A good "evening in the life" article on CDing

(by Marlena Dahlstrom)

I ran across a good (and lengthy) article by a reporter for a gay magazine who went out en femme with a local t-girl group. If you're wondering why we CDs like to go out and what some of the emotional satisfaction of cross-dressing are, this gives a good sense of things. http://www.swervemedia.org/issues/swerve-2002-10.pdf (The story starts on page 12. FYI it's a 3.8 MB PDF file, so it may be easier read by downloading it by right-clicking on the link (option-click for Mac) and then opening it up.)

The reporter gives a blow-by-blow account of the steps needed to look femme (the guy was even willing to shave his goatee, arms and legs) and gets help with a makeover -- although the poor dear did lay on the blush and eye shadow a bit heavy. Not that any of us have done that our first times.

He observes: "A successful transformation involves more than slapping on powder and lipstick, throwing on a dress, and talking in a falsetto. As a creative art form, cross-dressing can be as demanding and expressive as painting or sculpting, singing or acting."

What's more interesting is his reaction to going out en femme -- even dealing with a shocked SO. ("My partner, who had no idea what I'm up to, runs around the apartment with his hands over his face, "I'm dating a drag queen! I'm dating a drag queen!") After calming the boyfriend down, our intrepid reporter heads off to meet up with the rest of the girls for a ladies' night out.

"The bar is quiet and I don't see a familiar face. I'm disappointed. I realize how badly I wanted to show off Dolly." But when he runs into someone he knows and cops out with the excuse that he's researching a story. "Dolly is disappointed. She wants to exist for her own sake, not as background material for work." But pretty soon his inner girl asserts herself. "Monitoring myself stops, and being her kicks in. What felt awkward and strange is swiftly becoming natural…as long as the walk isn't too far.... Around me, [the other CDs] are dancing, posing for the camera, laughing, and talking: a group of friends out for an evening together; nothing more, nothing less."

I liked his observations on why cross-dressing boosts confidence and self-esteem. There's the learning and mastering new skills. (Yes, it's a guy thing.) "Putting on makeup, selecting the right cloths, preparing hair, nails and undergarments, walking gracefully in heels, mastering vocal control...these are all challenging to the newcomer and when competently executed, create a strong sense of satisfaction." Then there's the ability to act out characteristics that often have been laying dormant: "Personality and character, when pushed beyond their comfort zone, respond much in the same way [as muscles], becoming stronger, more flexible and resilent. When the clothes and cosmetics are removed, the strengths remains." There's also the empowerment that comes from overcoming fear "and for many men, loss of masculinity carries some fearful misconception. Dressing up, going out, having a good time, and coming home feeling positive has diminished what fears I held about not being able to maintain a manly image."

He also draws an interesting analogy to value of getting out. "This may also be the easiest for gays and lesbians to understand. It is the joy of sharing and expressing parts of your sexuality and gender that extend out of what mainstream society would call the norm with others who accept and appreciate instead of judging or tolerating. Spending all that time and energy cultivating a look and nuturing your feminine or masculine qualities to new height, only to sit in your living room, shades drawn, watching TV or dancing alone to the stereo does not produces the same elation as sharing the experience with friends, family and lovers. It is a feeling not so different from loving another, but being too afraid of what people might think to share that love."

And at the end of the night, he's reluctant to put his femme self away. "Watching the makeup run down the drain, a human being dissolves and washes away. Dolly was the physical manifestation of my feminine side that until now never had the chance to strut her stuff. Now that we've met, there is no way to banish her to those inner regions again. Two parts of my personality have been integrated in an inventive, gentle way, leaving me more whole, more complete, and better off. Knowing this, the question is no longer 'why do some people crossdress?' The question is 'why don't more people crossdress?'

"It has been a few weeks since my outing with Masquerade....Do I feel any desire to resurrect Dolly? In all honesty, I do at times. In the shower when I am shaving, there is a temptation to move the razor down to my shins and try again. But it passes, and I know that without the dedication and resources to treat Dolly like the lady she is, I probably won't bring her back any time soon. Probably."

Hmmm. ;)


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