Monday, 28 February 2011

The Prodigal Son - 2028 - Part 4 - The Lads' NIght Out

It was time for Ray to go to work.

He checked himself out in the mirror in his room. He was wearing thick black stockings, a lined pencil skirt with a slit in the back which fell to just above his knees, a pair of black high heels with little black bows on the front and a white blouse that was as thin as gossamer and so transparent that the lace detail of Ray's boy bra and the outlines of his arms and torso could be seen.

Ray had to use a long blonde wig, as his hair was too short, into which a little black bow hairslide had been inserted. Ray was fully made up and he wore press on nails on his fingers. He had a large white handbag slung over his shoulder.

Ray's body convulsed with a shudder for he looked exactly like the office girls he had used to ogle in the past, when men had been allowed to be men. When men had been in control.

His mind was in turmoil. He knew himself to be a man, yet his face, softened and prettified by the use of cosmetics, was as delicate and feminine as that of a young woman. His senses were assaulted by the feel of soft and silky new fabrics that his body was unaccustomed to wearing, the jasmine and lavender scent that had been sprayed liberally all over his body, the feel of air on legs that were no longer encased in a bifurcated garment, and underneath his skirt, his torso restrained by the lace and straps of his boy-bra and the lace thong wedged between his bum cheeks.

He composed himself. It was his first day at work and he had to be alert.

An hour later found him in the administrative offices of Al La Mode. He had had to fill in some forms and have his photograph taken for his pass. It was incongruous to see what appeared to be the face of a pretty young woman against the name "Raymond McCrae - Trainee Administrative Assistant" when the pass was delivered to him.

He was told by Mrs Holland, the supervisor, that as a trainee he was to shadow Toby Johns, a fully fledged Administrative Assistant. Toby was a big man, well over six feet tall, and despite his best attempts to conform with the dress code, he looked like a man in drag.

Toby seemed sullen and resentful. He half heartedly showed Ray how to use the photocopier and then set him to work photocopying some company literature. Ray found it boring, even soul destroying work. He tried to get Toby to open up a little, but he seemed reluctant to say much.

Ray continued with the photocopying. By now, his mind was becoming numb with boredom and his mind went into autopilot. He was grateful when lunch came around. He took a meal from the subsidised staff canteen and went to sit by himself at a table, when Toby and some of the other assistants waved for him to go and join them.

Ray was initially inclined to ignore them, but if he was to get any information about the company, he needed to make friends. All of the male assistants wore the standard skirt and blouse combination and were made up. Ray picked up his tray and went to join them.

"Welcome to the world of the assistants of Al La Mode. The lowest of the low" Toby said bitterly. Ray said nothing in reply. He wanted to collect information, not give too much away about himself.

Toby proceeded to run down Mrs Holland, saying she was a rubbish supervisor. Toby had applied for the supervisor role and, in spite of having done his current job for almost a decade, had lost out to Mrs Holland.

"Do you know why I lost out to her?" Toby asked, the bitterness in his voice escalating "Not because she's better qualified than me, not because she's more experienced than me and not because she's a more natural leader than me. It's because she's a woman! The company is run by women and will always promote women at the expense of better qualified men to keep control".

Some of the mini-skirted boys rolled their mascaraed eyes, as if in pain. They had heard this vitriol before, dozens of times before. The others simply looked bored and played with their food. One boy had even taken refuge in re-varnishing his nails.

Looks like Toby was a one-man revolutionary. At least Ray knew why he was in such a foul mood.

Toby looked around at his companions "Just look at you. You don't give a damn about any of this do you? The fact that, from day one, we men have no chance of being more than the servants of women. You just sit there and paint your nails and look pretty for them! Don't any of you care?"

One of the pretty boys took his blonde, coiffed head out the beauty magazine he had been absorbed in "For gods' sake Toby, change the record! It's been over a year now since Holland was appointed!"

Snarling, Toby got up and left.

Ray ate and listened to the boys. He didn't learn much. They spoke mainly about their girlfriends, their girlfriends taking them out, their girlfriends buying them jewellery, lingerie and perfume, what was hot in the fashion world, beauty, make up and their girlfriends.

Ray finished his meal and excused himself from the group. He hobbled to the mens' toilets. Mens' toilets nowadays did not have urinals. Men had to squat as women did to do their business. Ray took off his high heels, which had been killing his feet all morning and saw with dismay that the skin on the heel of his feet had been rubbed raw. He took some sticking plasters out of his handbag and did the best he could with those.

This was the ultimate revenge of women upon men. Making them wear high heels!

Ray limped back to the photocopier and resumed his work. He was vaguely conscious of women passing by and checking out his skirted behind, his shapely legs and his rather delicate and pretty face. Ray felt humiliated at the reversal from being the hunter to being the prey. But, at the same time, he felt a exhilarating thrill to be the object of female attention.

It was all so very confusing!

When the working day finally ended, Ray was grateful to get home, kick off his heels and put his aching and blistered feet into water. He had to get the information needed to rob the company as soon as possible. The sooner he got the information, the sooner the robbery could go ahead and the sooner he could resume a masculine life.

Ray's working day settled into a pattern. He did photocopying, he had lunch with the airheaded boys and listened to Toby vent his spleen on womankind, he endured (and occasionally enjoyed!) being eye candy for the women. His feet ached but gradually got used to having to spend all day in high heels. He made some friends amongst the other assistants.

It was Toby's birthday and the assistants decided to take him for a night out in the hope it might help him cool off a little and be a little less bitter. There was a lunchtime discussion about what everybody should wear. Ray was asked what he intended to wear.

Ray shrugged "I'll just wear a blouse and full length skirt".

There were some cries of protest. Ken, one of the younger, prettier boys, said "You can't be serious! You should wear a mini-dress! You have fabulous legs...a lot of the women here think so!"

Ray blanched. He didn't want to end up in a mini-dress! He would draw way too much attention. But Ken took the decision out of his hands, demanding an immediate vote on the matter and the majority of those present voted in favour of Ray wearing a mini dress.

On the evening of the party, Ray took a long bath, depilated his body and sprayed it with perfume. He spent about an hour varnishing and painting his nails a deep shade of red. His maid, Anthony, had laid out the clothes he was to wear. Ray quickly donned the black lace boy-bra, matching knickers and black stockings. Then he put on the black mini-dress, which fit him snugly. The hem of the dress fell to just below his knicker line. Ray realised that he would have to be careful not to show off his knickers when he moved.

Ray put a silver necklace around his neck and sat at his vanity, which was covered with an array of cosmetics. Ray had picked up many make up tips from the boys at work and he set to work to transform his masculine visage into a pretty, feminine one. When he had finished, he brushed his long hair so that it framed his face. He put some bangles on his arms, shod his stockinged feet into a pair of shiny black high heels and slung his tiny silver handbag onto his shoulder. He was ready!

Ray looked at himself in the mirror and cringed. He looked so pretty! Not only that, he discovered, but he also felt pretty! By having to adopt feminine clothing and accessories, Ray knew that he was gradually having to become more feminine.

He went out for the lads night out. It was like no lad's night out that he had ever been on! The boys were dressed in a similar way to Ray and carried handbags. The boys sat demurely in the pub, like well brought up ladies, making polite comments on each other's dresses and make up.

The same could not be said of a group of women who, according to the landlady, had been drinking since lunchtime. It was now just gone 7pm. They were loud, raucous and drunk. Some of them tried to slap or pinch the skirted bottoms of boys who had to pass their table to use the loo. Others began shouting at the boys, inviting them to join them at their table, making lewd comments or suggesting that the boys come and sit on their laps.

The boys tried to ignore them. One of the more vocal of the women started to become angry at being ignored. She rose from her place, pint glass in hand, and staggered over to where the boys were sitting.

She jabbed Ray on his arm "Oi! Bitch! I'm talking to you!" the woman's voice was slurred and she swayed about. She had had way too much to drink. She began stroking Ray's face affectionately "You're a very pretty boy, darling. Why don't you come and sit on my lap?" The woman began trying to pull Ray over to where she had been sitting.

Had he not been dressed as he was, Ray could have laid her out with a punch. But, wearing a dress and heels, he felt helpless and vulnerable. So did the other boys. They sat there, dumbstruck, as if watching a disaster and being unable to do anything more than watch it happen.

The woman was quite strong, Ray noted, and she soon had him perched on her generous lap. Without warning, she snogged him, and Ray gagged at her breath, which reeked of alcohol, and her probing tongue. The woman also had wandering hands. One of them was fondling Ray's bottom and the other was stroking his stockinged legs.

Ray was at a complete loss. This was completely out of his experience and he had no idea what to do except to submit to what was happening to him. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he spied one of the woman's hands beginning to explore beneath his skirt!

Ray went into a blind panic and began resisting. His only impulse was to get away from this woman as far as possible. He writhed and twisted with all of his strength to get away. His suitor was not impressed "What's the matter with you, you stupid bitch? Stay on my...aaah!"

The woman cried out and jumped to her feet. In so doing, she carelessly dropped Ray to the floor. He ended up on his back with his frilly black knickers on full display. It was most unladylike. Stunned by the fall, Ray lay there for a minute until he felt several pairs of hands helping him to his feet.

The pub had descended into complete chaos. The woman who had accosted Ray was screaming and trying to get at Toby, threatening to castrate him and turning the air blue with her language, but some of the other boys had interposed themselves to protect him.

The woman was soaking wet and stank of beer. Toby had poured a pint all over her to distract her from groping Ray. Her companions were getting rowdy, egging the woman on to give Toby and his little band of sissies a good pasting.

"RIGHT!" bellowed the voice of the landlady "GET OUT OF MY PUB RIGHT NOW! THE LOT OF YOU!". The landlady, a tiny but spirited woman, grabbed two of the women by the hair and threw them out on to the street. Ray and the others watched in amazement as she repeated the act as many times as was necessary until all of the unruly women had been ejected.

The women hung around outside the pub for a while, shouting obscenities at the landlady, but her sudden appearance caused them to bolt and run.

Peace reigned in the pub. The landlady asked Ray if he was alright and gave him a glass of wine on the house. The landlady shook her head "In my day, ladies were ladies and acted like ladies. That lot were no ladies, just a bunch of hooligans. Norman!"

A large man in a blouse, mini-skirt and frilly apron appeared by her side. "Get a mop and get this mess cleared up, dear".

"Yes, darling" Norman said submissively. The large bar man and the tiny landlady were evidently husband and wife.

Ray spent the rest of the evening in a daze. He had been horrified by the way that woman had treated him. Like a piece of meat. But he was even more disturbed by his own reactions. Instead of standing up to the woman, he had behaved like a petrified schoolgirl!

What was happening to him? Was the effect of having to wear feminine clothing warping his brain, making it more feminine? He trembled. He had to resume a masculine life, before it was too late!

The Prodigal Son - 2028 - Part 3 - His First Dress

Ray and his father stood in the dock, each dressed in shabby suits. Ray McCrae Snr had just been found guilty of twenty one counts of money laundering, extortion and threats with menaces.

The judge turned her wigged head in the direction of the foreman of the jury "Foreman of the jury, how do you find the defendant, Raymond Philip McCrae, junior? Guilty or Not Guilty?"

The female foreman of the jury answered immediately "Guilty, your honour".

A gasp went up from the galleries. Ray's mother broke down in tears and had to be comforted by her relatives.

It had been Ray's last sight of his mother, as he and his father were led away to the cells.

He had never felt so ashamed and humiliated in his life.

But, ten years later, what was happening to Ray McCrae junior at this exact moment in time was, for him, a hundred times worse!

"Give me a twirl!" his baby sister, Heather, ordered.

Ray obediently turned around slowly, feeling very foolish.

"What do you think, Cass?" Heather asked Cass Golde, one of her university pals that she had brought along.

Cass gave Ray an appraising and critical look and finally said "He looks adorable! You'd better take care of him, Heather, cos the women are going to eat him alive dressed like that!"

The two girls giggled.

Ray's face went a deep shade of red. What on earth had made him agree to this humiliation.

He had been offered an admin assistant's job at Al La Mode, a male clothing company owned by his mother. He had initially turned it down for two reasons. Firstly, he intended to resume the criminal activities he had gone to prison for, only this time he would make sure that he wasn't caught! Second, it had been a condition of the job that he wore a skirt, blouse and high heels, just like all of the other males who worked at Al La Mode.

He had been encouraged to re-consider his decision by his mate of long-standing, Doug, who owed money to a man who was known to break limbs even for trivial debts. Doug's idea for getting their hands on some instant cash had been for Ray to infiltrate Al La Mode for as short a time as possible, obtain all the information needed about the security of the place and then rob the safe. Doug could repay his debts and Ray would get a wedge of money to start over somewhere else.

Reluctantly, Ray had sought out his little sister, Emma, who had offered him the job, and told her he had changed his mind. He spun her a load of nonsense about trying to go straight and help the family and all that tosh and Emma had bought it.

