Monday, 12 November 2007

But is it art ...

Recently on TV (unusually in this blog, TV in this context actually means Television) there was a show named How to have sex after marriage.

I'd seen it in listings before but never watched it. In fact, last night I missed the beginning and the end of it. But the part that I did see did provoke some thinking.

Amongst a series of other issues, the married couple that it featured had never spent time discussing sex. They hadn't talked about expectations, desires, fantasies. Almost nothing at all. They had just done it and, I guess, were at a place where they weren't enjoying it any more.

During the program the guy was taken into sex toy shops and featured as a sex expert on a spoof radio phone-in show. The girl was given a whole series of demonstrations of sexual positions by a couple of scantily clad models.

In a way I felt a sense of empathy. I don't remember talking about such things with my own wife for years and years. Sex always seemed to be a thing to do ... or not do. Not a thing to talk about.

As time passed it seems to have become less and less of a thing to do. And, though we have sometimes talked about it, we don't seem to any more. There's just a passive acceptance - perhaps more a passive resignation - to the way that things are.

So why? How did things get to be this way?

It's complex, I guess. And yet maybe it's also simple.

Either way ... here are some of the contributing factors.

When we got married, TV shows didn't discuss such issues. A lot of mainstream society seemed to think it wasn't important. Or maybe that whether important or not, sex wasn't really a thing to discuss.

As a young (late teens / early twenties) born-again Christian I learned that sex was a gift of God within marriage. It was about having children. It was about people demonstrating and sharing a love for each other. Maybe as well it was about satisfying needs. I remember one of the New Testament letters where Paul the Apostle says something about it being best for people not to get married. But - if they couldn't live without sex it was better to get married and do it rather than just to do it without getting married. OK ... this is it ... taken from I Corinthians:

It is well for a man not to touch a woman. But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband . . . I say this by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am [i.e., celibate]. . . To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

So there is kind of an acceptance that people seem to have a need for sex.

Actually, though, I never noticed before how strongly this piece of writing seems to suggest that people should only ever get married if they can't hold off from having sex with each other. It doesn't mention they should get married because they love each other. So, in a way, it's almost suggesting that all the Christian people that are married are the ones that couldn't live without sex. If they could have lived without sex then there was no reason to get married.

Anyways ... that's not really the point that I'm making here.

I think once in a while at meetings people would talk about the idea that sex should be fulfilling and satisfying. But no one that I knew of in Christian circles was teaching about the Kama Sutra. Also, there didn't seem to be much of a notion of fun. And no notion of fantasy. So there was no way to really talk about it as such. No experimentation.

And then there is pornography. There's a lot I could say about pornography. I can feel myself getting distracted from whatever point I was trying to make. So anyway. Here goes.

The first pornography I remember using was, I guess, stuff that my dad had cached away under the bed. At least if it wasn't his it was my brothers or my mums. Maybe a lot of people's first experience of pornography in those days was from unintentional parents. There were no videos, DVDs or Internet. No sex on TV to speak of. Just magazines.

The magazines were all "soft". But they added to the pleasure of masturbation. I've read and heard that men tend to enjoy the visual stimulation offered by porn in a way that doesn't so much appeal to many women.

A few years later as a student I remember realising one day ... hey ... I am 18 ... I can buy this stuff for myself. And so I did.

Soon after that I was Born Again. I remember praying about masturbation. Well ... what I really mean is praying and asking if masturbation was wrong. It would have been round about then that I discovered these words in Matthew 5:28,

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

That, as the saying goes, seemed to put the kibosh on masturbation and pornography in one fell swoop.

But it didn't really. It just marked the beginning of a struggle for me.

A feeling inside of me that it was wrong. And yet an inability to stop. Occasional masturbation. Occasional use of pornography. A sense of guilt. Of shame. Of sinfulness. A need to keep it secret. A fear of discovery.

Every so often I'd perform a purge. I borrowed this term from a t-girl that I chatted with once in Portsmouth. She asked if I'd been through a purge - feeling so bad about things that all things girlie go into the bin.

Well, at regular intervals all things pornographic were purged.

But only for a while.

I remember a time as a student. I was staying at a place where three of us shared a room. All strangers to each other.

I got back one night and discovered one of my magazines on the bed rather than under it.

I'd never really had a "holier than thou" kind of an attitude about Christianity. But people knew about my beliefs. That I went to church. If you've ever had the feeling of your stomach dropping through the floor, you know how I felt as I walked into that room.

My first response was to head for the landlady and ask her if she knew who's magazine it was. Inside I felt like I just wanted to disappear.

A few days later one of the guys asked me if I'd managed to find out who's magazine it was. I'd decided by then to just come clean. I told him it was mine. I don't remember what else I said.

I read stuff as that explained why from a Christian perspective all things pornographic are sinful and evil. It was about devaluing women. Lust. Abuse. The use of pornography was a sickness ... maybe even a manifestation of demons ... a thing to be healed from ... a thing to be cast out.

And yet ... I cared about people. I wanted to help other people. I loved other people. I just used porn and kept it a secret.

A part of me thought that marriage would be a cure me. But it didn't.

I'm not sure exactly when my wife found out.

In an ironic kind of way I think it was maybe when we first moved into a house together. The previous occupant had left some furniture and, stuck beneath one of the drawers was a magazine.

I think my wife was sure that it was mine. But we didn't talk about it. Just got rid of it.

In fact it wasn't mine - I was more careful about hiding places.

But a person can't hide something like that all of the time.

Sometimes she would find things and ask me about them. But I wouldn't talk about it.

I've spoken to t-girls that have been discovered dressing by unknowing partners. These girls have vowed to never do it again. And yet ... having purged for a while ... it comes back. I know people that have partners that have learned to accept this. And others that have separated.

I think it comes back because for many people being a t-girl isn't an illness. It's not something to cure. It's about how a person is. It's about who a person is. To purge it completely would be to lose a part of yourself.

So ... is pornography like that? I suspect not. But it fills a need somewhere. In my own case I think it's maybe associated with never really sharing fantasies. Not feeling comfortable about talking sex.

Other things that come to mind are conflicting levels of sexual need. My appetite for orgasm is daily. My wife's has never really been more than weekly. And she is comfortable with the concept of celibacy.

As a child my wife was the subject of sexual abuse. That has sometimes made the experience of sex uncomfortable. My use of pornography hasn't helped her. And we didn't talk about these things until many years into our marriage.

At times I justify myself to myself. The masturbation and the pornography fulfil a need that is a part of me. They provide a way of satisfying needs without making impositions. They provide a release of some kind.

God, though, there are times when I see a scene in a film that fill me with a sense of emptiness because I don't remember it happening for almost longer than I can remember. The scenes were a wife grabs a hold of her husband urgently and ... well ... I don't need to get too graphic really. I guess that it isn't just a fiction that happens in films. I know it has happened to me ... but it's one of those far off memories. Like something you remember from your childhood and you wonder ... do I really remember that or did someone tell me about it? To not have to make the first move. To feel as though it was something that she wanted. In a way I feel like I want to give such a lot more than I receive and yet mostly have only ever had the chance to take.

I remember one time a minister at church invited me to a service at a church a few miles away.

Afterwards he asked if I hadn't felt like going forward when there was an offer to pray for healing for people.

Of course, he hadn't had a divine word of knowledge. Just a chat with his wife, who had chatted with my wife.

After that there were prayers. A purge. I read a book that explained why pornography was so wrong. How it led to child abuse. Destroyed people. Ruined lives.

It remained purged for a while.

I talked things over with my wife.

In a sense though perhaps this marked the beginning of the end of my close association with the church. I couldn't go on forever keeping it secret. And really, deep down, I didn't really believe it to be a sickness that required healing. Not in the sense that Christians seemed to believe. And it wasn't an acceptable form of behaviour within a church. Just like Andrea ... a kind of an abomination.

Since that time my wife and I have talked more. We've faced up to some of it. Other things happened that caused a lot of pain. There were real struggles.

In a lot of ways my wife and I have a better understanding of and acceptance of each other than we have ever had before.

Sexually we are not so close as we were. But in almost every other respect we are closer. It's a better place to be. But ... I do miss the sex. A lot. More than a lot.

So ... where am I now? How do I see pornography? Transvestism? Christianity?

The Born Again evangelicalism is mostly a memory. I don't think I could ever go back there. Not just because of the fact that I use porn or that I am a t-girl. I also find it hard to believe.

I've embraced the fact that I am a transvestite. I'm not ashamed of it. It doesn't frighten me. At times it's a bit of a nuisance ... but so is the more masculine part of me.

