To NOT want my husband to have a makeover and dress as a woman?

(181 Posts)
Katie4u Thu 21-Nov-13 23:56:23

I have known about my husband's need to dress as a woman for almost 20 years. I came home unexpectedly one day to find him wearing my clothes. I was shocked and quite frightened. He explained that this was something he had been doing in secret since he was a little boy. Me being me, I felt sorry for him. We spoke about it for quite a while - I couldn't shut him up - I tried to understand him, but it became clear to me that this wasn't something that was going to go away. I told him that I didn't want to be part of it, that our children mustn't ever see him or know about it and he has been true to his word. There have been times when he has asked if he could dress and be with me and I must confess that, in bed, he was a lot more passionate making love to me dressed in my undies than he was when he was naked ... he's not gay! Now that our kids have flown the nest, he has had more opportunity and is taking more risks. He wants to know how good he would look with a professional makeover and he has found a place where he can go to do this. I have said no. I'm frightened where tis might lead? Am I being unreasonable?!

BelaLugosisShed Fri 22-Nov-13 08:08:48

What's vile is not the actual wearing of "female" clothes, it's the way they all seem to want to look like some kind of pantomime dame with totally exaggerated femininity, like some hideous characature of women, it's hugely insulting if that's how they actually see women.
As for Grayson Perry, there's nothing "nice" about a man traipsing about looking like some Paedophile's wet dream, he looks like some hideous painted doll and he frightens children, I've seen him in the flesh and he looks extremely creepy, carting a teddy bear about looking like Pippy Longstocking, "disturbing" is the right description of him.

EarthMither Fri 22-Nov-13 08:18:52

YANBU OP - you have every right to express your feelings if his proclivities are making you uncomfortable. Personally this would be a deal breaker for me.

Geckos48 Fri 22-Nov-13 08:24:06

I went to the Mardi Gras in Australia a few years ago and there were so many guys there dressed up as women (not girls, women) who were there with their other halves. I spoke to one guy called dave in a stunning sparkly ball gown and he told me that he only dressed up and went out of the house this one time a year and that she came to support him.

From talking to her it wasn't really her bag of chips but 'its better than golf'

I think it would be good if you could find a place, annually, where you could go and support him in this venture. I can understand now that the kids have grown up he wants to explore going out as a woman a bit more. I would want to have a few different converstqaions if it were my fella.

I would want to know:

Do you want to BE a woman? Or do you want to be a man dressed as a woman?
Do you want to do this regularly or all the time?
Would you be happy with say once a month doing a role play in the home and annually going to a party outside the home?

Because actually, whether YOU like it or not, if its something that he wants to do then that should be something you find a way to fulfil for him as a couple. I agree with a PP that the whole 'adult baby, wanting to be a little girl' thing is disturbing for different reasons and I would take exception to that.

But men wearing womens clothing? Quite common on the Sunday morning of a music festival, look at Paul o Grady for role-play and Eddie Izzard just for a guy who likes womens clothing.

Of course you are entitled to your feelings on it, but perhaps not to let your feelings on it mean that he cannot explore his own creativity in this respects.

EXTERMINATEpeppa Fri 22-Nov-13 08:26:53

geckos

'better than golf'grin

I would right down a list of the questions I had about if if I were you.
and get him to answer them, might help you understand his mindset a bit better.

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Fri 22-Nov-13 08:38:40

I think you deserve a pat on the back for your approach to this. Many women would head screaming for the hills with this one I think

If my DH started this I would stay with him. I love him and would do my best to understand. I would feel like I never really knew him though and it would come as a monster shock to the system. I agree with others on here. It depends how far he wants to take it and now the cat is out of the bag, he may feel free to let it go much further than he would had it remained hidden.
I went to the supermarket yesterday in mens jeans and a unisex T shirt and my undies are not of the frilly variety so mmmmm...it makes you think doesn't it?

