I thought it might be fun to talk a bit about what happens behind the scenes when I have one of my wonderful sessions in London. I don’t live in London, I love the place but wow, London is a London-theme park most of the time, fast, frenetic, utterly different to the England I grew up in (I’m from the countryside-ish, grew up in Bristol and for me London was the shining jewel, almost a separate country). I’m also a pain-in-the-arse control freak with a superb and mildly (snort) warped imagination, so every session I go for is preceded by *months* of prep, dreams, fantasies and, SQUEEEEE, shopping for clothes.
If you’re reading this and you share my love of the feminine attire pat yourself on the back – you live in a *wonderful* time where you can sit in the warm protection of your house with a humming laptop quietly cooking your genitals, surfing wonderful websites that vary from day-to-day frocks to the skimpiest and sexually-mad pieces of rubber of latex. You can fill a virtual shopping trolley with all the best in dresses, blouses, skirt, knickers, shoes, wigs, whatever you need to realise that pretty little thing inside, and with the magic wave of a credit card it can all appear on your doorstep within a matter of hours in some cases.
That’s utterly incredible. When I was going through what I like call ‘Sarah Mk1’ (but actually that was Julie time, then Deborah/Debbie. Took a while to settle on Sarah) it was the late 80s through to the turn of the millennium. Getting clothes and supplies for the fashion-desperate person in my head involved an almost military operation of subterfuge. Driving to different cities. Buying 90% of stuff I didn’t need in order to get a lipstick from a supermarket (yet *still* getting a look from the bubble-gum chewing cashier, or at least that what my paranoid brain would tell me). It wasn’t until the advent of the internet that I could finally order the clothes I wanted in a way that didn’t take years off of my life.
So now it’s all easy, right? Heh, wrong. For me it’s much easier now that my other half is at least aware of the presence of Sarah, even though she doesn’t really approve (although she says, repeatedly, that she does). I can happily order stuff from wherever I like, within reason of course. Full latex body-suits with exposed butt cheeks from Honour? Not so much.
I’ve also cracked my fear of actually going into a woman’s clothing shop, but only as far as I can now order online to collect from places such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer, both of which do a really nice range of normal female clothing. Yet still I get that cold, bitter rush in the stomach when I stand at the counter and ask for the order, secretly thinking that the attractive young woman in the smart white blouse and tight black skirt is thinking odd things about me as she goes into the back room to get *my* smart white blouse and tight black skirt.
But anyway, Logistics Logistics Logistics. I tend to book a session a couple of months in advance. That gives me time to just go bananas online like a teenage girl with her first debit card. It’s that ‘just one more outfit’ situation. And there’s a mild downside to this.
See, I don’t live in London. In fact I live three and a bit hours of travel away from London, involving ninety minutes of country roads and and hour and a bit of Virgin train just to get to Euston. That’s on the other side of London from where I have my fun, so there’s another bit of travel, normally via Tube or Taxi if I’m feeling flush, to get to the place of makeover.
But that’s simplifying it. I don’t like to arrive tired, it messes with a girl’s look. So I’ll plan to stay over in a hotel the night before. Add that to the fact that I’m not a fan of parking so I like to get to the station early, and hotels don’t let you check in until mid afternoon, and suddenly you can see the fun (cough) of logistics.
Tonnes of outfits weigh a lot. I’ve treated myself to a 65L military style backpack which always makes me laugh – I tend to save the shaving until the last moment as my body likes to rebel against the soft and delicate flower living inside by sprouting stubble that has the consistency of wire. So, ‘Sarah’, before I get to finally prepare, is a six foot two inch stubbled miserable looking middle aged man carrying sixty-odd kilos of frocks and frills in a military backpack. Oh, the irony.
Chuck in a bad back and it becomes a hysterical operation to get to the hotel room where I can start to femm out. I find myself standing on a Tube train amongst the unknowing masses, hunched to avoid banging my head against the roof, looking sullenly around so no-one will talk to me while internally considering just how much fun it will be when I get the polka-dot circle skirt and white blouse, both packed neatly into my backpack, against my shaved skin, face full of makeup, delicate nails on delicate fingers.
