Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up

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Good luck


A green-dyed Chicago River (with everything else black and white apparently for good photographic effect) (Image source here)

Today is March 17, better known far and wide as Saint Patrick’s Day.  Traditionally, this date is the supposed death anniversary of Saint Patrick, who is widely considered both the patron saint of Ireland and the man who brought Christianity to the lush green isle several millennia ago.  This is as opposed to Saint Eligius, who is considered the patron saint of longshoremen and bowling aficionados. (Uh, wait a minute, that may not be right…)  The good citizens of Ireland treat this day with general solemnity and recognition of Irish pride; indeed, this is an official public holiday in Ireland.

Those who are part of the worldwide Irish diaspora have been credited with popularizing Saint Patrick’s Day on a global basis.  Thanks to the specter of commercialization this day has gained a life of its own here in America, especially since the mid 20th century.  Anything with a green and/or Irish theme seemingly pops up everywhere at this time of year:  Greeting card aisles are stocked with “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” cards.  Parades are held.  Traditional Irish music is played.  Bodies of water are dyed green.  Sports teams who don’t have green in their color scheme add it to their uniforms.  Party shops are loaded with green- or shamrock-themed party wares.  Speaking of parties, semi-responsible adults use this day as an excuse to drink beer and act uncouth (ugh).  And people of all ages put on real green clothing, fake Irish accents, and even faker Irish names (i.e. adding a “Mc” to the beginning of their surnames).

And it’s all done to foster, for better and (much) worse, Irish stereotypes, usually to a humorous or joyous intent if not always having a humorous or joyous effect.  True story:  When I lived in the Green Bay area, a morning radio team (classic rock station, of course) had an annual tradition of “staging” (note the quote marks) a “St. Patrick’s Day Parade” down the main boulevard of one of the cities in the area, complete with “marching bagpipe bands” (again, note the quote marks) with names that stereotype the various non-Irish European cultures that populate much of Wisconsin.  Definitely stereotypical, in more ways than the listener would expect on that day.  But at least their pointed non-stereotype jokes throughout the routine hit the mark.

Admittedly, as a naive kid of single-digit ages, I got roped into the Saint Patrick’s Day rigmarole.  For example, I would ask everyone I encountered, fellow kid or otherwise, “Hey, why aren’t you wearing green today?  You won’t get good luck now.”  Sometimes I would get away with asking that despite not wearing a hint of green on my own person, not even a green button.

But as I grew older and more wiser, I started seeing Saint Patrick’s Day for what it is:  Just another day that just happens to be marked in a special way on the calendar.  (No offense, of course, to the fair people of Ireland who treat this day with utmost respect.)  There are only a couple of minor items in my closet (both male and female sides) that have some sort of green, but I don’t drag them out and put them on just for the sake of this day.  I don’t put on a fake Irish accent or add a “Mc” to my name.  I don’t even buy a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.  And I most definitely do not drink copious amounts of green beer and party until the morning light (I’m a teetotaler, of course).

But if there is one Irish stereotype I admit to imbibing on today, it’s the thought of luck.  When reading up on Saint Patrick’s Day, I saw only one reference to luck, that being the tossing of a shamrock over the shoulder after taking a drink, for good luck.  I had always dismissed shamrocks and superstitions involving them as being equivalent to imagery of leprechauns — nothing more than representations of negative Irish stereotypes and symbols of a feeling of fortune not everyone can obtain.

But a couple of years ago on Saint Patrick’s Day, my Firefox browser displayed this:

Firefox shamrock 3-17-2016

And when I saw that image appear in my browser, it hit me like a ton of lead.  What was once (and still is?) regarded as Saint Patrick’s way of metaphorically describing the Christian Holy Trinity has become the quick go-to symbol of good luck, in lieu of the very rare four-leaf clover.  But more than the imagery, it’s the words that accompany it, or at least what accompanied this particular shamrock:  Good health.  Good luck.  Happiness.  On the 17th of March and every day.  At the end of a week when, at least professionally, I haven’t had a lot of good luck (and I feel downright scared about my work status), actually gaining good luck and happiness can feel very elusive elusive.  But it’s something I can hope for, if not make it possible.  And if I can’t entirely make it possible, at least being wished a lifetime of good luck and happiness, and wishing the same on others, can bring nothing but warmth to a heart that needs it.

