Allison M.

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


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Another one down: Charlotte Russe

If you’ve read some of my blog posts over the past year or so, you’ve sensed a lament of retail fashion and department store outlets succumbing to the pressures of nimble competition and owners who want to make a profit on their investment.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s selling clothes or toys, whether they catered to a younger or older crowd, or even if they were prominent in online sales.  If a store closes up shop, it leaves an empty space in your nearby mall/plaza/whatever, creates queasiness in city and mall managers, and definitely leaves a big pit in an avid shopper’s heart.

Unfortunately, what’s been a leading reason for these stores/chains shuttering is bankruptcy.  It’s been happening with Shopko, which declared Chapter 11 in late January and has announced more than several store closures since then, including their last 3 locations here in the Madison area.  For Shopko, not only is their misfortune the result of withering competition, it also involves keeping lining further the pockets of their vulture private equity owners.  At the beginning of this month, it was revealed that Shopko had to borrow over $179 million from financial lenders to pay dividends and “consulting fees” to the investment firm that owns it.  Some of that money — $13.5 million worth — could have gone to the State of Wisconsin in the form of taxes and other fees Shopko still owes the state.  Yeah, that’s a lot of money, and who knows what Shopko’s fate could be right now if it went to where it should have gone (i.e. the taxman, employees, debtors) instead of the fat-cat owners who want only one thing: A quick return on their investment. Continue reading


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A poem: “Saturday and Sunday”

It’s rather apropos that this poem is being presented on the weekend that the United States and Canada “spring ahead” and set their clocks forward one hour.  The good thing about daylight saving time is that it’s a heralding of warmer and brighter months.  The bad news is that you lose an hour of sleep… and as a result, you’re one hour closer to (*ugh!*) Monday and the start of another long, grueling work week (which I’ve known a lot of recently).

I’ve always thought that Saturday morning is the best part of any weekend.  It’s a time to sleep in, of course, but also a time where you think to yourself two things:  Thank goodness that work week is over and Oh, boy!  I’ve got the next two days to do what I want!  Gee, and to think that once upon a time, all Saturday morning was known for was watching cartoons on TV.

As suggested in the first paragraph, my least favorite part of the weekend is Sunday.  No, it doesn’t have to do with religious connotations.  Rather, it’s the realization that, oh my gosh, this weekend is already half over, and Monday is tomorrow.  Yeah, knowing that a new work week is ahead can dampen one’s enthusiasm for their desired Sunday activities.

“Saturday and Sunday”

Saturday morning
Sleep right in
Only to be awakened
By the bright light of dawn
And with that you arise
Take a deep, happy breath in
And realize the week is done
And it’s a day to relax
To be yourself
And have some fun

Saturday afternoon
All dressed up
Or dressed down, if you want to
You get to do the things you like to do
And all the things you couldn’t do
During that work week now through
So shop or play
Or at home you can stay
Either way, it’s your day
To be yourself
And have some fun

Saturday night
Dressed to the nines
Or not, if you don’t want to
This is your evening
To enjoy yourself as you’ve been meaning
Well, really, desiring
So however you want
It’s your night to rock
Dine in first class
Dance to a beat that’s hot
See a show that’s sterling
Or… maybe just stay home
On your couch a curling
And watch a movie again
Which is fine
Because it’s your way
To be yourself
And have some fun

Sunday morning
Sleep right in
Only to be awakened
By the oh-too-early light of dawn
And with that you arise
Take a deep breath in
And realize something that’s not fun:
Your weekend is half done
You better go ahead
And do those things that need to be done
Take that time to still have some fun
Better hurry, though
For Monday’s about to come
Which starts another five days
That are not all to yourself
Yeah, that’s so not fun

It seems to me
I really must say
As if there are too few Saturdays
And too many Sundays


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#TBT follow-up: From Plan B to…

12-30-2018 1205-30pmOne month ago, I wrote in this post about Plan B, the LGBT-oriented nightclub on Williamson Street that you see in the above photo, and how wound up in a very unflattering light.  To sum up:  Some drag performers had a cow in December when club staff forbid them from changing in their usual dressing room.  The queens called out the club on social media, with some of them severing ties with Plan B.  Several other performers and patrons said “I can top that story” and called out club ownership for how they ran the club, one owner in particular for his treatment of staff and customers, and one security staffer for an incident with a black patron.

