Given the state of the world right now I thought it was time to have some fun rather than the usual goth-like philosophical ramblings of a 51 year old gender confused idiot. And given I’ve done two sessions in pretty quick succession and, for the most part, kept all the juicy pictures to myself, I thought it was only fair to have some fun with a blog post on a couple of the more amusing and kinda fun looks I tried.
You may be wondering why the title of the blog post? It does make sense, as you’ll see when we get to one of the looks, but, before we dive into some femm-fashion-fun it’s worth examining the E word a bit.
I like the term emasculation – it trips off the tongue in a wonderful pink ribboned way, it has, well, connotations that are intriguing to me and most of all it’s a long word, and I like long words.
It has a lot of definitions online, from the frankly OTT ‘removal of those bits what makes a man a man’ to the more appropriate, for me, ‘to make a man feel less male by taking away his power and confidence’.
I dress for too many reasons to go into here, although I have tried in a number of previous posts. But when I look back at the pictures I get an odd little enjoyable thrill at the vision of me with all male trappings removed. The fact I smile in nigh on every photo says something about the effect on me; being honest I have to try very hard not to be beaming in every picture, and that as well adds a feminine angle as drab me never smiles in photos. That would be, well, not masculine in my twisted, odd way of looking at things.
But anyway, this post is going to be fun and I may, well, gush in a girlie way a lot during it, so I apologise in advance for any squeeing that may occur.
So, back to the title…..
1863 Sarah, a goodwife and a civil war widow all wrapped up in one
Get it now? I won’t labour the point, it’s a good pun. I play Fallout 76 with a dear friend of mine and for reasons that kind of escape me you can find a Civil War Era dress that your character, assuming it’s a female character (which interestingly enough the personas I choose to play computer games are always female) can wear, which makes very little sense in the whole ‘post-apocalypse mutant hunting’ world. But still, I found out where to get it and myself and my friend both frocked up our characters in these gorgeous, wide skirted dresses and spent an evening wandering around the ruined landscape killing things while looking like a coked up nightmare version of Gone with the (Atomic) Wind.
I liked the idea so much that I did a quick search online and found the most gorgeous Civil War costume dress. Couldn’t resist it so I ordered it and when it came it was beyond what I expected, so it went into the suitcase for the first of the ‘flying visit’ sessions I did.
Oh lord, what a frock. There’s something wonderfully restrictive about wearing a dress of that fashion – the long skirt, with a small waist petticoat to make it stand out as if there were hoops sewn in, the long puffed sleeves gathered at tight collars, the oversize lace trim around the neck and the pretty little cameo brooch were just exquisitely feminine, and the minute it was on and my hair was set in an up do I felt an odd change come over me.
I may have mentioned before that I get an indescribable rush when I transform. The idea of subsuming the personality and the external look of the person/gender I’m not comfortable with is glorious and when it is realised it is something else. I can’t adequately explain it to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. I made a half-arsed effort of describing it as a ‘warm rush of cold air’ across my sternum (to my therapist).
This dress was something else. I felt strangely vulnerable, fragile, even though there was a lot more dress than the normal ones I wear. The puff sleeves really made my hands look delicate, the shape of the dress made me feel small inside it. I swear, if there had been a man there dressed in the fashions of an 1800s man I would have probably ended up married; it felt like there was nothing masculine left and the costume took over the person inside it.
It was a *lovely* feeling. Posing was easy; I had the idea the woman I was dressed as was a war widow, being courted by a coarse farmer who had lost his wife. Yeah, the author in me had a field day, but it was so easy to imagine myself in the role, especially seeing myself in the mirror.
We also did some shots outside and the combination of feeling utterly feminine and somewhat trapped in the costume/role combined with being out in the open air, in plain view of people in the flats around, was beyond thrilling. Again, the warm rush of cold air through the sternum literally took my breath away.
And what a great costume…… I do declare that when the South are defeated I will visit the grave of my dear departed husband and place the bonnet he bought me for church on it, lest he has something to remember me by in the next life. Yeah, that much fun…
Fast Forward to 1930s Berlin, the Weimar Republic, a bit of… Cabaret
I bought and donated this dress to Cindy’s for other people to enjoy the 1920s look but this time Cindy had got her hands on a couple of (faux) fur stoles and, not wanting to boast, I’d managed to lose a little weight since the three month of lockdown drink-alcohol-and-eat-everything-in-excess approach.
Also Cindy had a great new headdress which looked a lot of fun. We actually tried it with my own hair at first but for some odd reason, even though I have long hair (it’s a 1980s metal look, carefully constructed in 1983 to allow me to blend in with the unsuspecting males of this world, and never updated since), if I use my own hair I can’t channel ‘her’. It’s like an anchor, a trademark of the masculine suit I wear to fool people and my mind is locked into the coarse jokes, too many pints, piranha pool that is 21st century masculinity when my hair is visible.
So we went for a cute little black bob and it worked a treat. Throw in a long cigarette holder and a bit of the ‘anything goes’ attitude of decadent post-WWI Berlin and et voila.
Of all the looks I do, and there are quite a few, the one I did with the pure twenties look didn’t seem to illicit much interest online. I personally love the style, the tight dress, tassles, bob hairstyle, but maybe it’s just a little too old-fashioned in the eyes of 21st century social media. But then I remember I do this for me and I love it.
Plus, if you’ve ever properly watched the bar scenes in Cabaret there seemed to be a glorious ignoring of gender boundaries; the Marlene Dietrich style high glamour women in full men’s tailored suits, the dark corners of the bars filled with gloriously feminine transvestites. The whole era was deliciously decadent.
Plus, you know, any chance to wear tassles…..
Fast Forward 25 years, cross the pond and suddenly I’m Mrs. June Cleaver
I have no idea why I love the 1950s Americana housewife look; there’s something delightfully quintessential about the whole thing, the oodles of skirt, the petticoats, the perceived happiness of the woman in the role she was born to have that is decidedly almost medieval in it’s sexism, but again, as always, I don’t think it’s sexism when it’s yourself doing the cooking.
This dress was one of two I bought from Unique Vintage as part of their ‘I Love Lucy’ themed line – I did a whole Frock Tale on the other one which was delightfully suburban housewifey, but this one sat in my closet for a long time waiting for some love.
Forgot to say that, the last session I did at Cindy’s was purely a ‘unloved closet’ visit; I went through my, and I should be ashamed to admit it but not, huge collection of frockage and picked the ones that I had bought, hung up and have never really considered for a session, mostly because I see a frock and fall in love with it and that frock tends to get all the love.
This dress was one of those, but once I had buttoned it up, put on the belt, adjusted the petticoat so it didn’t show, and stared at the happy red-head in the mirror I got the same rush as I did with Goodwife Lewis from earlier, that lovely feeling of drowning in the female persona, all the nerve endings telling me I was wrapped from head to toe in stockings, bra, corset, petticoat, gorgeous acreage of circle skirt, makeup, perfume…. It was like an illicit drug. And hence why I love it so much.
We did a load of pictures of this dress in different scenarios, including the fun ones outside the back door. I love seeing me/Sarah in ordinary female situations, the juxtaposition of me knowing who I am yet seeing, for all intents and purposes, a woman just kicks off that endorphin rush.
We appear to be on the edge of another period of lockdown so I’ll do a couple more of these to cheer me, and hopefully you, up. It’s nice and I know I’m very lucky to be able to have a couple of days of fabulousness amongst this grey normal we are suffering, and it’s fun to share the results.
Stay beautiful, be fabulous when you can and when you can’t? Dream of being fabulous sometime soon.