Monday, 23 May 2011

In Her Shoes - Chapter Nine - Knicker Power

Disappointed to find that my girlfriend was not home, I decided to have a bath and then went to bed. After such a tiring day, I fell into a deep and blissful sleep.

I was suddenly and rudely awakened by the sound of the front door of my flat crashing open and by the sounds of loud, female voices, laughing and giggling. Momentarily disorientated as a result of my disrupted slumber, it took me a few seconds to realise that Milly had come home and that she had brought a friend with her.

I looked at the alarm clock on my bedside table. It read 3.03 am. It was practically the middle of the night! Confusion turned to a surge of anger. I pulled my silk bedsheets aside and got out of bed, set on giving my inconsiderate girlfriend a piece of my mind.

I stomped out of the bedroom and into the living room where Milly and another woman had sprawled themselves on the sofa. They looked very drunk. Before I could even open my mouth to speak, the women collapsed into a fit of laughter.

With horror, I knew it was my appearance that was the cause of the hilarity. I was dressed in a pink nightdress with lots of frilly bits, with matching pink fluffy slippers. My bare legs were hairless and I had tied my long hair up with a pink ribbon.

I wore what a woman might wear when she retired for the night, but I was still obviously a man. With my height, build and faint traces of stubble on my chin, I could hardly pass for anything else.

When the women had stopped laughing, after a good few minutes, at my expense, Milly, in a slurred voice introduced me to her friend, Sadie. Sadie looked at me curiously.

"Oh, he's doing some thing for the paper he works for. Living as a woman for a month!" Milly told her.

Sadie's lipsticked mouth dropped open "Goodness! How many days has he done so far?"

"This is only his third day".

"You wouldn't think so to look at him! Cute nightdress and slippers and his hair all tied up in a sweet little ribbon! He looks like he's been doing it for a while!"

"He's a quick study, my Leo!" said Milly, with a hint of pride "He can already get himself ready for work without my help. Not that I gave him much choice! He can do his own make up and he is good around the house. In fact, he can demonstrate for us now! Leo! Be a darling and cook us up a snack will you?"

I was ready to object, but thought again. I couldn't argue Milly with a guest in the house, even if she was Milly's guest. But I was still angry at being woken up and angrier still with being talked about as if I wasn't in the same room. Besides, some food would help the girls sober up, so I stomped off to the kitchen, donned my pinny and cooked up omlette and chips.

I served up my food to the ladies, who each took a mouthful. "Hmmm....not bad" said Sadie. "You have got him well trained!" After the ladies had cleared their plates, they passed them to me. "Be a good girl and wash these up!" Milly ordered me.

Fuming at being treated like a maidservant, I stomped off into the kitchen and washed up. So, this was what it was like when one became a girl. Put upon, ignored most of the time and expected to wait on others. When I had finished, I went back to the living room to find it empty.

To my consternation, I heard noise from my own bedroom. The women had gone exploring in there. I rushed in to find a disturbing, and for me, deeply humiliating scene. Milly and Sadie were going through my underwear drawer. Milly had pulled out a pair of pink ruffled knickers and was showing them to Sadie, who was in hysterics.

"He actually wears these?"

"Of course. He's now a girl, so he has to wear girl underwear!" Milly noticed me for the first time. "Oh, hello! Don't mind us, we're just taking a look at your knicker drawer!" The women collapsed in hysterics at the idea of a six foot plus man having such a thing as a knicker drawer.

I blushed underneath my make up at this latest humilation. But I was as angry and indignant as a real woman would be when she found other people invading the drawer containing her most intimate apparel. I snatched the ruffled knickers from Milly's hands. Milly jumped back, startled. She knew she had overstepped the mark. I put the knickers back where they had come from and closed the drawer shut with a bang.

"I think your friend should leave now" I suggested "I'll call her a cab".

The women looked suitably subdued as I left. I summoned a taxi and it collected Sadie and took her home. Milly looked sheepish "I'm sorry about going through your kni...underwear drawer. It's the drink...and your unusual situation".

Mollified by the apology, I allowed her to kiss me before she went to bed. I looked down at my nightdress and remembered that I wore a pair of virginal white satin knickers, well trimmed with lace, underneath it. It was curious, but it gave me a strange sense of power that only I knew what I wore underneath my outer feminine clothing. A secret that was mine and mine alone, unless I chose to reveal it. Others could only guess at what colour my underwear was, or what style, or whether it had frills, ruffles, lace and ribbon frivolities upon it.

Oddly, when I thought of my knickers, it gave me a surge of power and confidence.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

In Her Shoes - Chapter Eight - Her First Pinny

After the fiasco at the press conference, I was upset and angry with myself and I went straight home. My mind was so pre-occupied with my humiliation that I scarcely noticed the looks other people were giving me. I was relieved when I got inside the flat and was able to shut the rest of the world out.

I heard the sound of the television from the living room. Good, I thought. That meant Milly was home. She could cook me a meal and I could take the weight off my feet. After taking off my coat and dumping my handbag, I walked into the living room.

Milly was curled up on the sofa, clad in her dressing gown, watching the television. After exchanging accounts of our day, I waited expectantly for Milly to offer to cook me a meal, but she made no sign of budging. In fact, she turned to me and said that I should cook her something.

I opened my mouth to object and then closed it again. Dressed as I was, I could hardly refuse and besides it would be a good experience for me. I went into the kitchen.

"Put your pinny on over your clothes!" Milly yelled from the living room.

I was bewildered. I didn't have a pinny! Then I found a bag on the kitchen table. Inside it was a flower patterned pinafore, edged with lace. It still had the price tag attached and I could see that it had been quite expensive.

I wasn't at all keen on wearing this overly feminine garment. But Milly was right. It would protect my work clothes. After removing the price tags I slipped it on and did it up. It was over the top and altogether too feminine but it had a strange, calming effect on me. The cares of the working day were over. All I had to do was cook my girlfriend a meal.

Since my university days, I had nearly always had a girlfriend to cook for me. When I was in between girlfriends, I ate out. My cooking skills were rusty to say the least, but I had a go. I cooked a risotto. It smelt lovely. I served it up to Milly whilst still wearing my pinny.

Milly smirked and told me I looked lovely in my pinny and that the food wasn't bad either. I took a dainty spoonful of my food and it did taste good. After a disastrous day at work, it was a great confidence boost to get something right.

When she had finished her meal, Milly gave me a kiss and thanked me. I felt a little quiver of pleasure at this approval. However, I had been given a glimpse of the inequities that still existed between the sexes. Even though I had been at work all day and even though I earned more than Milly, as a woman, I was expected to fill the traditional female role and cook.

I took off my pinny and we watched television together. Eventually, weariness overwhelmed me and I had to retire to bed.

I was abruptly awoken by my alarm clock. I groaned and grumpily got out of bed. I looked about for Milly to help me get ready for work but she was still in bed. I timidly tapped on the door and asked her if she could help me.

Her answer was no. She was having a lie in. It was high time I got ready for work on my own. Confused and uncertain, I showered and shaved my legs and armpits. I put scent on my hairless body and dressed in the same outfit I had worn yesterday. I brushed my hair and put my make up on. I felt foolish and ashamed at having to do all of these feminine activities.

I gathered my coat and handbag and went into work, ignoring the looks, sniggers and giggles of others. I was just reviewing my e-mails, when Chloe Bright, one of my colleagues, approached me. When she saw my face, her eyes widened. Then she became grave and asked me if I had done my make up myself, because, frankly, I looked bloody awful. I confessed that I had.

Chloe took my hand and gently pulled me off in the direction of the ladies. She wiped off my feeble effort and gave me a crash course in make up. She wiped off her own work, which was far better than my own, and made me make myself up. Within half an hour, my face was as well made up as it could be, and by my own hand.

When I got back to my desk, I was summoned to the editor's office. I was apprehensive, remembering the disaster of the day before and cringing. Ms Carruthers was not happy with me and felt it was not appropriate for me to continue to represent the newspaper in such a high profile role. She had decided that Chloe and I should switch roles. Chloe to cover politics and I to cover the womens' column.

I objected, but was overruled. The newspaper could not risk another embaressing episode, in front of the Prime Minister no less, just because a reporter couldn't remember to close her handbag.

I stumbled out of the editor's office, upset, but knowing that I had only myself to blame. Chloe stopped by to brief me on her role and I had to do the same with her. After Chloe had left, I looked despondently at my brief. I would be giving women advice on how to make flans, what was hot in fashion currently and talking about womens' issues. It was a far cry from the world of high politics.

When I got home, I took off my coat and dumped my handbag and slipped into my pinny. I immediately felt calmer and happier. Milly had left a note saying that she was out with girlfriends and that I shouldn't wait up for her.

I sat down, still wearing that ridiculous pinny, all alone. I was getting some idea what it was like to be the woman. Left at home whilst my significant other was out enjoying themselves with their friends.

In Her Shoes - Chapter Seven - Working Girl

Feeling dreadfully self-conscious and foolish, I bravely put one high heeled foot forward and began my journey to work. Normally, I would have driven, but that was out of the question whilst wearing high heels.

Besides, I should experience using public transport as a woman. I lumbered along in my heels. The journey to the tube station was only a few minutes away, but it seemed to take ages. As I passed other people, there were sniggers and wolf whistles when they realised what I was, and I would be deeply ashamed of my feminine condition.

I made it to the tube station and purchased a ticket from a machine. Then I encountered three sets of stairs that I found difficult to negotiate when wearing high heels and carrying a handbag. The whole business was totally alien to me.

Then I was on the tube. The tube was packed and I had to stand, clutching a pole with one hand and my handbag with the other. I was conscious of the fact that I was drawing a lot of attention. The most obvious feature that made me stand out was my height, but I had to admit that other aspects of my appearance such as my stockinged legs, my bottom surrounded by a tight skirt and my made up face contributed to the amount of attention I was getting.

I went red when I saw people staring at me, and then turning their heads away with amusement. Never had I felt more vulnerable and ridiculous in my life.

Mercifully, the tube ride was a short one and I got out and joined the mass of people busily making their way around the capital and walked the short distance to the offices of my newspaper.

This would be the really difficult part. Walking into the office fully dressed as a woman in front of people who had known me for years. My colleagues knew I was doing this, but it didn't make the apprehension and fear any easier.

Timidly, I stepped inside and flashed my security pass at the receptionist and rode the lift to my floor. The office was busy, as always, and I was relieved to see that most of my colleagues were busy on the phones or out and about getting stories. I went to my desk, took off my coat and put my handbag on the desk. I wasn't sure what to do with it. What did women do with their handbags?

I left it where it was for now and tried to concentrate on my work, but I only managed to read a few of my e-mails when I realised that I had drawn a crowd. I turned to see five of my colleagues with amused looks on their faces. Two of the women in the group were giggling. They told me that I looked amazing and how brave I was before leaving me be. Throughout the day, others would stop to check me out and offer compliments on my appearance.

I was summoned to the office of my editor. Ms Carruthers said she was stunned by the transformation and what a lovely woman I made, which caused me to colour up for what man wants to be complimented for being womanly? Then, getting down to business, she told me that I had a photo shoot to attend later that morning. They needed pictures of "Leonora" to go in the paper once this article had been written.

As a journalist, I saw the sense in this, but as a man now dressed up as a woman, I was uncomfortable with it, but could not say so. I went back to my desk, made a few calls and answered a few e-mails.

Then it was time for the photo shoot. One of the staff photographers got me to stand holding my handbag with both hands. Then he snapped me sitting at my desk. Then he got me to lie on my desk, simulating a sexy pose and showing off more than I wanted to. Throughout the whole process I felt incredibly vulnerable and as if I was a piece of meat to be eyed up. I was getting a taste of exactly how the media objectified women and I didn't like it.

The photographer left after giving me a friendly pat on the rump and said I had been a "good girl". I was mortified to have my bottom slapped. I had a good mind to report the man for sexist behaviour before remembering that I had behaved in a similar way to women myself before I had ended up becoming one myself.

For now, I had to concentrate on my work. I had to attend a press conference being given by the Prime Minister in an hour and I needed to get some lunch. I walked to the staff cafeteria, carting that handbag thing along with me. I ordered a plate of fish and chips and sat down on my own to eat it. After the morning I had had and how I felt, I did not feel like company. As I shovelled food into my mouth I became aware that I was drawing stares from everyone around me and I realised that I was still eating like a man. I forced myself to cut my food into small pieces and daintily eat them. Some of the women present gave me approving looks.

When I had finished, I marched out and into a place which until now was a forbidden zone to me. The Ladies Toilets. Expecting to find flowery wallpaper or the walls painted pink, I was surprised to find that except for the absence of urinals and any member of the male gender, the place was little different from the mens. I checked out my make up and decided that it would probably do.

I went to the conference and joined the other journalists seated in front of a podium where the Prime Minister was due to give his address. I had to root about in my handbag for my pad and paper and my recorder, a time consuming experience. I got more amused glances from everyone present.

The Prime Minister emerged and gave an address on his administration's new policy on health and social services. There was little new or novel about it, so I wrote little. A woman journalist who had arrived late tried to squeeze her way behind me to get past. I obligingly moved my chair forward to help her and, to my horror, my handbag, that had been resting on my knees, toppled forward. I had forgotten to close it and so my lipsticks and other cosmetics poured out, making an ungodly noise.

Everyone, including the Prime Minister himself, turned towards me and I wished the ground would open and swallow me up. The women collapsed in giggles at my predicament. Blushing furiously, I had to get down on my hands and knees and retrieve all of my things. The Prime Minister gave me a friendly smile and asked me if he could continue. I was glad when the whole conference was over. I scurried out as fast as my heels could carry me. I had never felt so humiliated in my life!

My first day as a woman had not gotten off to an auspicious start......

Monday, 16 May 2011

In Her Shoes - Chapter Six - Clothes maketh the Woman

It is Wednesday morning. My first day at work in my new feminine persona. Having already had my body re-shaped into a womanly form, being denuded of all my body hair and having my nails shaped and painted and my eyebrows plucked, I was finding myself disorientated, confused and not a little ashamed.

My feelings were not helped by the silky pink nightdress that I had had to wear to bed that night. Used to pyjamas, boxers, or just being in the buff, the feel of silk clining against my body was strange and I looked just like a girl. Albeit a very big one. The flowing silken, lace trimmed garment was the first feminine garment that I had ever worn.

After I had showered and donned a pink fluffy bathrobe, Milly took me in hand. I was astonished at her sudden take charge manner. My hair was her first target. I had deliberately allowed it to grow into a long mane, like that of the king of beasts, the lion. Milly, a hair stylist amongst her many other talents, set about taming it. She washed it, cut it and shampooed it. Then she used straigtheners to give me flowing tresses that came down to my shoulders and which framed my face. The result was I looked more womanly. From the back, I would look just like any other woman.

With my hair sorted out, Milly produced a bottle of perfume and proceeded to liberally spray it all over my large body. An overpowering aroma of tiger lily and jasmine assaulted my senses. This was how I would smell to others.

Next came my new clothes and I was confronted by an assortment of garments that were familiar, yet at the same time utterly alien. I was handed a bundle of white lace and it took me a moment to deduce that these were my new underwear. Ladies' knickers! Fighting back feelings of shame and humiliation, I put them on. They were a lot tighter than any of my male underwear, but then they were designed to be, to show off my rear and to provide a pretty cover for my most intimate area.

I was next given something even more symbolic of womanhood. My first bra. With help from Milly, I put the lace contraption around my chest. Once the clips had been done up expertly by Milly, the weight of my breasts became a lot easier to bear. Still, it was very peculiar to find my chest, shoulders and top back covered by this lace support garment.

Instead of the corset that I had worn the day before, I was put into what Milly called a waspie. And boy did it sting! A white elasticated band, festooned with lace trimmings and attachments for stockings. The waspie did the same job as the corset of pulling my waist in, but was much smaller, and allowed me to experience wearing the bra. It was uncomfortable to wear though. I would have to wear this thing, and the strange bra, all day.

A pair of black stockings with black lacy tops was handed to me and Milly showed me how to put these on and attach them to the suspender tabs on the waspie. Soon my legs were sheathed in nylon, save for a small amount of bare flesh at the top of my legs. The stockings felt comfortable, but it was odd to be wearing them.

And that, Milly said, concluded dressing me in my foundation wear. Now for my outer clothes. Much of my underwear and stockings would be hidden from the eyes of the rest of world, thank goodness. Milly was in her bossy mode and she picked out my outfit for me.

I had to put on a flowery top with puffy sleeves that left two thirds of my arms bare. It also exposed the tops of my shoulders and revealed my bra straps. Most disturbing of all, and something I was still not used to, was the sight of two mounds in my chest region. The material of the top was silky and clingy. I was experiencing some strange, sensuous feelings.

Then I had to put on my suit. Not my normal man's suit, but a woman's jacket and skirt combination. I had to step into a pinstriped skirt with a slit up the back to expose more of my stockinged legs. The skirt fitted tightly around my lower body and especially around my bottom, which would be prominent and on show for all to see.

It was very weird and, for a man as masculine as me, very humiliating to suddenly find himself in a skirt, one of the most obvious symbols of femaleness. Parts of my body that had been hidden from view by male clothing were now on display.

I slipped on the matching jacket, noting the different cut. It had been designed to adorn and flatter a female form. Of course, with my breasts and my small waist, it fitted me well enough. Milly slipped a thin leather belt around the waistband of my skirt. It had a buckle in the shape of an oversized golden butterfly. The belt further emphasised my womanly waist.

Milly handed me some accessories to wear with my new outfit. A slender silver ladies' watch with a tiny face, a pair of diamond clip on earrings and a silver band necklace. Milly helped me put these on. The feeling of wearing earrings was entirely foreign to me, as well as jewellery in general.

Milly then sat me down at her vanity table and proceeded to apply my make up. A thick layer of foundation that softened and blurred my naturally masculine features. Milly then put on eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, blusher, lip liner and finished off with a deep red lipstick. The cosmetics she was using, Milly told me, were the best in the business.

I submitted to having my face altered and painted with the best grace that I could muster, but I was finding it shameful and demeaning. Men should not wear make up, that was for the ladies, had been instilled in me since, well, forever!

I was startled by the results of the transformation. I actually looked quite pretty!

Milly produced yet another distinctively female accroutrement, a pair of black high heeled shoes. I was uneasy at the prospect of having to wear them. Not only were they a icon of pure femininity, but they would be uncomfortable to wear. Milly got me to put my stockinged feet into them and helped me up.

The shoes raised me up so that I appeared even taller than usual. However, they made me wobble about and it took me a while to find my centre of gravity. Walking in them for even a short distance was challenging and I was forced to adopt short, mincing steps in place of my usual long stride. The shoes also rubbed my feet and toes. They were seriously uncomfortable to wear!

Then Milly handed me something which made me groan inwardly. A handbag! It was a Prada one that I had bought for Milly and which she was now loaning to me. It was yet another symbol of womanhood. The previous evening, I had had to transfer all of my money and credit cards to a purse. The purse, a compact mirror and some make up occupied the handbag.

I accepted the handbag with inward reluctance. I would have to cart this thing around with me everywhere.

Milly helped me into a ladies' brown macintosh. My transition from man to woman was complete!

Now I had to go out and face the world. My stomach was turning somersaults at the thought of everyone seeing the new me.

Milly gave me a gentle peck goodbye, then pushed me out of the door and quickly shut it behind me, as if to say "there's no way back lady!".

I stood there for a few minutes, wibble-wobbling in my new shoes. I could feel a draught up my skirt, the unaccustomed weight of my handbag perched on my right arm, and my earrings swaying gently. Momentarily paralysed with fear, from somewhere within me, a spark of courage galvinised me and I bravely stepped forward......

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Ladies' Sewing Circle - 2015

Report by Jasmine Tomlinson - 15 May 2015

With the astonishing speed of female empowerment and dominance, female only social and networking clubs are mushrooming all over the country. In a gesture of supreme irony, they have been dubbed "Ladies' Sewing Circles".

The ladies who attend such clubs, and they are doing so in increasing numbers, certainly don't waste their time with knitting or needlepoint. They have far more important things to do, such as connecting with their sisters, establishing contacts and sharing their knowledge and experience with each other.

I went along to one of these "Ladies' Sewing Circles" in Richmond, Surrey, and I was truly stunned by what I witnessed there.

After driving to one of the most affluent areas of the country, I pulled up outside a modern mansion belonging to self-made businesswoman Marion Gilmore. Gilmore, a woman in her fifties but looking over a decade younger due to what she describes as "a mix of surgery, hormone treatment and the benefits of founding and running a good business", ushered me inside the exclusively female inner sanctum, Gilmore's sitting room.

There I found a select group of six other females. They were roughly the same age as Gilmore and dressed in designer business suits. Like most women nowadays, their hair was cropped short, their nails were clipped and free of any varnish and there was no jewellery or make up in evidence.

Far from being a feminine environment, the room and the ladies occupying it projected masculinity. There was an aura of power and confidence surrounding these women that was faintly sinister.

Gilmore introduced me to "her sisters", as she described them. They all owned or ran businesses. In spite of the fact that each woman in that room was a millionnairess many times over and that they were in complete control of their lives, it was clear that they looked to Gilmore for leadership.

Gilmore, the unofficial chairwoman, proceeded with the agenda with almost frightening efficiency. The women discussed tactics about how to put male competitors out of business by slashing prices in their own companies and which rivals should be targetted. There was no danger of their own companies suffering, since each woman had enough financial resources to simply outlast the competition.

Gilmore stated simply that she predicted that, by the end of the current fiscal year, they would have driven most of the male competition out of business and that they would be poised to pick up the pieces. By the end of the current decade, Gilmore smugly predicted that no significant business concern in the county would be controlled by a man. All of the Ladies' Sewing Circles in the county were co-ordinating their efforts to secure this outcome, with Gilmore as the go-between and the driving force.

Their business concluded, Gilmore asked her sisters if they would like tea. The other ladies, awed by the power and authority shown their de facto leader, nodded enthusiastically. Gilmore picked up a bell and shook it. The tiny bell gave a delicate little tinkle. That was the only delicate thing in this room.

The door opened and an apparition that appeared to be a female maidservant appeared. But she was attired like no maidservant that I had ever seen. The maid was dressed in an elaborate gown that an upper class lady in the eighteenth century would have worn. The gown was in pure silk and was in a pale pink colour, except for the lace and embroidered detail of roses empanelled on the bodice. The gown encased the wearer's arms in a quilted pink silk, and featured trailing pink chiffon sleeves that reached almost to the floor.

The gown had the widest skirts that I had ever seen, the pink silk billowing out so that the lower part of the wearer's body was wider than the doorway. The maid had to turn her body slightly in order to enter. The skirts were hooped and bounced energetically at the maid's slightest movement. As the voluminous skirts of the gown rose as the maid minced her way towards us, we caught glimpses of a frothy sea of lacy petticoats. Just how many petticoats the maid wore was anyone's guess but there was a great many, as many petticoats as the skirt of the gown could accommodate. The skirt of the gown had layers of white lace and flounces at regular intervals.

It was also obvious that the maid was wearing white frilled and beribboned pantaloons, the bottoms of which could be seen with every movement. She also wore a pair of white boots that had heels of such height that the maid's rather large feet were cantilevered up, forcing the maid to mince and totter along at a daring angle. How on earth she managed in them, I could only guess. They must have been excruiatingly uncomfortable to wear.

The maid's waist was clearly tightly corsetted and had been so reduced to tiny dimensions that it was almost like that of a child. I could placed my own small hands around it and have plenty of space to spare. The maid's throat was decorated with a lace choker with a pink gemstone of some sort as the centrepiece. The girl's neck was laden with necklaces that seemed to drag her head down with the sheer weight of them. The rounded and frilled neck of the gown showed off a large area of creamy flesh, in spite of the amount of jewellery the maid wore.

The maid's hands were large, I noticed. They had a creamy, milky complexion and the nails had been manicured and painted with the same pale pink colour as the gown. Dainty and delicate gold and silver rings, set with stones that sparkled brightly even in the fully lit room, adorned each of the maid's thumbs and fingers.

Above the lace choker was the visage of a woman, though clearly not a young woman, judging by the obvious signs of lines and wrinkles. The maid clearly could not afford the age defeating techniques employed by her mistress. I suddenly worked out that the maid, whom I had assumed to be a girl or young woman, must be about the same age as her mistress. Nevertheless, in spite of the lines and wrinkles, the maid's features had been beautifully made up.

A deep, cream foundation had been applied to her face that instantly gave her a refined and ladylike complexion, a deep pink blush had been daubed onto her cheeks to make her look younger in spite of the evidence to the contrary, kohl eyeliner made the maid's green eyes stand out, her eyelids had been painted with a blue colour as a contrast to her natural eye colour. The maid had beautifully long eyelashes. They were far too long to be natural, and must have had extensions added. The woman's lips had been painted pale pink and made her look more girlish than her years.

The overall effect was to make the maid appear younger and extremely feminine. The only thing that spoilt the beauty and femininity of the maid's face was that the maid's thin lips were set in a grimace.

The maid's longish hair had been dyed blonde and styled into corkscrew curls that descended almost to the maid's shoulders. Like the skirt of her dress, the curls bounced wildly as the maid moved about. On top of her head, the maid wore a very ornate headdress of roses and orchids, attached to her head by an expansive band of white lace that surrounded her head and was secured underneath her chin. The maid's ears had been pierced and heavy looking diamond earrings hung from them.

The contrast between the ruthless, businesslike, mannish women of the Ladies' Sewing Circle and the servile, classically womanly creature who had just entered the room could not be greater. The women exuded power and masculinity. The maid was subservient and could not be mistaken for being anything over than feminine.

The maid lumbered her way towards us in small, dainty steps, carrying a large tray of cups, saucers, cutlery and a flower detail teapot. That she had been heavily perfumed with some fragrance with a flower base of some kind was obvious. Her perfume had hit your nose as soon as the maid had entered the room and it grew stronger, almost unbearable. The noses of all the ladies present, my own included, wrinkled in disgust. None of these women had worn fragrances for some years. A perfumed body was an experience revisited for them.

With difficulty, given the wide skirts of her dress, her impossibly high shoes and sheer weight of the fabrics and jewellery worn, the maid walked to a table and set her load upon it. Then, grasping the skirts of her gown, she gave her mistress a low curtsey and stayed in that position, acknowledging the power of the woman she served.

Gilmore observed the maid's curtsey and let her remain in her servile position for a long minute. The maid was clearly struggling to maintain her pose under the weight of the gown and petticoats she wore, but somehow managed it.

"You may rise, Derek, and pour me and my guests some tea!" Gilmore ordered the maid.

The other women present were unfazed. They had obviously seen this, or variations of it, before. They studiously ignored the maid and began to talk quietly amongst themselves. Totally unprepared, I was momentarily stunned by this revelation.

Gilmore was highly amused by the expression on my face. She confirmed that person presently occupied in pouring tea for us was none other than her wife, Derek. She openly referred to the man to whom she had been married for over thirty years as her "wife". I wondered what poor Derek had done to warrant being made to dress fully as if he were a female in the eighteenth century in a ridiculous and over elaborate costume, shown off and publicly humiliated in front of a group of women, and made to wait upon them as if he was a maid, which, in fact, he effectively was.

Gilmore explained that, many years ago, Derek had been the breadwinner and she had been the housewife. Then, Gilmore had become a feminist and this had spurred her to make herself independent of men. Meanwhile, Derek had lost his job and had been unable to find another. Gilmore managed to find a job as a shorthand secretary and the couple switched traditional gender roles.

It had not been an easy transition. Derek, used to being the breadwinner and having the power in the relationship, was bitter at the loss of his status. Gilmore was loving having her own money and having the power, but was tired of the arguments with her husband over money and power and his unwillingness to do housework. Of course, once she had launched her own business and had become a millionnairess, her position within her own marriage had become unassailable.

Gilmore was happy with how her life had turned out, but she had resented the "wasted years" she had spent as a subservient housewife and intended to turn the tables on her husband.

The threat of divorce, an event that would leave Derek homeless and penniless had it gone through, was enough to make Derek completely submissive and subservient to his wife's every whim. She had told Derek that he was now the "wife". She would refer to him as one and treat him like one. His wifely duties included doing all of the housework and shopping. At first, Derek had been allowed to continue to dress in traditional male clothing, his only concession to his feminine state being to wear a pinny when he did his housework.

Then, one day, Derek had arrived home from grocery shopping to find that his wife had made a bonfire out of his clothes and his beloved collection of golf clubs, painstakingly acquired over a period of many years. Some of the clubs had even predated his marriage. Derek had openly wept as he saw them wither and burn. But worse was to come, for Gilmore had, purchased ladies' clothes and underwear for him and had insisted that he wear them. He was a wife and so he should dress like one.

Derek deeply resented this humiliation and he had tried to resist it, but had to back down when Gilmore threatened to throw him out of the marital home, which she now owned outright.

Gilmore said that her "wife" had not worn any traditonally male clothing for almost a decade now. Over the years, his costumes had become ever more elaborate, starting with mainstream women's clothing, then maid's outfits and now Gilmore's latest craze, historical costume. Derek had Edwardian and Victorian ladies' outfits in his wardrobe, but the eighteenth century one was by far her favourite and Derek had to wear it often. This was the first time, though, that he had had to wear the costume in public.

What made it all the more delicious was the knowledge that Derek absolutely hated wearing the costume. The fifty-eight year old man was reduced to tears when he was instructed to wear it.

I looked with pity as Derek, tottering about in high heels, voluminous skirts and petticoats, attempted to pour tea for women who smirked at his feminine condition or simply ignored him. He was as totally restrained and petticoated as any woman had ever been. That he was unhappy was evident from the misery etched on his cosmetically enhanced features, but what he must have been feeling and thinking was unimaginable. I felt uncomfortable watching him.

I then looked at Gilmore. Regal as a queen. In total mastery of her world. Her face was devoid of pity as she watched Derek mince about. I was inclined to disbelieve that her treatment of her "wife" was for revenge only. To a person like Gilmore, power, and the show of power, was everything.

What had just occurred was Gilmore showing her acolytes that her power and authority within her own household was absolute. She was showing that not only had she forced a reversal of the traditional roles of husband and wife and that she had complete control over her man, to the point where she could make him wear humiliating and uncomfortable outfits and make him be her "wife", but she had even reversed the masculine and feminine dynamic inherent in any marriage. Gilmore, although female, was now the masculine element within her marriage, whilst Derek, a male by nature and instinct had been forced down the road towards total femininity.

Looking at the couple, it was clear who was the "man" and who was the "woman".

