Skirts - tight skirts - split skirts - twirly skirts - flirty skirts. If you didn't love them, the chances are that you wouldn't be reading this. The skirt, more than any other object, can stand for the entire femi- nine outfit. In writing transvestite articles, one often needs a phrase meaning 'a feminine presentation'. Repeating the same phrase time after time would make for dull reading, so we writers rack our brains for something different from 'en femme' or 'cross dressed'. 'In a skirt' is a fairly popular variation on the theme. Here, 'skirts' stands for not only an entire set of clothes, but for the wig, the make-up, everything. If a skirt can stand - so effectively - for the entire outfit, it clearly carries a special significance for transvestites. It defines, in some way, what we are. It is part of our lives - and, undeniably, an object of desire. Lawrence Langer thought that 'the invention of the trouser and the skirt has enabled western men and women to achieve a balance social and sexual relationship.....' (The Importance of Wearing Clothes p70). Quite an achievement for a pair of garments! Perhaps the skirt stands for even more than it seems. Entire outfits are small beer compared with Langer's 'balanced social and sexual relationship'. For all of that, skirts are so much a part of my life - watching them on other people, wearing them myself - that often I take them for granted. But the skirt is quite a triumph of human ingenuity. In basis, it is the simplest - and very likely the first - garment worn by the human race. I suppose that the first skirt was a strip of animal skin fixed round the waist, very likely held in place with a bone pin. How different are the skirts in my wardrobe! They are complex structures formed from various pieces of carefully shaped fabric. I have a panel skirt made from twelve separate pieces of cloth, each in the form of a truncated triangle. In addition, it has a separate waist band and zip. I'm sure it's not the most complex skirt ever sewn - and maybe not even be the most complex of mine. Separately shaped pieces of fabric aside, there are pleats, tucks, darts, splits.... A lot of work goes into designing and making a skirt. People have devoted a lot of thought to the matter. Put in a lot of effort. The thought and effort are not random. Not only transves- tites, but people in general obviously like and desire skirts. They are widely considered worth the time, thought and effort they consume. There's a lot of pleasure in watching a well-designed skirt in motion. While trousers are essentially lifeless, a skirt is much more like a living thing - especially a fairly full skirt. The hemline hops like a rabbit or flutters like a bird. And with each hop or flutter, areas of the leg emerge or vanish. I am sometimes reminded of the sea - the rise and fall of the hemline like the bobbing of waves. Especially interesting variations in the life of the hemline can be achieved with splits. Although they're currently (and I trust, tem- porarily) not much in fashion, I harbour a lot of fond memories of skirts split above knee level. A teenage fashion, which I recall with particular affection, teamed over the knee socks and knee-length skirts with a small back split. As the girl stepped, a small triangle of thigh above the sock kept appearing and vanishing. It was an enchanting sight.  
  f642_177gnrsxdofskirtspage2.jpgThere's a lot of pleasure involved in watching a well designed skirt in motion. While trousers are essentially lifeless, a skirt is much more like a living thing - especially a fairly full skirt. The hemline hops like a rabbit or flutters like a bird. And with each hop or flutter, areas of the leg emerge or vanish. I am sometimes reminded of the sea - the rise and fall of the hemlines like the bobbing of the waves. Especially interesting variations in the life of the hemline can be acieved with splits. Although they're currently (and I trust only temporarily) not much in fashion, I harbour a lot of fond memories of skirts split above the knee level. A teeneage fashion, which I remember with particular fondness, teamed over-the-knee socks and knee-length skirts with a small back split. As the girl stepped, a small triangle of thigh above the sock kept appearing and disappearing - it was an enchanting sight. Paradoxically, a skirt can have the effect of exposing the wearer more than it covers her. I think, for example, of a woman I saw last summer. She wore a long button-up skirt with only the top 2 or 3 buttons fastened. Underneath, she wore a pair of cycling shorts. She could have worn the shorts without the skirt - in which case, I think, I wouldn't have given her a second glance - and certainly not had her in my mind a year later. Given the skirt, the shorts took on an aspect of an item of underwear, which appeared and disappeared (together with an expanse of leg) with every step. The effect was undeniably sexy. From the point of view of an ordinary man - if such a creature exists - I suppose the feeling inspired was purely of desire for the woman whose legs flickered in and out of her skirts. For me, it was more complex. That element of desire for her was present, but combined with a desire to be her, or at least to strut the street similarly covered and uncovered... The reference to 'strutting the street' illuminates an important aspect of skirt-wearing. It is something to be shared with the public at large, to be put on display. Much less than some other feminine items is the skirt a thing to be enjoyed in the privacy of a trannie's bedroom. Some of the joy of wearing frilly undies and sheer hosiery is, to be sure, lost in keeping them to ourselves - and not all of the pleasure of wearing a skirt is lost in private enjoyment. It's a matter of degree - with a skirt more of the pleasure is concentrated in the effect it produces in others. Thighs Nor do all of the specifically street-strutting pleasures stem entirely from other people. There is, for example, the effect of the breeze. There is something delicious in feeling the breeze about one's thighs, in a way which trousers would not permit. The breeze also, of course, makes a significant difference to the motion of the skirt - especially of a full skirt. I've already referred to the hem of a skirt bobbing up and down like sea waves. It will do so purely from the action of one's legs, and it is controllable insofar as this is the cause. The breeze introduces an uncontrollable and unpredictable element into the situation. That feels dangerous, and like all dangerous things is also exciting. It's exciting for those beholding the wind-whipped skirt, but may be even more exciting for the person wearing the skirt!  
