Having worked retail (bookstore) and gotten some choice weirdos of my own, I just imagine what other types of shit the customer service reps at a shop like Victoria's Secret must get.* Yikes.

And what about him seeing his neighbor undressing makes him think she wants to be party to his shit? And his coworker? Doesn't get more inappropriate than that!

*Not that him having the kink makes him a weirdo. Him telling the sales associate about it, however, paints him as rather lunatic.


Correction: Him just showing her his penis would be more inappropriate than asking her if she wants to see it. But still.


While we encounter a lot of selfish kinksters in Savage Love, this behavior strikes me as so bizarre that it is almost a psychiatric condition, not merely this man's inability to recognize how wildly inappropriate his behavior has been, but his one-sided fabrication in which his wife is forcing him to behave in this manner. With such exceedingly poor judgment and inability to control his behavior, one wonders how he is otherwise functioning.

And for our slower commenters, this is a rerun.


I wonder what happened? I presume there was not an update in this case?

P.S. Thanks for calling me "slow." I'm still accustomed to the "originally published" statement being at the top, and haven't gotten used to "reading the fine print," as it were.


@3: Yeah, maybe the place to start is a sex-positive therapist, but only one who is ready and wiling to refer to an MD psychiatrist for some serious drugs if that is called for.


screw the threats. divorce him and get a protective order. this is not a situation for half measures.


@7 That semicolon should be a colon.


I see the comment has been removed. For the record: I was purposely nitpicking a transphobic troll, not needlessly needling some innocent commenter.


I hope she divorced the jerk and told everyone it was because she couldn't deal with his massive penis.


Ew. I am betting this one didn't turn out well. Drug use or medical problem is the best case. Anyone have personal history of being this unhinged toward other people and then getting their shit together?


Now the comment text can't contain asterisks?

Testing what comes through:


Weird. Whatever, I'll stop now.


Fred Casely @10: LOL! Perfect.


This guy is engaged in risky, borderline illegal behavior, trashing your reputation, and very likely lost his job and is now a registered sex offender.
As the missing #7 post proves, and thank you Calli @8 for updating us, he is also giving a bad reputation to all male-borns with a feminine inclination of any kind.

If it was a current letter I'd say divorce him on the spot. No more chances. He needs to be accountable for his acts and letting him get away with it will only make him look for bigger hits.
Beyond therapy he should also seek a group where he can speak freely about his issues and listen to others.


He sounds mentally unwell and needed to be assessed. Diffucult when someone is so deluded and out of touch with reality, because they are so unself aware.


Support group for risk-addicted, boundary-shredding, harassive* kinksters. Someone go start one!

*If it's not a word, it should be.

P.S. Autocorrect tried to change "kinksters" to "ministers."


This will be a bit OT, really (and the LW's husband was clearly, obviously, totally out of order), but it's fascinating how many male humiliation sluts completely fail to understand that thing that Dan spelled out so well: by involving random outsiders in their kink, they violate -- and attempt to humiliate -- those people. I've heard it (in a much much milder form but still) from countless humiliation fetishists, including men with genuinely otherwise decent attitudes, really trying to behave well and concerned about male entitlement and sexual harassment and violence.

It's like some bizarre blindspot, and I don't think it's just thinking with your dick, it's more... Hmmm. Idk what it is. It's like: it's not agressive/rapey in a conventional sense, so it's not so bad/it's kinda ok.

I've once written a piece of smut fantasy that involved the classic lingerie shop scenario, and preceded it with a caveat on not-doing-this-shit-in-real-life. Several people (all men) questioned it.


The LW seemed unaware this was a common kink. But it's overflowed the boundaries of 'scenes', of their consensual sex life; and, as many have pointed out, he's harassing other people. With luck, a bit more information about 'forced feminisation', possibly a sense of a community for him, and a rational, firm reiteration of the need for limits, can help them both keep his urges to the context of their sex life.


No. LW, given that your name has come up as allegedly being involved, you are in potential legal danger here, you could lose custody of your kids, lose your job if the wrong people hear about this, any number of truly disastrous things. Divorcing this dude is something you obviously should do, but it shouldn't be anywhere near the top of your to-do list. Step one is call the cops and tell them everything you told Dan. Step two is find a safe place for you and the kids to go, and go there. Step three is change your phone number, deactivate your social media, do whatever else you have to do to make it impossible for this dude to contact you. Step four is serve him with an order of protection.


