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 Denise James  


 My Story:

My earliest memories of dressing up started about age 4.

I picked up a pair of pantyhose and some slippers and put

them on in front of Mom and Grandmother! I proceeded

to dance around like a ballerina and even walked to the

living room and showed off for Granddad.

Sometime around 8th grade I began to raid Mom's pantyhose drawer. I was

at the size that I could wear her clothes and shoes. While Mom and Dad were

out shopping I would put on her pantyhose and find a dress and shoes and

walk around. I also would spend several days at a time with my Grandparents in the

summer. I began raiding Grandma's lingerie drawer and would keep several

items with me for those days. I would wear the pantyhose under my jeans

during the day. At night I would put on a full slip and pantyhose and enjoy the

feeling as my legs rubbed against the sheets. But I was very cautious

because Grandma would check on me at night.

During that same summer, while I was at my grandparents, I

spent a lot of time typing up my fantasy story on my computer.

It involved a boy who was the youngest child with several older sisters and

a mother who wouldn't accept having a boy. He got all the hand-me-downs

from his sisters and went through school dressed as a girl, graduating from

high school as a girl, and then getting a job as a secretary.

He went on and finally had the operation to make him who he had always

wanted to be. (It wasn't until the introduction of the internet in the 1990's that there were

lots of these kinds of stories floating around and being written. I was just

ahead of my time.)

My parents had come to pick me up from my grandparents.

Mom went to check my suitcase to make sure everything was packed and

ready to go. She started going through my suitcase and discovered my

stash of pantyhose, slips and bra. I knew something was wrong when she and Grandma

started talking quietly. I tried to hide it by rushing into the room to see what was going on. They

stopped talking. I tried to see what was going on but they changed the

subject and moved on.

Mom didn't say anything about it until we got home. The entire trip home I was

sweating knowing what she had found. At home I ran with my suitcase to my

room, shut the door and tried to hide the items in my closet before Mom would

be able to unpack stuff for me. As I was throwing things into my closet Mom came

barging in and confronted me. Needless to say I was terrified that I would get a

severe punishment. She asked the usual "Why?" questions and I responded

"I don't know" and "Please don't tell Dad" amidst tears. I reluctantly handed

everything over to her. Nothing more was ever said about the incident.

One of the days of "Spirit Week" during 9th grade of Junior High, was

"Turnabout". The event was that the girls would dress as guys and the

guys would dress as girls. I had been sick that week and I was too

embarrassed to tell Mom about the event scheduled for that day,

until I was ready to walk out the door to the bus stop. Mom didn't ask

me if I wanted to participate. I figured it best not to say anything because of the

episode the summer before with my stash at my grandparents.

One of my best friends participated. He had borrowed a dress and

pantyhose from one of the girls in our class. He was rather shy and refused

to take off his blue jeans, so he rolled his pants up just enough to show some

legs. There were some other boys in the class

that went all out. Somehow I was very disappointed that

I didn't get to participate in the day's events. I watched and wanted

to dress up and show how well I could look in a skirt, pantyhose and heels

but I couldn't admit that to anyone.

My freshman year in college, at Halloween there were several guys running around in skirts or dresses.

They did a really bad job at trying to look like girls. I thought and even

wrote and drew in my journal that is what I would like to do, but do it to

the point that I could pass. I thought about a denim or leather skirt and

jacket with a white blouse, dark pantyhose and heels, and a wig. I kept that

entry for a couple years and then destroyed it for fear of people finding

it and reading about my secret dreams.

Sometime during our junior year I jokingly commented to my girlfriend that

one day I would get home before her, and be dressed as a French Maid and

have dinner ready for her. We laughed about it but said no more. But I kept

that thought alive and told no one.

Early in my Senior year I found a mail order catalog that had a French Maid

costume in it, and placed an order. I was very excited when the package came to the campus postoffice. I ran back to my room and began to unpack, knowing that my roommate wouldn't

be back for at least an hour.

A few weeks later I got some other mailorder catalogs in my campus mail

box. One was from the Hanes/L'eggs Outlet catalog. I placed an order

almost immediately. The other was a lingerie catalog. Again I placed an order.

This order consisted of a body stocking, and a black mini-dress with a scoop neck.

I kept all of this hid in my suitcase and would pull it out when my

roommate was out and I wanted to feel pretty. No one ever knew.

After graduation, I had my degree, but I was having a difficult

time finding a job. There were a lot of openings but no one seemed to

be hiring at the entry level. I was about two months away from getting

married and beginning to get a little worried. I panicked and purged.

About a week later I started getting job offers.

I started my job and got an apartment two weeks before the wedding.

Since it was near Halloween (again), I really went shopping for the first

time. I went to the local K-mart and bought a whole set of cosmetics,

a costume wig, a pair of heels and some pantyhose. The cashier said,

"Looks like someone is going to have some fun for Halloween." I was very

embarrassed and managed a meek "yeah". I went out later and bought a

full length mirror so I could really see what I looked like.

That night I practiced applying makeup for the first time ever.

About a month after the wedding, I decided to dress up for my wife. I came

out of the bathroom as the French Maid: dress, wig, fishnets, heels, makeup, nails and

a pair of oversized rubber falsies. I think my new bride almost died of laughter or

was it fear.

I was really hurt that she responded that way. I had hoped that she would

have some fun with it and laugh. Boy, was I wrong. We had a little talk and I went

and cleaned up. She didn't say much about it after that. I still had everything hidden away in my suitcase.

I did some buying and purging after that, but it wasn't until about seven years later that

I really started in again. Two years later, I finally went out dressed in public for the first time.

About two years after that, I went to a support group meeting. Then it happened.

My wife found my journal and confronted me. It caused a lot of tension and of course, she does not approve.

I've continued to dress, take pictures and get out when I can. I'm still very deep in the closet, especially to my family.

Click on Denise’s portrait below to go to her Flickr page.