  f642_369gnrsxdofskirtspage3.jpgIf I was writing an article on the first time I tried on feminine clothes - behind closed doors - I would not use the words 'in a skirt' to mean an entire outfit. Very often, the first time a trannie slips into something silky, a skirt will not be included in the outfit. Very likely, it will be a case of trying on a few pairs of panties, plus stockings or tights, perhaps. It may also be significant that, with hardly a moment's thought, I came up with 'slips into something silky' for this first act of cross dressing. At this early stage, the texture of fabrics may be more important than the form of the garments - how it feels, rather than what it is. Not that the way it feels is absent from the pleasure in a skirt. I have already mentioned feeling the breeze about one's thighs - and there are other delicious sensations, too. It's more that one has to put the skirt through its paces to experience the pleasant feelings, it's less an immediate pleasure on slipping on the garment. The slower dawning of the pleasure, though, is not necessarily a bad thing - something to anticipate, to enjoy at leisure. The initial pleasure, the first time one tries on a skirt, is likely to be visual - looking at the effect in a mirror, we see ourselves transformed into a closer approximation of the women we see in the streets. Glancing down, we see the skirt from an angle we have not seen before: on our own bodies. It is new, it is exciting. Perhaps we sit - inevitably without much grace. Inevitably, too, the skirt rides up - those are our own thighs suddenly exposed... thus we are drawn into the first pleasures of wearing a skirt. The skirt riding up as we sit down may be our first introduction to the skirt modifying the way we move. With a full skirt, a massculine gait may set the hemline moving more than we wish. With a tight skirt, our step is restircted much more directly. A long stride is impossible without damaging the garment. The feeling of a skirt confining our legs as we attempt too long a step may be our first experience of a direct physical sensation arising from skirt-wearing. There is something akin to bondage - sexually potent, arousing - in this sensation. In extreme cases (ie the hobble skirt), our legs are more or less trussed up. Wearing full skirts, it's a question of whether (and how much) we wish to expose our thighs. If the tight skirt is exciting because it reduces our options, a full one may be exciting because it increases them. We can elect to step demurely - or we could decide on the opposite. Maybe we'll do a twirl in front of the mirror, we might flash our knickers that way, if the skirt is full - although succeeding in that may take a little practice. Assuming control of a full skirt is a skill. Once beyond the confines of our own homes we may well choose to wear our skirts modestly, or boldly, by turns. Tripping down the street, our modest little steps are probably best, hems bouncing a little but not outrageously. Stepping onto the dancefloor, we encounter the allure of spinning, allowing our skirts to fly like birds, the joy of flashing our undies. The choice between modesty and boldness lies not only in the ways we move, but in which skirt we select. There is an enormous range of variations on the theme of the skirt. They cannot only vary from the tightest sheath-like creations to full circle skirts - but the hemline can be anywhere between the floor and the upper thigh. To judge from the people I see, mini skirts are very popular with trannies. I have several of them myself - they're so hard to resist. The trouble with a mini is that it allows little scope for the "now you see, now you don't" tease. Of course, they do allow the possibility of knicker-flash - that said, flashing one's knickers in a really pleasing way whilst wearing a very short skirt is less easy than it may seem. It can be done - tennis players provide a good example - but it will require a bit of thought and practice. This element of putting thought and practice into getting the most out of wearing a skirt is, surely, a factor in the skirt being such an object of desire. Effective skirt wearing is an art, and  
  Art f642_368gnrsxdofskirtspage4.jpgThe element of developing an art is found in much of what transvestites do. Applying make-up is a good example - the first time one tries to apply cosmetics, the result is usually a mess. It takes time, practice and patience to get it right. Insofar as wearing a skirt is an art, however, it's significantly different from applying amke-up. The art of doing our faces is one of getting ready. The art of wearing a skirt is one which continues throught our time spent cross dressing. There is a contrast, too, with other feminine arts which continue beyond the process of getting ready. Wlaking in high heels is definitely an art, and one that isn't easily acquired. There is however respite from walking in heels every time we sit down. A skirt still needs to be managed while (and especially so) we are sitting. The act of sitting with any decorum in a crinoline must have been quite a challenge for Edward Boulton, Frederick Park, and their fellow Victorian trannies. It