Dina’s Diner March 11, 2019

| Mar 11, 2019
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Photo by Dominique Maitre/WWD/Shutterstock (10068265j)

Man in a dress from Thom Browne.

DO YOU HAVE THIS DRESS IN A 42 LONG?

The New York Times had an article about the Fall 2019 menswear shows in Paris that appeared in the January 24, 2019 edition. The cutout quote by designer Thom Browne that caught my attention was this: “I love the idea of a guy wearing dresses.”

The article began with a long mention of artist Grayson Perry who is famous both as an award-winning ceramicist and as a crossdresser. According to the Times, Perry’s “epiphany” came when he realized that he liked the act of wearing women’s clothes for its own joy not in wanting to become a woman himself. Which introduction leads to Thom Browne’s 2019 collection of dresses for men.

As the Times described the pieces in the show, “most of them were deconstructed and then Frankenstein-stitched together again from familiar men’s wear elements, though this time as dresses.” The Times gallery showed that the dresses had recognizable menswear elements but were cut in asymmetrical dress fashion and, of course, trouser-less. Actually, it looked ridiculous (to me) but it might have made an interesting statement if some famous celebrity female tried it instead of the usual “look at me” semi-nudity we always see. Editorial over.

The usual Thom Browne menswear collection features very skinny blazers and dress shorts (like prep school uniforms) and more normal though highly stylized suits, jackets, etc. They all look like you need to be around 140 lbs to squeeze into them. So who is buying this stuff? It’s undoubtedly very expensive and what 140 lb young man has that kind of bread to spend on blazers? Well, the Times mentioned that Mr. Browne just sold a big chunk of his business for $500 million. This new dress line could push it up to $500 million plus a buck.

BEING A WOMAN IN THE 21ST CENTURY

The New York Times had a feature item in the Sunday February 10, 2019 edition with the headline, “Title: Cryptologic Technician; Occupation: Warrior.” The article was about Shannon Kent, 35, a mother of two and a Navy Petty Officer who was assigned to the National Security Agency. Mrs. Kent was killed in Syria on January 16, 2019 while on an intelligence assignment.

Shannon Kent

The bulk of the Times article covered Shannon Kent’s particular skill set that made her so valuable in our Mideast operations; how a successful battle against cancer kept her from Navy officer’s school; and how her story resulted in a posthumous promotion and changes in the Navy’s handling of cases like Shannon’s.

Here are some selected snips from the Times article: “Her job was to go out and blend her knowledge of cryptology and sigint and humint to help the task force find the right guys to paint the ‘X’ on for a strike or a raid. Cryptology is code breaking; sigint is signals intelligence, like intercepting and interpreting phone calls and other communications; humint is human intelligence, the art of persuading people, against their instincts, to provide information. Shannon Kent was expert in all three. Chief Kent spoke a half-dozen Arabic dialects and four other languages. She was one of the first women to complete the rigorous course required for other troops to accompany Navy SEALs on raids. She could run a 3:30 marathon, do a dozen full-arm-hang pull-ups and march for miles with a 50-pound rucksack. She did this while raising two boys, now ages 3 and 18 months, and, for a time, battling cancer.”

The article pointed out that because it is still rare for women to be official members of Special Ops teams, Shannon had a title that sounded like a safe behind-the-scenes job – when in fact she was deployed five times in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and worked on the ground with SEAL teams. Her cancer treatment – even though successful – made her ineligible for admittance to officer school, a policy the Navy is now re-evaluating.

Yeah, no crossdressing angle in this item. But if we really admire women and wish to be more like them (if only sometimes) it can’t hurt to think about what some women are up to when they are not wearing a face full of cosmetics, lingerie and high heels.

The article is an interesting read about an unsung hero in our messy Mideastern conflicts. Considering that there is still a debate in some quarters about whether women possess the necessary qualities to lead or excel in fields dominated by men, Shannon Kent’s story puts the doubters to shame. Considering the amount of fame and riches we shower on celebrities (male and female) in the arts and sports, to read that Shannon Kent received a small promotion only after her grisly death overseas should shame all of us.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

I’m always thinking about movies – or more accurately – scenes from movies that made an impact on me. I don’t watch the awards shows even if I saw some of the films and performances up for kudos. (Is there any profession more self-congratulatory than movie folk?) But I think most of us have our personal Oscar winners burned into our subconscious. Especially as it relates to crossdressing inspirations. And here are a few of my obscure references.

Patricia Gelin in Montenegro.