Geckos48 Fri 22-Nov-13 08:41:47

Yes dinna and it IS possible to cross dress without being really extreme about it.

I mean dressing like a woman would usually just mean wearing skinny jeans and a vest top!

I think like a PP said, its if he wants to dress as a characater of a woman that the problem comes in and more so if he wants to dress like a characature of a 'little girl'.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Fri 22-Nov-13 08:55:24

Bela - you are describing drag, not all crossdressing men are in drag anymore than all crossdressing women are drag kings, and not even all those in drag are as those described. Drag isn't about imitating women or thinking that when they're doing in something most women aspire to be, it's about creating a parody of society's portrayal of ultra femininity and a conscious comment on gender for entertainment and fun. Drag kings do similar, but men dressing as women is so shocking that it gets more press. Crossdressing to pass as a woman is very different from what you're describing though some people do do both (I have) and this is what it appears that the OP's husband wishes to do.

Katie4u - You appear to be having a very strong emotion reaction to this. I don't really understand it but I'm on the opposite side of the coin as a genderqueer individual who has done crossdressing both to pass and as entertainment. I don't see how him getting a makeover will make it much more public, presumably it will done in the privacy of a studio and then he'll come straight home, the only person being adding in the know is the artist and they already know if he's asked them about it. It's a bit of fun and it could make him happy. I'm not sure where you expect this to be going (crossdressing is not related to sexuality), I'm guessing you fear this moving into day-to-day or full public domain and that it will have a backlash against you or your grown children. That's obvious an important discussion point to you. YANBU to not want this for fear of reprisal and a serious discussion on how he can do this safety if you feel this is a serious cause for concern in your area, but I do think you are being unreasonable to not try to understand how your obvious disapproval (why do you have to leave the house? why does he need to do this alone except for the sexual experiences you seem to have enjoyed) could be affecting your husband. Your lack of understanding of why he wants to do this is part of the barrier - he doesn't want to be your sister, your portrayal doesn't even sound like someone who views themself as a woman, he just wants to dress in what he sees as feminine clothes and obviously wants to share it with you and enjoy himself in it. I just don't get the problem, I don't think I could remain married if there were such a division between me and my partner or if he felt embarrassed of me.

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Fri 22-Nov-13 08:59:55

I also wonder if, at the root of the problem (if problem it be) is not the urge to dress as a woman but rather the urge to not be the man for a while ie take a break from being the provider/stronger sex/etc. Women struggle with 'traditional roles' a lot so it's not much of a stretch to imagine men doing so, I feel.

KissesBreakingWave Fri 22-Nov-13 09:15:16

I think there's a possibility being overlooked: the frills, adornments and skirt may be signs of the chap's wanting, deep down, to dress as a scotsman.

Or a greek soldier.

Beastofburden Fri 22-Nov-13 09:23:53

You see, I would see the makeover thing as like going to evening classes in Italian. He's interested in dressing as a woman, it's his hobby, he has been given the chance to get better at it. He is interested in the expert advice, the make up, the dressing style.

Whether that means he wants to go more public will I expect not come from the makeover. It might come from the stage of life, kids grown up, less reason to be discreet.

Chat to some people in that society. Personally, I would rather my DH did private cross dressing than went to ultra-masculine things like pole dancing clubs and watched a lot of porn. Thes something very humorous and creative about cross dressing.

Though not as a little girl ith a dolly, Grayson perry creeps me out -- and is pottery is shit too--

OrlandoWoolf Fri 22-Nov-13 09:23:57

Most women who find out their husband is a crossdresser do stay together. There are far far worse things they could do. The Beaumont society has lots of good resources and a group for wives in such a situation.

He won't be able to stop. He will say he will but he won't. The older children will probably not care - if they have left.

So either accept it or don't. Many women find a way to accommodate it - such as having them go to clubs or events. They cope and the man finds an outlet.

