There’s a story I’ve told online before and have been wanting and meaning to retell here on WordPress. Now is the perfect time to retell that story thanks to a writing prompt posted Tuesday on Daily Post, in which they ask about a song or songs that can evoke a memory — an even transports your mind back to the time and place of that memory — the instant you hear it. There are a more than a few songs that qualify in my life, but for my crossdressing side, there’s one song that stands out. And, since this is WordPress, I finally have the chance to add that song — an audio accent, if you will — to a key part of my life story as Allison. So without further adieu, Romeo Void, the stage is yours:
“A Girl in Trouble” hit the Top 40 around the fall of 1984, and it serves as the starting point of the true story of how the person that would become Allison got caught. Yes, my crossdressing secret was uncovered, and it is indeed true. Here’s how it went:
In the fall of 1984, I was 15 and in my sophomore year of high school. One day that fall (Election Day, to be exact), I was riding home on the bus from school, about a mile or so away from my stop, when “A Girl in Trouble” started playing on the radio. I was getting off the bus alone that afternoon, and I would be at home alone as well; my sister, who usually would have been getting off the bus with me, was staying at school for drill team practice, and our mother and baby sister were still on their way back from out-of-town with our older stepbrother — yes, Evil Ugly Stepbrother — who was going to be moving in with us that day (let’s just say he had a falling out with his mom and still needed a roof over his head and a high school diploma under his arm).
But when I got off the bus, I wasn’t thinking about my mom, sisters, or Evil Ugly Stepbrother. Rather, I was thinking about dressing up: Having the house to myself for a while, and not having too much homework, would be the perfect reasons to try on some of my sister’s clothing, or so I presumed. So, naturally, I made a mad dash that quarter-mile between the school bus stop and our house. The first thing I did when I walked through the door was head for my sister’s room, where I plucked an orange swimsuit and a bra (if I recall correctly) from her dresser and headed into my room.
I was trying on the swimsuit when I noticed that Mom and Evil Ugly Stepbrother had pulled into the drive and were getting out of the car. (Uh oh.) At this point, I figured if I put my regular clothes back on, sneaked back into my sister’s room, and put back her swimsuit and bra, Mom would very well catch me red-handed. What I did instead was take off the swimsuit and placed it and the bra into one of my dresser drawers (I placed them underneath my male mode shirts and shorts for good measure).
Well, guess what? With Evil Ugly Stepbrother moving in, he needed space for his clothing. And guess what Mom decided to do? She decided to head into my room and clear out one of my dresser drawers. Guess which drawer she cleared out? Yes, the very dresser drawer where I just hid the swimsuit and bra.
When Mom noticed that swimsuit and that bra in my drawer, she immediately questioned why they were in there. I played ignorant (“Honestly, I don’t know. Was there a mix up? Static cling?”) as she proceeded to put them back in their proper place in my sister’s room. But less than a minute later, she put two and two together and called me into my sister’s room.
“You’ve been wearing them, haven’t you?” she asked in a quiet yet stern voice.
“Yes,” I quietly nodded.
“For how long?”
“I only started it recently.” Well, that was a lie, of course. I feared if I told her the truth and said I had been doing this since I was 11, she would really, really be mad and give me a severe punishment.
What Mom said next (and the quiet yet very firm emphasis in her voice) actually kind of surprised me (then and still today), in that she never took it past this warning: “Well,” she told me, “this had better come to a goddam screeching halt! I better not catch you doing this again! You are a full grown MAN! You are not a girl!”
“Yes, ma’am,” I quietly replied. “I understand.”
With that, I sulked back into my room and started on my little bit of homework for the evening. Later that evening, Mom did ask me in passing (and out of earshot of anyone else at home) a few other questions about what she discovered, such as if I ever revealed my dressing up to others at school. I presumed she was concerned about my well being when she asked that particular question, thinking of possible taunts and teasing that could have occurred had I told anyone at school (and I struggled a lot in school back then).
After that night, Mom never again brought up what she discovered in my dresser drawer. I’m also pretty sure she never brought it up with my stepfather when he returned from one of his long trips as a truck driver; if she were to tell him, I imagine he would punish me every which way short of disowning me. But did I stop dressing up? Well, of course not. But, I did become much more cautious with trying on my mom’s and sister’s clothing after that incident. Oh, yes, there were one or two close calls, but I learned my lesson from getting caught that I should really kept things covert. In fact, from that point on, I kept my bedroom door closed when I was in there, whether I was dressing up or not or whether anyone else was home or not.
Naturally, to this day I have never revealed to any relative (Mom included) that I still dress up as a woman. And “A Girl in Trouble” serves as a very apropos song in my life — it’s like Allison’s personal anthem, really. Any time that song starts playing on the radio or even in my head, I think back on that day my crossdressing was uncovered, and how I have matured as a crossdresser and as a person since then. Even though I was caught, it didn’t keep me down; my feminine spirit took a bruise, but it was never silenced. For as Debora Iyall says in the song’s refrain, and I’ll add emphasis here, “A girl in trouble is a temporary thing.”