The clothes make the man

Are you fed up with the questions Madeline Wyndzen’s posed on her  site All Mixed Up yet? I hope not, cause I’ve got some more questions to answer today.

Have you ever purposely dressed as or purposely behaved like your target sex? Did you do this in a ‘big’ way or a ‘small’ way, or both at different times? For an example take on of my personal ‘small’ ways like I wore big poofy schrunchies to hold back my long hair for several years before I ever considered transitioning. An example of a ‘big’ way is to go out for the day (or longer) presenting as your target sex. What motivated you to do these things? If you haven’t done anything like this, why not?

As a child I never purposely dressed or behaved like a boy. Rather the contrary: I went out of my way to try and behave like a proper girl. As far as dressing was concerned I never had any choice. Mum bought my clothes and decided what I should wear and even when I was old enough to choose my own clothes, I was conditioned to dress like a girl. There was no way I could dress like a boy, seeing that Mum only bought me girls’ clothes and I had no brothers to steal clothes from. Frankly, I don’t even know if I’d had the guts to do that had I ever had the chance.

As a teen, I tried even harder to be a real girl. However, when I was sixteen (or maybe seventeen) I finally had my hair cut short, and I was given more choice when buying clothes. Mum set the budget, and although I doubt she’d have a agreed to buy me real boys’ clothes, she never objected to my choice of clothes – which was often rather androgynous.

Upon entering adulthood (whenever that was) I was thoroughly conditioned to dress and behave like a woman, so that’s what I did, even though I never felt really comfortable in my role. The discomfort clearly showed in the many different clothing styles I adopted over the years. Nothing felt quite right, but I could never make out just what it was, so I kept trying to change my wardrobe into the ultimate female wardrobe for me.

It never worked and observant people – like my older daughter – noticed how awkward I felt dressing the way I did. Even when I had forgotten how to feel my own discomfort, she saw. Others probably did as well.

That all changed when I was forced to change my clothing style once again, due to my increasing mobility issues. I made the switch to wearing menswear and never looked back. Best clothing decision I made. Ever.

Have you ever been accused of purposely dressing or purposely behaving like your target sex even though you weren’t intentionally doing that? Also, has somebody ever pointed out how an aspect of your behavior is like your target sex even though you weren’t aware of that? How did that make you feel? What did you think? Have you ever taken steps not to have traits like your target sex? For example, I used to keep my hands folded behind my back once somebody explicitly told me how girlish my hand gestures are.

My grandfather, who was a very religious and oldfashioned man, used to call me Neil whenever he saw me wearing trousers – which was most of the time. It wasn’t really an accusation, but definitely a way to let me know that he didn’t agree with my choice of clothes. It never really bothered me though. My granddad was very fond of me, and somehow it made me feel proud to be called by a boy’s name.

There was the school dentist’s assistant, who scolded me for a bit of innocent foulmouthing. At seven years of age my friend Henry and I thought saying “poo” and “pee” was very daring! The assistant never scolded him. Just me, which I thought was highly unfair.

At secondary school I got bullied for being so boyish. At the time I thought it was just my lack of femal curves – I was late entering puberty – but looking back I suspect there was more to it than just that. One of the girls, the only one who never bullied me and became a target herself simply for being nice to me, once told me I looked silly taking such long strides and I should really try to walk more like a girl. Even though I knew she only meant to help me, her words hurt. I just wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. I felt so ashamed and inadequate for not even being able to walk propely.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always put in a lot of effort to be a real girl. I looked to my older sister, her friends, and even models and actresses for inspiration on how to be a real girl/woman.

I never got it right. And thank goodness for that. It was one of the things that led me to the realisation that I really am a man.

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9 Responses to The clothes make the man

  1. Kris says:

    Oh, the dysphoria generated by female clothes… especially a bra and the contraptions used before tampons… I shudder and feel the familiar tightening of anxiety in my chest just remembering. Top surgery and menopause afforded me freedom from those bastions of womanhood at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bras are torture. As are binders, I have to admit. Thankfully, I’m rather flat-chested, so I don’t usually have to wear those devillish things.
      Menopause? If only! Heaven knows I’m quite old enough by now.
      I’m glad you at least got rid of that.

      Like

  2. Kris says:

    PS. I could not link to this post via the email notification – the link in the title seems to be incorrect. Did you perhaps change the link? (I landed on the post via the Comment link in the email.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm… maybe the link changed when I manually changed the publishing date? I had started writing this post two weeks ago and when I first published it, it automatically got published on March 1. Not what I wanted, so I changed that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tea With Ess says:

    What you just described could have been written by me! It’s almost frightening how similar your life has been to mine, I recognise all of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dexxy says:

    I used to mourn my life by purposely wearing black, brown and grey coloured clothes when I became an adult. Now its all floral prints and bright bold colours. So basically I understand this post very well.

    Liked by 1 person

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