Yes Calli @ 17, "Support group for risk-addicted, boundary-shredding, harassive* kinksters" do exist. It can be a therapy group, and also a12-step SAA and SLAA.
I was mostly in SAA for 8 years or so, and it helped me tremendously in understanding others and myself as well as coming to terms with my "kinks."
Risk addiction, or at least inclination, is part of hit enhancement found in gambling for example. I think quite a few legit activities like some extreme sports are also full of it. Sex, as usual, carries shame and stigma.

Rest assured, I’m not chastising or shaming you for what you wrote, just wanted to explain where I come from. Your perspective and energy make a great addition to the discussions, and I very much hope you stick around.

I don’t think my story qualifies as a success story for Mtn. Beaver @ 11 as I wasn’t that “unhinged”, but I have met people who were at least semi walking wrecks when joining a group and did manage to get much of their shit together.

My harsh advice to LW is based on my experiences. I think this marriage is doomed anyway, she should stay away from him for her own safety, and he needs to understand that his actions have consequences. Hardly anyone comes to these groups because they get up and decide to do it. Unfortunately it often involves a bad experience of some sort that makes one wonders wtf is going on. In 12-step lingo it calls “hitting bottom,” which may mean very different thing for Savagistas.


I wouldn't threatened to divorce the husband in the LW's letter. I would just plain divorce him. No matter what talk to a family law attorney about the custody laws in LW's state. The LW soon to be divorce husbands sounds like he will be arrested. He already broke a couple laws in the piece, (harassment, voyeurism, possible exhibitionism, stalking) Just get out before he is arrested. Any hope for reconciliation, means years of therapy to control his urges, and I am betting there strong chance he will be off the wagon, and going back to his way sooner than later. Think Anthony Weiner..


"Actual crimes."
Which ones?
What should the humiliated without their consent women do?
What do the police/9-1-1 operators do when they get a "man is telling me/just told me his wife made him come to the shop where I work because of his small penis" call?


Anyone think theyd like to try being this guys supportive wife, when he gets fired for "sharing" his fetish with his cowrokers?


I’m baffled by Dan’s advice to “threaten” to divorce him. Of all the letters over the years, it seems this would qualify as an automatic DTMFA. I hope she did so.


@21 good to know some people do make it back. After a quick check for a brain tumor, divorcing this guy is IMO doing him a favor since I don't believe he'd do that kind of self-work until he's felt consequences. Not just threat of consequences, I think he'd just go through the motions at most.

@18 male entitlement?

The old thread made the point that it's not really clear from the letter that the guy actually did anything except tell stories to his wife, unless the"confronted" meant she heard from a disgusted coworker. If he's just trolling it doesn't change my advice to ditch him, but maybe others would give him a chance to STFU.

Marrena is still around these parts I think, would she nine years later give the same advice @19 [2010]?

"Certainly he needs to see a therapist and be warned of the real world legal dangers of what he's doing. But I think he's acting out because he wants a stronger FemDom hand. No need to threaten divorce--give him a good caning instead. [...] Take advantage of the situation and take control."


Having read further in the 2010 thread... "wifeofhusband" shows up in the 100-200 comments and seems pretty plausibly the LW, and assuming she is @194 [2010] he did the shit. I hope she and the kids got out okay.


@21 I stand corrected! Sincerely, thank you for the education. I apologize if I was snippy. I've had a few academic and familial setbacks today, and it might be showing.

Having been in residential mental health treatment myself, I have seen the power of combining individual counseling with group therapy, albeit under very different circumstances. I have also, however, witnessed that one really does need to want the help for it to work. Just showing up perfectly isn't enough - you have to show up mentally as well.

I don't know if the LW's husband was in a place where he could be helped. Maybe he did, indeed, need to "hit bottom." I am familiar with the concept of "hitting bottom," as many of my fellow patients were addicted to something or other, in co-occurence with their other mental illnesses


Hmm, I really would suspect that the stranger knowledge is part of his thing - it provides that lack of control that seems to fuel the rest of his fetish.