But then Ray had to fulfil his part of the deal. He would have to wear a skirt and everything else to work at Al La Mode. This meant a shopping trip to Jessica's, the city's biggest department store. Emma was busy with work, so she drafted Heather (who drafted Cass) to accompany Ray to buy himself a new wardrobe.

And that was why Ray McCrae, aged twenty eight and a former hoodlum, was standing in the menswear department wearing a flowery frock that clung to the contours of his body to show off his bottom and his hips to best advantage.

He also wore a pair of black stockings on his slender legs and a pair of white high heels that he could barely walk in without threatening to topple over into an untidy heap.

Ray didn't even want to think about what he wore under the frock. He was actually wearing a bra! Not a woman's one stuffed with falsies, but a boy-bra. This consisted of a thin strip of lace with, straps, hooks and adhesives to hold it in place on Ray's upper torso, to preserve his modesty.

The point of the boy-bra, Ray quickly discovered, was not to make him appear to be a woman, but to make it obvious that he was a man who was undergoing the process of being feminised.

Ray also wore a thong with a pink heart shaped front panel and much glitter. Wearing it hurt like hell!

Ray groaned when he saw a store assistant wheeling up a rack of dresses.

"So, Cass. My brother has his first dress!" cooed Heather "Isn't that so sweet?"

Cass took another dress off the rack and held it up to Ray, whose head was bowed in shame "Oh, yes! Let's see what he looks like in this one!".

The girls made him try on about a dozen dresses before deciding on the two they would buy. Ray also had to try on shoes, skirts, blouses and tops. At the end of it, he was too exhausted to even feel the humiliation as keenly as he had two hours before. Heather and Cass were of course loving every moment.

Ray lumbered into the cubicle, eager to resume his normal, masculine garb.

His clothes were gone!

"Heather! Where are my clothes?" he demanded.

"You're wearing them!"

"I'm not wearing these outside! I want my old clothes. The ones I came in wearing!"

"You'll have to go out in the buff then. Those....rags you were wearing...I won't dignify them by calling them clothes....have been taken away to be burnt!"

Ray couldn't believe how stupid he had been. Whilst he had been trying on dresses, his sister had got one over on him and got rid of the only masculine clothes he had.

"Heather" he pleaded "I can't go outside in a dress! You have to get those clothes back!"

"Too late, I'm afraid" Heather said, without much regret or sincerity "Look, bro, you have a body that was just made to wear a dress!"

Later, whilst the girls went off to pay for Ray's purchases with Mum's platinum store card, Ray sat quietly with his head in his hands. Having to wear dresses! He felt utterly ridiculous and emasculated.

Nearby, he could hear two women having a conversation. One women, clothed in a tailored suit, was examining an evening gown.

"This one will do!" she exclaimed, taking it from the rack "Stephen will look quite ravishing in this little number!"

Her companion, also in a tailored suit, said "I quite agree with you, Cynthia! It will show off his figure to perfection".

Cynthia sniggered "He's going to hate this dress! Stephen's never come to terms with having to wear dresses! He really resents it!"

The two women laughed together "I can't wait to get home and see his face when I show him his new dress! His face crumples and he looks like he's about to burst into tears! He looks so pathetic and helpless"

Alix spoke next "My Geoffrey is very different from your husband. I can't get over the change in him. He used to be such a masculine man. Played football and cricket. But put him into a dress and he becomes all pliant and submissive! He keeps house for me beautifully, simply adores his frills and positively loves it when I order him around and chastise him. He is the perfect little wifey!"

The two women laughed. "We're so cruel to them, aren't we?". The two women moved out of earshot.

Ray felt rage against the two women and sadness for his gender. Men being put into dresses for the amusement of women! What had things come to?

Then he remembered that he was now in the same predicament. When Heather and Cass returned, they would take him home and show him off in all his feminine finery to his other female relatives.

In less than a generation, women had so dominated men that it was the men who now had to look pretty for and be submissive towards women.

Ray felt great shame.

Ray had to suffer the ordeal of leaving the store dressed as he was. He could barely walk in his heels and the girls had to help him down stairs and escalators. He had to expose himself, dressed in a flowery frock and stockings, to others. He was surprised and relieved to find that his appearance hardly raised an eyebrow.

Heather drove them home. Ray's purchases were taken to his room. Ray, his head down, went into dine with his mother, sisters and Aunt, in his frock. The women applauded him politely and offered him compliments.

Embarressed beyond endurance, Ray ate quickly and retreated to his room.

There was a surprise, for Ray's brother, Eddie called to see him. Ray had not been close to his younger brother. Eddie had lacked the street smarts and lack of morality needed to be part of their father's operation and so he had been left out.

Eddie had got a regular job, he had married and he had children. Last Ray had heard, he worked as a waiter in a local restaurant. Eddie was a loser in Ray's eyes.

Ray was stunned by his brother's appearance. He was dressed as a waitress, in a very short skirt, stockings and high heels and a frilled apron. His hair was long and had been coloured and styled in a very feminine way. Eddie was fully made up and had french manicured nails.

Eddie was short and slim and had delicate features. He would have made a perfect woman, Ray thought.

But then, dressed as he was now, Ray could hardly talk.

For a while, the brothers exchanged news. Ray had little, but Eddie went on about how well his daughters were doing, how his wife had earned yet another promotion at work and gushing praise upon his mother and sisters.

Then Eddie noticed the bags from Jessica's and pulled out a lacy thong. Ray blushed at the thought of having to wear the little strip of femininity.

Eddie twanged the thong playfully "Nice underwear, bro!" Then he looked at Ray "Heather tells me this is your first time in a dress, right?"

Ray reluctantly nodded. He felt so embarressed and ashamed.

"You'll feel shame now. I did when my Jennifer bought me my first dress and told me to wear it for her. But, I got used to it and you will too! Hell, someday you'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about".

Ray didn't think he'd ever get used to having to dress like a woman. It went against all of his instincts.

Eddie left him. Ray looked around his boudoir, at his new high heeled shoes, lingerie and clothes, and at his dress. Everywhere he looked, he was reminded of his feminine existence and his status as a member of the weaker sex. Flowers, frills, ribbons, lace seemed to be everywhere, suffocating him, sapping his natural masculinity.

Ray put on his new silk nightdress, with its lace trimmings and pink ribbons. A part of him, a very small part, admired its prettiness, but his masculine core felt nothing but shame.

The Prodigal Son - 2028 Part 2 - A Plea for Help

Ray sat staring out of the window.

“Ray, are you listening to me?” cut in an impatient female voice. It was that of Jenny, his Probation Officer.

Ray had been released from prison early on parole, but one of the conditions of his parole was that he had to see his Probation Officer once a fortnight.

And another was that he had to make some effort to find regular employment.

Ray switched his gaze from the view of a garden to his Probation Officer. Jenny Garret was a few years older than him and was overweight. But she was highly competent and used to dealing with people like Ray.

“Yep, I’m listening” Ray replied.

Jenny sighed “To recap, you’ve got no formal educational qualifications and no employment history. So, your options are that you go to college and get some qualifications or you get a job. You’ve told me you won’t consider going back to college, it’s not your thing. Fine. That leaves finding a job suited to your talents. I’m afraid that, without qualifications or experience and having a criminal record, the jobs on offer are going to be severely limited. Blue collar, menial and low paid. Something like a porter, a janitor or manual work on a building site. Work along those lines”.

Ray nodded. He had no intention of becoming any of the things that Jenny suggested. He would have to make job applications, but he would make sure he botched the interview, if he was ever offered one. He had other plans.

“Have you thought about what you’re going to wear if you get invited to an interview?”

That’s not going to happen, if I’ve anything to do with it thought Ray.

“Relax, I’ve got it covered” Ray replied with a smile.

He left Jenny, took the tram and got off at the nearest stop to Al La Mode. Emma had invited him to call in and see the company that she and their mother had built up.

Al La Mode was on the outskirts of the city and occupied enough space for an office, a warehouse, car parking space for its employees and garden and landscaping space for asthetics. Ray walked up to the security cabin and gained a visitor’s pass once Emma had confirmed that he was entitled to enter the site.

Emma came to collect him in her car and drove him up to the office complex. She showed him around. Ray noted that all of the male employees were in junior positions, such as porters or secretaries and that the women held the more senior jobs. The male secretaries were skirted and in high heels and stockings. The porters wore some kind of frock and thick stockings.

Emma explained that Al La Mode designed and sold mens’ clothing. The clothes were manufactured elsewhere and delivered to the warehouse for distribution. Ray saw male dummies around wearing, of course, a dress or other feminine clothing. Ray didn’t know where to put his face.

Emma told him that the business turnover was over a hundred million a year and that it was extremely profitable. Emma herself was well on the way to being a millionairess in her own right by the time she turned thirty.

Ray stared in disbelief at his younger sister. She already had wealth at her disposal that he could only dream of. But there was something else on his mind.

“Emma, I haven’t seen Dad or heard much about him since I got home. It’s almost like he doesn’t exist!”

Emma became quiet and grave and ran her hand through her hair nervously. Finally, she said “Dad works here. You won’t see him at the house because he doesn’t live there. He rents a place of his own. He and mum are pretty much finished”.


“Yes. Mum owns this company. Not only that, she lives for this company. It’s like her baby. She’s outgrown Dad. They’re still married on paper but that’s all. They don’t even talk to each other any more”.

“But….if he helps mum run the company, surely they have to talk to each other”.

Emma stifled a laugh “He doesn’t help mum run the company! Dad was an habitual criminal, and not a particularly successful one. Mum has all of the business savvy in this family”.

Ray was confused “If he doesn’t help run the company, then what does he do here then?”

“You can ask him yourself. He’s just over there”.

Emma was pointing to a figure that Ray had vaguely noticed out of the corner of his eye as he had been talking to Emma. He had assumed that it had been one of the office cleaners, as "she" had been wearing a dress, a pair of stockings and a tabard and "she" was wielding a mop.

Now that he looked closer, he realized with a horrible shudder that the “cleaning lady” was in fact his father. His face, devoid of make up, was a picture of misery. His dress was grubby and his stockings were wrinkled. He was Mrs Mop personified.

Ray turned back to Emma “What have you done to him?”

‘Gave him a job. An income. Believe me when I say that I had to move heaven and earth to get Mum to allow me to give him this job!”

“But Dad owned businesses! What happened to them all?”

“Dad ran criminal enterprises and all of his income had been derived from the proceeds of crime. The courts took it all when he was sentenced. When he came out of prison, he had nothing. Mum was all for divorcing him, but our solicitor told us that if she did that she would have to give him some of her fortune and she would not do that. So, she’ll never divorce him. Just employ him in the lowest capacity possible to keep an eye on him”.

Ray stared at his father as he pushed the mop about listlessly. He had once been a player in the criminal fraternity, albeit a very minor one, and Ray had looked up to him. Now, he was a nobody. Ray couldn’t think of a thing to say to him.

Emma patted him on the arm “You and Dad can talk later, if you want. Come along to my office, I’ve got a proposition for you”.

Ray followed her along gleaming corridors and into a large office. A boy secretary was in a much smaller outer office taking calls and typing furiously. He acknowledged his boss and her visitor with a nod.

Ray wondered what the proposition was. Maybe he could become a director of this company and get and office and a secretary, although he would want a woman as his assistant, not some nancy boy.

Emma invited him to sit down opposite her as she took her place behind the massive desk.
“Ray, Mum and I have been thinking…’ve had a bad start in life, mainly thanks to Dad leading you astray. We would really like to help you try and make something of yourself. We want you to come and work here!”.

“Would I get an office like this? And a secretary?” Ray asked.

“Whoa! Hold on, Ray, I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here! We’re offering you an entry level job, not a directorship”.

“An entry level job? But I’m your brother, not some normal employee!”.

Emma’s expression became grave “Ray, you have no qualifications, experience or any special talents that would help this business. So you’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up. If you show promise, we’ll promote you. At least you’ll have a job and an income”.

Ray was sullen, disappointed by the offer “What did you have in mind?”

“You can start as one of our admin team. It’ll be very basic stuff, I’m afraid. Filing and photocopying and maybe typing some letters. If you take to it, we can think about a more advanced role for you. If not, we'll try and find you something else more suitable".

Ray thought it over. It was a job, he supposed, but not much of one. At least it would get Jenny off his back about job hunting. He was about to tentatively accept, when Emma spoke again.

“Of course, if you accepted the position, Al La Mode have a strict dress code here. You would have to wear a blouse and skirt. I’m sorry, Ray, but we can’t make exceptions, even for the boss’s son! I hope you understand”.

Ray had to suppress his rage. When he felt sufficiently in control of himself, he said “Thanks for the offer, Emma, but I’m not interested. I have something else lined up”.

I am not wearing a skirt!

