Feb 5, 2010

The Seven Deadly Sins of Cross Dressing – Envy

Well friends, the first post in this series generated some interesting comments, and a couple of private notes from friends. Feedback from readers is really helpful, truly. Nobody writes well in a vacuum. Here is another thing about vacuums: they do not tidy up messy wrting. So allow me to tidy up the last post here quickly before wading into the briny green sea of Envy, our Deadly Sin de Jour.

I do not feel guilty of any "sins" relative to Cross Dressing. I am far too accomplished a lapsed Catholic to feel the burdens of sin. I will cop to a fashion crime here and there, yes, but no sins as such.

Good and bad things exist on continuums, and there are lots of grey shades between the extremes. I believe it is important to think, every now and then, about where on the important continuums (ed. continua?) you stand. Here, I am employing the traditional “7 Deadlies” as a triage kit for the exercise – not as a platform of self-recrimination. Plus I found those pretty Marta Dahlig pictures and feel compelled to merchandise them.

Be assured that I will not, ever, stop attempting to look my best, in guy mode and otherwise. To the extent that I can, I want to be attractive in appearance. Who doesn’t after all? Moreover, I will happily lap up the encouraging words that come my way, and try to remember to thank their bearers. I will not hesitate to take the odd photo and share it with you here. Poor a camera technician as I am, I can typically get a good picture quicker than a thousand good words.

I am just going to try to contain my focus on those things, and make sure that the Majorette at the front of my parade is not Vanity herself. I was drawn early to Cross Dressing, and enjoy it greatly today largely because it just feels right. If I keep Vanity in check, it will feel more right. If I do not, it might feel less right. That would be a bad outcome.

The defense rests. So there. Moving on now to Envy:

A feeling of covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.

Hmmm. Envy has been a central motivator for me in my explorations, from the very beginning. I envied girls, and then women all of the private rituals of becoming womanly, the hooks and eyes, the fabrics and fragrances, the buckles and bows. the whole beguiling shooting works. I envied too, the impact that a confident, attractive women has, simply walking into a room, that special kind of notice that a guy cannot hope to have. Frailties and powers much different than the ones I could claim.

Envy for me, like Vanity, employed a looking glass, but rather than vainly gazing back at my own image, the looking glass revealed, Alice-like, a forbidden wonderland just out of reach.

Investigating the nature of Envy a little, I came across a Spanish proverb that I rather liked. The Spanish have my attention for starters, all those nice lacey scarves, flamenco skirts, and strappy heels, yumm, so this one hit home:

Envy is thin because it bites, but never eats.

Well I suffered bites for years, decades really. Now though, having come to peace with myself, and having shared my habit with Mrs. Bellejambes, I am able to eat, if you will. Envy has been disarmed, not entirely, but largely disarmed.

I still have periodic green flashes about the limits of my presentation en femme. I require long sleeves, skinny as my arms are, they are far too well defined and hair-thatched to enlist with the Little Black Dress Brigade. No plunging necklines either, my sorcery, my gal-chemy is not potent enough to summon up cleavage. Absent the cleavage, there is very little to take the focus off my jaw-line which demands too comprehensive a plastering of Dermablend Concealer to obscure imperfections of complexion, tell-tale shadows and what not. The end effect of the makeup is good, but the effect is visible, which moots part of the art of makeup. So the bites are there still, but they do not draw blood.

Envy extends, now and then, to brief flights of imagination, a periodic wish to pass fully through the looking glass, and live for brief interludes as an unquestionably and therefore unenvying member of the fair sorority. And then, to return on demand to my largely happy life in Drabistan. Envy is a relative trifle now, tamed, and more sweet than bitter.

It is pretty, and pretty tempting on the other side of the looking glass, but there is plenty of wonder in my more commonly occupied land, if I but manage to look at things fully. With that thought, here is a nice word from 19th century American philosopher/wag Josh Billings on the topic:

Love looks through a telescope: envy, through a microscope.