And it is unlikely that the Ladies' Sewing Circle will stop with Derek. All of the other women present had husbands who had been reduced to househusbandry. They had whispered to me, when their imperious leader was not within earshot, that they had initially found Derek's feminisation distasteful, but of course they had dared not object. Now though, with Derek's latest delightful metamorphasis into a femininity that these genetic females doubted that they could ever emulate, their eyes had been opened. The complete feminisation of the male so that he could never again threaten the inevitable domination of women was the way forward.

If the Ladies' Sewing Circle have their way, the male of the future will be reduced to being a helpless and pathetic specimen. He will be a prettifed creature, restrained by corsetry and high heeled shoes, cocooned in many layers of silk and lace, his neck, fingers and ears weighed down with pretty jewellery, his long hair styled to please his mistress in a feminine way, his features feminised with cosmetics and even the essence of his maleness imprisoned in the dainty silk, lacy be-ribboned underwear that traditionally symbolised the total femininity of the wearer. Powerless, he will be conditioned to accept the superiority of women and he will become meek and submissive in contrast to the masculine traits now exhibited by his new mistresses.

And I cannot see how the gradual feminisation of the male can be stopped. The Ladies' Sewing Circles are growing in numbers and in power with every passing day. Their members, like Gilmore, are ruthless and focused on expanding control, female control, over everything.

The Ladies' Sewing Circle, traditionally associated with a group of refined, ladylike females getting together to gossip and exchange sewing patterns, has been masculinised by a new generation of females, determined to create a future world where masculinity and femininity are inverted. Whilst I'm not sure where this is going to end, the future is certainly going to be interesting.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

In Her Shoes - Chapter Five - De-male

"My name is Leo Cavendish. I am male and I consider myself to be very masculine. However, I volunteered to spend a month living as a woman and to recount my experiences. Even in an age where the progress of women is threatening to greatly eclipse male achievement, the old assumptions about gender still remain and, in particular, in the dress and expected behaviours of the genders.

My situation, though less of a eyebrow turner than in the past, is still unusual.

After accepting a mission to enter the feminine universe, I was given the rest of the day off. But I returned to my desk and turned my workstation on to pursue some research.

What was this thing called "Femininity"? I googled the definition of the word and came up with the following:

1. The quality or condition of being feminine

2. A characteristic or trait held to be female

3. Women considered as a group

4. Effeminate

But I consider femininity to be the exact opposite of masculinity, although I recognise that there are women who exhibit strong masculine traits and men who are capable of accessing their feminine side. Masculinity and Femininity are not exclusive, members of both sexes experience them to lesser or greater degrees.

I considered my own tendencies towards femininity to be very small. Almost non-existent, in fact.

Now I have to live for a month in a feminine existence. When I had initially volunteered, I had assumed it would be easy. Women have an easier time of it than men, right?

How very wrong my assumption was quickly became apparent.

Before I was due to leave for the day - to start my new assignment and my new existence on the morrow - an e-mail appeared in my in-box from my editor. Attached to it was a document labelled 'Company policy: Dress code for female employees'. Underneath it, the editor had written "Leo, from tomorrow, this applies to you. Best of luck!"

In fact the e-mail had been unnecessary. Most of the staff on the paper were female. I saw exactly what they wore each day. As a "female" employee, I was required to wear a smart skirt and blouse (or a top), tights (or bare legs, but these must be shaven), make up and nail varnish (both to be maintained in good order), black high heels. My hair was to be styled in an acceptable way and not to appear scruffy or dishevelled.

I went home, my mind in turmoil and I was frankly dreading the next day. My girlfriend, Milly, was home, waiting for me. She was totally supportive of me and my journey into femininity. Milly had not been idle. She had been shopping and she had bought me my new wardrobe.

But first, she said, there was work to be done on my body. She would, she said, have to "de-male me". Using wax strips, Milly removed all of my body hair. This was a painful and humiliating experience for a masculine male and left me with large expanses of smooth, creamy flesh.

My bushy moustache, which I had had since I had been an officer in the Grenadier Guards and which I was immensely proud of, was shaven off. I was struck by how feminine my features looked without it. I was a handsome man, but with my high cheekbones and full lips, I could look quite pretty, with a little help from some make up.

My bushy eyebrows were plucked to form a feminine arch and this also had the added effect of making my eyes look bigger and my whole face more feminine. My nails were far too short for even Milly to be able to do anything with. Her solution was to apply press on nails and paint these in a deep shade of red.

But the biggest, and the most humiliating, change imposed upon me was that I was to have my own pair of breasts! Milly glued onto my chest a pair of large, pendulous silicon based breastforms. They looked eerily realistic, right down to the large pink nipples. I was surprised at the weight of them and realised that I would need to wear a bra for much needed support.

Milly next produced a black, lace trimmed corset and put it over my torso. The laces were tightened and within a short time my waist had been reduced to a more womanly shape. I found the corset uncomfortable and restrictive. I would have difficulty bending or stooping.

I took a moment to look at the new, naked, me. Although I was over six feet tall and solidly built, my shape was no longer masculine. The breasts and corsetry had altered my whole body shape and centre of gravity. The loss of my body hair instantly made me look more feminine and made me feel more vulnerable and naked and the painted and manciured nails added to the overall effect of feminisation.

But I felt, as Milly did, that the process I was going through was to de-male me, strip away my masculinity, as much as feminisation.

I felt queasy and humiliated as I viewed my new body image. I had just been de-maled!

In Her Shoes - Chapter Four - Slugs & Snails and Puppy Dogs' Tails

"In Her Shoes - When a Man lives as Woman" Chloe Bright & Leo Cavendish

There is an age-old childhood mantra, which goes as follows:

"Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dogs' Tails, that's what little boys are made of! Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice, that's what little girls are made of!"

It points out to boys and girls, early on in their lives, that there are fundamental differences between being a boy and being a girl. Gender characteristics are strongly reinforced. Boys are characterised as rough and unruly, but as leaders and adventurers. Girls are portrayed as sweet and innocent, nurturing and pleasing.

Feminists have decried such propaganda, no matter how old or how childish, that so strongly seeks to keep girls in their proper place and preach equality between the sexes. Anti-feminists, a force which is gathering strength in the wake of the diminished power and authority of the male, are trying to turn back the clock and put women back in the kitchen.

Whereas the feminist movement is built on truth and confident assertion, the Anti-feminist cause is built upon one thing only. Fear.

Admittedly, they have much to be worried about. The old patriarchal system that favours men is under assault from all sides. Male underachievement at schools and universities has long been a source of concern, and the problem is getting worse with every passing year. The old manufacturing economies of the past, the mainstay of male employment, has also been shrinking for decades, whilst the service and information technology industries where women are thriving, are rapidly expanding.

More and more women are occupying higher status positions than ever before and more and more women are now the main breadwinner within their family unit. Men are increasingly finding themselves the ones who are now the secondary wage earner or even completely dependant upon his female partner's earning power. The number of househusbands is rising steadily.

There is a quiet revolution occurring here where the old patriarchal system is remaining largely intact, but with the only real difference is that the men and women are gradually changing places. Woman emerging as leader and breadwinner and Man ending up as homemaker and chief childraiser.

All of these developments has put the fear of god into the anti-feminist movement and they lay the blame squarely at the door of the "insidious" force that is feminism.

I'm personally more inclined to believe that the problems faced by males today have nothing to do with feminism. The problem, I'm afraid to say, is with men themselves. In general, men are lazy, inflexible, immature and they are failing to accept that society has fundamentally altered in the last three or four decades, and they have failed to adapt to an altered world. Until they adapt, the male gender will continue on its downward spiral.

That men are losing their traditional roles in society is bad enough for the anti-feminists, but what they fear more than anything is not feminism, but feminisation. The spectre of man not only losing his role, but losing his clothes and thereby his masculinity, to woman.

This outcome might seem unlikely. Gender has been deeply entrenched in our society for so long that it seems inconcievable that it could be turned on its head. Masculinity becoming the new Femininity and vice versa. Yet, not so long ago, it would have seemed inconcievable for girls to become 60% of all graduates leaving university, or for large numbers of women to earn far more than their male partners.

It is entirely possible for the anti-feminists' worst nightmare to come true and for the once proud, dominant male to lose his trousers, the symbol of his mastery, to the female of the species and for him to adopt the skirt and other traditionally feminine accroutrements in acknowledgement of his decline and fall to womankind.

In a special exclusive experiment, my colleague, Leo Cavendish, has volunteered to experience the possible life of the male of the future, in the traditional dress and role of woman. Just what happens when man lives as woman?

What follows is Leo's experience.......

Sunday, 8 May 2011

In Her Shoes - Chapter Three - One of the Girls?

"...Admit that you find the idea fascinating......" Fiona Harrington's simpering voice penetrated Leo Cavendish's brain.

Leo's brain processed the information. Fiona was proposing that he, Leo Cavendish, experience life as a woman for a month to demonstrate his own point that women had an easier time of it than their menfolk.

At first, Leo's instinctive reaction was to refuse. He could not think of anything more humiliating than wearing ladies' clothing!

Yet.....he had to admit to being curious about what it would be like. What would it be like to have to wear a bra? Or sexy lingerie? Or a skirt? Or high heels? Or make up? To have one's body soft and devoid of hair and yet to have long, styled hair.

The two women in front of him, both very attractive and feminine beings, exchanged amused glances. "Come on, Leo! I challenge you to try it!" Chloe goaded him.

"Don't tell me big, manly Leo is scared of the idea of wearing a dress! How disappointing!" exclaimed Fiona. She looked at Chloe and said in a loud voice "I guess Leo just isn't man enough to try life as a woman and to prove to us how much easier a woman's life is than a man's".

Leo felt a sudden surge of irritation and anger. It was one of his many weaknesses to rise to a challenge. It had always been the same since early childhood. If someone had dared him to do something, or had expressed doubt that he could do something, Leo would be determined to prove them wrong. He had ended up in hospital or at the receiving end of a ticking off by his parents as a result of his trying crazy things that no-one with any sense would dare do.

Before he could stop himself, he blurted out "I'm man enough to do it!" then he faltered, instantly regretting his impulsiveness, and almost whispered "...but I'll have to run it by my girlfriend first! And Ms Carruthers".

The women gave him beaming smiles and each took one of his arms "What a brave boy you are!" cooed Chloe, almost purring with pleasure. Fiona insisted on buying another bottle of wine. As he drank his wine, Leo thought to himself. I'm safe. There's no way Milly would go for it and I'm too valuable for Ms Carruthers to let her top reporter go around in drag!

He fuelled the womens' delusions, jokingly saying how he was looking forward to wearing his first dress and learning how to walk in high heels.

Fiona and Chloe had to go. Their partners would be waiting for them to come home. Leo left with them and escorted them to the tube station. He saw them onto their train before boarding one himself and travelling home to the modern, luxury flat he shared with his live in girlfriend, Milly Prescott.

Milly was some eight years younger than Leo. In many ways she was still more girl than woman. As Milly was a little over five feet tall and had a very petite build, she and her former guardsman boyfriend drew more than a few looks as they walked together. Milly owned her own hairdressing salon, which she had built up from nothing.

Milly was the latest in a long line of girlfriends. Leo kept her around for pleasure, but he had no plans to get married any time soon. A girlfriend typically lasted a little over six months before Leo's eye began to wander and he ultimately replaced her.

Milly's young and earnest face greeted him as he staggered into the flat, a little the worse for wear due to the amount of wine he had drunk. Milly watched him, amused.

"I see someone's had a good time!"

Leo laughed. Milly helped him off with his coat and shoes, fetched his slippers and put them on his feet and made him a steaming hot cup of coffee. Milly cuddled up beside him and asked him in that sweet voice of hers how his day had gone.

Leo recounted his day, almost to the smallest detail and then stopped as he came to the part when he had agreed, in principle, to become a lady for a month.

Milly sensed something was wrong. Leo was normally so exuberant, so confident, so masculine. A little too much so, she thought.

"What is it, Leo?" she asked him.

Leo reddened slightly "I made really stupid mistake today, Milly. My temper got the better of me again!"

Milly put a hand over her mouth, thinking, Oh no! What has he done? Got into a fight? Insulted someone? Lost his job? The last scared her more than anything since it was handy having a boyfriend who was loaded and who let her live, rent free, in his flat.

"These cunning females, Fiona Harrington and Chloe Bright! They know how to push my buttons! Do you know what they talked me into doing? Becoming a woman for a month for an article in the newspaper. Imagine that! Me, as a woman! I can't do it of course, for your sake!"

He looked at his girlfriend, expecting her to be stunned, horrified by the notion, but she had collapsed into a fit of giggles.

"It's not funny! It'll be bloody humiliating! Me prancing about in high heels and skirts!"

Milly laughed herself silly. Leo glared at her. The girl composed herself, suppressing the urge to giggle.

"I'll tell them I can't do it because you don't approve" Leo said.

"Oh, no you don't!" said Milly "You're not using me to wriggle out of this one! You volunteered to do it, so you should just live with it. Actually, I quite like the idea!"

Leo's mouth fell open.

As Leo walked into the office, he was sure that the Editor, Ms Carruthers, would never wear the idea of her star reporter in drag. It would make the newspaper a laughing stock. It would never be taken seriously again.

Leo hadn't even made it to his desk when Ms Carruthers' voice sang out "Leo, step into my office please!" Leo dumped his laptop onto his chair and walked into Ms Carruthers' office, a spacious, rather masculine space with a fantastic view of the River Thames.

To Leo's consternation, Fiona and Chloe were already seated. Leo had hoped to make it into the office before them and talk Ms Carruthers into vetoing the idea. But those scheming females had made it first. Leo sat down beside the two women.

"Leo, Chloe tells me that you've volunteered to be the star of her new article "In Her Shoes: When a Man lives as Woman!". Great title! Well, Leo, how do you feel about it?"

The three women looked at Leo expectantly. For once, Leo wished he was not the centre of the universe.

"To be honest, Ms Carruthers...." he began slowly "I WOULD do it. would the paper cope without me? I mean, I'm the political correspondent, the most important job in this office, next to yours, naturally Ms Carruthers!"

"Chloe's thought of that" said Ms Carruthers "Haven't you, Chloe?"

Chloe gave Leo a big smile. Leo felt at that moment like a helpless prey being circled by a hungry predator "Yes, Ms Carruthers. I propose that I join the political correspondence team, on a part time basis of course as I still have my womens' section articles to write, to free you up so you can be the central character in my article! And Ms Carruthers has agreed, haven't you, Ms Carruthers?"

Ms Carruthers gave a brisk nod "Indeed I have. I think the article will be splendid for the paper! A truly original and novel idea! And you, Leo, will be the star. Another feather in your cap!"

Leo gulped. Oh my god, he thought, I'm going to have to become a woman!

In Her Shoes - Chapter Two - The Subject

Chloe Bright, budding journalist, was happy because her colleague and best friend, Fiona Harrington, had come up with the brilliant idea of running an article in the womens' page of their paper based on the experiences of a man living as a woman.

It would be a sure fire hit.

"And I know just who to ask to be the subject" said Chloe, happily. "There's a guy I know. His name's Desmond - during the week anyway! - at weekends, he goes by the name Desiree!"

But Fiona was shaking her head "No. You don't want a tranny. The whole point is to get a man, preferably one who has never worn womens' clothes before, to live as a woman and recount the whole experience. What it's like to wear earrings for the first time, that sort of thing. A tranny's done all that already".

Chloe looked a little dispirited "Oh, I see...then, who can I use?"

Fiona waved a hand around to indicate everyone in the packed bar "Take your pick. The world is full of men!"

Chloe's delicate features reddened slightly "Oh, but I couldn't...just ask a complete stranger". Chloe thought for a long moment and said, almost in a whisper "I wonder if I could get my Steve to do it?"

Fiona almost choked on her wine. She spluttered and coughed. Chloe's boyfriend, Steve, topped six feet in height, had rippling muscles and obscene amounts of hair coming out of places where Fiona didn't think it would be possible to grow any hair. Besides, his ego had been badly dented by the fact that Chloe had recently overtaken him in earning power. It was unlikely he would co-operate.

Chloe banged her friend's back. Once Fiona had recovered her composure, Chloe said "OK, bad idea. How about your Gary?". Fiona's husband, Gary, was five foot six, with rather delicate features. He would probably make a good looking woman.

Fiona gave her a hard look.

Chloe recalled that Gary had recently lost his job and was now financially dependent on his wife. He was depressed, despondent and resentful.

"Ok, not Gary" Chloe racked her brains to think of someone. Then, Fiona exclaimed "Oh, no, quick hide!" she tried to pull Chloe down to hide behind a couple of big men swigging pints.

But it was too late. "Damn, he's seen us!" Fiona cursed.

Chloe wondered who she was talking about and then inwardly groaned as Leo Cavendish confidently swaggered towards them.

Leo was six foot tall exactly, but he had a slender build. He was handsome and he had a thick mane of blond hair and a thick moustache. He was physically attractive, but he was also insufferably full of himself and made no secret of the fact that he had a low opinion of women as co-workers. His background was impeccable. Son of a baronet, rumoured to be distantly related to the British Royal Family, educated at Eton, graduated from Cambridge University and he had held a short service commission in the Grenadier Guards before embarking on a career in journalism. He had done well and now covered the current affairs section of the same paper that Chloe and Fiona worked for.

Chloe reflected that she and Leo could not be more different. She was barely over five feet tall and tiny of build. She was pretty, but not stunning. Chloe was modest about her abilities, but hardworking and passionate about her job. Chloe had grown up on a council estate with her mother and several other siblings. She didn't even know who her father was. But she had been clever academically and won scholarships. She had managed to graduate from Oxford University and had entered journalism. Chloe currently wrote for the womens' page though, nowhere near as glamourous as current affairs.

"Evening Ladies" said Leo in a posh upper crust accent "Can I offer you a drink? I'm celebrating yet another success. Quite a scoop!" he said jubilantly.

"Evening, Leo" Chloe and Fiona replied, in a less than enthusiastic tone.

Leo insisted on buying them another bottle of wine and regaled them for an hour with every single, tiny detail of his scoop. Chloe quietly despised him for his good fortune and self-obsession, and the two women rolled their eyes at each other as Leo recounted his achievement. Chloe's irritation with Leo grew steadily, threatening to explode.

When Leo had finally stopped talking, Chloe began to gather her things "Sorry, but I have to go".
Leo looked disappointed "Oh, don't go yet. There's over half a bottle left to drink yet! And your laptop's still on!" Leo began to read what was on the display "What's all this then? The Invisible Man - How Feminism is slowly and gently rubbing the modern male from society.....interesting".

"It's just a load of AFB" explained Fiona.

Leo looked bemused "AFB?"

"Anti-Feminist Bullshit. And it is, it really is!" snapped Chloe "Now, could I get to my laptop please?"

Leo wouldn't move. He insisted on reading the "AFB". Fuming, Chloe reluctantly accepted another glass of wine from Fiona.

Leo chuckled as he read the article. Finally, he turned to the women and said "It's appallingly written, really it is! but there's truth in it".

"Don't tell me you actually agree with that tripe" Chloe said coldly.

Leo waved a hand expansively "Well, ladies, you have to admit that you've never had it so good. The article says so. Girls are doing better at school, women are doing better in the workplace, than us men".

It was Chloe's turn to almost choke on her wine. She exploded. "We've never had it so good? Yes, we're doing better than we were, but most politicians, businessmen and scientists are still men! And they're the ones who still make the really big decisions! And women are still paid less on average than men. And the glass ceiling is still impenetrable. And it's us women, as always, who have to make the tough decision about whether to pursue her career or stall it in order to start a family! It's not easy being a woman, you know!"

Leo laughed "It's totally easy! All you have to do is flutter your eyelashes or wiggle your bottom and you'll be up to your armpits in men declaring their undying love for you. You'd be set for life, pampered and taken care of while us men work for you".

Fiona gazed at Leo with intensity "So you're saying that our lives are easier than yours?"

"Yep. I mean, we men don't have much of a choice do we? We can't have babies, so we have to work. You ladies can opt out of work whenever you want, to have babies, or a 'career break" or whatever whilst we men are still on the treadmill".

"OK, Leo" Fiona said "As it happens, Chloe here is writing an article...."

"It's called In Her Shoes..that's the working title anyway!" Chloe interjected.

"Yes" continued Fiona "Chloe is writing an article about a man who gets to live as a woman for a month. Sounds to me like you'd be an ideal candidate. You can experience for yourself how much 'easier' life as a woman is! Come on, admit it, you're fascinated by the idea....."

In Her Shoes - Chapter One - A Seed is Sown

Chloe Bright was in "Giselle's", a trendy wine bar round the corner from where she worked, studying a block of text intensely on her laptop. Out of the corner of one of her pale blue eyes, she spied her closest friend, Fiona Harrington, entering the bar.