Ray was on his way home went he got a call from an old mate of his, Doug. He and Doug had inseperable tearaways at school and then Doug had worked for Ray’s father. He had been in and out of prison too. It was good to hear from him. They arranged to meet up in the Duck and Ferret in the working class district of the city.

It was only a few stops away on the tram and Ray was standing outside the soot begrimed pub within half an hour. Ray pushed open the worn doors and entered the hostelry.

The Duck and Ferret was a typical working class pub, with bare floorboards, scratched tables and a lot of men sitting or standing around drinking beer. The men in this pub, at least, were still dressed as men. It seemed that male feminization was only applied to the upper and middle classes, the classes who held the power and wealth in society.

The bar boy was the exception. Either through choice or coercion, he wore a denim mini-skirt over a pair of jeans, but that was his only concession to femininity. He was otherwise dressed as a normal boy.

Doug, and a pint, were waiting for him at a nearby table.

Ray was taken aback at the sight of his old friend. Time had not been kind to him. Although he was the same age as Ray, he was putting on weight, his hair was already showing flecks of grey and his complexion looked unhealthy.

They greeted each other as old comrades and swapped accounts of their lives after the last time they had seen each other, over ten years ago. Doug, like Ray, had spent most of that time behind bars. They discussed how much society had changed in those ten years.

“The world’s gone mad!” said Doug bitterly “Women run everything and men have to run around after them in frocks and high heels! You wouldn’t catch me in that get up, I can tell you, mate. I’m a man’s man to my core!”

Ray agreed. He told him about the job offer he had received from his sister. Ray noticed that Doug perked up at this and suddenly became absorbed in what Ray had to say. When Ray finished his account, saying that there was no way he was wearing a skirt, Doug half heartedly agreed with him “Too right, mate. Skirts are for women!”

Ray was enjoying himself for the first time since he had left prison. Doug was a comfortable reminder of the good old days. More hours passed and by now both men were well lubricated with alcohol and in a good mood.

With the next pint, though, Doug became more serious “Ray, mate…..I’m gonna come clean and confess that I’m in a bit of trouble and need your help”.

“Trouble? What kind of trouble?” Ray asked him.

Doug winced and lowered his voice so that the punters on a nearby table couldn't overhear “Actually, I’m in big trouble. You see, I like the casinos. A little too much for my own good. I lost a pile of money and borrowed more off that Vince Reardon. You remember Vince don’t you?”

Ray remembered Vince Reardon alright. The criminal world’s biggest moneylender and extortioner. And most unforgiving of defaulters. People who failed to keep up with their repayments ended up in hospital. Or worse.

Doug ploughed on “Anyway, I thought my losing streak had to come to an end and so….I gambled all of the money Vince lent me and lost it all. I’m potless. If I don’t find two grand by next month I’ll be eating hospital food!"

Ray shrugged “Sorry, mate. I’d help if I could, but I’m skint too”.

Doug shook his head “I know that. But…..if we could rob that place your mother owns, we’ll have enough money to repay Vince and for you to start over somewhere else, if you want to”.

Ray could see where this was going and he didn’t like it “I don’t know. Robbing my own family…”

Doug grabbed “Please! I’m in dire straits here mate! Your mum’s rich, she won’t miss a few grand! ”

“Even if I agreed, we don’t know anything about the premises, like where the safe is, what security they have…” Ray began.

“But that’s the beauty of it!” exclaimed Ray “You’ve just been offered a job there. You can get inside and find all those things out. Then, we can disable the security, get inside and empty the safe”.

“I turned the job down, remember”.

“Oh, come on, this is your family! Just tell them you’ve changed your mind!”

“But I’ll have to wear a skirt to work there! I’m not doing that!”

Doug thought about this “It’ll only be for a few weeks. Once we rob the place and split the money, you can go where you like and wear what you like. I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t desperate!”

Doug gave him a pleading look.

Ray thought about what he was being asked to do. Frankly, he was more disturbed by having to wear a skirt than the idea of stealing from his own family. But it would only be for a few weeks and he would have a load of money of his own to start over somewhere else. He would be back in the game in the criminal fraternity.

He sighed and said “OK. Let’s do this!”, wondering exactly what he was letting himself in for!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Prodigal Son - 2028 - Part 1 - A New World

Ray walked out of the gates into a ray of sunshine and smiled.

At last! I'm free!

Ray Macrae, now aged 28, had just finished a ten year prison sentence for multiple charges of being an accessory to money laundering, extortion and threatening with menaces. Now he was a free man.

His sister, Emma, was waiting for him in her car just across the round. The motor was running. Ray crossed the road. The car was a brand new mercedes, gleaming in the sun.

Ray opened the passenger door and got in. Emma, his kid sister who had been a mini-skirted teenager the last time he had seen her, was of course older. But she looked good. She was an attractive woman who chose to wear her brown hair short and who wore a tailored trouser suit. She didn't wear any make up or jewellery, but then she didn't need to, Ray thought.

Ray looked around the car and took in its luxurious upholsetery and top of the range features "Nice car. Is this Dad's?"

Emma laughed "No! It's mine! I've only had it a week". Emma released the handbrake and manoevured the car onto the road.

Ray was confused. His sister was only....he tried to remember how old she must be by now and came up with an age of twenty-five. And she drove a car like this?

"So, Emma. What is it you do for a living?" he asked, casually.

"I work for Mum" she said "I'm her right hand at Al A Mode Fashions. Finance & Human Resources Director".

"Oh, right". Ray tried to sound disinterested, but his mind was awhirl with all sorts of thoughts. He had heard from his brother, his main visitor when he had been in prison, that his Mum had set up some kind of business. But he had assumed it had been really small scale, just enough to make ends meet until he and his father were released from prison to bring in the cash. But the car and his sister's tailored suit indicated that Al A Mode must be seriously successful. Ray wondered just how successful and if he could get piece of the action. He WAS the eldest son after all.

Ray was curious about his father. His father, Ray Snr, had been released from jail a year earlier than himself. What was he doing right now? He had been banking on teaming up with his father again and resuming their old ways of conning innocents out of money.

"How's Dad doing?" Ray asked his sister, after she had negotiated a tricky roundabout.

Emma shrugged "He's OK. Mum's looking forward to seeing you. And Eddie and Heather. Mum's done really well. You'd be really proud of her".

"Ok" said Ray. He was disturbed by his sister's dismissal of his enquiry about Dad. Dad was the head of the family and all she could go on about was Mum and how well she was doing.

Emma gave him a long look "You'll find that a lot has changed in the last ten years. A hell of a lot!".

Ray wondered what she meant by that.

Emma drove the top of the range car through the city, expertly weaving her way through the busy traffic. Ray noted that they were heading towards the south of the city, where the wealthiest citizens tended to congregate and not to the working class district where the family had once lived.

Finally, Emma steered the car up a long drive and into a double garage where a red sports car was already parked. Ray caught a glimpse of a large modern house. Was this where the family now lived?

Emma parked up and gestured for Ray to get out of the car. Ray followed her from the garage and into the house proper. Ray noted that there was a large garden and an indoor swimming pool at the rear of the house.

Emma led him through large spacious rooms that were tastefully decorated and furnished with expensive furniture.

Ray gawped in wonder at the luxury and splendour of the house. If his father owned all of this then he had landed on his feet, he decided. The future was suddenly looking brighter.

Emma hesitated outside an oak panelled door and stood aside to let Ray precede her "Go on, they're waiting for you" she whispered and then added "welcome home!"

Ray's mind was suddenly filled with many thoughts and emotions. He had dreamt of this moment for years, although he had not thought to be experiencing this moment in such opulent surroundings. He would be seeing his father, his brother, his mother and his baby sister again!

He opened the heavy oak panelled door and entered a huge room dominated by a large fireplace where a roaring fire was blazing. A trio of female voices chorused "Welcome home!"

To his surprise, and disappointment, there was only his mother, Heather, his baby sister, and another woman he could not place at first, but after some thought recalled that it must be his Aunt Joan, his mother's sister. His father and brother were conspicuously absent.

For the first few moments, Ray was swamped by the three females as they hugged him and planted kisses on him and offered effusive comments on how well he looked.

Actually, compared to the four woman in front of him, he looked and felt shabby. He wore jeans and a T-Shirt that had been given to him by the prison to replace the original clothes he had been wearing ten years ago when he had entered the prison system.

His mother was wearing a tailoured red trouser suit that looked like it had just come off a catwalk, his Aunt was wearing a brown trouser suit that was clearly new and Heather wore designer jeans and a denim shirt.

Ray noted for the first time the lack of any make up or jewellery on any of the women and that, without exception, they wore their hair cropped short. They looked mannish. Especially his mother.

There was something else about them too. An air of assurance and confidence. They were in control of their environment and of their world. After making some perfunctory enquiries about Ray's health and his plans, the four women (for Emma had joined them) sipped from glasses of wine and talked business, about this Al La Mode that his mother and sister ran.

Ray sidled up to Heather, who gave him a smile "Hi Bro!"

"Hi Heather". It was confusing,as the last time he had seen Heather, she had still been a little girl in a frock and with her hair in bunches, and now she was this mannish woman creature.

"Heather, where are Dad and Eddie?"

"Oh, they're out working" said Heather "Come on in and mingle! You look as nervous as hell!"

Ray was relieved to hear that his father and brother were out working. If he knew his father (and he knew him better than most), he would be trying to pull another con or a deal. His brother Eddie was too dull to work a con but he probably had a regular job somewhere.

He spoke to Heather for a while and was stunned to learn that she had done brilliantly in the intervening ten years. His baby sister was a student at Cambridge University, no less, studying medicine. She intended to be a top surgeon one day and, listening to her, her voice filled with passion and energy, he had no doubt that she would achieve that goal.

He probed her to get more information about his father, but Heather just shrugged and said "Dad's OK". Ray was getting frustrated, That was all he was getting about his Dad. There was endless chatter about his mother and sisters, but nothing about his Dad.

The reunion was interupted by, to Ray, a strange sight. A woman, dressed in a butler's uniform entered to room and announced "Ladies and Gentlemen! Dinner is served!

What the hell was going on here?

“Thank you, Higgins” said Ray’s Mother. She turned around to her companions “Shall we dine, Ladies?”

Ray realized with a start that she was including him in her invitation. I’m no lady! He thought. The real ladies had a little titter at his expense "Looks like you're an honorary lady for the evening!" Heather joked "Miss Ray Mccrae! Kinda suits you!" she took one of his hands in hers and said "Come along, Lady Ray, it's time to dine!"

The other women tittered again "Oh, Heather, you're such a witty girl!"

Ray felt uncomfortable. He felt awkward and lacking in confidence amongst these successful females. And being given feminine titles didn't exactly stroke his male ego either.

He followed the ladies into a dining room with exquisitely crafted furniture. Everything gleamed with care. Uniformed maids stood ready to serve them from hostess trollies.

The diners sat down and were treated to three course menu that a five star restaurant would have been proud to have coming out of its kitchen. Ray had never eaten so well in his life. He had to suppress the urge to belch.

The women around the table talked amongst themselves. They asked Heather how her studies were going, Mother and Emma talked shop and Aunt Joan, who Ray remembered had been a housewife just like his own Mother had been before he and Dad had been sent down, had gone back to college and re-trained as an accountant. She was the company accountant for Al La Mode, and did the books for several other large companies too.

Ray felt isolated and inadequate. He found himself lost for any conversation. What could he have to say to these highly successful women that they would be interested in?

He was also troubled by the maids. There was something not quite right about them, he decided. They looked like maids and acted like maids, but little gestures and movements weren’t quite right. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

Once the meal was over, Mother, seated at the head of the table said “Ladies, shall we withdraw to the drawing room ?” The other women present nodded their assent. Ray wondered if the invitation included him again.

“Ray” said his Mother “Wait here and Higgins will show you to your bedroom shortly”.

Ray was thinking, hang on a moment, in those old movies he watched endlessly in prison, wasn’t it the men who retreated to the drawing room and left the ladies alone?

He was sensing something was very wrong with this household. Still, this was where he would be living, for the time being at least, and so he was not in much position to object to anything he thought was wrong.

The women departed without sparing him another glance. They were too engrossed in their conversations about their wonderful, successful world to give him more than a polite wave goodbye.

Ray waited, whilst all around him, the maids cleared away the debris of the meal. Ray poured himself another glass of wine and gulped it down. It was a fine wine they served here, he had to admit.

Presently, Higgins, the woman butler, materialized behind him and gave him a light tap on the shoulder. Ray almost jumped out of his skin as the woman had entered the room so quietly that he hadn’t even noticed her.

Higgins was an older woman. Not much younger than his own mother, but Ray had to admit that she looked and acted the part of a butler to perfection.

“Would sir like to be taken to his room?” Higgins asked him in a deferential tone.