The pornography isn't quite so easy.

The anti-pornography stuff that I've read seems to be composed of half truths, perhapses and sometimeses.

Pornography can, but doesn't inevitably, lead to abuse.

Users of pornography might, but do not inevitably, view women as objects. They do not inevitably view women as lesser beings. They do not inevitably just use women. Actually I suspect that an honest historical analysis might reveal that excessive religion was more likely to do this.

The pornography industry isn't exclusively about the degradation of women, nor is it totally made up of women that feel used and abused and preyed upon. Granted, that there are times and places where this is the case. But it is not inevitably so. No more than it is inevitable that every kitchen knife be used as a murder weapon.

I don't believe that people that use porn are just a small minority. The average newsagent seems to have a much better variety of porn magazines than magazines about TV, golf, computers, football, religion ... than almost anything. And there are an enormous number of web pages devoted to it.

I'd rather experience real sex than masturbate and use porn. But, having said that, both of these things help satisfy a need in me that I believe to be natural.

So, in the end I guess I have to say that I'm at a position with this where I don't feel guilt or shame about it. Like the the fact that I'm a t-girl, it's not something I'm planning on shouting out from the mountaintops. But neither will I hang my head in shame any more.

And ... is it art? Well ... maybe sometimes. Really ... it's what a person makes of it. But personally speaking I don't frame it and hang it on the wall.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Almost revealed

A few weeks ago we spent a few days visiting daughters in Manchester followed by a few days in the Derbyshire Dales. A really nice time.

The weekend began with a meal on the curry mile - excellent food at excellent prices. Later that evening we drove to my brothers to spend some time there.

One of the things that I'd been pondering was whether to tell him about Andrea.

We arrived quite late. Brother was asleep in bed - early start for work the next day - but his wife (M) and a friend were chatting when we got there. We shared a few drinks and talked and talked and talked.

M's friend began to talk about the journey she'd made with M to take her daughter to University. They spent a night at a bed and breakfast hotel in Brighton. The (abbreviated version of the) story went something like this:

The hotel was OK ... but M really needs to be more discreet sometimes. When we arrived they mentioned there was a bar in the cellar ...

we went out to eat ... when we got back we thought we'd give the bar a try ... but ... omg .. we opened the door and the place seemed to be full of gay couples ... and ... on the stage was a six foot tall transvestite doing karaoke. M stood there ... mouth open ,... mouthing something ... totally and obviously astonished ... the tv came over and asked if we wanted to sing ...

It was sooooo funny. My wife said she didn't dare look at me ... to busy trying not to laugh too loud. So was I.

Well ... I decided that the revelation of Andrea's existence could wait for another day.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Coming out

Time passes surprisingly quickly at times ... it seems like no time since I last posted an entry here ... and yet ... it is ages ago.

The weddings in July were nice things to be involved in ... although we actually missed one of them - the M25 was almost stationery for a long time!

The BBQ with the Surrey Swans was great. It was the first time I've walked out of my own front door in broad daylight whilst wearing a skirt. Of course, no one noticed. Or at least if they did no one is saying anything. It was really great to meet a few new people. One of the t-girls was there with his (her) wife. It was good to get a chance to compare life stories. The food was great as well.

A little after that my wife and I were invited round to B & K's. B is a t-girl and K is his (her ... these "he" and "she" kind of labels are a little complex in a transvestite kind of world) wife. They'd invited us round so that my wife would have a chance to meet a couple of people in similar circumstances to ourselves in a place that wasn't totally overrun with guys dressed as girls.

When we first arranged it my wife had been happy with the idea of B and myself being "dressed". However, over breakfast that morning my wife was beginning to have misgivings and asked if we could just dress as guys ... or at least wear trousers. So that's how it happened ... B wore makeup and girlie jeans and sweater ... I was just the masculine looking me.

During the day leading up to the evening I felt a huge sense of disappointment mixed with, I guess, a kind of anger or frustration ... or something. I think it was because I'd been looking forwards so much to the first shared t-girl thing with my wife. And all of a sudden it wasn't going to happen.

The evening was good though. My wife ... and myself as well ... had a chance to find out how other people handle things.

One thing that kind of surprised me ... but that I think may be a common occurrence - is both K and my wife said that one of the strong emotions that they felt on discovering / being told about their partners transvestism was a sense of anger. I'd be interested in hearing from any of you guys and girls out in the big wide world if you've experienced the same feelings or known others that have.

I think that the feelings of anger had roots in not being told earlier, not being trusted earlier and of being lied to or deceived or mislead.

In a way I know that there isn't any water-tight kind of excuse for keeping something like that a secret. And yet ... I've heard that not so long ago in England a guy seen wearing a skirt in public was likely to be arrested (though I think that a tartan skirt would have been maybe OK in England as well as in Scotland). And also, it's not an easy thing for a guy to go public with. And also it's not easy at all for a born again Christian guy to go public with. At the same time it's not that easy for a born again Christian guy to live in denial of.

All I can say with any certainty is that I'm glad that it's not a secret any more and that I don't have to live in fear of discovery. Being Andrea is an OK thing to be. It's made an enormous difference to me and to the relationship that I have with my wife. She has really handled the whole thing remarkably!

I'm glad that in the end I have been able to come out.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Makeovers, birthdays, daughters and shopping

Well ... the makeup lesson was good. I didn't learn anything spectacularly new, but I find that kind of reassuring. Terry, the lady that ran it was lovely. Had lots of tips and suggested a different shade of foundation. It seems that I need to remove the makeup with a makeup remover and not just soap and water ... and I need to moisturise. I kinda like dabbing moisturiser on my face. Another of those things that I never really thought about before.

Terry wasn't able to make me look like a 25 year old ... but I can live with that :)

I think, in a way, the nicest thing is just to meet people and be in places where being a transvestite is no big deal.

I had a lovely chat with my daughter a few days ago. She's in Central America vacationing. She mentioned that some friends she has in Mexico know quite a few guys that are transvestites and she'd met some of them. She said it was a little odd at first ... but she got used to it. And she had a chance to talk about "her dad". It sounded as though it helped her a lot to see that it's not such a weird thing. Just a little unusual.

My birthday has just passed. That was very quiet in some ways ... and also very special.

On Sunday my wife took me shopping. That was really nice. We visited Debenhams and discovered that like everywhere at the moment there is a sale. And then there was Marks & Spencer's. I ended up with several short skirts and some blouses. Having learned the lesson that the size of a garment need not bear any resemblance to its actual size I decided I needed to try things on. That was less nervy than I thought it would be. The people at the shop don't seem to mind if a guy goes into the changing rooms with an armful of skirts and the other shoppers don't even notice.

When I got home from work on Monday there was an envelope and a few wrapped p pressies from my wife. The envelope said to Andy/Andrea. It's the first time that she's referred to me as Andrea .. and that was surprisingly emotional for me. I think that it's a feeling of acceptance.

At the weekend there is a wedding and also a BBQ with Surrey Swans. Both should be lovely occasions.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Of lipstick and life

I have a makeover lesson booked at Charles Fox next Saturday. The web site says:

For many years now, FOX has been one of the premiere suppliers of make-up to the Tranny Community. Whether you need to create the look for an outrageous Drag-Queen or wish to blend happily into a crowd FOX has the right look for you.

For a relatively small fee, you will be taught all the tricks-of-the-trade by professional artists, experience a full makeover and get 10% discount off anything you wish to purchase in the shop that day

I have chatted with someone that gave it a try and they found it really helpful. So I'm expectant and hopeful. But also realistic. I think. I'm aiming more at the blending into the crowd look ... I think!

Maybe I'll get some hints on kiss proof lipstick. It's not the kissing I'm bothered about. It's just that the possibility of finishing a glass of wine with more of the lippy on my lips than on the glass would be kind of nice. Maybe also my wife would risk a kiss proof lipstick coated kiss. So OK ... I am bothered about the kisses as well.

My weekday lunchtime walk on Friday had me noticing all of the big fruit berries that are falling from bushes along the roadside at the moment. It seems to take so many berries to make a single bush. Got me to thinking again of how wasteful some processes seem to be.

Somehow, some convoluted chain of logic had me thinking about the entire meaning of life. There's a definition that I've heard that talks about being to Glorify God. Google provides lots of information on this. It goes something like:

It’s the stereotypical “deep” philosophical question. You’ve probably heard characters on TV shows ask it with the assumption that it cannot be answered. It’s the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

By God’s grace, the Reformed believer is not stumped by this question, for God’s Word has given us an answer for why we are here, and this answer is the first thing a child learns when receiving a Reformed education. So, to answer the question, “What is the meaning of life?” or, “Why are we here?” the response immediately comes: “To glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and to enjoy Him for ever (Psalm 73:25-26).”