"Fi! Over here!" Chloe shouted above the noise of the packed bar, giving her friend a cheery wave. Fiona, a petite woman, wearing an expensive coat and carrying, as Chloe did, a briefcase, sports bag and her laptop secured in a case, smiled at Chloe and made her way over, gratefully dumping her bags on the floor.

The two women gave each other a kiss and Fiona asked Chloe "How's your new article coming along?"

Chloe frowned, her delicate features suddenly creased with lines "It isn't, Fi. I've been here for the last two hours racking my brains for something to write and I'm coming up with a big fat zero!"

Fiona gave her a sympathetic hug and went off to the bar to order them some wine. A few minutes later, she had returned with a bottle of chardonnay and two glasses. Chloe was still hunched over her laptop with her head in her hands.

Chloe and Fiona both worked as reporters for the Daily Informer. Fiona had been working there for almost five years and she had risen to cover international news. Chloe had barely been working there a year and she was charged with covering the womens' page.

As Fiona poured out the wine, Chloe said to her "Fi, for the past year I've been doing recipes, embroidery patterns, childcare and 'womens' issues'. I need something, a project to sink my teeth into".

"You can sink your teeth into my Gary, if you want to". Fiona said, sipping her wine.

It was Chloe's turn to give her friend a sympathetic look "I'm guessing things aren't any better between you then?"

Fiona shook her blonde head sadly "Worse. If anything. Chloe, I don't know what to do! Since Gary lost his job, he's been acting like a big kid! Whining at the world for tossing him on the scrapheap. Resentful of me because I've taken over his role as provider and just moping about the house. Honestly, Chloe, he's like a little boy who's all his toys taken away!"

Chloe shrugged. She had heard this story, or ones like it, many times before. "Fi, he's lost his job and his self-esteem has taken a real battering. You just need to talk to him. Tell him he's still the man, job or no job!"

"Don't you think I haven't tried that? He won't listen! Men! They bottle everything up inside themselves and shut everyone else out, especially me! Before Gary got the pink slip, we were planning to start a family. Of course, that's gone by the by because he's realised that if we do have a child, it'll be him that will have to stay home and take care of it and he's too proud to do that! How's your Steve, by the way?"

Chloe sighed "About as good as your Gary! Since I got my raise, he's been huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf! He hates it that I earn more than him! He's down the pub with his mates most nights. We barely even acknowledge each other nowadays".

Fiona raised her glass "To women - the ones who hold everything together whilst the men fall apart!". In spite of her misery, Chloe managed to give a faint smile and clinked her glass with Fiona's.

"Attagirl!" said Fiona. "What's that you're reading there?" she asked.

Chloe swivelled her laptop around "Only some ATB I found on the net. It's pretty provocative!"

Fiona frowned and began to read.

"The Atlantic Bugle - C Nathaniel Carter III

The Invisible Man - How Feminism is slowly and gently rubbing the modern male out of society altogether

Once, a man could take it for granted that, by virtue of his masculine traits, he was a member of the dominant gender and entitled to an education, headship of a family and the means of providing for his family, as any man should do. A woman's role was to produce and care for offspring and clean and cook for her man.

This is the natural order of things. It worked well for centuries

Then, Feminism reared its ugly head and all hell broke loose. Well meaning, but misguided politicians dictated that, in the name of equality, women had to have the vote and equal access to education and employment. Then, they employed something called "Positive Discrimination" to ensure that females became more equal than males.

The fools in successive governments gave women an inch and the feminists took over the whole show. The natural order has been subverted, warped and turned on its head. The result, as we are now seeing, is the advent of "the invisible man".

Go into any college or university and you will see that males are conspicuous by their absence! Thanks to endless tinkering with the education system to help the girls do better, the boys have been so neglected and discouraged by a system that works against them that they are walking away! Boys are now more poorly educated than girls and less well equipped to do well in the workplace.

And the story is the same in the workplace. The politicians have sold our manufacturing base down the river and turned to "service industries". Where once, our nation was the proud producer of goods, now we make very little, and our economy is a hostage to the goodwill of other nations to trade with us. Both the government and employers have betrayed men by favouring women in the jobs market. A man's means to provide for his family has been taken away from him and he has become an economic eunuch. Male unemployment has never been higher, whilst women are taking the jobs that should be his.

Even within the family, the male is slowly but surely disappearing. Marriage rates have fallen to their lowest level ever. Conversely, divorce rates are at their highest level ever. More and more economically independent women are starting up their own families, but without any men in them. They figure that if they can earn their own money and take care of their own children, what use is a man to them?

It is true that, in the media, men still have a presence. But, Oh, what a presence! Most adverts and TV shows run nowadays show the male as a bumbling buffoon. Bewildered by new technology and a new world he doesn't understand, he turns, childlike, to a woman or even a little girl, who will solve his problem with ease. No wonder the modern male gets little respect from females nowadays.

Thanks to the insidiuous effects of feminism, and political correctness gone mad, the male of the 21st century has been reduced to a feminised eunuch. The education system, the employment system, and most especially women, are all working to make men superfluous and redundant.

Men once used to explore the world, build business empires and expand frontiers, but as we move deeper into 21st century, I predict that the modern male will be reduced even further into a parody of manhood. If feminists have their way, he will end poorly educated, unemployed and unemployable, excluded from the family he is supposed to the head of, and a figure of fun for the media.

Already, feminism has so knocked the confidence of men that they are having to question the very nature of masculinity and there is even talk of having to "re-invent" it to fit more with the modern world.

In my book, that can only mean one thing. "Re-inventing masculinity" equals becoming more like women! In the name of God, where will this lunacy end? With men mincing about in high heels, skirts and make up?

Yes, if the feminists had their way!"

Fiona raised an arched eyebrow "Whoa, this Carter guy REALLY doesn't like women!"

"He's not the only one" said Chloe, with a hint of sadness in her voice. "If your Gary and my Steve saw this, the scales would fall from their eyes and they would blame feminism - and us as feminists - for their woes".

"Yes, they really resent us for being successful, when they aren't as successful" said Fiona "Still, reading that article has given me an idea that I think you can use".

Chloe was intrigued "Go on. If it's any good, the next bottle of wine is on me".

"I used to do the womens' features" explained Fiona "Long before your time, dear. I once ran an article called 'Manning Up'. I got this rather feminine woman to live as a man for a month".

Chloe gasped.

"I told the subject that she had to wear mens' clothes and underwear only, get her hair cropped short, bind her breasts and let her body hair grow. She also had to do her usual job as a beautician and go to the gym and work out and stuff. She had to keep a diary of her experiences and that was the main source for the article"

"How did it go?" Chloe asked her, fascinated.

"It was a complete success! I got a great article and a lot of good reviews. Best of all, though, the subject, who wouldn't normally say boo to a goose, loved the experience so much that she stopped wearing feminine stuff and became more confident and masculine. She's still a good friend of mine".

Chloe frowned again. "As fascinating as this role reversal story is, I can't just copy what you did. I need something completely original!"

Fiona smiled "Don't you see it dear? What I've just told you, and the the anti-feminist bullshit we've just read, have given me a great idea! I've done an article on a woman living as a man. You could..."

Chloe finished for her "do another one, but with a man living as a woman! In high heels, skirts and make up! It would be brilliant! Fi, you're a genius!"

The two women smiled and clinked their glasses together again.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Mrs and Ms Regan

Angela Regan gathered her things and left work at a run, speaking to no-one on her way out. Her friends and colleagues were surprised to see her usually placid features etched with worry and anxiety.

Angela climbed into her car and drove like a woman possessed. During the long drive, she composed herself and went over in her mind what had happened to her husband, David.

She had received a telephone call from the local constabulary - in Kent - informing her that her husband had been involved in a road traffic accident (RTA in police speak). David's injuries were not life threatening or anything, but he had been taken to hospital.

Angela was concerned for her husband's health, obviously. In spite of the fact that they grown apart in recent years and were almost like strangers to one another, Angela still cared for her husband of thirty years.

But her overriding concern was to establish what was going on. The RTA had occurred near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. David had told her that he was going for a weekend business meeting in Leeds, hundreds of miles north of Kent, so what the hell was he doing in Tunbridge Wells?

Angela finally arrived at the hospital where David had been taken. Angela spoke with the Consultant, a brisk, efficient woman called Mary Lake, who assured her that apart from some broken ribs and some other superficial injuries, David should be fine, although he would have to stay in hospital for a few days.

On the way to see her husband, Angela was accosted by another brisk and efficient female, who called herself Sergeant Badman and who asked her for a moment of her time. The Sergeant took Angela into an unoccupied office. Angela wondered what all this was about. It was a simple traffic accident, in which she had not been involved at all.

Sergeant Badman told her that the driver of the other vehicle had admitted responsibility for the collision. He couldn't have done much else, as he had been breathilised and the result had been positive. So, David would not have to worry about facing any charges.

The Sergeant then shifted uncomfortably and turned her eyes to the ground, not wanting to meet Angela's gaze.

"What is it, Sergeant?" Angela demanded of her.

"What did your husband tell you of his movements and activities, Mrs Regan?

Angela shrugged "He told me he was going on a business trip to Leeds. David is the Managing Director of an engineering firm. He's always away somewhere, on some business trip". David's frequent absences on these "business trips" had been a bone of contention between them. How many business trips could the MD of a small engineering firm need to have, for pity's sake?

Badman frowned "Mrs Regan, it probably isn't my place to say anything, but when we recovered your husband's car we found some....things.....that would suggest that whatever your husband was planning to do, it was nothing to do with business".

"Things? What things?"

Badman looked embaressed, as if she would rather be anywhere else "We checked out your husband's luggage. It was filled with ladies' clothing. There was also this". The police officer handed her a pamphlet.

Thoroughly confused by all that she had heard so far, Angela glanced down at the leaflet.

"Tranni World: Tunbridge Wells - 3rd to 5th March 2011

A weekend extravaganza for men who want to be ladies...."

There was the image of a rather tall, burly man, complete with a bushy moustache, wearing a flowery frock, high heels and a curly blonde wig. He carried a handbag in one hand and had the other manicured and varnished hand placed on his hip in an attempt at a ladylike pose.

Angela couldn't read anymore and tore her eyes away from the pamphlet. She suddenly felt very dizzy.

The next thing Angela knew, Sergeant Badman was shaking her awake. "Are you OK? You fainted dead away there!"

