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Dina’s Diner 10/16/23

| Oct 16, 2023
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Michelle Rogers

Our own carried an interesting article headlined The Three Big Lies by Michelle L. Rogers. It appeared on the site September 25, 2023.

Michelle confined her essay to the third of the Big Lies: “You can do anything if you want it badly enough.” She understands the use of the saying as a positive affirmation but she points out that it is hardly true in most cases. She writes, “It is true that we can do a great many things that we might not think we could. But to tell a person that he or she can do anything is simply silly. Think about it. We all have physical limits on our abilities. That fact alone makes this statement meaningless.”

The heavy part of her essay relates to the realities facing transgender folk who must confront the major life changes of coming out, transitioning, and possibly undergoing gender affirming surgery. Under these mental strains, believing the Big Lie can make a difficult path forward seem like the key to happiness when it may turn out quite less positively. Speaking from her own experience as a trans woman, she says, “I am old, isolated, and transgender. I have only had a few short romantic relationships in my life. The odds are heavily against my having another one. I am lucky to have a few friends, whom I do appreciate.”

Although Michelle writes mostly in terms of transitioning, much of her warnings about the Big Lie applies to crossdressers also. “Some of us can pass as our adopted gender with more or less effort. But some of us will never pass, no matter how much work we do on ourselves. I see a few photos of transgender females who have overwhelmingly male facial and bodily features.” This may not bother the majority of crossdressers. It is a recreation activity rather than a life change. And if you are a courageous crossdresser, you may not care about ‘passing’ even if you go out to shop or just amble about. There are plenty of photos online of gurls out and about who are not passable.

Michelle’s essay is more of a cautionary tale for those contemplating transitioning but even recreational crossdressers can get caught up in unrealistic thinking. It can lead to dangerous behaviors and in our current environment that can be dangerous indeed. You can do anything as long as you remain realistic in your objectives.


I came across an article headlined And What About the Old and Beautiful? It was atop a blog post titled Nekita Ink. The post was quite old – September of 2016 – but it addressed an issue I’ve been thinking about lately. That issue is getting older. And every day that goes by it adds another small slice of concern in the recesses of my mind. Maybe yours too.

A senior crossdresser.

For crossdressers, aging can be a source of disappointment when we look in the mirror. Even if we are in good physical condition the aging process changes the femme image we have been working with (perhaps) for decades. As with cis-women, it is the rare lady who has hardly changed her looks as the years roll by. I’ve seen some crossdressers online who have maintained a good appearance and shape over the decades. The exceptions are at the narrow end of the bell curve just like the seemingly ageless beauties who were former models or movie stars. The rest of us squeeze under the fat part of the bell – appropriately, ha.

The blog post about aging mentioned above said all the right things about celebrating women of a certain age and beyond. There were examples of women who defy aged stereotypes through personal accomplishments or quirky fashion sense or a unique individualism. But, again, these are the rarities among (literally) billions. Not everyone can be a miraculously preserved sixty-something Christie Brinkley, or octogenarian beauty Jane Fonda, or the now-102 years old fashion iconoclast Iris Apfel.

For crossdressers who are still practicing the feminine arts, some roll with the aging process. They have adapted their look to accommodate the years and look natural. In some respects, aging makes ‘passing’ easier for those inclined to go out publicly. I suspect that the majority of us (myself included) are trying to maintain some semblance of our former glory while holding it together as best we can. Sixty may be the new forty and seventy the new fifty. So if you’re carrying an AARP card, we still have some good years left. Keep going, ladies.


Sperm swimming.

I heard part of a National Public Radio show about declining worldwide sperm counts. I was in the car and couldn’t note the program but I later looked the topic up. I found an article from the Financial Times dated June 22, 2023 under the headline Global Sperm Counts are Falling. This Scientist Believes She Knows Why.

The scientist in question is 87-year old Shanna Swan and she’s been studying sperm counts since the 1990s. The article mentioned a 2011 project that looked at 185 previous studies of sperm counts. The analysis of all the data concluded that “Sperm count appeared to have declined 52 per cent in 38 years, or something over 1 per cent a year.” Another source I found said that “average sperm count dropped from 104 million to 49 million per milliliter from 1973 through 2019. Normal sperm counts are considered to be over 40 million per milliliter.” Another statistic points out the seeming urgency of the problem: “they found that the decline in sperm counts seemed to be accelerating, from an average of 1.16% per year after 1973 to 2.64% per year after 2020.”

Dr. Swan believes that “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals” are to blame. Compounds found in plastics – especially the plastics that contain our food and liquids – can leach into the food or otherwise get into our systems and disrupt the normal production of sperm. When it affects pregnant women, the level of androgen and testosterone passed to the fetus can be either heightened or lowered affecting masculinity or femininity in the children.

One interesting physical characteristic that can indicate this hormonal effect is something called the “Ano-Genital Distance.” That is the length of the perineum – the space between the anus and the genitals. Scientists like Dr. Swan measure this distance on test subjects with calipers. Smaller than normal AGD in male subjects indicates lower sperm count and could affect future procreation. It was pointed out in the article (and the NPR show too) that sperm counts are still sufficient for most men to impregnate their partner. It is not an imminent threat – yet.