And I’m 100% sure that beautiful thought seeps out onto my face. I’ve found myself getting some odd looks on the Tube, put it that way.
But back to fashion. I tend to surf the Lindy Bop site, looking for vibrant and girlie patterns, dress styles that accentuate the retro look. If I’m feeling flush it’s off to Vivien of Holloway, which always makes me smile with a little bit of an odd and delicious thrill. Back when Sarah was quiet in the back of my head and I’d convinced myself I wasn’t a cross-dresser (denial, chachacha, denial, chachacha) I found myself attracted to the clothes that Vivien of Holloway made and bought *loads* for my first partner, who liked them (but nowhere near as much as I did). Back then I was overweight, didn’t care about my appearance, and it would never have occurred to me that, fast forward twenty years, I’d be submitting photos of myself in the newest and most beautiful styles to the Vivien Facebook group. And yes, they are up there, amongst all the normal and real women, a happy smiling girl in beautiful feminine clothes. Hmm, that’s a turnaround for the books.
So, I find myself in the hotel room, ultra-heavy backpack filled with beautiful outfits, a couple of hours to kill before I can start to wear them combined with a full makeover. I’ve still to prep the body so, with the aid of a glass of wine, I shower and start the process. Legs, arms and hands are already hair free which is a delicious thrill in and of itself. No leg hairs make it feel like whatever you are wearing, be it jeans or pyjamas, feel like silk against wet skin. I carefully shave the face twice, getting a little bit of the shakes because there’s nothing spoils the fun of a makeover session than having a face full of sliced cuts. Working the annoying little bits under the nose and at my chin where, amusingly, when I shaved fully for the first time a couple of years ago I discovered a Harrison Ford style chin scar, from one side to the other. No idea how it got there and it disappears quickly under the foundation but hey, it’s fun to find stuff that you have no idea how it got there.
The time ticks by again and it’s time to do ‘the walk’. The walk involves heading from the hotel I always use, which is up around Tower Hill, across to the makeover studio. This is across Tower Bridge and down some historic old dock streets. I feel the wind on my shaved face and I feel genuinely vulnerable.
The whole facade of masculinity is the shield by which I face the world. Strip that away and I can feel her closer to the surface, her mannerisms waiting to unconsciously appear, and it takes a real effort to keep the masculine stride going without shortening my steps, keeping my hands in fists as I carry the bulky and heavy bag full of frocks without the hands straightening out and going limp at the wrist. Keeping the damn hips from swaying.
It’s the shortest walk you can have really in London, but it feels like the longest walk in the world. All the excitement of the dressing can’t start until I’m safely behind the door and this walk involves dodging the crowds of tourists that hang around Tower Bridge. All the logistic planning, all the months of waiting, have led to this moment and I want it to start – it takes a real effort to not walk as fast as possibly can, which again is why I don’t like doing the session in summer when the air is so hot you sweat from simply breathing.
Fast forward past the tense seconds of waiting for the door to open, to see Cindy’s smiling and welcoming face, the last walk up the stairs humping the bag of booty, and the fun can start. Months of prep, of thinking of outfits and poses, has led to this sweet and delicious moment.
Then the hours of fun, the makeup, the outfits, the laughter, the stunning realisation when I see the pictures on the back of Cindy’s camera, a tiny screen that shows a smiling woman in various outfits and poses that couldn’t possibly be the hulking, miserable bloke on the Tube from hours earlier. It’s almost too much, the sensory input just doesn’t make sense. In fact the look, the pictures, the emotions, they don’t really start to sink in until I’m back in the hotel, showered, sat on the bed with another glass of red and my laptop open, going through every photo one by one, literally gasping at some of the imagery.
And the months of planning, the logistics of getting all of Sarah’s stuff from a house in the middle of quiet England to the point of dressing, the worry about whether my body will look vaguely girlie, it all fades into a warmth of enjoyment. And the seeds of planning the next session already start to appear.
To those who have never done it and want to – don’t wait. Just do it. It’s like no other rush I’ve ever experienced. And when the backpack opens and all the outfits are there to be played with…. Utter feminine luxury.
Stay beautiful and true to yourself.