“Yes” Ray answered simply. He was unused to having servants around him and he was not sure how to deal with them.

“Very good, sir. If you would follow me, please”.

Ray got up and followed the butler up a flight of stairs. The cream walls were studded with family portraits. Not photographs, but actual painted portraits. One showed a picture of his mother seated at her desk at Al La Mode, in complete command and control. Another showed Heather accepting a school prize and shaking the hand of the headmistress.

Ray noted that none of the portraits featured either his father or his brother. The portraits celebrated the successes of the women of the family.

Ray suddenly felt depressed, realizing that he had done absolutely nothing noteworthy in his life. He had been lazy at school and had dropped out and went straight into a life of crime. Then he had gone to prison and that, Ray had to conclude, was a fair summing up of his twenty eight years on this planet.

Higgins escorted Ray down a corridor featuring more portraits of the ladies of the household and stopped outside an oak paneled door. She opened the door and let it swing open before ushering Ray inside.

Ray found himself in a large room. It had a double bed, a dresser, a table and a small sofa. Bathroom facilities were ensuite and there was a large screen television fixed to a wall. It was more than adequate for Ray’s needs, but he was troubled by a few of its features.

The décor was a light shade of pink and the furniture was white. The bed had a lace canopy, with lacy curtains and white satin sheets and pillows. Most disturbing of all was the presence of a little white vanity table with a heart shaped mirror.

This was a woman’s bedroom! A boudoir!

Ray felt like asking to be put in another room, but stopped himself. He had just dined like a king and was being put up at no expense into a room that was, for all of its feminine trappings, far better than a prison cell. Hell, it was far better than his old bedroom! He would look and feel rude to raise any objections.

Higgins took him through the features. There was a telephone he could use to request maid service or order meals should he wish to dine in his room. Higgins showed him to use the remote control for the television. It had hundreds of channels. Higgins showed him the bathroom facilities. A heart shaped whirlpool bath, a bidet, a toilet and a large sink. The walls were mirrors. There was a fluffy white dressing gown that Ray could use and several towels. If he ran out, all he had to do was pick up the phone and a maid would bring him more.

Higgins opened up the dresser to reveal some satin pyjamas and suggested that sir might wish to wear them until he went shopping once he had settled in. Ray nodded but was determined not to wear satin PJ’s in shades of pink and purple. They were clearly ladies’ pyjamas!

Higgins left him alone, but bade him to pick up the phone if he needed anything at all. Anything. It would be no trouble at all, she assured him.

Ray put on a sports channel and flicked through the many channels. Frowning, he noted that nearly all of the channels were devoted to women’s sports. It took him almost an hour of channel hopping until he came to “Men’s Football”. He watched a match between Manchester United and Liverpool.

He was startled by what he saw. The players looked scruffy and were wearing average kit. There was very little advertising hoardings, as one would expect from a premiership side. And the stands were virtually empty. When he had gone inside, the two teams he was watching now were the top football teams in the UK, in the world even. Now they looked like a Sunday pub side.

He turned the TV off. It was too painful to watch. Two former giants so reduced in status. He washed and stripped to his underwear and went to bed.

Something was not right here. Not just with his family, but with the world in general.

When he got up the next day, at just after ten am, it was to find that his mother, Emma and Aunt Joan had already breakfasted and left for work. Heather had also had her breakfast, Higgins informed him, and headed off into town to meet up with some of her friends from university to work on a project.

Ray dined alone. When he had finished, Higgins approached him and handed him an envelope.
“The mistress asked me to give this to you, sir. It contains a door key for this house, a mobile phone for your personal use, a store card for Jessica’s Department Store and some spending money”.

Ray thanked her and opened the envelope. As Higgins had said it contained a shiny gold key and a mobile phone in a light shade of pink. Must be one of Emma’s or Heather’s castoffs, he guessed. He also found one hundred pounds in notes. There was a handwritten note from his mother inside which read “Ray, here is some spending money and a store card for the city’s biggest department store. Why not go out and buy some new clothes? See you later, Love Mum”.

Ray warmed to the suggestion. It was better than hanging around in his room or the house. In truth, he was still uncomfortable with having servants around. It was like having no privacy. He was also disturbed by the overly feminine boudoir he had to occupy.

When he told Higgins he was going out, Higgins told him about the bus and tram routes and timetables and asked if he would be back in time for lunch. Ray shook his head. He intended to spend the day in the city, away from this strange house and its weird set up, to normality.

He ventured out of the house and went to the tram stop. He struggled to use the ticket machine and a young woman, dressed in a trouser suit similar to the ones worn by the women in his own family and carrying a smart briefcase, who was waiting behind him, became so exasperated by the wait that she gestured for him to give her the money. Dumbly, Ray handed it over and the woman proceeded to show him how to use the machine. She spoke to him slowly and in a loud tone as if he was a small child or mentally retarded. She handed him his ticket and his change and then , with brisk efficiently purchased her own ticket and marched off, swinging her briefcase as she walked and muttering under her breath. Ray guessed it was about him and that it was not complimentary.

He had an urge to chase after the woman and put her in her place. He could duff her up easily. For all her confidence and swagger, she was a tiny thing. He suppressed the urge. The last he needed to have the police sniffing around after him.

The tram arrived and Ray climbed aboard and managed to find a seat next to two young women similar to the one who had bought his ticket for him. They were reading magazines. Women’s glossies, Ray assumed. But he was wrong. One of the women was reading a sports magazine that featured only female athletes and the other was reading a magazine about computers and other technology entitled “Girls’ Gadgets Weekly”. Yet another woman sitting opposite him was reading a current affairs magazine which was running a feature called “Men: Do we really need them anymore?”

Ray glanced around the carriage. Some of the women present were dressed in the trouser suits and the rest were dressed in skirts, dresses and high heels. There seemed to be a division between one set of women and another set. As far as Ray could see, he was the only man in the carriage.Then he spotted a woman halfway down the carriage, holding the hand of another woman. Then she bent her head forward to kiss her. At first Ray assumed they were lesbian lovers , but the more he studied the figure who was wearing a blue frock, matching high heels and whose face was made up, the realization sunk in. The figure in feminine clothes was a man! He could see that now.

There was a faint trace of beard growth underneath the foundation. His legs and arms were too large and muscular and there were no curves in his body. He was also flat chested. Ray stared at him in disbelief. He looked at the other “women” who were wearing skirts and frocks and could see that they too were no ladies, but men in drag!

And, he realized, those maids who had served him, were also males! He had known that there had been something about their mannerisms and the way they moved which didn’t quite add up and had been pondering it all day. Now he knew!

Ray had to stop himself from throwing up. Shaking, he tried to get his head around what he had found out.

He noticed that nobody thought that the men in drag were unusual or out of place. If anything, he was the one who was drawing stares and attention. He was the only male present who was wearing traditional garb for a male. The women around him sneered and sniffed in disapproval at him and his clothes. He felt isolated and uncomfortable at the hostile stares he was receiving.
Ray was grateful when the tram arrived in the city centre and he could depart.

His first action was to find the nearest pub. He needed a drink. Luckily, a suitable hostelry was nearby and he went in and ordered a large whiskey, which he downed in one. He ordered another, then realized that the “bar maid”, who was wearing a micro-skirt, a skimpy top and a pair of stilettos, and very little else, was another guy. Ray could even see that the barman wore a pink glittery thong under his skirt.

He retreated to the mens’ toilets and threw up. He sat in the cubicle for a few minutes before leaving. The urge for a drink had suddenly evaporated.

He wandered in a kind of trance through the main thoroughfare of the city. Everywhere he looked he saw women in those trouser suit things that seemed to be a uniform for the adults of that gender, girls in jeans and T-shirts and trainers. Every male he saw was wearing a frock or a skirt and top combo, with high heels and all of the traditional accoutrements of femininity.

Even the billboards and hoardings showed cross-dressed males advertising cosmetics, perfumes, lingerie and even bras for the male of the species. There was one hoarding showing a bikini clad boy, his hair styled in corkscrew curls and his delicate features fully made up, pouting as he lay across the bonnet of a sports car. The advertising was clearly using feminized male sexuality to sell products to women!

Ray had to find a place and sit down. This was a fricking nightmare! In the ten years since he had been shut away from the world, women had taken over and feminized their men! And he, Ray, once a force to be feared and respected, was now a member of the weaker, prettier, more feminine sex!

He had to pull himself together, for a pair of policewomen could be seen in the distance, slowly walking in his direction. Ray had done nothing wrong (not yet anyway!), but he knew that, dressed as he was, he was getting more attention than he needed.

He got up and walked a short distance, trying to remain inconspicuous, until he saw the impressive façade of Jessica’s, the department store. He looked back to see that the two police officers had quickened their stride. They seemed to be tailing him. In what he was wearing now, he stood out like a giant neon sign.

He dived through the revolving doors that led into the city’s most exclusive department store.
It was a world of gleaming glass counters displaying the most expensive commodities that the world had to offer. Ray walked through the cosmetics and perfumery department and was approached by elegantly dressed young males (skirted and made up of course) inviting him to try a lipstick or a scent. Ray waved off all comers angrily. What do they think I am, a poofter? Startled, the prettified young men backed off.

He got the lift and pressing the button for the second floor for Menswear. Ray noticed that the floor also held the store’s range of lingerie and he guessed that this department, once exclusive to women, was now for men!

He was not alone in the lift. There was a gaggle of young men dressed in mini-skirts, heels and tops that showed large expanses of flesh. Their faces were plastered with make up and they carried handbags. They even behaved just like girls, making fluttery movements with their hands and simpering. They must have been in their late teens, Ray thought. Looking at the feminized creatures, he thought, these creatures represent the future of masculinity!

He walked out of the lift, ignoring the boys behind him, into Menswear.

Menswear it might have been, but it was like no male attire that Ray had ever seen before. There were racks of dresses, blouses, tops and skirts. Male dummies were dotted throughout the floor and wore frocks or skirts.

A young man in a smart tailored skirt and a silk blouse approached him. His make up was tasteful and he wore his long blonde hair in a bob. He actually looked quite pretty!
“How may I help you today, sir?” the assistant asked.

Ray had to wrench his mind away from the man’s pretty features. With shock, he realized that he had been checking the young man out, like he was a woman.

Ray said “I need some new clothes”.

The assistant simpered and smiled “Of course, sir. What did you have in mind?”

“Trousers. Let me see some of those”.

The young man looked to be at a loss and shook his head “I’m very sorry, sir, but our store no longer stocks trousers for men. It’s company policy”.

Ray began to get angry “Are you telling me that in this whole store you don’t have a single pair of trousers? What am I supposed to wear then?”

The assistant trembled “Well, sir, as you can see, our range of clothing for men includes dresses, skirts and elegant tops. You have a fine figure, so I think a size fourteen dress would suit you very well! Why not try one on?”

Ray exploded “What do you think I am? A flaming transvestite? You’re looking for a smack, pal!”

He was about to raise his fist when a female voice broke in “Is there a problem here, Matthew?”

A young woman wearing the uniform of a member of the store’s security force had appeared, seemingly from nowhere.

Matthew was trembling “Oh, thank goodness, Melissa! This customer is threatening me!” Matthew positioned himself behind the diminutive security officer, seeking her protection.

Melissa’s eyes narrowed as she took in Ray’s appearance and she frowned “You will have to leave, sir. I’ll escort you to the exit”.

Ray decided to back off. He could probably take out both the tiny guard and the pretty boy with a single punch, but then he’d be in big trouble. “There’s no need, I’m going!”

“I insist”. To Ray’s surprise, she seized his arm. She was a lot stronger than she looked, Ray discovered. Good thing he had not tried anything. The girl steered him to the escalators, took him to the exit and gave him a gentle push “Our store takes a very dim view of customers who are threatening towards our staff, sir. I would suggest that you do not return. We don’t want your kind here!”

The girl followed Ray out of the store and watched him for several minutes as he walked away, to make sure he didn’t try to double back. Ray, upset at his ejection by a mere girl, thought angrily I don’t want to shop there anyway. Jessica’s: a store that turns men into faggots!

But Ray’s quest to find traditional male clothing was no more successful anywhere else. He tried a smaller department store, a mainstream men’s outfitters and a bargain basement store. He even considered the possibility of wearing women’s trousers but, after looking at the cut of them, he worked out that he would look odd in them.

Defeated in his quest to find suitable clothes for himself, Ray walked into one of the seamier districts of the city. Ray hadn’t had sex in over ten years and he felt the sudden urge to seek out female company. A real woman in a skirt and heels, not the man-women who had taken over.

He entered a street full of shabby buildings. From his past, he recalled that there were strip clubs and that some prostitutes hung around looking for clients. The strip clubs and prostitutes were still there, but things were not the same as they had been before.

