Gyne-Vestiphobia: Fear of Women’s Clothing

On Monday, I wrote about role reversal in the form of cross-dressing.  And, yes, even though I am bio-female, getting decked out in feminine regalia is cross-dressing for me.  Later that day, Roxy and I talked about cross-dressing, in fact, she questioned how far I would go, probed around the edges into areas that upset me a bit.  Then we talked about it. Partly as a result of that conversation, she wrote this post.
So why is it that the idea of pulling on hose, shaving my legs (!), doing my face, etc. freaks me out so much?  It goes back to my childhood.  Growing up, I wanted nothing to do with dresses or girly trappings.  My mom, even with her own history of being a tomboy, was hell-bent on forcing me into dresses as much as she could. Putting on those clothes meant I was supposed to behave differently, like a girl and specifically, the way my mother thought girls should behave.  I guess that’s how she did it.  She ran around the farm, doing chores, riding horses and playing in pants and shirts and then switched to girl clothes at those moments when society expected her to be a girl.  And that’s what she tried to enforce with me.
It was a constant source of struggle for us.  When I went to school, I pleaded with her to be able to wear pants to school.  She compromised, I could wear them every other day, and she chose Monday as a dress day.  So, yeah, I could wear pants 2 of 5 days.  Know what I did once I figured that out?  I packed a change of clothing with me on dress days and I’d slip into the restroom at school and change into my pants.  This was first grade, I was a very determined little butch.
Later, when she had less and less control over what I wore, she nonetheless continued her campaign of heavy sighs and disapproving looks.  And she’d make comments that were meant to insult and shame me into complying with her dress code.  Those tactics had the opposite effect, I wanted to do anything possible to defy her attempts to tame and mold me into a girl.  When she saw me walking and commented with a dire ton “Pull your shoulders back, you’re walking like a football player” I slouched more and clumped even harder.  I got the distinct impression that regardless of the excellent grades I earned, and varsity sports teams I was on and student government involvement and all the other stuff, that my I was falling short of expectations.  Instead of turning in on myself and giving up the rebellion, however, I pushed away even harder (pretty classic behavior for puberty).  The peak performance of this parental disapproval was how they reacted when I came out as a lesbian at 17.  They sent me to a psychiatrist and told her I was suffering from a ‘sexual identity crisis’.  At that point, I’d resisted parental approval and dealt with harassment at school for so long that I was pretty hardened.

On Monday, I wrote about role reversal in the form of cross-dressing.  And, yes, even though I am bio-female, getting decked out in feminine regalia is cross-dressing for me.  Later that day, Roxy and I talked about cross-dressing, in fact, she questioned how far I would go, probed around the edges into areas that upset me a bit.  Then we talked about it. Partly as a result of that conversation, she wrote this post.

So why does the idea of  shaving my legs (!), pulling on hose, doing my face, and all that freak me out so much?  It goes back to my childhood.  Growing up, I wanted nothing to do with dresses or girly trappings.  My mom, even with her own history of being a tomboy, was hell-bent on forcing me into dresses as much as possible. Putting on those clothes meant I was supposed to behave differently, like a girl and specifically, the way my mother thought girls should behave.  I guess that’s how she did it.  She ran around the farm, doing chores, riding horses and playing in pants and shirts and then switched to girl clothes at those moments when society expected her to be a girl.  And that’s what she tried to enforce with me.

It was a constant source of struggle for us.  When I started school, I pleaded with her to let me wear pants.  She compromised, I could wear them every other day, and she chose Monday as a dress day.  So, yeah, I could wear pants 2 of 5 days.  Know what I did in response?  I packed a change of clothing with me on dress days and I’d slip into the restroom at school and change into my pants.  This was as early as first grade, I was a very determined little genderqueer.

