I remember the first few times I logged in into a crossdressing chat room. After visiting for a couple months, I noticed that those of us not having a photograph next to our names were mostly ignored. The first chance I got, I snapped a couple of Polaroid shots and scanned them so I could post them online. The first photograph I posted in a CD chat room was okay at best. I’d rate it a “D-“, and only that high because of my effort.

From being one of many users in the chat room without a picture, I was suddenly one of the cool gals who had one. Along with posting my pictures, came the stream of compliments and more. I’m not talking about those are being very nice in letting you now they think you look nice in your picture. No…. I’m talking about those individuals who suddenly started sending me messages, wanting to know if I was dating, or more to the point—interested in a quick encounter.

Wow… I wasn’t ready for that. On one hand, as a heterosexual man the idea of being found attractive by another man (who may or may not have been a CD/TG) was, well, icky. On the other hand, it was mind-blowing to me.

The fact is that unless you are one of those lucky few guys who are tall, handsome, etc, most other regular looking men aren’t used to receiving compliments. To be told something like “You look gorgeous today” just doesn’t happen to most of us. To the average guy, it sounds more as if they are trying to butter us up so they can borrow money.

When you start presenting as a woman in photographs or even in person, accepting compliments is not a well developed skill it takes awhile to learn. I used to reply to compliments with a joke, such as “You should see me without makeup,” something silly like that. The fact is that you don’t need to dodge compliments; you just need to learn to take them with grace. A simple thank you will do fine unless it comes from another woman, which then the polite thing to do is to return the compliment.

There is a surprising fact about a lot of us… we can become very, very vain.. People in every CD related site I have been to are sometimes led to believe that they are incredibly beautiful. They are showered with praise every time they post a new (or even an old picture). To some extent, it is a healthy thing because it allows us to complete a part of our personality that may have been missing before. We all need a healthy perception of who we are and how we look. Unless we are the exception, we should realize that most of those compliments, while honest and sincere, should be taken in context. What context? We are in a crossdressing oriented site. We need to keep our heels firmly planted on the ground and make sure to take those compliments with a grain of salt…

Sure, there are many here who look really pretty in their photographs. When we look at them and praise them we are aware that they are fellow CD/TG individuals. We ignore the wider shoulders, the too narrow hips, the larger hands and feet, or the distorted background used by the photo editor to add some inches here or make the subject look slimmer. We often pretend it is really them even when it’s obvious they’ve manipulated the picture to present an enhanced image.

I don’t believe that I’m the only one who is baffled by this behavior… why would anybody post a photograph, which obviously isn’t of them, just to collect praise for it? It would be better if we didn’t showering these with false praise.

We should instead realize it’s far more important to make comments and give compliments to photos that may not be so great, but are real; photos that may be the first picture someone has dared to share and that others get to see. It can be scary posting a picture. It’s made even worse when you get zero comments or likes; it can be really discouraging. Many of us are never going to be beauty queens, but we all share the desire to let our inner woman be seen. I’m not talking about giving out false praise, but finding something they did well and compliment them on it—a little positive feedback can go a long way. It means so much; it will help them feel better and give them courage going forward. It lets them feel a little bit of the Heaven by supporting them too.

I hope I haven’t ruffled any feathers, but if I have, it wasn’t my intention to be mean. I just want to keep it real and friendly, to help show others they are important because of who they are and not just for how they look. The same issue most women live with daily as they present themselves to others.

(The photo in the article is one of my oldest, a “Polaroid selfie” so be kind!

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59 Comments
  1. Olivia Livin 4 months ago

    Great article Gabby.
    Just as an observation on my part, some of the posted pictures are embelished not so much to fool others but to put forward even to the eyes and mind of the taker what they aspire to be.
    I don’t particularly like things being expressed in the third person either, but there are times when doing so makes it much easier for others to understand and follow what it us we are trying to say.
    Olivia

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 months ago

      Hi Olivia. Well, I do understand that about showing what they aspire to be. But if you ask some of them posting such photos how did they do to look so nice, and they tell you that they are already taking hormones or have been wearing corsets for years, etc… well that is different, in my opinion.
      The third person thing, to each their own. They are certainly free to do so, And there are different degrees on how it is done too. So, really, no big deal about that. (I still don’t like it, but that’s just the way Gaby is! 😉 )

  2. Becky Cox 4 months ago

    Nicely stated, Gabriela. Personally, I enjoy seeing the unedited pictures, blemishes and all. The decision about whether or not to post pictures of ourselves dressed is quite intimidating. By keeping it real, we lower the intimidation factor just a little.

