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Dina’s Diner 7/4/16

| Jul 4, 2016
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I JUST SAW A GIRL NAMED MARIAH

A lot of entertainment sites had coverage of pop singer Mariah Carey’s appearance at a Las Vegas nightlcub in the June 26, 2016 editions. According to the reports, Mariah was the guest deejay at a dance club after her nightly show at Caesar’s Palace on Saturday the 25th.

Mariah Carey DJNaturally, the thing that caught my eye were the photos of Mariah — who showed up to the DJ gig wearing a leather jacket, body suit, garters and fishnets. Interestingly (I thought), Mariah had stretched her fishnet stockings over a pair of nude pantyhose. The pantyhose provide some support and shimmer in place of bare thigh and derriere. It’s a technique used by many crossdressers for their lingerie selfies, too.

I am a late blooming fan of Mariah Carey. Oh, I don’t know a thing about her music and doubt I could correctly identify any of her songs. But I do love her look. She’s got a pretty face and a rockin’ buxom body. I came to this fandom in a funny way several years ago.

I dropped into a neighborhood bar (not in drag) on a quiet Sunday night. I had never been in the place before and was curious to check it out. The place was almost empty with just a handful of guys like me at the bar drinking beers. When I came in, the other fellas were watching a Mariah Carey concert being shown on some cable channel. This seemed like it should be more of an ESPN crowd than a Mariah Carey crowd. I wondered briefly if this was one of those quiet gay bars so far on the down low that it is known only to longtime regulars. Then it dawned on me what was going on. Between every couple of songs, Mariah would change outfits and more often than not, she would reappear singing in shimmery nighties, lingerie, and other skin-baring outfits. On a slow sports night, Mariah was the best game in town.

Back to the DJ story. I read an article in a professional DJ magazine (www.mixmag.net) making fun of her appearance since she did little actual DJ’ing and a whole lot of vamping and taking photos. Well, screw ’em. She’s Mariah Freakin’ Carey and she can do no wrong in fishnets.

BOTTOMS UP

CD Lianne. Could it be padding?

CD Lianne. Could it be padding?

There are a myriad of stops along the gender spectrum now from full-fledged SRS transsexuals to the so-called “gender fluid” who march to their own drummer, as the saying once went. Being “passable” is no longer the be all and end all for trans people, who may or may not wish to blend in with cis-females or cis-males as they make their way in the world.

Speaking only about F-t-M crossdressers, most of whom, it seems fair to say, only wish to express their femininity in stereotypical modes of dress and appearance, the female ideal is still very much alive in their consciousness. If you survey the online photo sites of crossdressers appearing on Flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram (and excluding the porn oriented offerings), you will readily see that womanly beauty and sex appeal of a classic sort is still the gold standard.

And what is the one body feature that separates the men from the girls more often than any other, at least in this reporter’s opinion? The derriere, the bottom, the can, the ass. . . if you will. Perusing photos of crossdressers one can find amateurs who have great cosmetic talent that, matched with good facial features, make beautiful female kissers. You can find many crossdressers who have perfected the art of cleavage illusion. That certainly separates the sexes, you say. I know a couple of girls (“Amanda’s” both of them) who have glorious illusionary cleavage that could fool many folks even at close range. Legs? Ha, crossdressing guys often have gorgeous legs with calf and thigh proportions that many women can envy. But the natural evolutionary differences between men and women make hips and bottoms the hardest part for crossdressers attempting to mimic the fairer sex.

The use of hip pads or fanny boosters is never convincing. (Not always. Our review last week of the Underworks padded body shaper says that it delivers a better butt.) More often than not they appear lumpy and ill-proportioned. Certain posing postures that accent what little nature has grudgingly given work for some who take selfies for Internet postings. Chubby crossdressers might seem to have an advantage in this area but again, the male anatomy just doesn’t seem to work for fellas in the same way it does for gals. The cliche for telling a crossdresser or drag queen from a real woman is the visible Adam’s Apple. But a quick glance at the hips and derriere is an even better foolproof identifier — if you even need to go that far to tell the difference.

Guys can usually say whether they are breast men, leg men or ass men in admiring female sex appeal. Aside from a pretty face, the anatomical feature that really seals the illusion (I think), makes the bottom-most the top-most.

TAKIN’ IT FROM THE STREETS

The New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham passed away at age 87 on June 24, 2016. Many news sources noted his passing. Mr. Cunningham became famous among Times readers and fashion fans for chronicling street fashion on “real” people on Manhattan’s avenues and byways.

Bill Cunningham on the Street.

Bill Cunningham on the Street.

I had an item here several years ago about Bill Cunningham with a photo of him taking a photo of a woman in a sleek dress and high heels hailing a cab. There are a lot of photos of Bill photographing people (he covered both women and men) and he became a familiar figure himself, famous for riding a bicycle to get around midtown traffic, always wearing a blue workmen’s jacket.