Most crossdressers are heterosexual. They just want to - for whatever reason dress up. And it is true that a lot do go for a more "stereotypical look" of what they have in their heads.

There is an interesting Radio 4 show on Iplayer called the Change where a wife is in your situation and how she copes with it - as do the family

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00nmtwl/The_Change_Series_1_Birth_of_the_Blues/

But like I said - he can't help it. And it will not go away.

I find it so very sad that when men want to wear something pretty instead of the drab uniform they have been assigned by society, they get labelled as some kind of deviant.

Women's clothes are lovely. Why shouldn't men want to wear them? Why is it absolutely fine for women to dress in shirts, jeans and boots without anyone giving them a second glance? There's no such thing as a female cross-dresser, there's just women in dresses and women in trousers.

It's sexist crap, and comes down to the basic premise that women are inferior to men, and men are somehow "wrong" or degrading themselves if they like women's things.

It frustrates me no end that the term "cross-dressing" even exists, let alone that it only applies to men and it's seen so negatively if men want to break free of their limited clothing choices.

Open your minds, folks. It's just clothes.

SkullyAndBones Fri 22-Nov-13 09:33:47

it really wouldnt bother me and i really dont understand why some people have such a huge problem with it.

maybe its because i move in an alternative world (metal/goth) and its not unusual to see guys in traditionally feminised clothing with frills and lace, skirts, heels, long hair, make-up etc.

Clothes are just clothes, its the person in them that matters.

Preciousbane Fri 22-Nov-13 09:42:37

There is a man that cross dresses and works in one of our local shops.She wears jeans and pretty tops she also wears some make up and has shoulder length hair. That to me is fine but I find the Grayson Perry outfits disturbing, just had to look as had no idea who person was.

If your DH started walking round your local area I can see why you would fret because people judge. It's wrong but it would happen. Going to a place where it would all be done in private would surely not be too bad. I think it is brilliant you can talk about it on here. Anything that has been preying on someone's mind and they have has to suppress for years is bad for them.

DownstairsMixUp Fri 22-Nov-13 09:57:52

Saying he is sick is very extreme baby I don't think that was any helpful advice at all!

I think OP you are doing really well, if I was you I would obviously be shocked to but i think that's something you can stand by (providing there are no other issues in the relationship) someone made a good point about women being able to wear, what are essentially seen as "guy" clothes, times change, if it makes him happy and it's not effecting anyone else, I don't see the problem. Maybe sit down and have a think about WHY it bothers you.

Chattymummyhere Fri 22-Nov-13 10:09:42

I wouldn't like it as a permant thing, I think the occasional lads being lads and acting up is fine because they are doing it as men having a laugh. It wouldn't sit right with me if my dh wanted to wear women's underwear/dresses/high heels as a "hobby"/"fantasy".

A man is a man and as such should look like a man not a women I don't think it looks nice just like I don't think women with shaved heads wearing men's clothes.

Each to their own but I couldn't be with someone like that.

IceBeing Fri 22-Nov-13 10:56:21

I think women get to wear whatever they like so men should too.

I HATE that society judges them more on what they wear than it does women. It is just another way in which women are assumed to matter less.

sexist in the extreme.

LadyRabbit Fri 22-Nov-13 10:58:26

It's not just clothes though, is it AnnieL? It's more than that- it's the lack of disclosure in the first place (OP discovered it rather than her DH being upfront from the start) and while gender is performative (if Butler is to believed and I quite like a lot if what she is saying) those of us who are very much engaged with gender as women and are attracted to men who engage with make gender would find this very disturbing. Why should OP accept it? I fully understand it's not linked directly to sexuality but at the same time it is - OP has stated the sex is more uninhibited when he dressed as a woman. On the plus side, he isn't asking her to dress or be different so OP can take comfort from that.

OP I think you have done really well coping so far. Don't have any experience or advice, but you are completely entitled to your feelings and don't have to apologise for how uncomfortable you feel. I wonder if those people who seem more laid back about this stuff would feel the same if it actually happened to them.