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 months ago

      Some of my unedited pics can be quite scary Becky! That’s why I don’t post them! 😉 but like I have said before… if people feel the need to be fake in a place where they should find acceptance as their true selves… well, it defeats the purpose.

      Thank you!
      Gaby

  3. Andrea Adlerberg 4 months ago

    Good article & mostly agree with your points. For me it is a matter of degree. Taking the best pic possible, with the right lighting & background, and wearing a dress that works for my body type—well that is sort of what we all do when taking pictures. Going overboard with photo shopping and making false claims (e.g. on hormones for years, etc.), well I don’t respect that behavior, but I take it with a grain of salt — similar to listening to a “fishing story” or hunting story about how the big one got away. Olivia also has a good point about how we try to put forward the image of what we want to be, or wish we could be. Again, a matter of degree. To a certain point it is quite understandable, but there is a point where it becomes sad. Thank you for your post, I enjoyed reading it.

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 months ago

      Hi Andrea, and thank you.
      I’m all for people wanting to look their best! I try to do so myself. It is a learning process, up to the time when you are able to tell that you have developed your sense of style. Now, we all should be ok with looking our best within our own limitations. I will never be able to wear a size 4 dress. I can’t do anything about my shoulders. I could (but wont) do anything about some facial features -ie nose- other than find the best makeup techniques to cover up what I don’t like/highlight what I do like.
      Yet some people is nice enough as to compliment me in my look, and even say that I look pretty from time to time. Why? Because when we are here we all adjust our expectations.
      There are very, very few in the site who would be able to post a photograph in a non-cd/tg site and being told they are pretty (c’mon, we know that some guys will say that to anybody/anything if that would get them closer to scoring!)
      Passing in photos is not as hard as it would be passing in person, of course. And not talking about passing in a “controlled” environment. How about grocery shopping or any other every day situation, with little or no makeup.
      So, yes, we can project who we want to be. but at least here, it is a safe place where all those masculine characteristics can be and are effectively ignored, and looking good shouldn’t be as important as feeling good about who you are.

      Thanks again!
      Gaby ♥

  4. Davida Mae 4 months ago

    WOW Doll; This is very insightfulful and on point. I’m a Closet Gurl mostly to protect others and sadly… as much as I luv to Dress and the way it feels I don’t think I present as passable but I don’t think breast / hip & butt forms are for me. Too much misleading. I haven’t really tried makeup (except minor such as lipstick & mascara for a very short matter of minutes) I’m trying to actually develop a feminine voice, feminine moments & mannerisms not so I can deceive someone but to develop Davida’s persona. Your comments seem to me something good to be considered. Thank You for posting ‍

    • Author
      Gabriela Romani 4 months ago

      Davida, being a closet girl, nothing wrong with that. And yes, as a closet girl, you can wear only what you like to wear, no need to worry about padding or makeup or hair or anything that you don’t want to worry about.
      You made a great point when you talk about developing your voice with the objective being to have it in tune with who you are, not for others to approve. Looking for others approval only shows our insecurities, same as it does for many teenage girls who live or die (figuratively) based on what others think of how they look. Been there, and still go and visit from time to time! 🙂

      Gaby ♥

  5. Scarlett398 4 months ago

    I really enjoyed reading your article, Gabby. It was from the heart, insightful, and from a perspective that kept my interest throughout the entire article.

    I’m not sure there are a lot of girls on her doctoring up their photos to appear much more beautiful than they actually are when they get their total girl on.

    When it comes to technology, Gabby, I suck! As a result, every photograph you see of Scarlett has not been altered to make me appear more beautiful than I am when I get my girl on as Scarlett. They only way I change a photo is my cropping the edges of he photo from top to bottom or from side to side to cut out unwanted scenery that doesn’t need to be in the photo. They only other way I can change the article with the editing program I have is to lighten or darken the photo. If I take a photo with the camera on the tripod and the camera and tripod is put too far away from me, the photo may turn out a bit too dark and same as with the camera too close – it may turn out too light so I have to darken it a bit.

