Bringing the superficial feminine ideal to life through crossdressing

As with all things, there is a beginning. In terms of my crossdressing, the seeds were sowed during puberty. From about 1982 to 2006, curious but relevant behavior would emerge. Moments of semi-crossdressing would take place during rare opportunities as a teenager. Some crossdressing, on a few occasions, did take place during my military career, which astonishes me today because had it been discovered I would have been drummed out in a very embarrassing way.


Then there was the era of buy-and-purge, from about 1999 to 2005, whereby items were purchased, worn around the apartment, then disposed of. I did take several photos of myself during that time, but these were deleted. How I wish I hadn’t done that!


As you recall from an earlier article, in April 2006 Alex was born while I was living in Atlanta. I fondly recall the crossdressing that took place in the months just before, with some instances involving brief road trips en femme to a mall parking garage where I could step out of the car and do the most scandalous of things like…walk to a wall and back when no one is around. It was a big deal because I would be well outside my comfort zone. Still, my hair was not quite right. My style was a bit clunky and details were ignored. Things didn’t fit altogether well. My makeup was problematic. But in April of that year, I nailed my look. Everything came together.


More than likely, since 1982, the essence of Alexandra was coming together, albeit slowly and so far below the radar that I was not conscious of it. Obviously, the right ingredients all came together in 2006. But what exactly did those ingredients produce? Why did the result “hit the mark,” so to speak?

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As you might gather, I have a theory. I pointed out in my first article on CDH that I discovered crossdressing as a byproduct of puberty. I was a heterosexual boy discovering my interest in girls, and articles of femininity served as proxies for the real thing. After all, there was little to no chance a dork like me would actually hook up with a girl during that time. Since my mom was the only woman in the house, her clothes were all I had access to, and even then, it had to be items she would not immediately notice being absent, like hosiery.


The process of half-ass crossdressing during those formative years imprinted upon me a habit, which has remained to this day, although in a more sophisticated way. That which I now call, with tongue firmly in cheek, The Craft. 


As my crossdressing evolved, I experimented with different looks. We all go through this process, I imagine. In the beginning, it really isn’t about a look; rather, it is about getting your hands on something, almost anything, that constitutes female clothing. Underwear and hosiery are among the easiest to nab because inevitably at least one woman or girl is in the house and there are usually multiple offerings.


Another is shoes. Combine hosiery with shoes and oh my goodness! After a while, this gets old, and one “escalates” to a skirt or dress. If one is especially fortunate, a full ensemble. This, too, is not quite enough. Makeup and hair become needed additions to the repertoire. The hair thing was complicated for me because I had a short style typical of boys; a wig was necessary. Alas, most of us did not have ready access to these items, especially wigs.

En Femme Style


I dabbled with my mom’s makeup in the bathroom, which was fine, but sometimes I didn’t scrub up very well and mom noticed a little dark around my eyes. Whoa! A stupid oversight I never made that mistake again, and my mom apparently didn’t seem inclined to follow up (“surely, my son wouldn’t dare to try on girl stuff. Not my son.”) Eventually, high school and the military got in the way and crossdressing was effectively stalled.

Flash forward about 15 years.


For some reason, in early 2006, I developed the urge to go “full throttle” on crossdressing. I purchased underwear, dresses, shoes, and makeup. I even went so far as to order silicone breast forms, false nails, and, of course, a wig. But what style? At first, I had no idea where to start. I browsed online and selected a few styles I liked. Everything was delivered at my front door during the winter months of 2005-2006. I remember well the weekend when I put the whole thing together; the anticipation during the week prior almost killed me. On that weekend in mid-April, Alexandra came together.


In the blurry excitement of getting my act together that month, a process was taking place that I only came to understand many years later. I was modeling Alexandra based on an archetype, a kind of template. This archetype was informed by images from my life experience, combining girls I was attracted to in school and the military, women I saw in television and film, the old Sears catalogs (some of you know what I mean here!), and so forth. The traits I found attractive all came together to form this physical archetype of an ideal woman. I was using this to select clothing, makeup, and wigs. The photo above, taken in June 2006, is probably the earliest successful manifestation of this archetype.

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There is another, a Freudian aspect that exemplifies this archetype theory; I found the result I produced to be attractive. At first, the initial version of Alexandra was a bit awkward. But I quickly got my act together. Looking in the mirror I found myself attractive from a heterosexual perspective. WTF? How could this be? What sort of perverted personality trait is this? In the end, I stopped worrying about this perspective because it eventually made sense to me. I was using my body to reproduce an image of my ideal woman from a physical perspective. In a strange way, Alex became a sort of ideal girlfriend. I could summon her whenever I wanted. She never complained. She dressed the way I liked. And, of course, she was smart and liked me 😀


I’m being a little flippant, but one has to admit it is amusing. Especially so given that relationships can be deep and fulfilling beyond my expectations, as I have since learned: I met my wife in 2015 and have been very happy ever since. I have not told her about my crossdressing, and the reason for that will be explained in a future article. As a result, the opportunities to crossdress have diminished significantly; I can only bring Alex to life twice per year. As it happens, that’s plenty. My life is fulfilling without crossdressing… but it is such lovely icing to put on the cake now and then.


