Dina’s Diner, May 7, 2018

| May 7, 2018

EXCESS, REVISITED

The New York Times had an interesting article in the April 6, 2018 edition headlined, “Bright Lights, Big Shoulder Pads; Japan Recalls its Bubble Era.” The article reported on a nostalgic movement of Japanese youths to relive the excesses of the 1980s when Japan was riding high economically and everyone was feeling good. One of the leaders of this movement told the Times, “Until a few years ago, most people saw the bubble period as a negative legacy, and it was considered quite tacky. That completely changed in the last few years. Now people recognize it as kind of a cool period.”

Princess Party Limo

If you’re old enough to remember the 1980s here in the U.S., there was a feeling that Japan was eclipsing us in economic might. Japanese companies were dominating in consumer electronics, their cars were quickly overcoming America’s traditional resistance to imports, cheap Japanese steel was being blamed for the decline in U.S. production, and Japanese investors purchased that most American piece of real estate — Rockefeller Center in the middle of Manhattan. While Americans were running scared, the Japanese were exulting in easy money and partying like it was 1989.

But all good bubbles must pop and as the Times reports, “That era came to an abrupt end. Japan’s stock market crashed in 1990, and property prices plummeted. The period that followed is often called the Lost Decade, as Japan grappled with falling prices, slow growth and burdensome debt. Japanese households now spend less of their disposable income than they did in the ’80s, in part because of stagnant wages and worries about the future.” But things are on an uptick and youthful trendsetters are reviving the ’80’s mojo with throwback fashions, music, and fancy dress nightlife outings.

What does any of this have to do with crossdressing? Well, nothing directly. When I read the part of the article about young Japanese women dressing and coiffing in ’80s style it struck me as a similar impetus to what compels us to crossdress. The chance to be a little outside yourself, to let the externalities of different clothing work its magic on our inner selves. Take this excerpt from the article: “Many young Japanese like to re-enact the era through wild limousine rides through Tokyo’s streets. Called princess parties by one event-planning company, they are aimed at giving otherwise frugal young women a chance to dress up and cruise the streets the way their mothers might have in another era. “I wanted to do this one last time before I start working full time,” said Mirei Sugita, 20, as she curled her long hair and balanced a tiara on her head before heading out for the night. “We never do anything glamorous like this.”

THAT WAS SO, LIKE, THREE YEARS AGO

Michael Bailey-Gates

I saw a small item in The New York Times Style section on April 1, 2018 about photographer Michael Bailey-Gates. Mr. Bailey-Gates features himself in some (perhaps most) of his photographs. The brief piece had a photo of Michael in an androgynous, eye-lined and bare-chested pose wearing an equestrian helmet. It was a rather striking image. Two weeks later, The Times had a full page featuring nine non-binary gender people from Capetown, South Africa. I thought that these Times pieces might be worth commenting on for this edition of the Diner.

I went first to the full gallery of photos of and by Michael Bailey-Gates in the online Times magazine site. But when I saw the photos, it seemed that Michael was a hunky, handsome male who perhaps dabbled in androgyny rather than a full-time commitment as we saw with past models (Andrej Pejic being the most famous). The Times piece about the South Africans also had little to do with androgynous appearances and more to do with folks who represent different points along the gender spectrum.

That made me think about the phenomenon of androgynous models that seemed to peak around 2014-15. When I searched for the term “androgynous model” in Google, most of the references were from articles published between 2013 and 2015. A more recent article that popped up from 2017 talked more about androgynous female models who were getting work in menswear. Now, there may be some very good reasons for the lack of new articles about androgynous models. The best answer would be that it is simply an accepted fact in the modeling world in this enlightened era. The sadder answer would be that androgyny in the modeling world was a fad that ran its course like palazzo pants and peasant dresses.

HOOP DREAMS

Hoops on display.

A couple weeks ago, while stopped at a red light, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw that the woman driving the car behind me was wearing a pair of large hoop earrings. This was in the middle of the day so she was not going out nightclubbing which meant that she was probably wearing the hoops as an accessory for her workday outfit. Hoop earrings — for me — are close to fishnet hosiery or very high heels as a trigger to thoughts of sex and crossdressing.

I don’t know exactly when hoop earrings came into vogue but they seem like a 1960s creation. At once simple and yet somehow sexy, it seems to fit the ’60s aesthetic as did the popularization of fishnet tights with patent leather boots and the nascent but unsuccessful topless swimsuit. Hoops are popular with African-American women and the hoops take on an exotic aura when worn by women of color. And perhaps that’s where the 1960s fashion mavens got their inspiration to “appropriate” the hoop design.

I have a few hoop earrings but they are not the huge circles I admire so much on fashion models. One of the physiological differences between men and women is that women’s necks are narrower — allowing for dangling earrings and large hoops more easily. Not that that stopped me or other crossdressers from hooping or dangling completely. Among the many tactile excitements of crossdressing, the swing of dangling earrings or the gentle brush of hoops along one’s neck is a subtle but strong reminder of femininity.

