I was 14 years old and had been dressing in earnest for about 18 months. Up until then I had occasionally tried on my cousin’s tutu and school uniform and had famously allowed myself to be tricked into playing all afternoon in her garden in her wonderfully garish party dress, something she loved to remind me of although I suspect not if she knew what I really liked to get up to.
But when I turned 13 it 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 well-dressed young lady across the road. I had wonderful fun working out the order in which my mother’s clothes went on and feeling the beautiful constriction 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 begin the day again en femme. I went to bed in a nightie for a cat-nap and woke up and had a bath. Having dried myself I put on a beautiful soft lilac negligee and went over to my mother’s dressing table and applied make-up, mascara, eye shadow and lipstick, none too expertly. I then dried my hair. My hair was quite long in those days and could be styled into a passably female style.
Having put my face on I then dived into the wardrobe, desperate to transform myself from a gangly teenage boy into a gamine young woman with a taste for sensible clothes. I stuffed a white lacy 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 bodice and hem. I loved that slip and always got a thrill when I saw the lacy hem against a blue-stockinged thigh. I then chose a white chiffon blouse with puff sleeves and a long bow at the collar and a dark blue pleated skirt. It was perfect, with my lacy underwear covering my small bust showing through the blouse. I finished it off with a pair of earrings and a pearly necklace. I donned a pair of dark blue patent leather court shoes and after choosing a suitable handbag I looked at myself in the full-length mirror. Looking back at me was a shy, pretty girl who looked as though she worked in an office as a secretary or a sales assistant in a department store. I thought I looked so feminine it was ridiculous to think of me as anything else. I was quaking with excitement.
I wondered what her name was. It wouldn’t be a racy name like Samantha, more likely to be a more modest name like Claire, but that did not go with my surname very well. Then I remembered that everyone I knew seemed to have an older sister called Susan and they were always nice and if rather dull girls. I liked the name, a sort of “everywoman’s” name, and so it was that I became Susan for the first time.
It was then downstairs to find a suitable coat and hat to protect me against the cold. I felt the rustle of my skirts as I went downstairs and noticed the pleated skirt billow with my descent exposing the hem of my slip. At this rate I was going to be lucky to get out of the house without wetting myself. I chose a cream raincoat and a silk scarf tied loosely around my shoulders. I did not have the confidence to venture out without anything on my head in case I was recognised so I put on a woollen bonnet popular at the time which I felt framed my made-up face nicely and showed off my earrings.
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. The feeling of exposure only intensified. 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 feminine attire.
I walked for miles, slowly gaining the confidence to walk on the same side of the road as passers-by. I walked through parks and past shops which I stopped to gaze into hoping to catch my reflection. 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 marooned 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 warm after the cold of outside.
I hung up my coat, hat and scarf in the cloakroom and went upstairs and undressed, taking care to put everything away exactly as I had found it. It was a relief to be able to take my shoes off. 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 Mum,” I said.
“Did walk the dog?”
“Oh yes,” I said more dreamily. “We had a lovely long walk.”
As I thought of the blissful last few hours I sank back into the bath and I am afraid did what teenage boys do in bathrooms on their own. 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 Susan remains to this day my finest.