• Stephanie Ashton

Atomic

Blondie, Eat to the Beat, 1979


This blog is going to present my dressing 'Origins' story for those with an interest. I apologise if this blog comes across as a little bit self important, but I wanted to include my back story for completeness and in writing it down, actually check that it did all happen. As always, I will try and keep it light and entertaining. Maybe you will come across some thoughts to reflect upon or draw comfort that my back story is just as bonkers as your own.


So where did the female-me originate from?


My earliest memories of dreaming about being a woman were at age 4. The accuracy of date is a fact as I can pin it to the year Blondie released her song Heart of Glass, a video in which she had me immediately memorised. The video was broadcast one Thursday night on the UK BBC Tops of the Pops, at that the time the main place to hear about music. Myself and my sister were sitting watching the TV and when Blondie appeared in that shimmering dress and gorgeous blond hair and I recall saying to my sister "She is so beautiful. I hope I look like her when I'm older."


So, Blondie gave me my first, and most memorable, gender confused idea and for my sister, one of the most difficult conversations in her early life with my mother. So where did it all go from there?


Growing up I had three main female influences in my life: my older sister, my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother seems a slightly odd and alarming prospect so let us start there. In summary, memories of my grandmother are of a wonderful loving and caring woman who worked ever so hard in life. I do not remember her ever saying a cross word to me but then that is typically not the function of grandparents. By that stage its great to enjoy grand children in pleasant times, safe in the knowledge you can hand them back to parents when its suits.

Next my mother...she is also a loving woman but a little bit more distant from me in an emotional sense. And then there is my sister, 6 years older than me, she was my surrogate mother for many years so even though we are geographically far apart today, I still care for her a great deal as she cared for me. I largely credit my sister for instilling in me the importance of helping others to learn and be happy in life - thank you sis for at least one positive character trait.


Clever readers will no doubt immediately read into my heart felt comments regarding the women in formative years. Indeed, I started with a very positive view of the women in my life, and the values and behaviours that these fine women demonstrated to me from an early age. But there was another factor about each of them that had a huge impact in my life; they all dressed smartly with elegance and style. And I loved it. In the case of my sister, in her teens she dressed in a very trendy 80's style and was possibly the most direct influence in terms of my thoughts and feelings around clothes. And those thoughts went something like this: I want to wear what you are wearing right now!


It may also have been noticed by clever readers that I have made reference to the men in my family, for indeed there were fine examples. I have an older brother and a father who I also care about a great deal. But for whatever reason, I just did not follow their lead. Sadly, being the third child following a girl in position number 2, the genetic female marker was already ahead of me. Interestingly, there is now scientific evidence to back that statement up and it is not just old wife’s tales...worth a google.

So naturally with the family set-up described there were lots of occasions to try on shoes, skirts, tights and all other garments I could get my hands on. With the skill of an MI6 operative, I always eluded detection whilst achieving my objective. That being a face full of makeup whilst dressed head to toe. Sadly, I did not have any wigs back then, but it didn't seem to matter. I was very androgynous up to the age of about 18 and always felt happy with the result.


I am a strong believer that if a man tries on nylon and loves the sensation then he is lost to it...there is simply no going back. This certainly proved to be the case for myself. I went with shaved legs in my teens and regularly wore female clothes in private, many of which I had stolen and stashed away in the style of a squirrel with his acorns. In my teenage years this was something of an achievement especially given the fact that I always had girlfriends from age 14 onward. Yes, so girlfriends what were they about...?


I am a very honest person when it comes to feelings and there is a clear reality from my first genetic female love affair to the last; I loved them all but have never been sure if I wanted to be best friends with them or actually BE them. Why? Well, all my girlfriends have been the ultra feminine type when dolled-up, stockings, heels skirts, nice make-up blah blah. And when I was with any of these girls it was almost like their sheer femininity acted like a sedative diminishing my own desire to be female...at least for a while. But it is also true that when my thoughts became idle, on a bus, at my school desk, before going to sleep at night...my thoughts went immediately to stockings and heels, not to any girlfriend. Oh dear.


Escaping school and my hometown for university was a very interesting time. It had been my longing to get away from home and into a situation where I could dress more often and 'express' myself. However, university was a slightly odd and lonely time in which I was largely devoid of dressing. There are a number of reasons why this occurred, but the main factor was I knew I was different in a new place where to make friends, being different might not be a great place to start. The requirement to work hard to fit in socially made me less inclined to sneakily dress as a girl, and potentially make myself stick-out.


