Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Secret Life of a Cross Dresser

They say the first step in fixing a problem is admitting that you have one. Well I guess it's my time to check into sartorial rehab. I think my epiphany began when I began to reflect on the age old question: Who is your style icon? Most normal people rattle off the usual list of suspects from Coco Chanel, to Audrey Hepburn to Marie Antoinette. My list starts off a bit differently, well it starts off with men. It all began very unassumingly. My dad is a very well dressed man and as any normal person I admired his style. But this innocent admiration manifested itself into a strange mania. All of sudden I did not just appreciate a man's clothing in the abstract way you admire your cat's cute little ears. It was like I wanted to wear the cat's cute little ears. I started not only appreciating the way a man dresses but also coveting some of the pieces he was wearing. It all started on one late night.

I began sneaking into my basement late at night and looting through my Father's clothes (they all won't fit in his closet). I would secretly bring them upstairs to my room and try them all on all while blasting the Arctic Monkey's and MGMT. I started wearing his sweaters to school with tights and ankle boots, wearing his cardigans over dresses, belting his knits to make blouses. People started curiously asking me which store I had acquired all these pieces. When I told them the truth they would look surprised. It gave me a rush, wearing clothes so unassuming yet irreverent. And the most glorious part of it all was that I never had to pay for any of these clothes, it was going to the mall and picking out whatever your heart's desire for free! Say what you want about shoplifting but Winona, I know where your coming from. But alas, admitting that you have a problem is not the end, it is only the beginning. In order to complete my twelve step program I had to ask myself: Why?

I approached this problem by delving into the cross dressing archives. I was surprised by how common it is in today's society. I mean Mulan dressed up as a man, granted it was because she wanted to save her ailing father from injury but still I bet she enjoyed those masculine army getups. I can almost feel the shoulder pads. And besides how else would she have scored such a hunk like Li Shang without dipping her foot in the Today Man's Pool? From Portia dressing up as man in the Merchant of Venice to Bug's Bunny throwing on a dress for comedic sake, cross dressing is everywhere. I think the appeal of dressing in men's clothes is the nonrestrictive nature of it all. Men's clothing are meant to be meant to be active, they are meant to be lived in. You see guy's all the time walking around with rolled up sleeves and their shirts untucked. So many women envy the looks that are effortless, they may not realize that these looks may just be in closet down the hall. But I think the main reason why I am attracted to men's clothing is because unlike women men don't dress for other men or for their girlfriends they dress for comfort, for practicality and for themselves. And I think men's clothing and cross dressing general embody that message: Dress for yourself. I'm starting to see the saying "Life's a Drag" in a whole new light.
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