Chapter Three: The Box in the Closet
My induction into the world of cross dressing was lonely. I needed support. I needed to talk. I felt I would implode. My mind told me I was not alone and I wanted to reach out, but I wasn't sure who to confide in. My mom was one possibility. She had dealt with so much. She had always been there for me and the family. But could she deal with this?
I paced around the house feeling ill. I swung back and forth about whether to confide in her or not. Finally, I called her. In a haze of fear, confusion, and sadness, I heard each ring of the phone. It felt a lot like the time I had called Rick after finding the box that contained garter belts, bras, fake breasts, high heel shoes, and stockings. I had called him and demanded he come home.
“Please. Pick up the fucking phone, Mom," I said, through tears.
Mom, in her early seventies, picked up at last and said hello in her warm and familiar voice.
"Mommy," I blubbered.
"Jayne," she said, "Jayne, what is wrong?"
“I have something to tell you, Mom. I'm afraid and I don't know where to turn."
“What is happening, Dear?" Then with an angry edge, she asked, "Is it Rick?" She knew our relationship had been rocky for some time.
"Yes," I said, "but this time its not what you think. Not money or the kids. Something so different."
"Is he alright, Dear?” she asked.
"He's fine," I said, sarcastically. "Its something else!" My head spun, I didn't know if I could spit out what I had been living with for all these months.
"He's a cross dresser,” I finally blurted out.
"A guy who likes to dress as a woman. Remember the movie, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask?"
"For goodness sake, Jayne, what are you talking about?"
"You know, the guy in the movie that liked to secretly dress in his wife's clothing and was found out by her as he stood in front of a mirror in a floral dress, floppy, straw hat, and pump style shoes, looking no more like a woman than the Incredible Hulk?"
“Oh, Jayne.” Her voice dropped. "How long has this been going on? Are you okay? How can you be okay?What the hell does he think he is doing? Haven't you been through enough with the kids, money. My God." Mom's voice was tremulous as she rambled. "Who the hell does he think he is? Do the children know?"
“Mom, please this is so hard, too weird, too everything without you going on and, no, the kids don't know."
Tears streamed down my cheeks. I felt like a little girl again. “Please, I just need to talk this through." I slumped back into the couch staring at my view of grand spruce and cedar trees out the living room window. Rick’s view, our view. "He's not a bad man. I feel there must something so difficult in his life or in our marriage that he feels the need to experiment. He always has shown a more feminine side than most men. It must be a fleeting thing." I attempted to convince myself it was just a passing phase, perhaps a midlife crisis. "Its the dishonesty that upsets me the most." I sighed. I told her how I'd discovered the box but I only mentioned a few of the things I had found, just what I thought she could handle hearing. But how the hell could any of the family handle this? Mom was silent. “Mom, are you there? Are you okay?”
Through her own tears she answered, "I'm here, Honey. It is so very hard to know what to say. I'm so sad this is happening to you, all alone. I wish I was there with you."
“I need to tell you more, Mom, if you feel you can hear it."
“As I said I am here the only way I can be right now, on the phone with you, dear Jayne," she said. I wanted to explain that both Rick and I had dressed in garter belts and stockings, but always thinking it was for fun and sexual adventure. It had bothered me however, because I hadn't done anything like this in other relationships. It made me uncomfortable many times and I had strangely felt that Rick looked better than me dressed in woman's lingerie. I wrote it off to my own inadequate self image, but why was Rick so enamored of wearing this stuff, I had wondered. We also dressed for dinners, both of us, in garter belts, stockings, high heel shoes and Rick would wear a bra.
It was as if we couldn't have a romantic night out without it, without the ritualistic formality of dressing up. At first it was exciting and new sexual territory for me, but then it became the norm and the fun left it. I dismissed it as our own personal experience. Who would ever know and who would it hurt, I asked myself. "It was just kinky, mom,” I said with labored breathing. I looked around the living, dining and kitchen area. It was an open concept house yet it was also cozy and completely inviting.
“Oh, Jayne, I will tell you something now, about me and your dad.” Mom was surprisingly candid with me as she recalled her sexual life with dad. He had enjoyed her dressing in garter belts, stockings, and corsets, she told me. She had felt it was too much at times. I secretly knew of the lingerie that mom had, because when I was young I went through her bedroom bureau and pulled out her beautiful lingerie, even trying it on.
"Did Dad ever dress in woman’s clothing?" I asked, seriously doubting it.
"Oh, no, well at least not that I know of." She sounded a little annoyed at being asked that question. “I love your dad, Jayne."
I didn't pursue this questioning any longer, but felt there were parallels in our relationships with our husbands.
"I want to not feel forced to do what I don't believe in, but I do it anyway," I said, confused and frustrated about love and about relationships.
"It isn't quite the same, I know that, Dear," she said, and there probably isn't anything I can say that will make a difference. It is weird and perhaps it is just a midlife crisis. Are you able to talk together?"
“Yes, but it ends up that he says I need to get a handle on the dressing and he promises it won’t be anymore than just dressing up and it won't go any further, but he’s not telling the truth,” I said. I told her how I rummaged through his closet almost daily to see if there were any more clothes, stockings, shoes. Sometimes there was a new sweater, or a bra. I always wondered where he got everything and how much money he was spending on it. I placed whatever I discovered back exactly how I found it, feeling angry, hurt, disgusted and once more, hiding, afraid he might find out that I have been looking through his stuff again. "I hate this, Mom," I said. "I don’t understand this, I hate living like this." I sobbed.
"Jayne, do you want me to come there?" she said.
"No, Mom", I whispered, as I began to calm down. “I’ll be okay. I’m sorry I shared this with you, but I just need you to know my secret."
We vowed that no one else would find out about this and hung up the phone, emotionally spent.
We spoke on the telephone every other day or so. It helped to talk to her, even though she could only offer an ear. How could anyone really help?
This is the third chapter in a serialized book by the author about the journey she has been on since discovering that her husband had the goal of becoming a woman.