So, I was going to do a Frock tale as it’s been way too long since I did one of those and gushed over a beautiful dress I’ve become obsessed about. But the more I thought about it, and the dress I was thinking of gushing about, something reminded me of a topic I’ve been dying to blog about….. personal taste.
Now bear with me on this one, as it will make a hell of a lot of sense to girls like me who have done this in the past – you find the most gorgeous outfit you’ve ever laid eyes on and in a moment of giddy excitement buy it, over the interweb or if you’re brave handed your hard earned pennies over with sweaty hands.
Pictured – one of the very, very few frocks I have actually got the courage up to walk into a shop and buy, Of course, I said it was for my wife and some sad part of me that still clings to masculinity wants to think they believed me….
You get it home, or it’s delivered, and you unwrap it. It’s everything you thought it would be, in fact better than when you saw it hanging in the shop or on the inevitable advert that bloody pops up on your drab Facebook because you foolhardily browsed frockage on your drab machine and the damn cookies tell Facebook that Bert Roberts might be interested in this sheer lace nightie.
You get to test drive the frock, either after making yourself up carefully or, if you’re like me and cash flush and lazy, got someone talented to turn you into the other aspect of your personality. You stand there with all the undergarments in place and gingerly slip into the dress, feeling it fall and flow around you like none of the drab clothes ever do. You zip it up, or button it if it has buttons, and give it a twirl in the mirror. Your breath catches in your throat because it is exactly as you hoped, the perfect dress that complements everything feminine about you, You take a picture or five hundred.
Pictured – one of the 500, And yeah, this one gets more attention that the others. Can’t really put my fingers on why. Oh, wait…..
Later you look at the picture(s) and are awe-struck about just how *right* you look. How the dress brings out everything that you want to have on the surface but have to hide. And you upload it to the social media outlet(s) of your choice, maybe with a pithy comment or a gush-load of text telling everyone just how much you love this look and how perfect it is for you.
And you get three bloody likes. Maybe a mild ‘you look good’ comment.
Pictured – not going to deny it, I *love* this dress because it just seems to capture a femininity that seems to have gone now, the 1980’s posh wife look. And I grew up in the 80s so this kind of dress holds a lot power over me. Especially when I’m dolled up in it.
And you’re destroyed. Your confidence nose-dives into the bin and you’re fed up with yourself, with your urges. You feel somehow diminished by the whole thing.
Stop right there. I’ve done this to myself and it’s just completely bloody pointless.
See, the dress I was going to gush about, which is the frock in the title picture of the blog, is just perfect *for me*. It ticks all my boxes, I love pretty much everything about it.
Pictured – look at her face. That’s pure unadulterated happiness just from wearing a frock. You’re welcome 😉
But my love of it is purely *my* love of it. For some reason it’s just the kind of dress that Sarah, yeah, *me*, would want to spend her time in. It’s a fetish reaction – I love those kind of ‘sensible’ mom-dresses, and this one was nigh on perfect; satin lined for an additional little thrill when you put it on, buttoned cuffs that fluffed the sleeves out in an adorably feminine way, an oversized collar that emphasises the woman’s face, and a fit and flare style that reeks of 1940s housewifery. What’s not to love?
And that’s the point. I have a completely different view of what femininity, and attractiveness, is than most others. Everyone, be they trans or cis, has a fixed definition in their head of what femininity/masculinity is, and what makes a woman/man attractive. If everyone liked the same thing we’d be very boring clones. And we’re not.
Pictured – not a clone. Doing a very passable impression of an expensive ‘real doll’, the kind men buy for, err, ‘pleasure’. But not a clone.
So, I did a session with that frock and took a lot of gorgeous pictures. I didn’t have to pretend to be feminine, it just came naturally when I was dressed and encased in that floral dress. And for me that’s perfection.
But social media is literally all about other people. Some people loved the look, some found it ‘not to their taste’. And everyone is entitled to their own perception; I make the mistake of assuming if I upload a picture I love and it ‘scores’ badly that somehow I’ve failed. And that’s madness.
But it’s a common madness, especially amongst us who are trapped on the line between the genders. A lifetime of hiding a side and not feeling comfortable in your skin makes you hyper-sensitive to criticism. One thing I’ve noticed is on the whole the trans and admirer communities, online, are very polite and understanding to each other. I rarely get a negative or hurtful comment and as such I’ve become hyper-aware when a picture or a look is not popular. In the absence of some referee telling me ‘wrong, try again’ I take the lack of hundreds of likes for a picture to indicate that I look like some kind of unshaved ape manhandled into a potato-sack and liberally made up.
