What is it that makes a woman?
So let’s get this out the way so nobody dies wondering: I’m a crossdresser and unlike a full-on transsexual (think Laverne Cox or even Caitlyn) I probably can’t handle (trying) to be a woman full-time. The scare tactics of periods, pregnancy, labour and nurturing certainly worked their trick on me. Please forgive my intrusion during women’s month admittedly only being a part-timer. Not too sure though whether a pseudonym like mine will go down well with the representatives of the braaivleis fire when they get their chance next month.
The plethora of differences between men and woman have been explored extensively (and exhaustively) by people a lot more adept (and qualified) at it than myself. So, eager to appease my hostess and not descend into beigeness, I’ll cut to the chase: Why does someone like yours truly cherry pick the perks of womanhood, transforming into the best female version of themselves they can realistically attain, and then head out into public space?
Does the answer simply lie in the delight of dressing, the embellishing of the self in the process mostly managing only half as haute a look as the naturally gifted (read pretty much all genetic women)? Experiencing the pleasure of wrapping in the purity of Prada? The sheen of selfies courtesy Chanel cosmetics? The unparalleled pairs of Choo’s or the hegemony inherent to a Louis Vuitton handbag? (Not that I can afford any of those but a girl can dream right?).
Humbly acknowledging my aspiration to (not to mention the inspiration of) the above, the answer leaves me short, disconcertingly short. No, the answer lies in the principle of elegance which is simplicity. It lies in the infatuation with who you are, not what you wear. Why? Because woman can feel! Which means, when we’re with you, we’re allowed to feel too! Half a lifetime’s worth of (and in my case more but don’t mention it!) exposure to emotion numbing drugs (called hormones) will ensure summary dismissal from the clan of the braaivleis fire, should one venture bravely into the forbidden land of speaking about feelings. When we’re with you though the landscape changes and we dare open that treasure trove of gut wrenchers no shot of testosterone could kill off.
Let me infuriate you by digressing for a moment. It is amazing that women can be anything they choose to be. I celebrate women in fiercely fighting for victory at the Games. I am in awe of it! I celebrate the gentle kindness of the woman regularly offering me coffee in the office since I broke my leg. I appreciate it! I also celebrate the quiet strength of the woman (still) putting up with my crap 12 years after she caught me wearing a dress in her spare room 12 years ago. I love you and hope we can overcome the obstacles to us being BFF’s again soon.
The answer (for me anyway) thus lies in the pursuit of the essence of womanhood. It is in your essence that one finds your substance, the ever-elusive bit I venture to capture in emulating you. A fancy way of saying I want to be (like) you every now and then by dressing like you. I attain assimilation through simulation. A lame way of saying I believe (or kid myself into believing) I can be part of the sisterhood by looking like I belong. As a (genetic) male I can never fathom the full breadth, width and depth of feminine experience, the everyday differences or the finer nuances, the wide open expanses nor the major chasms, but I can kid myself that I do and for a brief moment I am free.
So that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! And to be perfectly honest, it is too much fun not to! Admit it, dressing up is fun! Personally, it’s the most fun I can have with my clothes on, remember the “wedding dress” episode in the sitcom “Friends”? Please forgive me my forays into (my take on) femininity, I promise I won’t impose myself for too long. And consider being kind to your friendly neighbourhood TG (transgender), again I promise, we don’t bite.
Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,
During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Woman’s Month!
I wish you enough,