If you are like me, you cherish the women’s clothes you own. Perhaps, too, you cherish the friendships you have made here on CDH. Not unlike you, I look to my friends on CDH for inspiration and encouragement. A few have so inspired me they moved me to emulate them. I’ve heard it said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. So, if you recognize yourself in this true story, I hope you are flattered to have been so impressive.

One of these inspirational friends, whom I will call JB, favors going to department stores just to try on dresses and outfits, with no intention of making a purchase. She is happy to just look through all the offerings, take a few to the fitting room to try on, and because she has no intention of purchasing any, return them to the rack. I call this: Look, Try, Don’t Buy, or LTDB. You may recognize her from her CDH dressing room escapades. It takes courage and confidence to do this.

Thus, being so inspired, I’ve recently taken up her sport of LTDB. When I go into a women’s department, I do not have a particular item in mind. I’m just there to Look, Try, Don’t Buy. Okay, one exception… I have gone bra shopping specifically for a bra. I knew the size, color, and brand I wanted. So, in that instance, I Looked, Tried, and Did Buy. Bra shopping is really quite a bit of work, but oh so rewarding!

I admit it is difficult to return some articles to the rack. I have the most difficulty with dresses. It’s because I have so few. My wife comments that I look more feminine in a dress than in slacks and a top. Doing the LTDB thing, I’ve bought more clothes in the past three months than I have in years. With my closet running out of space, I’ve had to pick through them and painfully decide which to keep and what to donate. It’s not like the olden days when I just went in and purged because I felt strange doing this thing we do. In retrospect that seems so easy to have done. But not today. Now that I know me, I cherish every piece of clothing I own.

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Being colorblind makes it very difficult to pick clothes. I look at mannikins in stores to get ideas of what is fashionable. Sometimes, it looks more interesting on the mannikin or hanger than on me. If I like what I see in a fitting room mirror, I step out of the fitting room and look for someone to ask their opinion. I am still hesitant; It has taken a long time to build my confidence and courage to do this. It was that CDH friend who inspired me to take that step.

Then there is my friend in Delaware, whom I will call JT. She inspired me to try something. JT posted photos of herself trying on different formal gowns in preparation for an upcoming Gala. JT is lovely in jeans; To see her in those formals …well, the word alluring comes to mind. I’ve never tried anything formal. If you’ve read my profile, you know that I prefer a more casual look. However, inspired by JT’s photos, I wanted to LTDB formal gowns. I wanted to experience the feeling of the zipper as it slides up the gown. I admit that I wanted to know if it would enhance my appearance.

I’m uncertain if the gown has anything to do with this, but in the smiles of those on CDH who post such photos, they seem to be so much brighter when in a formal dress. This too raised my interest in formal gowns. So, I felt compelled to try on a formal gown for myself.I found a purple gown at JCP. It had a V-neck lace bodice with a sheer skirt over a satin underskirt. The material was gathered at the waist and accented with bling. It was floor-length and had a zippered back. I cannot reach back behind to zip, so I have this handy little “zipper upper” that I made. The feeling of the dress coming together as the zipper moved past the waistline and up the back, was unbelievable. Then it stopped! Typically, when this happens, I reverse the pull and then pull it up again. However, this time, the zipper would not move down or back up. I could not reach behind me to grasp the zipper handle. I turned to look in the mirror, and much to my chagrin, the zipper handle was tangled in the lace of the bodice. How do these things happen?

With the zipper stuck, my dilemma now is what am I going to do to get out of this predicament? I tried wriggling my way out, but the zipper had drawn the material together past the waist and it does not stretch. I could rip it loose, but that was not an option to consider. This was an expensive dress; I needed help.I stepped out of the fitting room, looking for anyone to help. There wasn’t anyone in any of the other rooms. Now what? I have no choice but to brave stepping outside the dressing room onto the sales floor. I saw a middle-aged lady browsing through the racks. I walked up to her and asked for her help. After I explained the problem, she said, “let’s look and see what I can do.” I hesitated for a moment. I am about to show her my back; I have never shaved my back, and I know there is hair back there. When I turned my back to her, she saw the “zipper upper” on its string. She comments, “I’ve never seen anything like this, but it sure looks like a good idea.” I told her I had made it and had been using it for years.


She asked me about the occasion for which I would be wearing such a lovely dress. I just couldn’t tell her the LTDB truth, so, I blurted out, “It’s for an upcoming Gala.” She replied, “It’s a beautiful dress and you certainly look lovely in it.” Whew, was I ever relieved! I feared she was going to say something like… “Well Buster, you need to shave your back before you go!” I felt the zipper move and she exclaimed, “There, I think that’s got it.” I thanked her and said, “I’m anxious to see how it looks.” Her response was, “Well, it certainly looks good on you. I’ll be here for a few more minutes if you need any more help.” I returned to the fitting room where I snapped several photos before pulling down the zipper…no issues.

I don’t know if she suspected or knew I wasn’t a genetic female. She certainly didn’t hesitate to help or engage in conversation. She, too, proved to be an inspiration. A perfect stranger willingly accepting me as I am without hesitation. I didn’t think to ask her name or introduce myself. Nerves, I guess? Certainly, it was a missed opportunity.

To my CDH friends and acquaintances, and to those kindred spirits who roam this site; You may not know it, but you inspire someone every time you share yourself. Whether it is a photo post or a comment on a photo. Maybe it’s a message reaching out to meet someone or even an anonymous click of the Like heart icon below a photo. You inspire someone in some way.

I aspire to be my own kind of beautiful because someone inspired me…


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Noble Member
1 year ago

Fantastic article, June. CDH provides support, encouragement and inspiration for me as well. It is my only public outlet for this side of myself, and that is mainly due all the wonderful, inspirational girls I’ve come to know here.

Rebecca Leeann Allen

I never knew LTDB had a name, but I have been doing it for years, I will use it next time I explain where I am going, thanks it’s girls like you that inspire me to go out into this world.

Jennifer Ramirez
1 year ago

It’s a good topic, I would say the girls here at CDH & all around the world that inspire me to keep on doing what I’ve been doing for so many years. I try encourage myself to be the inner woman that I am, it gets really hard dealing with the wife, but when I transform into Jennifer everything goes away. So I thank you Mona for the article, and just keep on doing what your Hearts desires girls.
Hugs& kisses

Linda mm Magliore
Trusted Member
1 year ago

Beautifully and entertaingly written. Words that make you feel you are there. A lovely outcome, a beautiful dress, and inspiring and wise last paragraph..

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