Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Life as a male impersonator

Useless at passing, me. Yet I'm better than awesome at passing. Huh?
    My "girl" always feels to me like a character from the 1980s BBC sit-com 'Allo 'Allo. No doubt one of the British airmen involved in yet another hilarious rescue plan involving dressing as a nanny and wheeling a pram containing the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies by Van Klomp, all the while pursued by a comedy SS officer dressed as a nun. (if you have no idea, Google it, if you think the show is in bad taste/not very funny, then yes and yes.) I've accepted this, though not without occasional heartache, and moved on.
    Meanwhile, my "boy" is an Oscar winning performance. Blimey I do the passing as bloke thing well! I don't mean the day to day living, being there for my wife, drying the dishes or throwing out the trash, I mean the "one of the boys" thing, the harmless and non-threatening loud ribaldry and general tomfoolery of everyday bloke-dom in a world of other blokes. Damn it, I can swagger as a bloke! I'm not really like that though, it's a strategy that's evolved through a combination of exhibitionism and self-defence. Sometimes a voice inside me will say "Did I really say that?". If I'm so good at it and I'm transgendered, I have to ask, are all the other ribalds also TG underneath and busily hamming it up for the outside world? That would be a turn-up for the books!
    Being good at something can feel rewarding. I haven't always been good at life, but as I've grown up I've slipped into this slightly larger-than-life bloke character when I'm with other blokes. Yes, it's camouflage, but it can be mighty comfortable camouflage at times.
    A transgendered female hamming it up passing as the bloke she looks like is all a little Victor Victoria, but since I'm stuck with the role and I'm kinda good at it, I think I can run with it when I need to. The unfortunate feature of being born transgendered is that just as I'll never know what it is like to grow up with a female body I'll also never know what it is to be completely at home with what I've grown up with. Such a waste in a way that the physical ability to be so effectively a bloke should be given to someone in that situation.


  1. It's a bit like watching the local rugby team climb into drag for charity or whatever. You just know there's one of them really not wanting to take the dress off...

  2. I have no swagger to speak of, but I'm pretty convincing in my dudedom. Not much swish at all.

  3. In the UK I just do the quiet geek in the corner. It's useful having a career where being socially inept is almost expected :)

    In Holland I do a bit of the whole 'One of the boys', but I can't do it well (and certainly can't swagger :) ) I basically had to learn when I left all my family and friends behind - or face a very lonely life with no one to speak to outside of work.

    As for the Rugby boys and the charity do's. Mrs Stace is convinced from watching the BBC that all UK men like wearing dresses as there is no shortage of crossdressing whenever there is a charity show on :)

  4. I was astounded at how awful 'Allo 'Allo was when it came out. A bit like panto- something to offend everyone... there is a bit of cross-dressing among escaped airmen in One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing, as I recall.
    I knew a few chaps who liked putting frocks on- oddly, they kind of stopped doing it when I came out. Go figure... I met a young person at a reading last week, who intends to join the Army because she likes doing male drag (and hey, maybe some othere reasons too :-). I can dig that. I really liked my ATC uniform for the same reasons

  5. @Cathy: ...or in my case, that one of them's worried they've made rather too good a job of it!

    @Leslie: It's a by-product of being too loud for my own good. Sometimes I really wish I could swish.

    @Stace: I do the noisy geek in the corner. I kinda wish I was the stereotype of social ineptness at times, it might mean I was put in front of customers a little less often.

    Mrs Stace obviously has our measure :)

    @Dru: I remember finding 'Allo 'Allo funny as a spotty young oik, then being appalled when I saw some of the re-runs. Teenage humour sums it up.

    I know one guy who's all-too-eager to leap into a dress and I suspect but have no proof that he's at the confused stage. He's a motorcyclist of the much more bad-ass persuasion than I am so I think his inner conflicts may be greater than mine have been.

  6. Unfortunately, I've found that I've lost the ability to imitate a lot of male behaviors, like swaggering, and appearing physically intimidating. Just becomes very hard to dredge them up once you haven't used them in a long time for over-compensation, or to disguise how you really feel.

    I recommend bringing them out and practicing them frequently. It's a shame to lose them, since they can be helpful at times.

  7. Unfortunately looking physically intimidating is something that comes all too easily to me, even when I don't want to. I wish I could lose it, sometimes.

  8. I've often blogged about this. I can really put on a show. I have it down to a science. All as a way to make sure no one ever sees the femme side of me. I sometimes slip, however, and let her out at the worst possible time.

  9. Mine sometimes slips out too. I know one female ex-colleague regards me as a bit of a Jeckyl-and-Hyde, she's told me so. Oops.