Allison M.

Thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up from a full-time male who's a part-time female

#TBT follow-up: “Secret” and “Femme Fatale”

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Time for another of my follow-ups to posts I’ve written in the past year, and with it, another edition of “Allison’s Word.”  So, I bring back in that disembodied voice that always interjects.  Say hello to the readers, Disembodied Voice.

“Hello to the readers, Disembodied Voice.”

Ha ha, very funny.  I want to revisit another “Allison’s Word” post I wrote back in August, and it was a post I really enjoyed writing.  It was all about these words:

Yep, the words were “secret” and “femme fatale.”  Now, if you need to refresh your memory about that post, or if you didn’t get to read it the first time around, I wholeheartedly recommend you go ahead and click right here to read that original post.  Seriously, this is one of those times where it’s best to see Part I before checking out Part II.

“Does that mean I have to go back there too?”

Well, if you must.  Again, go ahead and click here for the original post.  Go on, I’ll wait.

[*sits idly while humming the Toreador Song from Carmen*  “Hmm, HM, huh HMM HMM…”]

Okay!  You’re back!  I want to talk mostly about that first word, “secret.”  For those who didn’t click back to that earlier post (and I imagine there were a few of you, and shame on you if you didn’t), let’s recall how I laid out the definition.

Of course, when you have a secret, you are hiding certain information from others who do not (or not yet) need to know about it for whatever reason or motivation the secret’s keeper may have. (Grade school level explanation, I know.)

Now, I did receive a bit of warm feedback regarding this topic, and I want to expound on some of what they said here in the following summary:

Some secrets are huge enough to carry lots of risk.  Like, say, crossdressing.  I still shudder at the possibility of my crossdressing being revealed to my loved ones.  Do I care about what they would think?  Well, I’m at old enough an age where I know I shouldn’t really care about what they think, but as I’ve mentioned on here before, I could never withstand the shame, awkwardness, and possibly harassment that could result.

“Are you that sure about such a reaction?”

Well, I can’t confirm that outcome for sure, but knowing my family, they likely wouldn’t look too kindly on their beloved son & brother fleshing out his feminine side.  Which brings me to another note a reader pointed out, and I quote:  “We hold things in reserve because we don’t know how the person will react to us if they knew that about us.”  It’s that possibility of a negative reaction that freaks out the person hiding the secret.  But if they really want to tell someone, they can still gauge that person and build trust so that one day any fears of negativity toward the revelation can be proven wrong.

Which is not to say every secret should be revealed.  In fact, some secrets are worth keeping on the down-low.  Which I agree with, because as one comment put it ever so succinctly, “People don’t need to know our business anyway.”

“Yeah, you tell ’em!”

I mean, I don’t know every little thing about who I work with, and I’m cool with that.  Likewise, I’d prefer if not every Nosy Nellie in the office knows about my dirty little secrets.  And believe me, the loose lips I work with enjoy the salacious.

“They should be on a need-to-know basis.”

Or a “need-not-to-know” basis.  Basically, just let the world know what they need to know when you’re comfortable to let them know.  You’re not a bad person if you hide your secret from them; in fact, it’s human nature to keep a secret.  And if the Nosy Nellies of the world don’t appreciate that… well, that’s their loss.

“‘Human nature’?  That reader put it so nicely.”

I agree.  And they added something else also profound.  Recall the note above about building trust?  They noted that sharing secrets can create a powerful bond.  When one discloses their secret (like, say, crossdressing), to another person, it can be a case of, “I trust you enough as a friend and confidant to tell this to you,” possibly even, “I trust you enough to keep this between the two of us.”  That creates a potential bond of mutual trust between the two that can last until the end of their days.

“That’s a powerful thing.”

For sure.  So to sum up, if you want to hear a secret from someone, be patient.  They will tell you when they’re good and ready and willing.  But take care in the fact that it can have a profound effect on the both of you.  Those were great comments, peoples; thank you so much for your feedback.


I want to highlight to a lesser extent another comment about the other term from the original post, “femme fatale.”  Let’s recap how I defined it way back when:

A femme fatale is generally defined in folklore and fiction as as a female character with enough charm to lead anyone she ensnares into her web into a compromising situation — even a dangerous or deadly one (“femme fatale” is literally “fatal woman” in the French language).

“Fly, meet spider.”

Thanks again for that three-word descriptive, Disembodied Voice.  I followed that up with a talk about how those of the feminine persuasion can give off enough charm to lead anyone down a wrong path… whether she’s happy about it or not.  As one comment indicated in the original post, “Too many of us are quick to believe that such characters are horrible and do nothing but wreck people’s lives. There can be so much more to just a femme fatale, good or bad or both.”  Indeed, while most femme fatales in real or fictitious history can vamp it up with villainy and moral ambiguity, some still come out on the good side of the conflict at the end.