One of the first foreign art films I saw was “Montenegro” back in 1981 or ‘82. It starred American actress Susan Anspach in a film cast with some Swedish actors and a lot of Balkan expats who were running a seedy nightclub in the story. The memorable crossdressing inspiration was provided when actress Patricia Gelin was transformed from a raggedy, stringy-haired, peasant girl into a glammed up nude dancer in the Montenegrin’s bar. It was hard to believe it was the same woman. The power of cosmetics to transform anyone (maybe even a man!) into a beautiful woman stayed with me long after the quirky film (which I liked a lot) ended.

Nancy Allen in Lingerie.

Two Brian DePalma films from the same era (1980) feature actress (and real-life DePalma wife) Nancy Allen. In “Dressed to Kill” the villain turns out to be a crossdresser played by Michael Caine. But my crossdressing inspiration is not from Caine’s character but Ms. Allen who has an extended scene wearing a black bra and panty, garters and stockings. She seemed so at ease vamping around seductively in her lingerie. The film “Home Movies” was a collaboration between DePalma and his filmmaking class at the time. I can hardly remember what it was about but it also featured Nancy Allen in a garters and stockings scene. As ridiculous as it sounds, I always thought of Nancy Allen sashaying around the house between films in garter-belts and stockings. Just like I wanted to do.

The 1965 movie, “The Rounders” stars Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford as two aging, slightly dumb ranch hands. For reasons I cannot remember, two giggly women are found hiding naked in the bed of their pickup truck. (Sue Ane Langdon and Hope Holliday play the good-time girls.) Ford and Fonda agree to buy the women some dresses but the stores are all closed for a rodeo parade in town. They procure two waitress aprons from a café and that covers the women up – with one small problem. The aprons don’t have backs, the girls’ behinds are exposed and Fonda and Ford cover the ladies’ fannies with their cowboy hats. The idea of wearing a “dress” with no back and hoping no one will notice is sort of how I feel a lot when crossdressed in public. Keep moving, don’t look back, and hope for the best.

TWO REASONS IT’S NOT FOR US

The Boohoo Front Thong.

I saw a mention online of something called a “front thong” and had to research it. I found more information on the FoxNews.com website. Their article appeared on February 5, 2019.

“A UK-based online retailer named Boohoo was showing the garment which was described as a “basic V neck ruched front bodysuit.” As you can see from the photo the shorthand description “front thong” gets more to the point.

Perhaps because the article was on Fox News, the slant on this daring item was negative. A commenter on a blog called ‘Mumsnet” wrote, “I understand the [bodysuit] trends but surely this would result in being split entirely in two, or the world’s worst front wedgie.” Another lady wrote: “Boohoo indeed. Eyes watering just looking at that crime against humanity.” One reviewer said simply “Ouch.”

For its part the company put out this statement in response to the controversy. “The customer demand for the bodysuit is huge and the style in question is selling out quickly. Boohoo has responded to the trend by offering a wide selection of style options with variations on color, cut and pattern all available on site in all sizes.”

Another UK retailer named Oh Polly has a similar item that they describe as a “high waisted” swimsuit. The official standard constituting a “high waist” seems to be about 12 inches above the vajayjay.

Well, I am no hater and if it’s called a front thong, a “ruched front” or high waisted, I’m foursquare in favor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be something that would work for the crossdressing universe for two reasons: the right side and the left side. When there is no place to put the boys, the game belongs to the girls.

A LEOTARD IS NO PLACE FOR BODY IMAGE ISSUES

Back in late January, the world was treated to the video of Katelyn Ohashi’s perfect 10 floor exercise for her UCLA Gymnastics team. Just a week ago, Katelyn did it again, scoring a perfect 10 on the routine that includes an awful lot of tumbling leg splits (that look painful to us less limber folks) and her charismatic dance moves.

Floor exercise.

When she burst onto the world stage, she told interviewers about how she had been body-shamed by some. How could anyone body-shame a world-class gymnastics athlete? Well, gymnastics isn’t the same as fashion modeling. The athletes train to build the needed muscle for their deceptively powerful bodies. The real reason for the shaming is that some people are just horrible humans.

Meanwhile back in crossdressing-land, multitudes of would be Ohashi’s and Retton’s and Comaneci’s are styling in their leotards for the virtual judges online. With the confidence of an Olympian, they squeeze into the unforgiving bodysuits. And just like Katelyn Ohashi, they thumb their collective noses at critics who might find fault with a fella in a leotard. That rates a 10…well, wait, let’s not get carried away.

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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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