To Tell or Not: Lucille’s Secret

| Jan 9, 2017
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[Last month: Jan]

Someone undergoing gender re-assignment will eventually tell all his/her relatives and friends about the change. It comes with the territory. This is not necessarily so for the crossdresser who lives part time as one gender, part time as the other. The crossdresser has options. In this series Linda Jensen is interviewing three crossdressers who have taken very different paths to ‘self-outing.’ This week she talks with Lucille who after 30 years of crossdressing has yet to tell anyone in her other life anything about Lucille, not even her wife or children. Linda is curious as to how she is able to do it.

“You will like Lucille,” my friend Jan said to me as we met for one of our regular but infrequent golf games, this time at a course in the northern part of Bronx, NY. Jan had just told me there would be a third person joining our game and she was, like the two of us, a crossdresser limited by choice to living our femme lives a bit at a time and squeezed between the obligations of our ‘other lives.’

“I’m glad her wife let her get away to join us.” I tossed out the line hoping to learn a bit more about our expected companion.

“Oh, Lucille’s wife knows nothing about Lucille, never has and probably never will,” replied Jan. “When Lucille wants to go out she has an apartment she shares with some other girls in New York City. It’s a totally secret life. It has been for years.”

Even before meeting her, my interest in Lucille had jumped way up. It went even higher when Jan added, “here she comes now” as she pointed to a sport convertible pulling in to the parking lot. A pretty lady of about our age was behind the wheel. ‘Now that is class,’ I thought to myself, ‘If I were to drive a convertible I’d be so afraid of my wig blowing off.’

The ladies on the links.

Naturally with my series about CD self-disclosures in mind I was eager to talk to Lucille about how she keeps her femme life so secret, even from her family. However that would have to wait. It turned out that despite her being from New York and me from Canada we had a lot in common. When you play golf in the NYC area, even on an early fall weekday afternoon you have a lot of time to wait and to chat, and to wait and chat some more.

For instance as we waited, the second group in line to play the second hole, I asked Lucille, “How did you get in to dressing?”

“Well I’ve known about myself since 4 or 5 years old,” she replied without hesitation, ”Back then knowledge of transpeople was nonexistent, hushed up and frowned upon. So far as I knew there were virtually no others like me. I was an adult with a family before I discovered a paper called Transvestian in a porn shop. That alone was a whole story. There were pictures, stories and even ads from people like me who were actually doing what I always wanted, living their femme sides even if in private. I had dressed in my mother’s things when I was younger but had few opportunities since then. I decided that I could do it also and jumped in with both feet.”

Transvestian!” I interrupted. “That’s what did it for me, too. Only I was in a transgender specialty shop in London, England. I was so encouraged to find out that there were others like me who liked to wear femme clothing but were not drag queens.”

“When I discovered Transvestian and that it was possible to indulge my secret desire I fumbled about for several months but couldn’t get the makeup right,” Lucille continued, not bothering to acknowledge my interruption, “I didn’t have the feel or touch for the correct application and subtleties involved.


“Well in the paper was an ad for a woman named Muriel Olive” she continued, “Muriel was a pioneer of women who helped men become the woman that was within them. I was paranoid and feared the worst that could happen by opening up to another person. Nevertheless I was driven to make an appointment with her. She was perfect. We became fast friends for years until her death. Actually, she was my mother. She gave me three things that I have carried until this day.”

“No kidding,” I interrupted again, “the first time I went out as Linda in New York City I went to a Joyce Dewhurst party on a Friday night and a Tri-Ess meeting at Muriel Olive’s on the Saturday. Yes, Muriel was a special lady.”

We had to interrupt our conversation to play the second hole but soon could pause for more reflection at the third tee.

“So how did Muriel help you?” I asked Lucille.

“She taught me how to apply makeup and even gave me a “color the numbers” chart to remember. It was the first time I was dressed from the skin out, completely as a woman and with full makeup. What a thrill!

