As with all things, there is a beginning. In terms of my crossdressing, the seeds were sowed during puberty. From about 1982 to 2006, curious but relevant behavior would emerge. Moments of semi-crossdressing would take place during rare opportunities as a teenager. Some crossdressing, on a few occasions, did take place during my military career, which astonishes me today because had it been discovered I would have been drummed out in a very embarrassing way.
Then there was the era of buy-and-purge, from about 1999 to 2005, whereby items were purchased, worn around the apartment, then disposed of. I did take several photos of myself during that time, but these were deleted. How I wish I hadn’t done that!
Alex was “born” in April 2006 while I was living in Atlanta. I fondly recall the crossdressing that took place in the months just before, with some instances involving brief road trips en femme to a mall parking garage where I could step out of the car and do the most scandalous of things like…walk to a wall and back when no one is around. It was a big deal because I would be well outside my comfort zone. Still, my hair was not quite right. My style was a bit clunky and details were ignored. Things didn’t fit altogether well. My makeup was problematic. But in April of that year, I nailed my look. Everything came together.
More than likely, since 1982, the essence of Alexandra was coming together, albeit slowly and so far below the radar that I was not conscious of it. Obviously, the right ingredients all came together in 2006. But what exactly did those ingredients produce? Why did the result “hit the mark,” so to speak?
As you might gather, I have a theory. I pointed out in my first article on CDH that I discovered crossdressing as a byproduct of puberty. I was a heterosexual boy discovering my interest in girls, and articles of femininity served as proxies for the real thing. After all, there was little to no chance a dork like me would actually hook up with a girl during that time. Since my mom was the only woman in the house, her clothes were all I had access to, and even then, it had to be items she would not immediately notice being absent, like hosiery.
The process of half-ass crossdressing during those formative years imprinted upon me a habit, which has remained to this day, although in a more sophisticated way. That which I now call, with tongue firmly in cheek, The Craft.
As my crossdressing evolved, I experimented with different looks. We all go through this process, I imagine. In the beginning, it really isn’t about a look; rather, it is about getting your hands on something, almost anything, that constitutes female clothing. Underwear and hosiery are among the easiest to nab because inevitably at least one woman or girl is in the house and there are usually multiple offerings.
Another is shoes. Combine hosiery with shoes and oh my goodness! After a while, this gets old, and one “escalates” to a skirt or dress. If one is especially fortunate, a full ensemble. This, too, is not quite enough. Makeup and hair become needed additions to the repertoire. The hair thing was complicated for me because I had a short style typical of boys; a wig was necessary. Alas, most of us did not have ready access to these items, especially wigs. (Koala Swim)
I dabbled with my mom’s makeup in the bathroom, which was fine, but sometimes I didn’t scrub up very well and mom noticed a little dark around my eyes. Whoa! A stupid oversight, I never made that mistake again, and my mom apparently didn’t seem inclined to follow up (“surely, my son wouldn’t dare to try on girl stuff. Not my son.”) Eventually, high school and the military got in the way and crossdressing was effectively stalled. Flash forward about 15 years.
For some reason, in early 2006, I developed the urge to go “full throttle” on crossdressing. I purchased underwear, dresses, shoes, and makeup. I even went so far as to order silicone breast forms, false nails, and, of course, a wig. But what style? At first, I had no idea where to start. I browsed online and selected a few styles I liked. Everything was delivered at my front door during the winter months of 2005-2006. I remember well the weekend when I put the whole thing together; the anticipation during the week prior almost killed me. On that weekend in mid-April, Alexandra came together.
In the blurry excitement of getting my act together that month, a process was taking place that I only came to understand many years later. I was modeling Alexandra based on an archetype, a kind of template. This archetype was informed by images from my life experience, combining girls I was attracted to in school and the military, women I saw in television and film, the old Sears catalogs (some of you know what I mean here!), and so forth. The traits I found attractive all came together to form this physical archetype of an ideal woman. I was using this to select clothing, makeup, and wigs. The photo above, taken in June 2006, is probably the earliest successful manifestation of this archetype. (Visit Transgender Heaven)
There is another, a Freudian aspect that exemplifies this archetype theory; I found the result I produced to be attractive. At first, the initial version of Alexandra was a bit awkward. But I quickly got my act together. Looking in the mirror I found myself attractive from a heterosexual perspective. WTF? How could this be? What sort of perverted personality trait is this? In the end, I stopped worrying about this perspective because it eventually made sense to me. I was using my body to reproduce an image of my ideal woman from a physical perspective. In a strange way, Alex became a sort of ideal girlfriend. I could summon her whenever I wanted. She never complained. She dressed the way I liked. And, of course, she was smart and liked me 😀
I’m being a little flippant, but one has to admit it is amusing. Especially so given that relationships can be deep and fulfilling beyond my expectations, as I have since learned: I met my wife in 2015 and have been very happy ever since. I have not told her about my crossdressing, and the reason for that will be explained in a future article. As a result, the opportunities to crossdress have diminished significantly; I can only bring Alex to life twice per year. As it happens, that’s plenty. My life is fulfilling without crossdressing… but it is such lovely icing to put on the cake now and then.