The above was taken from:

Once, not so very long ago, I would have sympathised with this view. Though I find it hard to believe that it really is the first thing a child learns when receiving a reformed education.

These days I don't see it that way. The reason is that either I've backslidden or I've become enlightened. Actually it's more that I just don't know. I mean I don't know about the meaning of life any more. Actually I don't know if I've backslidden or grown in enlightenment. Maybe a bit of both.

When I read the Bible verses quoted it seems that they aren't saying that the meaning or purpose is to glorify or enjoy God. They say people should do these things, sure. But they don't say it's the purpose or meaning of life. Well ... it depends on how you read it and the emphasis that you place on it and on the words around it.

That's the thing about the Bible I guess ... and all the different branches of Christianity that believe the same book but do different things. Each part deciding what emphasis to place on what parts. Which parts should be interpreted and understood literally ... and which parts need interpreting in a modern context.

Should Sabbaths be holy and work free?

Is the Sabbath on Sunday?

Is the virgin birth a critical concept?

Why was genocide OK in the Old Testament but it isn't now?

There is an interesting attempt to answer this from a group of Rational Christians at And yes, once I would have kind of agreed. But reading it now it just doesn't add up. I don't think that it ever did before really. I just went along with the philosophy of:
  • God is good
  • Everything that God does or says is good
  • If God tells you to do something it must be good
  • Even if it seems pretty bad
  • But no way would God want people to kill people now ... even though at one time He certainly seemed OK with the idea

The Rational Christians say:

Can the genocide in the Old Testament (OT) be used to justify genocide or mass destruction today?

Genocide, murder or any killing that is not necessary to defend another person's life is not justified. God alone has the right to take human life in cases other than defense. The only reason the Israelites were right to destroy cities in the OT is because they received a clear, direct command from God to do so. Any reason short of that, including humans deciding on their own that God wants them to kill others, is not enough to justify it.

Rational? Reasoned? Well ... lets say that I grow more skeptical.

Why is it OK for a modern day Christian to have two coats whilst there are lots of people that have none?

Why is it wrong to be gay or lesbian?

It seems to be all a matter of interpretation. How people choose to understand what the Bible says ... or how they interpret the world around them.

Really I guess my problem isn't that people believe different things. It's that some people selectively believe things and then condemn other people that make a different set of selections. And sometimes they do this in the name of God.

I feel an Indigo Moment arriving.

Emily Saliers:

we're sculpted from youth
the chipping away makes me weary
and as for the truth
it seems like we just pick a theory
ah it's the one that justifies
our daily lives
and backs us with quiver and arrows
to protect openings
cause when the warring begins
how quickly the wide open narrows

Maybe we all do it. Pick the theories and don't even notice it?

This has moved a long way from the meaning of life.

My thoughts as I walked down the path on Friday had me wondering about what the meaning of life is. Why am I here?

In the end I decided that meaning isn't just about being useful or fulfilling a purpose.

Once upon a time I did think along those kind of lines. That the meaning and reason for a things being was all tied up with its purpose and usefulness.

This takes me back to the berries on the pavement. The purpose of the berries is to make new bushes. But they don't ... well ... almost all of them don't. Only a tiny tiny, tiny number do. Maybe their purpose is to feed the birds? But mostly they don't do that either.

I thought of sperm as well ... so few of them do what they seem to have been designed to do.

And if people are designed with the purpose of glorifying and enjoying God. Why do so few achieve it?

In the end, and for the moment, I decided that if I need to know why I am here than the reason isn't to be found just in purposes, usefulness and function.

At the moment I feel that the main thing is for us to just be. And there is purpose in being. This is, maybe, what people refer to as a leap of faith. Why should there be a purpose in being? And the answer is ... I really don't know. It just helps me to get along.

Maybe the most useful philosophies and thoughts and feelings are the ones that help us get along.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Stepping out a little further

Yesterday was another special day in the life of Andrea. I managed to contact a group of transvestites that meet each month not too far from home. It seems that there are quite a few things that happen not too far away.

Anyway, I emailed B who kind of organises some monthly meetings at a pub. (S)he also produces a monthly "whats on in the area" newsletter and she and her partner organise a monthly get together at their home.

It just so happened that having emailed my queries to B over the weekend I discovered that the next home get together was due for Tuesday 10 July 2007.

It meant that I needed some new shoes ... ones with smaller heels. This also proved to be an irresistible opportunity to buy other things ... I'm gradually becoming a shopaholic.

So ... I organised leaving work a little early yesterday ... and took a small case full of clothes and makeup. Not quite sure what to expect.

They say that "the devil is in the detail" ... but sometimes it seems there are angels in there as well.

Over and over I am discovering that the transgendered community that I'm getting to know are the sweetest and friendliest that I have ever met. I guess it's possible to come up with a multitude of theories and reasons as to why this might be. But really, at the moment, the reality of the friendliness matters a lot more to me than the causes of it.

It was the first time that a self-made-up Andrea had been seen outside of home. That in itself is a special thing to me.

B and his/her wife said that they'd really love to invite myself and my wife over for a meal sometime. Just to provide my wife with a chance to get to know people in similar circumstances without being faced by a whole group of trannies.

And my wife is OK with the idea as well. That means a lot to me. It's not easy to put into words. I think it's in knowing that the Andrea in me doesn't have to be marginalised. That my wife is OK with being a part of the Andrea in me.

I chatted with B and his wife a while last night. mentioning the way that my own wife has said how less stressed and irritable I have been since I "came out". This isn't such an unusual thing. B's wife said something along the lines of ... well ... in a way when you are dressed you are different.

I've been thinking about that today. And yes, there is an element of truth in it. When I am dressed I don't even vaguely think about the hassles of the work day. It's a way of shedding burdens. Kind of therapeutic I guess. So, as well as being an opportunity to express an inner part of me that I've kept hidden for so many years ... it's also a way of letting go of some of the not-so-nice parts of the day.

B also said that if I'd like to go out for a meal or a drink with her, or shopping ... then she'd be happy to do that. I'm really looking forwards to taking her up on that.

At the meal last night there were quite a few girls that needed to change before setting off back home ... wash off the makeup .. remove the nail varnish ... become drab (dressed as a bloke) again. Mostly this was because of wives / partners that didn't know, or children being home.

I'd decided that I would drive home as Andrea. That was such a relaxed experience. Not having to worry about hiding myself before I got home.

As time passes I'm becoming less and less concerned about people discovering that Andrea exists.

I don't want to upset people ... but also I need to be able to be myself.

Ultimately if people decide that they cannot live with the concept of Andrea ... then really it means that they cannot live with the concept of me. Handling this might be seriously difficult at times ... but I know that pretending that Andrea doesn't exist is even more seriously difficult.

Saturday, 7 July 2007


The opportunity to surprise work colleagues with an impromptu announcement of Andrea during a tea break seems to have passed (Hobbies and being myself). A little after Friday lunch T announced she was leaving the company having lasted a whole two and a half days. I think that's a record for shortest serving employee since I joined the company - though there have been several short stays over the years.

Lunchtime conversation skirted around politics and taxation. I have an ambivalent view towards politics ... a little like my sexuality I guess :) Politics sometimes seem like a necessary evil.

There was a show on TV during the week about Cherie Blair (wife of ex UK Prime Minister Tony Blair). Amongst the people being interviewed was Laura Bush (wife of current US president George Bush). I don't think I'd ever heard her speak before. Like many leaders wives she often appears in the background and hardly ever in the foreground ... at least not on TV in the UK.

I think that probably Tony Blair, George Bush and Gordon Brown and many other leaders are mostly guys doing what they think is right ... but under pressure also from all kinds of conflicting influences. Some of the influences are a lot less wholesome than others. It's a shame that they aren't often prepared to admit that they have made mistakes. It's also a pity I guess that the media often seem to jump on politicians that change their mind and seem to think that for someone to admit they made a mistake and make a change in policy is worse than perpetuating the mistake.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Hobbies and being myself

I wonder if one day I will understand myself. I suspect not. But that doesn't worry me most of the time.

Taking my almost regular lunchtime stroll today I was thinking about the place that cross dressing has in my life. At times it's helpful to think of it in terms of being a kind of hobby. That seems to be especially so in terms of dealing with the urge to buy shoes and clothes. Seeing it as a hobby and setting a budget helps manage that.