The punters for the strip clubs were now women and the talent was pretty young men. The prostitutes were likewise young men in micro skirts and stiletto heels, heavily made up. Ray felt the urge to be sick again at the sight of boys acting out the roles of strippers and prostitutes. This was the ultimate degradation of his gender. Ray fled.

By now, it was starting to get late. Ray didn’t feel like returning home. He went to a pub and began drinking. He downed several pints. He returned to his table with another and began gulping some of it down when two lovely women came into his vision.

They were dressed in those trouser suit things and had short hair, but they were still attractive to a red blooded male like Ray.

“May we join you?” one of the girls asked.

“Be my guest” said Ray. The girls put their drinks in the table and took off their coats. They were well dressed and the coats looked quite expensive.

“Thanks!” said the girl. She offered a hand “I’m Debs and this is my mate, Charlie”. Ray shook both of their hands. “Pleased to meet you, ladies, my name’s Ray”.

“What’s a nice boy like you doing here all on your own?”

Ray explained that he had been shopping.

Debs frowned “I don’t see any bags. Didn’t you find anything you liked?”

“You could say that, yes”.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, honey, but you could do with some better clothes”.

“He’d look cute in a dress!” said Charlie.

“I don’t wear dresses!” Ray said sharply “I’m not a sissy”.

“That’s us told, I guess! Look, what you wear is up to you of course”.

Ray relaxed. The two girls were very easy going and they had a good conversation. Debs and Charlie were accounts assistants for a firm of lawyers and shared a flat together. They were suggesting that Ray might want to come back to their place for some fun.

Ray couldn’t believe his good fortune. These two birds were actually chasing after him! They drank up and left. The flat was only a ten minute walk and Ray soon found himself in a small, but well furnished flat, with two women who seemed eager to couple with him.

Charlie poured the three of them glasses of white wine and the girls cuddled up to Ray on the sofa, one on either side of him. Their soft, warm bodies felt heavenly!

Debs whispered seductively in his ear “We girls were thinking…..a basque, some fishnet stockings and some high heels….how does that sound to you”.

Ray smiled. At last, some real women, who knew what turned a man on! “Sounds fantastic” he murmured.

Debs kissed him, got up and disappeared into her bedroom, taking Charlie with her. Ray couldn’t wait to see her all dressed up for him.

Debs and Charlie returned. Expecting to see them in sexy lingerie and heels, he was disappointed to see that they were still wearing their work clothes. They were holding in their hands a pink basque, a matching set of silk knickers, a pair of fishnets and a pair of pink stilettos.

Thoroughly confused, Ray said “Aren’t you gonna get changed into them then?”

The two girls looked at each other in bewilderment. Debs said “Wear these, us? Oh, dear, I see you HAVE misunderstood….we want you to wear them for us! Not the other way around, silly!"

Ray leapt up “I’m not wearing that lot. I told you before, I am NOT a sissy!”

Debs said “Don’t get your knickers in a twist, dear. I’m sure if you’ll just be a good boy and dress up for us… and maybe put on a little strip show for us….we can find a way to make us all happy”. Debs proferred the basque.

Ray took it from her and threw it on the floor. The girls jumped back, alarmed, and clutched each other.

“You bitches!” Ray shouted “What do you take me for, some kind of sissy? I am not dressing up like some drag queen just to amuse you!”

“Then get out!” Debs shouted back “Charlie, phone the police and tell them we’ve got a man threatening us!’. Charlie whipped a mobile phone out of her pocket.

“There’s no need, I’m going” said Ray, in anger and bitterness. He slammed the door behind him and left the building.

Debs and Charlie looked at each other. Men!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Boy Bridesmaid

Bryan Beasley was bored. Bored, bored, bored! He kicked at the carpet in disgust.

It was a glorious, sunny Saturday, when he should be outside playing football with his mates.

Instead, his mother had insisted on dragging him along to, of all places, a bridal salon! A shop for girls. No boy would be seen dead in there, but he had to go as he had been given a role as the ring bearer at his cousin's wedding.

Currently, his vision was filled with the creamy walls of the salon, lace curtains, white delicate furniture and women and girls. Lots of women and girls. He was the only male in the whole place.

And, of course, there were dresses. More dresses than Bryan had ever seen in his life. Mostly the white ones favoured by most brides, but also fuschia, blue, yellow, pink, gold, saffron, red ones and dresses in every colour imaginable and some in colours he had never even seen before.

The women and girls in the shop were busy trying on dress after dress and cooing over each other.

Bryan was quite unnerved by the sheer femininity of the bridal boutique and the people in it. How dare his mother volunteer him for the ring bearer role and force him to come to such places when he could be playing football!

The sun was streaming a gold haze through the large bay window of the boutique and Bryan looked enviously at the people walking past.

It was so unfair! His older sister, Rebecca (or Becca, as she preferred to be known), who was to be a bridesmaid, a role far more important than his, had got out of this on the grounds that the Girl Guide troop she was a member of had to go door to door selling cookies for a fundraising campaign for orphans in some faraway country Bryan had never even heard of.

Mother was talking to the proprietor, Fiona Farley, who was roughly the same age as his mother and dressed elegantly in a burgundy skirt and jacket with a snow white blouse. Fiona spoke in soft tones with the hint of a posh accent that betrayed her origins. Mother had spoken highly of this lady, who had, according to mother, been at the Cheltenham Ladies College and Oxford University.

But to Bryan, Fiona Farley was just like any other woman. Soft, soppy and boring.

To his great discomfort, Fiona was suddenly by his side and looking directly at him, as if weighing him up. Bryan had met Fiona once before, when he had had to submit to her measuring him for the outfit he would have to wear.

There was something unnerving about the way Fiona was looking at him, as if eyeing him up like a lioness would eye up her next feast. Bryan regarded all females as overly sentimental and pretty creatures, all milk and honey. But this woman was different. He looked away from her appraising eyes.

Mother spoke to Bryan "Bryan, dear" she began, lightly stroking his hair, which Bryan hated, especially in public "it's time for you to try on your outfit".

Fiona spoke to him in her soft tones "Young man, your outfit is waiting for you in that cubicle over there" she said, pointing to a small curtained area.

"Do go and try it on dear" Mother prompted him.

With great reluctance, Bryan stomped over to the cubicle. Going inside, he found the ring bearer's outfit hanging on a rack beside the pale blue bridesmaids dress that was to be worn by his sister.

The outfit he was being asked to wear was absurdly ornate and over the top. A white silk shirt. The cuffs had to be done up with gold cufflinks. There was also a large puff of lace on the front of it. An embroidered waistcoat that was so heavy that Bryan knew that he would sweat profusely in it on a warm day, white silk stockings, a pair of white silk breeches, interwoven with gold thread and a matching coat. A pair of black shoes with golden buckles. And, most ridiculous of all, a hat with a large white feather in it.

The last thing he wanted to do was wear such items.

Bryan reasoned that the sooner he got this over with, the sooner they could leave this overly feminine environment and the sooner he could return to playing football. He hurriedly changed into the outfit. There were no cufflinks, so the sleeves of his shirt had to remain loose, but the outfit fitted him perfectly. He was already perspiring in the heavy waistcoat and coat and the feeling of silk on his body was a strange one.

He looked in the mirror and groaned inwardly at his appearance. He looked like little lord fontleroy. Ridiculous and overdressed. If his mates saw him dressed like this, he would never hear the end of it! He stumbled out of the cubicle so that his mother and Mrs Farley could see how he looked.

His mother gasped excitedly at his appearance and clapped her hands in glee "He looks wonderful. Like a little prince!". Fiona was nodding her head and smiling. Then she moved towards Bryan and began making little adjustments, smoothing out some material here and tugging at his breeches. Bryan resented this woman treating him as if he was one of her shop dummies and running her hands freely over his body.

"Does the feeling of silk all over your body feel good, young man?" Fiona asked him in her soft, innocent tones.

Actually, the feeling of silk against his skin did feel quite pleasant. But he wasn't going to admit that to this woman. He elected to ignore the question.

Fiona stepped back to join Bryan's mother and spoke to her "Yes, it fits the boy perfectly and, as you say, he looks wonderful".

"The outfit is quite adorable, Fiona". Mother gushed.

Bryan, sweating under all of the silks and heavier fabrics, suddenly became aware of girlish tittering and giggling and realised that he had suddenly become the centre of attention for a gaggle of girls dressed in bridemaids dresses.

"Doesn't he look sweet!"

"What a cute outfit!"

One of the more precocious girls waved at him "Hey, cute stuff, love the costume!"

The girls fell about, shrieking with laughter.

Bryan, blushing and humiliated to be seen dressed as he was, wished he was anywhere else. Girls! Why was it they giggled at everything and everyone?

It was Fiona who came to his rescue, running up to the girls and herding them back to their waiting mothers.

When Fiona came back she said "I think we've seen enough, young man, go and get changed".

At last! Thought Bryan. He almost ran to the cubicle and began tearing off the costume. He dreaded having to wear it on the actual wedding of his cousin Maria. He was relieved when he was dressed in his normal clothes again.

He was lacing up his trainers, which required to sit down in the chair provided and which afforded him a view from the curtain. He could see his mother and Fiona talking and Fiona pointing in the direction of the cubicle he now occupied, as if she was talking about him.

What was that woman saying about him? Bryan wondered. He finished lacing and dashed out of the cubicle, eager to depart this place as quickly as possible. He walked up to his mother and asked "Mum, can we go home now please?"

His mother ruffled his hair "There's been a change of plan, Bryan. We aren't leaving just yet".

Bryan was confused. The whole point of the trip, Mother had told him, was to see if his outfit fitted him and to see how he looked in it. Well, they had done that. Now it was time to go home.

Fiona spoke next "Young man, would you do me a favour and fetch me the bridesmaids dress that was in the cubicle you changed in. The pale blue one".

Bryan was mystified by the request but did not want to cause a scene by refusing, so he went into the cubicle, took the pale blue dress from the rack, and brought it out. Fiona took it from him and took it away somewhere out towards the rear of the shop.

Bryan's mother knelt down and looked into her son's eyes "Bryan.....Fiona and I need your help". She spoke in the sugary tones of a supplicant.

Bryan was really confused now.

Mother went on "You know that the wedding was supposed to be a month from now, leaving us plenty of time to get Becca fitted for her dress. I got a call from Maria whilst you were changing to say that there the venue for the ceremony was double-booked. The other couple are minor celebrities and so they got the venue for the date Maria had wanted. The only other date available was next weekend!"

Bryan wondered where this was going and how he was supposed to do anything about it.

"So, Maria is getting married in seven days time and we have no Becca here today to fit for her dress. I've tried calling her, but her mobile's turned off, as usual! So....Fiona and I were're about the same size and shape as Becca...."

Bryan's mouth almost dropped open with shock and he blurted out "You want put on my sister's bridesmaids' dress!"

"It would only be for a short time, honey, just so Fiona can make some adjustments. No-one else would see you, if that's what you're worried about".

Bryan was shaking his head. Having to dress up like one of the three musketeers was one thing, but actually wearing a dress?

"Bryan, if you do this little thing for me" Mother was saying "I'll buy you that soccer game you want...what's it called now, ultimate something or other..."

"Mother, it's Ultimate Soccer Hero IX!"

"Whatever it's called, it's yours if you just wear the dress long enough for Fiona to make the necessary adjustments, I'll take you to the nearest games store and buy you the game as soon as we leave this place".

Bryan thought about it. Ultimate Soccer Hero IX had only been released a few days ago and it was expensive. Bryan had been saving up his pocket money for weeks but was a long way short. It could be another month, maybe two before he would have enough money to afford to buy it and meanwhile some of his mates, with weekend jobs or well off parents, would already have the game.

Now his mother was offering it to him, today, for the price of him slipping on a dress in a private area of the boutique where no-one would see him, for probably less than half an hour.

"Alright, Mother, it's a deal". Mother hugged him "Thank you, darling! It's really sweet of you to do this..."

"Can we please just get this over with?"

"Fiona said you need to get changed in the cubicle again. Leave your underwear on and put on a robe you'll find in there".

Once, he had changed, Mother escorted him to the rear of the boutique, where Fiona was waiting for him with the dress in her hands. Sighing, Bryan held out his hands to take it off her. He still couldn't quite believe that he was going to put on a dress!

But Fiona shook her head and carefully lay the dress down on a chair. She picked up an object Bryan recognised. A corset, covered in pink silk, with delicate white lace edging and white bows running from the top to bottom.

"You'll need to put this on first, Bryan" Fiona explained.

Bryan was shaking his head "Mother, you didn't say anything about having to wear a corset!"

"You silly boy. How else are you going to fit into the dress? It's designed to be worn by a girl -or a boy at a pinch - whose waist is no wider than eighteen inches. Yours must be twenty three inches at least".

"Fiona's quite right, darling" said Mother "It won't be for long, I promise".