Here is to the bigger picture, friends.

2 “Sins” down, 5 to go, if I stay at it. I must tell you though, as much as I want to feature more of the beautiful work of
Marta Dahlig I am not sure I will. Truth be told, my imagining of a nice series of essays has, shall we say, not tucked quite so smoothly as I had hoped. I am sensing unsightly bulges in the editorial fabric not quite becoming of a modest and earnest scribe. If I can smooth them out, I will continue, but I promise not to hurt either of us in the process.

There will be other things to ruminate on after all. Mrs. B and myself are taking an evening on the town together tomorrow night for example. I hope to learn a thing or two that can be discreetly shared with you here. Stay tuned.


Couture Carrie said...

I adore this series, darling Petra! This may be my favorite of the 7 so far; love your description of envying the effect that a beautiful woman has... And this quote is stellar: "Love looks through a telescope: envy, through a microscope." So true!
Have a fun night on the town tomorrow!


Lynn Jones said...

I'm fairly familiar with this Sin... :) It only snaps at me when I'm not completely with it. The little voice "why can't I...?". The truth is, I know why. Choices, choices.

... through a microscope...

And hate a sniper rifle? :) Sorry, I couldn't resist. Perhaps I should have tho :D Let's move on!

I think I may becoming the voice the Devil here, but I'm going to argue that a *little* bit of envy isn't necessarily a bad thing :)

It can be 'drive': the jump from passive envy to a push to make you do something. You are envious of a person's shape, so you work out. You see a cute outfit and it pulls you along to follow that trend.

PS: I hope your evening goes well!

Petra Bellejambes said...

Thanks Carrie! I swear if I am not your first alternate Bridesmaid when that happy day happens, I will be furious.

Lynn - right as always. I think the trick is to act on the impulse when it is driven by admiration, rather than waiting on envy to boil over. Bless your heart.

Ta ra for now ..

Treacle said...

Oh Petra, my darling, I can't dismiss your envy because I completely understand it. I think every woman, natural born or not, experiences this emotion at some time. It just varies as to the degree.

Carolyn Ann said...

I have to object! "No one writes well in a vacuum"? Metaphorically, it's the only thing that has produced great literature!

Somehow I doubt the greats would be produced if they had to be written with input. (Except Ol' Bill. We don't actually know how much "input" he had.)

JD Salinger could not, as far as I can tell, care less for what "feedback" others provided. Robert Pirsig venerably hated such "feedback"! (As did Quentin Crisp.) Mr Steinbeck had choice words on the subject, and I'm quite sure Mr Hemingway would have a choice comment!

I will agree that vacuums do not tidy up the English language. Nothing can tidy up such a bastardized and corrupted vernacular. I love it, nonetheless. (Yeah, I know: I ignored your original meaning. Sarah Palin made it respectable to answer the question you wanted asked, versus the question that was actually asked. :-) Sort of. :-D )

No she didn't. :-)

As a writer of the perfunctory and merely adequate, I do not hold that a lack of vacuum might clear up some of my errors. They are (according to some) clearly the result of simply not thinking. Or agreeing with their viewpoint. I forget which.

As writers we should, should, strive to entertain our readers with our views, anecdotes and insights. We should not try to perplex them and pose them the challenge of figuring out what the actual spelling of those words is. :-)

(Thanks to the Mrs for the grammatical "input" and for cooking tonights dinner. :-) )

The purple prose maven,
Carolyn Ann

Leah said...

Love that quote... love looks through a telescope, envy through a microscope. So true!!!

I do have periodic green with envy moments but I try to be realistic and reasonable with myself.

Love this series Petra! Keep 'em coming! xoxo

KD said...

"I am far too accomplished a lapsed Catholic to feel the burdens of sin. I will cop to a fashion crime here and there, yes, but no sins as such."
I love the way you express everything. Great series so far.

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