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Guest Leigh T

What Is Crossdressing, Really?

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Guest Leigh T   
Guest Leigh T

Please don't get defensive by my question. I am trying to understand the dynamics of crossdressing for men as women. Could someone please explain this to me so I can understand why a heterosexual male who is happy being a male would want to dress in the clothing of the opposite sex. Again, please don't take offense of my question. I am just trying to learn about this.

Thank you,

Leigh

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Guest rachael1   
Guest rachael1

Hi Leigh,

A simple question but the answer is a lot more complicated. The gender spectrum is pretty varied and crossdressers come in different shapes and sizes, sorry I don't mean that literally. Some dress in womens lingerie for erotic feelings, some to get in touch with their feminine side, some are happy just to wear nylons under their jeans and some aren't content unless they are dressed up to the nines and hitting the town.

Others consider themselves androgynous and wish to give both their female and males time in the sun, and some use the label of crossdresser to describe their interim state prior to transitioning or not.

I really hate labels as they are so constricting and nothing is as neat in real life.

In short what I am saying is there are as many different types of crossdressers as there are choices of icecream.

Hugs

Rachael

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Guest ChloëC   
Guest ChloëC

Hi Leigh,

You know, I have asked that same question myself as soon as I was old enough to understand what society expected and what I actually wanted, which of course in this case, are currently two different things.

That I have very distinct memories of a desire to dress from at least age 5, leads me to believe that somehow something in my brain or even dna is wired slightly differently. Lately, I remember reading or maybe seeing on some Nature, Discovery, or TLC show that in the early gestation period, if at certain moments, certain chemicals do or don't get released or whatever they do, that different things can happen. And it may not have anything to do with the mother's lifestyle.

Like maybe something happened during the XX, XY chromosome decision or immediately after as a direct result that tilted things slightly askew.

While I can't exactly explain the cause, I can certainly relate the effect. It's as most of the other cross-dressers say - there is a certain indescribeable feeling when doing so, somewhere between peace, euphoria, contentment, swooning, a feeling of heightened awareness. Having never done any drugs, I can't compare, but maybe some kind of rush or high.

It's all that, but something different too. A momentary realization that one is in that mystical place we call 'home'. Not in a physical sense but in the imagination of the mind.

Let me know when you do find the answer.

Huggs to all crossdressers here and wherever

Chloë

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Guest ChloëC   
Guest ChloëC

Leigh,

It's been awhile since I posted my first response and it hasn't yet shown up, but I want to continue the thought.

I love to alpine ski. There comes a time not that often, where the snow, the run, the skis, my body, the moment, they all come together and 'whew'! I've heard it called being 'in the zone'. I love it there. A heightened awareness.

I love to sail in the summer. There comes a moment after a lull where the breeze picks up, the main and jib sails catch it, I have my hand on the rudder and the two lines correctly, the boat just seems to explode across the water. That is a moment to treasure.

I have loved to play basketball. I'm too short to be a forward, so I play shooting guard more or less. There is a moment when from the top of the circle, I extend my arms, jump a tiny bit, the ball arcs up, across, down and falls right through the hoop only touching the bottom of the net before it catches for a second and drops through with a soft 'wuff'. That moment makes it all worth while

I write software programs - trying to be user friendly - and there is a moment when a routine I've figured out gives me exactly what I and the customer are looking for, and all the data just flows. I live for that moment in my work.

These are all independent of each other and of dressing, yet they're all the same in a way. Why do I ski, sail, shoot hoops, code,...dress? They all give me a feeling of something, like completeness.

Hope that helps.

Chloë

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Carolyn Marie   
Carolyn Marie

The previous responses have all been excellent.

The one thing I would like to add is that for me, and for many of the CDer's I've met

here, crossdressing is a crucial element in the expression of our feminine side - a side

of our personality that we normally keep hidden or surpressed.

Crossdressers don't typically feel that they are women "trapped" in the wrong body. They feel that have a duality in their nature that needs to be expressed from time to time in order to feel

like a "whole" or complete person. The need to express that feminine side is often referred

to as the "pink fog."