To the extent that Dr. Swan’s (and other scientists’) warnings bump up against the powerful chemical industry, it is being met with skeptics and naysayers. The article mentions that some of the negative response is akin to what scientists met while working on tobacco research, and today, climate change.

The guest scientist on the NPR show (whose name I didn’t catch) made the point that the causes behind the dropping sperm count has nothing to do with the conservative boogeyman of trans activism or liberal ideology. It’s a problem that is natural or at least caused by the environment or how we have fouled the environment. I’m tellin’ ya: it’s always something.


I saw an article on The Huffington Post website headlined Is Justin Bieber’s Sloppy Style Blatant Disrespect To His Wife? The article appeared on September 12, 2023. It discussed not just the Bieber couple’s style controversy but the trend known as the ‘Overdressed Girlfriend/Underdressed Boyfriend’ phenomenon.

Mrs. Bieber looking hot. Hubby Justin looking not.

As the photo here illustrates, husband Justin Bieber is wearing sweats while wife Haley Bieber is fully decked out in a couture mini dress, high heels, makeup, and handbag. Online sleuths also found other celebrities who succumbed to the malady. The usual example is the wife or girlfriend to be dressed smartly (if not to the nines) while the male partner is wearing a t-shirt or hoodie with jeans and sneakers. The Huffington Post article talked to some non-celebrity couples who work through the disparity in fashion choices.

The HuffPost reported on one couple, the female half of which said: “I am very extra with my outfits, hair and makeup and try to always look good regardless of where we’re going.” Her husband, meanwhile, lives in sweat shorts and Carhartt T-shirts, even when they’re going to dinner. “We went to a bar a little bit ago with some friends and that’s exactly what he wore and I wore a full-on clubbing outfit. He’s definitely a ‘I want to be comfortable’ kind of guy and I’m more like, ‘I want the drunk girls at the bar to compliment my outfit’ kind of girl.””

The mismatch can become or close to becoming a deal breaker in relationships. “I’m not going to lie, I did not like the fact that he would wear Birkenstocks or sandals with khaki shorts, a graphic superhero shirt and a hat. It just wasn’t my thing,” Monroy Skoog said of her schoolteacher husband.” Obviously the pair got past the issue and she said hubby will dress up if it’s really important to her. Fashion conflicts also occur in gay relationships. HuffPost spoke to two college age guys in a relationship where one dresses well while the other adopts the Justin Bieber aesthetic of casual to the max. “I don’t usually mind, though; it makes me look classier by comparison!” said the neatnik partner.

It’s an interesting thing for us crossdressers. I suspect there are many of us who fall into the casual/sloppy category in our ‘normal’ lives even if we like dressing up as if we’re headed to red carpets or nightclubs or boudoir photo sessions as our femme selves. Is this the best of both worlds? Does the unshaven face and t-shirt of the Guy balance out the careful makeup and fashions of the Doll within us?


In my last Diner, I had an item about dancers’ tights and another about sneakers.
For those without photographic memory, the item about dancers’ tights extolled their virtues in compressing and providing a glossy sheen to the legs. Fishnet tights over the sheer tights diffused the shine to a more natural glow. The item about sneakers noted what I hoped was a new trend: young women wearing sneakers rather than the ubiquitous flip flops and suchlike.

English schoolgirls in tights.

In September, right after submitting the Diner for publication, I took a trip to London. I was pleased to see that young English women were also sporting a wide variety of sneakers with their casual outfits. I saw only a few women with sandals and no flip flops at all. London would seem to be a dirty place to be wearing flip flops and that may account for the absence. However, American women (and men) don’t seem to have any problem wearing flip flops, slides, and sandals in any type of gritty urban environment. I don’t know if the flip flop craze ever took root in England. I like to think they have better sense about such things. American brands like Converse and Nike were well-represented on the sneaker front in London. I should note that they use the term “trainers” instead of sneakers.

I noticed too that English women seemed to wear pantyhose in greater numbers than seems to be the case in America this past decade or two. No, the English ladies are not wearing glossy dance tights — and I saw no fishnets, of course. But it did my crossdressing heart good to see pantyhose on women’s legs every so often.

Another note on the tights front was that English schoolgirls often wore black tights with their school uniforms. At one of the historical attractions I visited, the place was filled with a busload or more of teen girls in classic white blouse, plaid or navy uniforms, and either knee socks or dark tights. Not every school requires uniforms I suppose. But I saw quite a lot of girls in their unis and a fair amount sporting tights.

I come back with this advice to Anglophile crossdressers here: To be a right English bird, mate, get yer tights and trainers. [Editor’s Note: Brits call pantyhose “sheer tights” or just “tights”.]

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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

I started crossdressing and going out publicly in 1988. I joined the Renaissance group in the Philadelphia area that year and later became chapter leader for two years in the '90s. I always enjoyed writing and wrote for the Renaissance newsletter and magazine throughout my membership years. I've been writing for TGForum for several years now. I also contributed items to LadyLike magazine and other TG publications before the advent of the internet. My hobby-within-a-hobby is singing live as my alter-ego Dina Sinatra and I have had the opportunity to do that with several accommodating performers and in a number of venues over the years since the mid-1990s. In the Diner column items here, I try to relate crossdressing or transgender themes (and my own pet peeves and fetishes) to the larger world -- and vice versa.

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