But when I turned 13 I suddenly became more serious. I wanted to wear underwear, jewellery and make-up. I wanted people to pass me in the street and look at the sensible young girl across the road. I had wonderful fun working out the order in which the clothes went on and feeling the beautiful constricture of a bra for the first time. After about 18 months of bunking off school or pretending to be ill and sneaking into my mother’s wardrobe I wanted to go out dressed. My opportunity came one cold November afternoon. I had been left in the house on my own with the certainty that I would not be disturbed until early evening. My only task was to walk the dog.
On hearing the front door close I decided to start the day again en femme. I went to bed in a nightie for a cat-nap and woke up and had a bath. I then went over to my mother’s dressing table and applied make-up, mascara, eye shadow and lipstick, none too expertly. Having put my face on I put on a pair of earrings and a pearly necklace. I then dived into the wardrobe, desperate to transform myself from a gangly teenager to a gamine young woman with a taste for sensible clothes. I stuffed my white bra with a pair of socks, put on a pair of matching panties and dark blue tights and a lovely slip with a lace trim around the hem. I then chose a white chiffon blouse with bell sleeves and a long bow at the collar and a dark blue pleated skirt. I donned a pair of dark blue patent leather court shoes and after choosing a handbag I looked at myself in the full-length mirror. I looked so feminine it was ridiculous to think of me as anything else. It was then downstairs to find a suitable coat and headscarf (well it was the 1970s and I did not have a wig) to protect me against the cold.
Closing the back door behind me with the, rather bewildered, dog on the lead, I felt the cold wind in my skirts – it was delicious and I felt a quiet gasp of pleasure at this sudden vulnerability and internalising, all- pervading femininity. I felt my movements grow calmer. If someone had spoken to me at that moment my voice would have been higher and softer. Sneaking out the back gate I looked both ways and seeing there was nobody about I ventured out with quick short steps. As I got used to walking and gained confidence I began to mince a little. I loved the fact that it was cold and that I was being kept warm by wonderful women’s clothes.
I walked for miles, slowly gaining the confidence to walk on the same side of the road as passers-by. A rather alarming incident occurred when another dog started to pay attention to mine and its owner, a middle-aged man, seemed to want to engage in conversation about canine matters. I smiled sweetly and nodded my head a few times and carried on. I don’t think he ever twigged. I was so ecstatic I could have skipped.
It was beginning to get dark and it was time to head for home before the nightmare scenario of my parents and siblings being in the house whilst I, dressed up to the nines, was outside. I walked home quickly nervously checking to see whether any cars had returned before me. Had there been I do not know what I would have done apart from go into a quiet, blind panic. Waving mischievously to the old lady across the road in the semi-darkness I slipped through the back gate and into the house. The house seemed very hot after the cold of outside.
I hung up my coat and scarf in the cloakroom and went upstairs and undressed, taking care to put everything away exactly as I had found it. I then had another bath to wash off all the make-up and whilst I was in the bath the rest of the household returned.
“Could you leave the bath in,” came my mother’s voice through the door.
“Yes,” I said.
“Did walk the dog?”
“Oh yes.” I said more dreamily. “She had a good walk.”
As I thought of the blissful last few hours I sank back into the bath and I am afraid did what teenagers do in bathrooms. That night my parents were going out. I had to smile when I saw my mother dressed in exactly the same clothes as I had been wearing only a couple of hours before. I thought she looked lovely and showed great taste.
My first outdoor experience dressed as a woman remains to this day my finest.