So, I’ll spend a little time talking about my preference for dresses.
I started “playing around” with dresses at a very young age.
When I lived on Canadian Forces Base Shearwater as a child, I do remember on more than one occasion going out to play with my friends, whom were always more than likely girls than they were boys, and I would come home wearing one of their dresses.
I don’t ever remember my father catching me in a dress, as he was almost always off on exercises. My mother on the other hand was never really upset, but she made it known to me that boys don’t wear girls clothes.
As a child, I could never understand why boys weren’t allowed to wear dresses. As far as I was concerned, they were far more comfortable and functional than pants, or even shorts. And besides, girls were allowed to wear pants, so why shouldn’t boys be allowed to wear dresses.
My family left CFB Shearwater around the the spring of 1977. I didn’t get to wear a dress again until somewhere around the summer of 1981 when I was just shy of my 10th birthday.
There was a girl named Megan who went to Major General Griesbach School on CFB Griesbach. On more than one occasion we swapped clothes and went to the local malls off base.
This was during the time when the fallout from CFB Namao was fresh and I was getting counselling from the military social worker to help deal with my apparent “homosexual tendencies”. The counselling only served to make my dress escapades that much more delicious and dangerous.
Even though my father was at home more often, he never once caught me wearing dresses. He came very close once though. Megan and I had swapped clothing and went over to Lake Beaumaris mall which was just north west of the base. We were walking around on the second level of the mall when I saw my father, my stepmother, and my younger brother heading towards us. Megan and I ducked downstairs to the washroom to change back.
There was a time around the summer of 1982 when Sue, my stepmother, had threatened me that if I didn’t stop crying that she was going to take me to Sears and buy me a dress. I really wanted that dress. Imagine, my own dress. But I also realized that she wasn’t buying me a dress as a gift. She was threatening to dehumanize me and humiliate me by making me wear a dress.
It was then that I realized that there was something really fucked up with who was allowed to wear what clothing.
I was given an IQ test as a child when I was around 9 years of age and I scored 136 +/- 6, which wasn’t too shabby. Maybe, just maybe, this IQ allowed me to see that there was absolutely no logical reason that I shouldn’t have been allowed to wear dresses.
Wearing dresses didn’t make me want to become a girl. It was just comfortable clothing that I loved better than pants. I’ve always despised pants. I don’t like the way they touch me, or bunch up behind my knees, or crush my crotch, or squeeze around my hips. Dresses just hang nicely from my shoulders. They don’t really touch me. They don’t bunch up behind my knees. They cover my body without causing any discomfort.
I never wore dresses again until I was into my 20s.
As much as I loved dresses, and still wanted to wear them, I mostly had precarious employment through my early 20s. I sure as hell didn’t have a family that I could fall back on if I found myself between jobs due to my preference for clothing. I couldn’t risk my employers discovering that I liked to wear skirts and dresses. And let’s be honest, the ’90s were nowhere near as liberal and open as the ’00s.
Still wearing dresses was kinda like a “dirty secret” that I kept behind closed doors.
It wasn’t until in the late ’90s when I gained more secure employment that I would start wearing “woman’s clothing” in public. It would start off as skirts on the odd occasion. Then I worked up to dresses.
By the time I started working for my current employer in 2005 I was wearing dresses or skirts, even kilts, almost exclusively.
I wear pants at work (yech), but the work I do would chew up a dress. I do wear dresses to and from work, so it’s not like anyone at work doesn’t know that I wear dresses and skirts.
I’ve never felt at risk or in danger in the Metro Vancouver area.
What type of dresses do I like?
Nothing fancy, just plain Jane work dresses. A-line and fit-and-flare dresses are my favourite dresses to wear.
Nothing too “femme”. Being a guy who wears dresses has introduced me to women who absolutely hate dresses, and women who wear dresses, but absolutely detest “femme” dresses with buttons and bows and frills.
One thing that I have discovered is that a sizeable portion of women will never wear a dress as an adult as they despise them because they were forced to wear them as children.
I don’t have the lumps, and bumps, and curves that dresses are usually designed to accentuate, so I’m more happy with a loose fit. And as I said, I strive for more of a fit that doesn’t touch me on constrict me.