Monday, 25 May 2009


I managed, at last, a trip to CandyGirls ( at the weekend. I had planned on getting there over the Easter period but the event had been cancelled because of a flood.

Well, the wait wait was worthwhile.

Going anywhere new can always be a little daunting. Especially alone. So on Saturday morning as I mulled the idea over again, I mmmmm’d and ahhhhhhh’d a little.

But anyway, I phoned to check that the night was on.

Sally is a way for a few days and has the SatNav, so it was back to printing Google directions and map snippets. At 12 miles and 28 minutes, not too bad at all.

Round about 7:45 pm began the ritual of shaving, dressing and makeup. I’d already decided what I’d wear so that was relatively easy.

My nails had been polished the night before and I managed the stockings and suspenders with no cusses … even the back right one popped into place first time.

The skirt covered the stocking tops.

By about 9:15 I was ready to roll. I took some tights just in case the stockings misbehaved.

Only one wrong turn on the journey … and it was about 9:45 that I pulled into a paring space.

A little nervously I change shoes – from the fairly low heeled ones that I drive in to the 4.5 inch heels that I like most. Then step out and head for the club.

The nervousness is only mild, but a little more than I had expected.

I am expecting that Julie and Kat (Cat?) will be there. I met them almost a year ago now at the Trans Femme summer party last year. They had said that they get along to CandyGirls on most club nights.

It takes just a few minutes to become a member … and there I am at the bar.

Orange juice with ice.

And there is Julie … and Cat. Great to see them again. Both such friendly, lovely people. Introducing me to everyone … I really do need to work out a better way of remembering names.

People there are easy going, easy to talk with and really very friendly. Really nice atmosphere.

For quite a lot of the evening I chat with Stef who is visiting with Julie and Cat. Stef is lovely … easy to talk with.

Julie gives us a short conducted tour of the place … introducing us to people as we go.

We spend a little while talking with another Stephanie and Pollyanna. It makes me smile when Pollyanna mentions hassle with computers and says she doesn’t understand the fascination that people have with twittering and blogging … she prefers to live in the real world.

I spend a while chatting with Jackie and then Audene … who gives me a system to remembering her name … like the poet she says … but with an “e” on the end.

Orange juices and lemonades … more conversation with Stef and Julie and Cat and others.

Here I am with Stef:




And Stef with Julie:



In what seems like no time at all it’s 2:45 am. So it’s bye byes and the short drive home. Hardly any traffic at all.

A really great evening … the first of many visits, I hope.

Stockings, suspender belts, holdups, tights and Nora Batty

Stockings and suspenders, holdups or tights. What should I wear?

This kind of question sometimes distracts my mind from the worries of financial crises, corruption in politics and a host of other important questions.

There are times when the selection of appropriate leg-wear is an important issue.

Stockings and suspenders are my favourite choice. By a long way. For myself as well as on other people. This preference has, I know, roots in the days when the occasional pair of stockings was pretty much my only experience of feminine attire.

There is something nice about rolling stockings up over freshly shaven legs. It feels so very … well … feminine. And yes, I know. Tthe way that stockings and femininity are so closely linked together in my mind may be more a reflection of the state of my mind than of the real world.

There are downsides though.

Fastening stockings to suspender belts can sometimes drive me to distraction. Especially the strap at the back right. For some reason this has a tendency to be infuriatingly more difficult than all the rest. Scratched nail polish. Broken finger nails. I have to stop and slowly count to 10. Short skirts can be a problem as well. I mean … depending on where a girl is going it is sometimes advisable to be showing no more than the odd glimpse of a stocking top.

And also … it is most inconvenient to have a suspender fastening pop undone part way through an evening. Although, this can be quite entertaining. Laura, Nikki and myself had a very pleasant giggle watching Sonya refastening Billie’s stockings at Pink Punters last year. In fact, I think all three of us were silently hoping for an un-popping experience of our own.

Tights on the other hand … or perhaps that should be on the other leg … tights are practical. They work fine with really really really short skirts and dresses. But somehow they don’t seem so feminine as stockings. I know, I know … my mind is twisted. It is definitely true though, going to spend a penny (this is a British euphemism for going for a pee … and I am old enough to know where the phrase came from) is much more laborious when wearing tights than stockings.

