The Neighbor Knows!
In a more traditional blog format I will be posting the latest entries at the top so if you are new to this page and want to read the entries chonologically, start at the bottom.
Sept 11 Camping with Neighbor
Mike and I had talked about going on a backpacking trip for over a year (well before I "came out" to him and finally got the chance to go. I knew being together for 4 days, including a 6 hour drive each way would likely spawn lots of conversations and the topic of my cross-dressing was bound to come up. It took almost the whole day but around the campfire Mike casually said, "You remember last year when we were camping, I think I saw on your phone a photo of you in lingerie." I was surprised, not immediately remembering such an event. "You were showing me photos on your phone and accidentally swiped too far. I'm guessing it was you since Nikki isn't blond. You were wearing red lingerie and black hose and heels." Then I remembered. I had thought I'd been too fast for him to see. I explained that I usually don't do a lot of pictures like that since I try to keep my photos as classy as possible. That photo was for a "pin-up challenge". I asked him if he knew at the time what he had seen and he said he thought it was just some eye candy I kept on my phone.
Throughout the weekend we talked about all kinds of things and cross-dressing came up several times. He asked if I kept my body shaved and fingernails long for getting glammed up. I said Yes, at least as an event approached. He asked about the events I go to...how often Nikki goes, if I am Heidi the whole time...
We talked about religion and how CDing fits in...not incongruent in my opinion...I keep the same values just with different clothes on.
He was never judgmental and it was really nice being able to talk to him comfortably and matter-of-factly about this.
I talked about the fears and issues that come along with being a cross-dresser and we each talked about the challenges that people have in their lives and how we deal with those challenges that matters. How we treat other people and especially the ones we are close to.
Sept 4 Vegas with Neighbors again
We returned to Vegas for the Labor Day weekend. This time we met them there as well as two other couples so I knew there likely wouldn't be any deep conversations.
We did lots of activities all weekend and when Jenny and Mike joined us at the pool after going to the drug store they told us of the very effeminate man who had long hair and lots of makeup that was working there. I took that opportunity to tell them that I was pretty sure that the short guy who had been checking ID's at the bar the previous night was a trans-man. This provoked a thoughtful reaction but not much conversation.
Later, when the girls went for a swim that day Mike and I were sitting on the lounge chairs and he asked me how often I go to my conventions with my friends. I said a couple per year and he asked me a few more questions. I said that we just do normal things, some mundane, some a little silly. Golfing, shopping, lunch, dancing...I told him of the pole dancing class I attended and he chuckled (approvingly?). I pulled out my phone to see if I had a photo and found the one from when a bunch of us went to Hooters dressed as Hooters waitresses explaining that it was a lot of silly fun and how we were well received by the staff as well as other patrons. He picked me out of the line up and I think he started to understand that it was all good clean fun.
Interestingly, he asked what happens when I get hit on. I said that in my experience we mostly keep to ourselves and so I don't get approached that often, occasionally by people that I believe are just curious and usually by women. He found that interesting but then the girls returned so the conversation went elsewhere.
The only other comment he made that weekend was when we were at a western bar and they announced that the bikini bull riding contest was about to begin and he jokingly said my group should do that some time. I laughed and said that would NOT be good.
June 20 Jenny Borrows my Wig (and ? with in-laws?)
Jenny came over the other day to pick something up. She made pleasant conversation with me and Nikki's parents who were visiting, then she and Nikki disappeared. Soon I got a text from Nikki asking if Jenny could try on one of my wigs. I quickly went up to the bedroom and Jenny shyly asked if it was ok to try on one of my blond wigs. She has beautiful dark hair but always wondered what it would be like to be blond. Nikki had just shown her my wigs but Jenny felt weird trying one on without me giving her the OK even though I had told her more than once she was welcome to.
I lead her back into my closet and showed her again the blond wigs. She gingerly tried to figure out how to get it on and tuck all of her dark hair out of sight. I finally found a skull cap and helped her get it on and assisted her in adjusting the wig, even brushing it and parting it in different ways to make it look more natural. It felt a little weird but way fun to be helping a girl-friend with her hair.
