It is hard to recount every occasion when I have embraced the female persona that is Stephanie or to recount the number of times I have sat in the bath scrubbing at my skin uttering promises to god that if he forgive me for the sins of dressing as a woman and pleasing myself then I would never do it again. Sadly there are too many. Just as there are too many occasions where I have driven up to clothes bank and deposited my slightly used skirts, bras, knickers and blouses. I often wander whose job is to sort through these banks and if they ever realise what they are looking at, whether they realise that they are looking at the aftermath of a man struggling to accept who they are. I wonder if they think what strange woman has deposited these clothes, or if they think that some freak has a misguided idea of what clothes charity shops want.
I remember one occasion I had stayed with a friend in Cardiff. We had drunk way too much and when I woke the next day I was hung over. After breakfast I was feeling better and was desperate to leave. My partner at the time was visiting with family so I knew I had an empty house to get back to. On top of this I also become horny as hell when hung over and so I was faced with the opportunity to going home to an empty house whilst feeling horny. This meant a chance to get into some sexy clothes and be me for a few hours. I made my excuses to leave and although I was hung over jumped in the car and started to make my way home. I realised on the drive that I passed the outlet shopping centre and this could be the opportunity to buy some new sexy clothes. I stopped, found a shop that looked like it would sell my kind of clothes, quickly dived in the shop and started to browse the rails. As I passed every woman I could feel my face flush. I was convinced the children with their parents would ask “why is that man looking at skirts”, to my knowledge none did but by this time I was convinced the whole store was going to stop, point and laugh. I held my nerve and spotted a tiger print short skirt (one of my favourite styles). I grabbed it and a couple of rails over there was a white blouse that I thought would match. I grabbed that as well. I was so convinced that people were staring I barely noticed their sizes. I got to the till and paid for my purchase. It was whilst standing at the till being served by the young sales assistant that I had the clear thought of what the hell do you look like, unshaven, smelling of stale booze and no female anywhere to be seen. I could barely look at the woman. She had to have known or she must have thought that my partner was the unluckiest woman alive to have a man like me. I darted out of the store with my purchase wrapped up in its bag. I struggled to make eye contact with anybody convinced that they would all be able to read my inner most thoughts and know that in my bag was my sordid purchase that I planned on wearing and pleasing myself in. I threw the bag into the car. Drove home. I was stripping as I entered the house. I showered, shaved. Found some knickers that I liked and held everything in a nice neat bulge, tights next and a bra. Knickers and bra did not match but I did not care. As I was on my own for the night bra marks did not matter either. A stuffed a pair of socks into each bra cup, as I was going for the full “realistic” look. I then raided the make up drawer for lipstick. Found a nice red and applied it as best I could. I was starting to feel good, hangover gone and the endorphins were flowing. I got my bag with my new purchase in and I had a flash back to how I must have looked when purchasing the clothes, guilt written all over my face but now I did not care, now I was a sexy female and I welcomed the sales assistant stare, now I welcomed the people in the shop looking at me, now I wished that they had asked me what I was doing because now I would have told them that I was beautiful person who looked sexy in a skirt. I pulled the labels off the blouse first and put one arm in to the sleeve followed by the other. I buttoned it up and it hung like a sack. I wanted it to be tight showing off my imaginary curves, instead it showed me as a blob. Not deterred I grabbed for the skirt. stepped into it, pulled it up to my waist, buttoned it, zipped it and let it go, it fell to halfway down my bum. My heart plummeted, the endorphins decided to leave my brain and I stood looking at myself in the mirror and thinking what in the hell am I doing? What the hell do I think I look like? How on earth is this normal? Dejected, I removed the skirt and blouse. Bagged them up. I removed the rest of the items and sat naked for a few minutes, dejected and disheartened. I looked at the skirt again, tried it on again, had a light bulb moment and found a safety pin. Made a fold, used the pin and suddenly had a skirt that kind of fitted. With my new found enthusiasm I set about dressing again. I felt amazing and I did not last long dressed in my tights, skirt and baggy blouse which I had tied in a knot.
After the enjoyment the guilt flooded in, the disgust in what I had done, who I was, the lie I was living, the betrayal of my partner. I swore to myself that I could be better than this, that I was not a bad person, that I was confused. I placed my new purchases in a bag, drove to the nearest clothes bank, deposited them. As the bin closed I felt relief wash over me. I had removed the evil from my life, temptation was gone, I was going to be a better person. The clothes had not last a day. I went home and continued my life as “normal” (or vanilla as I now like to think of it).
A few weeks later I was shopping in the local city centre and I passed a charity shop selling clothes. There in the window was a mannequin wearing a short tiger print skirt. I cannot swear that it was mine but I am pretty sure it was and I know I wanted it back.