So, on this Saint Patrick’s Day, here’s hoping that, as Firefox so aptly communicated, you have three wishes coming your way — wishes of good health, good luck, and warm happiness, not just today but every single day.  Enjoy your day.


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Allison’s Word: “Whoa”

I should warn you that this edition of “Allison’s Word” will be a bit of a downer.  Before getting into the subject matter, though, I want to briefly note that I went before a fancy camera again last Sunday.  Yep, there was another LGBT-oriented photo event here in Madison, and I got all dolled up, put on my best wig (well, as best as that best wig could get anyway), and became acquainted or reacquainted with fellow people from Madison’s LGBT+ community.  Oh, yes, and I posed for new photos.  I can’t wait to see how the pics turned out, and when I order and receive my selected final shots, I’ll definitely share them with you.

Now, on to what I wanted to talk about here, and the word I want to highlight:


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A quick thought or two on International Women’s Day

I hadn’t been planning to write a blog post tonight, but the significance of today is too important to ignore.  So, here goes, and forgive me if the thoughts I want to communicate don’t come out perfect:  Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day.  Basically, this is a date to commemorate the progress women have made throughout the world, honor the women who pushed for that progress, and recognize the progress that still needs to be gained to ensure that women worldwide have equal rights and opportunities.

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Letting in some light

My previous post recounted the first part of my busy weekend performing poetry at Mother Fool’s.  Here, I want to talk about something from the second half of same weekend, after the trans/CD support group I regularly attend held their meeting.  Several of us gathered at a pizza place located, ironically enough, kitty corner from Mother Fool’s.  Among our group was a cis-gender ally who was there with her partner.  The conversation between the two of us ventured into where we had previously lived and worked, and it raised familiar territory for me:  She noted that she used to work in the Green Bay area at… let’s just say it’s a certain company that’s part of a certain industry we’ll need to rely on at least once in our lives.  I mentioned to her matter-of-factly that I used to live in Green Bay as well… and I used to work at that very same company, around the same time she had been there. (We worked in separate offices and different departments, natch.)

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Another enjoyable poetry performance

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, and instead of going to the gym or running errands as I usually do on a Sunday, I’m just relaxing and doing an odd job or two around the house.  And, of course, writing this blog entry.  The reason I’m relaxing is because the past 48 hours or so have been pretty busy for my feminine side.  The CD/trans support group I’m a part of had a Saturday afternoon meeting.  And Friday night, I took part in what I want to talk up here — another open-mic poetry reading Friday night at Mother Fool’s coffee house on Williamson Street.

3-2-2018 841-14pm

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When a playful side comes out

Slightly risque and not quite perfect in leather

Just a quick thought to share.  And, yes, this photo looks familiar.  It’s one of the pictures I shared in my previous post, during which I recounted my day posing for Caitlin at Smoketree Photography (gotta give credit where credit is due).  When I posted this photo to Flickr, I added an aside I want to expand on a little bit here.  One of the outtakes from my session with Caitlin was of me having a little bit of playful fun with the traffic driving past our shooting location.  I gave the traffic a playful waive of the hand, as if to say, “Well, hello there, good looking.”

One thing’s for sure:  Male Mode Me would never do something as playful as that.

If you’ve ever put on a costume for Halloween, perhaps you notice that your personality changes a little bit.  Your inhibitions start to loosen up, and you go from someone who’s rather reserved to one who is more outgoing than usual.  The happy feelings you exude rub off on everyone around you; that joy and happiness spreads quickly.  It’s almost as if a light switch in your mind is flicked from “off” to “on,” doesn’t it?

Every time I get dressed up, be it for venturing out or just staying inside, I notice a clear change in my personality.  Male Mode Me and his straitlaced, reserved personality “steps out of sight” for a bit.  In his place steps Allison, ready to brighten everyone’s day and offer a little bit of playfulness for the mirror, a camera, or a stranger passing by.

For sure, I am definitely more confident and outgoing when dressed up as Allison, which isn’t always how Male Mode Me appears to be.  Methinks Male Mode Me could stand to learn a lesson or two from Allison.

For my fellow crossdressers out there:  When you shed those male mode clothes and step into your favorite skirt or dress, do you tend to notice a more playful, more outgoing, more confident version of yourself making their presence known?

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Allison watches the birdie

A little admission:  I have never really had any sort of a bucket list.  You know what I’m talking about, the list of items and activities you feel you absolutely, positively need to do before you (*ahem*) shove off this mortal coil.  I’ve never had the urge to see an exotic locale (Canada is good enough for me), nor have I desired to parachute from a plane (I hate heights).  Nope, for better or worse, I’ve been rather modest about the figurative heights I want to shoot for in my life.