It is also true that many CDer's, myself included, crossdressed for years, many for a

lifetime, before realizing that we were in fact transsexual.

Hope that helps, Leigh.

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Guest CharlieRose   
Guest CharlieRose

My situation is more complicated because I was actually raised female (so it was more like a blue fog that came for me, eh?) But even once I started transitioning I came to realize that what I couldn't stand was being thought of as a woman; I actually like girl's clothes, just as much as guy's. It's more like a unique style choice for me, not a dual nature or sense of self. Although, I wouldn't take offense to it being called a dual gender expression, (or perhaps a triple gender expression) as I like dressing male, female, and androgynously, again, not to be seen as a man, woman, or androgyne, but just because they're the clothes I like and happen to be gender-bendy type things. I actually don't currently crossdress because I'm not passably male enough. (I don't *want* to look like a woman, but a man in woman's clothing. Why? I dunno, I just like it)

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Guest Leigh T   
Guest Leigh T

Wow! After reading these responses, I now have the feeling that transsexualism is more cut-and-dry than transvesticism. For me, I had always struggled with how I felt inside as compared to everyone else's expectations of my presentation. There was absolutely no way I could possibly confess my inner belief to anyone in my family, especially to my father, when I was growing up. With that in mind, I had the belief that both men and women, those who were fortunate enough not to have to struggle with the inner gender conflict, were happy with themselves (read happy being male or female) and wanting to tap into that other gender/sex was never a decision beyond the normal curiosity. Something akin to casually watching a movie like 'Switch' just to watch the humor of a fish-out-of-water situation.

If I understand the gleaned explanation, even heterosexual males and females may have a desire to tap into a cross gender self that they may feel is floating within their consciousness? Am I understanding this correctly? Or could crossdressing be like a low-grade condition on the transsexual scale? Those of us who actually seek and obtain SRS being on the high-grade level? This train of thought is not taking into consideration those who crossdress for erotic reasons, which itself seems self-explanatory. I'm referring to those people who find comfort, wholeness, etc. is crossdressing.

I must admit that I grew up with the understanding that men and women without gender issues never felt the desire to wear the clothing of the opposite sex. Women have clothing lines that venture into the male style but rarely is the inverse true. In fact, I can't remember one. Also, it is hard to 'label' a female as a crossdresser since it is far more prevalent and acceptable for them to wear mens style or even mens clothing.

I think CDs (for lack of better identification) are more complex than transsexuals based on the various origins. There are several to many reasons someone would want to crossdress but basically one for those who want to be female or male. If the scientific community weren't so parochial in their choice of research areas, this would be a fascinating and worthwhile topic to explore. I'll also be honest to say that if there was a true cure for transsexualism (and not that !@#$%&^ Christian route that doesn't work at all), I would have taken it.

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Guest Danielle2   
Guest Danielle2
Leigh,

It's been awhile since I posted my first response and it hasn't yet shown up, but I want to continue the thought.

I love to alpine ski. There comes a time not that often, where the snow, the run, the skis, my body, the moment, they all come together and 'whew'! I've heard it called being 'in the zone'. I love it there. A heightened awareness.

I love to sail in the summer. There comes a moment after a lull where the breeze picks up, the main and jib sails catch it, I have my hand on the rudder and the two lines correctly, the boat just seems to explode across the water. That is a moment to treasure.

I have loved to play basketball. I'm too short to be a forward, so I play shooting guard more or less. There is a moment when from the top of the circle, I extend my arms, jump a tiny bit, the ball arcs up, across, down and falls right through the hoop only touching the bottom of the net before it catches for a second and drops through with a soft 'wuff'. That moment makes it all worth while

I write software programs - trying to be user friendly - and there is a moment when a routine I've figured out gives me exactly what I and the customer are looking for, and all the data just flows. I live for that moment in my work.