“As I stood there, beaming as a complete woman she asked me my name. I had not thought that far forward and had no clue. ‘What do I look like I asked?’ She said, to me you look like a Lucille. I didn’t care for it at first but when your mother gives you a name, that’s your name. That’s still me, Lucille.

“She was talking generalities to me and said that’s how you should look, nice. Not like a whore! I was taken back because at that stage we all want to look like brazen whores.

“I asked why. She said that when I go out on the street I should look nice and not want to attract unwanted attention from the wrong people, police included. The end of her sentence was virtually unheard. OUT! STREET! Was she kidding? I looked out the window to the street below and could not believe what she just said. I just wanted to dress up in a motel room and look at myself as a girl. Well, just look at me now. She knew what she was talking about.”

Another look from Lucille.

“And now on the tee, from Long Island New York, Lucille Spencer,” I interjected as surprisingly it had come to be our turn to play the third hole. Lucille’s reminiscences had taken me back a long way, back to when I was a reader of Transvestian and then one of their contributing writers, to a time when I went to one of Muriel’s parties. Then I wondered if Lucille had been at the same party.

Just before Lucille teed off she turned to Jan and me and said, “Muriel was a wonderful person and I still think about her today.” Amen to that. We all should be so lucky as to have a ‘mother’ like Muriel to guide us in our transformations.

We played the next holes talking about this and that and waiting a lot at every tee. There must have been some really slow players somewhere up ahead of us as it was close to six hours before we finished and were able to make our way to the clubhouse lounge for a drink and a meal. I’m glad Lucille had decided to stay as there was something big I wanted to ask her. After putting our clubs away, changing our golf shoes for street wear — I chose an opened toed sandal with a one inch heel as I wanted to show off my freshly painted toe nails and I loved the way even the low heel helped project my tush and shape my legs. We found all three of us together in the ladies’ locker room, refreshing our make-up and brushing our hair. And of course we needed to pee, too. But I digress.

As I looked at Jan and Lucille I thought that we made a nice looking trio of senior (or near senior) ladies out for a game of golf and about to share drinks and a meal together. I knew Jan’s story and of course I knew mine but what about Lucille. How had she been able to carve out a Lucille life for herself for what seems like the last 30 years or so without her wife and the rest of the family knowing or even suspecting about Lucille?

No sooner were seated in the lounge, been given menus and ordered our drinks than I got right to the point, “Lucille, Jan tells me that no one in your other life, not your wife nor the rest of the family knows anything at all about the existence of Lucille? How do you manage that?”

Lucille winked to Jan. “It hasn’t been easy,” she started, “I tortured myself as to coming out to my wife for a couple of years. I was getting out, doing things and getting to know more and more people and their stories. I also remember there was a big exchange on the Femme Fever site about honesty and “living a lie.” As I pondered I found that most, by a large percentage, of the people that told their wives were sorry they blabbed. Their wives were not only unhappy and let them know (constantly), they also became detectives and kept their husbands under intense scrutiny. After much thought I wondered how or if telling was going to make my marriage better. I realized that it would NOT. I didn’t think my wife would divorce me or go crazy but I did feel that it would not be great. I am of a generation that knew of no choices and simply married and went on with life. I then realized she did not marry me to see how girly I could be. She signed up to be with a man. She was entitled to what we agreed to. I ALWAYS honor my commitments. I still do.”

“So how do you hide your second wardrobe? You look as if Lucille dresses very well.”

“I embarked upon living out a double life as I could not give either life up. I realized that Lucille living out of a suitcase would really not do. I happened upon another girl who was a pilot and only flew out of New York, didn’t live here with her wife. She was friendly with a couple of others and we got an apartment. They weren’t so expensive then. Our group grew to a dozen girls. It was wonderful and we were safe and secure. There was a variety of us so we got to know many things about our lives. There were many stories. We even had an annual Xmas party. Eventually our landlord sold the building and two other girls and myself got and share a small room in the home of a gay man. That’s where I am today.”