Hold ups. These are great … so long as they hold up. I remember buying a basque at Anne Summers once and the lady at the shop suggesting that rather than just getting stockings … hold ups would give added protection against an un-popping. Well – this depends on the holdups. Some of them have a habit of becoming slide-downs.

Primark used to sell some very nice holdups. The large size went all the way to the tops of my legs and they never slid down at all.

Alas, no longer. They have been replaced by a newer, shorter version that slips and slides. A couple of weeks ago I was at home wearing a pair of these and part way through the evening Sally said she wasn’t so sure about the Nora Batty look that I had acquired. For anyone that doesn’t know Nora … here she is:



Of course … Wikipedia says more (

I don’t think that Nora ever bought holdups from Primark … but you never know.

Either way … Primark is no longer a purveyor of holdup stocking to me.

Holdups and suspender belts are tricky though. Getting the elasticated tops through the suspender belt eyes is seriously hard work. Not for the feint hearted or for anyone wearing nail polish that isn’t tough as diamonds.

After careful research … I asked Laura where she got hers from last week … BHS, of all places, is the place to be for both stockings and holdups. And after popping along there at the weekend I agree.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Being the same … but different

The post at provides some background on these musings.

I remember saying to Sally, my wife, in the early days of her knowing that I am a transvestite: I haven’t changed … I’m the same person.

I was reminded of this an episode of The Street recently. Different circumstances, but similar words.

It was true.

And yet, the discovery, the admission … the coming out … leads to change.

Changed perceptions.

Changed circumstances.

And these things lead to changed people. Changed Sally. Changed me.

In fact we were bound to change even without any admission of anything. Without any coming out.

People change.

The admission, the coming out, this, I think, contributes to the direction of the change.

There are things that I do now that I did not do or could not do before.

I have a blog with pictures of me.

I dress and wear makeup when I can without being afraid of being found out by my family.

I’m not afraid of Andrea being seen in an everyday kind of world.

I am able to accept the person that I am … and I am glad to be that person.

I know … I’m not perfect … there is a long, long, long way to go. But I no longer worry about the transgendered nature of my personality as being a defect that needs fixing.

I celebrate it.

All these things influence how I behave. They affect how I interact with people.

They allow me to more honestly and openly be myself.

This affects the way that people perceive me.

And this, perhaps, makes the question as to whether or not I am the same a little less relevant.

If the way that people perceive me has changed, then, so far as they are concerned, I am different.

So even at the beginning … when I first told Sally the I am the same… to her i was different.

In the end, maybe the thing that matters isn’t so much the I am the same person thing that is said at the beginning of discovery.

Maybe it is the what happens next that matters.

Are people happier?

More open.

More honest.

Less afraid.

Less secretive.

I have, still, a long way to go on this journey.

Many people that I know don’t know of Andrea.

Not everyone is ready. Not everyone could cope.

And yet … Andrea is not a different person. She is me. So even the people that do not know of her … actually .. they do know her … just not with the makeup and the frock.

And, though it is not my intention to offend or hurt anyone, I do not live in constant fear of discovery.

On being somewhat less than 100%

The post at provides some background on these musings.

Maybe some people are 100% male.

Maybe some are 100% female.

Maybe it depends on how we define the terms.

Maybe masculinity and femininity include personality traits and preferences as well as genetic sequences.

Maybe there are a lot of “less than 100 percent-ers” around.

Maybe I am one of them.

Maybe you are.

Maybe not.

We are both, though, 100% people.

Maybe the proportion of masculinity and femininity within a single person can vary as time passes.

Maybe it moves back and forth, even over short periods of time.

Maybe there is no hard, fast link between femininity, masculinity (gender) and sexuality.

Maybe a person can be:

  • 100% man and 100% gay
  • 100% woman and 100% lesbian
  • 100% either and 100% straight
  • 100% either and bisexual
  • not 100% either 100% and 100% lesbian
  • not 100% either and 100% gay
  • not 100% either and bisexual
  • maybe terms such as not 100% male and gay are meaningless.

