Built like He-Man – dresses like Barbie

4 08 2013


During my early to mid 20’s I regularly attended a Rock Club.

I was in an experimental phase and the “anything goes” attitude of the regulars appealed to me.

One evening while I was “people watching” from the bar in a haze of alcohol; I spotted a young man.  Although he was not exactly out of place, he caught my eye. He was of stocky build with long bleached blond hair and was, in my mind, traditionally attractive with his set jaw and broad shoulders. However he was dressed in a neon pink tank top and Tutu.

In the context of the club this was far from out of the ordinary. I was surrounded by a sea of people who were effectively in a “costume” of one sort or another. I myself was head to toe in black leather next to my future husband who was apparently trying to relive his teenage years in his ill fitting attire of ripped baggy jeans and a Metallica t-shirt.

Other patrons of the club were in equally improbably outfits:

  1. The 7 foot DJ wearing ridiculously high platform shoes.
  2. The Daddy’s girl with her entire back covered in ink.
  3. The male office worker in a tight fitting leather & lace combo.
  4. The girlie-girl sporting Doc Martins, a studded belt and multiple piercings.

Each of us were in our own way trying to find ourselves.

But in a club were extreme dress, tattoos, piercings and studded collars were the norm; this one guy stood out to me. There were often theme nights which may have justified this attire but I cannot recall if there was one that particular evening. I turned to my future husband and asked “Whose the guy that looks like He-Man but is dressed like Barbie?”

He didn’t know.

I had not meant this comment to be in any way offensive or inflammatory but I noticed the same guy – month in month out – and irrespective of what theme night was taking place at the time, he always appeared in garish pink and very feminine attire.

As I am fairly sociable I eventually struck up a conversation and I can reveal that he is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. It turned out that despite his good looks he was deeply unhappy in his own skin and had a deep desire to live as a woman. He was undergoing a transitional process to have a sex change operation. To prove his conviction he had been asked to dress as a woman to help him make the transition. It struck me at the time as being extremely cruel. He was already deeply uncomfortable and unhappy and while his body and dress didn’t match he was bound to attract unwanted attention from others. But I am not an expert on the psychological reasons behind this and I am sure that the reasoning is sound, that said I cannot understand it.

As I talked to him each month, his voice gradually got higher, his body shape changed and his/her confidence grew. It was amazing to watch this attractive but under-confident young man become a strong assertive woman.

Ignore for one moment any views about the morality of this choice. In that club, freedom of choice was celebrated and accepted, everyone was trying out different personas to find the perfect match. This young man found a level of acceptance and freedom to express himself in a way that was probably denied to him in day to day life.

I don’t know where she is now or what she is doing with her life but I hope she is happy, fulfilled and finally at peace with herself. I for one applaud the personal strength, conviction and bravery it took to make this massive life changing decision.





2 responses

4 08 2013
Stella Scott

I really liked how you transitioned with him to her in your writing. I too hope she is happy, wherever she is. 🙂

4 08 2013

Thank you for your comment – she is a wonderful person and deserves to be happy.

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