Angela felt groggy. Her mind was still trying to comprehend the reality that her husband had been going to attend a tranny convention with a suitcase filled with women's clothes.

Her man was a tranny!

Angela still found it hard to believe. In thirty years of marriage, David had acted out the alpha male role. He was the man of the house. He made the decisions. Angela's role had been defined to support his. In addition to running the business he had inherited from his father, David played golf, football and cricket and he was an officer in the Territorial Army.

Their family was still run, more or less, on traditional lines. The man was in charge and the woman supported him. The children, two lovely and clever daughters, were at university. The girls would graduate, have successful careers and start their own families in due course, but they would never be under their parents' control again.

Angela was aware from her friends, work colleagues and newspapers that the old patriarchal system was breaking down elsewhere. Boys weren't doing as well at school as girls, career opportunities for women had never been better whilst the traditional male jobs were dwindling with each successive recession. Most women Angela knew outearned their husbands and boyfriends and many men Angela knew were unemployed (and unemployable). Yet all these changes had largely passed her family by. 2011? It might as well be 1961 as far as her husband was concerned.

Angela had had to fight to allow herself to go to college and re-train in marketing and then had to fight to persuade her husband to let her work. He had, grudgingly, given way. Angela's new career had gone well, she had progressed, and she was on the verge of being offered a partnership.

A partnership would mean everything to her, but it would create more friction in her marriage, as her promotion would mean that she would be earning more than David. Angela had sensed another long battle ahead to get him to accept what would be an unacceptable situation for him.

The thought of her misogynist alpha male that was her husband as a tranny was absolutely unbelievable!

Angela bade the Sergeant goodbye and went to see her husband.

David lay on the hospital bed, looking wan. He had some scratches and bruises and his ribs were strapped up, but he was conscious. He could not look Angela in the eye.

Angela initially played the wifely role and asked him how he was and how he was feeling. Once he confirmed that he was fine, Angela decided not to pussyfoot around.

"David.....we need to talk about your.....situation".

David's head went down. He couldn't look his wife in the eye. He should be embaressed, Angela thought. Outwardly, he had played the Alpha Male, but in secret he had indulged himself by wearing ladies's clothing and becoming the little woman he had made Angela play for so many years!

"David....look at me please".

David looked up at her. He looked so lost and vulnerable. He was waiting for her to speak, hanging on her every word.

"How long have you been dressing up in womens' clothes?" Angela asked him.

David mumbled something about him trying on his sister's bridesmaid's dress when he was about ten. He had liked the frills and lace on the dress and he had liked the feel of the material. He became positively hooked. He had worn his sister's clothes at every opportunity and then he had met me. In order to win Angela's heart, he had had to suppress the urge to dress.

In fact, Angela thought, this little confession answered a puzzle that had been in her mind for years. Why it was that David had been acting like the complete alpha male when other husbands she knew had adapted to the new world that was emerging where not only were women becoming equal to men, but were surpassing them. Now Angela had her answer. In an attempt to cover up his feminine side, he had gone overboard and become an oppressive, domineering husband.

At least, Angela thought with a measure of glee, those days are now over. Now that she knew his secret, he won't be playing the alpha male again.

David went on to say that he had managed to fight the urge to dress, until about four years ago. It had been four years ago since Angela had left behind her primary role as homemaker and had become a career woman. It was also about the time she had largely stopped wearing skirts and dresses, high heeled shoes and using cosmetics. Her wardrobe consisted of the trouser suits now favoured by most working women, a couple of decent frocks for formal occasions, a couple of skirts for summer wear and a greatly outdated and unworn quantity of dresses, blouses and skirts. Her high heeled shoes had sat in her closet for years, never seeing the light of day, and her make up table was unused. It stayed in the bedroom only because she couldn't be bothered to move it. Angela had long ago ceased to wear the frilly lingerie of the wife and wore plain pants and bras.

In short, work had not only liberated Angela and made her independent of her husband, but it had also de-feminised her. Unbeknowst to Angela, the absence of the "feminine" Angela tipped David back into feminising himself, in secret.

The poor dear was plainly embaressed and humiliated to have to admit that he enjoyed wearing womens' things. He could barely look at Angela. At last, he whispered "What are you going to do? Are you going to leave me?"

Angela realised with a flash that in an instant the power in their relationship, which had mainly been in David's hands for the last thirty years, had now been transferred to her. She could walk away from her marriage and take half of everything he owned with her. She had the right, as David had been cross-dressing since before they met and he had never admitted it to Angela. He had probably feared that the knowledge of his true nature would have put me off him. He was probably right.

But, after thirty years of marriage and with an older head, Angela decided that she was not going to leave him. Not over this. In fact, her heart went out to the poor man. Since he was a boy, he had only wanted what all females could take for granted. The right to wear what they liked, no matter how pretty and feminine.

"No, David, I'm not going to leave you" Angela told him. David sagged with relief.

"But there are conditions. Firstly, I want my own bank account and control of the money that I earn. Then I want some help around the house. Hiring a cleaner for a few hours a week will do. And if I want to go out with my friends, I don't want any objections from you! OK?"

David was silent. Oh no, thought Angela he's going to be all macho again and try and stand his ground!

"If you don't like those conditions David...."

"It's not that!" David blurted out "I can't give you your own bank account because if I do, I'll have no money!"

"David, what on earth do you mean? You own your own business!"

"Not anymore. It went under two months ago. We lost an order and the liquidators moved in. Your income has been keeping us going since then".

Angela was stunned by this news "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I was too ashamed. I inherited that business from my father, and now I've lost it and have to rely on my wife to support me. It's so humiliating!". To Angela's horror, he began crying. Angela put her arms around him and comforted him. He had clearly been through a miserable period.

"Don't worry, David. You lost an order and your business. These things happen. I'm sure you did all you could. There's no shame in my supporting you. You supported me for years when I brought up the girls, remember?"

David nodded gratefully.

"OK, we 'll keep the joint account, but from now on, I'm taking charge of the family finances, as I earn the money".

David nodded again, accepting the decision.

"Good. I'll leave you to get some sleep now and we can talk about the future later".

Angela stayed at a local hotel and visited David every day. Finally, a week after the accident, David was discharged. Angela picked him up in her own car, since his had been written off in the collision, and drove them home.

When Angela stopped the car, she turned to her husband and said "David.....I'd like you to dress up for me". She was curious to see what her husband would look like as a woman. It had been on her mind since she had found out about him dressing up.

David looked flustered "Oh, but all my things were in the car. I expect the police have them now" and then he looked embaressed again as his mind envisaged Sergeant Badman, or someone like her, opening up his cases and finding sexy lingerie and pretty frocks inside.

Angela smiled at him "I got your luggage back from the police. Other than visiting you, I had nothing else to do. I did take a peek inside. You have some nice things". Actually, apart from the dainty lingerie, which was new, the rest of the stuff was old and dated and clearly bought from charity shops. Angela had already decided that a shopping exhibition was in order to get David some new clothes.

David went crimson.

Angela smiled at him again "There's nothing to be embaressed about. You're a man in touch with his feminine side. Why shouldn't you wear what you want? Now, I'll run you a bath and you can decide what YOU want to wear!"

David smiled at her in gratitude.

Angela waited in trepidation as her husband took his bath, got dressed, and put on his wig and make up. She could hear him moving about upstairs and then, suddenly, he was in the room.

Angela was startled by the transformation, for instead of the husband she was all too familiar with, what appeared to be another woman stood in her living room. A stranger, but not a stranger at all.

David was five feet and nine inches in height, taller than the average woman, but not too tall. There were a lot of six feet plus women around these days. He was wearing a white embroidered blouse, a pale pink cardigan, a long, burgundy coloured skirt, richly embroidered, and which was puffed out by some lacy petticoats. He wore thick black stockings and a pair of shiny black high heels. David had bangles on his arms and some jewelled rings on his fingers. He carried a large pink handbag with an air born of practice.

Angela looked at him with curiousity. She could tell from the size of his waist that he must be wearing a corset or a waspie. No man's waist could be that tiny without help. Luckily, David had small hands and feet. His hands looked very delicate with rings on and with his nails painted a pale shade of pink. Angela guessed that his toenails were painted in the same colour, but his feet were ensconsed in the high heels. David's make up was flawless. Angela was stunned at his skill with cosmetics and with the effect. David's features were both lovely and extremely feminine, especially those very kissable pink coated lips! David also wore a long, blonde, curly wig that framed his face perfectly and the gorgeous curls fell to his shoulders.

But, the biggest difference in David's appearance was the presence of a large pair of breasts on his chest area. Angela knew that they were artificial breastforms, but she marvelled at how realistic they were. The shape and the way they wobbled slightly as David walked were exactly the same as if he had been born with them.

Angela thought he looked adorable. Her only criticism was the over use of the colour pink. David either genuinely liked the colour or, like most men, so associated pink with femininity that wearing something pink was obligatory when cross-dressing.

Angela suddenly felt inadequate. As a woman. Beside this delightfully feminine creature. It was hard to believe that underneath the veneer of femininity was a red blooded male who had fathered her children.

David gave her a graceful little twirl which made his skirts and petticoats fly out. Angela giggled at how girlish the gesture was.

"What do you think?" David asked her. His masculine voice ruined the illusion for Angela. Perhaps some speech therapy could help soften his voice, she thought. Then she realised, I'm totally buying into this! Turning my husband into a woman! But she was not bothered by the thought. In fact, she really liked it.

Angela answered his question by walking over to him and giving him a deep kiss. She was suddenly aware that she was turned on by the sight of her husband in skirts "I think" she said in a husky voice "that we should go to bed!"

David stripped down to his underwear to reveal that he was wearing red lacy french knickers. He was about to remove his breastforms but Angela told him to leave them on. She badly wanted to fondle those breasts. Angela, aroused, was the sexual aggressor and the leader. In the days when they had still had a sex life, David had been the dominant partner. Now that was reversed and Angela was in complete control.

Once their urges had been sated, Angela ordered David to get dressed and cook them a meal. From now on, he would be doing all of the cooking, cleaning and all of the other household chores. Angela had thought he might rebel at this, but instead he seemed happy at the prospect. A traditionally feminine role as a housewife in all but name went well with his femme persona.

David cooked them a delicious meal. He knew how to dress and accessorise, apply make up with a skill that a real woman would envy and he could cook better than Angela herself could. Angela was amazed at her husband's up till now hidden talents. If only he had told me years ago! Then he could have stayed at home with the girls instead of me. He makes a better housewife than I ever was!

