As much as this lifestyle is full of angst and anxieties, it can also be wonderful, exciting, and full of “Holy *%$#” moments. Can you imagine a television show like “America’s Funniest Videos” dedicated to all those moments of panic-stricken, hilarious mishaps, missteps, and running for your life when you are about to get caught, crossdressing escapades?
How many of us have done things for the sake of our fixation that we wouldn’t have done otherwise? I’m guilty…big time. I’ve had some close moments, scary ones, and each one laughable as I look back. I’m not sure if my mother was naïve or just not willing to “go there” when I was in my adolescence. She had a dress mannequin (The bust on a stand) for making clothes for my sister and her. I used her makeup on the Styrofoam head and put it in my sister’s room (she is 8 years older than me) complete with a long dress and shoes poking out. I was 10 at the time and infatuated with my sister’s clothes.
I even put a bra on the mannequin. My explanation was that I was trying to scare my mean sister. Later, in Jr. high, I got my friends to do a “Vampire Short” for my media presentation. I had my male friend dress in my sister’s clothes and wig to play the girl…I was the director, and very jealous. He looked really, really good. I got an A. In High school, my friend in the neighborhood had a divorced mother who liked to look good. She had a closet full of beautiful, silky dresses and pantyhose. I got to take care of their dog when they were gone, and I tried on every one of those dresses…even (I’m ashamed to say) nabbing two and bringing them home…stupidly putting them in my closet. I didn’t think my mother would snoop in there…she did.
I confessed…it was my friend’s fault. He wanted to run away and was going to hide out in disguise, so I was keeping them for him. Mom only told me to give them back. Did she, or does she know?
I used to hide a wig, pantyhose, a bra, and panties in a gym bag along with some other confiscated dresses and shoes. I had a tent set up across from my house on an island (grew up by a river). I could dress and hang out in the tent during one summer…until someone came along and found the bag. It was a neighbor scoping out potential deer stand placement. They took it to the police as it might be the clothes of a missing girl from a few years back. Luckily, nothing ever came from it. If there was gossip in our neighborhood, I never heard it.
The early years of marriage were an adventure in stealth. I’ve only been caught twice (You can read about what happened to me in my other articles). My ex went to work, I was home for the day, and I wanted to try on her prom dress. I could only zip it halfway and she came home to catch me. I ran to the bedroom and took it off but had to confess. From then on, I was much more careful as I solemnly swore to never, ever do it again. I hid a pair of high heels inside my workbench or in my golf bag. The shoes were a purchase that I had to have. I walked by them in a mall multiple times before mustering the courage to buy them. They were a size 10…I wear a 13, and I made them fit until I broke a heel and had to throw them away.
I was riding my bike and happened to pass by a car. The windows were down and in the backseat was a pair of clogs and a purple dress. Yep, I eventually nabbed them and neither of them came close to fitting. I always wondered what the girl must have thought. All those things that we can’t stop ourselves from doing to feed the need that burns in us. Thankfully, I saw the light and have made amends by donating thousands of dollars of clothing and accessories to thrift stores…much of which I wish I still had…Damn those purges.
Some of the more humorous moments… I once got “STUCK” inside a dress that was way, too small. My arm was pinned, the dress cutting off my air, and panic taking charge. I danced…more like flayed across the room trying to get it off. I couldn’t see and knocked a valuable knickknack off the shelf, fell on the floor, and couldn’t get back up. It couldn’t have been more than a few minutes at most, but it felt like forever until the seam gave way and I burst forth like the Hulk. I paid $2.00 for that dress at a garage sale. It would be years before I understood my size and that I wasn’t a pretty and petite girl.
I tried to run in spiked heels once when the dog started barking and the doorbell rang. I severely twisted my ankle and had to crawl to the safety of the bedroom. To make matters worse, I also popped a blood vessel on my finger, the one wearing my ex’s ring. I barely managed to get it off, and not without some major pain. The ankle became one of those “lies” we tell to cover up. I fell down the stairs, oh clumsy me. Okay, I did actually fall down the stairs once wearing heels. I was lucky not to have been hurt.
I was once asked if I had been wearing mascara because of how dark my eyes were. “Nope, had a bad night sleeping.” I’ve split more skirts and dresses trying to fit into the wrong size, broke straps on shoes, spilled all the birdseed out of my homemade nylon boobs–everywhere, scrubbed my lips raw to get off a staining lipstick, deodorized the house after using a strong scented perfume, forgot to put jewelry away and tried to ignore it while talking to someone (hoping they don’t notice it or my anxiety), dove for cover on the floor behind a couch when the nosy neighbor knocked on the door and looked through the living room window, lost an artificial nail and spent hours looking for it so no one else finds it (was inside my pantyhose), lost a bracelet and couldn’t find it, got mascara in my eyes, (cold crème too), put a run in the ex’s pantyhose and stained her dress with her own lipstick.
The list is endless…and priceless. Like women and girls, we have to learn from our mistakes. I found better hiding places, learned how to apply makeup, do spot treatments on garments, buy the right sizes, and eventually come to terms with who I really was and am. I’m more than a crossdresser and I deserve to be happy and content in that acknowledgment. Not me, and not everyone can be “Out”, so we have to find our own particular balance, our own means to survive.
I’d love to hear some of your stories. God knows we could all use a little laughter.
Be safe, be kind, and may you find a closet that is large enough to hold your wishes and one with good lighting…
Until next time….
More Articles by Sabrina MacTavish
- Seeing Red
- When the Dress comes off
- Reflections in the Mud
- A Tribute to Virginia Prince and Transvestia