Monday, September 27, 2010

Civilians ~ An Introduction

I don't know how women's minds work. I can probably play a woman on-line for a while if I was chatting with a guy, but I doubt I'd fool another woman.

But I don't know how the mind of a non-crossdressing male (what I call a civilian) works either.

I've heard women say they "dress for other women" ~ is that true? I don't know. I know I'll think "wow!" when I see a woman in a nice outfit (and by that I mean "one I'd like to wear") even when she's too far away for me to see her face, or if she has her back to me. So whether she knows it or not, she's dressing for me.

Here's a situation that makes me think I don't understand civilians. There's a woman in a pretty flowered dress. A guy will compliment her on it. Why? I admire the way it fits, and the way she looks, and wonder how it would look on me. What's the civilian thinking when he compliments her dress? I might think a particular dress or colour is pretty. Is that what a civilian is thinking? I have no idea.

The only way to get into the mind of a cilivian is to ask a question before I ask the question I want to ask.

"Are you a crossdresser?"

I'm sure I'll get a no. If someone asked me, most likely I'd answer 'no'.

According to studies I've read, 5-10 percent of those answers will be lies.

But maybe the studies are wrong. Suppose 10 percent of males have no interest in crossdressing, 20 percent have a casual interest (maybe they've tried on panties or other items and liked it, or use women's clothes when they "practice" lovemaking, by themselves), and 70 percent are serious transgenders. I freely admit that I'm in the last category. I'm just picking numbers out of a hat.

How many other guys will admit to ANYONE that they're in anything but the first category?

We'd never know the real story.

When I was young, there was no such thing as rape. Newspapers reported a woman was "assaulted". People never spoke about cancer. They whispered the word.

Maybe that's where we are.

Maybe I want to find out how guys think, I should ask that first question as

"I'm a crossdresser. Are you?"

Not understanding groups you're not a part of is normal and expected. But I don't understand my own group and that is... disturbing.

I "get" rich people not understanding the poor.

I get me not understanding civil war re-enactors or hunters or women or people who are devoutly religious or rabid sports fans.

I get civilians (and women) not understanding why I'd rather wear a dress and heels than jeans and sneakers.

I get all that. But this is akin to not understanding people who have thumbs. I have thumbs. I should understand them and, oddly enough, I do.

The fact that I don't understand my own group is a recent epiphany. I may expand on it as I try to make sense of it. If anyone has any insights, please share! I'll acknowledge you in my book. :)


  1. Oh boy (girl?) do I get this! Like the actor I have been all of my life, I can play the part, I can do the walk, but there is no way it is done with 'authentic understanding of the inner motivations' of that group called men.

    Having said that, it seems likely the idea that anyone understands another person's behavior is pretty crazy. Walking a mile in someone else's stilettos has little to do with being in the same mind-frame. It is all about attempts at emulation and empathy.

    In the last analysis, how we behave is about our own inner model of our world, created by the unique combination of experiences and desires, etc. that have been ours. When someone tells you they know how you feel, it is nice, but hardly true.

    How's that? For the book credits, last name is 'Randall'. :)


  2. I certainly can't say for certain what non-trans guys think in general, but certainly one can make some generalizations just from observation. As for the question at the top, I'd imagine there are two primary thoughts going through a guy's mind when telling a woman that she looks nice. First, and probably first in his mind, is that it's just a polite greeting to a female who has obviously dressed up a little more than usual. Second, he may just appreciate the beauty (not necessarily in a sexual way) of the woman and outfit.

  3. Meg,
    My head hurts trying to get my mind to focus on your questions. For many of us, even trying to understand the "why" we CD question gets our heads spinning. I, and I suppose many others, just end up slicing through this Gordian knot by eliding over the question. Our generation may harken back to the phrase, "if it feels it."

    I do suspect that when I see women I view their presentation differently than 'civilians' may view it. I think I take things to the next level in my analysis. The civilian male can surely appreciate a woman with a good figure, nice face, great hair, etc. I question the mechanics of the presentation. How, exactly, is the cleavage created? Is she wearing a push up bra or one with underwires? Is her bra too tight or should it be tighter? What type of panties is she wearing to create that pushed up rear end, if any? Do her heels help define her backside? Would a higher heel help? How much more attractive and dressed would she be if she wore hose rather than went bare legged? How did she do her makeup? Is it on too thick or too thin? Do her colors 'work'?

    I think that the CD male makes woman watching much more of an interactive experience. Much more brain work is involved in the activity by the CD male...not the least of which would be dealing with 'dress envy'. The civilian male, I would imagine, may be content with the simple evaluation of "hot or not".

    Because being CD is, in large measure, an activity or proclivity that "dare not speak its name" it may not be possible to know the extent of our ilk in socienty at large. Crossdressing males have been part of many cultures throughout history so there is a universal component to what we do.

    Personally, I suspect that there are many more men with CD tendencies than any survey would show. It is only a tiny fraction of CD men who would ever tell a stranger or even many of our acquaintances that we like to dress.

    I can not find a way to convincingly tell my wife 'why' I like wearing dresses, with tight and less than comfortable undergarments, and high heels.

    Perhaps, trying to explain the why of CD just cannot be done. I have long wanted a Porsche. My wife simply shakes her head. She does not fathom why I may want a Porsche. Can she justify it as 'middle age crisis'. Perhaps. The bottom line with the Porsche example, much like being CD, "If you have to explain just can't."

    Good luck, Pilgrim, with your ongoing search for answers. We are all in the same boat.


  4. Well I can try to explain the woman dressing for other women thing... I dress up more if I'm going somewhere new or somewhere I think lots of other ladies will be. Also if I'm a little self-concious about going. Or if I'm going out with a group of ladies then I really dress nice. If it is just me and a real friend or two, I usually go comfortable. I spend most of my time sans makeup unless I am dressing up and then I apply makeup carefully to boost my self confidence and show off my package. It is for myself as much as the other judgemental ladies that I am fully aware will pick apart my appearance when I'm not in the room. Not all ladies will do this, but the numbers are so significant it is always better for me to just go prepared.

    I guess that's really sad, that I go out prepared to be judged like that. Oh well, I also have it on "good authority" that the harshest critics of women are crossdressers. Where do you stand on that one Meg?

  5. I told my therapist on my first appointment that I was not a man... I then said in almost the same breath that I had no frame of reference for saying I was a woman... Time and soul searching has shown me that I am a woman... Maybe this all helped me gain this frame of reference or maybe I came to accpet myself in a way I never could but the point is that now I can say with 100% certainty I am a woman. With this realization for me also came the realization that I didn't need to understand anyone else. We are all unique and we all have our own motivations for our actions.

    My point is this, I think we try to justify our actions by comparing them to others. I know I did. We look for people who are like us and try and relate but it isn't always possible and usually not necessary.

  6. Hi y'all,

    Following the thread in two slightly different directions:

    a) CD'ing is certainly still 'the habit that dare not speak its name'. Being more interested in ladies' underwear than football can be lonely. And always, always guarding what to wear and say, a tiresome mind-set that inevitably spills over into all sorts of other risk-avoidance behaviour.

    b) I've been CD'ing for 50 years, and its still a conundrum. The nearest I have is that whatever its rationale at the start, each occasion imprints afresh the CD'er with "CD=pleasure", and so it becomes indistinguishable from other (drink/drug/football) addictions. And think of it - half a century. That's at least 1000 dressings up, and mooning around shopping mall's, wishing. It sure as hell wasted a load of time (I calculate that's at least 5 years in total!) Do I regret any of that time reading Vogue, choosing frocks, or learning to apply makeup? Well yes really. What could I have done with my life if that amount of effort - and passion - had been with the expended in running a business, learning the violin, building a cathedral?

    And being able to talk about it, and exchange freely with others?

    Stephen Covey in his treatise "7 habits" argues that that Habit 2 of highly successful people is to "begin with the end in mind". The tragedy of the CD'er is that his guilty self-indulgent pleasure has no end.


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