When the dust settled, Plan B was sold, with founding owner Rico Sabatini returning to take ownership of the club.  It also led to some reflecting of what Plan B became under the previous ownership — that is, a club that was and still is widely popular but lost its original focus of being a safe and inviting haven for the LGBT+ community.

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A character’s definition

Just for a moment, forget the fact that this blog is being written by a male-to-female crossdresser.  Go on, briefly wipe from your memory any indications that I’m an everyday male; cover up those references on your computer screen if you must.

Okay, now that you’ve done that, go back and look at my photos, either the above header or my Flickr feed.  Now, then, ask yourself this:  Am I female?  Well, since I am wearing clothing and hair and makeup that’s associated with being feminine, your usual answer when you saw me would be “yes.”  But would your answer change if I restored to your mind the fact that I was born male?  Or that I live my everyday life as a male?  Or that, being a crossdresser, I consider myself part of the broad transgender community?  And having reminded you of that, would your respect of me as a person change in any way?

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A poem: “Character”

One word that kept running through my mind when writing my last post was the thought of one’s character.  Three definitions of the word “character” stood out to me:

  • The total features or traits that form an individual’s being
  • One’s integrity or moral & ethical quality
  • One’s reputation

In this era where those who want to wish the LGBT+ community out of existence, or at least push us back into a dark corner, we need to construct our positive character to the world.  In other words, put on display the good things that make us who we are and form our well being, and that will make a positive impression on the rest of the world.  But that shouldn’t stop there, for we still need to call out those whose own dark character forms the broad brush that paints us in unflattering colors.

To borrow a line from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”  I’m embarrassed that I don’t always heed those words, sometimes going as dark and spiteful as those who hate our community.  But when I take a stand against those who disdain us with scorn, it feels empowering.

Character

Character
Definition:
Who I am everyday
I am someone normally button down
Ending workdays with a tired frown
Every now and again, I step right in
A garment and gender I’m not normally seen in
Yet they feel like a brand new skin
And brings out a new attitude from within

Character
Definition:
Why I do the things I do
Well, for one, I love to work
And with it, the earned financial perks
That keep me fed and sheltered
And, yes, clothed
But why two sets of clothes?
Well, to have you know
Dressing up, I feel an empowered aesthetic
Dressing up lets me become empathetic
And forms in me a positive ethic
That helps build a better world
That’s why I’m a guy… who’s also a girl

Character
Definition:
Well… who are you everyday?
I don’t need to ask it
Rather, I can see it:
You have your own jobs you go to
And your own homes to come to
There, you’re lord and master
Of your own personal castle
In a kingdom you want to expand
To points beyond everything you can see

Character
Definition:
Why do you do the things you do?
I don’t need to ask
For I can accurately guess:
The world doesn’t fit your narrow definition
Of the world sharing your morality
You’re mad that that number’s less than a plurality
And for that… you retaliate against all humanity?!

Character
Definition:
What makes us, us… and not like you
Yes, I know this will add to your petulance
But the whole world doesn’t share your stance
We admire others, near and far
And let them live freely
No matter who they love or what they are
We treat people with respect
And not try to mold them into an object
That came from an assembly line

Character
Definition:
What makes us all human beings
We’re born, we’ll die
And in between
We’ll live and breathe
And do our own things
If it’s not the same as your life
It doesn’t give you any right
To mold us into something you desire us to be

So don’t shun us, harm us, or taunt us
And with whitewash, don’t paint us
Your principles don’t make you our principal
So please let us live free
Because we’re all independent
Living with good intent
And if you take time to know us
You’ll recognize something in us
We are not strange and peculiar
Our character is what build our character
It’s not just who we are
It’s also how we live to be


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Why Allison couldn’t march this weekend but still found herself riled up

Two years ago this weekend, the day after You Know Who became you know what, millions of people marched in cities across the country.  It was the starting point, or at least the most prominent moment, of what is called the Women’s March movement to advocate women’s rights, workers’ rights, immigration reform, and several other important issues, not to mention respect of others and anger toward You Know Who and his right-of-center cronies.  Here in Madison on that day, an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 participants marched up State Street and assembled at the Capitol Square.