Bryan looked at the dress, still lying on a chair and conceded that they were right. Reluctantly, he removed his robe and allowed Fiona to clap the heavy corset around his torso. With remarkable speed and efficiency born of years of experience, Fiona put the corset into place and began tightening the laces.

Bryan felt his waist gradually contract and shrink until, to his surprise, his waist was reduced to tiny proportions.

The two women admired his waist and Fiona took a measuring tape and measured his waist "Seventeen inches!" she said in triumph.

"That's about how small we can get Becca's waist! Perfect" exclaimed Mother.

Fiona next produced a mass of petticoats and invited Bryan to step into them.

Bryan was fuming. No-one had said anything about him having to wear a load of lacy petticoats! With ill grace, he stepped into them and Fiona pulled them up to his waist.

Fiona then took the pale blue dress and slipped it over Bryan's head and then pulled it down until it covered Bryan's corset and petticoats. The material that the dress was made of was unfamilar to Bryan and he noticed that it rustled whenever he moved, even slightly.

"It's called taffetta" explained Fiona, amused by Bryan's curiousity about feminine attire, "An exquisite material. Come, stand on this chair so that I can make the adjustments.

Bryan obeyed, but had to be helped onto the chair since he was corsetted and could not see his feet due to his skirts and petticoats.

He felt utterly ridiculous. Here he was, a boy, corsetted, petticoated and wearing his sister's bridesmaids' dress!

Then he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and shuddered. His body, shaped by the corset and by the wide petticoats he wore beneath his dress, was exactly like that of a girl. A wide bosom, a tiny waist and broad skirts. The dress exposed his arms and his bosom and he felt vulnerable. The image was spoilt somewhat by the boyish face peering in shock and a little wonder at his feminised body.

The two women gave him amused looks "You look very sweet!" said Bryan's mother.

"Yes, he looks almost as good as most of the girls I outfit as bridesmaids" said Fiona "And better than some of them!". The women cackled, much to Bryan's discomfort.

Finally, Fiona got to work on the adjustments needed for the dress. Fiona seemed to take ages and Bryan felt very uncomfortable and hot dressed as he was, but, just over an hour later, Fiona said she was happy with the dress.

Fiona helped Bryan out of the dress and petticoats and released him from the bondage of his corset. Bryan was grateful to be released! Donning the robe, he went back to the cubicle and got changed into his regular clothes, trying to erase the memory of the last few hours from his mind.

Fiona gave them a little wave goodbye as they left the boutique.

As she had promised, Mother took Bryan to a games shop and bought him Ultimate Soccer Hero IX. Bryan was over the moon and quickly forgot the humiliations he had undergone. He was eager to get home to play the game.

When they got home, Becca was there. She had changed out of her Girl Guides uniform and was kicking a football about.

Becca mystified and infuriated Bryan. She was a girl, yet, painful as it was to have to admit it, she was brighter than him and was doing better at school than he was, and she was also as good at football as he was. She made him feel inadequate as a male and he resented her for it.

Still, he had his game. He ran up to his bedroom and loaded it up. Becca, Mother and Fiona Farley were all forgotten for the next few hours whilst he became totally absorbed in the world of Ultimate Soccer Hero IX.

It was late at night and Bryan was still playing the game, when there was a tap at his door, and Becca opened the door and poked her head round it.

"Hi Bro, or should I say, Sis! Mother told me all about you standing in for me at the boutique today! She said you looked pretty cute as a bridesmaid! Nice job, Sister!"

Bryan went red as a fire engine. He was mortified that his sister knew that he had worn her bridesmaids' dress! He was lost for words.

"Hey, is that Ultimate Soccer Hero IX you're playing there? Let me have a go!" Becca was suddenly sat beside him, dressed in her PJ's.

Bryan found his voice "No, it's my game! Mother bought it for me!"

"As a reward for wearing a corset, petticoats and a bridesmaids' dress and looking very pretty! If you don't let me play this as often as I want I might let it slip out what a cute bridesmaid you made to your mates at school! You know what we gossipy girls are like!"

Bryan, of course, definitely did not want that knowledge becoming public, so he reluctantly handed over the controller to his sister.

Becca began playing the game and Bryan noted with irritation that she had picked up the controls and special moves more quickly than he had done, although he would never ever admit that to her. How was it that girls always seemed to outdo boys at everything?

After a while, Mother poked her head around the door and said it was time they both went to bed. Grumbling, the children abandoned the game and went to bed.

Bryan had to share his game with his sister for the next few days, resenting it when he could not play, but knowing that he would be a laughing stock if anyone else heard about him being dressed as a bridesmaid.

But, by mid-week, he had the game to himself, as Becca complained of feeling unwell and took to her bed. Bryan took full advantage and played the game constantly, blissfully unaware of the implications of his sister's illness and how it might impact upon him.

Mother was frantic at the fact her daughter was unwell. And she was not the only one. Maria, the bride, was also panicking over the fact that one of her bridesmaids was too ill to appear at the wedding.

The situation reached crisis proportions by mid-week, only a few days before the wedding. Bryan observed his mother acting like a headless chicken with amusement. Why not simply get a girl cousin to take her place?

On the night before the ceremony, as Bryan was still playing on his games console, there was a tap on his door and his mother poked her head around.

"Bryan, stop playing that silly game for a moment, I need to speak to you" she said.

Bryan was again irritated to be disturbed and to his mother referring to his game as silly.

Mother strode into the room with confidence, which unnerved Bryan, for she was normally less confident. What had brought on this sudden surge of confidence?

"Bryan, I'll come straight to the point, Becca is too ill to be a bridesmaid, so you'll have to take her place!"

"What!!! I can't wear a dress in public. I'm a boy!" Bryan was aghast at the notion. It was one thing to dress as a bridesmaid in privacy but to be seen dressed that way in public.....

"You can and you will!" Mother insisted, in a tone that suggested that refusal was not an option.

Bryan thought his mother must be out of her mind to even propose that he should take his sister's place as a Bridesmaid.

"No, I won't do it" he told her simply "You can't make me".

Mother smiled. Not exactly the reaction Bryan was expecting. He had a horrible feeling that she had an ace up her sleeve.

"Oh, I certainly can make you" she said "Remember when you helped out by wearing the dress for its fitting? Fiona, like any sensible shopkeeper, has CCTV installed all over her salon. If you don't take your sister's place, I'll make sure footage of you as the blushing bridesmaid finds its way onto the internet".

Bryan's face went white. If his mother carried out her threat, he would become a laughing stock at school. His mates would shun him. Girls would giggle at him as he walked past them in the school corridors. Having to dress as a bridesmaid for a day, where only a few people would know, now seemed the lesser of two evils.

On the day of the wedding, Bryan was fitted into his corset and bridesmaid's dress. To his humiliation, he also had to wear the silk knickers, garter belt and stockings that his sister would have had to wear, along with a wig, a tiara and jewellery. He also had to submit to being fully made up and having false eyelashes and nails attached to him. He hated to have to admit it, but he looked pretty convincing as a girl.

He was all dolled up and ready to act as a bridesmaid. He wondered who they had got to fill his role as ringbearer at the last minute.

He travelled in the bridal limousine with Maria and Stacey, the other bridesmaid, who both knew he was a boy bridesmaid complimented him on his appearance. When he was helped out of the car, a confused mass of lace and taffeta, he was stunned to see his sister wearing the D'Artangan outfit of the ringbearer. His jaw actually dropped.

Maria walked over to Becca, bent her head down to whisper in her ear and pressed something into her hand and turned back to face Bryan, putting an arm around Becca's shoulder.

"He's still trying to work out what's going on" sniggered Becca "Boys are so dumb! And my brother is even dumber than most boys!" The two females giggled together, in that way that girls always did and which always infuriated Bryan.

Bryan wobbled up to them in his foot-killing heels, struggling to manage his skirt and petticoats and constantly aware of the delicate whiff of perfume that permeated his skin and the alien feel of cosmetics on his face "What IS going on here?"

"Your sister and I had a little wager" explained Maria "I bet your sister a fiver that she couldn't turn you into a bridesmaid and her into the ringbearer. I lost the bet".

"I got Mother involved, of course" Becca cut in "I couldn't have won without her. She loved the idea of seeing you as a bridesmaid. Her self-centred, arrogant son who thinks he is so much better than any girl being easily outwitted by one and being forced to dress up as one! I wasn't out selling cookies that day you had to wear the dress for the fitting, I wasn't ill and
there was no CCTV camera in that room, by the way. You could have refused and Mother and I would have been stumped".

Bryan was stunned by this revelation. All this, just for a petty bet between two girls? He had been forced into a humiliating position. His body and feet hurt from being corsetted and having to wear high heels. All so that two girls could have a giggle at his expense!

Maria gestured for Bryan to take his place behind her "Come along, my pretty little bridesmaid!"
Miserable and humiliated to have been so easily forced into this position by a couple of girls, Bryan trailed behind her, with his head down.

Becca followed, carrying the cushion that held the rings, savouring her victory and thinking with pleasure at what was to come. Mother had been so enchanted at Bryan's appearance that she was talking about getting him some girl things so that he could dress up for her and Becca's amusement. He would have no choice but to comply as they would have the wedding photos of him as a corsetted and petticoated bridesmaid to threaten him with!

Becca licked her lips in anticipation. The future was looking better with every passing moment!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Brucie's Makeover

Richie Madison was worried about his father.

His father, Bruce, aged 57, had come to live with Richie and his wife after his divorce from his wife of 32 years standing.

He had turned up on his son's doorstep with just one suitcase and a duffel bag, depressed and with the air of a defeated man.

He had hardly spoken since his arrival. He just stayed in the guest bedroom alloted to him and ate his meals with his son's family in silence before retreating to his room again for the rest of the evening.

Lydia, Richie's wife, took him aside one evening for one of her "serious discussions" that she occasionally had with her husband. Lydia, like most women nowadays, worked a full-time job and was the breadwinner and head of the household. Like most men of his generation, Richie stayed at home and did the housework. He was the anathema of what his father expected a man to be - a kept man.

Like most modern couples in the 21st Century, Lydia wore the trousers. Quite literally, since she wore habitually wore a black trouser suit with a plain white shirt and flat shoes. Richie knew that she wore a plain sports bra and boxers under her suit. Lydia, like most women of her generation, had long ago forsaken make up and jewellery and wore her blonde hair cropped short.

By stark contrast, Richie, like most young men, wore the skirts in the relationship. He was presently wearing a pretty purple frock, over which he wore his frilly apron. His legs were encased in shiny black stockings, attached to a garter belt under his frock. Underneath the frock, Richie wore a matching white satin bra and pantie set. Presently, Richie wore pink fluffy slippers, but should he go outside, he would exchange them for a smart, shiny pair of black high heels.

Richie had to dress like this because his wife insisted. As she earned the money, this gave her the power in their relationship. She had also insisted on Richie depilating his body hair and paid for him to go to a beauty salon once a week for his manicure, pedicure, facial and waxing. Richie had to wear his hair long and get it styled and dyed in whatever colour his wife fancied at any given time. Richie had, over the course of their five year marriage, been a blonde, a brunette and a redhead. Actually, Richie had liked being a redhead, but after a month Lydia insisted that he dyed his hair black, his current colouring.

Lydia also liked him to wear some of the earrings and necklaces she always bought him for birthdays and christmases. More than anything, and which Richie had detested most when he had had to make the transition from masculine to feminine male, Lydia liked to see him made up. So, every morning, Richie had to sit in front of his vanity and apply cosmetics to his face. His masculine spirit had rebelled, but his will was no match for that of Lydia, and he had to submit to what he considered a degrading experience.

Still, he reflected, he was the best dressed househusband in the street. He had a wardrobe full of designer dresses and high heeled shoes and he wore the most expensive perfumes and make up. He was envied by other men and admired by their wives for his taste and his femininity.

Richie's mind snapped back to his wife. Lydia was talking to him. No actually, she was talking at him, like he was dog or something. Richie had resented this at first, just as he had hated it when he had been feminised, but he was now used to it. He had even come to like wearing gorgeous dresses and silky lingerie.

"...I want him out of this house, pronto, mister!" Lydia was barking at him.

"But, darling, he's my father! I can't just throw him out into the street!"

Lydia smirked at him "No, you're so right. You couldn't throw him out. A dainty little flower like you might break a nail! I'll throw him out then!"

"Lydia, please! He's my dad! Look, I'll take care of this as long as he can stay".

Lydia looked sceptical "Alright, he can stay a little while longer. It's just he's such a dinosaur! He still thinks it's a man's world and won't adapt to the real world. Make him presentable and pleasant and he can stay. Otherwise, I'll put him out". Lydia turned to go.

Richie said, in the pleading voice that Lydia liked him to use when he had to beg her for money "Darling, I'll need a little money to help dad out. I won't need much, just..."

"Here!" Lydia had opened up her leather wallet with a gold buckle (it had been a birthday present from Richie actually and she had loved it) and pulled out a wad of notes, which she handed to him.