One of the articles about Bill said he “collected eccentrics” and his photo features in the Times often focused on unconventional fashions usually grouped in themes. There were male dandies, women in vibrant prints, people dressed for winter, people dressed for heat waves. He told an interviewer that most of his photos never showed up in the paper. His small apartment where he was reported to live a very ascetic life included file cabinets filled with negatives.

Talking about his career to one reporter, he said that fashion shows and models did not interest him. He preferred to find people in the streets who exhibited some flair for fashion, even a minor detail. “I look for the personal style with which something is worn sometimes even how an umbrella is carried or how a coat is held closed.” His career was born (so the story goes) when he left a fashion runway show to see what a bunch of hippies were protesting outside in 1967. “He realized the action was out on the street” as the Times put it.

He made little of his own celebrity. He was given the Legion of Honor in France in 2008. He was the subject of a documentary film released in 2010. And he was named a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2009. He said it just gave strangers a reason to interrupt him as he worked on the streets. He was not, however, a curmudgeon. Many of the photos of Bill in his own element on Manhattan streets show him smiling and enthusiastically going in for his shot.

Anna Wintour, the fashion publisher and arbiter, said once “We all dress for Bill” in case he happened to snap them on the street. That’s being a game changer; to be living in people’s heads as they reach into their closets for an outfit.

SUPPORT GAY PRIDE THROUGH DRAG

Why Drag BookThe New York Times devoted a full page to Gay Pride Week in the June 24, 2016 Weekend Arts section. It was headlined “It’s Gay Pride Weekend: Dress the Part.” The Times mentioned the big parade and street festival that was planned but suggested “another way to celebrate: an all-drag weekend.”

The page included six drag-related events or ideas with color photos and paragraphs about each to help sympathetic readers support Gay Pride though drag. At one time, drag was looked down upon in some gay quarters but it seems to have been accepted as an entertaining vanguard for the gay community. The natural theatricality of drag makes it easier to showcase for outsiders than cabaret bars, discos, the leather scene, or just plain gay folks.

The Times suggested a “drag brunch” at a Times Square restaurant; the “Night of 1000 Queens” drag extravaganza in midtown; a Saturday matinee of the drag-related Broadway show Kinky Boots; and some quiet time paging through a coffee table book titled Why Drag? by Magnus Hastings. The book looks like it might be interesting with “features on 200 drag queens from around the world” if you can’t get to Manhattan hot spots. Conspicuously absent from the Times suggestions was for readers to try dressing up themselves. Maybe next year.

HEELS WOUND ALL TIMES

Chelsea Marshall in heels.

Chelsea Marshall in heels.

The Frick Museum in Pittsburgh is hosting an exhibit called Killer Heels this summer. The website describes the exhibit this way: “Killer Heels explores fashion’s most provocative accessory. From the high platform chopines of 16th-century Italy to the glamorous stilettos on today’s runways and red carpets, the exhibition looks at the high-heeled shoe’s rich and varied history and its enduring place in our popular imagination. As fashion statement, fetish object, instrument of power, and outlet of artistic expression for both the designer and the wearer, throughout the ages the high-heeled shoe has gone through many shifts in style and symbolism.”

I guess high heels have been around now for several hundred years. Not that long, really, in the grand course of things. But it is hard to imagine the high heel ever disappearing from the scene because of its “enduring appeal in our popular imagination” as the Frick says. Despite the admonitions of orthopedists and podiatrists, the high heel endures — much like everything else that is “bad for us.”

In that spirit, I saw an item on Buzzfeed.com by contributor Chelsea Marshall on June 13, 2016 offering “High Heel Hacks” which are supposed to be tricks to ease the discomfort of high heels. I don’t really understand the use of “hack” as a good thing. I thought hacking was usually bad but now the term has acquired a simultaneous “good” use as well. Kids, these days. . .

Anyway, some of the hacks were interesting. One was to scotch tape the third and fourth toes together which is supposed to redistribute your weight more evenly on your foot. Another was to place cotton balls under your toes to cushion them in the narrow point of the shoe. Using Dr. Scholl’s inserts was another easy hack. Ms. Marshall found that the scotch tape hack (the cheapest alternative also) was the most effective. She wore five inch heels for seven hours with her piggies taped together. The cotton balls seemed to make no difference; the Scholl’s inserts crowded her feet in already tight shoes although she said they felt fine otherwise. The $15 price for the inserts could be better used, she said, to “spend on drinks and a snack while you’re wearing your heels!”

Let’s face it. Wearing high heels will probably never be completely comfortable and I suspect that is part of its odd appeal. The unnatural angle of the shoe and the slight discomfort after some amount of time is the subconscious reminder that we’re wearing a “naughty” item, an object of fetish and sex appeal for hundreds of years. So suffer. You know you love it.


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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender Opinion

dina

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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