Yesterday (January 19), not only in Washington but across the country, the anniversary of that march was commemorated by another round of marches and rallies.  Yes, a march and rally was held here in Madison as well.  No, unfortunately, it wasn’t as big as the one that occurred two years ago; the estimated number attending at the State Capitol was reported at 700.  Perhaps it the snow and cold that kept some people away (Madison had received 4.5 inches of snow in the overnight hours), but 700 is still a pretty decent number all things considered.

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Thanks, Gov!

It’s almost the middle of January.  And depending on where you live in the United States, the fruits of last November’s elections, which saw for the most part success of progressive-leaning candidates nationwide, are starting to take shape.  And while it’s definitely good to know that the Democratic Party caucus in the new Congress has more diversity (including 10 openly gay or bisexual Senators or Representatives), this quick post will highlight a very nice development on the state level.  Or to be more precise, at Wisconsin’s state level.

Image source: The Capital Times

The man you see in the glasses in this photo is Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s 46th governor, who took the oath of office last Monday, January 7, at the State Capitol here in Madison.  As you’d expect from such a ceremony, there was a lot of pomp and circumstance:  The music.  The administration of the oath to Evers.  The same to four other constitutional officeholders, including the state’s first African-American lieutenant governor (and second person of color to hold statewide office in Wisconsin), Mandela Barnes.  The speeches.  And the promise of a hopeful next four years, even if the legislature is still dominated by a not-so-progressive party.

Needless to say, Governor Evers is progressive, and in his first day in office, he signed his first executive order, one that’s nothing but positive for our community.  The order he signed requires that state government agencies develop policies that will prohibit discrimination against employees and whomever they serve on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Additionally, the Evers administration will begin development on “a model anti-discrimination policy that will be distributed to all state employees.”

Yes, this is indeed great news.  In the previous 8 years, Wisconsin was governed by a man who sought to “divide and conquer,” starting with controversial legislation that hit public sector employees and unions where it hurt (and led to said employees storming the State Capitol in protest).  His tenure also fostered an atmosphere of his party having an attitude that they could do anything they want, including actual or perceived “cronyism,” left-leaning opposition inside and outside the State Capitol be dammed.

That’s not entirely the case any more here in Wisconsin.  Oh, sure, Governor Evers still has to face a legislature that’s still controlled by the other party.  But his first actions show that it’s still necessary to ensure that people in our state are treated with dignity and respect, and that their work is judged on how they do the job, not based on who they love, nor how they identify, and certainly not by how they’re connected in government.

Not only did this move occur here in Wisconsin this month, our neighbors in Michigan have seen the same thing:  That state’s own new Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, signed her own executive directive that prohibits Michigan’s state agencies, service providers, and whoever else works with the state from discriminating against LGBT+ people, as well as strengthening prohibitions against discrimination in state services based on sexual or gender identity.

So, this is definitely great news here in the Midwest.  If only every governor had the smarts to make such moves (giving an angry look at you, Florida).


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An enjoyable moment from my 2018

Whenever it’s the last week of a year, I find myself looking at the calendar on the wall, noticing the dwindling dates of December, and asking myself, egads, where has this year gone?

The gravity of knowing that one year is about to give way to another makes one think of all that’s to come with the new calendar on the wall as well as, naturally, all that occurred while the old calendar was posted.  And a lot happened in 2018, including something you probably know by now if you’re a frequent reader of this blog:  My having to depart my previous place of employment and eventually finding the current temp-to-hire assignment I call my new income source.