I agree with posters who say he's not going to change. You also shouldn't have to change your gut feelings about it all. It's if you can find a middle ground and if you can't then you deserve to be in a relationship where you don't feel there is a very large elephant in the room. It's not your DH's fault he feels this way - it doesn't make him a freak or anything, but it might just make him incompatible with you.

I second those who find Grayson Perry very bloody annoying. I half wonder if it's all put on Schtick to sell his rather duff pots.

icetip Fri 22-Nov-13 11:06:55

Fine not to understand something (but we should all at least try to understand that which we find odd), but unreasonable to berate someone for doing something that they appear innately driven to, and is in essence harmless. Perhaps he'd be better off being a "real" man and beating the shit out of someone.
Interesting to write Grayson Perry off as creepy on the back of how he looks (sometimes) - listen to what he says, quite an engaging and empathetic chap for the most part from what I've heard.

LessMissAbs Fri 22-Nov-13 11:12:43

But you've put up with it for 20 years already? Why, if you dislike it so fundamentally?

he is a great provider, he looks after us very well and we have been together a long time

Ah, I see. You don't really like it, but it suited you to turn a blind eye to it as long as he "provided" but now that the kids have left home he naturally wants to go further with his interest.

I'm with the DH on this one. You owe him one.

LadyRabbit - but don't you think if society were less hung up on men being all manly and it being shameful for them to like "women's things" since they are apparently inherently inferior, he wouldn't have felt like he had to hide it from his wife?

I just think the OP owes it to her DH to think very hard and deeply about where her issues with her husband's dress stem from, and examine her prejudices.

OrlandoWoolf Fri 22-Nov-13 12:36:34

Many crossdressers don't disclose at the start of a relationship. Because they are scared of rejection and embarassed as society thinks it's "not normal".

Joysmum Fri 22-Nov-13 12:46:20

If bit were my hubby I'd not oppose it but I wouldn't want to be there are see it easier. Very simplistic to say I know but there are aspects of me that my hubby accepts but doesn't understand or share in. We can be all things to all people, even our nearest and dearest.

HerrenaHarridan Fri 22-Nov-13 13:48:34

This thread makes me sad.

I blissfully forget that some people are still made so tortured and unhappy by this.

I can honestly say it wouldn't phase me in the slightest to be with someone who was transgendered on any level.

In the same way that when I brought my first girlfriend home, my mums complete non reaction gave me the security in myself to not be screwed up about preferring women.

This doesn't have to be a dirty secret.

Please do get in touch with Beaumont or your local lgbt network.

Then have a frank and sensitive discussion with your husband.

You are his only confidante and your opinion will matter hugely to him, try to be as accepting as you possibly can.
I understand that this is outside your remit of normal but actually its not new. You are not the first nor will you be the last.

Good luck op xxx

Frettchen Fri 22-Nov-13 13:57:32

I know it's not exactly the same, but imagine if you were expected to always wear dresses & skirts, and not to wear trousers.

It sounds like a really hard situation for you both to be in, OP. You're not comfortable with his cross-dressing, and he wants to be able to do it more.

My gut says that he should be able to dress however he likes, and should be able to have this makeover and not be judged for it. But that's a very black and white look at the matter. He will be judged; by you, by people who see him, and by association people will judge you.

My probably-over-simplified thoughts are that you and he need to have a talk about this. More of a talk, as it seems like you're already talking about it. You need to find out what he wants; does he want to be able to go about everyday life dressed in 'feminine' clothing? If so, then you need to decide whether that's something you can accept, and if not then what you're going to do about it. It doesn't seem right that your discomfort should stop him from being happy/relaxed in how he dresses. But it also doesn't seem right that you should feel uncomfortable in your house/relationship.

Really sorry you're having to deal with this; must be very upsetting/confusing to have to deal with.

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