Along the spectrum of people with varying levels of "public" in their fetish (exhibitionist, public humiliation, flashers, whatever) what's the theorethical line that separates "different but OK" from "totally inappropriate"? It doesn't seem too difficult to say this guy is over the line (my bet? he doesn't realize that his wife feels much more humiliated than he does) - but for folks with something to the more reasonable end of spectrum, what's the principle to help guide us (them. I mean them. I was asking for a friend)?


@29 whether people can tell (including suspect) they've been made part of your sex scene? Am I overlooking reasons to draw a more complicated line?


Why does everyone act like kink scenarios are special? They aren't special. If it's creepy with a vanilla person it's creepy with a kinky person. If a vanilla man walked up to you, described his male underwear, and asked you if you wanted to see his medium sized dick, you would think he's a god damn rapist. So it doesn't matter if he's describing his female underwear and asking you to look at his smaller sized dick.


Dan, if you're going to dredge up these old letters (not that there's anything wrong with that), you could at least post follow-ups to them. I have to believe at least some of your LWs write back to you with updates - maybe just reprint those?


Are we getting trolled by those people who think the response to a husband with a forced feminisation kink is to divorce the guy? Would they think the same about a gay or bisexual husband?

Non-consensually involving others in his kink is not OK. However, suppose a guy in his early 30s walks into a Victoria Secret's store. 'They're for my wife, who's petite, so they need to be small'. 'They're for me, so they need to be big. But not baggy!'. The remarks are roughly equivalent. The second remark is not harassment. Based on how the shop worker responds, a follow-up could be harassment. If the assistant plays it po-faced, sure, don't come up with your wife forcing you to buy your own scanties. But the people not liking the guy shopping for his own panties are the old-fashioned gender police.

To me, procreative sex, in its rudiments, is five-minutes missionary; and anything extra, anything anyone might actually find pleasurable or engaging, is a kink. The term can also mean an activity someone finds it hard to get their head around, or which involves a sacrifice or a difficult confrontation of prejudice in their managing to do. On these terms, cuddling is a kink. Spooning is a kink. The fact that they are presumed integral to happy sex for many people, mostly women, does not make them any less kinks, or make them any easier as asks for those who don't like them. It is good to be aware of one's heteronormativity, gyno-normativity, every kind of normativity, in assessing the degree and acceptability of people's perversion, and in comparing oneself, as a reasonable person and boundary-negotiator, to others.


Fichu @23: The crime of sexual harassment.

Harriet @33: No one is suggesting that a wife should divorce her husband because he has a forced feminisation kink. People are suggesting that this wife should divorce this husband because he is nonconsensually inflicting his forced feminisation kink on unwilling and inappropriate participants -- retail workers, colleagues -- and that she could be implicated if any of them were to bring charges. (Personally, I think it's a stretch to think that police would charge the wife of a sexual harasser simply because the harasser claimed his wife made him do it, but who knows with the legal system.)

Harriet, the issue is not that he is seeking to purchase underwear for himself, or discussing the necessary proportions. The issue is that he is involving the member of staff in the fantasy of being "punished" and "forced" to buy the underwear. There is no need for him to share the kink element, other than to make the purchase of the underwear a sexual experience (for him) in and of itself, in which he is involving an unwilling participant.


@34. Bi. @20, @22 ferret & @26 S. Idaho come close to that for me. I actually thought UpandOver was CommentatorCommentatus! This isn't a situation where he has deliberately violated a promise or their marital understanding--he hasn't e.g. been out all night partying, fucking call-girls. The case calls not so much for his being dumped, in the first instance, as his being called to order--told that he is out of control, and that his behavior can't continue and his wife stay in place. So what Dan originally said. And, after all, she married him knowing his kink. Maybe UpAndOver is commie, and people who don't usually agree with him, do, for less popular, usually gender-bending perversions.

Your point about his harassment in shop not being saying the knickers are for him, but telling the shop worker about his forced feminisation is so much mine that I made it already.