So, there you have it – Alexandra is a superficial archetype of my feminine ideal.


Who do you model your look after? Your first girlfriend? Your spouse? Someone you admire? A combination of people you’ve met through the years?


Until we talk again,





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Alexandra Forbes

I'm a guy. I like women. I like the company of women, I'm married to a woman, and I like to dress up like a woman now and then because it's fun. For me, crossdressing is an art form and an excuse to meet like-minded folks, not the expression of gender dysphoria. I should note that my photos are not doctored up with apps or significantly modified using Photoshop, though I do adjust color, contrast, and that sort of thing. It is important to me that my photos are genuine, with wrinkles, pores, and all. If they aren't genuine, I'm fooling myself and others. I take this art form pretty seriously, so if you don't have much of a profile, no photos, or your photos are obviously fake or heavily photoshopped, I will probably not respond to a friend request. I'm not here to indulge sexual fantasies, talk about fetishes, or discuss what sort of intimates I wear to work (I don't). My hope is to find people who are interested in discussing "The Craft," or the art of crossdressing. I'm also keen to ponder the nature of sexuality and gender, fashion, and makeup techniques. However, I always try to respond to correspondence - we should all help each other out. I enjoy engaging with anyone, frankly! My Flickr page can be found here:

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Juliette Parfois
1 year ago

As always Alexandra, a well-considered, in-depth article which has described the path which many of us have been along. The first part of your story is so familiar, the tentative start with borrowed panties, moving on to stockings, later a skirt. Memory plays tricks on us but I think being attracted to girls in shiny satin started even before puberty and, of course, I couldn’t know what this meant or what would develop out of it. The second part of your theory made me realize that the feelings I had when I looked at photos of Playboy Bunnies was not… Read more »

Juliette Parfois
1 year ago

Alexandra, I’d like to pick up from your WTF moment, the moment Major Tom set eyes on Alexandra for the first time and found her erotically attractive. I think this is what we try to do, to create our ideal (idealized) woman, as you say, developed from our life experiences so far. Our ideal partner, our feminized self, has all the qualities you mentioned; she can be summoned whenever desired, she never complains, she dresses the way we like – and she loves the little gifts we give her!. Do we enjoy the erotic connection because we desire to be… Read more »

Mia Mor'e
1 year ago

That is really food for thought. I don’t think I have an ideal archtype for my crossdressing. I pretty much have to workbwith what I have.

Jill Marshall
1 year ago

I’m at risk of writing a response that is longer than the article because I enjoyed the self-exploration and self-reflection in this piece. As many have already said, I recognize a lot of myself in it. Since I’m also hetero and married, when I’ve traced back through time for insight on what my dressing is an expression of, I relate to trying to recreate an ideal formed from earlier influences. The reverb from adolescent insecurities and social-romantic aspiration was at the root of my first exploration with dressing, and like you I think of those experimentations began as a way of getting close… Read more »

Stephie Morgan
1 year ago

What a great read, thank you for this. Like many ladies on CDH I have been dressing all my life but I guess I never consciously thought about what look I was trying to achieve. When I was younger, teens, 20’s and even 30’s this wasn’t easy. I did not have the resources or time to practice a consistent look. I would usually purchase clothes and makeup quickly and leave the store. I always had roommates so dressing meant small windows of time to dress and feel feminine before changing and hiding my alter ego. There were many close calls… Read more »

Christina Cross
Active Member
11 months ago

Alex, your article hits home with me. I feel very similar. We dress and present to our ideal image of a woman and femininity. So it is natural to be attracted to that vision. My formative years were the 80’s so I very much like to emulate how business ladies looked in that decade. My wife’s style and my style actually are pretty similar and that is probably no coincidence. Our styles overlap a lot though I have a bit more girly-girl style than she does. Confidence in appearance is important. I think if we nail our style, that helps… Read more »

Rebecca Leeann Allen
11 months ago

Wow Alexandra this was a good article it was almost a copy of my life and I agree with your reasoning. we may have started just trying to find the girl we have always been looking for and the whole time she was inside us, I have never thought of that angle.
Thanks again for the Article

Christina Cross
Active Member
11 months ago

I was a heterosexual boy discovering my interest in girls, and articles of femininity served as proxies for the real thing.”

Alex, I just wanted to add an additional comment that this element was the same for me as well. Though, sometimes I wonder if it was a coping mechanism to justify my dressing where my mind did not want to acknowledge a feminine side. I don’t know. I keep going back and forth on that one.

Heidi Smith
Heidi Smith
9 months ago

Very foxy.

Holly Morris
Trusted Member
3 months ago

Hi Alexandra, thanks so much for sharing this with us. What you wrote describes my experience in many ways as well.

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