"Thank you, darling. You are so good to me" Richie said to her. Like the small, pleading voice he had to use, this was all part of the ritual to acknowledge who earnt the money and who had the power in their relationship.

Lydia nodded and went into the living room. Richie heard her plop herself down on the sofa and soon afterwards heard sound from the television. She was watching one of her favorite shows about a platoon of all female marines fighting in the far east.

Richie went to his handbag and put the notes into his purse. He looked up the stairway, dreading having to face his father and, in effect, give him an ultimatum.

Bruce Brookes was very much a man of the old school. He had been a successful advertising executive and he had been the breadwinner. Minnie, his wife, had kept house for him just like a good wife should and had raised their children, Richie and Samantha. Bruce Brookes was masculine to his core and was horrified the first time he saw his only son in a dress, within a year of his marriage to Lydia. Richie and Lydia's wedding had been thoroughly traditional with Lydia wearing the bridal gown and Richie wearing the tux, but Lydia had outearned him even in those days and had quickly feminised him. Richie had even had to change his last name to that of his wife, and their only child to date, Chloe, was also a Madison, rather than a Brookes.

Bruce refused to speak to his son after seeing him feminised and referred to him as a sissy, but he had to visit to see his grand-daughter. But he ignored his son whenever he had come. Richie had been deeply hurt but had come to terms with it.

But Bruce's life as he had known it had altered beyond recognition in the space of less than a year. First, Minnie, his loving, dutiful wife, bored with housework, had set up her own business on the internet and could support herself. As Bruce and Minnie had grown apart over the years, since he was preoccupied with his work and the politics of work and took her for granted, Minnie found someone else who did appreciate her for being more than a drudge. Then Minnie had stunned the family by announcing that she was divorcing Bruce. Minnie got the house and half of Bruce's pension pot in the settlement.

Then, just as the dust had settled from the divorce, the advertising agency Bruce had worked for for sinced he had left school was bought by a fiesty young female entrepreneur, Clare Gurney. Clare had then made redundancies, with the older, male talent bearing the brunt of these. Bruce was amongst the casualties.
Since, he had lost his house in the divorce, Bruce had been renting. Within a few months of being made redundant, Bruce couldn't afford the rent.

His ex-wife had by now re-married and wouldn't have him in what was once their marital home. Her new husband kept house for her. His daughter, Samantha, a successful oceanographer, lived overseas. Besides, Bruce could never go to her since he had disowned her when she had come out as a lesbian whilst she was at university. He had been scandalised when he had heard through Minnie that his daughter was now married to another woman! Pride and fear of rejection, which would do nothing for his battered ego, meant that he had had to turn to his sissy son for help.

Richie felt some sympathy for his father, but Lydia had been right when she said that he was a dinosaur who could not see that the world had changed and, in particular, the roles and balance of power between the sexes had undergone almost a complete reversal of what had gone before. For better or worse, it was now a woman's world and Bruce had to live in it.

Richie ventured upstairs and stood outside the guest bedroom now occupied by his father. He was nervous and he trembled slightly. Then, he composed himself and tapped on the door.

"Who's there?" Bruce's voiced demanded to know.

"Dad, it's me, Richie. I need to talk to you".

"Well, Richard, I don't want to talk to you. Especially when you're dressed up as a woman!"

Richie sighed. This was going to be difficult, he sensed, but for his father's sake he could not merely turn around and walk away otherwise Lydia would take matters into her own hands and there would be nothing Richie could do about it. For the first time, he realised that he had absolutely no power in his relationship with his wife. She was the breadwinner and held all the cards. At best, Richie could plead with her or use his sexual wiles to wring a minor concession out of her, but she had all of the power in the big decisions. Lydia made them all and he had to abide by them like a good little househusband, even if he disagreed with them.

Richie tried again "Dad, please! I really need to speak with you!"

Richie heard a deep sigh from behind the door, then footsteps and then, suddenly, the door opened and the profile of Bruce Brookes filled the doorway, with a snarl on his face.

Bruce Brookes was a big man. He was six feet high and still retained something of the rugged, masculine charm that had won Minnie's heart so many years ago. Richie recalled that in his youth, his father had been something of a local star in athletics and remembered that his father had once shown him all the prizes he had won in those days and the pride he must have felt in showing his son his trophies for manly endeavour and achievement.

But that had been forty years ago. Years spent behind a desk and too little exercise had reduced Bruce's muscles to fat. He was now fat and close to obesity. His fine mane of hair had almost entirely disappeared. There was just a fringe of graying hair and a large bald expanse. Due to advancing age and because he was overweight and sweated constantly, his body odour was quite pungent and Lydia had been quite disgusted that a man lacked the consideration to use perfume to hide his own smell.

Richie felt pity for his father. For all his masculine swagger, he was a decaying wreck, he had no income, and faced homelessness if Lydia had her way.

Bruce snarled at his son in disgust, his green eyes taking in the frock, the frilly apron, the fluffy slippers, the coiffed hairdo and his made up features "What on earth do you think you look like, Richard? A painted tart. That's what you look like! You aren't a real man, that's for sure!"

His father's words were cutting and Richie was pained by them, but he was determined to press on. "Dad, we really need to talk". Richie lowered his voice "Lydia's talking about asking you to leave".

Bruce was taken aback "But why. I've been no trouble have I?"

"No. But Lydia is very set in her ways. She likes things just so. She isn't happy with the way you dress and act around her".

Bruce straightened and seemed to swell in size. Richie was quite intimidated and thought Lydia had a point. He was bordering on being overbearing. "I dress and act like a man around her. Just like you should, instead of wearing her clothes and playing her part" Bruce snarled at him.

"Dad, you have to understand that a lot has changed since you and mom got married. Most women nowadays go out to work and earn the money and most men, me included, have to stay home and keep house. Do you think I enjoyed being made to dress like this by a girl who earned more in a month than I could make in a year? Lydia made me what I am and I've come to accept it. It works for us. It's not ideal, no marriage ever is, but Lydia and I are happy".

"If you were any kind of man you'd put your wife in her place. In the home, where she belongs! You should be out at work, supporting your family, not baking cookies and minding the baby!"

Richie shook his head in despair. This was hopeless. If his father spoke like that around Lydia, she would toss him out with the trash in a heartbeat. His rage mounting, Richie, for the first time in many years, spoke back to his father.

"Dad, I can't earn what Lydia earns. I make chump change, she makes big bucks. She is good at her job and she is well paid for it. I can't compete with her earnings and I've long since given up trying. It makes total sense for her to work rather than me. Lydia was totally right about you. You ARE a dinosaur and, just like them, you're going to find yourself extinct!". Richie turned around to leave.

"Son wait!"

Richie stopped in his tracks. It was the first time since his wedding day that his father had used the word "son" to him and tears welled up in his eyes. He turned around to see his father crying softly. He suddenly looked as small and helpless as his baby grand-daughter.

"Please don't abandon me son, you're all I have left! I've lost Minnie, my little princess, my job, my home....I'm a broke, hopeless loser begging charity off my only boy!"
Bruce broke down and began to cry.

Richie, crying himself, went and put his arm around his father's broad shoulders "Don't worry, Dad. You've still got me. I'll do what I can for you". Richie was surprised when his father gave him an incredibly huge hug and seemed to be clinging onto him, afraid to let go.

Richie let his father hug him for a while, enjoying the feeling of being cherished for a change, but reluctantly disengaged himself. Bruce had stopped crying and looked better than Richie had seen him since he had appeared on his doorstep. It seemed that a good cry was just what his father had needed. He had been through a lot in the last year.

Richie spoke to his father in a firm voice, feeling more confident that his father would be willing to listen "Dad, I won't abandon you or ask you to leave, but Lydia might. If you want to stay here, you'll have to make some changes".

"Changes? What do you mean, son?" Bruce looked at his prettified son and a look of horror appeared on his features "You don't want me to dress like you, do you? I'd rather die!"

"Of course not, Dad. Purple wouldn't suit you anyway..." realising he was prattling, as househusbands were prone to do, he quickly changed tack "No, but you'll have to lose weight. And wear scent. I'm sorry to say it Dad, but your body odour is quite offensive. Even Chloe notices it and she's still a baby. We need to get you to lose weight and look a bit more presentable"

Bruce nodded. He could see the sense in what his son said, Richie noted with relief. But he wasn't quite finished yet.

"And you also need to be careful around Lydia. If she hears you saying women should be in the home, she'll personally castrate you!" Richie remembered the verbal put downs he had received from Lydia when he had said something she found to be offensive or he had stared a little too long at another woman "She's a feminist and can't abide sexism or even a hint of it. It's best if you say as little as possible and keep it polite. You also need to interact more with us. Staying up here all the time is not good for you".

Bruce thought for a long moment and then nodded again "I'll try, son. It won't be easy, but I'll do my best".

Richie breathed a sigh of relief "We'll start in the morning, Dad. We'll make a new man of you!"

The following morning, Richie took his father shopping. Chloe came with them, in her pram. Lydia had left for work at her usual time. She had been pleasantly surprised when her father in law had appeared for breakfast, wearing some of Richie's scent to mask his natural odour, and had been pleasant and polite.

They went to the mall in town and to a mainstream retail store inside. Richie led his father to the area in the store set aside for male sportswear. "We need to get you some clothes for the gym, Dad". Richie explained.

Bruce looked at the clothing on sale, purportedly to be worn by males, in dismay. Everything was in pink, or purple, or pastel shades. Some of the items even had lace trimming and patterning that included bows and flowers.

"Can I assist you, gentlemen?" asked a boy dressed in the store uniform of pink blouse and short black skirt. He wore stockings and high heels and rather too much make up, Richie noted. The boy had a badge pinned to his blouse that read "Hi, I'm Brian, and I'm happy to help!"

Bruce was startled by the boy's appearance.

"Is something wrong, sir?" the boy asked anxiously. He checked himself against a nearby mirror in case there was something wrong with his general appearance. He smoothed his long brown hair into place.

Bruce shook his head "No, no, nothing's wrong. I'm looking for sportswear".

"Then you have come to the right place, sir!" said Brian enthusiastically, relieved that there was no fault with his image "This store boasts a wide range of sportswear that caters for all!"

Richie dived in and took over. His father was still a little uneasy with the way the boy looked. Where had he been living, Mars? Brian, and all other male shop assistants, wore skirts and blouse nowadays. And make up and high heels. It was perfectly normal.

"What do you have in my father's size?"

Brian frowned at the size of his customer "My, you are a powerfully built man, sir! Let me see what I can find in your size". The boy skittered off in his high heels and began rummaging through the merchandise. Richie could hear him muttering softly and saw him shaking his head frequently.

Richie sensed that his father's sheer size was proving a real challenge for Brian.

Finally, holding them aloft as if they were hard won trophies, Brian produced a top and matching shorts from the rack "Here we are sir! These should fit you perfectly! If you would like to try it on, I can lead you to the changing facilities".

Bruce looked at the item with unease. It was in shocking pink. The top had lace trimmings.

Richie sensed his father's anxiety "Have you something a little less....feminine?"

The boy shook his head "I'm sorry, sir, but these are the only things that will fit".

Richie turned to his father "Would you at least try them on, Dad?" but he was guessing that the answer would be a resounding no.

Bruce looked at the garments and to Richie's surprise, he took them from Brian "Ok, boy, lead on".

Brian led them to the changing area. Bruce took the top and shorts inside and appeared a few minutes later dressed in them. The top and shorts were both tight, as they were designed to be to show off the wearer's assets. Despite the colour and the lacy bits, they fitted Bruce well enough. He actually looked good in them.

The problem was with the wearer, not the garments themselves. Bruce had a paunch and he had a lot of body hair on his chest, legs and arms. The gym clothes looked odd on a hairy body. Bruce looked at himself in the mirror and shuddered.

"Don't worry, Dad. The clothes are fine. All guys are wearing them nowadays. Nobody will even notice you. You look good in them" Richie lied. Brian, sensing a sale, added encouraging remarks.
Bruce looked at himself again, taking in the lace trim and the pinkness. He shook his large head, but he said "Alright, we'll take them. I'll look ridiculous but I'll wear them if that's what it takes to get my life back on track".

Richie swelled with pride at his father's words. That he was willing, very reluctantly, to wear such a feminine outfit was a big step forwards.

Richie had intended to go straight home and find a gym for his father to join, but he decided to make a detour. There was something that needed to be done urgently.

"Hey, you missed the turnoff, son!" said Bruce.

"There's a place we need to make a stop at" explained Richie.

Richie pulled the car up outside another establishment. Bruce looked uneasy again "Maxie's Beauty Parlour? What are we doing here?"

"You'll find out. Come on"

Richie led his father into the beauty parlour, wheeling Chloe in in her pram. Bruce entered the perfumed salon gingerly. This was a completely alien world to him, as alien as Mars was to humanity.