Having said that, Andrea isn't a hobby to me. Andrea is me ... an aspect of me. I don't know how to express this really. I don't understand how it all fits together.

There was a time when cross dressing meant black lingerie and sexual arousal. That was the reason that I did it. At least that's how it seemed at the time.

The transition from that to wearing skirts, blouses, dresses ... and the eventual sharing of that with my wife led to the discovery of something different. It's not about sexual arousal. It's about being myself.

And yet I don't feel a need to dress or wear makeup all the time. It's more of a desire to just express something sometimes. About being free to do that sometimes.

It's nice to be at a place in life where I feel more free to be myself than I ever remember being before.

We have afternoon tea at work on Wednesdays. A new lady just joined the company and during the chatting over tea R suggested that over the coming few weeks everyone takes a turn at sharing something new about themselves. I'm not brave enough to stand up and say to everyone ... "Hello ... my name is Andrea and I'm a transvestite". But who knows ... one day!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Makeup, Global Warming and Divine Judgement

It's strange how sometimes you don't know how much you are missing something until you get a chance to try it again.

It had been a week since I had a chance to dress. And not until yesterday did I realise how much I missed the feeling.

I don't understand why that is. The feeling of release and peace that comes with it. But it does. It makes a big difference to me.

I'm not sure that I'm getting better at applying makeup ... though mostly I have the general idea. There's still a lot to learn. I guess I should try making a note of the techniques and taking photos. I think, though, that the way that lighting effects work the photos might not actually show what it really all looks like.

Mostly, I'm trying to enjoy the learning of it. Though it's definitely more perplexing at times than it is fun. And it takes soooo long.

There's still something special about that moment when the makeup is finished and the wig goes on.

I've not ever tried the hair without the makeup.

Ahhh well ... there are more important things to be concerned about than makeup.

Some interesting comments about the UK weather from Church of England Bishops according to the Daily Mail:

Although scientists say it is impossible to blame a single weather incident on global warming, senior church leaders have said the floods were almost certainly the result of man-made climate change. The Church of England bishops said the recent floods which claimed seven lives and deluged thousands of homes were the result of "moral degradation".

Rt Rev Graham Dow: believes the extreme weather is the direct consequence of mankind's lack of respect 'for each other'.

While stressing that those affected were innocent victims, they claimed the devastation was the consequence of the West's decision to ignore Biblical teaching, with an "arrogant" world "reaping what we have sown".

The Rt Rev Graham Dow, the Bishop of Carlisle, whose district suffered horrendous flooding two years ago, believes the extreme weather is the direct consequence of mankind's lack of respect "for each other, for the planet and for God". He said: "This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way. "We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as environmental damage."

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, said people no longer saw floods as an "act of God". "However, we are now reaping what we have sown," he told the Sunday Telegraph.
"If we live in a profligate way then there are going to be consequences."

It's interesting that some Bishops are more certain about the consequences of Global Warming than are some scientists. And interesting that they see a need to bring a divine judgement slant onto a thing.

It seems kind of obvious that if people do bad things then there's a fair chance that bad things might happen. There's also a kind of justice in the concept.

What's not so easy is that often it seems that the people that do the bad things aren't the ones that suffer the bad results. In fact the people that suffer most often seem to be the innocent victims. It's not so easy to see the justice in that.

I'm not sure how Global Warming can be seen as a strong and definite judgment. If it's happening it's happening as a natural result of scientific processes. There are discussions to be had about the causes and the morality of it all. But the strong and definite judgment perspective doesn't seem to help. Can it be right that strong and definite judgement should directly result in innocent victims? They always seem to.

This logic isn't so far from the Andrea is an Abomination kind of theory. A logical conclusion of this kind of thinking is that God could get so upset by a few guys putting on makeup and wearing frocks that He needs to pick on some innocent victims to make Him feel better.

Nahhhhh ... I don't believe that for a moment.

I'm having problems and doubts about God ... but if He's there then I think that he's a lot more Godly than that. I think that the Bishops think that as well.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Phobias, insensitivity, kindnesses and ... shopping

A wet kind of weekend so far. But at least not affected by any flooding.

Last night I chatted online a while with one of the people that I thought might never talk with me again. It meant a lot that although she finds Andrea impossible to understand, she can still be OK. Thank you L ... it means more to me than you know.

During the conversation we talked a bit about how difficult it can be for people to be accepted or at least tolerated by society.

Some people seem to have a real problem in tolerating other people who are different. Often I guess it's associated with some kind of fear or phobia or maybe a need to feel superior in some way. Perhaps the need to feel superior is the result of some inner insecurity?

Some people seem to find it easy to pick on gay people or lesbians. Or fat people. Or transvestites and transsexuals. Anyone that is different.

So far I've been outside as Andrea just twice. So far I haven't experienced sniggers from people or verbal abuse. So far only inquisitiveness and kindness.

However, I have talked with tgirls that have, and read blog sites. I know people that are overweight and suffer the same kind of insensitive behaviour from others.

One day I know that it will happen to me.

I hope that I'll have the grace to deal with it in a way that minimises hurt and pain to all concerned. And also the bravery to continue just being myself. So long as being myself is something that doesn't harm other people then that's who I want to be.

Today I returned the clothes that I bought last week that didn't fit ... and couldn't resist buying alternatives. I decided this time to not have to go through another cycle of finding I had to return things all over again. So, I gritted my teeth (just metaphorically) and visited the changing rooms. This wasn't so bad at all ... at least compared with how I thought it might have been. The shopping was all at charity shops. There are just one or two cubicles. No one is watching. And I didn't feel embarassed or uncomfortable at all. It also meant that there was one skirt that I liked a lot but didn't buy because it didn't fit. So it saved a return journey. I ended up buying loads of clothes ... at very little cost.

I called in at M&S with my wife also. It was really nice looking at clothing with her. She bought a lovely dress and jacket. While waiting in the queue for the changing room it was interesting to notice how different it is from a queue of guys. Ladies ask each other how things look, whether or not colours match or clash ... even through they don't know each other.

It really is a totally different world!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Indigo Moments

A little earlier today I was thinking of love, falling in love and falling out of love.

A few years back when things in my marriage were in a falling apart kind of phase I was in a place wondering if it was possible to fall in love having fallen out of love.

Round about that time I discovered the musical love of my life. Most people I know only ever heard of Indigo Girls from me.

If it wasn't for Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, though, I think life would be a very different thing for me now.

I listened to Love's Recovery many times. Almost always I'd shed tears as I listened. I still do. The song gave me a hope that it was at least possible for love to recover. And sometimes just a little hope is all that's needed.

I discovered Amy and Emily in the earliest days of Napster. Downloaded a lot of their music and fell in love with it. Since then I bought just about all their CDs and have been to ... I think 7 ... of their UK concerts. If Napster hadn't been around in those days I would have lost out and so would the recording industry.

Actually the first Indigo Girls song I listened to is you and me of the 10,000 wars. One day it would be nice to get a chance to ask Emily what it all means to her. To me it expresses feelings about inner conflicts and emotions.

a hand in the darker side
and our sights set on Zion
the heart of a skeptic and the mind of a child

put my life in a box and let my imagination run wild
pour the cement for my feet
the heart and the mind on a parallel course
never the two shall meet

There have been times when I've felt like that. Wanting one thing, but not being able to do it or be it.

I don't know that it's been a conflict between masculine and feminine in me - haven't ever really thought of it in those terms before. But maybe this has been part of it.

There's a sense in which just beginning to be free to express the feminine side of myself is bringing my heart and my mind together.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

On being Andrea

Sunday was a lazy kind of day. I dressed in the morning and stayed that way most of the day.

Younger daughter got back from her weekend away a lot later than expected.

There's a strange kind of potential conflict that I feel at times. For the time being at least I don't think I can be Andrea while she is around. That doesn't mean that I don't want her around. But I do want to be able to take the opportunities that I have to dress. So I'm interested in how long she will be gone ... when she'll get back. Really though, I don't want this to be a big issue.

Sometimes I do stop and think ... what's the purpose in all this? How do I relate to Andrea? How does Andrea relate to me?

The only answers I get are that there is no conflict. I am Andrea. Andrea is me. Just different aspects of the same person.

Driving back from work yesterday was strange somehow. For no particular reason that I can think of I just felt kind of silly. Crazy. Why does a grown man want to dress like a woman? What's the point of it?

I don't know the answers to these questions.

