An email in the inbox of the crossdressing association in Frankfurt. My fingers tremble as I open the mail, for the sender is no one less than the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, one of the biggest newspapers in Germany.
“My name is Erik Zyber. I am working for the FAZ and I am very much interested in writing a report about the Crossdressing Association. If you have any concerns about presenting yourself in a public paper, I might also write a general article about crossdressers”. I ask him whether a general report might be of any importance. Should a newspaper article not report about real life?
I suggest a meeting in my favorite café in the West end of Frankfurt where we can chat undisturbed. After that, we could wander about the city and go shopping along the biggest shopping mall in Frankfurt, “The Zeil”. To temper his expectations I tell him not to expect anything spectacular, but inwardly I’m feeling excited. Erik, exactly on time, is looking for me among the elderly guests. Suddenly I stand behind him. “Hello Erik,” I say in my rather dark voice; “I am Stella.”
Later Erik describes me as follows: Fair hair, 6 feet tall, a white frilled blouse, blue costume, which fits in seamlessly with the other guests.
He has a lot of questions. “What kind of make-up do I use? Which colors do I prefer concerning lipstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara and nail polish? What are you doing with your hair on your legs when you want to wear a short skirt or dress without tights in summer?” That last question brings up a sore point with my wife – she likes my body hair as a sign of masculinity, and only reluctantly did she agree to my shaving my legs.
And the big question: “When did your inclination towards crossdressing start?” I tell him about the different phases crossdressers usually go through. Although each journey is unique, we all share some similarities, and my own is fairly typical. The feelings often start in childhood. Later you deny your desire to crossdress, thinking you are perverse. You hope the urge to dress will die when you get married. Then you find out it doesn’t. There follows a time of purging and beginning anew until you give up, come out to your wife and fully say YES to your female alter ego. Someday the wish to go out will become so immensely strong that, against all common sense you venture to leave the closet. Today, I tell him, I accept my feminine side and I feel good about it. A day as Stella in public, going shopping, sitting in a café, a visit in a concert hall or an opera house is like a day on holiday.
After I have answered Erik´s many questions, we take the subway to the city center, as Erik wants to see the reaction of the passengers. To his surprise, there is none at all. I want to demonstrate to Erik that crossdressers may move about in public in most areas quite at ease and without any worries.
I had decided to buy a delicate piece of lingerie in a department store: a bra. At the entrance to the changing room is a big sign: “Ladies only are allowed to enter the changing room.” I find a bra and ask the saleswoman whether I might try it on. “Yes, of course,” and she points towards the changing room. Erik observed the situation from a safe distance and is somewhat astonished. He gets curious and asks the saleswoman whether she has realized that she has just served a crossdresser. “Yes, I have, but I have no problems at all with these ladies.”
At Douglas, I buy an eyebrow pencil. With a saleswoman’s help, I finally find the right color. Thanking her for the friendly service she answers: “Don’t mention it. That goes without saying.” At the cashier’s counter, she puts a free gift into the bag. “I hope she hasn’t given me a perfume for men,” I say on the way out. “Have a look,” Erik says. I open the present: An anti-aging makeup for a natural charisma. “You are lucky” Erik laughs.
It is really amazing - A man acceptably dressed as a woman and with discreet makeup and a good portion of self-confidence is being treated as a lady as if it were the most natural thing in the world. This is like a holiday. That was also Erik´s title in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “A Holiday from Manliness”.