Friday, March 30, 2018
I have a surprise for your birthday.
I don’t want to do anything for my birthday. I hate birthdays.
Well I’ve already paid for it, too bad. I’m taking you on a cruise and you can dress however you like.
Seriously? Are you sure?
Yes I’m sure…………..
So started the adventure. I needed clothes. We got in the car and went shopping together. My wife picked out some appropriate outfits and asked if was going to try them on. I felt uncomfortable taking women’s clothing into the men’s changing room and couldn’t go into the women’s changing room since I wasn’t dressed appropriately. I carefully hid the outfits on the racks and returned the following day to try them on. New dresses, new shoes, new bathing suit, day-wear, evening-wear, exercise clothing – you name it, I was all in.
We arrived at the cruise port in Miami around lunch time. I was dressed in gender neutral clothing as usual but presenting as a man, because of passport control. We found the cabin and I immediately dressed the part. All went well for a day and a half and I was as happy as……….(you fill in the blank). We were heading into very stiff winds of up to 30 knots. I was on the top deck walking around the track and low and behold a strong gust of wind took the hat and the wig and sent them flying…………oops. Some very kind gentleman picked up the hat, I retrieved the wig and I tried to get everything back in place before too many people noticed………very embarrassing.
Two days later we went ashore to climb a volcano. I was dressed in gender neutral clothing but was again presenting as a man, since I was off the ship and did not want any awkward questions. We climbed and climbed and talked to a number of fellow passengers. That evening, while we were watching the band play and people dancing, one of our fellow mountaineers was standing near us and recognized my wife. He then looked at me. He appeared somewhat puzzled by what he saw – me wearing a long black dress, wig and makeup. Eventually he and his wife walked away not sure what they had just encountered. Oh well, only those who can relate, can truly understand.
After that there were no further mishaps, but a lot of happy memories. I would like to thank my wife for the wonderful gift. Let’s do it again someday.
Thank you so much Stephena for sharing. If you have any photos please share and I will post.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Bootie…shootie…ankle boot…shoe boot…
"Whatever you call them, it’s hard to deny the versatility and great look of an ankle boot. If you don’t like the idea of wearing these with skirts and dresses (I get how the chopped up line doesn’t work for everyone), ankle boots still work really well with jeans and pants. This is especially true for those of us in warmer climes, where a full height boot is pretty oppressive on all but a few days out of the year." (Source Forever45 blog)
I had the opportunity over the past three years to travel north during the winter months. Prior, most of my wardrobe had evolved into a sub-tropical look, so I had to scramble every time a trip to Oregon, Michigan, or Canada came up. Slowly, I added items that worked.
I am not big on the long boots although I see them as very sexy. It is just that I cannot get a good fit. As I have purchased the above items, there have been description on the blog, so with a little digging you can find these. It is sufficient to say that three of the boots are Pikolinos and one Coach. All great fits and style.
Yes, all of the above boots saw snow and held up well. I even did a long "light house" path hike in one pair and long theater to street parking spot, walk in another. One pair enjoyed exploring a previous Winter Olympic Village and several were very much in place with jeans at my local winter car shows.
Now as I store my boots until next winter awaiting another trip north, I get out my sandals. Oh I forgot, they were never put away. Until the trips of next winter, I bid my ankle boots a restful hiatus. Summer is almost here!
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
I have been interested in this study for some time. Somewhat science and somewhat conjecture. While it might sound like hokey palm reading, researchers are finding that the ratio between the length of your ring and index fingers may in fact correlate to your prenatal exposure to T, (or Estrogen) and have a significant influence on your body, brain, and behavior well into adulthood according to the Art of Maleness.
I have never been totally sure of how to do the measurement and ratio, however found this illustration recently.
