The Gift

I try to imagine the world through others’ eyes. It makes interesting fodder for thought. We see things differently than other men, women, too. We are the crossdressers and transgender MTF that the world despises. And… yet… we are the spouses, parents, friends, colleagues, and neighbors to those who sometimes tolerate and sometimes understand us. Really… nope. Only another crossdresser understands what we go through. Likewise, it is unfair of us to assume the world sees or will see as we do.

So… let’s have some fun with this post. Valentine’s Day is approaching, and I started thinking back on what it meant to me and how my perspective of certain past moments is completely different today from what I once thought. I’ll go first:

One of my first memories was back in high school, during my senior year. I had a girlfriend that I was “promised” to. On a side note: Life might have been better if I’d stayed with her… For Valentine’s Day, she told me my gift was upstairs in her room. When we got there, she took off her jeans and top to show me the white corset and stockings (gartered in place). She slipped on the low heels she had to complete the look. This was the same girl who bought me a Playboy subscription for my birthday. It was a great Valentine’s Day. I’d already had a fascination with lingerie at that time, nylons and heels, experimenting at home with them and hiding my mini stash well. My reflection back has more to do with later seeing those same items in her bathroom and me wanting to wear them, struggling against those urges.

En Femme Style

Today, I see it for what it was, that part of me that is feminine and was crying out to be heard and not eradicated. The me then believed it was a shameful fetish and could be stopped. The girlfriend was the one who might have accepted me, but in another year I had begun to move on from her for other reasons.

My ex-wife’s birthday and Valentine’s Day were 12 days apart. I know many of you will relate. Valentine’s Day is a “Crossdresser’s Hope Day.” We had the green light to shop at Victoria’s or in my case, browse the pages of Fredrick’s of Hollywood catalogs that made their way to our house (and would have been relegated to trash by the ex if not for the heroic saving by me!) Back then, I thought I was doing the newlywed, husband thing, buying my wife special lingerie that she would gratefully and willingly wear… for my benefit. Once having it tossed back in your face by never being worn and eventually disposed of was enough to learn my place. Some women appreciate the thought, mine did not, and she let me know it in many ways… another story… should have married the girlfriend…

Looking back, I see it for what it truly was… to me. That magical chance to shop without fear in the greatest place on earth. I relished that time, spending not one but multiple visits there for the sake of buying my ex something for Valentine’s Day. The rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say lies in the fact that the first visit was for her and to scope out the other options. On the second visit I chickened out, and the third had me buying for the imaginary wife who was of similar size to me… Cash only… as the ex did the checkbook and monitored the credit card…

And… the items didn’t look as I anticipated on me, and I didn’t care. Lost in the feminine reflections of the mind that we all know. I know that I did, and I’m willing to bet most of you have, too; bought items for that SO that you wish you could wear and justified it by thinking it would make them happy as well. Not one thing that I bought my ex did she like. It might have been her. I came home from a business trip and loaded with Bath and Body Works items when they were first getting started. Her reply wasn’t “Thank you,” but “You were gone for three days, and this is what you brought me?” Later, she couldn’t get enough of their items, but what I gave her then was thrown in the trash.  Yeah… that hindsight is indicative of the true relationship we had and would have been best not to. A refresher… she found me in her Prom dress during our first year of marriage and I now believe that set the stage for our Shakespearean tragedy of a play.

The next year, same business trip, and this time I went all out, thinking only of her. I bought a beautiful Anne Taylor dress and matching 3-inch heels. I took her picture to show the sales clerk. At home, the ex only snarled when I gave them to her. “What made you think that I would look good in this?” After a few days of silent treatment, she at least acknowledged the “cost” of the gift. I think she consulted with a friend and found out how much I’d spent. She did try it on to show me. It was absolutely stunning on her, not her personal style, but if another woman had told her how great she looked in it, she’d have worn it until it fell apart… like some of her other, not-so-flattering outfits. It hung in the closet with an “I’ll wear it someday” until it was sold at a garage sale for $5. The shoes were never worn (by her). I did my best trying to fit those size 8 on my size 13 feet. Maybe she suspected and that’s how they disappeared without my knowing… A crossdresser never lets things like that go by.

