Over the past months I have written a few times about both the importance to me of dressing in female gendered clothes [“See me for me” blogged here], about what they mean to me and how they are not sexual [“Its not cross-dressing if you’re non-binary” blogged about here], but not so much about why I don’t just wear women’s clothes out and about all the time. The one exception is exercise gear—even my family gets to see me in my skimpy workout outfits—and admit to a genuine love of short shorts. I mean, who wants to wear those awful baggy guy sport outfits? Not me. The lululemon “hotty hot” is one of my faves.
And I guess I have not been honest with myself. I tell myself that I don’t go out dressed because I don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable. Gradually, however, I have allowed myself to express more and more of this side to me in the safest possible environment—with Mistress. I recently spent some time with her and met her dressed. Okay, I wore a long coat, but it didn’t cover my stockinged legs or long boots. And frankly, I think I looked good.
I enjoyed just being dressed in that way, and felt so natural and comfortable about it, I decided to stay dressed. I couldn’t bear the thought of taking it off, so I kept it on. I caught a taxi, went to the train station, and rode on a full train wearing a skirt and blouse, and I felt totally happy and confident.
I will admit to noticing how people looked at me, and interestingly, it was different than what I had experienced elsewhere. Exercise gear, for example, is more ambiguous. You don’t always know if it is boy clothes or girl clothes. A skirt, stockings, long leather boots, and a blouse are pretty clear. Women were looking at me, but kind of studying me, not really registering much either way. Men, on the other hand didn’t even seem to notice.
Yes, me looking to gauge reactions is something that is stemmed in part from a nervousness, and I am sure will fade over time. But the main feeling I had was one of elation. It felt so utterly good to be out, walking around. I make no effort to “pass”. I understand the desire on the part of many people to do that. That is not me. The clothes I choose are the clothes of an elegant woman, a power dresser, a woman who matches most of the women that I have admired in my life—mostly professional, confident, powerful women. So, I dress conservatively, fashionably, in clothes that look good on my body, and make me feel good and strong.
And sitting there on the train in what I considered to be an elegant outfit, and feeling Mistress’s words, “your pilgrimage to me was not just when you came to me, it is also while you are leaving me,” and I felt so empowered by my time with her. It’s hard to say why or what happened, but I crossed the Rubicon with Mistress the other day. I feel it. I don’t fully understand it, but I find myself just wanting to laugh and be and I keep imagining myself skipping with joy.
And between wearing a dress and then going to ballet exercise, I am finding myself in a different relationship with my body and myself than I have ever had.
And so, today, when I thought about what to wear on my flight home, I decided to wear a skirt. And why not? The idea that we might choose to wear the clothes we wear because they are the clothes that make us feel good is really uplifting. My top is a wonderful men’s double breasted wool flannel suit jacket, slightly clipped at the waist, a light grey-green silk blouse, and my bottom, well it is a lovely, long dark grey skirt with a long slit to show off my legs. A pair of gorgeous sage suede boots with a mid-rise heel, making me as tall AF…I love it. You can’t hide me now!
I have too much luggage as usual, 4 suitcases a bag, and two coats…and was out on the street in New York and there were all these workers around. Men in dungarees and high viz jackets, and it was really far away from the soft feeling of the boudoir. And what happened? These men, a group of Mexican builders, asked me if I needed help, and offered to carry my suitcases. And you know what? It felt really good. Really, really good. It was nice to accept, it was nicer to offer. And there was nothing in their faces that said anything other than generosity of spirit. And I have to ask myself, of a people that are perhaps the pinnacle of macho culture, that a group of Mexican men would naturally respond to me, a man wearing some items of female attire, as they would to a woman, chivalrous, solicitous, and polite.
One of my online pals, Naughty Nora [do please follow her blog if you don’t already], has rightfully pointed out that I need to sort out my feelings about and relationships with men in order to move forward. Mistress, too, has pointed out that until I find love for men, I will not be able to love myself, as even a non-binary is made of both. This little group of Mexican men, who outdid each other to help me, is an important first step along this path.
Wearing these clothes, a mix of both male and female, chosen because they just looked really good together, just feels right, and feels so good, so empowering. And to see that people are not judgemental, are not hostile, rather, on the contrary, they treat me with more gentility than they might otherwise do, because they can see my complexity quite literally on my shirtsleeves. It just felt good.
And yes, as a non-binary, from a class of people who are really destroyed by prejudice and discrimination, I do feel that I too have a duty to send a message of normalcy. And while I might have better conversations in economy class with my fellow passengers (as always happens), sitting in first class dressed as I am, sends a power message that is important to convey, which is that non-binary people come from all walks of life, and we are just like you, want the same things, live the same lives, and are just possibly the person sitting next to you.
Thank you, Mistress for helping me to find the strength and elation to bring this to life. I am so grateful for you. And by the way, I think I looked hot!