Later, when she had less and less control over what I wore, she nonetheless continued her campaign of heavy sighs and disapproving looks.  And she’d make comments that were meant to insult and shame me into complying with her dress code.  Those tactics had the opposite effect, I wanted to do anything possible to defy her attempts to tame and mold me into a girl.  When she saw me walking and commented in a dire tone “Pull your shoulders back, you’re walking like a football player” I slouched more and clumped even harder.  I knew that regardless of the excellent grades I earned, and varsity sports teams I was on and student government involvement and all the other stuff, that I was falling short of expectations.  Instead of turning in on myself and giving up the rebellion, however, I pushed away even harder (pretty normal for a teenager).  The peak performance of this parental disapproval was how they reacted when I came out as a lesbian at 17.  They sent me to a psychiatrist and told her I was suffering from a ‘sexual identity crisis’.  At that point, I’d resisted parental approval and dealt with harassment at school for so long that I was pretty hardened.  I found ways to support myself when I couldn’t get it externally.

With all that in mind, you might expect me to tell you that when I moved out of the parental abode, I filled my closet and dresser with all things masculine.  Not exactly.  By the time I moved away from home, I had slid into a hippie/80s rocker kind of style, so I didn’t dive into masculinity.  I didn’t wear dresses anymore, either. The drive to defy my mother by being as male as possible was diverted into passing college courses, surviving sucky jobs and getting really stoned most of the time.   My renaissance as a masculine-leaning butch genderqueer didn’t come about for decades.

So why did I write myself into a cross-dressing piece for Microfantasy Monday earlier this week?  Well, honestly, it was the first thing that came to mind.  Also, I knew it would be something my readers would get a giggle out of and I knew it would titillate Roxy (which is really one of my favorite pastimes).  I distanced myself from the topic by reminding myself that it was just a fantasy, not a promissory note.

Later that day, the fantasy I described came up in my phone conversation with Roxy.  She used it as a starting point for a deftly probing exploration of just how deeply I disliked the idea of dressing like a girl.  In her skillful and exceptionally perceptive way, she got me past squirming and into loud protesting quickly.  She started describing a scene to me and as soon as she had me tied down and immobile, I began to panic a little.  When she talked about bringing out a razor.. I freaked.. my voice rose several octaves.  I fall very quickly into scene-space, whether in meat-space or cyber-space or on the phone.  It wasn’t long before I could feel the restraints and see her lowering the straight razor between my legs to scrape my pussy clean.  She kept at it for a little while longer, using that seductive menacing purr that I know and love and am thrillingly frightened by.    Finally, I was just a jibbering mess and she stopped so we could talk about what was going on.

I mean, shit, I was freaking out about body hair and clothes, for crissakes.  Pretty soon I was talking about my childhood relationship with clothing, about my mom’s criticism and disdain. About how any little bit of masculine attire or accessory I gained was a huge victory.  She understood, very quickly, why a cross-dressing scene would freak me out.  That’s something I really value about Roxy, I don’t have to explain much before she completely understands where I’m coming from.

Will I agree to do some kind of cross-dressing, feminizing scene in the future?  I don’t know, it’s not something I’m interested in at this point but I’ve learned that it’s best not to have too many absolute ‘no’s in my life, better to wait and see how I feel in the moment.   What I am sure of is that I do very much enjoy finding and incorporating new masculine additions into my life.  My dress shirts and ties were definitely a big step.  Since then I’ve started packing daily, using men’s deoderant and the occasional cologne. My day-to-day attire is definitely masculine and my hair has gotten shorter as well.  I’ve been eyeballing men’s watches lately.  I feel a sense of victory with every article of clothing purchased, every butch accessory found, every day I swagger through my life without worrying what my mom will think.

In case you’re wondering about my mom, she’s evolved, too. Last Christmas, she bought me a tie and presented it to me in front of the family.  And I have a good feeling she’s gonna give me another one this year.

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11 Responses to Gyne-Vestiphobia: Fear of Women’s Clothing

  1. Roxy says:

    You give me so much, love, trusting me with your fears and truths, and, for that, I am humbly grateful. I am amazed every day at the person you’ve become despite your early years – the strong, generous, loving man who’s brave enough to bare his soul to me and to the world.

    I adore playing with you, but because we are playing together, not out of any desire to see you torn down. It’s electric and beautiful to be let in when you are so vulnerable, and I take it as a sacred duty of trust to help guide you back when I’ve led you so far into the darkness.