“Are you kidding me? I remember years ago in the City meeting another t-girl at a club named Carolyn’s Oasis. She did exactly that, shared an apartment with a couple of other crossdressers. Was that you?”

“Could have been but only if it was a weeknight. I almost never got out on a weekend,” Lucille replied and then continued, “I’m neither ecstatically happy nor unhappy. I am what I am and make the best I can out of it. Like most people do, I suppose. I’m not sure what would have happened if I were found out. I don’t think it would be the end of the world but there would be some havoc. Today that I could point to Caitlyn Jenner, an Olympic champion, and just say that’s the way it is and I can’t fight it. My roommate Linda feels the opposite. She has told her wife who elected to make believe it doesn’t exist, but keeps a watch on her. Linda claims that Jenner by transitioning, it will frighten her wife into thinking she will do the same, which she won’t. I don’t know who is right. I only know that I am going to live out my life as best I can, the way I think I can or should. I’m okay with that.”

“I am what I am and that’s what I am,” I interjected in my best Popeye impersonation.

“Exactly,” smirked Lucille.

“But if you don’t mind, how do you pull it off?” I asked, “How do you get away without your wife asking where you are going and what you are doing? I’d like to write an article about this and my reader will want to know.”

“Before I even came out my job took me from New Hampshire to DC but mainly Boston to South Jersey. There were lots of late night meetings so it was easy to arrange. Very often it was pretty late by the time I got home. I’ll push the envelope a bit but am very careful not to break it. The best excuse is not having to make an excuse. I try to usually be home by 12. Something special I’ll make up a story. Friday night through the weekend was a bitch though. No excuse worked for ‘date nights’.”

“So your girls’ nights out were combined with business trips? Been there,” I said thinking of the times I would head to meetings in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver with an extra suitcase.

“No it wasn’t exactly like that. I never combined business with pleasure. Even in business I rarely ever spent the night away and most always went home. I like being home. I don’t like being alone in a motel room, even in a nightie. If I had a meeting I said I had a meeting. If I was going “out” I said I had a meeting. The logistics of doing both was too much.

“Now the story is embedded,” Lucille continued, “although I don’t do those projects or have those clients anymore she doesn’t know that. This excuse keeps me from being able to retire,” she laughed, “She is getting pissed at my late driving and has started giving me agita. Also my kids are chiming in that I shouldn’t be doing so much traveling anymore.  I just tell them I love the work and it keeps me young and besides, my clients need me.”

Jan and I laughed but Lucille looked serious. I guessed that she was not completely happy living that double-life with her family. I was tempted to ask Lucille about her field of work but I remembered Rule #3 of the Crossdressers’ Code and refrained.

“You know my routine with my pied a terre so I get pretty well cleaned up and NOTHING ever comes home with me. Perfume doesn’t stay on me long and she’s not a good sniffer so I don’t worry about that anymore,” she added.

“Have you never lost an earring in the car?” I asked, “That tripped me up once. I tried to explain that I had found it in a parking lot and then forgot it was there.”

“We now spend our winters in Florida,” Lucille continued, “Or at least my wife does. I go back and forth. I still do my thing out of the apartment so there’s no logistical problem. I do go a bit crazy though and try to get everywhere I can, especially on the weekends. I also do a lot of my socializing with my friends like lunches and dinners, etc. When I get back to Florida I rest a lot as I’m pretty much exhausted.”

“Make hay when the sun shines,” I commented.

“Except I guess I’m making angels in the snow,” replied Lucille. She paused to reflect then added, “Having said all of that I know that if I had it all to do over again I would be upfront with my spouse and family. I would have them know who and what I am. I have no guilt as I did what I had to do and actually hurt no one but lies and excuses begin to grate after a while.”

With that we changed the subject and soon were settling up the bill and saying our good-byes.

So that is how Lucille makes her secret life work for her. Next time I’m going to tell you about a girl, a crossdresser, if you will, who lives her life totally open. One day you might be seeing her as a pretty lady; the next a rugged man.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Fun & Entertainment

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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