Harriet @35: Indeed; apologies for not catching that your comment @34 was in fact a suggested script for Mr MHIOOC rather than a misunderstanding of the inappropriate nature of what he is saying to these retail workers. You'll be unsurprised to know I've dated more than one "male born," as CMD classifies them, who enjoys wearing feminine undergarments and knows how to shop for them respectfully. And certainly, people who work in lingerie shops should expect the occasional "male born"/male presenting and treat them like any other customer, so long as they are behaving as such.

I agree with the advice to divorce him if he can't learn to confine his kink.

UpAndOver does not write like Commie, I don't think it's him.


Callipoe @ 17 - "Autocorrect tried to change "kinksters" to "ministers.""

We know we're getting very close to developping actual artificial intelligence when autocorrect starts having Freudian slips.


Ms Fan - Shades of Torch Song Trilogy when the drag queens, though looking male at the time, went buying dresses. I remember thinking that I'd probably have just had the saleswoman looking bored rather than seeming mildly hostile.


I've never worked in a Victoria Secret shop myself. I was there once when a man in drag came in. In speaking to the sales woman, I learned that there was information and instruction on helping men buy lingerie for themselves in the employee handbook. She said they help men with bras all the time. At that time many years ago, I was amused. Now I think it's sensible good policy.

I have worked in a number of other salesclerk/retail/waitress type positions. My experiences have never been as bad as some, but I do know what it is for customers to hit on me, insult me, take glee in doing whatever they can to make my life miserable for no other reason than because they can. Stealing merchandise is against the law. Merely messing up all the clothes so the minimum wage worker has to refold them is not. A boss constantly hitting on an underling employee is sexual harassment and against the law. Putting that underling employee in a position where she'll be harassed by asshole customers is not, as far as I can tell, against the law.

I make that last statement with some amount of uncertainty. I've just googled on "sexual harassment," and again, as near as I can tell, the person who breaks the law is the employer who allows the harassment to take place, not the customer. Can anyone name a circumstance /example where the customer-harasser is charged with a crime? I suppose if it was one customer constantly harassing one employee, something could be done with the laws against stalking, but if one customer goes around humiliating or otherwise engaging many employees with single insults or harassing remarks each time, I don't know that I've ever heard of that customer being taken to task for it.


@39 I've never seen a customer charged with a crime other than shoplifting, but I have certainly seen customers banned from the store for inappropriate behavior. One such customer banged on the counter and screamed at me, literally screamed, when I said I couldn't open the register to make change unless a purchase was being made. (I literally could not open the register; unless you're ringing a purchase, you need a manager's code to get it to open). Other Booksellers also had similar run-ins with him.

Other than such directly hostile and threatening behavior, most customers who were banned were caught shoplifting multiple times. If someone who has been banned refuses to leave the store when asked, security/the police can be called and they can be charged with trespassing.

So, possibly, if a customer was banned for consistently harassing an employee and subsequently refused to leave the store, the crime they could be charged with is trespassing. Not very strong, but it's something.


@10 You win this thread.


Is there a reason everyone's focusing on his treatment of the Victoria's Secret employee? The examples of his behavior get progressively worse from there.


42 Last-- I can't speak for anyone else; I can tell you why I focused on it. The sales help has the least choice. The neighbor and the co-worker are in a position to yell, tell him to knock it off, never to speak to him again, etc. The saleswoman is kind of stuck. The neighbor can treat the incident like someone made a one-time creepy pass at her, one that she can turn down and be done with. The co-worker is in a position of power in that she can tell a boss and other co-workers. He's risking his job. I'm also most curious in that I like trying to figure out how as a society we can craft fair laws and fair expectations that work for people with kinks.


The conundrum when the kink IS making people feel uncomfortable (certain kinds of exhibitionism, etc.). There is no way to ethically practice your kink when the unethicalness is the point of the kink ...


@26 Yes, I'm still here. And yes, I would give the same advice. I responded to the wife in the comments thread--my advice wasn't her thing and in that case she should have of course followed Dan's advice. I hope she did. Not every woman has it in them to dominate.

