By Lisa P.
I read here regularly about the adventures of Kandi, and I am amazed at how often and easily she gets out as herself. She has an accepting wife with a heavy work schedule that leaves her much freedom (and a great appreciation for her Angel). Contrast Kandi’s experience with our friends Amanda (currently 100% in the closet to protect her marriage) and Jocelyn (who posted toward the end of last year about her first time out in months) and the many comments I have read by others. Many of the CD/TG women here have difficulties creating space to express themselves.
Me? Early in my crossdressing days, my logistical problems were probably typical for any CD person who either has never informed their spouse or (like me) informed their spouse but never mentioned the full extent of the crossdressing. In both of those cases, discretion meant absolutely no disclosure, which created constant logistical nightmares. Even now, I am usually dealing with logistical problems because my wife has adopted a “modified” don’t ask/don’t tell” policy and because I know it would cause her distress to see me or to know the full extent of my wardrobe and activities. I have added the word “modified” by the way because to be fair to her I must add that as of this writing following a lot of conversations, if I warn her when I need to go out, she will let me change in another part of our home (as long as I give her advance notice so that she can be somewhere else, because she never wants to see Lisa). In any case, statistically speaking, even with her more relaxed attitude there is pretty much a 100% chance that I will be dealing with logistical issues whenever I go out as Lisa, and even when I am home….
For New Year’s Eve I was being a superwoman and preparing a large dinner party for neighbors while my wife worked. Preparing dinner plus caring for grandkids in the middle of the day meant that I overlooked my washing, which included my unmentionables for the prior week. I put them in the wash, but in the hullabaloo completely forgot to put them in the dryer afterwards. In the middle of the night I awoke realizing what I had done, and I sneaked out of the room to finish the task, as to date I have managed to wash all my pretty things without my dear wife ever seeing any of them. As luck would have it, however, I found them already in the dryer, which could only have meant that she put them there. I folded what was there and thought, “maybe she didn’t even realize they were my things” (right – the only Victoria’s Secret panties she owns are the ones I have bought, and the ones in the wash were definitely not hers). About an hour later I awoke with a start. What about the bra I had worn the day before and put in the wash? I padded back to the washroom to discover that she had thoughtfully hung it up to dry, next to her bra that I had thoughtfully hung up for her earlier in the day. Sigh. She knew. But, honoring the DADT mantra, she spoke nary a word about it in the morning.
Since I introduced the theme of housekeeping, I should mention that this post will be far too long if I subject you to it in one go. Therefore, I will break it into several parts. Part 1 will discuss the logistics of space, the logistics of “leaving home,” and the logistics of time. After reading Part 1 many of you will already know what I will be discussing in Parts 2 and 3, but to add a bit of suspense, I won’t mention what I plan to discuss until the posts appear.
1. Space Constraint
At the beginning, when it was difficult enough for this girl to go in guy mode to a women’s clothing store to buy an item of lingerie or a top/skirt combination or shoes that fit (while juggling young family, demanding career and financial pressures), the “stash” as I came to call it was rather small. I have traveled a lot in my life and am an expert at sizing up a space to see what can fit in it, as well as folding tightly and rolling clothes to get as many as possible into a cramped space. Even with those carefully crafted qualities, it was still difficult to find a way to hide my female clothes when I managed to acquire them. The key was keeping them hidden from my wife and children, yet still being accessible quickly, as I might only have an hour or two to myself at a time.
My initial hiding place was an attic box which I used for a couple of years, although it was extremely difficult to get to, and I largely was left to doing so in the middle of the night, when all those in the house were slumbering. It meant braving creaking pull-down stairs, little to no light and the constant threat of falling through the ceiling because the attic was one of those temporarily ones placed between ceiling joists by a novice carpenter (me). As soon as I moved to a more appropriate dwelling for creating hiding places, I devised a good plan: I removed wood from underneath a built-in drawer (creating a hollowed-out space down to the cement below), which required removal of the drawer to access. It wasn’t much space, perhaps four feet square, but it was a perfect hiding place…that is until I inevitably outgrew it.