But rather than bore you with another post of the professional journey Male Mode Me took in 2018, or for that matter any other issues that popped up in my life this year, I want to lift my cup of kindness yet for one of the more enjoyable days of my previous 365 that should not be forgot.  At the end of September, I joined up with a Flickr friend and fellow male-to-female crossdresser.  The two of us first got together a few years ago at my apartment, at my invitation.  Back in the fall, my friend put out the call for someone to join her for an afternoon at her place, which she would have all to herself.  (Her wife doesn’t mind her dressing up but wants no part of it.)

My Flickr friend and I spent the few hours of that late afternoon trying on outfits, conversing (despite my not being a brilliant conversationalist), and just enjoying that “girl time.”  And, yes, we took pictures.  It was just these past few days that I finally got around to going through the photos from that afternoon.  First was this pic of yours truly in a leopard print dress and trusty leather belt you probably saw before on here:

Leopard print dress & black belt

And this dress I found earlier in September at St Vincent de Paul.  Yes, there are diamond shaped studs along the lower halves of the sleeves and above the hemline.  And, yes, it was love at first sight when I saw it, especially considering the fact that it’s in my size (8).

Black dress with studs

And here’s me in another item I found at St Vincent de Paul, a tank top all glittery in front-panel sequins.  I pair it here with a patent leather mini skirt I found at Forever 21.

Sparkly top and patent leather skirt

But the best photo of yours truly from that late afternoon was one of the last pictures my friend and I took.

Pinstripe suit & "Me" shirt

Yes, you’ve seen this “me” shirt I found in the Macy’s markdown racks back in March.  But the suit?  I had just bought this Who What Wear pantsuit earlier that very day before my dress-up rendezvous.  A few days earlier, I had actually noticed this suit on the rack at Target but didn’t think of purchasing it then.  After that, however, I thought about how my femme side deserves to have a professional look.  I mean, an endless stream of wigs and leather skirts isn’t enough sustenance for a crossdresser.

So when you look at me in this suit, you’re not just looking a crossdresser.  You’re looking at a human being who in 2018 went through the sadness of losing one job; regained pride in finding new employment; and for one Saturday afternoon, put aside the worries of the outside world and took the time to be… well, me.

It’s this day of meeting up with someone and dressing up for the camera that is one of the better moments I will want to remember 2018 for.  Yeah, the steep slopes and rough seas of this year will linger in the back of my mind, but my glass will be raised in honor of the good moments and good people I spent them with.

Here’s hoping when you raise your own glass at midnight tonight (or earlier if you like to turn in early on New Year’s Eve as I do), you’ll have your own happy moments and good friends you’ll remember from 2018.  Thanks for reading, and may you all have a happy and safe 2019.


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Sporting a little red and black downtown

Yes, I hear you from a mile away.  “Yes, Allison,” you’re telling me, “we don’t mind you telling about what’s going on in your life and what you’re digging.  But we just want to see new photos of you.”  Okay, you got your wish.

Red hair, candystripe shirt, and vinyl leggings

One Saturday back in may of this year, I attended a regular meeting of the CD/TG support group I’m a part of.  On most Saturdays after our meetings, our group meets up at some restaurant in the Madison area to break bread, literally and figuratively.  On this particular Saturday, we had dinner at Short Stack Eatery, a LGBT-friendly restaurant I’ve talked about here and here and will eventually devote a full post to sometime soon (the food and atmosphere are that good there).

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Allison still plays Scrooge (well, mostly) when it comes to Christmas carols

Three years ago, I went on a tear over something everyone’s ears will put up with at least once or twice, if not a heck of a lot more than that, this time every year:  The Christmas carol.  Shop at any mall or turn on any radio and it’s for sure you’ll wind up listening to some old chestnut of a carol.  It’s a natural occurrence during the holiday season.  It gets people in a holiday (and holiday shopping) spirit.  It can brighten one’s spirits.

And it can also get on one’s nerves, for various reasons.  One is that they’ve heard those songs over and over and over again.  Another may be that someone may not want music to get them into the holiday spirit, or at least certain versions of these carols.  And a third reason may be that some of these carols don’t have anything to do with Christmas directly.

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