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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The clothes I wear do not define who I am. I am the same person regardless if I present as a man in jeans and a plaid shirt or as a woman in a gorgeous gown. That may have been the most important moment in my self awareness. I don’t have a girl side or a guy side competing in one body. When I get to present as a woman I’m being myself as much as I am myself in my every day life. Being able to realize that I don't have to separate my personality in a "Feminine side" and a "masculine side", but that every aspect in me should be integrated into a well balanced persona was very liberating.

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Gabriela RomaniLori StarkLeaRochelle MillsRami Love Recent comment authors
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Olivia Livin
Active Member

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.

Becky Cox

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.

Andrea Adlerberg

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… Read more »

Davida Mae
Active Member

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… Read more »

Trusted Member

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… Read more »

Lori Stark
Active Member

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… Read more »

Rami Love

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.

Rochelle Mills
Active Member

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.

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