am not.

Now, I don’t go out of my way to watch the show, don’t Tivo it, but, if channel surfing, this is one of those useful time wasters I have absolutely no problem throwing myself at for a half hour. I have thought on a couple of occasions just how would Stacey and Clinton (or even better… Trinny and Susannah) deal with a cross dresser? Not me mind you, I am not that open. But somebody…..

And now the Why We Should Care part of this post, dear friends.

I received an email from a friend the other day. She had nominated a pre-op TG friend to WNTW, and told me that the application had been accepted and was under review. She was excited and could barely contain herself and what did I think? Me? I thought this was a master stroke. It made me giddy. I really, truly want to see this happen.

I will share a link with you to contact the nice people responsible for this entertaining programming at the end of this post. If this is the sort of TV that you would want to see, please take the 5 minutes required to share your views. Here are a handful of the reasons I did:

- This would be a real challenge for Stacey and Clinton, and a challenge that I think they would want to take on. I get the feel that they are both very post-gender, non-judgmental, and genuinely interested in making the world look better.
- This is programming that would cement TLC’s already strong reputation for socially progressive programming
- This is a show that would very sensitively promote awareness about the Transgendered, and that cannot be bad.
- And lastly, given recent landmark legislation here in these United States around the issue of hate crimes related to sexual orientation and other common social differentiators, this would be timely programming.

Beyond all that, for those of us disadvantaged in our dressing simply because the genetic girls have such a head start, we could all use a style tip or 2, ne c’est pas? Of course we could.

Here is the promised link.
http://extweb.discovery.com/viewerrelations

You won’t have to give any personally identifying information if you don’t want to. You will not be nominating anyone in particular. But if you suggest, like I have, that a TG focused episode of WNTW would be really welcomed, well then, my friends friend has a much better shot at a life changing make-over than might be the case today.

I truly hope you do. Drop me a note here in comments if you have taken the time. So appreciate your thoughtfulness and sense of general devilment. If I find other ways to politely pester Stacey and Clinton, I will share them with you in future posts.

Lets go make some great TV shall we?
 
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