These are all independent of each other and of dressing, yet they're all the same in a way. Why do I ski, sail, shoot hoops, code,...dress? They all give me a feeling of something, like completeness.

Hope that helps.

Chloë

Wow, Chloe! You nailed it! This is the first time I've actually heard it expressed like this and I can totally relate! I think this may have helped me just as much, if not more, than it helped Leigh! Thanks, girlfriend!

Danielle

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Guest brenda lee   
Guest brenda lee
Please don't get defensive by my question. I am trying to understand the dynamics of crossdressing for men as women. Could someone please explain this to me so I can understand why a heterosexual male who is happy being a male would want to dress in the clothing of the opposite sex. Again, please don't take offense of my question. I am just trying to learn about this.

Thank you,

Leigh

Leigh , Hi I am not at all offended by your question. To be honest , I am not at all happy being a male, I feel that inside I am truly a female. For me I gat to express my trure self.I just wish so bad that I was born into my true gender.LOL Brenda Lee

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Guest Zenda   
Guest Zenda

Kia Ora Leigh,

:rolleyes: My theory[which is similar to most responders]…

Some people who cross dress are 'gender queer', e.g., gay, bisexual or heterosexual men who wear make-up and unisex clothing in public to rebel against gender conformity. Others are somewhat bi-gendered and do it as a form of stress relief i.e., cross-dressing to relax and escape from the social pressures that comes from being male. Many heterosexual men who cross-dress prefer the term ‘crossdresser’ so as not to be confused with transvestic fetishists -[those who get sexual pleasure from dressing in items of women clothing] or drag queens - gay men. Most cross dressers and drag queens are quite comfortable with their 'birth sex' and have no desire to take hormones, have surgery or to live full time as the opposite sex.

So in a nutshell…Why are some heterosexual men into transvestism/crossdressing?

“To rebel or just for leisure! Or a kinky kind of pleasure.”

If one truly believes ‘transvestism’ is the way to get to where they belong-

Then who am I to judge, but please don’t hurt others with “Whatever turns you on!” B)

Metta Jendar:)

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Guest Leigh T   
Guest Leigh T
Kia Ora Leigh,

:rolleyes: My theory[which is similar to most responders]…

Some people who cross dress are 'gender queer', e.g., gay, bisexual or heterosexual men who wear make-up and unisex clothing in public to rebel against gender conformity. Others are somewhat bi-gendered and do it as a form of stress relief i.e., cross-dressing to relax and escape from the social pressures that comes from being male. Many heterosexual men who cross-dress prefer the term ‘crossdresser’ so as not to be confused with transvestic fetishists -[those who get sexual pleasure from dressing in items of women clothing] or drag queens - gay men. Most cross dressers and drag queens are quite comfortable with their 'birth sex' and have no desire to take hormones, have surgery or to live full time as the opposite sex.

So in a nutshell…Why are some heterosexual men into transvestism/crossdressing?

“To rebel or just for leisure! Or a kinky kind of pleasure.”

If one truly believes ‘transvestism’ is the way to get to where they belong-

Then who am I to judge, but please don’t hurt others with “Whatever turns you on!” B)

Metta Jendar:)

Hi Jendar,

In a way I can understand the use of crossdressing as a means to relax, sort of a non-alcoholic substitute for drinking but to me, this doesn't really seem practical unless there is some transsexual element, very low mind you. As for rebeling against society's stress on males, again that seems impractical without that TS slant. The one thing you brought up that I didn't know was that TVs crossdress for erotic benefits as opposed to crossdressers.

By the way, I do want to tell you that I love your country. I stayed in Christchurch in the South Island for my SRS with Drs. Walker, Mark, and Perry. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Your winter was as mild as ours in Georgia and I couldn't get over how green the grass was in the middle of winter. I'd love to go back for a vacation sometime.

Take care,

Leigh

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Guest Zenda   
Guest Zenda

Kia Ora Leigh,

From what I gather[my personal experience] 'transsexualism' for the most part is when a person is extremely gender 'dysphoric' - most crossdressers on the other hand are not in any way 'dysphoric' about being 'in the wrong body' and if they are then they should also be classed as transsexual...