First the calculation:
Measure your index and ring fingers, base to tip. (Most of the studies used the right hand.) Divide the length of your index finger (A) by the length of your ring finger (B) to determine the digit ratio, or finger quotient (Fq). A longer ring finger results in an Fq of less than 1 and a more “masculine” hand shape. Simple A divided by B (A/B) calculation. (Source Discover Magazine)
The Art of Maleness continued with this observation and history:
That hit a nerve. It has been speculated that there is a biologic component to gender identity and thus being transgender. I believe that gender is not just a social construct. Google Scholar points to many article that have this similar information:
The Connection Between 2D:4D Ratio and Prenatal Hormones
Objective: To review current literature that supports a biologic basis of gender identity.
Methods: A traditional literature review.
Results: Evidence that there is a biologic basis for gender identity primarily involves (1) data on gender identity in patients with disorders of sex development (DSDs, also known as differences of sex development) along with (2) neuroanatomical differences associated with gender identity.
Conclusions: Although the mechanisms remain to be determined, there is strong support in the literature for a biologic basis of gender identity.
It has been my unscientific conjecture that the transgender persons who states "born in the wrong body " or the lesser degree transgender persons, "relating to the feminine more so than masculine" all have an in vitro feminization component. Sex Hormones in the womb.
Let's revisit this later. However, for now my digit ratio is pretty close to 1.0 or equal 2D:4D. This is close to the expected ratio for cisgender women. Comment or e-mail your results to (Rhonda @ rhondasescape.com). We will discuss this further in another post. This is extremely interesting.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
This past weekend Palm Beach County had its annual Boat Show. Over the years it has grown into on of the top five premier "in-water" show in the nation. Massive interlocking floating docks are assembled over a two week period and thousand of boats are brought; everything from a simple dingy to massive mega yachts over 150'. See my photo below and this web site to view additional photos including amazing shots inside the yachts.
The show was very well attended due to the excellent weather and the day I attended was no exception - Temperatures in the low 80's and great access to all parts of the show including touring the yachts.
I parked nearby in my downtown restaurant/shopping area and took a short trolley ride to the main show entrance. Waiting with her boyfriend was a very well dressed woman. So over dressed, however she was beautiful. I have attempted to recreate her outfit above and believe I nailed it, including shoes. Yes, it was that short and the boyfriend was taking photos while we were waiting for the trolley. She looked stunning and knew it.
All of her detail matched and the coordination was perfect. Lots of planning and as the sayings goes - "An outfit to die for!" I love polka dots and was enthralled.
Oh, and by the way, the boats were OK too.
|Palm Beach Boat Show '18|
Monday, March 26, 2018
I love high heels because they make me feel sexy and powerful. I love the way heels look on me and I love the way that other women look in heels. I love the way high heels change my walk, the way they make my legs look, that extra height boost they give me, and the physical appearance of the heels. A great pair of high heels can change everything.
This is the description one female writer noted when describing her high heel love. I could not agree more.
Just to make sure this was not a just personal preferences I did some research and found that there is, hold on, scientific evidence.
The article in THE LIST, discussed "The real reasons women wear heels". It begins like this and I am sure many of you can relate. "I am a 6'5" woman…when I wear heels. My confidence, my stature, my hip sway – everything is bigger, and some would say better with stilettos strapped to my feet. I can make heads turn, men smirk, and women gasp at the pure sight of me. I love and hate heels for all these reasons and more."
The article provides scientific evidence that many of these points are true:
- Heels make our walk more attractive
- They make us appear more feminine
- Heels are office dress code
- They're culturally-ingrained
- Heels get you more male attention
- Heels help you be more persuasive
- They symbolize power
- Heels even the playing field
What are your reasons? I am sure you have many in your closet.
Friday, March 23, 2018
|Prophetic in 2010|
Here is an example of something not being as benign as it appears on the surface: In 2014 Facebook added 56 new options for defining the gender of a person. If you changed your gender definition from male/female, consider what you just made available to data researchers. Anyone who has written a SQL query knows the power of a "SELECT" statement.
Privacy is not one of our inalienable rights. And like one of my friends stated once "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" However, there is data collection going on that can be detrimental - Medical records, financial transactions, relationship secrets. As said – "somethings are sacred".