Once, in my born again days I would have picked up a Bible and looked for answers there. And sometimes that worked. I remember one time ... must have been in 1975 ... I was feeling perplexed and uneasy. I remember reading Psalm 94:19 ... when the cares of my heart are many, Thy consolations cheer my soul. Those words meant a lot to me over many years, I still remember them and where they are written. At the time in 1975 I was falling in love. The relationship didn't last, but the words did for a long time.

Yesterday I remember thinking I need someone to say to me ... it's OK to be Andrea.

Within myself I believe that it is OK. It is OK to be me. I don't want to be anyone else.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Shopping ... fun ?

Today was a bit of a treat. An opportunity to shop a little.

Until fairly recently shopping has always seemed to be a necessary evil. I have a different perspective on things at the moment.

I'm still learning ... or trying to at least. What clothes do I like? What suits me? Where's the best place to buy from?

A couple of weeks ago I decided I'd try the charity shops.

I'm still not totally free of nerves when I shop for Andrea.

I park the car and walk up the stairs to the shopping level. Then a little visit to each of the shops. Most of the people there seem to be elderly ladies ... a little like Andrea ... in the sense of being elderly at least. Not many men in there ... but a few.

I look at the books ... pretending to be interested, but not at all interested.

I walk past the racks of clothes ... pretending to be not at all interested ... but wanting to stop and look.

The second shop is easier. By now I'm feeling more relaxed. Able to look at the sizes ... work out how things are organised. There are some nice skirts and blouses. No one is taking any notice of me at all. Really that's always how it has been. A kind of worry in my head that people will stare. But in reality ... no one is bothered.

Then another shop. And another. Then the final pass through to make purchases.

A medium length denim skirt, a long denim skirt, a tiny denim skirt ... OK I like denim I guess.

A long black pleated skirt. A short black skirt. A tartan pleated skirt. OK ... I like skirts.

A nice diagonally striped shirt. A white pleated shirt. A nice oriental top.

A necklace. A bracelet.

Just as well charity shops don't charge big prices :)

That was the end of the "planned" shopping. Now for the impulse.

Another town. Another car park.

Shoes with less than 4.5" heels. But size 11 or close to. Calling in at Evans ... a size 10 pair of sandals. Not perfect .. but not bad.

Then to Boots. I cannot believe how long I spend comparing lipsticks. I mean ... lipsticks. I want something that doesn't disappear from my lips after twenty minutes or so. In the end I chose some that says it lasts up to seven hours ... and ... nail polish ... at least it was free with the lip gloss. The lip gloss was an impulse though. I had to have a little discussion with the lady at the till about the nail polish ... the computer didn't think that it was free. It took a walk round to the aisle with an assistant to convince us both that I wasn't imagining special offers.

Then to Primark. Stockings and a shirt.

At last ... home.

I make some discoveries. The term "size 16" is almost meaningless. Three size 16 skirts fit. And the rest don't. A similar story with the shirts.

I discover as well that the shirt I got from Primark is the same as one from the charity shop. Same size same design. The odd thing is that the charity shop charged the same price ... and even though it has the same size marked on the label ... it is smaller.

One day I'll maybe be brave enough to try the things on at the shop.

Once everything has been tried on there's a chance to try some makeup. Over a week since there has been an opportunity. Eyes are tricky things to paint around. And lips as well. But in the end I'm pleased.

It's strange ... shopping is something that I'm beginning to enjoy.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Am I convincing?

It rained a lot last night and this morning. There was quite a deep pond of water in the road to drive through on the way to work. The car managed to get through it without complaining. It had all cleared up by the end of the day.

I thought a bit about the concept of being convincing. Quite a few people at TVChix mention that they are convincing. Some say that they only want to meet t-girls that are convincing. Some only venture out into the world dressed if they feel that they can convince.

I think that's fine ... each to her own.

For myself, I guess my thinking isn't quite along those lines.

I'm not a girl ... more of a guy that has a feminine side. A transvestite. A t-girl. I don't want to be a girl. I'm happy to be who I am ... now that I'm beginning to learn to accept myself that way.

The first time I ever visited Charles Fox to buy makeup I remember thinking about what I'd say if I was asked "What kind of look do you want?" I decided my answer would be something like:

"A 25 year old girl would be perfect!"

Actually I would have settled for looking like a 25 year old guy!

In a way maybe whenever I dress and makeup I will look like a transvestite. But ... since that's what I am then I can't grumble too much.

I can manage to look like a convincing tranny :)

Ultimately I think that being dressed and made up is about how it makes me feel. It's about feeling a little more in touch with myself ... more balanced. I think.

I do want to be accepted by others as Andrea ... but whether people accept Andrea or not ... Andrea is still an expression of a part of me ... of my femininity.

Because of this, I guess, I want to make Andrea look as feminine as I can manage. But I realise that there are limits. And ultimately my aim isn't to convince other people. My aim is to get closer to myself.

So ... if any of you guys and girls have any tips on how I can be a more feminine Andrea then that's cool ... please please tell me.

However, if at the end of a day I still look a bit like a bloke in a dress ... well ... that's what I am really.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

By the way ... I am a transvestite

It's interesting how different people react to the concept of a person being a transvestite.

In the real world everyone that I have been able to tell so far has survived the experience.

T-girls in Portsmouth who are all lovely people.

People that I've chatted to on the couple of occasions that I've been "out" so far. They have asked questions and been interested. All of them lovely people.

My wife ... who is happy that Andrea makes me happy ... and that makes me easier to live with.

Eldest daughter who seemed OK but is struggling a bit. To have a dad that likes to dress like her mum isn't easy for her. But she is being honest about her feelings. I hope and think it will get easier as time passes.

Younger daughter ... who says it's OK if it makes me happy and if mum is OK with it. But she is kind of quiet. I think she is OK.

People I know on the Internet.

Two people have said they are proud of me. Being able to accept myself better and beginning to escape from the closet. Thank you!

A friend in Canada that I have known for years but never met thanked me for introducing Andrea to her.

Another friend in Canada that I chatted with a couple of weeks ago with the Webcam on said it was like talking with one of her girlfriends. She meant it in the nicest of ways.

A lady in Australia who mentioned the movie "The Adventures of Priscilla ... ". I bought the DVD and like it a lot.

Another in Norway ... surprised ... but cool.

And two people that may never chat with me online again.

But mostly a strong sense of acceptance.

Will I ever tell my brothers? People at work? Neighbours? Friends?

The nicest thing is that no longer do I live in fear of people finding out that I'm a tranny.

It's no big deal to me now. I don't want to flaunt it. Don't want to upset people. But if people find out then so be it.

When I got back from work today my wife was excited ... a trip to Marks & Spencer for some things to wear at a wedding later in the year.

It was lovely to see her trying the things on.

She thinks it's sweet the way that all of a sudden I like clothes.

I feel closer to her now than I have done for years and years and years.

At times I wish I had come out of the closet earlier. And yet ... earlier may have been too soon. Maybe we all needed the time to grow up a little first? So ... mostly I am content.

On Saturday I'm planning on hitting the shops myself.

It's nice to have some things in common :)

Is God there?

Nothing particularly special about the day. Work not boring or mundane but also a little unspectacular.

Went for my (almost) regular lunchtime walk ... a couple of miles from the office, along a road, past a small lake, across the golf course then back along a road.

Must have been about this time last year that I first started this. I remember young swans and the ducklings.

Provides a little thinking space as well as a little exercise.

Is nature red in tooth and claw? Or kind of nice?

I guess it depends on the time of day.

Today it mostly seemed nice.

Walking along the wooded path I wondered about God. Do I prefer to think that there is a God or that there isn't? Maybe that depends on the time of day as well.

The God that I used to believe in wouldn't have been happy about Andrea. I seem to recall something Biblical about this. OK ... Google ... what do you say?

At the moment is top of the list. It doesn't make for happy reading.

Believe it or not, the Bible also has something to say about this issue. Again, it is back in the Old Testament, and many Christians are not even aware this verse exists on the subject.
The verse is very specific and again God says that this activity is an abomination in His sight and that He will not tolerate or accept it. Just like the problem with homosexuals, I believe that many of the transsexuals and transvestites are operating under heavy demonic influence.

Here is the verse that will give us this direct revelation from the Lord:
"A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an ABOMINATION to the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 22:5)

Thank you Mr Bradley. I hope the ladies in your life don't wear trousers.

Is Andrea an abomination to God? Even though I know that many of the nicest parts of my character are associated with the part of me that feels the most feminine. And Andrea is an expression of this.

