by Melanie Yarborough


As crossdressers, we sometimes find ourselves anxious and even irritable as we're getting dressed-up and made-up. And after a meeting or large transgender convention, we have a hard time coming down from the gender euphoria. These two things aren't just coincidence. In fact, they're both part of the same process: a process I'd like to call TRAVEL TIME.

It takes time and energy to "get to" one's femme self. Makeup application is a painstaking process; we're often never completely satisfied with the results. Coordinating a blouse and skirt (or dress) with hose, shoes, purse, jewelry and makeup also requires intense focus. Most of us have never had the advantage of having been teenage girls and young women with years of fashion experimentation behind us. And even more importantly, as we get ready, we're almost swooning with emotional and yes, even erotic anticipation. It's a heady state to be in!

After the evening or event is over, it takes time and energy to "leave" one's femme self. When we take off the makeup or slip off the dress, we revert to the beard-stubbled masculine face and plain trousers. It's almost with a profound sense of disappointment. It's like we're leaving the Promised Land, or that we've left the best part of ourselves behind.

Crossdressers need to know and appreciate the pressures of travel time. We may find ourselves becoming more annoyed and snappish with our spouses and partners while getting ready, and not know why. We need to recognize the dislocations of going from masculine to feminine. The frustration of unfamiliarity with female acocutrements, and the fervent desire to look our best could cause aggression to be displaced onto a hapless companion.

Conversely, spouses and partners need to give the crossdresser the space necessary to get into character. Many women admittedly aren't comfortable with transgender in general. They may find themselves in passive-aggressive behavior: finding fault, becoming cold or sarcastic, and so on. Women also need to look within themselves to recognize and validate any negative feelings they may have. And both parties need to dialogue, dialogue, dialogue!

Transgender requires TRAVEL TIME to get to and depart from. We're all passengers together on this ride. Let's try to make it as pleasant (or at least as painless) for one another as we can.

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