Over the years I've seen quite a few crossdressers get lost in that "pink fog". It's always older crossdressers--the younger ones seem much more well-adjusted. They go through a period of derangement where they lose all sense of right and wrong and boundaries and common sense. No woman should be forced to put up with that behavior--I was just saying I saw a way through it, where, if she was strongly motivated and enjoyed domination, she could channel her husband's kink into socially appropriate outlets.

Obviously I'm biased. I'm sitting here in the happy ending. Sparkling clean home, femme sub in my bed sleeping in (although mine has a HUGE penis), when she wakes my wish is her command. I come home from work and she's dressed to the nines, has dinner on the table and a drink in my hand as soon as I walk through the door. Not every woman's thing, but I didn't think any harm would come from suggesting the letter writer give it a try.

I think men of a certain age have been so conditioned that acting like a woman is the worst possible thing they could ever do, that when they cross that boundary they somehow think that anything in comparison is a lesser transgression. But they can be taught that that's not the case, and in my experience this kink is almost always paired with an overwhelming need to obey a dominant woman.

I find it interesting on my part that the Internet has worn me down over the past nine years. I'm a lot less willing to battle online. I'm much more likely to disengage at the first sign of vitriol. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.


I hope the guy also got a brain scan. Sometimes severely obsessive and clueless behavior like this is the result of tumors or other brain damage.


@39. Fichu. Trained salespeople who help to get someone wearing with their first well-fitting bodyform are major fairy godmothers for queers. I'll brave venn's disapproval and say for 'gays' too. I remember it well myself--it's dizzying, intimidating, expensive, and you can easily go wrong. Of course you learn what suits your age, physique and the appearance you want to project.

A transvestite, trans or NB person in the early stages of living their identification is not much like this guy, who is making people party to his kink in the course of doing their jobs.


@45. Marrena. If you choose your battles wisely, maybe it's a good thing (?).


Am I the only one who thought this guy had a serious mental illness. You mean kinksters are allowed to behave so inappropriately and it’s not labelled a mental illness. That is f’d.


@32 - Yes, I agree. With re-runs like these, I occasionally post the suggestion that Dan (or an intern) write an email to the LW asking if they would be interested in writing a follow up paragraph or two. They could probably get a bunch queued up and ready to go in short order.


@17: You're looking for the present progressive tense, which can be used as an adjective in English: "harassing".


@17: Alternatively and informally, you can use the standard adjectival modifier "-y" and (more) people will understand you, even if the construction is nonstandard, as with "rapey." Though, personally, I rather like the sound of "harassive."


@29: Which line? Laws are one line, and they're explicit. Personal preference is another line, but it can vary across the entire spectrum, and requires asking (from this we derive the consent ethical standard). Social norms are (usually) a majoritarian or plurality consensus line, though they are more subjective and less consistent than explicit norms like laws (except in the cases where they're codified as laws).

Personally, I'm not a fan of public sexual behavior in any context where I (and others) have not specifically opted in, from relatively tame touching to kissing to dirty dancing to heavy petting . That said, I'll generally just look pointedly away up until the point that someone starts bumping into me while sharing an over-the-clothes mutual hand job sitting next to me at the bar (this has happened to me several times, because drunk assholes are the least considerate assholes). In my area, norms generally allow kissing and occasional light fondling most places and most intense/sustained over-the-clothes fondling and humping on dance floors or other places considered. hook-up venues. The law disallows public nudity in a sexual context and a bunch of specific sex acts (with higher penalties if one is in sight of minors or in an area they areikely to be present).

Really, for people for whom the violation of others' boundaries isn't the core of the turn-on, there are millions of options for fully consensual sexuality in view of other people, inuding strangers, from sex clubs to cam sites to porn 'tubes. So I'm generally suspicuous of people who insist on potentially-non-consensual scenarios; it's sad that they can't ethically and actually indulge their desires (like rape fantasists, snuff fantasists, pedophiles, etc.), but for the sake of people generally and a society that values harm reduction, tgey should make do with simulation and fantasy just like the mentioned groups.

And in general, I wish people wouldn't get so drunk they turn into raging inconsiderate assholes; if your inhibitions are the only thing stopping you from being an asshole, avoid disinhibiting past that point in public (this would necessarily end 100% of impared driving while we're at it).