I guess that I just can't believe it. If there is a God I don't think I'll ever be able to believe in the one that Bible Believing Christians seem to believe in - even though I once did.

Would the church friends that I have see Andrea as an abomination? Some of them would ... but they would also, I think, do their best to love her. Unfortunately that would mean attempting to heal her.

Well ... I'm not gonna get uptight about this.

Another thought as I walked along the path ... how wasteful nature seems to be ... or God. I think I've heard the term extravagant used sometimes. Offbeat thoughts I guess. How many millions of sperm have I produced during my life? How many eggs has my wife produced? We have two children and one miscarriage.

Did God plan the birth of the kids? Did he select the sperm and the eggs? Did he leave it to chance?

I suspect that anyone that claims to know the answer to these questions is misguided.

People that claim to know all the answers worry me. Fundamentalists worry me.

Troublesome stuff for a Wednesday night.

But actually, I feel at peace with things and untroubled. All depends on the time of day, I think.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

The closet door opening wider

I had an email back from L today. She's a lovely lady in Canada that I first met a long long time ago on ICQ.

We don't talk online these days, just communicate by occasional emails.

I have a lot of admiration for her. We are similar ages ... she has recently completed a course at University. Very easy to talk with.

I emailed her a few days ago telling her about Andrea.

Her reply was really lovely. I have a feeling it's not always easy to predict how people will react to discovering that a person is a transvestite.

A few of the things that she said really cheered me:

"Okay -- so that was a big announcement :) . But the only difference I see/feel is that you seem happier and that you are simply expressing another part of yourself in a more honest and open way. Women wear men's clothes all the time and no one seems to think that odd ( something I've always puzzled over). It must have been a big load off your mind to get this out in the open. No one should have to live with that kind of secret. This world would be a far better place if everyone felt they could be as open and honest as you have been. So that said -- welcome Andrea!"

How will she feel?

Today I picked up my eldest daughter from Watford Junction railway station. She'll be home a few days before setting off for some travelling in central America.

Having talked things over with my wife I'd decided that now was the time to explain about Andrea.

Driving back we chatted about this and that.

Eventually I gave up looking for a way to say something that would fit into the context of the conversation. So .. it just came out as:

"I need to tell you something ... I'm a transvestite ... do you know what that means?"

A strange thing to ask in a way since I don't really know what it means.

One of her first questions was to ask if that meant that I like men.

Then there were lots of others.

She didn't freak out. And she tried to understand.

She asked why I hadn't said something years ago if I'd been cross dressing for so long.

I think she understood when I explained that it's not such an easy thing.

She talked with my wife later. Concerned about how my wife felt about it. Wondering if she (my wife) loved me.

The love thing isn't easy for me. The answers that I get include words and phrases like "yes", "you're a great friend", "you're a great dad".

There are things missing though. Passion. Sex.

My wife is at a stage in life where she says these things aren't important. At least not when combined. She's also past the stage of feeling that she'll be obliging to keep me happy.

I've talked to several people who talk about living with a person that they love and yet not being in love with the person that they love.

Sometimes I feel that this is the kind of place that we are at. It's not always an easy place to be.

I think my daughter is ... well ... as OK as can be expected or hoped for.

Friday, 25 May 2007

One small step

In retrospect ...

Yesterday I went to visit Fiona for a makeover and photos.

My wife is away a few days ... she'd suggested maybe it would be nice to visit Fiona - it was really nice that she did.

I arrived in Portsmouth a little after noon. Was good to meet with some friends of Fiona's.

During the afternoon Fiona asked if I'd like to go out to a local pub in the evening. Gosh ... yes!

After the makeup and pictures I watched TV a bit, had a glass of wine and chatted with Lauren and Fiona. In the early evening Kelly arrived.

At round about 8:00 pm we headed downstairs. I felt a lot less nervous than I expected. I think that deep down I had decided that more than almost anything I wanted to give Andrea a chance to step outside. And yet ... there was a sensation of nervousness.

So ... the front door opened and Andrea took her first stiletto heeled steps into the big wide world.

It was raining so there weren't many people about as we walked fifty yards or so to the car. I don't know if the few people that were there paid us any attention. I suspect not - more interested in getting in out of the rain than watching a few trannies wandering around.

We got into the car. I remembered the DVD that I had watched about applying makeup. It had a session on deportment. So ... I took my shoes off before I started the engine.

Then a couple of miles to the pub.

Park the car. And ... open the door ... and walk into the pub.

Lots of people ... and well lit.

I really didn't know how I was going to feel about this.

Just followed Fiona round the bar. There were a couple of other t-girls there. But mostly the place was full of people just having a drink and listening to the band.

In a way I felt people looking over at us.

But not in a hostile way.

It felt OK.

It would be easy to over emphasize this ... over dramatise it ... overstate it.

But, I do remember standing there talking and sipping at a glass of wine and feeling that at last ... this part of me that has been hidden away for so long ... at last she's been able to step outside into the world. And not feel ashamed. And not feel guilty. I could just be me. One of the nicest and most fulfilling moments of my life.

I talked with Lauren, Nikkie, Kelly, Carol and Neena. A few other people just drinking at the pub came over and talked a little as well.

As with almost all trips to a pub there came that inevitable moment when the capacity of the bladder is insufficient for the moment.

So ... I checked ... is it the Ladies or the Gents? And was told it was the Ladies.

So ... my first visit to a Ladies at a pub - well ... except for one time when I went through the wrong door by accident.

At closing time we got a taxi back to Fiona's. Stayed up very late talking.

This morning I drove back home. The only remaining makeup was the nail polish that I left on my fingernails.

This whole thing has been more special than I had ever imagined it could possibly be. A million miles from my imaginings.

It's strange that sometimes when a fantasy becomes a reality it's a big big let down. This reality is so much better than I ever thought.

I remember talking with Lauren last night about my wife. About how she was coping with Andrea being around. Lauren said to me that in my position that would make her feel more love for her. And that's how it feels to me as well.

Kelly drove me round to the pub to collect the car from the night before. We talked about wives and kids and things. I said how grateful I was that y wife wasn't freaking out ... and that I realise that it can't be easy for her ... that if the situation were reversed I'd find it difficult as well. Kelly said ... "yes ... if she started wearing a moustache and beard ...". That made me smile. But also, it made me thankful of my wife's attitude.

Fiona Floyd ... thank you! I do know that you know how much this means to me because I've told you. But anyway ... it doesn't do any harm at all to say some things more than once.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Another appointment

In retrospect ...

Made another appointment at Fiona's for a makeover for the bank holiday at the end of May (26th).

Amazing how feelings change. I'm eager that one day I'll be able to step outside into the world as Andrea. Not so long ago I couldn't have even imagined that as a possibility.

I've been chatting with a few t-girls at TVChix and it's been reassuring to know that I'm not so different.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Self inflicted makup

In retrospect ...

My hair has arrived. And I like it.

My head is too big ... but I can get it on.

Today I tried my first self applied makeup.

I watched the DVD twice. I kind of wish it showed someone putting on makeup for themselves rather than a makeup artist applying it to someone else.

But at least it gives me the general idea.

I sit at the computer ... watch step 1 then do it. Then the next bit and do it. It takes quite a while.

On the whole ... well ... it could have been worse.
My wife arrived home ... and was ok seeing Andrea for the first time. Uneasy about kissing me in lipstick ... but OK. Thank you ... this could all have turned out so badly ... you're helping me hold it all together.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Wigs and tits

In retrospect ...

I've searched the Internet looking for wigs.

Earlier today I called in at Debenhams in Guildford ... they sell wigs. Unfortunately the girl that sells them was on a lunch break and I couldn't wait. Also ... well ... not sure I liked the ones that I saw ... and there didn't seem to be a place to try them on - well nowhere private.

So ... I selected one at a web site and made an Internet order. I hope it fits! I hope I like the colour.

I also ordered a pair of silicone breasts from China. The description of them on eBay made me smile.

Are you still worry about the breast curve, shallow breast ditch and shortage of temptation? Wear it, you will swell and collect the breasts instantly, and get the tempting breast ditch. Solve efficiently the problems of smallness, flatness and dissymmetry breast.
This is a brand new revolutionary silicone enhancers which can perfectly boost your breasts by up to 2-3 cups size. They give you an invisible support for a fabulous shape!
These nude, strapless, backless inserts provides comfortable, ultra-flattering coverage that looks and feels like your own skin.
These soft and natural silicone cups totally seamless and invisible under sheer clothing. They are easy to apply and easy to remove. In one minute you will have a magical appear.

I'm looking forwards to the magical appear. Not so sure about the tempting ditch though.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Foxes, makeup and DVDs

In retrospect ...

I need makeup.

Having experienced it I know that I do.

But its complicated. I've chatted with tgirls on the web and looked at web sites that offer advice. Feels like it will take forever to learn how to do it all.

But I need to start somewhere.

Vicky at TVChix had mentioned Charles Fox in Covent Garden. I'd thought of Boots. "Might be a bit busy" said Vicky. And I need foundation that matches my skin colour.

So ... about 1:00pm I set off. catch a train into London ... tube ... then walk towards Covent garden.

Not sure what I'll say. But I decide that I'll just walk in and get it over with.

In through the door ... walk to the counter ... then ... somehow I manage to explain I'm a transvestite ... but new to it all. The girl I am talking to is maybe 20 ... no more than 25. Young enough to be my daughter. I explain I need to buy some makeup ... but I have no clue at all.

She asks me do I want liquid foundation or a stick. I know nothing. Whatever is easiest I say.

She shows me the samples. Explains I need to get something that matches my skin colouration. Gets a sponge ... asks if it's OK to put a little on my face. Looks at it in the light. Tries another shade. Asks a few other assistants in the shop ... which is best .. is it for the stage? No ... just to wear. Looking in the mirror.

Somehow in all of this I felt comfortable. People were coming in and out of the shop ... but it didn't bother me. I felt safe ... accepted.

We select a colour. What else do I want? Well ... what else do I need?

Blush. A blusher brush. Eye shadow ... two shades ... eye brushes ... mascara ... lipstick ... lip brush ... lip liner pencil ... eye liner pencil ... lip brush.

Not cheap ... but not so bad. And not frightening.

As I leave the shop she says to me ... "I hope everything works out OK."

Next stop is Transformation near Euston Station.

"Can I help?"
"Yes ... do you have any DVDs on applying makeup."
"Here they are ..."

A nice chat with the lady at the shop.

Home kind of late. Wife is fine about it. A bit bemused. But OK.

Now ... more brushes than I'd need to paint the house.

What do I do with it all?

Monday, 7 May 2007

Yesterday I had a makeover

In retrospect ...

My wife arrived home today.

We talk about how things had been with her. At some point in the conversation:

"I went for a drive yesterday."
"Oh ... where to?"
"What did you do."
"I had a makeover"

Moments of silence.

"A makeover?"
"Makeup ... clothing photos."

No freaking out. Just an acceptance. An acceptance ... not a resignation.

She doesn't want to know my other name yet. Not sure about seeing the pictures.

A little later when she is checking email I mention that the pictures are on the computer. So we look at some of them together.

No freaking out .. but later I learn that seeing me with makeup and hair ... not just the clothing ... is kind of a shock. A different kind of ball game. But still she accepts me ... is willing to see where it leads. She doesn't understand it ... but nor do I.

She prefers the pictures in the white blouse and skirt ... the short black dress it too ... well sexy or something. That's why I like them best I guess.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

A birthday

In retrospect ...

Makeover day!

Woke at maybe 9:00 am. Shaved ... everywhere. Fretted a bit about what clothes I should take ... in the end opting just for lingerie.

Had second and third thoughts. But I tell myself that I've paid the deposit and I hate letting people down.

As 10:30 am arrives I get in the car and begin the drive to Portsmouth. No one knows that I'm doing this. What happens if the car breaks down ... if I have an accident? Thoughts of buses and being run over pass through my mind.

Not sure if I feel frightened or just nervous and excited. Perhaps all three.

Wondering if I am completely crazy.

Wouldn't it be easier to just stay at home?

The M3 and A3 are not my friends. Part way there phoned Fiona to say I was going to be 20 minutes or so late. It was a bit strange to find I was speaking to someone with a very blokey voice. Why I would have expected anything else I have no idea. We only spoke for a few moments ... I called her Fiona ... she called me Andrea. No one had ever called me Andrea before.

Twenty minutes late I arrive in Portsmouth ... having taken a minor accidental detour near the end. The M27 isn't much of a friend either.

Parked the car on Pink Road. Somehow the name of the road seemed quite appropriate. At the end of the road is the house with the sign Born Beautiful. I ring the doorbell and wait.

The door opens ... it's Fiona. Fiona is drab - dressed as (and looking like) a bloke. Needs a shave.
We walk upstairs to the flat.

I'm introduced to Kerry and also to a t-girl friend of theirs. We are all drab.

Fiona introduces me as Andrea. We talk a while ... she asks about my dressing ... my wife. Nothing intrusive. I feel that if I want to say nothing then it's OK to say nothing. In fact I feel that here is someone that cares about what I'm experiencing. Understands the confusion that I feel. Is willing to listen. I like Fiona.

She asks if my wife knows I'm here today. I say "no". "Maybe you'd like to tell her sometime" says Fiona. No hint of compulsion or judgement or criticism in her voice. Just understanding. I begin to think that maybe I will tell my wife.

As we all talk I find it odd. People talking about guys but using girls names and referring to each one as she. The need to differentiate at times between t-girls (transvestites) and girls.

Though the conversation is strange it feels OK. Just ordinary people that like to wear dresses. Kind of like me. Here I am talking about dressing in skirts and things and no one is uptight about it.

Fiona asks what I'd like to do. If I'd like some photos taking outdoors maybe. This is mind boggling. Outside? Me? Dressed as a girl? Ha ha!

I feel relaxed though ... well a lot more relaxed than I was expecting to feel. Not that I really know what I was expecting.

We go up more stairs to the studio. A little guided tour ... clothes ... wigs ... shoes ... makeup ... lights ... cameras.

I choose some clothing. Decisions decisions. I have no idea of style or colour. No idea about what might look good. I select a short black skirt, white blouse, a short velvety-satin black dress and a maids outfit. It seems that the maids outfit is quite popular.

All the time we are chatting ... I talk about my experiences ... Fiona listens ... and shares lots of little anecdotes. This whole thing seems normal in an abnormal kid of way.

I have my own underwear so ... before the makeup I put it on. Here I am getting naked in front of Fiona ... a bloke at the moment. And then putting on a basque with white stockings. I need some help ... fastening suspender dangly things to stocking tops is not a skill I have fully mastered (should that be mistressed?). For some reason the one at the back left is always a problem!

The basque needs some padding ... so Fiona passes me a couple of ... well ... the word tits fits the bill. In they go.

White blouse and short black skirt.

Here I am ... dressed as a girl ... looking like a bloke ... talking with Fiona who is dressed as a bloke and looks like a bloke. And it doesn't seem weird. Now that is weird.

I put on a smock, sit back in the chair and the makeover begins.

I never knew that makeup was so complicated.

Foundation ... lots of it ... all over my face and neck ... powder ... eye shadow ... three shades ... eye liner ... mascara ... blush ... lip liner ... lipstick ... lip gloss. It goes on and on. All the while chatting with Fiona. She explains what she's doing and why. No way am I going to remember this. We share thoughts and feelings. These I will remember.

And then we are ready. Time to choose some hair.

I get out of the makeup chair ... and sit in front of the mirror. My specs are still off so everything is kind of out of focus. I put my specs on while Fiona gets the hair. The plan is to try a few different styles to see what I like.

The first one ... long and dark.

A necklace. Earrings. Shoes.

I look into the mirror.

Ohhhh ... ohhhhhh .... ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It's like Andrea has just been born. Sunday May 6 2007 ... must have been about 2:00pm.

Since that moment I've chatted with a few people that have had exactly the same experience.

Not easy to catch the feelings. I don't know what I was expecting ... but whatever it was ... this was so much better than it. Whatever fantasies I'd dreamed up in the past ... the reality was so much better.

It felt like ... like a part of me that had been hidden away in secret my whole life was suddenly free.

I know ... I know ... all I saw in the mirror was a guy in a skirt with makeup and a wig.

But that's soooooo much of an oversimplification. A bit like saying that all I see whenever I look in the mirror is just a load of water mixed with a few chemicals. Whilst it's true that is part of what I see ... it's not all that I see.

Seeing myself as Andrea for the first time was ... well ... Fiona later said she could see that it was a pivotal moment. I remember her hugging me and saying "hello Andrea". I hugged her back. Too blokey still to cry ... but deeply moved and tears not far away.

Then some photographs.

Awkward at first but relaxing as time passes.

The short dress with a change of hairstyle ... blond. Fresh shoes and black stockings.

The poses are a little cheekier.

