When you discuss the word “identity” in terms of crossdressing there are two ways to look at it.
1) The identity of the male, as the crossdresser, and what it means to him – how he will adjust to/deal with/understand his identity as a crossdresser.
2) The identity of the crossdresser en femme – how he sees her, who she is, and how she sees herself.
They say the difference between an experienced teacher and an inexperienced teacher is the question they ask themselves at the end of the day. The inexperienced teacher says, “How am I doing?” and the inexperienced says, “How are my students doing?”
As a new crossdresser, in regards to my relatively recent outness, I’ve been focusing in my blog primarily on the first interpretation – which I believe corresponds to the “How am I doing?” question. Now, with some experience under my belt, it’s time to focus on her.
My girlfriend once asked me if Justine had her own personality.
She had noticed that I was more “cuddly” as Justine – more willing to touch and be touched. En homme I’m not one for touchy-feely. I don’t think I’m cold or aloof – I’m just never the one to embrace embraces. As Justine it is the opposite – sometimes it almost seems as if I crave the presence of others. I think this is definite remnant of when crossdressing served primarily as a fetish. Touching is primal and sexual, and when I am crossdressing those feelings are certainly present in my mind.
So yes, in that aspect – I, Justine, have my own personality. In thinking more about the subject – it is, however, deeper than I initially imagined. (I’m beginning to believe that all of crossdressing is deeper than I imagined, but that’s just another thing I love about it.)
Something I wish I could do, but never do, is dance. I spent three years in college going to bars where other people danced around me. I’ve gone to numerous weddings, bar mitzvahs and other parties where I sit sheepishly and watch others have a good time. There’s something about an awkward white guy that screams, “DO NOT DANCE!” I don’t know if it’s a case of societal stereotypes breeding self-fulfilling prophecy, or just that the genes for science fiction fanaticism and lack of rhythm go hand-in-hand. When I’m Justine, though, I want to dance. I want to be able to go out and have a good time in a way that the male me doesn’t (or can’t?) I want to be who I am not in a way that goes beyond gender.
In My Husband Betty, Helen Boyd discusses how, often, crossdressers’ female selves are often representative of the female they desire. Discussing this is treading on dangerous waters because a) I have a girlfriend and b) until now I have not thought of myself as this type of crossdresser.
I want to be very clear here – I love my girlfriend and want to be with her. When I crossdress, Justine, in a fictional way, is another girl I desire. Despite the fact that a television show called, “The New Adventures of Justine” would consist of sitting on the couch watching movies, typing blog posts, episode after episode, I fictionalize an entire backstory for her (or me) that has never existed. I imagine Justine (me) goes out and has a good time, rebuffs the pick-up lines of men, and knows her way around the world in a way that the male me does not. She is calm, cool and a little bit kick-ass. She is interested in the same things I am, but is more confident. Despite all this, she would still be into a guy like me. In a way, I am in love with myself.
It’s funny, though, because all of those things that I described Justine as? That’s also how I think of my actual girlfriend. What doesn’t make sense now, is why does Justine exist? I have always had very low self-confidence in my male form – creating Justine, I reiterate and believe, allows me to be who I am not. It just so happens that she is what I believe a girlfriend should be/who my actual girlfriend is.
This tells me one thing: The girl of my dreams is nearly identical to my girlfriend. This is a good thing.
This also begs the question: Does Justine need to exist if I am content in my relationship? The answer is yes – and I think Justine would exist in the very same manner she does now, regardless of my relationship status. I don’t view Justine as a replacement girlfriend, but as a version of me that the male me desires – even if most people meet that quota in their ideal relationship.
I’ve digressed, now. This blog post was originally intended to describe Justine – not question of her (my) place in my (his) life. I suppose that understanding the relationship between Justine, male me, and my girlfriend is related, however – because in some ways this is a monogamous relationship with a third “heel.”
So I’ve now defined Justine in terms of existance, but the personality question still lingers. I can tell you this (and it may be redundant.) Justine is fun, happier, and in my head more outgoing than male me is. She likes fashion, sci-fi, shopping, board games, partying, and cuddling at night. She is a more wholly realized version of me. The aspects of me that have been repressed for one reason or another (that’s a whole ‘nother post…) She likes to be dominated, but also sometimes do the dominating. She likes to take you by surprise just as much as she likes to be surprised. She is me, but she is not. Her and I are me, and they are two sides to the same coin. (Wow, talk about cliche.)
This has been a very healthy blog post. I started writing it, not knowing where it would end up, and I am very happy with the results. My mind is clearer about my identity, and perhaps that mental first step is part of the path to a physical first step out the door. I wanted to go for a walk outside tonight with my girlfriend, but I used the rain as an excuse. There are about five perfectly good umbrellas within fifteen feet of me. I’m lame. One day.