It is a warm summer evening. After a five-hour trip from Frankfurt, I arrive at the ETAP Hotel in a suburb of Munich. Exploring the neighborhood, I notice a romantic, but overgrown, garden restaurant. In the cool shade of the trees, I ordered a small bite to eat and a drink before returning to my latest book, A Man in Velvet and Silk. Being occupied with something has always given me a feeling of security on the one hand and a feeling of importance on the other hand. From time to time, I look up and observe newly arriving guests.
A couple with a dog sits down at the table next to me. Of all my fellow guests, this singular couple draws my attention, and I cannot help, but watch them out of the corner of my eye. The lady is dressed in a tight, black leather skirt and a red blouse with a low neckline. The gentleman wears a black pair of jeans, a black T-shirt and a heavy gold chain around his neck. His face is tanned with big moustache, and he is smoking a pipe. I stare at him with full admiration. He is a man’s man, one of those really fantastic looking proud men out of a Hollywood film. I look down at myself. What do I see — a man in a woman’s dress with fake breasts and hips, a wig, and makeup. What the hell am I doing in this turn-out in Munich? Who or what am I? I am neither fully a man nor fully a woman.
I am something in between on the long gender line between male on the one side and female on the other side. With a strong self-confidence, I am able to tell others and myself, “Today I am a woman.” It is only with that convincing inner attitude towards your own femininity that your alter ego can shine through the male body. At the moment, I am Stella and I am a lady from head to toe. The transition occurs within moments of stepping into the public. As Stella, I automatically put aside all the male traits of my alter ego. Stella walks and sits upright with legs together and arms close to the body, not like a cowboy or a sailor. Stella eats and drinks elegantly and uses a napkin. With a mysterious smile on her face, Stella’s conversation is calm and friendly with slight gestures of her hands. She is chattier, though, than her male counterpart. With the transformation complete, I am even treated by the male world as the lady that Stella is — men let Stella go first, men keep doors open. To be honest, this self-confident lady was not born overnight. It has taken years of experimenting and molding and observing genetic ladies.
The next morning in the breakfast room of the hotel, the head waiter greets me, “Good morning Mrs. Friedrich. This is just a gift from the hotel management.” With these words he hands me a magazine, The Lady´s Journal, with a sticker that reads, “The smart lady stays overnight at the ETAP Hotel.” I really felt flattered. Later during my trip, I visited the Bavarian State Opera to enjoy a performance of Manon Lescaut by Puccini. Wearing an evening dress, I was welcomed by a man in livery who directed me toward my seat with “I wish you a pleasant evening, madam.” Madam — was there an ironic undertone in his voice? No, there was not; he was serious and genuine. Again, I feel flattered.
After enjoying five days as Stella in Munich, I arrive back home. With a heavy heart, I changed to my male persona again. My feminine alter ego seems to be quite strong and convincing. I am thankful for these positive experiences. They have allowed my inner lady to grow stronger and stronger which in turn helps her to shine through and even step out of my male body as characteristics of my male persona vanish more and more. The self-fulfilment of my femininity in the person of Stella does me good as a man concerning my physical wellbeing and emotional balance — no more migraines and self-doubt and lessened aggressiveness and unrest. As Stella, I want to thank my wife for these wonderful days of liberation and the opportunity to live my feminine alter ego without shame, without a twinge of guilt, and without hiding away.
In closing, I would like to share one of my favourite quotes by Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”