Valentine’s Day shopping has lost a little of the luster with the availability of everything online. In my last relationship, I was with a special lady who didn’t wear makeup, didn’t have her ears pierced, and was rarely out of her jeans in a dress. A down-home farm girl. I think after some time went by I realized that I needed to step back and figure out me and quit trying to fit the mode of male normality… it wasn’t working. I know what I want in a relationship and the chances of finding it near me aren’t likely, so I set it aside. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’ll go do some shopping for that imaginary and much younger, provocative spouse that I don’t have. I still have an old wedding ring to wear to give off the illusion. It’s been too long since I last saw Victoria and visited Bath and Body Works…

May you have a memorable Valentine’s Day. And… if you have an adoring significant other, may it be special for the both of you… wink… wink…


Until next time…


More Articles by Sabrina MacTavish

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I've been on this path for nearly 50 years, beginning at age 7 when I wore my grandma's old dresses with my cousins. It felt natural. Later, I went through the fetish stage and fought with my insides. After my divorce 20 years ago, I let Brina out only to bury her away during another relationship. Now I accept that she is more who I really am and live my life in the hopes that my path will one of future happiness. Over the last 6 years, I've found out more about who I am, the path that I'm on, and what it means to be transgendered. I've also been much happier since I acknowledged and accepted myself for who I am. I'm still much in the closet as responsibilities take precedence. It doesn't help being an introvert by nature, but I will gracefully walk (mostly, ok, not so gracefully) this path as I become a better me.

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Elli Snow
Elli Snow(@ellilynn)
4 months ago

 Sabrina MacTavish I love this. Some I can’t relate to, but a lot I can.  Never shopped for my ex and thought about wearing it myself because she was about 6 inches shorter and weighted a lot less, but I do remember loving that some holidays, like Valentine’s Day, gave me full permission to browse the lingerie and dress sections.  Occasionally I’d find something on sale and buy it for myself.  Also cash only since Mary did all the books.  While we didn’t do well when married (too young and neither very good at communication), in the last 10 years… Read more »

4 months ago

Hi Sabrina,
thank you again for a wonderful article on your sharing the trials and tribulations of your CD journey… I take comfort that we both participate on both sides of transgender & crossdresser heavens.. I haven’t been on this side of the “fence” in awhile… but I was overwhelmed when the Transgender staff wished me a happy birthday today!! I thanked them for reaching out and informed them my continued counseling is helping me through my eventual fully acceptance of my feminine identity…
thank you again Sabrina on another well written article
fondest regards,

(((Marianne))) ✡️ 🌈
Active Member
5 months ago

First, it is one of those sad/happy moments when you see someone being better off after a horrible relationship (been there). I’m happy that you are in a better place! Then, for a moment of my own sharing, the only girlfriend that accepted my (then) crossdressing wanted me to “look silly and ridiculous" for a 14th and asked me to wear women’s clothes, little she knew that I was a very proficient high-heel wearer by then and instead of making fun of me, she realised that I was way better at high-heeling, makeuping and long-hairing than her. She seemed “cool"… Read more »

Wendy M.
Wendy M.(@wendyhere)
5 months ago

Thank you for thoughts that struck very close to where I live. Being late to realize that I was trans meant many years of trying to buy my wife presents I really thought she’d like only to get the less than enthusiastic response. When I finally realized who I am, I began to understand that I had been gifting things I wanted. It helped me forgive her responses and led me to stop buying her anything but gift cards. Now I just buy for me and get great responses.

Charlene K
Active Member
Charlene K(@charlenev)
5 months ago

Hi Brina, I don’t remember Valentine’s Day in this light. I stubbornly refuse to gift excessively on that day. I took a, “not going to be goaded into expressing my love by some money grabbing retailers!" approach. As I recall the one attempt to buy an outfit (at Christmas} for my ex, I am still saddened so many years later. I purchased what I thought was a beautiful blouse with exquisite ruffled details and a gorgeous plum colored pencil skirt. Yes, they were chosen because I, Charlene, loved the outfit. I would have worn it proudly as a woman. So… Read more »

Toni Floria
Active Member
Toni Floria(@mustangtoni)
5 months ago

Loved the article I see so much of myself in it thank you for the great writing

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