She had been to the salon earlier but hadn't been home since and thought it would be so fun to wear the wig home to see the reaction of her kids and husband. We said that would be great and decided that she could walk right down stairs and past Nikki's parents without any explanation of where the wig came from. HOWEVER....when she started down stairs there was Mike standing right there...he had come over for some unknown reason. After some silly and somewhat awkward moments he said he liked it but knew it was a wig. I was afraid he would say in front of Nikki's parents, "I know that's a wig you borrowed from HIM." Luckily he was more discreet. She kept the wig on and they walked home and freaked out their kids for a bit before revealing it was just a wig.
I still don't know it the in-laws wondered about the professional looking blond wig.
June 16 Camping with the Neighbors
This post is more about what didn't happen than what did. We spent 4 days with the Mike and Jenny and talked a lot but there was really only one comment regarding my cross-dressing. Granted, our kids were around much of the time but the adults did have plenty of time to talk about life, parenthood, families, etc. The only allusion to my propensity to wear women's clothing was when we were talking about how no one is exactly how they seem when you first meet them and even after getting to know them pretty well; and Nikki said, "...Steve has his thing..." That was it. Nothing else the whole 4 days. Frankly, everyone else has bigger concerns. It definitely didn't feel like the topic was being avoided.
June 11 Encountering a CD with neighbors
Recently we went again with the neighbor couple to the small local swap meet. As we were walking around Mike said to me, "I've been thinking about what you said in Vegas, and I kind of agree with the sentiment of 'So What!'" We talked a little more about how it was just something I enjoyed. As we all stopped at a jewelry vendor he asked me if I wear clip-on earrings and I explained how most clip-ons are lame so I convert regular earrings to clip-ons etc.
As we were walking around Nikki and I spotted a tall, broad shouldered "woman" wearing a fur lined jacket, miniskirt, nude-colored tights, and high heels. Now, understand it was a hot day and we were doing a lot of walking on uneven blacktop parking lot. "She" must have been uncomfortable. We briefly discussed how some CD's have no sense of fashion or appropriate clothing choices.
As we got closer to her we could see the thick, excessive makeup and nodded to each other that this was indeed a cross-dresser. Then a young girl approached her and she turned and spoke to the girl and we could both see and hear this was in fact a genuine female! I guess it just goes to show you that you can never judge someone by their appearance!
June 2 Friend's Reaction that I Cross-Dress
I was more nervous than I thought I'd be and my hand started shaking. This was maybe the best friend I have had since childhood. He and I have fished together, camped, run triathlons and had many long, deep conversations. The only person I had ever told about my cross-dressing was Nikki when we were engaged 23 years earlier.
He looked at the photo and then jerked his head forward in shock and to get a better look. Then he zoomed in and scrolled around, even examining the people in the background and said, I still can't find you in the picture. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Nikki and Jenny smiling as they watched. I said, "That's me on the end." He said, "The blond??!!" I said yes and we all kind of chuckled at his response.
As he stared at the picture both Nikki and I gave a little background explaining that this is something I have dealt with all my life and although it has been a struggle at time to figure out what role it plays in our marriage we are comfortable with things as they are now. Nikki revealed that this is what I am doing when I go away to Atlanta or Las Vegas without her and we mentioned the group of friends that range from those that cross-dress a few times a year to those that are transitioning, but all try to be classy and present transgenderism in a positive light.
Mike's first response was a light hearted, "Why didn't you tell me about this 6 months ago when I was telling you about my struggles to that I didn't feel like I was the only one with big challenges?" With that response I knew I had made the right decision. I always said I wouldn't "burden" someone with the information that I am a guy that likes to dress like a girl but was willing to share it if I thought it would benefit them in some way to know.