Then the maids outfit. Laddered my stockings!

The poses cheekier still.

And then it's over.

Fiona mentions as a place to talk with other TVs.

I wash the makeup off ... saying goodbye to Andrea ... and yet not goodbye.

On getting home I look at the pictures on the CD that Fiona gave me. And I email her.

It definitely ranks as of one of the nicest experiences that I've ever had. I felt welcomed and accepted.

And the photographs .... I love them ... I really do ... especially the ones in the party dress. I love the hair ... the make up ... you really have helped me get in touch with myself in a way I didn't know was possible. Thank you ... thank you ... thank you!

My whole perspective on some things has shifted. I never ever in my remotest dreams imagined that there could ever be a time when I could be myself with a group of other people. And now I feel that it is possible. Such a sense of freedom.

It was strange driving back ... it almost seemed like I was leaving myself .. Andrea ... behind ... and yet I know that Andrea is me ... and always will be ... and I feel good about that.

Tomorrow when my wife gets back I'm hoping that I'll get an opportunity to tell her about things ... and hope that she will be willing to look at the photos ... well ... the first two sets at least ... and I hope that she'll like them ... or at least not feel too threatened or worried about them.

I have a profile on TVChix now ... AndreaW. I hope you like the pictures that I selected.

I chatted with a few t-girls at at TVChix. Vicky was really sweet. mentioned make up classes at Charles Fox in Covent garden as a possibility. Vicky knows Fiona as well.

I'm resolved to tell my wife about it when she gets home.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

An appointment

In retrospect ...

Fiona replied. A really sweet email.

A paragraph that made me stop and think:

Having told your wife now, and her understanding and accepting things the trick now is to not become over pushy ... remember she is the Lady of the house ... and that she still needs to be cherished and put on a pedestal. Andrea is part time she your wife is full time ... don't forget the odd card or flowers to say thank you for her understanding ... it goes a long way.

I replied and booked for Sunday May 6 2007 at 12:00 noon. My wife is away over the weekend ... I've no idea what I would say to her if I told her. So no one else knows.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Fiona Floyd ...

Written in retrospect ....

I discovered Fiona's web site during April. The thought of being made up and having a wardrobe of stuff to try on and having pictures taken is intriguing. That's definitely not the right word. Anyway ... interesting enough for me to email her today.

It's nice that the web site includes a bit of biography about both Fiona and Kerry. In my email I wrote a little about myself ... mostly my cross dressing and where that had come from and how I was unsure about where it was going.

Some of the things that I mentioned in the email:

I feel though that I'm still at the beginning of something ... self discovery I guess.

Dressing for me is somewhat of a challenge. I'm a little over 6ft tall and have size 11 feet. I have, however, found that skirts and dresses of size 16 fit quite well ... and that a bra size 38 is a little tight. I realize that it will be a challenge to make me look feminine ... but at the same time I am longing for the opportunity.

I like to wear quite varied clothing ... love the feel of a long loose skirt swirling round my legs ... but also feel very sexy in something much shorter.

The description of your Dressing Service seems perfect. A selection of clothing .. a makeover ... learning the beginnings of how to apply makeup ... a hairstyle ... jewellery and painted nails. All of this is ... well ... perfect. And the chance to be photographed as well!

So ... I asked if an appointment over the coming bank holiday weekend was a possibility.

This email is special. For some reason I felt that I needed a feminine name ... and in just a few moments Andrea was conceived.

A beginning ...

So ... June 19 2007 and here I am.

I'm not sure as to where this blog is heading ... nor even what I would like to achieve from it. Mostly, I think, I'm hoping it will give me a chance to stop and think about things. Things being whatever is on my mind at the moment. I'm aiming to write it for myself ... but who knows ... maybe someone else somewhere will find some interest in it.

OK ... the date of this posting is April 30 2007. This is because there's a way in which this date represents the end of something and the beginning of something. Everything mentioned in this post happened on or before April 30 2007.

To begin ... maybe I should set a little context.

At the time of writing I'm 52 ... not far from being 53. Andrea, however, is much younger than that.

I'm married ... for years and years and years. In a strange way I'd say we are more divergent in our beliefs and thoughts than we have ever been. Yet, in another way, we are also closer.

I have two daughters.

I'm a transvestite.

This seems to mean quite different things to different people. One dictionary version is ... someone who adopts the dress or manner or sexual role of the opposite sex. Some of that is part of what it means to me ... but not all.

It seems that being a transvestite is a different experience for everyone that experiences it. Just like everyone's experience of being a human being is different from every other persons. This being the case I can only speak with any authority about Andrea the transvestite. So ... that's what I'll do.

The first time I recall wearing stuff not usually classed as masculine attire I was a teenager. The attire was lingerie and it belonged to my mother. So far as I remember the attraction was the clothing rather than the owner of the clothing. But it's far enough back for me not to really be sure of the motivations. The experience was initially pleasant ... pleasant enough to repeat from time to time. Until one day an unexpected returning home on the part of my brother led to some seriously embarrassing moments. It was with great satisfaction that I returned home unexpectedly one day not long after this and returned the favour.

After that ... I'm not sure.

I don't recall cross dressing at all as a student.

Sometimes ... in my mid twenties when I worked away from home occasionally ... I bought lingerie and took occasional opportunities to wear it. It wasn't regular ... but it happened. It wasn't easy. I'd become a born again Christian during my first year at University. Cross dressing isn't something that born again Christians typically find an easy thing to accept. So it was generally accompanied by feelings of guilt and followed by pleas for forgiveness and attempts at repentance.

My involvement with the Church pretty much came to an end a few years ago. I don't have bitter feeling about it. I'm not sure that it is all wrong. But I am sure that for where I am at in my life at the moment it's not the right place for me to be.

Towards the end of the twentieth century (omg that does make me feel mature) I began to discover the Internet. It provided opportunities, once in a while, to tell people that ... "by the way ... sometimes I like to wear lingerie".

Usually I was careful that whoever I mentioned this to was likely not to freak out. I do remember one of the first people I mentioned it to asking pretty early on about what happens if I walk under a bus? What would the people at the hospital say? Strangely enough, at the time, that kind of thing was more of a worry than the damage that the bus itself might do to me. I have things in better perspective now.

Once in a while someone or other would ask if I wore dresses and blouses and things. Or did I wear lipstick? Eventually I began to think ... "well why not"?

I didn't buy my first skirt and blouse until towards the end of 2006. It was a trip to Primark. I also called in at Anne Summers ... well ... I needed stockings ... and I couldn't resist the basque.

I did try lipstick once ... mmm ... well ... that's enough said about that!

At this time my wife had no clue. Keeping a few pairs of knickers, a bra and stockings hidden away isn't all that difficult. Add a couple of skirts and blouses and it begins to get much trickier.

Near the very end of 2006 someone asked me "does your wife know"? Internet people had asked me this before, but the circumstances seemed different somehow. In a way I was maybe different.

As a result of that conversation I decided that I wanted my wife to know. But I didn't dare tell her. I didn't know what she would say. I was afraid of how she would react. But I was tired of having to hide.

Having no idea how to broach the subject I stopped wearing Y-fronts and began to wear panties. I know ... not the bravest of all possible approaches. But I wasn't feeling brave. Just tired.

It took a few days ... and the unusual mix of clothing in the laundry caught the attention of my wife.

She asked me. I told her. It wasn't easy. Explaining:

  • no ... it's not something that just happened ... it's been a part of me for years
  • no ... I don't know why I do it exactly
  • no ... I'm not thinking about having a sex change operation
  • Why had I never said anything before?
  • Where was it leading to?
  • What difference was it going to make?

A place that helped a lot is It gave us something to talk about.

It carried on not being easy for a while. The first time she saw a bra under my shirt led to a long, long discussion about what is weird, what is acceptable and what isn't.

There were other issues as well. Bad tempered. Over-critical. Under appreciative.

One day, though, she said that if it would help then it was OK for me to "dress" in the evening and sit in the lounge.

So ... a few days later I did. For the first time she saw me wearing a skirt.

I know it wasn't easy for her. But ... she handled it!

Over the next few weeks she says she began to notice that I was different.

And yes ... there is a sense in which the fact that I was prone to wearing a frock after getting home from work made me very different.

But it was more than that. Less angry. Better tempered. Less critical. More appreciative.

I've read that for many transvestites, the act of dressing is something that relieves stress.

Whilst all this was happening I'd never really applied the term transvestite to myself. I was just a cross dresser.

Then ... in April 2007 I discovered