Maybe the terms gay and lesbian would only have real significance in a world occupied by 100% men and 100% women.

Maybe a person that is 51% male is 49% lesbian if (s)he isn’t gay?

Maybe you are getting a sense that to talk percentages is maybe to talk bullshit.


Maybe people who most loudly proclaim I am 100% are sometimes those that are most afraid that they aren’t.

Maybe it can be a good thing to not always be 100% .

A Street, a Brummie and a Bisexual

A few weeks ago I began to watch the TV programme The Street on the BBC (



The first episode that I saw was by accident … it happened to be on whilst I was channel hopping. Timothy Spall was one of the actors … ever since Auf Wiedersehen Pet ( I’ve enjoyed the kind of programme that he seems to get involved with … so I watched it … and then the following two episodes.


By a process of elimination you may be able to work out who is he … even if you never heard of the programmes.

And OMG … he was born in London … I had thought he really was a Brummie (

Timothy played a married man bumping into an old school sweetheart

Another guy was working away from home … discovering that he is bisexual were.

Both kind of captivating episodes.

Things that happen and peoples reactions to them. Some things going wrong or being done wrong. Trying to make things right again. In the end, in both stories, deception led to honesty. The honesty wasn’t an easy place to get to nor to be at. But it was better than the deception. There is truth in this.

Prior to the bisexual guy’s discovery of his bisexuality, his first response to the advances made by another man was one of abhorrence … I’m 100%!  … he protests.

But he isn’t 100%.

On visiting a gay bar he is attacked and robbed. The animal that does the robbery seems to be very 100%. Disgusted by homosexuality. Not too worried about the idea of theft. Happy to smash skulls.

His wife is suspicious that things have happened … and … as time passes he admits the truth. 

He tells his wife … I’m not different than I was … I’m the same man.

Is wife says … If it was another woman I could understand it. I could compete … the way I dress … the things I do. But I don’t know how to compete with a man.

Later, when talking to his son, his son says … well … I’m 100%

The father maintains that no one is 100%. Everyone is bisexual … there are just degrees.

I haven’t been in this position, but I’ve heard people say these things, and in different contexts I’ve said similar things.

So … I will post a few thoughts.

The thoughts are just thoughts … not facts … I haven’t even checked them out with Wikipedia.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Pink Punters

Saturday afternoon after the Windsor walkabout.

The doorbell chimes and Laura arrives, looking great as ever.

Sally arrives soon afterwards and expresses amazement at the size of the suitcase standing at the bottom of the stairs.

Andrea simp;y raise her hands in the air in a “what’s a girl to do” kind of way.

Laura and I head for the car and set off for Fenny Stratford … the home of Pink Punters.

The journey is pleasantly uneventful. Plenty of traffic but no delays.  Chatting and listening to music,

We arrive at the Campanile hotel just after 5:00 pm. The reception staff see lots of tgirls so there are no awkward looks and no embarrassment.

I spend the next quite a while removing makeup, shaving, reapplying makeup and dressing. Somehow I manage to put my thumb through a stocking as I’m putting it on.

We have dinner at the hotel. Three other tgirls are there as well.

Then a change in clothing and the short trip across the road.

As seems to be usual at 9:00pm things are quiet … people seem to arrive after 11:00.

Sitting at the bar, talking and sipping drinks, a girl says to us “y’know … if I were a guy I’d be the biggest trannie in the world”.

The evening … and early hours of the morning pass very nicely. It’s amazing how quickly. A little dancing, talking and a few pictures.



And legs:




A couple of girls took this one:


The conversation is varied … even with a little politics and religion. Laura asks how it was that I got disconnected from the church and I try to explain.

We talk a little about the roads that led us to positions where we felt able to wear a dress and makeup in public. Places we buy clothes. Makeup choices.  Families. Friends. The way that different people react differently to the whole TV thing. The way that things … and opinions … and society change as time passes. Music. Star Trek.

After no time at all it’s 4:00 am. Crossing the road back to the hotel. Negotiating the grassy ditch. The man in the car.