Next Mike took the bag of questions and tossed it aside saying, "I don't think we will need these again for a long time." Lots of questions followed and I answered them all. ...not gay; ...don't want to transition; ....and many more. I mentioned how I have a blog and have gotten lots of good feedback from people who say I've been a good example of how to balance this phenomenon in my life, be classy and respectful, and have made others feel less shameful. Eventually the conversation drifted to other things but occasionally a question would pop up like, "Are you always blond or do you have other wigs?" More than once Mike mentioned how honored he was that I thought highly enough of him and our friendship to share this extremely private thing with him.
The 6 hour drive home was much of the same; normal conversation with occasional questions about me. The Road Trip Questions even came out again. When discussing things I didn't feel like I needed to hide information or tailor my answer to avoid the full truth. One question was, "If there was one thing about your body you could change what would it be?" Everyone laughed at the potential answers I might give but I honestly answered that I wish I could grow out a full head of hair. I think this answer kind of summarizes my position. I enjoy being the male me but like to have the potential to occasionally be Heidi the best that I can.
May 28, 2017 Telling my best Friend
It was a lot of fun to watch the fountains synchronized to the music and discuss the thought provoking questions but every third or fourth question had to be answered carefully so as to not reveal the truth about my alternate lifestyle. One question actually was, "If your spouse was the opposite gender, what name would they have." Another was, "Name a moment that brought you closer together as a couple." Both Nikki and I named our trip this past January to Vegas. We didn't elaborate that it was because she had spent the time with me as Heidi and met several of my cross-dressing and transgender friends but Jenny knew and once again Mike was left in the dark.
After Nikki and I got back to the hotel we discussed some of the answers and I asked her if it would bother her if my secret was revealed to Mike. As she has said before, it was my story to tell. If and when I thought it was appropriate to tell she would support me.
The following day was our last and we decided to spend as much time as we could hanging out at the pool before driving back home. We got some prime lounging space by the pool and settled in. Before long Jenny broke out the questions again. I don't even recall what the first question was but it was another one that was difficult to answer completely without mentioning my unique hobby. So I said to Mike, and for the others to hear, that it's been difficult to answer these questions honestly. I said, "Nikki and Jenny are aware of something about me that you aren't and they understand my vague answers but you don't". I continued that we have been good friends, he and Jenny have confided in us about private issues, and I think I can trust him to know about our private issues. I started by saying, "Do you remember our answer about the trip to Vegas last January that brought us closer together? The reason it brought us closer was because it was the first time Nikki had come and spent time with me and my friends." I began to find the picture on my phone of us with DonnaKelli and Steph Wardlow but Nikki interrupted and said, "Understand that, aside from Jenny and me, no one else knows about this so it is extremely confidential. Are you sure you want to know?" Confused and curious he said "Sure". I handed him my phone and said, "This is a picture of Nikki and me and my friends." . . . . .
May 13, 2017 Road Trip with the Neighbors
We drove down to Las Vegas with the couple next door. "Jenny" has known about Heidi for a few months now and talked about it with Nikki but she and I have never really discussed it. My good friend "Mike" has no idea. During the 6 hour drive we did a lot of talking. Jenny pulled out a bag of Road Trip Questions for Couples...."Describe your first date"...."What is something about your spouse you didn't expect"...etc. As Nikki and I answered the questions we had to dance around the full answers that might reveal my femm side to Mike. Often there were knowing looks, smiles and nods from Jenny as we answered questions somewhat vaguely and Mike was left confused or in the dark.
The next day we went to a huge flea market/swap meet. As we walked around browsing we would get separated for a bit and then meet up again over and over. At one point I found a pair of ladies' sandals that were my size and I bought them. Another time I bought a couple of rings. All without anyone noticing.
At one point Nikki and Mike were looking at electronic accessories while Jenny and I wandered ahead. Jenny asked, "Are we ruining it for you because you can't shop for yourself?" I replied, "Not at all. I'm having fun just browsing with everyone and besides, I've actually already bought a few things for myself." I also explained that I'm mostly past being concerned about sales people and strangers knowing I am shopping for myself. She responded that she thinks the world would be so much better if people were more open about their true selves. She also said she has felt Mike out and is confident that if he found out about me that he would be totally fine with it: that he knows enough about people to understand that everyone has their "thing" that they deal with.
