Dilemmas: I'm a transvestite looking for a wife

Paul's wife had just started to accept his transvestism when she died. Now he can dress `en femme' as much as he wants - he simply can't give it up - but he wants to meet another woman. How does he broach the subject?

VIRGINIA'S ADVICE

Transvestites are a funny bunch, because the vast, vast majority are heterosexual. Indeed, a big proportion of them comes from the armed forces or engineering background; they are far more likely to be sexy tattooed lorry-drivers than Julian Clarys.

I remember going to an army party in Munster, Germany, at which the theme was a change of sex. Hardly any of the wives dressed as blokes, but their husbands arrived with hairy skin bursting out of low-cut evening gowns, smeared lipstick, and grapefruits strapped to their chests, staggering about on high heels. Most had moustaches. They all had a hell of a time.

I don't think Paul should worry too much. I have no doubt at all that if we were to ask all the men at The Independent to strip (and if they were to comply) we'd find at least three or four pairs of silky female panties and even maybe the odd pair of stockings hiding under the wrinkly jeans and pin-stripe suits. I've had at least two lovers who've expressed a desire to wear my nightie in bed, and oddly it's never turned me off. The request has always rather touched me, flattered me and even turned me on. Women just don't mind that kind of thing nearly as much as men think.

Why not? Is it because we're always looking for the feminine in men, and rather relieved when we find it, even when it's presented in such a bizarre way?

Certainly, I did nothing but roar with laughter and affection when my son, aged about four, would come tottering down the stairs with a friend, both dressed up in my clothes, hysterical with laughter, lipstick on their noses, cheeks, everywhere, tiny feet in huge high-heels. However, for some reason that I cannot rationalise, were I to have had a four-year- old daughter, and had she come downstairs wearing her father's Y-fronts and suit and a painted-on beard, having stuffed a banana down her crotch, I would have freaked out.

However, women have a much easier time of it. We can wear sexy evening dresses when we want; we can strap ourselves in tight bras; we can put on trousers and be one of the boys when we want. We can wear make-up or not. We can have short hair, long hair, hair up, no hair, whatever.

But men, no. It's trousers, trousers, trousers all the time. Never any make-up. Only very long hair if you're quite brave or unemployed or incredibly successful or in certain professions, such as the music business. Never high heels, never being able to switch between hard and soft - having to be hard all the time. You may be a new man, and live in corduroys, but if you went to a party in a frock and lipper would you cause a stir? Yes.

Paul should relax. If he wants to go the whole hog and to go to TV parties and discuss his problems, he can ring the Beaumont Society (01582 412220). Otherwise he can just go it alone. When he meets a nice woman, he should start dropping hints: "I wish I could wear make-up." "I sometimes like to wear a caftan around the house because it's more comfortable." "I'm wearing tights under my trousers because I'm frozen but also because I love the feeling of them next to my skin."

If she's not completely clueless, she'll quickly catch on to what's up. And, with any luck, they'll soon be out at M&S choosing his undies.

READERS' SUGGESTIONS

Amazed and impressed

My first boyfriend was a transvestite. We'd been going out for several months before he plucked up courage to tell me. When he did finally appear before me in a dress, I was amazed - and very, very impressed.

Every fictional medium from comic strips to TV drama presents a woman discovering her man's transvestism as a shocking event for her. Well, it ain't necessarily so - for a woman who is eager to experiment, to discover new ways of making love, the revelation can come as a delightful surprise. And a woman who loves her man will only love him more for every side of his character he reveals to her.

I'm withholding my name and address because I respect my ex's right to privacy, not because I am in any way ashamed of him, or of myself or of the things we did.

It's no longer taboo

Why does your writer think it is such a terrible thing to wear women's clothes? It is no longer taboo for men to expose their feminine side; Jonathan Ross has been photographed wearing a Gaultier skirt, David Beckham wears a sarong and Eddie Izzard dresses as his fancy takes him. Nobody regards them as perverts; in fact, nobody cares.

DR DAVID CRILLY

Cambridge

Don't conceal the true you

I can feel very much for Paul, after the agony of learning to accept myself as I am.

I often wonder about the situation in which Paul finds himself. What would I do if my wife were to die? I am strongly heterosexual (as most TVs are), and certainly couldn't exist by myself. If I were going to form a new relationship, which I would hope would become permanent, then I would have to be honest. Trying to cover up the true person in such a situation could be a recipe for disaster.

JANET (IAN)

Next Week's Dilemma

Dear Virginia,

My godmother, who I've always been close to, is wheelchair-bound at 80, but entirely compos mentis, and still lives at home. We visit as much as we can, but she gets lonely. However, her district nurse is very good and often takes her out at weekends, and even has her for Christmas, all entirely off her own bat, but, it turns out, at a price. My godmother has to pay for everyone on all these jaunts and she recently said she'd lent this woman pounds 500 and when she asked for it back the nurse said she couldn't because it had been stolen. She's very upset about this, but says she'd never speak to me again if I got involved, and still goes on outings with her. What should I do?

Yours sincerely, Sonia

Anyone with advice quoted will be sent a bouquet from Send letters and dilemmas to Virginia Ironside, `The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, fax 0171-293 2182; e-mail dilemmas@independent.co. uk, giving a postal address for a bouquet

Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor