Allison M.

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


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Random personal thoughts (8/18/2018 edition)

I have just enough time this Sunday morning to let you in on a couple of personal matters.  First off, I’ve put in a feeler on a potential new employment opportunity.  It’s through a different staffing agency than the one where I found my current assignment.  It’s also a temp-to-hire role.  But it also appears to be an indefinite, long-term role.  And it’s also in an industry where I spent a significant portion of my early professional life, meaning I need to move some of the industry’s terminology from the back to the front of my memory if I get this role.

But at the very least, if nothing pans out there or anyplace else, I do have my current assignment to fall back on.  As much as I’m not happy there and have struggled sometimes, the managers I work under seem to be pleased with my work.  Well, at least pleased enough to indicate they’d like to keep me on past September 1 and work some special projects.  While that’s nice, and I’m grateful, I’m not sure if it will be a full-time role.  And let’s just say that it’s not easy having just part-time employment while living in a city as expensive as Madison.

This afternoon, at least, I get to put all those work worries aside and get dressed up.  And for good reason, as today is Madison’s LGBT+ celebration, OutReach Magic Festival.  As I noted back in the spring, city regulations, logistics, and lingering resentment from last year prompted event organizers to eschew from having a parade downtown up State Street, and instead have a picnic/festival event at Warner Park on the northeast side of town.  The setup is meant to help bring the various groups within the pride acronym together, something our community needs right now and will hopefully benefit from.  The bad news, however, is that somebody has been praying for rain.  As I write this, there’s a loud storm moving through town, and a chance of rain exists late during the event.  Ugh!

Hopefully, everyone will stay dry at Magic Festival.  Myself especially, as I will be lugging around a fancy camera while dodging raindrops.  See, yours truly will be volunteering as Allison at the event.  Little Ol’ Do-Gooder Me wanted to help out in any way.  Despite my signing up relatively late (I did so after a volunteer orientation), spots were still available, and I added my femme name to the list as an event photographer.  I’m planning to arrive early enough to not only drink in the event and get a lay of the land, but also to get the ground rules on photographing the event, one of which I’ve learned about already — get consent before taking someone’s picture.  It will be a great thrill to not only lend a hand to what will hopefully be a great event, but to also help document it for posterity.


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Some lingering birthday thoughts

The euphoria (and sugar high) surrounding my turning 50 years old a couple of weeks ago has now long subsided.  But whatever the day, I can still relate to stories about turning another year older — even if it’s not my own birthday.  As an introductory, let me share with you video from Rachel Brosnahan’s recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.  In leading off this appearance, Rachel talks about a bit of a birthday inaccuracy.

I’ve never told anyone that my birthday is on any day other than August 3.  But I can certainly relate to how Rachel’s birthday went from July to April to December, and it’s not out of anyone’s chicanery or anything.  I’ve mentioned it in passing on here before, but I will happily elaborate further in this entry…

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Random rants about this past week

Before I go any further, much of this post will be devoted to the dark past 7 days, and as a whole past 2½ years, that our country has gone through.  I perfectly understand if you want to hit your browser’s back button and go somewhere more cheerful.  Heck, right after I finish writing this I may very well join you.

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Allison’s forty-tenth birthday

The way the calendar works, one’s birthday doesn’t always fall on the same day of the week every year.  So it is with my birthday, which the past few years fell on a work day.  Luckily, this year my 50th birthday fell on a Saturday.  And when my family texted me yesterday to bid me their good wishes, they wondered what I would be doing during the day.  A natural question, what with my 50th falling on a weekend.  I told them I wouldn’t be doing anything big, just relaxing at home.

Oh, boy, was I lying like a dog.

Past-the-knee knit dress & birthday ribbon

That’s yours truly posing for the camera early Saturday evening at one of the more popular restaurants in the Madison area, The Great Dane.  The dress is literally brand new, as well as a birthday present to myself.  Earlier in the day, I made a quick bee line for errands and stopped off at Forever 21 in West Towne Mall to treat myself to not only a new stylish addition to my wardrobe, but also something that will fit me comfortably and not show a lot of leg (I didn’t have enough time for me to shave them, and I’ll explain why in a moment).

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A poem: “Birthday Wishes”

As you may have surmised from the above banner, today (August 3) is indeed my birthday.  It’s my 50th birthday, as a matter of fact.  Yeah, that’s a big number for anyone in their life.  But it’s also a point in my life where I’m very modest about dealing with it.  Matter of fact, I’ve been at my current work assignment for a full year now (my 52nd week ended yesterday), and I’ve never revealed to anyone there that today is my birthday.  (Truth be told, though, nobody in that office has appeared to clue anyone in on the day of their births.  I guess birthdays aren’t a big deal there.)

But still, the big 5-0 is something to celebrate, as I did in my own way last night.

Yes, that’s yours truly taking a selfie at Mother Fools on Friday night, where I performed poetry en femme once again.  Yes, I alluded to my birthday while on the stage, receiving a polite round of applause from the small audience and a couple of well wishes afterwards.

One of the poems I performed last night is shown below.  To keep my poetry skills sharp, I wanted to write some whimsical prose for my birthday.  But while I thought of a couple funny lines for the middle stanza, my mind kept coming up with blanks for the rest.  So I reversed course and took the introspective route.

I must caution that the below words are not the most perfect, especially since they were typed up in a bit of a rush (I really wanted to present it that night).  But these words are a reflection of the eager birthday celebrator I once was, the more modest birthday girl I am today… and the birthday wishes I still harbor now that I’m entering my second half-century, including one that I kind of wish wasn’t impossible (move over, Erica Strange).

Birthday Wishes

When I was in a younger soul’s shoes
My birthday wishes were simple:
A big party
With bigger presents
Or at least a bigger cake
And a round of “Happy Birthday to You”
Oh, was I a different person then

Now that I’m in an older soul’s shoes
My birthday wishes are more simple:
A happy, healthy life
With a steady job
A loving family
And good friends
Who might sing a round of “Happy Birthday to You”
(That is, if they remember my birthday)
Yeah, I’m a more mature person now

But as I enter a 50-year-old soul’s shoes
I do have one birthday wish that’s fantastical:
A time machine
Where I could vividly relieve
My greatest days
The saddest moments
And biggest regrets
And perhaps turn them into something positive
And by the time I next would hear “Happy Birthday to You”
Oh, what a different person I could be now

But, yeah, I know… that’s impossible
At least until someone knows how to alter space and time

So, as I slip on a 50-year-old soul’s shoes
I’ll keep my birthday wishes realistic
The friends and family
The job (or maybe a million dollars instead)
But also a sharp memory
That remembers the years behind me
And a healthy life
That lets me enjoy the years ahead


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Creepy lays out an ultimatum

Most of my male-mode time of late, apart from performing my work assignment, has been spent considering, entertaining, or just contemplating other work opportunities.  The good news on that front is that I did make contact with another staffing agency, who’ve hinted that they may have something come September that my work skills could be a good fit for.

Of course, some agency’s claim that potential something good is not a guarantee that there will actually be something that will not only be available to me but also provide a sense of personal satisfaction.  Which is why there’s also this little bit of good news for me:  The organization where I’m currently assigned appears pleased by my work, at least enough to hope that I’ll stay with them past August and into September… when either I’ll have something else lined up or, Heaven willing, I’ll have enough work to keep me busy (and employed, and paid) where I’m at right now.

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One month after that

While tumbling through the internet rabbit hole to write up my last post, I came across this photograph:

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The photo, rainbow border and all, was posted on the Student Life section of New York University’s website.  The photo was taken by the late Fred McDarrah, who was a writer and also a longtime photographer for The Village Voice.  Among his many assignments was the photographing of the Stonewall Riots, their immediate aftermath, and many LGBT-related marches and celebrations after that.

The date of this particular photo is significant:  Sunday, July 27, 1969.  Yes, 50 years ago yesterday.  Many people may think that all there was of the Stonewall uprising was what happened in June of 1969, followed by a quiet period and the first organized pride march one year later in 1970.  Even worse, many think that the LGBT+ rights movement was only the product of later (i.e. much more recent) generations.