"Thanks for the meal...David....say, do you use a feminine name when you're all dressed up?"

In spite of the layer of make up, Angela could tell he had reddened slightly. He was still not entirely comfortable with her seeing him like this. Angela was totally comfortable with it. She loved her husband more than ever when he was dressed en femme.

"Yes" answered David "I call myself Charlotte".

Angela couldn't help it, she giggled "Charlotte. I like it. Great choice. Ok, when we're alone, I'll call you by your girl name from now on. So, Lottie, get the dishes done like a good girl!" David scurried to obey.

He was a good girl, Angela thought. A very good girl.

Good girls deserve a reward, Angela was thinking the next morning after her pretty husband had served her breakfast in bed and ironed her clothes for her.

Once she was dressed, Angela shouted "Lottie, get your coat and handbag, we're going shopping!"

There was silence. Then, David's voice came back "You mean, I'm going out dressed like this? I'm not sure I can! They'll be other people about!"

"Yes, and all they'll see are two women doing some shopping. Have confidence in yourself. You look prettier and more womanly than I do!"

David was not convinced and it took all of Angela's powers of persuasion to get him into the car. He was incredibly nervous and trembling as they walked to the town's premier department store. He relaxed when he realised that no-one they passed gave him a second look.

Angela took him to ladieswear and told him to pick out some clothes for himself. David's face lit up with joy. He was like a kid being let loose in a candy store. Angela left him to browse whilst she opened an account and was given a store card. The account had a generous limit, but Angela wondered whether it would be enough when she saw David plucking dress after dress from the rails.

Angela had to take him in hand and get him to calm down. This she achieved by getting him to try on some of his prospective purchases and model them for her. David had a good eye for colour and style, Angela had to admit. In the past, when she had been the one who wore dresses, she had had little interest in clothes and just picked any old thing that fitted. I'm being completely out-womaned, she realised, and by my own husband!

In addition to more than a dozen dresses, several pairs of high heels, some exquisite lingerie, bras, satin pyjamas and a robe and some more skirts, blouses and stockings were added. The purchases had almost maxed out the account, but Angela thought it would be worth it to see her husband in all his new finery.

And it was. The new, modern style of clothes, with their rich colours and textures, enhanced David's appearance. And now his debut was out of the way, David was completely confident about going out in his female persona.

Angela returned to work. Her partnership, she had been told, was almost in the bag, but there was one more hoop she had to jump through. The annual ball. The company had made a lot of money over the last year, due in no small part to Angela herself, and rewarded its executives and managers with a big blow out meal at the town's five star restaurant.

Angela was told, informally, that she had to prove that she, and her partner, could handle themselves with appropriate decorum before the offer of a partnership would be forthcoming.

Angela was in a dilemma. What was she going to do about David? David spent all of his time now as Lottie. He was a wonderful househusband. The house was spotless, the meals perfectly cooked and on the table as soon as Angela returned. Lottie was a pretty, exquisitely dressed and obedient girl and in the bedroom the sex was mind blowing. Angela wouldn't change him for anything.

But there were limits. Pitching up with a cross-dressed husband on her arm to a career making (or breaking) event, no matter how lovely he looked was a big risk. Especially, as everyone at work had met David before he had become Lottie.

Angela talked it over with David. To her own surprise, she was the hesitant and doubtful one, and David, even dressed as he was at that moment in a pink cashmere sweater and denim mini skirt with his shaven legs on full show and his painted toenails peeping out of a pair of open toed pink high heels with heels so high that Angela really doubted if she could cope with walking in them, was the confident and decisive one.

Yet another startling role reversal, Angela thought.

"You should let me come, as Lottie. I have that gorgeous black evening gown, with lace trim that I'm dying to wear".

"No way! That thing is slit up to your waist! I won't know where to put my face if I take you along wearing that!"

David pouted "But I've got great legs! You said so yourself!"

"Yes, that's true, but I don't want them on show to the entire world! We're supposed to act 'with decorum and dignity', so you'll have to put off your skirts for now and come as David".

"No! I won't. Either I go in a dress or not at all!" David almost shouted. This was the first time since dressing full time that he had ever contradicted his wife. Usually, his femme self was the most submissive and obliging creature that Angela had ever met in her life.

Angela was stunned at this outburst. This event meant everything to her but it had not occurred to her that David's attendance as his true self - his femme self - meant everything to him too. Here goes my promotion, Angela thought.

"Ok, you can come as Lottie. But you'll wear what I tell you! Deal?"

David's face lit up "Deal!".

Then Angela was faced with another dilemma. What was she going to wear herself? She dreaded the idea of wearing a gown and heels. She hadn't worn such things for years. The idea of squeezing her body into a tight fitting gown and her feet into torturous heels was utterly alien to her now and her spirit rebelled at the notion. Yet, that was standard dress for a female.

It was again David who came up with the answer "We can't both wear gowns. You're now the 'man' in this relationship. You should hire yourself a tuxedo".

Angela was again stunned by the suggestion. Her in a tux? It was really breaking the rules. But the more she thought about it, the more she saw that, once again, her husband was right. She was now the masculine element of their relationship and so should dress appropriately. Besides, it would be more comfortable than a gown.

At the ball, Angela was twiddling with the bow tie of her tuxedo nervously. David, with his arm entwined with hers, wore a tasteful organdie frock with matching heels. His legs were stockinged at Angela's insistence.

Their appearance raised a few eyebrows but nothing had been said. Yet. Angela gulped, for Charles Brandon, the Senior Partner, the man who would ultimately make the decision as to whether or not Angela should be offered a partnership, was making his way over to her, with his wife, a tiny woman in a blue evening gown and sparkly tiara, in tow.

Charles frowned at Angela's appearance "Angela, my dear, I had expected you to be dressed in a fetching evening gown. And where is your husband?"

Well, I can live without the partnership, Angela thought. She took the plunge "I'm a working woman, sir, and I believe that I'm entitled to wear what I please and this evening I wanted to wear a tuxedo. And as for my husband, he's standing right next to me!"

The Brandons' jaws both dropped " your husband?" stuttered Mrs Brandon "I assumed that you must have become a lesbian and that that woman was your....girlfriend".

Angela smiled "I consider myself very lucky to have a husband who can also be a girlfriend".

Mrs Brandon asked "Do you make him dress like that?"

"No, Mrs Brandon. Like me, my husband believes that he should be allowed to dress as he pleases. The fact is, Mrs Brandon, is that we've recently discovered that although I am a female, I am not inclined to be feminine. My husband, although born and raised as a male, is actually more feminine than I am. So, we have more or less swapped not only our roles but our dress".

Mrs Brandon spoke to David "Tell me, Mr Regan..."

"I prefer Ms" David immediately corrected her.

Mrs Brandon did a doubletake "Tell me...Ms Regan....Do you actually enjoy dressing like that and doing all the usual household chores that the wife normally does? Don't you find it emasculating?"

David answered her immediately and with an air of confidence that Angela had never heard from him before "Mrs Brandon, I wouldn't want to wear anything else! And I love housework. It's as important to maintain a house and look after my wife as Angela's job! I'm instinctively a feminine male and so I love femininity. How can I be emasculated by my natural role?"

Angela felt like kissing him in gratitude. Sod the job, she thought, I am blessed with the most perfect husband in the world.

To Angela's astonishment, the Brandons were smiling. "Your family arrangement is unusual, but it seems to work well for you and you both seem very happy. Well done for not conforming to these antiquated conventions. I can't stand all of this formality".

"Perhaps next time Charles, we should trade clothes!" suggested Mrs Brandon "You'd look quite a peach in this gown and you'd know for yourself how painful it is to have to wear heels! I'm joking, dear!"

"Thank goodness for that!" said Charles "Well, Mrs and er...Ms Regan, it has been a pleasure to meet you and I hope that you enjoy the evening. The Brandons made a beeline towards another couple.

I think I've done it! Thought Angela. Correction, she thought, looking at her husband, We've done it!

"Angela?" came the voice of her boss, Mr Sanderson. Angela was an account manager and Sanderson was Head of her team. He was a narrow minded, petty control freak and he resented the fact that it looked like Angela was going to be promoted over him.

"What is it, Sam?' Angela asked him in the usual exasperated tone that she used when she had to talk to him.

"You're wearing a tux!"

"Well spotted. And your point is...?"

"'re a woman!"

"My, you ARE sharp today!"

"Women are meant to wear gowns to these sort of occasions!"

"Oh yeah, says who. I'm done with trying to fit into gowns that are too small for me and wearing high heels. I leave that to my husband!

"Your husband wears evening gowns and high heels?"

"Yep. You might want to try it yourself. You've got the figure for it and good legs!"

"Are you insane? What if the Brandons see you both dressed the way you are? You'll never make partner". There was a hint of malicious glee in his voice

"The Brandons have been, seen us and I think they actually quite liked us. Looks like I'm going to make partner after all!"

Sanderson looked deflated "I see".

"So, if you want to make partner too you might want to consider slipping into an evening gown and heels yourself! My husband has a cute pink number that you'd look very sweet in! The Brandons seem to like those who defy convention and the sight of you in an evening gown would definitely tick that box!"

Sanderson gave Angela a malacious glare before departing.

Yes! I enjoyed that! Thought Angela.

The rest of the evening went well. Taking their cue from the Senior Partner, the other guests were accepting of the couple and received many compliments.

The following week, Angela's partnership was confirmed and she and David received an invitation to dine with the Brandons, the ultimate confirmation that Angela was in favour.

At the dinner, with Angela again wearing a tux and David, now openly called Lottie by the Brandons, was wearing his black evening gown, slit to the waist to reveal a pair of stockinged and shapely legs, the couple extended an invitation to their hosts.

"We're going to renew our marriage vows" explained Angela "Lottie has formally changed her name from David to Charlotte, so we need a new marriage certificate! Lottie has chosen for herself a fabulous wedding dress and veil and I've bought her a new ring. We would be honoured if you would attend!"

"I've always dreamt of being a bride!" said a happy Lottie "And now my dream is coming true!"

"What a charming bride you will make, dear" gushed Mrs Brandon "We would love to come, wouldn't we Charles?"

"Yes, indeed" confirmed Charles.

The reaffirmation of their wedding vows was a very happy day for Angela and her radiant bride, Ms Charlotte Regan.