A few hours sleep.

The journey home.

A lovely evening.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Windsor walkabout

The past weekend was busy, but a lot of fun.

At the Surrey Swans meeting at the end of April we had plotted a trip to Pink Punters for 9th May.

Quite a while back I’d asked Tina if she fancied a Saturday walkabout in Windsor sometime.

Early last week Tina emailed to say that Saturday was free .. so how about it.

And so midday Saturday was Windsor walkabout with Tina. Saturday evening Pink Punters with Laura. My longest ever tgirl day, I think … Sparkle 2008 came close … but a night at Pink Punters is a long night.

Preparations begin on Friday evening.

Bath and shave. Only minor little cuts. No nipple-nicks at all. The telephone rings twice during all this, of course.

Pink nail polish.

The day began at about 8:30. The usual kind of tgirl routine … for me anyways.

Teeth. Shower. Shave. Baby oil. I know … I’m no babe … but it softens the skin … or so it says on the label. Pat a pat dry. Deodorant. Moisturiser. Red Door … perfume that is.

Pack the suitcase for Pink Punters.

This is still an oddity. For a single night out, the male me would pack clothing that fitted in a tiny suitcase.

Andrea selects the largest suitcase.

I think I know exactly what I’ll wear.

But … just in case.

A dress. A skirt. Two blouses. Two pairs of shoes. Black stockings. Black tights. Tan stockings. Tan tights. Enough for a spider. Several bras and pairs of panties.

Dressing for walkabouts.

Panties and tights.

Bra and boobs.

Girlie trousers.

Eye lashes. A few weeks ago I bought an eyelash curler. This is described as resembling a medieval instrument of torture by Video Jug.

I squeeze the handles together gently, having read the warning that it might hurt if I attempt to curl my eyelids.

In case you are wondering …  the warning could safely omit the word might.

Foundation. Powder. Brush.

Light shadow. Darker shadow. Liquid liner at the top. Pencil at the bottom, brushed a little to smooth the edges.

Clean off the little spots of liquid liner that get onto my upper eyelid.

Touch up the shadow.

Lengthener … or is it thickener … and mascara on bottom lashes.

Thickener … or is it lengthener … and mascara on the top lashes. They must have curled a bit because it seems harder to miss the eyelids than usual.

Eyebrows … a thin line of shadow.


Lip liner. Lipstick. Gloss.





Earrings. Watch. Bracelet.

All ready… Billie always laughs at how long it takes me.


Hoping that it’s not the postman I open the door.

It’s Tina.

Soon we’re ready.

Off and on during the week I’d wondered if I was going to feel nervous about this all. In fact, all is calm.

I can walk to the car slowly these days.

The car park proves to be the most frustrating part of the day.

Residents of the Royal Borough (that is, people that live in Windsor and Maidenhead) are given a little plastic card. The plastic card offers free entry to Windsor Castle … at least parts of it … and reduced parking charges in some car parks.

The man in front of me at the payment machine at Victoria Street car park seems particularly slow and incompetent.

How could it take anyone so long?

At last.

The machine tells me to insert my card or pay money.

I insert the card.

The machine says: Reading Card … Withdraw card.

I withdraw the card.

Machine says: Error reading card.

The machine tells me to insert my card or pay money.

I insert the card.

The machine says: Reading Card … Withdraw card.

I withdraw the card.

Machine says: Error reading card.

And again

And again.

I can imagine the lady behind me thinking that the blond in front must be particularly slow and incompetent.

How could it take anyone so long?

I insert cash and make a mental note to write a letter to the town council.

Tina and I walk along Victoria Street.

Shoe Fetish is no more.

We take a right at Peascod Street.

We pop in to Daniels and then Marks & Spencer.

At the top of Peascod street we head left, then left again into the station area.

We head for Cafe Rouge and the waiter guides us to a table for two.

The waitress has served Andrea a few times in the past … and also my male alter ego. So far as I know, no connections have been made.

The Salade Thon  is very good, along with a Hoegaaden beer.

The atmosphere here is fine. People know, I’m sure, that we are tgirls but people don’t stare or make us feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. It’s great.