When I think of 'gender queers' I think of people like David Bowie- Marc Bolan-David Roth and quite a number of groups in the seventies and eighties Kiss-Cockney rebel who crossdressed for shock value-that's what I mean by 'rebelling'- again, I don't think that gender dysphoria[transsexualism] played any major part in their crossdressing....

Dr Walker and his team are great surgeons-my surgery was also performed by them...Sadly however, a friend of mine has had major complications after having her surgery with them back in March 2005...I hope your surgery went well...When did you visit here???

I live in the north island-well actually on a tiny island off of Auckland-'Waiheke' which in Maori means cascading water Wai=water heke=cascade/ebb/flow...

Yes Aotearoa is truely a beautiful country...And living on Waiheke for me is like one big vacation 24/7/52

Beautiful island, beautiful beaches, beautiful bush walks[no snakes] and beautiful people-what more could one ask for....

Metta Jendar :)

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Guest Leigh T   
Guest Leigh T

Hey Jendar,

I arrived in Auckland on July 17, 2003 and took a hop from there to Christchurch. I was there until August 28th. I was able to go snow skiing at Mt. Hutt for three days before my surgery. My surgery was on August 1st, a Friday afternoon. I hated the bowel cleanser I had to drink to clean me out the night before. My surgery went extremely well and the only problem I had was my hand that had the IV swelled to twice its size and my legs went numb for a couple of hours because the spinal block had too much medication flowing. Beyond that, the nurses were great and the doctors (Mark in particular) actually lowered their professional aloofness. I left the hospital on Tuesday morning, a day early. I was out shopping the next day and stopped by the hospital to drop a few items off. I ran into Drs. Perry and Walker and they were amazed that I was up and out only five days after major surgery. I'm positive that I made the correct choice in choosing New Zealand for my destination for SRS.

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's results. What exactly happened and was it ever corrected? I do hope her life is back on track now. I want to tell you that you look beautiful in your photo.

Thank you for your time in helping me to understand the complexities of crossdressing. My thanks also goes to everyone else who took the time to explain this to me. I do want to mention that during my time prior to SRS, I never viewed living as female during my RLT as a period of crossdressing. To me, I was living completely as female, not as a male dressing in female clothing. One is completely different from the other.

Sincerely,

Leigh

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Guest Sandy   
Guest Sandy

I didn't know why I did it as a young child and I don't know why I'm doing it as an older man. But the one thing I'm sure of is that I have always loved to do it.

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Guest Zenda   
Guest Zenda

Kia ora Leigh,

Thanks and back at ya...

It's possible that when one can finally relax and be their true self[relieved of all the stress and tention], the truth of their 'being' shows through...

Sadly no, my friend still has problems, her and her husband flew to Thailand to have some corrective surgery done[just to tidy up the vulva, but her main problem lies with the extending colon which is quite gruesome sight- Accident and Compensation[ a government department] as dropped her case and no longer want anything to do with her-her and her husband are coping as best as they can...Like myself, her surgery was also government funded...

Sadly surgeons are only human, which means they too can have 'bad' days...And unfortnately this seems to be the case for my friend...

I agree, out of the three Mr Mark was pretty laidback but Mr Walker and Mr Perry were as far as surgeons go pretty down to earth too and the hospital staff at Southern Cross were fantasitc...

BTW I 'crossdressed' in male clothes for most of my life[it was for survival purposes] I stopped when I went 24/7[as we all do]...

Metta Jendar :)

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Guest Leigh T   
Guest Leigh T

Hi Jendar,

Just one more thing before I stop pestering you. This is a personal question but it is based upon another thread from a different topic. What depth did you finally wind up with after the healing process had run its course?

Thank you,

Leigh

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Guest Zenda   
Guest Zenda

Kia Ora Leigh,

I've posted a reply in a more appropriate thread -in the post op section...Just so to keep your/this thread on track ie, cd related...

Metta Jendar :)

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Guest ~Brenda~   
Guest ~Brenda~

Leigh

Crossdressing is very important to me. When I dress as myself, I feel relaxed and wonderful. I am not satisfied that I am biologically male, but I express my true self everyday in everyway that I can depending upon context. At work, I present mostly as male due to the dynamics of the workplace saw me asmale when I joined. Even there, I am very femme and everyone picks up on that. They all think that I am the gay guy. At his point in time, I let them think what they want to think because it allows me to continue to be employed without any hassle, and yet, I can express myself :)

When I am home, I dress completely :)

Love

Brenda

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Guest Leigh T   
Guest Leigh T
Leigh

Crossdressing is very important to me. When I dress as myself, I feel relaxed and wonderful. I am not satisfied that I am biologically male, but I express my true self everyday in everyway that I can depending upon context. At work, I present mostly as male due to the dynamics of the workplace saw me asmale when I joined. Even there, I am very femme and everyone picks up on that. They all think that I am the gay guy. At his point in time, I let them think what they want to think because it allows me to continue to be employed without any hassle, and yet, I can express myself :)

When I am home, I dress completely :)

Love

Brenda

Thank you, Brenda.

The thought that I originally had was that a male crossdresser (one who is happy being a heterosexual male) has at least a small element of transsexualism to them to give them that drive to 'dress.' If I've read you correctly, you feel that you are at least part 'female' in soul/gender rather than just not happy being male (being a choice). My inquiry was directed toward those men (women falling under this category are different in my mind) who don't feel they are, in any way, at least a little cross-gendered. Those men who don't crossdress for erotic reasons and are in no way cross-gendered are the mystery to me. Finding that 'sweet spot' as explained earlier makes sense but isn't that a result rather than a reason? Maybe this is one of those issues that you don't really have an answer to but just accept it.

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Guest mia 1   
Guest mia 1
'Leigh T'

Thank you, Brenda.

The thought that I originally had was that a male cross dresser (one who is happy being a heterosexual male) has at least a small element of transsexualism to them to give them that drive to 'dress.' If I've read you correctly, you feel that you are at least part 'female' in soul/gender rather than just not happy being male (being a choice). My inquiry was directed toward those men (women falling under this category are different in my mind) who don't feel they are, in any way, at least a little cross-gendered. Those men who don't cross dress for erotic reasons and are in no way cross-gendered are the mystery to me. Finding that 'sweet spot' as explained earlier makes sense but isn't that a result rather than a reason? Maybe this is one of those issues that you don't really have an answer to but just accept it.

Leigh I don't think there are any cross dressers in(on?) this forum who don't feel their feminine side.

The reason for dressing is secondary to us. We know we are bi-gendered. We love to be men, and we love our womanhood.

We need to feel close to a 'girl group' and care and feel the emotions of women. We cry at weddings we care for the sick and helpless, we love creative things, and fit well into women's culture and the ability to express ourselves far beyond the simple platitudes of 'sports talk' and 'car shop.'

We do fit comfortably into 'male mode' conversations,a nd enjoy our male parts, but the clothes we 'dress in' confirms our femininity,and envelops us into that already mentioned 'Pink Cloud."

We are all bonded by our dysphoria and the fear we experienced of being outed by our parents and especially our spouses. Finally most of us older members have come out to the ones that matter most in our lives,and we can Finally exhale and enjoy our mode. (Both of them)

One more thing we don't need to come out to the world, like our transitioning members, since our world is contained in intimate and close quarters, at least most of the time. Hope this answers some of your thoughts.

Please keep an inquisitive mind and keep asking questions.....

Mia

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Guest ChloëC   
Guest ChloëC

"We cry at weddings"

Mia, you've brought up something I've wondered about, which is sort of in line with what Leigh is curious about.