Pictured – well, she does have a banana….
It’s all in my head. And it makes me a little sad to see the people I like and know in the community beating themselves up over it as well.
The nature of social media has made us put stock in the ‘likes’ and comments as currency of success. I’ve actually found myself jealous, and literally had to stop myself and internally give myself a slap, when someone I know puts up a gorgeous pictures and it instantly gets three hundred likes. My lack of confidence combined with an internal sense of doing wrong means even faint praise is seen as damnation.
It’s actually amusing as well given the fact I’ll put up a picture of Sarah/me in modern female clothes, which I’ll have a go at, especially when I let the maestro, aka Cindy Conti at Boys Will Be Girls have what I call a ‘dealer’s choice’ moment and, being honest, I like the femininity of modern clothes but think retro looks are ten times as femm, and when the picture goes up *WHAM* hundreds of likes. You get even more if your look is overtly sexual – my most popular picture on Flickr, at around 400+ likes, is a picture of me casually sprawling on a chaise-lounge in a revealing underwear look. Yeah, it’s a bit in your face, if you’ll pardon the pun, and people seem to love that look.
Pictured – not retro but oddly popular with a large number of male Flickr users
Put up a picture of mom-Sarah in her gorgeous retro housewife frock and it gets about a tenth of the likes. And yet to me that look is *so* much more, well, feminine.
And that’s the key. I’m wired to see vintage fashion and behaviour as exquisitely feminine, To me the retro housewife look is the delicious dark thrill. And I have absolutely no idea how that happened.
Pictured – I find this picture indescribably sexy and I have no idea why. Don’t want to change my feelings though. And she’s cute. And me. Which is a little confusing.
Some truths for you – as I’m always going on about, I’m a 50 year old functioning alcoholic whose idea of skin care for thirty years was splashing tap water on my face to try and wake myself up after a three bottle of wine bender the night before. I have one fashion, black jeans, t-shirt. I have ten pairs of the same underwear. I have ten pairs of the same socks. I hate clothes shopping so much my teeth hurt and I get anxious when I have to buy a new pair of jeans (I kid you not – I’ve been wearing jeans six inches too big around the waist for me since I lost weight, which, amusingly, I did to try and fit a size 16 dress, and I only got around to buying a new pair of jeans *this* week after six years of wearing the same oversized ‘clown pants’. My other half told me it was nice to see me wearing my own trousers rather than the fat idiot I must have stolen them from (e.g. me). I have *zero* interest in clothes. I adhere strictly to the Albert Einstein philosophy that you shouldn’t waste brain power in the morning deciding what clothes to wear.
Yet the other part of me will sit in bed with her laptop carefully scanning multiple clothes sites for *hours* to find that one outfit that will be gorgeous. And 9 times out of 10 it’s a 1940s or 1950s style frock that the majority of women today wouldn’t look at twice.
Pictured – you don’t see many like her filling their trollies in Asda is basically the point I’m trying to make. Which is a shame.
Talk about polar opposites. He’s a fashionless slob, she’s a diva. And a retro diva at that, constantly confused as to why the fashions from 80 years ago (and yes, 1940 is almost that far away) aren’t more popular or mainstream. Well, to be honest, femm-me is kind of appalled that modern women seem to be wearing fewer and fewer dresses. It’s a huge shame, in my opinion, but again, that;s my taste.
So the point of this rambling was this – if you put a picture of yourself up in what you think is your best finery please don’t feel crushed if it doesn’t generate a lot of attention on the social networks. It’s about how it makes *you* feel – we all need reassurance but don’t look for it on social media, look for it from within. Does the outfit make you smile when you see her/you in the picture wearing it? If it does then it’s a success.
I’m off for another session in a couple of weeks assuming my constant burning pain in my leg doesn’t stop me (it wont, f*ck you spine!) and I’m taking my favourite frock back for a re-visit, maybe this time with a cute little long bob, dark. And I will get pictures. And I will love them. And I will try not to be too crushed when the world doesn’t love them as much as I do.
Stay beautiful and remember that the accolade of others fades, and that you need to be your own best fan and spotlight.
Pictured – yup, in love with that dress……