In no way do I believe that the way I feel about cross-dressing is the way everyone who cross-dresses feels. And that includes people who are born male but identify as female or those that are on a male to female transition journey – we all have our own feelings. But I find a simple happiness in recognizing, and accepting, that I find it all just so exciting!
And what’s wrong with that?
I don’t ask anyone to accept my preferences for wearing lacy and satin underwear and stay-up stockings. I’m kind of OK that the majority of the world won’t accept my cross-dressing as ‘normal’. To an extent I would feel comfortable going about my daily business dressed ‘en-femme’. Heaven knows, it might even feel less exciting if I got to do it on the daily amongst others!
The excitement of wearing gorgeous lingerie, skirts, tops, heels and make-up (I can’t get used to wigs) began, for me, at an early age – like it did for many of you, I guess. It remains today. I’ve purged, I’ve tried to control my feelings – but it comes back just as strong. And why should I resist?
Our old friend Aristotle thought of a life of pleasure as enough for a good life or a life well-lived – alongside a life of honour, wealth, health, or eminence. Take your pick. Some psychologists suggest a good life is a mixture of pleasurable, meaningful and varied experiences. Others say that hedonic goal pursuits (e.g. having fun) may be just as important for our well-being as long-term goal pursuits (e.g. learning something new to get a better job).
On that basis, a little of what I fancy ought to do me good!
In truth, I wonder if I can even justify - as if I need to – my cross-dressing as something that puts me in touch with my feminine side. After all, what is either feminine or masculine about clothes?
Do I wear women’s clothes? No, I wear my clothes. It’s just that most people probably associate my clothes with those mainly worn by women – whereas Aristotle and his friends probably knew a thing or two about wearing a skirt, or ‘a chiton’ as it might have been called.
Do I feel feminine when I wear my lingerie and dresses? Well, how would I know what feeling feminine feels like? I’m not even sure what feeling masculine feels like. Do women spend their lives feeling feminine any more than I spend my life feeling masculine? Probably not. Although, there seems to be a lot of evidence to suggest that people have a male or female experience of the world, I think that’s probably a little different to feeling either masculine or feminine.
Maybe what I do in cross-dressing is construct my own feminine ideal and find that exciting to occupy for a little space of time. I find it hard to imagine that, in general, women feel as excited as I do when dressed in what they wear on a daily basis. However, I can also imagine that some women might do.
British artist Grayson Perry has said that people accept his cross dressing because he is an artist – he’s “allowed to be weird”. At the same time, he accepts that attitudes towards him might be different if he were a banker. Though in no way should this permit intimidation, aggression and exclusion towards people that harmlessly digress from societal norms.
In day-to-day life I’m probably more banker than artist. My dressing remains hidden, subtle, or in accepting company.
I don’t want to tell you what the reasons for cross-dressing are or should be. It’s good enough for me to be excited by the looks I can create. A creative act or even a delusional one at times – I’m no cat-walk model. Should it matter? Like any craft it takes time, practice, and experimentation to create a satisfying work.
Do you need to find reasons for what you do? Or is it enough discovering the fact that 'It’s All Just So Exciting!'