@47 If you want a well trained salesperson, don't ever go to Victoria's Secret. They will shove you into whatever they can find and tell you it looks great even if it doesn't fit even slightly.


Fichu @ 39
VS was one of the very first retailers to allow men try on items in their dressing rooms, even when not presenting as a woman. Not only they were a novelty chain that caught many eyes, their clientele and staff back in the 90’s was way more diverse in terms of age. They also carried some styles that reminded lingerie and film enthusiasts some old movies and TV shows. Scroll down to see Grace Kelly’s dramatic entrance at Hitchcock’s 1954 Rear Window:

Few years later VS started catering almost exclusively to the younger crowd, which was noticeable in both their merchandise and work force. They are still very accommodating yet I hardly shop there nowadays for those reasons.


Marrena @ 45
I’m all in favor of your relationship dynamics. I assume building such a well-defined 24/7 femdom “framework” requires lots of trust and understanding, and would love to learn how you got there if you’re willing to share. Unfortunately I don’t think the letter at hand demonstrates what’s needed to establish such connection. He is clearly running the show despite claiming “sub,” she is a very reluctant follower who doesn’t trust him anymore.

In regards to some of your observations:
“Over the years I've seen quite a few crossdressers get lost in that "pink fog". It's always older crossdressers--the younger ones seem much more well-adjusted. They go through a period of derangement where they lose all sense of right and wrong and boundaries and common sense...”
“I think men of a certain age have been so conditioned that acting like a woman is the worst possible thing they could ever do, that when they cross that boundary they somehow think that anything in comparison is a lesser transgression.”

You’re right that those who had to hide their dressing up habits over the years often thought what they do is the most horrible thing on earth. I’m glad youngsters are doing better. I think there is more exposure, followed by tolerance and understanding, hence lesser shame and guilt. Hopefully also spiking interest from all potentially involved who can find some resources in the privacy of a laptop or phone.
I hope the ever-evolving etiquette and dating/hooking up platforms allow youngsters to be specific right from the start and enhance their chances to find suitable partners.

“But they can be taught that that's not the case, and in my experience this kink is almost always paired with an overwhelming need to obey a dominant woman.”
If you’re ok – how would you implement this in said relationship?


Thanks for stopping by ~10 years wiser @45. I am not a kinkster but from friends who are, my sense is they would assess this guy, who is showing a kind of selfish boundary-trampling, as high-risk to do kink with. Will he respect other explicitly negotiated rules and other implicit human decency assumptions? But maybe you've got a perspective where you assess you can predict more precisely which boundaries he'll trample and which he won't under which circumstances.

(Setting aside the additional info the apparent wife added which would affect your advice.)


Marrena, this is very obviously a question you are free to not answer -- is your sub an equal/asymmetric partner in the relationship? Is she responsible for herself or are you responsible? That's what jumped out as likely incompatibility with your suggestion. I didn't think the LW wanted responsibility for the person she considered a fucking asshole and a pervert.

Whether she wants to take up responsibility for this guy behaving, that's the key thing to me. If he acts out, he's going to say she meant for him to do that. Maybe that responsibility has appeal to you or another; okay. Doubt it to her.

I'm probably biased by being a parent, I don't want be the adult for anybody I don't have to.


Calliope @40: I'm disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that sexual harassment in the workplace is not a crime unless it is your own workplace. Of course the law treats the stealing of a pair of panties as more serious than the debasing of a human being who works selling panties. :(

TLC @42: Good point. Possibly because the later examples are undeniably inappropriate and harassment, but the underwear shopping is a situation that he could handle appropriately if he so chooses?

RE @44: Another good point, I guess the only ethical outlet for a kink like that would be role play and fantasy.

Lava @49: What is f'ed would be completely unqualified people diagnosing mental illnesses based on letters from a third party. Should this guy be screened, sounds like it. Can we diagnose him, you must be joking.


@51 While it is not in my favorite standard-bearer, M-W, or, indeed, any major dictionary, it does appear to be used by some. I seem to be on a vanguard.


@59 I would agree with the dangers of armchair diagnoses. Things are nor always as they seem. Would you predict, for example, from my comments here, that I have treatment-resistant major depression and a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation? I do not reveal this simply to reveal it, just to say that outward appearances, especially from online or indirect communication, are wholly insufficient to provide psychiatric (or any other) diagnoses.


Fichu @ 39, revisited
“I've never worked in a Victoria Secret shop myself. I was there once when a man in drag came in. In speaking to the sales woman, I learned that there was information and instruction on helping men buy lingerie for themselves in the employee handbook. She said they help men with bras all the time. At that time many years ago, I was amused. Now I think it's sensible good policy.”

Admittedly I struggled with some of your wording in this paragraph last night but let it go. Revisiting it today I still have some questions/projections and hope this can be discussed.
While very much inclined to believe you never meant it that way, “a man in drag” may come across to some as, “definitely a man who is nothing but faking it.” Not a trans nor nonbinary, not even queer. Just a plain man. Faking it all along.

“amusing” – lots of cultures have this so deeply ingrained. A man appearing as a woman in any situation often gets laughs. I still wonder why, and I still get those uncontrolled no-harm meant smiles even in the best environments.
Granted, generally I'm very well accommodated, conversations are struck, even compliments as to wardrobe choices.
If you are ok with it- why did you find it amusing back then and has anything changed since.

“sensible good policy”- are you are referring to business policy, clientele accommodation policy, maybe both?


62 - CMD-- Why "man in drag" and not trans, nonbinary or queer? Because at the time when I was in my mid-20s in the mid 1980's, that's the only word I knew. I definitely had never heard of "nonbinary." I'm trying to remember if I'd heard of "transgender." Maybe, not sure. "Queer" was, at that time, a derogatory term for gay along with "faggot." I didn't use it. Remember I didn't know this man. I saw him briefly, jumped to a conclusion, and that's the way I described the scene. No offense was meant either to him or to anyone here.

Why amused? I wasn't amused by the man! I was amused to think that men shopping at Victoria Secret to buy lingerie for themselves (as opposed to their girlfriends) was so common that there was information on serving them in the employee handbook. I wasn't even used to employee handbooks being helpful. In my jobs, handbooks were mostly about laws and what would get your pay docked. So it seemed funny to me that this phenomenon that I'd previously thought was unusual was treated as a yawn by the people who worked there. Think of it like me being surprised when a kangaroo walks into a bar-- and then I learn that the bartenders not only see kangaroos all the time, they mix special drinks made of grasses, flower, leaves, fern and moss for them. (Googled on "what do kangaroos eat".)

What has changed since? I like to think I've grown up a little. Note that I don't think I was ever a terribly mean adolescent. I did do my reasonable best to defend the harmlessly different and the ridiculed. I was never a horrible homophobe with a story now about how I turned my life around. But I was also to some extent a product of the times who could privately laugh at that scene. (I did NOT to the best of my recollection do anything mean to the man I saw beyond realizing that I was staring before looking away.)


Fichu- thanks for the clarifications. I know you to be a thoughtful person, which is why using “man in drag” stood up and triggered some innuendos in the process.
It makes sense when you give us the historic perspective, though it could be helpful if combined with, “what I knew back then as a…” or “what we know today as a transgender.”

Same goes for amusement. In the original post it comes right after “they help men with bras all the time.” Combined with “man in drag” it may raise the attention of those sensitive to the issue, which admittedly I am.
Could be easier to understand this if you added that the commonality of the phenomenon and the company’s awareness of it were the source of amusement.

I uknow you were the product of the time, we all are, and reading your posts over the years I have no doubt you’re a decent human being. Yer archaic terminology can be potentially offensive, faggots and chicks come to mind, and some follow up may be needed to make sure one is fully understood.
Thanks again, I’ll sleep better tonight.


"Yet" not "Yer" in the last paragraph


@54. TheLastComment. Without exactly being a habitué(e) of Victoria's Secret, I'm not sure they sell bodyforms.


@64 CMDwannabe
"...a transgender."

Is that polite usage? "a transgender (or trans) /person/" sounds better to my ears.

Though "a straight" sounds fine; but when the descriptor is one commonly discriminated against, without the word "person" I end up hearing it as slur-ish.