Maxie, the proprietor, was dressed in a revealing top, mini skirt and high heeled boots, greeted Richie warmly. The two men exchanged kisses and hugged each other warmly. Bruce didn't know where to put his face.

"Well, Darling, what can I do for you today?" Maxie gushed "I'd love to do something with that hair. You have such lovely hair. I'm very jealous of your hair darling!"

Pleased at the compliments as he was, Richie said "No, Maxie, I don't need anything doing today. I'm your client on Tuesdays, remember?"

"Oh, yes, so you are darling! Have you just come to tease me with that magnificent hair of yours? To torment me?"

Richie laughed "No. Maxie, I'd like you to meet my father, Bruce".

Max greeted Bruce in the same fashion as he had greeted his son. Bruce felt uncomfortable being kissed and hugged by another man, but submitted to it.

"I'm very pleased to meet you, Brucie!"

"It's Br...I mean, my father, who needs some work done" Richie explained "He'll need a full body wax, a manicure, a pedicure and a facial". Richie watched a look of dismay cross his father's face. He even took a step backwards, as if ready to escape the worst fate in the world.

"Maxie, would you give us a moment alone please?" Richie asked him.

Maxie's face lit up as he spied Chloe. Before Richie could object, Maxie had wheeled the pram down to his other customers, who went wild to have a baby in their midst. Chloe was in good hands. Richie spoke to his father "I can see that you don't like the idea. But you'll look and feel better in the gym without all that hair! And as to the rest, you'll enjoy it as I do. One of the privileges of being a man nowadays is that you are allowed to be pampered!"

"I really don't know son. This is what women do and I'm not a woman!"

"Of course you aren't! But this is the 21st century and we men are allowed to have these beauty treatments that women now deny themselves. Just try it".

Bruce shrugged "I guess there's no harm in trying it". Richie took his father's hand and gave it an encouraging squeeze.

Two hours later, Bruce's body had been completely denuded of hair and his nails had been shaped and painted in a delicate shade of pink ("Pink is so your colour darling!" Maxie had told him). The waxing had been extremely painful as Bruce had had a lot of hair to remove, but he admitted to Richie that the manicure, pedicure and facial had made him feel better, although he was embarressed by his pink nails and hid his hands constantly.

Satisfied with his father's progress, Richie took them home and found a gym for his father to join. It was called Scotties and catered exclusively for men. The only women allowed in the place were the staff. Richie chose it because he hoped it might make things easier for his father if there were no women around to see him in his pink sportswear. It was expensive though, and Richie knew he would have to ask Lydia for more money.

Richie took Bruce along to Scotties, leaving Chloe with a neighbour. The interior was decorated in pastel shades and it seemed as if perfume was being piped throughout the building. They were greeted by another young man, dressed in a light orange leotard and mini skirt, who answered to the the name of Chrissie and who showed them around.

Bruce was relieved to see that all of the other clientele were dressed in tight fitting sports wear, that was feminine in colour and style. He would not raise any eyebrows here. Confident, Bruce changed into his outfit and found that, without the forest of hair that had once graced his body, he looked much better in it. He still felt uncomfortable having to wear pink and lace, but guessed that he would get used to it in time.

Bruce went to the gym every day, determined to get fit and to lose weight. Within two months, he had lost a lot of weight and felt a whole lot better. In the meantime, he had made friends at the gym, a couple of men about the same age as him.

Their stories were similar to Bruce's own. They had once been the breadwinners, but then their wives had gone out to work once the children had flown the nest and before long they were earning more than their husbands. Then the men lost their own jobs and became financially dependent on their wives. Unable to find another job, they resigned themselves to being househusbands. Their wives made them go to the gym to stay fit and to look good for them. Like Bruce, his new friends wore pinks and pastels. It had been embarressing at first, but one got used to it. They also wore dresses at the insistence of their wives. They had rebelled at this humiliation at first, but the threat of divorce and poverty was enough to make the men comply.

Richie was amused to see his father leave the gym in traditional male clothes, hugging and kissing his new friends, who were clad in frocks and high heels. Oddly, it was Bruce who now looked out of place in a world were men wore the skirts.

Now that Bruce had lost enough weight, and kept up his appearance through weekly visits to Maxies, Richie put the next phase of his plan into operation. Finding his father a job. As a divorcee, he would need to be able to support himself.

In between cleaning, ironing, hoovering, fixing meals and looking after Chloe, Richie trawled the internet daily for employment opportunities. In the first week, he found a vacancy for a copywriter at an ad agency and showed it to Bruce, who was touched that his son was trying to help him get back into work. Bruce sent his resume in and perked up when he was invited to an interview by letter two days after the closing date for applications.

Richie knew that his father was over qualified for the vacancy and he was confident that he would have no problem securing the job. But getting the job would be a lot easier than preparing for the interview.

On the day before the interview, Richie knocked on his father's door. Their relationship had improved immeasurably since that day when Richie had been too nervous to face his father. Bruce, dressed in his best suit, opened the door and greeted him warmly.

"How do I look?" Bruce asked him, turning around slowly so that Richie could see the entire look.

Richie cleared his throat "You look good, Dad. But you can't wear a suit to the interview".

Bruce looked bemused "Are you suggesting I go naked, Richie?"

"No, I'm suggesting that you wear this". Richie held up some garments.

Bruce looked at them and shook his head "A blouse and skirt? No chance! There are some barriers I'm not crossing!"

"You won't get the job then" Richie said simply "You're going for a non-executive position. That means you're a basic employee and have to adhere to the dress code. If you read your interview pack, you'll see that standard dress code for a male employee is a blouse and skirt".

"You're joking! All the men there have to wear a blouse and skirt?"

"All the non-executives, yes. It's up to you. You either wear this outfit or you'd better phone in and cancel the interview"

Bruce certainly didn't want to cancel the interview. He had worked hard to lose weight and prepare for the interview. He took the outfit from his son "If this is the uniform, then I'll guess I should wear it. I'll change into it and you can give me an honest opinion. What a man has to do to get a job these days!"

Bruce sidled nervously into the living room. Richie had to admit that he looked pretty good. Bruce wore a shiny white silk blouse, a long red skirt that fell to just below his knees and a matching jacket. He looked slim and had a feminine figure that filled the skirt well.

"You look great Dad" said Richie with genuine enthusiasm.

There were details to be attended to. Bruce's legs were bare and free of hair, but would benefit from a good pair of stockings. Richie lent him a pair of his own. Bruce's legs looked fabulous in stockings.

But the greatest transformation was yet to come, for Richie had persuaded Lydia to part with more cash so that he could buy Bruce a wig. It was a long brown wig, with light curls, that fell to just below Bruce's shoulders. It changed Bruce's appearance completely, making him look years younger than 57, and making him look a little more feminine. Even Bruce himself was quite pleased with how he looked although he moaned good naturedly about having to wear a skirt.

Richie also had to introduce his father to the world of handbags, high heels and make up. He explained to his father that as he now wore a skirt, he had nowhere to put his money or other things he usually carried about with him, so he would need to carry a handbag and a purse for his money.

Bruce was reluctant at first to have to use such a feminine accessory, but saw the sense in it.

Richie then had to hand his father a pair of high heels. They were standard wear for men at the company he was interviewing to join. Bruce initially resisted, claiming he could not see why he could not wear flat shoes, but gave in. Richie had to teach him how to walk in them. Bruce did not enjoy wearing heels at all, describing them as instruments of torture, but managed to walk in them adequately.

Bruce baulked when Richie suggested that he should wear make up for the interview, but after much persuasion agreed to try it. Even Bruce was impressed with the results. His luscious red lips, blue eye shadow, blusher and eyeliner made his face really stand out. He agreed completely that he should wear make up to the interview, but not after that.

Richie smiled secretly. Bruce was transitioning towards femininity, a journey that Richie had made himself, much against his will at the time.

Richie drove Bruce to the interview. Bruce looked very professional and ladylike in his red skirt and jacket, silk blouse, shiny red high heels and clutching his handbag. He dropped him off and wished him luck and smiled as his father wobbled down the street in his heels. He picked him up again an hour later and Bruce was gushing with enthusiasm about the firm and about how well the interview had gone.

He had reported to reception and had been escorted to a room where the other candidates were waiting to be called. They were all men and dressed in the same way as Bruce, but Bruce thought that although the other candidates were younger than him, he looked much better than they did. The youngsters tended to overdo the make up and failed to notice that their high heels were scuffed or that they had a ladder in their hosiery.

Bruce was interviewed by three women, all dressed in trouser suits and with short hair and no make up or other feminine accroutrements. They were all senior managers and they explained that pretty much the whole management team and the exective level positions were female dominated. Did it bother him, having to work under a woman? Bruce, by now attuned to the new world in which women were dominant, replied positively. The panel said they were impressed with his resume, his attitude, and also with his appearance and said that they thought that he would fit in very well with their organisation.

Bruce was elated when he received a phone call late in the afternoon to inform him that he had been the successful candidate and that he should report for work on Monday of the following week. Richie was pleased for him, as was Lydia, for she took them out for a celebratory meal.

Bruce's transformation from a hopeless dinosaur into a modern man reflected well on Richie, in Lydia's eyes. She told him that she was proud of him for what he had achieved with his father and even upped his allowance as a reward.

For Bruce, the humilation of having to wear a skirt, heels and make up on a daily basis was bearable when he considered what he had gained. A job. An income. Within six months, he was able to save enough to rent his own apartment and move out from under his son's feet.

But the price he had to pay was the loss of his masculinity. He had to spend a good portion of his mornings making up his face, painting his nails, brushing his wig out and ironing his blouse and skirt. Initially, he had tried to retain his masculinity by changing into traditional male clothes as soon as he got home from work, but it was too much trouble. It meant having to remove his make up and nail varnish and after a long day he didn't have the energy.

The day came when he just bagged up his old clothes and dropped them off at the charity shop. Bruce's wardrobe now consisted entirely of dresses, blouses and skirts. He had become quite vain and bought only the most expensive perfumes and cosmetics and spent his spare cash on handbags and shoes. Bruce had resisted wearing lingerie, but gradually succumbed and replaced his tired boxers with delicate and sensual silk, satin and lace underwear, bras and even corsetry. His conversion from masculine to feminine was as complete as that of his son, if not more so in some ways.

His feminine vanity brought an unexpected reward for his immaculate appearance at work earned him admiration from both his male and female colleagues and superiors. A year after joining the company, Bruce was promoted to a junior management position.

In other areas of his life, Bruce could boast a tangible improvement. He had his friends from the gym, whom he went out with all glammed up in a new frock and make up. His stubborn pride that had prevented him having a relationship with his daughter had evaporated in his new life and he had established contact with her, albeit online, apologising for his "outmoded masculinity". Sam had readily accepted his apology and was seriously impressed with her father's new appearance and attitude. They had arranged to meet up in the following year. And, of course, his relationship with his son and his daughter in law had never been better. Bruce also had frequent contact with his grand-daughter, as he was happy to be a babysitter.

Best of all, he had won Minnie's heart again. Minnie's new husband had unfortunately died as a result of a tragic car accident. Minnie had of course heard of Bruce's transition and when he had phoned to offer his condolences, she had suggested that they meet up on the pretext that there were some outstanding issues from the divorce.

Bruce's new feminine instincts sensed that this was an opportunity that should be exploited, so he went to Maxie's for a full makeover, sprayed his body with exotic perfumes, wore his daintiest lacy lingerie, sheer stockings, designer dress, stilettos (which Bruce had completely mastered walking in by this point), jewellery and flawless make up.

It was weird to meet one's former wife dressed as he was. Minnie, he noted, was wearing a tuxedo and had her hair cropped short. It was nothing less than a complete reversal of the traditional gender roles and dress. Minnie was very pleased with her ex-husband's new look. It really suited him! Minnie insisted on ordering for them in the restaurant and paying the bill. Her business was going from strength to strength, she told him, so she could well afford to pay. Minnie was also the more forward one, as befitted the modern age, kissing him and slipping her hand under Bruce's skirt and fondling his legs as they rode a taxi to home.

It was Minnie who suggested that Bruce should stay over at her place. Minnie took the lead and took Bruce into her bed, seducing and using him for her pleasure. The rekindled relationship continued for several months, with Bruce eventually moving back into his old house, before Minnie popped the question and, on bended knee, asked him to re-marry her.

Bruce considered this for a long moment. If he married again, in this crazy, topsy turvy world where women were the dominant gender and wore the trousers, then it would be his turn to wear the white bridal gown, the silk stockings, high heels, silken lingerie, corsetry and veil traditionally worn by the weaker sex and swear to honour and obey his wife. His son would be the natural choice as his Maid of Honour and his lesbian daughter would give him away.

He answered his suitor with a strong kiss without a moment's hesitation!