But that line of thinking is incorrect, really.  There was a more quieter LGBT movement before Stonewall.  It’s just that those hot nights in late June 50 years ago were the propellant that took the movement further.  And sure enough, Stonewall led to other protests and rallies in New York immediately afterward, including one exactly one month after the riots, in which a “Gay Power” march culminated in a rally at Washington Square Park.

Admittedly, I don’t know every single detail about the LGBT+ movement.  I’m sure a great many not just outside but also within our community will say the same thing.  But it’s a great feeling to learn about a small moment or a minor contributor that would help ensure the freedoms we enjoy and inspire the open lives we live today.

Here’s hoping you experience that same “gee whiz” feeling when you peruse though our community’s vast and proud history.


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Somebody’s memories

Four years ago, I sung the praises of an advertisement that PFLAG Canada put out to promote and support legal marriage equality worldwide.  The ad was titled “Nobody’s Memories,” and it depicted images of what could have been:  Weddings of same-gender couples from the mid-20th century, shown as home movie footage from an “alternate universe” that gives the viewer chills with their authentic aged styles.  If you want to learn what I’m talking about, check out this blog link to take a look at it yourself; I just watched it again myself and am still struck by how powerful and moving that ad still is.

This week, a news item in the showbiz world made me recall that “Nobody’s Memories” ad and its (*sigh*) imaginary depictions of couples who just happen to be of the same gender in real love.  I’ll talk up that TV item in a bit, but while doing some research on it, I went further down the internet rabbit hole and came across this photo of an actual wedding memory that did happen:

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Photo credit: Universal Entertainment Agency via Houston Chronicle

The above photo, as confirmed in this 2014 Houston Chronicle article, is from a small ceremony that took place at Harmony Wedding Chapel in Houston in October 1972.  The groom is Antonio Molina, a shipping clerk, former high school football star, and Navy veteran.  The resplendent bride is William “Billie” Ert, a female impersonator (stage name: “Mr. Vicki Carr”) and former hairdresser.  Yes, William Ert was a male, but he had a voter registration card that listed his gender as “female.”

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All About R.

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Image source: IMDb.com

If you are a movie buff, or at least one who enjoys a story about behind-the-scenes drama, you probably know the film All About Eve.  Based on a 1946 short story by Mary Orr, the 1950 motion picture is regarded as one of the best films of all time, nominated for 14 Academy Awards and winning 6, the most prominent of the wins being Best Picture.

I’ve seen All About Eve only once.  Well, I should say I actually heard it, when the story was re-enacted for radio a decade ago.  I never saw the Bette Davis/Anne Baxter original, nor any other adaptation produced since then, including, obviously, the British stage adaptation put on earlier this year and whose poster you see to the right (more on why I included this particular poster in a moment).

For those who don’t know how All About Eve goes down, the gist is this (and, yes, ***SPOILERS ARE AHEAD***, thanks to the description on Wikipedia):  Margo Channing, grand dame of Broadway, is introduced to a besotted fan, Eve Harrington.  Impressed by her fawning fandom, Margo takes Eve into her home and hires her as an assistant.  But distrust in Eve begins to swell in Margo, especially after Eve becomes her stage understudy.  By then, the manipulative and ambitious Eve is well under the skin of both Margo and those around her.

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Drip… drip… drip…

This past Wednesday was a pretty eventful one for me.  It started out very first thing in the morning as I was getting ready for a job interview (the subject of my next post, I promise).  And it started as most of my mornings usually do:  Get up, tool around the computer for a while, head into the kitchen for breakfast.

But there was a twist in my routine:  I noticed that a leather footstool in my living room was wet.  I knew for a certainty that I hadn’t spilled anything the night before, so after wiping off the water with a towel, I looked straight up and saw a line of condensation beading up in the ceiling.  Yep, I had a leaky ceiling, which made its presence much more evident when I reached up to wipe off the beading… and a steady downward drip resulted.

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