Which led me to my earlier description of a rather recent fictitious television character, one that appeared on the police drama Rookie Blue.  Here’s how I described her then:

Said new officer, Juliet Ward, joins the division.  She’s gotten to know and learn about most everyone there, has capably fulfilled her police duties, and has even become romantic with fellow officer Nick.  But as the season’s first episode is ending, (**WARNING** Major spoiler alert ahead) she gets into a fancy car and starts revealing to an unknown gentleman everything she’s learned about her colleagues.  And the way she utters “Yeah, I’ll tell you everything I know on our way back” didn’t sound as if she were some giddy kid returning home from her first day at school.

“Whoa! Snap!”

Yeah, it was a rather notable plot twist on the show.  And while I went on to hypothesize that Juliet Ward may have been anything from just a simple ol’ officer to the reincarnation of Mae West, it was eventually revealed that she was indeed (**spoiler alert**) an undercover investigator working with the Toronto police department on a corruption case within the 15 Division that was Rookie Blue‘s setting.

So, yeah, Officer Ward had a secret for sure, that being her raison de sa présence.  But was she femme fatale material?  Well, as I noted originally, that was in the eye of the beholder.  Looking back on how it all went down, Juliet did try to learn about her colleagues and make some professional friendships, but her private words and actions led at least this viewer to believe she intentionally wanted to keep her distance from the others.  It was like, “Yeah, most of these people are pretty good, but I’m here to dig up their dirt.”

“Femme fatale material, right?”

Again, that’s in the eye of the beholder.  But when you realize that Juliet likely wasn’t going to be there permanently, it’s easy to understand her desire for distance.  And after she (incorrectly) singled out a beloved duty sergeant as a perpetrator in the corruption case, only to help clear his name and help reveal some other actual dirty cops, she hit the highway…

…But not without the colleague she became intimate with during her investigation.  Yeah, Juliet and Nick’s romance was the real thing.  And while they did have a falling out over her not being honest with him (she defended her work as much as he defended his colleagues), Juliet and Nick would reconcile… so much so that he followed her to her next investigation way out in Vancouver.  Which, thanks to this news, we’ll never get to find out the outcome to.

“Aww!  Not even a spin-off series for those two?”

No, unfortunately, although I imagine those two would work so well together.  But, hey, 6 seasons and 74 episodes is a pretty good run for a show like Rookie Blue.


55fc31ff0cf3d-image

Image source: Wisconsin State Journal/Madison.com

At this point, we must take 180-degree turn from fictional femme fatales (perceived or otherwise) to an unfortunate real-life secret, one that resulted in some truly serious side effects.  The runner pictured at right, for those unfamiliar, is Suzy Favor Hamilton.  She is a Wisconsin native, a former track star at the University of Wisconsin, and a three-time Olympic middle-distance track runner.  After her competitive running career reached its conclusion, she became a mother and a real estate agent here in the Madison area.  However, she also suffered from a mental illness that went misdiagnosed.

What Suzy Favor Hamilton did (or, I guess I may have to correct myself here, does) suffer from is bipolar disorder, a mental condition that is characterized by periods of elevated moods and depression.  In other words, going from the highest of mental highs to the lowest.  As noted above, her disorder initially went misdiagnosed, and she was prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft.  However, a side effect of Zoloft is manic episodes, which may have the potential to include reckless behavior.  For Favor Hamilton, Zoloft led to hypersexuality, and the recklessness led to her losing touch with reality (that’s her descriptive) and creating a side life for herself — a 10-month period as an escort in Las Vegas, complete with an alias.

“Uh, that doesn’t sound all that funny.”

Well, understanding what Suzy Favor Hamilton has gone through, it’s not supposed to be funny (nor is bringing this up in this spot supposed to be funny).  And it became a quite serious situation for her and her family after her secret life was revealed by one of her clients to a tabloid website.

“Oh, dear…”

Luckily, Suzy Favor Hamilton would get the proper help after that, including a correct diagnosis, proper medication and therapy, and especially the loyal support of a husband who has stayed by her side through the ups and downs.

As tawdry as Suzy Favor Hamilton’s secret may be for some, her story is quite powerful, and she has been able to tell it through a memoir that was released back in September, Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness.  She has also done some promotional interviews in support of her book, including separate talks with Madison’s Wisconsin State Journal and WISC-TV.

“It must not have been easy for her to hide that secret.”

I imagine that may have been the case, and she should not be regarded as a bad person for needing to hide it.  But you really have to applaud her for being brave enough and strong enough to bring her situation out into the open, an effort to bring a voice to those like her who suffer from bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses and need real support and proper treatment in order to stay strong.  Good luck to you, Ms. Favor Hamilton.

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Author: Allison M.

Full-time middle-aged male. Long-time overworked office drone. Part-time female fashion plate. Amateur fashionista (emphasis on "amateur"). Admirer and supporter of those who are fashionable, fabulous, and friendly. A little bit silly. Absolutely nowhere near perverted. I am a real human being, just like you. Able to share thoughts about my life experiences, fashion sense, and the world at large despite middling grades in high school creative writing class (but at least I do look cute when I'm writing, so that has to count for something).

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