Cali suggested we discuss our relationships with our children as it relates to who we are. I asked our Contributors for their stories. This is the first of a few, who better than to start than…
By Amanda J.
Subtitle: Keep Away From Children!
There’s a TV commercial on at the moment, I forget exactly what it’s advertising (probably for some cleaning fluid or other) but it’s noteworthy because of the advice that comes at the end – ‘keep away from children’. It makes me laugh every time I see it because that four word instruction does not flow with the rest of the ad – it’s just a disjointed adjunct at the end, seemingly added as an afterthought. Even so, very good advice whether for the management of cleaning fluid or life in general!
Of course, children are an occupational hazard in our sphere of activities. It’s one thing mustering up the courage to confess to our better halves but telling the kids that we like to slip into something they may consider a little unconventional for a dad from time to time is often not an option. In my case Mrs A, whilst giving her blessing for me to CD, was adamant that it must be kept well away from her and, in particular, our kids even though they are both now adult. That was fine by me because the house was normally empty except for me on weekdays giving me almost unlimited opportunity to dress whenever I wanted.
But things have changed. My son has just left school and will be at home on an almost permanent basis for at least the next four months at which point he will hopefully leave for university. I mentioned this on a recent post and another contributor here, Cali, picked up on it and thought it would make a good post to prompt discussion within the Kandi’s Land community.
Now, as far as I am concerned, there’s a bit of a problem here as I have absolutely no experience on how to manage this other than to tough it out as best I can, something I had to do during the 2020 covid lockdowns. However, as I have never been one let an absence in knowledge stand in the way of a post so here goes!
Apart from toughing it out, there is one obvious strategy that can be adopted to avoid surprising your unsuspecting children seeing you all tarted up for the first time and that’s to sit them down and tell them. I have to confess that the prospect of doing this terrifies me; I want my son to look up to me as a role model and not spoil all his illusions about the ‘man’ he calls ‘Dad’. I want my daughter to dream that one day I will walk her down the aisle, not be worried that I’ll divert attention from her on her big day or compete with her biological mother for the ‘best dressed mother of the bride’ contest. I’m not for one moment suggesting that I’m thinking about transitioning but fathers are, by definition, male and that’s how I want them to view me.
I can already sense many of you rolling your eyes in exasperation and screaming advice at the screen as you read this. ‘Can there be a better role model than to be honest with yourself and others?’, ‘are your kids really that bothered how you dress as long as you’re there for them?’, ‘Do you not think your kids would understand?’, ‘this is the 21st century, not the 19th!’ and so on. And, of course, all of you are correct. I posed this question to a group of online friends, some of whom are fully out to their children and the feedback was almost universally that their kids don’t care. The point was also made that our kids invariably know a lot more than they let on and it’s entirely possible that both of mine are aware that I am a CDer, particularly in view of conversations about CDing in general that Mrs A had with our daughter at the time of my first confession in 2013. Neither of them has ever said a word to me but what’s interesting is that they both have a far more tolerant view of the more controversial trans issues surfacing these days than I do.
When Mrs A asked me not to bring our kids into this, she did concede that they may be absolutely fine with it and I vehemently believe that they would be. However, there are two reasons that I won’t be telling either of them anytime soon; the first is to honour the undertaking not to that I gave Mrs A and the second is that ‘Amanda’ is still a work in progress and if I’m going to share this side of me with them I want to feel confident that I’m at the top of this particular game.
So whilst I know that this is almost certainly a viable solution, particularly because my son rarely emerges from his bedroom so would never need to see my feminine alter ego, it’s not appropriate for me at the moment. And so that brings us back to square one.
If I’m not going to tough it out, then the only other option is to CD away from home. These days, I’m quite happy about being out and about en femme (that’ll be the subject of another post!) so that’s not an issue but how can this be achieved in practice?
Now, I have to confess that most of what follows is untested from my point of view so I very much want to throw the conversation to all of you, dear readers, for your thoughts both on what’s suggested and anything else I’ve not thought of.
1. Send my son out to work. This is attractive on many levels, not least because there’s a fighting chance that my son will stop being a financial drain on me, at least for a while. In addition, there may be family discounts on offer (the family discount was very welcome when my daughter worked at McDonald’s!) so we’d all be winners. And that’s before we factor in the return to almost unlimited feminine indulgence opportunities. For me, it’s the gold standard strategy because it’s effectively business as usual as far as I am concerned. However, getting my son to even look for a job, let alone apply for one is like pushing water uphill so I’m not holding my breath.
2. Engineer a night away from home. I do, from time to time, spend nights away from home when going to concerts etc. and this, of course, provides golden opportunities for safe dressing. In fact, when I was active on Flickr, I’d frequently see photos of girls taken in one or other of the budget chain hotels so it’s evidently a tried and tested method. That said, there is a financial overhead involved so it’s not something that can be done very often but the idea of getting dressed and applying makeup in the comfort and privacy of a hotel room is rather appealing.
3. Get changed and made up in the car. This, I believe, is a strategy used by many and so it is tried and tested. I have to confess that the idea of wriggling out of one set of clothes into another doesn’t fill me with too much joy (although things like underwear can be put on at home and worn under male clothes to go out to lessen the trauma). Then there’s the challenge of putting on makeup – I have enough difficulty sitting at the table in our well-lit kitchen so heaven only knows whether I’d manage to achieve anything vaguely acceptable from the confines of the car.
4. Book a makeover and get changed there. Like the hotel idea, there’s a significant financial overhead but there are trans-friendly makeup artists throughout the country and unlike doing my own makeup in the car, I’m pretty well guaranteed of looking good on my foray into the outside world. There’s also sometimes the option of having them help you clean up at the end of the day for an extra fee so I have to say that this one’s quite an attractive proposition all round.
5. Use a self-storage unit. This one’s a bit left field and I don’t currently have a self-store unit but we do need to sort out all the junk in our house so that in itself is a good excuse for getting one. I’ve heard of many activities being undertaken in these units including martial arts classes and the like so using one as a changing room seems fine. There’s clearly a financial overhead but if the unit is being used for other purposes, then the incremental cost is nil. It’s also a handy place to store the stash particularly if, as in my case, none of the other family members drive so there’s no chance of them going there unannounced.
6. Confide in a friend and change at their place. This one has crossed my mind more than once, not least as I have a friend with two flats, one of which is empty at the moment. I know him and trust him enough to confide in him but he knows Mrs A and I don’t really want to drag him into the position of being complicit in an issue that Mrs A doesn’t find particularly acceptable even though she has agreed to tolerate it. I’m also aware that it could change the dynamic of our friendship and so am wary of going down this particular path.
Of course, apart from the transformation itself, there are other considerations. The first, of course, is outfit choice. I’m very much a skirt & heels sort of girl but if I have to get changed in the car, that means getting changed out of trousers and then back into them before going home. Wearing plain female trousers would make life a whole lot easier as I could put them on in the house before I left and also make me less conspicuous in 21st century Britain where most women wear trousers or jeans in the daytime.
There’s also the cleanup to consider. In the absence of suitable washing facilities, it’s going to need to be done in the car. Nothing particularly problematic about that as long as there’s a plentiful supply of makeup wipes on hand but there’s an increased risk of missing a bit (eyeliner seems to be particularly problematic to remove all traces) and giving the game away to anyone who sees me.
As I was writing this, I couldn’t help feeling that the whole thing seemed like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. This is something that makes me happy and harms no one so why should it require military grade planning just to go out wearing an outfit I want to wear? But I also got the feeling that whilst indulging my feminine side is clearly not going to be as easy and straightforward as it was when I had the house to myself, it’s by no means impossible and, in fact, will probably not be at all difficult given the variety of options. In addition, as my son would rather be ensconced in his bedroom playing computer games than do anything with me, I actually believe I could get fully dressed and made up, leave the house for several hours, come back home still en femme and change back without him being any the wiser. The problem is that even if the chance of him seeing me was one in a million, it’s the one I need to worry about, not the million so I definitely won’t be putting that theory to the test!
But before I finish, I’d like to revisit ‘toughing it out’. As I mentioned above, this is something that was forced on me during covid and was something I did voluntarily last year only dressing once between the end of may and the end of the year. I don’t view it as a particularly attractive or healthy option but, equally, if I don’t experience strong urges, I’m not going to push things just for the sake of. Life is about equilibrium & compromise and I keep an open mind in all of this.
And so that’s where things stand at present. Please feel free to join the conversation in the comments below; for my part, I am sure that the next few months will provide the inspiration for at least a couple of posts as I navigate the new waters.