So, my university years ended up being an oddly barren time for dressing, although there were some notable moments in parades, the Mardigras club in Dundee in the summer of '95 (was I bored off life going there, dressed or otherwise!?) and with one particular genetic girlfriend who liked to dress me up and then ride me like the Kentucky Derby.


Hang on...what was that?!


The affectionately named "Mad Sarah" from Wick was indeed as crazy as a box of frogs. And she was my girlfriend for about 9 months. Despite the fact Sarah had the psychological profile of a serial killer, she was pretty and had one major positive which was her desire to dress me up as a girl, and then have quite steamy sex. It is hard to judge what exactly we did to each others mental state, but she went on to become a lesbian and I finished university and became a full time social cross dresser. It's a complicated piece and I have no idea why it turned out that way, but I guess we both explored a bit and then moved on. This experience also provided me with basic knowledge of female attire and make-up. Albeit lacking finesse due to my Psychotic Scottish girlfriends limited skills and make-up; that being mud and wode.


So, at the end of University off I went to Manchester to start my first full time professional job. I would like to tell you about how eager I was to make a good impression and how hard I worked, and in part that would be true, but I also spent a lot of time at my desk thinking about the wonderful female things I could now buy with my new found wealth. Actually, nothing much has changed in my behaviour in that respect in the last 25 years!


If I am honest, the fact that I held down a job or formed any sort of successful career at all frankly surprises me as much today as it did back then. In fact, I would go so far to say, that if 90% of my run time had NOT been committed to trans life, there is every chance I would now be ruler of the universe. Within my professional life I had some major accomplishments but what might I have achieved if I had laid down my Cosmo mag a few more times? Well I did not, and this is why...


In my first year in Manchester I made friends with a group of Mancunian party girls. So, I hear you ask, how did I go from being a serious professional to ending up spending most of my weekend nights with 6 hardened Manc be-atches? Easy, within about 6 months of being in Manchester I was alone, bored and depressed. I genuinely considered quitting my professional job all together and applying to be an air stewardess or an office girl.


How close I actually got to taking this bizarre course of action is frightening for adult-me to even think about. I visited office angels in town and after some discussions thought "what the hell am I doing?!" So, I didn't get a job as a secretary. I did stay in my professional job. However, I did take something away from that little visit that would change my life forever. In the course of 2 hours or so in the office angels building, I became quite friendly with a few young and wild genetic girls. I mentioned I did not have many friends (in truth I had no friends at all) and they took pity on me, inviting me out for drinks. And it was then through these genetic gfs that I met the rest of the bitch posse who would fall in love with a fem-boy they could regularly dress up, and parade around town for fun.

So how did the dressing part start? Way too easily to be honest. I became friends and went out with the girls a few times, as a guy, then on sharing my secret dressing desires the fun began in earnest. Two of the girls told me to bring one of my wigs over to their place, they dressed me up, did my make-up, and then took me to the Love Train where I drank too much and was groped by a frankly odorous man about 4 hours later.


Now others may doubt this next statement but at no point on my first live tour was I even slightly concerned. I had been out and about dressed, albeit not in a club, but I felt confident. And why wouldn't I? The right-wing militant arm of the sisterhood was looking after me and they were hard girls. I will admit that even with the amazon princesses looking after me I do remember thinking a lot that night...err how do I act as a woman? How do I get rid of this guy like a girl would, and without trouble? Oh god these clothes hurt...!


It is fair to say that from that first night to last weekend I still think a lot about how I act as a woman when in public. I consider myself fortunate in many ways because I did not miss many teenage girl years. My Mancunian friends filled in a lot of gaps on the types of things mothers, sisters and girlfriends share with you as a girl. Therefore, unlike many older crossdressers I have met over the years I didn't have to go through the equivalent of a female "puberty" where you make lots of horrible dressing and etiquette mistakes. Some of the sights I have seen over the years in public...for pity's sake.

Okay so maybe I am being unfair on the less experienced. Sorry. I shall be humble, and I recognise that as a genetic boy myself I still have some way to go to ensure I am respectful and feminine at all times. Also, it is vitally important not to embarrass the sisterhood which I aspire to be a part of. What do I mean by that? Well it is simple really. If you want to be accepted by women in general and not seen as a parody of them, then you better try your hardest to pass, look good and behave as they do. Follow this rule and I have always found women supportive, warm and generous. However, if you are a "man in a dress" and do not really identify female, then women who are streetwise will not like it, and I mean not like it at all. Never doubt female intuition...they can tell the difference and react accordingly.


And so that was a little summary of how it all began in my earlier years drifting into thoughts on fem behaviour. Of course, there is much more to write about my life as a trans person but that will be the subject of other blog posts in the category I, Tgirl.


Steffie

xx