A short walk to the Castle and photo opportunities. The policemen are reassuringly disinterested.

Here is Tina at the gateway:


And Andrea:


And then … I never knew that there was a dressing service in Windsor.

Two girls give us leaflets explaining how you can dress as an Elizabethan and have your picture taken.

“Can we take pictures with you?” I ask.

“Of course you can … but it costs £1”.

I negotiate £1 for the two of us.

The results:





I was thinking of using the above picture in a Spot the Trannie competition. But I already mentioned that I was wearing girlie trousers.

We walk down Thames Street towards … well … towards the Thames.




We sit by the riverside and chat for quite a while.

Friends. Families. Experiences.

How different people that we know have reacted to the discovery that we are transvestites.

A friend of Tina’s that just cannot deal with it at all. And another that can.

Friends of my daughters. My wife’s sister. People that I talk with online.

Tina told me of a friend that only recently experienced her first makeover and is finding it really hard to not feel deep sadness that it has taken so long discover herself in this way. The friend wishes desperately that it had happened years and years ago.

I empathise. But also, for myself I feel that the timing has worked out ok. Not so long ago the life of a transvestite in public was much harder than it is now. And my wife has adapted to Andrea better than I could ever have imagined. I don’t say thank you enough to her.

All too soon it’s time to head for home.

A walk back to the car park and a short drive.

Tina takes me a little by surprise with a hug and a kiss. I remember that tgirls that I met at Fiona Floyds tended to greet each other like this. It’s a nice girl thing to do and a sweet way to say goodbye or hello.

I had a great time. Relaxed. Unhurried. Great company. And no hassle from anyone at all.

On Wednesday I’ll try and find time to talk a little about the Pink Punter trip with Laura … tomorrow is a TV dinner at Kathie and Billie’s so no time to blog at all.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Prostitution, the BBC and the law

Today, as often I do, I listened to BBC Radio 4’s PM program whilst driving back from work.

The program is currently collecting suggestions for a “Listeners’ Opinion Poll”. People are being asked to suggest a question that could be included in an opinion poll.

Tonight a man was asking the question … “should prostitution in the UK be legalised?”

This made me think about the strange inconsistencies that exist within the law. About the things that are ok versus the things that are not ok versus the things that are maybe ok sometimes and maybe not ok at other times. About double standards and  double speak.

There is a perspective that says “all sex outside of marriage is wrong. People that are not married should not engage in any sexual activity”.

Once upon a time I subscribed to this view.

It is, I believe, a minority view in the UK and mostly associated with people that have religious convictions.

It follows naturally from this perspective that prostitution is wrong. It should be illegal.

But if sex outside of marriage is acceptable and legal, as it is, it seems to be illogical to brand all forms of prostitution as being illegal.

Of course, people use all kinds of non-religious arguments … sex slave trafficking, dehumanisation of women … and more.

But what of prostitutes that are not sex slaves and are not dehumanised?

To outlaw prostitution because, in some circumstances, it is used in a way that exploits people isn’t so different from saying that the sale of clothing should be outlawed because in some places the people that make clothing are exploited.

We could also ban the sale of coffee, tea, bananas, electrical goods … almost everything.

The difference is that to some people prostitution is  distasteful, it is  immoral and unethical. This is, I believe, the bottom line of the argument.

I guess a part of me wonders … what is it worse to do?

Manufacture cigarettes or work as a prostitute? Make nuclear weapons or work as a prostitute? Cheat on claiming parliamentary expenses or work as a prostitute? Tell lies or work as a prostitute? Lose billions of dollars of taxpayers money because of greed and financial malpractice or to work as a prostitute?

And the answer seems to boil down to initial perspectives. To some people prostitution is worse than all of the above because … well … because it is … because God says that it is.

As I have said before … almost anything is capable of being abused and misused.

I’m sure that prostitution is no different in this respect.

What I am pretty sure about is that outlawing prostitution isn’t the way to deal with sexual exploitation. The way to deal with it is to not tolerate sexual exploitation wherever it rears its head … within marriage .. outside of marriage … within prostitution … outside of it.