When I finally did run out of space, I began to sprinkle a few of the less noticeably female clothes among the male clothes on the rack in our shared closet and an overflow closet in one of our children’s rooms. That solution had “limited” written all over it, as the likelihood of discovery was enormous, especially as my wife places a high priority on Spring cleaning (in the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter!). Ultimately, I broke down and told my wife that I needed space for my unmentionables. She was none too happy to know that I had so much female clothing, but she grudgingly consented to my taking over a little-used closet in the room dedicated to our office, which had become a depository for too many years’ worth of files and other detritus. That is where Lisa’s clothing now finds its home. I am in the closet a lot, both literally and figuratively! I put a lock on the door to keep out nosy guests. My wife knows where the key is, but her discomfort is a lock of its own and I doubt she has done more than glance inside. It is, by the one, one of the most supremely organized places on the planet. It must be, to accommodate my year-round and complete female wardrobe.
2. Risking Discovery When Heading Out
I would guess that high up on every CD/TG’s list of logistical problems is the risk of discovery by neighbors (when leaving the house) or hotel staff when leaving a hotel room. The latter risk can be managed in most hotels, unless (as has happened to me many times), the only exit to the outside world requires walking past the front desk. But, as most of us have discovered, hotel staff see so many types of activities by guests that a crossdresser is a non-event. I have taken a bigger risk when staying at a hotel where other guests included people I knew….do as I say and not as I do and don’t try that, except at home. Home is of course the biggest problem. I have lived in apartments as well as single family homes. Apartments with one central exit/entrance are the worst, because it is so easy to be recognized as you enter the lift/elevator. I managed that situation by timing my forays for the time of day when the fewest residents were about (risking the night in doing so), and by becoming expert at timing my entrance to the area with the elevator/lift so that I could exit quickly if needed. Still, the situation always unnerved me a bit. The security cameras also bothered me, but I came to terms with those, deciding that there was insufficient staff to monitor them, as they were intended to be used only if a crime had been committed. One negative trait I developed in living so close to other humans who could out me was that I became even more introverted and actively avoided getting to know my neighbors.
Again, I can’t recommend that tactic, although I’ll bet more than one of the readers of this essay will have done the same thing.
A single-family home in which one has resided for a long period of time is a whole ‘nother cup of tea, as they say. I have lived in my current home on an off for 30 years, and most of my neighbors can identify me and my car by sight. I have the luxury of a garage, and thus I scout the area before my departure, drive by the house if anyone is about (as if a woman with a car strikingly similar to mine just happens to be passing by) and generally remain vigilant at all times. I have had several close calls, but don’t seem to have been caught yet. It is of course possible that a neighbor has spotted me and I am the talk of the neighborhood, but as my lovely bride is a social maven and knows half the people in the city as well as just about everyone in the neighborhood, I think it would get back to me if it had.
A few times, when it wasn’t possible for me to leave the house dressed or return dressed, I have prepared my clothes and makeup and changed in an out of the way place in the car. I will go on record as saying it generally is the worst experience ever doing that. It requires very careful advance planning, as those of you doing it will know, and inevitably you get something not quite right. Cleaning up in the car is easier than getting ready, although the car gymnastics one must master do get harder as I age regardless!
3. Never Enough Time
The final logistical challenge I will address in Part 1 is the difficulty in creating enough time to be out and about or simply to wear your clothes. Early in my CD career, I was lucky to go out 5 times a year, given how badly I suffered from work/life imbalance. One does become quite expert at doing things quickly, be it dressing/undressing, putting on/taking off makeup, making lightning strike shopping runs or organizing one’s stash (see item one above). I found in each case that if I practiced in my head before needing to do these things, I maximized my efficiency and learned to do many things far more speedily than is typical. Nevertheless, one side effect of this particular logistical problem is that it has created in me a scarcity mindset. With so little time available, I try to snatch it at every opportunity, even though I am out a couple of times a week these days. That in turn has led me to spend more time on my Lisa activities and less time on other activities that I truly do want to remain actively engaged with. Once again, please do as I say and not as I do and maintain a healthy balance, reminding yourself that another opportunity will occur in the future, and you do not need to be crossdressing every single time the opportunity presents itself.
So, there you have it. Three very significant logistical problems that bedevil every crossdresser and every transgender woman like me who has not transitioned and who remains “closeted.”
I am reminded of Sir Walter Scott’s aphorism, “Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive.” Few of us like the deception [you may wish to see Kandi’s Land post for my thoughts on the subject: “As We Lie – Living a Double Life”], but to be who we need to be without losing friends, family and business many of us are destined to deceive others. At least by reviewing our logistical challenges we can get better with practice, and perhaps gain some mastery of the tangled web we are weaving. But for heaven’s sake, be sure to remember to take your undies out of the wash before the misses comes home, lest you become another sort of logistics statistic!