The Equifax credit bureau data breach put all of our most personal credit history out to bid last year. This was data collected without our permission and now disseminated without our permission. Worst of all Equifax is making millions from their incompetence by offering and selling us “protection”. Almost as if the execution of a devious business plan.
Do not look to the government to provide either privacy or security. Congress (political calls) are exempt from the "Do-Not-Call" list and congress has exempted itself from many rules we all are required to follow. Like locking your car and home, it is up to you.
I do not willingly give up personal data. Example - Supermarket and drug chain “loyalty programs”. It is a ploy to get our names, e-mails, phone numbers and they capture and link our purchase history. They sell this information and in return, we get targeted advertising. A minimal discount is not adequate compensation for the parsing of my shopping history. Sorry to be so cynical.
Back to Facebook – Either they were naive, stupid or reckless. In any case, I do you want to trust my personal data to a company that is so irresponsible? The last persons I would have wanted to have all of my most personal information are Stephen Bannon and the vindictive Trump administration. I have already reviewed my settings and considering deleting my account. Although I am told your profile remains and is near impossible to clear. Why would they delete it? Remember, you are not the customer.
If power corrupts, then access to a pure, unfettered stream of data on every American corrupts absolutely. Maybe this is the wake-up call we all needed. I am re-thinking Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement on his Facebook page:
We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
There is one cherished memory I have of my mother and grandmother; The Easter/Spring new dress. In my little community the two churches were the social fiber and second only to Christmas was the Easter celebration. A new dress was always in order for spring. My mother had exceptional taste and always dressed in the full feminine dresses of the 50's. A style I still envy. And don't get me started on her shoes.
The dress above is from Macy's last summer and the Enzo Angiolini Steffo Platform Espadrille Wedges are from many season ago. When wearing the dress last summer, I kept thinking that I have shoes somewhere that match. Yes always "Shop your closet" first. They will work perfect.
The other navy sandal is Macy's Style & Co Paycee. One of the reasons I ordered was they come in wide. With a strap across the front sometime just a little extra width can keep all the toes tamed and in place. They should come in a day or so and I will keep you posted. Also there are variety of colors and reasonably priced.
All of this is not for an Easter service, although I do hope these choices would make my mother proud. My Mercedes Club has an indoor/outdoor event coming up in few weeks and this will work perfectly. Photos will be posted.
What is your spring "ESCAPE" outfit?
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
My local mall has a Lush Cosmetics store. To my absolute amazement a few weeks back I saw this display in their front window. A very positive transgender message. Upon returning home I went to their web site and found the article "How to Be a Trans Ally". I have copied it below. A wonderful message - Thank you Lush. One of my new favorite stores.
|My Local Mall - Lush Store|
Despite the political victories, greater representation in the media, and new policies protecting trans rights advancing every day, trans people still face disproportionately higher rates of discrimination than any other community. Transgender and non-binary people are our classmates, coworkers, neighbors and friends.
It’s time for us—all of us—to become stronger, louder allies and create an inclusive and accepting society for all. Not sure how to get started? We can help.
How can you be an ally?
Becoming an ally to transgender and non-binary people is an ongoing process. Use our tips will provide you with a starting place as you learn more about gender identities and presentations, and how to become an even better ally.
1. Don’t tolerate disrespect
Whether it’s hurtful language, remarks or jokes, call it out if it’s inappropriate. Seek out other allies who will support you in this effort.
2. Respect pronouns
Not sure which pronouns someone uses? Just ask! Then use that pronoun and encourage others to do so. It’s okay if you make a mistake—just be sure to correct it and move on.
3. Be patient with those questioning their gender identity
A person who’s questioning their gender identity might shift back and forth as they find out what’s best for them. Be kind and respectful—this includes being respectful of their names, pronouns and bodies.
4. Don't police public restrooms
Gender-variant people may not match the signs on restroom doors. If there are no all-gender bathrooms available, offer to accompany a trans person to the bathroom in a buddy system so they’re less vulnerable.
5. Listen to trans voices
Keep an open mind and heart to the experiences of trans people—they’re the experts on their own lives, and one of the most important parts of being an ally is learning what it means to be transgender.
6. Don’t assume you can tell if someone is transgender
Transgender and non-binary people don’t all look a certain way, and many may not appear to be trans or non-binary. Indeed, many trans and non-binary people live most of their lives with very few people knowing their status.
7. Be careful about confidentiality, disclosure, and outing
If someone has shared their gender identity with you, don’t tell others. Not only is this an invasion of privacy, but it can also have devastating consequences in a world that can be intolerant of gender differences.
8. Use gender-neutral language
Our everyday words and phrases are often gendered unnecessarily. By using terms like “hi guys” or addressing a group with “welcome ladies and gentlemen”, we assume genders and exclude people. Consider using gender inclusive language like “hi friends”, or “welcome folks” instead.
9. Keep it appropriate
Don’t ask trans folks about their genitals, surgical status or sex lives. If you wouldn’t ask a cisgender person, don’t ask a trans person either!
Being an ally starts with all of us.
See also the Huffingtonpost article: "Lush Puts Trans Rights Movement In The Spotlight With New Campaign".
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
|Rhonda 1993 - Age 45|
A lot changed in 1993. Some career rearrangement, marital changes, physical address, walked (ran) away from religion and the least of which, was Rhonda’s emergence. Up until this point Rhonda had been only a trip out-of-town alter-ego. Rhonda was destine to become a real embodiment. Thus this "waz the Katy bar the door!” moment, as in the poem. This was the point of escape. She started volunteering as a university outreach speaker, established a local support group and began enjoying real life experiences in her native environment.
I have never looked back and certainly never regretted my actions. Yes, I could have acted more judiciously with many of my decisions and my lack of empathy did damage. Hopefully I have been forgiven. Sometimes there is not a “best practice” manual when one’s own mental state is at risk.
It seems like a lifetime, however it was only 25 years ago. I was 45 at the time and wasted many years in self-denial. At issue - First: I thought that an existence was possible with my transgender nature relegated to being a hobby. Second: Sacrificing my own needs would be OK as long as I kept my sentiments secret. Both of these wrong assumptions are like a “soul infection”; that left untreated, will do much damage.
My emotional clock reset itself at the age of 45. Not unlike pivotal dates in history where everything is measured before/after. This was my personal reset. Yes I am older today (much older), maybe wiser and more compassionate. However, in many ways I will always be, "Forever 45".
Don’t be surprised if you see additional posts discussing “Forever 45”. What is your pivotal date – The date your “Escapes” became a reality. Short, positive guest posts are always welcome.
Don’t be surprised if you see additional posts discussing “Forever 45”. What is your pivotal date – The date your “Escapes” became a reality. Short, positive guest posts are always welcome.
Monday, March 19, 2018
|Daniel Alexander Jones - Jomama|
NY Public Theater describes the presentation this way: "BLACK LIGHT is a revival for turbulent times. Jomama leads an intimate journey – through the darkness of personal and political upheaval, and the shards of shattered illusions – illuminated by spontaneous humor and what The New Yorker calls her 'very particular radiance.' BLACK LIGHT draws musical influence from Prince, Sade, Diana Ross, and Tina Turner, and is marked significantly by the Black American Freedom movement, Afromysticism, goddess mythology and divination. This immersive performance piece removes the barrier between artist and audience through inquiry, story and song." Go there for a preview.
Here is great quote for Daniel Alexander Jones:
“It’s a little hard for people to believe that she isn’t a character. It’s been an interesting journey for me in terms of gender expression. While I identify as a man and I’m in the body of a [cisgender] man, I experience this expansion around gender in relationship to her.… I’m dealing with two spirits in one body. I have Daniel, and then I have Jo who comes, and when she comes, I make way for her.”
“Black Light” will play through March 25 at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York.
Friday, March 16, 2018
Guest post by Caitlin
I attending The Tenth Annual Keystone Conference, "A Celebration of Gender Diversity," hosted by TransCentralPA in Pennsylvania's capital city of Harrisburg - What a busy, busy, week!
It was sooooo much fun, too! At least half the fun is seeing and catching up with old friends that you haven't seen for a whole year. It's fun to run into friends while you're checking in; and fun to run into friends when you are trying to get your overloaded luggage cart into an elevator and down the hall; and fun to run into more friends in the hallway while you are going to the bar to meet other friends! And why is it that it's so much fun? So enjoyable...because these wonderful people ARE JUST LIKE YOU! You are not alone! Joy, the best word I can find for the feeling, just bubbles up inside you and takes you over.
It is such a release to simply be you and yet be like so many others at the same time.
The last night (Saturday night) was the Keystone Conference Gala. The ballroom was as full as I've ever seen it. After a wonderful dinner and a short dinner speech by Carman Carrera (of RuPaul/Elite Model of the Year fame) the all-trans band, Wicked Jezebel, just rocked the house. Most everyone loves the band and seconds after they started the dance floor was filled.
In the middle of the floor I saw a beautiful little trans girl (8 or 9 years old) in a soft pink dress learning to dance with her mom. Almost every trans woman who noticed her signaled their encouragement. Soon the little girl was surrounded by beautiful trans women, all dancing to some great Motown song and everyone encouraging the little girl to lose herself in the music. I scanned the scene from left to right and all an observer could see was simply JOY. The music brought it out and it couldn't be kept in any longer. The beautiful little girl, now barefoot just like the older trans women surrounding her, was having the time of her life. Her mother stood by on the side, tears of joy streaming down her face in the realization that her daughter will never be alone in this world. She found her new, transgender family that night and it was going to be OK. I tear up myself just recalling the scene.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
|Rhonda and a Classic Rolls Royce|
Love that hood ornament!
A few weekends ago i had a car day. Not changing the oil and washing the car, but events. A SuperCar event was held Sunday in Palm Beach involving the newer exotic cars - Ferrari, Lotus, Lamborghini, Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati and Bugatti. However just a few miles to my north on Saturday was a similar but very different car show. The Pine School of Hobe Sound had a classic car show that lived up to it's name - 100 years of Cars.
Muscle cars from the 60's and 70's - SS396 Chevelle, 442 Oldsmobile, Classic Corvettes (a '54 & '55), meticulously restored Jaguars XKEs from the 60's, several vintage Rolls Royce, Shelby Mustangs and even a Model T. Several car dealers had their '18 on display which rounded out the 100 years. Of the classic cars there were likely 150 cars spread of a large parking lot and soccer field. Wonderful music from the 60's and 70's playing the whole time.
|McLaren Mercedes SL R|
One of my favorites was a 2007 McLaren Mercedes SL-R. Even today valued at between $350,000 and $400,000. What a rare and beautiful sight.
The day was cool, in the low 70's but sunny and beautiful. I had lunch in the school's cafeteria and had a great conversation with one of the Jaguar owners. He had owned his car for many years and it is a project of love. I also talked with the owners of several vintage Mercedes and wanted to make sure they knew about the club that I just joined. Both were already members and we reminded each other of our upcoming breakfast Saturday.
|The Spirit of Ecstasy -The Bonnet Ornament on Rolls-Royce|
I wore jeans, my canvas sneakers, and a sweater. After walking around for of over an hour the sweater was almost too warm. I drove home with the top down and enjoyed every classic moment.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
He was the inventor of casual chic. Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy, founder of Parisian fashion label Givenchy, died on Saturday 10th March 2018, aged 91. Born in Beauvais, France, in 1927, Hubert de Givenchy made his mark in the history of fashion as one of the pioneers of luxury ready-to-wear. He died in his sleep, his partner Philippe Venet told French news agency AFP on Monday.
The French designer, who used to say he was "a happy man, because I worked at the craft I dreamed about when I was a child," eventually retired in 1995, seven years after his label was bought by LVMH and after a design career spanning 40 years.
The famed French designer was best known for dressing Audrey Hepburn. The legendary actress wore Givenchy’s designs in several films, including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Sabrina,” “Funny Face,” and “How to Steal a Million.”
Givenchy created one of the most iconic “little black dresses” in fashion history: the silk gown Hepburn donned in the opening scenes of 1961’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
See this article in the NY Times on "Givenchy and Hepburn: The Original Brand Ambassadors". Ms. Hepburn was quoted as saying of the relationship:
Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Sunday's social event was for a comprehensive medical care facility. Their services include pediatric/adult primary care, chronic disease management, infusions, behavioral health counseling, laboratory work, X-rays, and dentistry, as well as an on-site pharmacy. This is in two locations in Palm Beach County. They provide care on a sliding scale and no one is turned away. Last year their two medical centers served 14,807 patients who came in for a total of 51,992 visits.
I am pleased to work with this organization, which is a non-profit serving my community.
Last year I worked this event and have been helping with this year's event for the past three months; planning and gathering donations/gifts. The event was Sunday evening and from my count, we had about 150 in attendance along with sponsors and staff. The theme for this year was “A Tropical Evening” and the weather cooperated beautifully. The event was both outdoor and indoor, with temperatures in the 70's. We only had a quick passing "Tropical Shower" - Seemed appropriate.
We decorated on Sunday morning and set up the silent auction. That evening, I greeted and checked in paid and invited guest. Afterward, I was in charge of finding and checking out auction winners. A daunting task with the party still in full swing.
I did have a wonderful evening and so much fun being out. Find a cause, volunteer, and escape. You never know where your passion lies until you put yourself out there and find it.
|The Outdoor Event|
Monday, March 12, 2018
I have another class reunion coming up in April. I have been an irregular attender of my college reunions, however this year is a big event for two reasons. It is my 50th anniversary of graduating, and I was part of the last “Richmond Professional Institute” (RPI) class. The next year the school became Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
Yes, I will be attending as Rhonda and will wear my 1968 class ring and 50 year pin with much pride. This is the Saturday evening program from the invitation:
1968 marks the final year in the history of Richmond Professional Institute before it merged with MCV to become Virginia Commonwealth University. Join us as we induct members of the Class of 1968 into the Golden Circle Alumni Club.
Virginia is a state known for many universities; University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Tech (VPI), Virginia Military (VMI), George Mason, Mary Balwin, University of Richmond, Washington and Lee, George Washington University William and Mary, plus many others. My school, established in 1917 was at one time part of prestigious William and Mary. In 1968, one month after my graduation it merged with Medical College of Virginia (MCV) thus becoming Virginia largest University at the time, VCU.
It has always been a unique school and while I was there art, music, drama, photography and fashion design schools held prominence. We engineering students with our slide rules stood out. VCU is now known for its engineering, sciences including research, and especially for its world-renowned, medical school.
When I registered for the upcoming reunion events, I was very pleased to see a space for the name you would like on your name badge; certainly not the name that was on my diploma. I have been in contact with the Alumni Affairs Director over the years and she mentioned the possibility of an alumni magazine article. The classic “Look What Our Graduates Have Accomplished” piece, which I would be open to doing. Stay tuned…
Art, drama and humanities-based schools are still well represented on campus and there are active LGBT groups. It was mentioned that as the school year ends they have an LGBT graduation/reception event. The Alumni Director said she would put me in as a possible graduation speaker. What an honor it would be speaking before this group. I am living proof, “It gets better and better and better - with hard work and some luck”.
Below is a photo taken on a spring Sunday afternoon on campus in 1967. I am not the one of the skateboard, but the one pushing. The person on the skateboard became the mother of my four wonderful daughters.
Any other RPI/VCU or other Virginia Alumni?
I will be in Virginia April 19-20.