08 January 2015

Windows: If the dress fits ..

s an only child, I was the focus of attention 24/7. That was in some respects good but in others bad. 
Good: I was looked after, fed, clothed, regularly told off, rarely praised (I could be doing my parents an injustice here, can’t really tell, anyway as a kid your biased). 
Bad: I hardly had any real time to myself in the house. There was always someone around mostly of course my mother, but also neighbours dropping in all times of the day for a cuppa tea and a chat. I was always under surveillance, not of your “big brother” Orwellian type; it was just that I was not alone long enough to have the chance to raid my mother’s wardrobe!

Finally the day came when I was old enough to babysit myself. This meant I could stay at home alone, while my parents went Saturday shopping or out in the evenings to friends. They were reluctant to leave me on my own, but I insisted they go. I would argue that I could practice my scales on the piano and they didn’t want to hear that for hours on end did they? 
As soon as they had left I went systematically through everything my mother had. I wouldn’t say my mother had an extensive wardrobe, but large enough to keep me occupied. Did I feel bad for what I was doing? Actually I did. Funny enough not because they were women’s clothes, but because I was trying them without her permission. 
I can’t really remember my feelings at this time, I think it was a mixture of the pleasures of wearing colourful pretty clothes made of nice material and being very nervous of being caught. 

And I almost got caught! 

I was brought up in a small bungalow, no den, no cellar, all on one level and therefore no real place to retreat to apart from my own room and that was not lockable! In trying to minimise getting caught, I had developed what I call “the department store strategy”. 
This was to select some garments, not too many, otherwise I would probably forget where I had removed them from. I would then go quickly to the bathroom, lock myself in and try them on. The advantage of the bathroom was a long mirror so I had the chance to see myself in full frontal, this was much better than just the restricted perspective of looking down at an acute angle to try and see how one looked. 
I would take some time to pose, turn around and note what I liked or disliked on me. I would then undress, try the next garment and eventually return to my parent’s bedroom, hanging the clothes in what I hoped was their original location or neatly folding them and replacing them in their draw. 
If my nerves were still intact, I would then look outside to see if all was clear and then select again for another session. This procedure I repeated regularly whenever my parents were out for a long period of time. 

One day, it must have been in the middle of the first session; I was in the locked bathroom halfway through trying on a dress when I heard the front door open! 
I nearly died. I had this long drawn out sinking feeling with just pure disbelief!
I heard footsteps in the hallway, there was a pause and then my father called me. I answered trying not to choke. He was standing not 3 meters from me, with only the bathroom door between us. He asked me if I was alright, coming out of my reverie I said yes, just doing what one does on the toilet. My panic went up a notch, as he had come back maybe he wanted to use the bathroom and we only had the one! 
Before I could start to think up an excuse for when I came out with an armful of my mother’s clothes, he said he had forgotten his wallet and went to look for it. Remember I was still half way into putting on a dress and I just dared not move a muscle, I just stood there frozen! The top third of the bathroom door had a frosted glass window any hectic movement or noises emulating from the bathroom not usually connected with you know what, may have been suspicious. Not that I though my father would suspect anything, I just did not want to tempt providence. 
After what seemed like ages he came back and asked me again if I was alright. I replied it was taking slightly longer than usual. My father wished me luck and left. I could not believe I had survived this surrealistic ordeal. I gave them a few minutes to drive off, I changed back into boy mode and went tentatively to the front window to see if they were really gone. I was expecting everything by this time. With the car not in the drive, I returned to the bathroom collected the clothes, and hurriedly replaced them in the wardrobe. 
Boy had I had enough for one day, this was utterly unbelievable, I was so relieved to have gotten away with it! After a while and with only a slightly raised pulse, I rechecked the replacement of the clothes just in case I had made a mistake. 

And did this put me off for the future? No of course not, well not immediately that is. I was still growing and the window allowing me to dress “home-based” was rapidly closing. As the clothes of my mother were getting tighter and more difficult to put on I reluctantly stopped. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a dress being unable to get to the zip at the back or try to wriggle out of one with it busting at the seams. 
I was back to theory instead of practice and resigning myself to looking at clothes in my mother’s magazines. I must admit I was a little relieved that it was over, well for the time being that is. 
What a shame (sigh). 
But all was not lost... 
... I had discovered makeup!


  1. Beautiful Story Abigale Kisses Maxi

  2. I've to say, Abigale, that I recognize myself when I was a child in the main character of your biography.Similar experiences, same fear to be caught. Thank you so much for sharing it and looking forward to read further.
    Kisses, Betty

    1. Grazie Betty for your comment.
      This was long ago, but stays vivid in ones mind when panic is involved. I have a couple more "windows" to open, will post soon.

  3. I clearly recall the day I did not put everything back properly and was told I was to leave Grandma's things alone from them on. She never said any more about it after that and I bought my own things from them on.
    Well told. Brought back a lot of adrenaline fueled angst!
    Hugs, Halle

    1. Should have been "from then on." The other might mean something else!

    2. Thanks Halle, I'm glad I hadn't "lossed control" and ruined the dress!
      Yes, a doubling of the "n" can make a suttle difference ;-)

  4. Why can't we come out in situations like this and say: Look, Dad, that' s me. I'm a girl, I feel like a woman? Because our Dad wouldn't answer: It's okay...
    But one day perhaps, one never knows.
    Abi, thanks so much for your story,

    Hugs Feli

    1. A girl wouldn't have had to raid her mom's closet. Mom would have had a dressup box full of clothes for her daughter. Some day boys who are carrying around a girl inside will be just as lucky and both parents will be happy to make their child happy and confident in their skin. I hope to live long enough to see that as the normal.

    2. Halle, this would be a wonderful, and I'm sure, more feminine world.

      Hugs, Feli

  5. The problem was Feli, at that time I didn't 'know' or was not really conscious of the girl in me. I had no frame of reference, I was limited to the TV and only saw drag artists like Danny La Rue (who I meet once). Even then I had to make sure my parents didn't get the idea I was more interested in trans related things than was 'normal'. It took half a century to realise that the woman in me needed to see daylight and interact with the world. With anon. networking and on-line buying in proper sizes, Abigale was born.

    1. Half a century, Abi!
      It's really a pity how much time has been blowing in the wind only because of people are not tolerant enough to accept.......Time has come for a more open society.
      Hugs and all the best to you

  6. This is the precise weblog for anybody who needs to seek out out about this topic. You notice so much its almost arduous to argue with you. You positively put a brand new spin on a subject that's been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

    1. Thankyou for your kind words. "arduous to argue" is, if I may say, has a some what negative connotation, but I understand what you want to say and I thank you for being so observant.

  7. Fabulous post! We have many similarities..."only" child, trying on Mother's things, and so on. Been there, done that!