That’s not to say that I don’t have things I would love to do as Allison before I expire, not minding too much if I will never get the chance to do them.  I already have presented my femme side in public several times in the past year alone, including marching in a pride parade and performing my poetry.  I have also longed to get a professional makeover and pose for the camera afterwards.

Well, back in September 2017, I didn’t get a professional makeover.  But I did pose for a professional photographer.

Sunglasses and leather jacket

Last September, I learned on Facebook about a “LGBTQ Photo Pop-Up” event here in Madison.  The event was set up by Caitlin, who runs her own photography business called Smoketree Photography.  As Caitlin communicated on the event’s Facebook entry, the rationale for the event was this:  Intentionally or otherwise, a LGBT+ person can be put in an uncomfortable situation when working with photographers who come from a background that can be considered “traditional.”  Their subjects and events are usually heteronormal in nature (e.g. man-and-wife weddings, proms, etc.), and their mindset can be heteronormal as well.  This can result in photos that don’t reflect how their LGBT+ client see themselves as.  Caitlin and her “pop-up” event sought to alleviate any such discomfort and create a safe environment for their subjects.

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Allison gets Olympic fever (Pyeongchang edition)

2018 Olympic Winter Games logoA question for you:  Have you watched any of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games at this point?  Yeah, you knew I was going to ask you about the Olympics, what with the title of this post, the logo to your right, and the “BOOM! Boom! Buh-BOOM! Boom!” coming out of your TV set.  Since Pyeongchang, South Korea is now in the second half of its Olympic fortnight, I thought I’d highlight some interesting notes about I’ve watched and read about the Olympics.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of these Games that I’ve noticed and taken a routing interest in is the performances of LGBT athletes in Pyeongchang.  This article from The Advocate gives a nice summation of the performances by out athletes up to this point, but I’ll do a quick summary of what are perhaps the two most noteworthy feats, both of which happen to be in figure skating.  First, there was out skier Eric Radford of Canada, who with skating partner Meagan Duhamel were part of the gold medal winners in the team competition and later won bronze in the pairs competition.  It’s a bummer that both Eric and Meagan are retiring from competitive skating, but they are certainly going out on a high note.

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A nice, comfy winter coat

Okay, okay, you’ve had your fill of me talking about the business world, and I hear you.  You want to see an actual new photo of me?  Well, let me take care of that right here and now.  If you’ve noticed the calendar, it’s still February.  And here in Wisconsin, February still means we’re in the grips of winter, no matter what some groundhog may say.  And when it’s winter in Wisconsin, one really needs to bundle themselves up before opening the front door and facing winter’s chill and snow.  And that includes…

Purple winter coat

Yep, a winter coat.  The past year-plus, I’ve been venturing out of the house as Allison much more often, primarily to support group meetings.  Before this winter, I never had a women’s winter coat.  No, I don’t mean the leather or denim jackets that occupy my closet; as lovely as they are in their own right, they’re more suited for a season like spring or autumn, when the weather in Wisconsin isn’t as harsh as what winter regularly brings.  So, back in December, I moseyed over to the Burlington that’s located here on the West side.  When you think of Burlington, you tend to think of coats (it’s website is still, although it also features other clothing as well as home decor and gifts.  But it’s that “Coat Factory” part of its old name that still makes me think of Burlington as a store for affordable outerwear.  And sure enough, this purple Madden Girl coat was on the sales rack.

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Random thoughts (2/17/2018 edition)

I’m spending this Saturday giving Male Mode Me a deserved rest — and, by obvious extension, yours truly — after he had a somewhat draining week professionally.  How draining, you ask?  Well, it wasn’t so much physically draining as it was mentally.  Let me explain by following up to my previous post recounting my satisfying yet not entirely enjoyable day of volunteering at a youth business event on Wednesday, which you can read about here if you haven’t done so already.  During and after my “mentoring” of my assigned team in their business simulation (note the quote marks as they ran circles around me in terms of knowing how to manage a business), several thoughts ran through my mind:  For one, unlike how I was at their age (or even now in my adulthood), these students are clearly bright and talented, and it’s for certain that their skills have been and continue to be molded and nurtured by their teachers and other educators who clearly want their students to succeed.

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