    However, what you see is what you get and none of my flaws are covered up in anyway. Do I wear foam or silicone breast to make me appear to have breasts – you bet, I have to because I’m really a guy even though there is no way you can tell I’m a guy when dressed as Scarlett! Even when out in public on my four rare nights per year, no one can possibly tell that I’m a guy trying to look like a girl. Do I occasionally use hip or butt pads to give me a more feminine figure – sometimes – it depends on what kind of dress or outfit I’m wearing. With many dresses or skirts that flare out from the waist, I don’t need to wear butt or hip pads.

    For some reason, the girls on here think I’m absolutely gorgeous and come to me in private messages or talk with me in the chat room asking for cross dressing tips from me every day or night. They want to know how I’m making this amazing transition from “Handsome Husband” mode (which my wife so much prefers me in) to cute, pretty, sexy, and classy Scarlett.

    Did I learn how to make this transition overnight? No way, it’s taken me decades of study and practice to get here. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of makeup application videos I’ve watched on You Tube to perfect the process of putting on makeup.

    Now being blessed with the genes that make the transition from guy to girl much easier is something that I fortunately inherited from my mom and dad.

    I’ve gotta get and have a bunch more to say but I’ll end it for now.

    Really enjoyed your article and look forward to many more from you!

    XOXO Scarlett

  6. Lori Stark 4 months ago

    Thank you for this lovely article, Gabriela. I know I am super-vain, especially when I am crossdressing. I’m an old man, and as such, not particularly attractive. But as Lori I get to use the many tricks that women have to make myself as “pretty” as possible. Breast forms and other body shapers, shiny hosiery, sexy heels, pretty clothing, wig and of course makeup. I have a LOT to learn about how to fix myself up, but I do what I can.

    It’s all fakery, of course. Unlike genetic 18-year-old girls, I can’t just throw on a t-shirt and jeans and look fabulous. I need all the help I can get, and I’m trying to learn how to get it right. When I am trying to “present” as a woman — something I am not — I simply must do everything I can. Yes, I suppose in a way it is deceptive. I justify it in my mind by telling myself that I’m only doing what GGs do every day. As a man, I know they are doing it, and they know I know. And as a woman, I do it, too, so we are all kind of living in a world where, at best, things may not always be what they seem. In that world, I seek people like you with inner beauty, but frankly, I prefer EVERYTHING in my world to be beautiful, and to look beautiful, too.

    That said, if I hide a blemish with concealer from a tube or with a digital airbrush, what’s the difference? I’m not trying to BE a woman. I don’t expect ever to be able to live full time as a woman. I not looking for a husband. I’m trying to present a pretty, feminine image to everyone here on CDH.

    Thanks again, Gabriela, for your article and the chance for me to try in my clumsy way to express my thoughts.

    PS: That photo looks great to me!

  7. Rami Love 3 months ago

    I too found the experience of posting pictures enlightening. I crossdress for me and the exhilarating feeling I get when crossdressed as women. I do not crossdress to make myself attractive to men, not that there’s anything wrong with dressing to make yourself attractive to men, if that is your thing. I dress so that when I look in the mirror or at a photo I find myself attractive.

  8. Rochelle Mills 3 months ago

    Insightful article that rings true to me on many points.
    Cherish and encourage the often tentative steps we take to express something inside ourselves that in many ways is inexpressible. My emotions when dressed can range from calm and comfortable to an almost giddy exuberance. I applaud all the ladies who “get their girl on” and post some photos of what makes them feel good.

  9. Author
    Gabriela Romani 3 months ago

    Rami,

    Like you I have no interest in dressing up to be attractive to any man. Well, other than myself that is. I’d dare say that there are narcissistic elements in most crossdressers, at in those interested in presenting a complete feminine image. Nothing wrong with that, unless it is taken to the extreme and you get the same ending Narcisus got, drowning in his own reflection. Seen some cases you wouldn’t believe! Anyway, thank you for your reply!

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