I often get emotional (that is - cry) with different experiences. Some weddings, I guess, where I more familar with the people involved. But more so then that, I also do at moments I find empathy with, such as the movie, 'It's a Wonderful Life'. But of course there's lots more. Jay Unger has said that he cried the first however many times he played 'Ashokan Farewell' on the violin - and he WROTE it! I still do when I listen to it.

And in many other instances, I'm get all teared up. Now some guys would look at me and say, 'What?...Well, yeah, it does get to you, but cry? Come on.'

You've suggested that it's part of embracing the duality of our gender and accepting the feminine. Is that true of the opposite side?

How about any FTM cross-dressers out there, or other ftm transgender? Are those emotions still with you, or is suppressing that, part of an embracement of the male side?

Chloë

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Guest Leigh T   
Guest Leigh T

"Leigh I don't think there are any cross dressers in(on?) this forum who don't feel their feminine side."

Mia, does that mean most or all men have a feminine side that most refuse to acknowledge? This question seems to dovetail into ChloeC's post.

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Guest ChloëC   
Guest ChloëC

Leigh,

I can barely speak for myself (sometimes :D ) much less other cross-dressers, much less men in general. Considering that I believe the wiring to be slightly different between tg's and non, that would be expected.

Except I can't help but have a smidgen of belief that men do have what some call a feminine side (a sensitive or emotional side) that they really don't let out much if at all. Possibly due to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary necessity and a lifetime of reinforcement. And I would guess it varies widely among the population as to how strong it might be.

And that's part of my question to ftm - is your sensitive side already less than you would guess is 'normal' for a cisgendered woman, and/or as you embrace the maleness, would you also consciously reduce that sensitivity.

Just curious.

Chloë

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Guest BeardedMan   
Guest BeardedMan

Hi Leigh (and everyone else!) -

I don't want to directly disagree with Mia, as I believe (like others here) that everyone has some degree of both masculine and feminine within. However, for the kind of CDs you're asking about, it's not necessarily so definitely about that feminine side. As part of the minority of CDs (as I see it) who have no interest in passing (especially we who keep our beards and don't wear makeup), I'd like to point out that it's probably even a little more complicated, though also straightforward. At least for me.

Even though I grew up as one of those "sensitive" males whom women always appreciated, I was raised inside the masculine stereotype. Even now in my 30s, I have a visceral love of beer, American football, violent movies, things with Big and/or Noisy Engines, video games, technology for its own sake, and pretty girls. And it's that last bit that's important there. Thanks in part to this community (thank you all so much - I love this place!), I've been able to think more deeply and clearly about why I dress, and it's largely because the things I wear are sexy. The kind of male I described above generally equates sexy with two things: women's bodies and women's clothing (usually on those bodies). I have come to realize that, thanks to my education in the humanities, I have developed an aversion to sexualizing/objectifying the female body, but in the process I have transferred a lot of that feeling to the clothing. And, due to a lack of self-esteem once upon a time, I never came to think of myself as sexy. Good-looking, maybe, but never sexy as such.

Until I realized I could put on those sexy clothes. That's the biggest part of why I do it: women's clothing is sexy; men's is not. And I want to feel sexy, at least sometimes. I don't want to feel feminine or womanly, which is why I have no need to wear face makeup (which I don't generally find sexy on women either) or get rid of my facial hair. But don't we all want to be sexy, at least a little?

In addition, the male professional uniform is very...uniform. Shirt, slacks, tie, plus belt or suspenders. Sometimes a vest and/or jacket. Shoes pretty plain, unless they're wingtips. If we have a developed fashion sense, we can get some use out of interesting colors and fabrics. But even an earring (other than a barely-visible stud) is out of the ordinary. Heaven forbid we should experiment with nail colors. Women, on the other hand, have a lot more they can work with. Beyond color and fabric, there's cut, sweep, hang, pattern, neckline, how much leg (or other skin) is exposed, great variety in jewelry, and...shoes! :D OMG, my heart beats faster at the mere thought...

Anyway, I thought I'd share my perspective; hopefully you find it enlightening.

-- Beard

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