Back to the lady in the car behind me. When our vehicles began moving again and she got in the lane next to me, I was tempted to try to signal her somehow that I liked her earrings. The chance never came, fortunately, because I’m sure it would have been either unintelligible or profoundly weird to her. But hoop-on doll, whoever and wherever you are.

LOVE AT FIRST PITCH

Somehow, I stumbled onto the phenomenon of Korean professional baseball “first pitch” girls. I think an image popped up on some Pinterest.com site I was perusing and when I followed the link I was led down a delightful rabbit hole of hot Korean women trying to toss baseballs. It turns out that there are several YouTube videos of first pitch girls doing their thing and many more still photos capturing the best angles, you might say.

First pitch girl Choi Seol Hwa.

The first pitch lovelies are culled from the ranks of K-Pop groups, Olympic gymnasts, martial artists, fitness models, and I guess any beautiful woman worth ogling at a sporting event. As you might expect, baseball skill is not required. The pitches are mostly high arcs or ground balls well outside any known strike zone. However, all the first pitch ladies seem well versed in the choreography of big league pitching: the bending, stretching, leg kicks, and full extensions mimicked in exaggerated sexy moves on the mound. Some of the gymnastic or martial arts participants included somersaults, leg splits and pirouettes in their elaborate pitch routines. It is the baseball diamond equivalent of a pole dance.

I found an older article (September 7, 2016) about the topic on the Slate.com site headlined appropriately, “The Least Boring Thing in Baseball; Korean First Pitches — an Appreciation.” The article reported, “One popular subgenre of Korean first pitches: women coming out to the mound and tearing off their outerwear to reveal tiny baseball uniforms underneath.” Yes, and it’s fun to see the first pitch girls squeezed into crop tops and short shorts with a baseball motif. One could say it is a form of crossdresing in reverse — girls dressing as guys, yet leaving little doubt of their true, glamourized, gender. A particular favorite of mine was fitness model, Choi Seol Hwa, who employed a series of sexy baseball poses as she stretched, bent over for the catcher’s signal, and finally executed a high kick in her delivery that was truly impressive.

I can’t imagine the “first pitch” girls becoming a thing in American major or minor league games. It would probably raise a furor of sexism charges — perhaps rightly so. And even if we did get some smokin’ hot female celebrities to vamp it up for first pitch fun — you’d still have three plus hours of baseball to sit through after the first pitch girls’ excitement.

LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER

Julia Chatterley photo

Julia Chatterley

During weekdays, I like to check in on the two business channels, CNBC and Bloomberg to see what experts are saying about the markets. Most of it is beyond any usefulness to me but I enjoy listening to the hosts and guests go back and forth. On Bloomberg TV (it should be on your cable system’s standard package), there are two beautiful imports — Vonnie Quinn, of Irish origin and Julia Chatterley, a vivacious British expatriate. Facially, they could almost be twins. In fact, the first time I saw Vonnie on the morning broadcast, I thought it was Julia with a new hair color.

Julia Chatterley was the first of the pair I saw on the afternoon segments of the business broadcasts. Although she is seated behind the typical TV anchor’s desk, she exudes a lot of energy, with bright piercing eyes, and an attention-getting, loud, posh British accent. She appears to be a mere slip of a woman and her mass of brunette hair almost seems too big for her zero-body-fat frame. Vonnie Quinn is a more traditional news anchor type but she has a sweet Irish lilt to her voice that blends perfectly with her creamy complexion and frosted blonde hair. It’s hard to keep an eye on your money when the women reporting your money’s whereabouts are distractingly gorgeous.

Several months ago, I wrote an item here about my attraction to some local newswomen I watch regularly. These financial network women combine the same polished professional beauty with quick, sharp intelligence on finances, foreign currencies and other market arcana. It’s both intoxicating and intimidating to watch these women do their thing. Being well dressed, expertly coiffed, cosmetically perfected, tastefully accessorized and holding everyone’s attention at center stage is sort of the crossdresser’s fantasy. I’m sure that’s a big part of why I am so intrigued by these ladies.

When I first started watching Julia Chatterley on Bloomberg and admiring all those admirable qualities mentioned above, I noticed that she was perched so high on her anchor chair that you could see a sliver of bare thigh above the surface of her anchor desk. I found this fascinating because the other people at the desk were not perched so high nor was the desk set so low that their thighs were visible. Julia — that little flirt — was purposely giving her male viewers (like me, f’r instance) a little peek-a-boo leg shot. This is the kind of thing that once you notice it, you cannot stop wondering about. Was it Julia’s idea to flash a little thigh or a brainstorm of her bosses at Bloomberg? Since the other female anchors are seated with more traditional chair heights, one can only surmise that Julia knows exactly what she is doing. And I love that about her, too.

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Category: Fun & Entertainment, 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.

Comments (1)

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  1. Milesa_phar says:

    I fully agree that her thigh showing is a feminine message that I hope she alone wishes voluntarily to express he wonderful gender. True to my TG identity, I’m jealous and envious.