involved sliding into the seat with the utmost care - plonking oneself straight down into the chair would have pushed the skirt hoops up into a vertical position, violently and startlingly disarranging the garment. The effect of sitting down without caution in modern skirts is less dramatic, but the act can expose areas we might choose to keep hidden. The idea of choice is central, here. We may choose to expose our thighs or even our knickers, but if we cannot control our hemlines there is no choice. It is in the exercise of such choices, in calculating our degree of exposure, that a lot of the pleasure in skirt wearing lies. Neither does control over the skirt cease to be an issue once one is seated. A skirt can easily ride up slowly while one is sitting. That, I think is the decisive factor in many women choosing to sit on public transport with large bags on their laps. At some point in our transvestite development, the desire to present a genuinely convincing feminine appearance is almost certain to arise. The first time one sits in a skirt, exposing ones underwear, will probably feel exciting. Sooner or later, though, there arises a feeling that a real woman wouldn't do this. One may regard a skirt therefore not just as something to wear, but a teacher - an instructor in the ways of femininity. Walking in a tight skirt, it is worth taking careful note of the way it restricts the length of onne's stride. There is a pleasure in feeling the tug of the hemline, but, to learn something, ignore the pleasure. Take shorter steps. Reduce them to the point where the skirt no longer restircts the stride. Look carefully at that short-step gait in the mirror - does it make you appear more feminine? I'd be surprised if it didn't. To learn from a fuller skirt, and to learn about feminine ways of sitting, the mirror is needed again. Sit down in front of a full length mirror. How far does your skirt ride up? Could you sit in a different way with less effect on your hemline? Try composing your legs in different ways - crossing them near the ankle; crossing your thighs; placing your ankle on the opposing thigh. You'll soon see why the last of those postures is so entirely masculine. Press your legs tightly together, then spread them far apart. Your skirts speak volumes about masculine and feminine body language, if you watch what they're telling you. Mirror work to learn more subtle points can involve switching viewpoints. Imagine you are a woman trying to give subtle encouragement to a man sitting opposite, without wishing to appear cheap or vulgar. How do you arrange your skirt? Just how much leg do you display? Now imagine you're the man sitting opposite. The reflection in the mirror is a woman you don't know. What do you think of her? Is it too blatant a come-on? Are you intrigued? Be honest...  
  f642_199gnrsxdofskirtspage5.jpgSkirts are to be enjoyed!! All of this mirror work revolves around manipulating your skirts, seeing what works, what doesn't, what looks vulgar, what's enticing. There is a lot of fun - and a lot of instruction - to be had before ever taking your skirts beyond the bedroom door. Once out on the street, or in a trannie-friendly venue, your skirts can be a whole lot more fun. They are there to be enjoyed!! Skirts are not only fun, but comfortable. They're not as restrictive as trouser, and they don't chafe the legs. The inner thighs are amongst the more sensitive parts of the body - stroking them can release powerful sensual feelings. The effect of chafing these delicate areas with rough trousers is not, I feel sure, something most men consider. Become used to the way a skirt feels, however, and we can hardly fail to notice - the skirt is so much more comfortable! Of course, skirts are generally worn with thigh-encasing hosiery: stockings or tights. Indeed, as the temperature drops, skirts cease to be comfortable without such hosiery. On a really cold night, it is not comfortable without thick tights. But wearing stockings or tights is not at all like wearing trousers. They don't rub the thighs so much as move with them, like a second skin. As well as being physically comfortable, skirts bring a sense of freedom. Our legs escape from the restrictions imposed by their individual cloth tubes. The thighs can rub against each other. There's a whole gamut of extraordinarily pleasant sensations. Not only does a skirt give a sense of freedom to the wearer, but the freedom extends to people with whom we're on intimate terms. I never heard of sexual dalliance in the form of a hand up the trousers - a hand up the skirt is another matter. The openness of a skirt gives the hand plenty of room to manoeuvre. It's pleasant for the person whose hand it is, but in my experience it's a lot more pleasant for the person in the skirt. Thinking about that particular joy of skirts seems a good place to leave this article. At the time of writing, I own 54 skirts - not counting my dresses - tight, full, long, shorter; such a variety that it feels as though there could never be too many. They're fun for me, and I trust they are also for friends and special friends... Keep the skirts twirling! I think that's what transvestism is all