A little later we were all at a booth with dresses and Nikki was showing me some styles she thought would look good on me. Jenny found some she liked for herself as well and tried them on in the makeshift changing room. I was tempted to do the same with the styles Nikki had suggested but knew it would let the cat out of the bag for Mike and might be a little too weird for Jenny. While Mike was paying for Jenny's dress I asked jenny if it would make her uncomfortable if I shopped for myself in front of her. She said not at all, in fact she's been looking at things and wondering what Heidi would wear.
After the swap meet we went back to the Vegas strip, had dinner, and walked up to The Bellagio to watch the fountain shows. And the bag of Road Trip Questions came out again....
April 28 2017, Neighbor mentions my CDing for for first time
My interaction with this neighbor hasn't changed but the topic of my crossdressing hadn't come up between the two of us. Tonight I was talking to her at a club and she noticed how the blond girls get more attention so she casually said she should borrow my wig. I smiled and said "Any time" We talked a litte more about different things etc. Then at the end of the night I told her to let me know when she wants to go blond and she said she's serious that she wants to try it.
April 14 2017 Buying earrings in front of neighbors
One Saturday the neighbor couple asked us to join them in browsing a local flea market. We walked around a little as a group and the wives looked at dresses and jewelry. "Mike" and I looked at tools and knives and also looked at the things the girls were interested in and helped them pick things out. Later the girls were walking ahead and Jenny asked my wife, "So would he buy something for himself here?" Nikki replied, "He just did! When we were back at that jewelry stand and he bought me those earrings, they were for himself." She explained how we can practically have a whole conversation right in front of people without them realizing it. I can tell by the way she shows me something that she thinks it might be good for Heidi and she can tell by my reaction if I like it.
We had a good time doing this with the other couple and have now planned a weekend road trip with them in a few weeks. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Feb 2017 Nikki reveals my secret to the neighbor
I'm not sure why but women seem to like to confide in my wife about personal challenges in their marriages. Knowing that I would never share the information she will sometimes share some of the concerns with me. I have told her that if she ever felt it would be helpful to share our history regarding my crossdressing that I would trust her judgement to do so.
She has done that twice. Once, a few years ago, with her best girlfriend from childhood who lives out of state and just recently with the wife of my best friend and close neighbors! We do lots of things together with the couple that lives next door and now she knows our secret.
I think it came out at a typical girl-friend lunch where the neighbor was talking about the challenges in her marriage and Nikki shared our story...to most people our marriage looks picture perfect (and it is but they do not see all of the details). The neighbor's reaction was typical: Does he have gay tendencies? How long have you known? Are you OK with it? etc. From what Nikki could tell the neighbor "Jenny" didnt seem too put off by the idea.
Apparently, the topic didn't come up again for a while and other subjects and issues dominated life. Just after Nikki and I got back from Vegas the Jenny had had a rough week regarding her husband so my wife asked her to lunch. As they sat down Nikki opened the conversation with "So. I just got back from a Cross-dressing Convention. How are you." This broke the ice really well and Nikki shared her experience in Vegas and Jenny felt comfortable to open up again to my wife.
A week or so after that they were talking and somehow the topic of my crossdressing came up again and Nikki said, "Do you want to see a picture of Heidi". Who could not be curious about something like that?
Nikki shared the picture of the two of us as well as Stephanie Wardlow, Donna Kelli and her wife when we attended the Celine Dion show in Las Vegas. She held up the image on her phone and said, "Only two of these are real women."
After Jenny studied it for a few seconds my wife pointed out who the others were and then Jenny said,"OMG, is that him?!" Pointing to me. She stared again and then said, "He's beautiful." Then she scrolled down and said, "They all have such great legs!" She looked a little more and then said, "I like the blond hair. Do you think he'll let me try it on some time?" They both laughed a little about life and later Nikki told me about the conversation.
The Neighbor Knows !
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