So, there you have it – Alexandra is a superficial archetype of my feminine ideal.
Shoes: INC International Concepts
Hosiery: Cecilia de Rafael
Alex is a friend, with whom I have spent some time and is simply a remarkable person and drop dead beautiful! She is an inspiration to me.
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Alexandra – Since I began to actively crossdress, I have deliberately tried to avoid analyzing it too much. Still, when seeing someone trying to explain this (our) phenomenon, I found myself reading with fascination. Your article is, for me anyway. the best explanation I have seen, so I’m going to go with it. I particularly like the conclusion of “…the superficial archetype of my feminine ideal” …yup – that hits it, and keeps me coming back.
Main difference though – what you describe happening to you as a preteen and young adult happened to me at age 69. I know CDing has a “youthening” effect for me…do you think age matters?
Thank you, Kris. I understand what you mean about analysis. I enjoy taking things apart to understand them, and sometimes I’m especially inspired to do so when I smell misinformation. As a crossdresser myself, graduating from a place of shame to one I am more comfortable with (and even somewhat proud of in terms of presentation, as I’m not an advocate for the community), I’ve clearly thought a lot about this subject. Of course, I am a sample of one, so I need to be careful when making generalizations. But, speaking with friends over the years who share in “The Craft,” I’ve come to believe there are two basic camps of crossdressers. One is inspired by sexual expression and the other by gender expression. None of these should be a basis for shame or embarrassment, but in all societies gender roles and religiosity often serve as restrictions to freedom of expression. Ours is no different.
I have no explanation for why someone would discover the joys of crossdressing late in life. I find that fascinating. I have a friend who discovered it in his 60s and I was surprised to learn of this. There wasn’t even a shadow of this predilection in youth; it was an accidental experience that opened the door. Maybe it’s a side effect of hypermasculism or even rocks masculinity. Maybe it’s because as we get old we care less about what people think of us, or at the very least we are more confident in our virility. Who knows? But on e thing for sure, it’s fun 🙂
Alexandra, great to see you posting here on Kandi’s site. I read and commented on your articles at CDH. With respect to crossdressing beginnings…. “I was a heterosexual boy discovering my interest in girls, and articles of femininity served as proxies for the real thing.” This section from your article is pretty much spot on for me as well. It was “how I justified” doing what I was doing because while I enjoyed it, it simultaneously brought me shame and embarrassment. A confusing time for sure. And 30+ years later I eventually “came out” to myself and accepted it for what it was.
I hope one day you will be able to talk about this with your wife. Being able to share this side is a wonderful thing. To be open. But I understand how difficult that can be.
Alexandra – great post and there was I thinking I was unique – mother’s clothes, buy-and-purge, operating under the marital radar, ‘ideal girlfriend’, etc., etc.
I guess the sad thing is that our female alter ego’s formative years are often lived in complete isolation and ignorance of how many others are going through exactly the same as we are. And your ‘Freudian’ paragraph near the end resonated with me to a far greater extent than I’d ever be prepared to admit to but, let’s face it, if we’re going to go to all of this trouble, there has to be a reward at the end of it!
Thank you for sharing. Kandi sure has a lot of wonderful and talented friends! Your explanation seems to make sense for you, but just to underscore that each of us has our own unique journey, I should say that I was a “ladies man” from age 12 (before puberty and many years after my first introduction and attraction to all things female). I gained a reputation (well-deserved hah!) of being a great kisser at that time, with many girlfriends thereafter, before finding my exceptionally beautiful wife. She is my feminine ideal and I remain very attracted to her. I remind her of that all time, especially when she is confronted with my female side, which makes her uncomfortable. In any case, I am simply me — Lisa — a human being with an inner woman sho screams to get out on her own and live as a woman as often as she can.
Thanks for sharing Alexandra, my life into the feminine world is a little different, all be similar
Over the years however I realized I’m actually transgender or bi gender as some call it and my life has been full of ups and downs
Again thanks for sharing