    Ultimately, it’s not a lack of fears that makes you courageous – it’s acting despite your fears, but in full knowledge of your fears, that shows true courage.

    Thank you for your trust. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the gift of submission you give me. I strive every day to be worthy of the things you give me.

    I love you, Kyle. My boy. My man. My lover. My friend. My partner.

  2. Blazer says:

    Kyle you ROCK!

  3. Ana says:

    This is very sweet. Lots of hard thinking here, about who you are, and how you express it. It’s cool your mom gives you ties.

  4. Rayne says:

    “Putting on those clothes meant I was supposed to behave differently, like a girl and specifically, the way my mother thought girls should behave.”

    That’s how I’ve always felt about dresses. I am a rough and tumble girl and if I put on a dress, I feel like I have to sit, stand, walk like a lady. I can’t just drop what I’m doing and go climb a tree or play in the dirt (yes, I do still climb trees and play in the dirt).

    Thanks for this post.

  5. I remember a butch friend telling me how her mom once forced her to wear a dress when she was in elementary school. She kept protesting, but her mom told her not to be silly, that she looked “cute”.

    She spent the day in the restroom, humiliated and getting sick, refusing to come out, until the teachers discovered her and called her mom to come pick her up.”

    I consider this to be absolute proof of nature vs. nurture. Some things in us are just bigger and badder than the way we were raised. We need to honor that in kids, in everybody.

    Thanks for the honest post.

  6. Blazer says:

    Back for a longer comment. A few years back I was forced to cross dress for a photo to appear in my company’s ad campaign. While I wasn’t the only one being photographed, all of our producer were as well, I felt incredible humiliation.

    The ad campaign had a medieval theme, so the others looked at a silly costume party they were stuck with attending. They didn’t understand the pride I took in being able to say I had’t worn a dress in decades. What it meant when I finally had control of how I dressed and presented myself.

    I longed to dress up in the armor or chain male but that would have been seen as cross dressing by everyone who saw the ad. Instead I was dressed as a bar wench which was, in fact, cross dressing to me.

    That photo still runs in a trade journal 3 to 4 times a year. No one understands the stab in the gut I feel each time I see it. Sorry to be so windy.

  7. jeepjenn says:

    Love it! That’s exactly what my mom tried to do to me too! Dressy frilly girly things make me itch with distain!

    She would dress me up when company was coming over, then I’d go outside, dig a hole, strip down, and bury my shameful clothes – and walk through the company naked! HAHAHAHAHA!

  8. sweetspiced says:

    I wish you’d been around when I was navigating the pitfalls with my daughter. She definitely wore ties and I always encouraged her to dress how she felt, but there were so many more things she needed to figure out and I had no clue. Not that I was shocked when she told me she liked girls, but these feelings do start young and it’s so damn hard to define yourself when all around you people are telling you what you feel is wrong.

    Roxy, I want to say I’m thankful for you and Kyle both. The two of you together make a wonderful team and you’ve taught me a lot.

    Thank you Kyle for being willing to rip yourself apart and share the inside with us! *HUGE HUGS*

  9. jesse james says:

    Great post Kyle. This is something that has always been a big and important issue for me that I haven’t spent enough time sorting through. When I am not stuck typing on my phone and in front of a real keyboard I will say more… But for now, thanks for bringing this up.

  10. pixie says:

    awesome post 🙂 Is really great how you can share and be honest about those kinda things, with all of us!

  11. wq says:

    hey kyle! i happened to come across your post.
    i guess i’ve had very similar situations in my life too. i’ve been feeling queer ever since i was 5 i guess?! does it sound crazy?

    im a butch too, and only decided to come out to my friends when i was 16. thankfully i have rather supportive friends.

    i take every piece of masculine item as a victory too so i totally agree with your second last paragraph. its nice to hear that someone out there thinks exactly like me.

    now im 18, going 19. my parents are still in the dark about my sexuality, though they have suspected many times. well i’m living in an asian country and in an asian family, so being queer is not very well received at all. im not sure if you’ve shared about coming out but could you maybe contact me so we could share more? (:

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