M?? Harriet - I'll question your accuracy, as your phrasing invites the inference that it's widely common, but no disapproval yet.

Mx Wanna - You make me wonder what labels are still in use, and how they've changed. Most of the people who called themselves drag queens when I was socially active presumably moved on to trans or non-binary, just leaving a couple of acquaintances who performed.

Ms Fichu - You make my point about "homophobia"'s being too general a term. I'm not sure what would better apply to the story in question. Language has quite a way to go to catch up.


Etiquette question.
When I see a man dressed in traditional men's clothing, I call him a man as a quick identifier. That is, I might say "the man ahead of me in line."
When I see a man dressed in traditional women's clothing, without knowing anything about how he identifies, I might say "a man in drag" as in "the man in drag shopping at Victoria Secret."

What would be better?


Fichu @69: Your "man in drag" comment jumped out at me too, I assumed that you knew from facts not included in the anecdote that the individual in question was indeed a man in drag, for instance he turned out to be a well known drag queen. I get it that that was the language of the time, but if that's still your go-to wording, well, I'm glad you're asking this question. The person you're reading as a "man" may not be one. She might be a trans woman who is early in her transition, or they might be a non-binary person. Since you don't know, my advice (speaking as an ally only) would be to err on the side of NOT misgendering a trans woman, as that is hurtful. Also bearing in mind that cross dressers (what I would think a better term than "man in drag," as "drag" suggests a performance) rarely do so while doing mundane things like shopping, it's far more likely that such a person identifies towards the female end of the spectrum. I would read their gender as how they are presenting and call them a trans person or a gender non-conforming person.

To put it more succinctly, a trans woman will be very hurt by being called a man in drag, while a man in drag will probably feel complimented to be read as a trans woman, so best to err on the side of not misgendering a trans woman.


Apologies for redundancy in post @70, but I guess it bore repeating!


I always err on the side of using "they" rather than "he" or "she" if I'm not sure how a person identifies. For example, my formerly ex-uncle, now ex-aunt, was vague in her gender identification for a while. She was sometimes using "she" and the name "Tina," sometimes using "he" and the name "Tim." Add to that the fact that I no longer came into regular contact with her since the divorce, and I couldn't be sure what pronouns to use in conversation about, for example, whether she would be at the Passover seder this year. During the period of uncertainty, I referred to her as "they" to avoid misgendering. I recently found out from a cousin that she has settled into always using female pronouns, so now I use "she."


Fichu- if you see a person presenting themselves as a woman in a public place, let alone in a women's clothing store, please refer to them simply as "she" unless specifically asked not to.
When telling your VS story to others, where knowing that the person shopping was a male-born is indeed a legitimate and important part of the point you’re making, please refer to them as a “transwoman.”

If you’re not sure, the look is somewhere in between, “they” is your safe bet as others have already pointed out.

Same goes to female-borns presenting as men. This can be a bit trickier as the grey, in between, spectrum is traditionally greater and often more socially accepted. Once again, “they” when uncertain.

Thanks for asking.


@CMD--sorry for the late response--frankly I think the reason my relationship was able to get to where it is today was through lots of communication. Certainly it took us years to get to where we are today. Also it helps that my sub is a wonderful and nice person.

@Mtn Beaver--of course the LW husband is a high risk and if she wasn't already married to him I wouldn't have suggested getting involved with him. But with her already invested in the marriage, I figured it was worth suggesting.

I think the trick would be for the wife, if she was into it (and clearly she was not) to create two types of punishments. One would be the exciting type of punishment--spanking maybe, or humiliation, and of course "forced" feminization for acceptable infractions, maybe not doing the housework to her standards or acting too masculine. Then another type of punishment for the clearly out of bounds behavior of her husband--simple dropping of all domination games and sober expression of displeasure.


I think he needs to be severely punished for his transgressions. Probably with a whip.


I really hope she divorced him. He broke one of the cardinal rules of kink which is not to involve another person without their consent, and he was just a downright jerk for involving the saleswoman and getting pretty close to involving his coworker (!) and his neighbor. I just wouldn't want to be married to someone whose awareness was that bad, especially if he was involving me in his totally inappropriate comments to others.


Thanks Marrena @ 74

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