Boys in Bustiers

Every time you stop into Northampton’s sensuality shop Oh My, you learn something new. Even me. Today, I swung by to grab a quick bottle of lube and turns out, not only is there a new silicone vibrator that looks like a pink cherry-topped cupcake (cute and high-quality!), but there’s also a company producing lingerie specifically for men.

Homme Mystere Lingerie is making lacy thongs, polka-dotted push-up bras and sheer stockings, all with the necessary adjustments (like more panty-space for your junk and wider bra-bands with smaller cup-sizes) to accommodate male bodies. Oh yes, cross-dressing just got a lot more comfortable.

Ever-entertainingly animated, Oh My’s owner tells me about how hot Homme Mystere’s advertising is. How sexy these jacked, manly models look in these pretty little underthings. How she herself was pleasantly surprised when she once saw a bearded biker bend over to look at something in a shop only to flash a lacy thong peeking out of the back of his Levi’s.

You know me, readers—nothing surprises me though that doesn’t necessarily mean that every sex-related tidbit titillates me personally. But I am a sex nerd. So the first thing I do is head to The Roost for some Google and caffeine. Turns out, Homme Mystere’s really onto something. I was surprised by how at-home a lingerie set looked against this dude’s hairy pecs and really, how well they matched the black brim of his cowboy hat, tilted faux-seductively over his sleepy eyes.

What does this mean? This means that even for your friendly neighborhood sex columnist, cross-dressing is a confusing, mysterious thing, full of misconceptions and assumptions. Cross-dressing is when a biological, male-identified man wears women’s clothing. Usually women’s lingerie, and, interestingly, usually with a particular preference—one dude might be really into thongs while the other loves to strut in heels.

But, cross-dressing is almost easier understood in terms of what it isn’t. Cross-dressing isn’t always attached to sexual arousal or acts. Cross-dressing is not typically about wanting to “pass” as a woman in public, dressing in drag or about a transgender identity (which, has a lot to do with what you wear but is more about your internal gender identification and less about specific articles of clothing). Whether this is a product of cross-dressing’s extremely taboo social stigma or just the nature of the bustiered beast, the act of cross-dressing usually happens privately or very discreetly in public (helloooo biker boy’s thong).

Perhaps cross-dressing’s most perpetuated myth is that it’s just plain gay. In my experience, rarely does liking penis when you have a penis of your own have anything to do with wearing a lacy thong and, in fact, most cross-dressers are heterosexual, married men. Take, for example, the author of the blog who describes himself as the ultimate alpha male who moved from being a popular, rugby-playing high schooler and to a high-powered professional who only truly unwinds from his stressful, manly life by slipping into some Victoria’s Secret.

If cross-dressing isn’t about fetish-sex, homosexuality or transgenderism, then what’s it about? The motivation behind cross-dressing is often the most confusing part for outsiders. Maybe this is because cross-dressers themselves usually struggle to verbalize their desire, with many simply citing an unfightable urge to wear women’s lingerie. Maybe it’s like how I have an unfightable urge to wear jewel-toned skinny jeans—“hipster” isn’t my sexual orientation, it’s just what makes me feel good, okay?! Or perhaps cross-dressing is misunderstood because there’s not really a “female counterpart” to the practice. If I want to unwind from a stressful workday in some baggy jeans and an Oxford button-down, no one’s calling the Pervert Police about it.

Whatever the motivation, cross-dressing is often intensely personal, confusing and guilt-ridden, making cross-dressers one of the most closeted “fetish groups.” In turn, this makes the women who are into cross-dressing fellas even harder to find. Though the wife of the blogger behind WhyDoMenCrossDress affectionately calls her husband’s cross-dressing state his “inner bitch mode,” not all wives are as accepting or, if they are, aren’t open about their love/like/lust for burly loggers in lace. Until now?•

Yana Tallon-Hicks

Author: Yana Tallon-Hicks

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