And now...a few things I LOVE:
Being outdoors: YES! DC is one of the best cities for this! When you look up you see open sky instead of gray office buildings. There's a river for boating (don't swimming in the Potomac!), trails and the Nat'l Mall for runners and bikers, indoor and outdoor pools for swimmers, and plenty of places for hiking/murdering interns.
Exercising: This goes hand in hand with being outdoors. While I have a gym membership I really can't stay on a treadmill or any other machine for more than 15 minutes, because it gets boring FAST. Instead you'll find me running outdoors 2-3 times a week and swimming indoors or outdoors 2-3 times a week with maybe 1 day at the gym. I'm looking to get into other physical activities as well so please feel free to recommend something. A few years ago I was part of a floor hockey team, but they moved to VA. 'Twas a sad, sad day for me.
Cooking: Back in high school I couldn't operate a toaster for my life, but now I can at least turn on a stove and wait by patiently as my sectioned yams turn into sweet potato fries. Mucho hoorays for me! I learned to cook a few things back in college and every now and then I love spending an afternoon in the kitchen with a fresh piece of fish or ingredients for a yummy soup. I'd like to take cooking classes too (this is a hint for you to join me). It might not fall under cooking, but I'm also a fan of making sangria and mojitos, especially in DC heat!
Shopping: Yes, yes, I know. Men don't usually like shopping, but I have my reasons. I don't mind shopping with others either and as long as you're not Steve Urkel or a corpse I'll probably appreciate your style advice. I'm usually a jeans/shorts and t-shirt kinda guy, even in the dead of winter, but I'd like to branch out a bit if you have any suggestions. Oh, and I collect sneakers. I LOVE sneakers!
Adventure: There's nothing like having a little adventure in your life whether it's petting monkeys in diapers or planning a road trip to Timbuktu. For starters let's drop what we're doing, rent a car, and drive to the beach in December. Let's take a free Tuesday and pick apples in Virginia, have lunch in Baltimore, and play mini golf (loser pays for everything). If you can dream it up, I'm down for it.
Art: I consider myself to be a tad artistic so you might find me perusing pencils at an art store, taking pictures of trees and people, or sometimes even banging some bongos (I love antelopes...nevamind!). Museums are great for inspiration and rainy days, but I'd much rather create my own art.
That's me in a nutshell (more to follow) so if you're looking for a shopping buddy, a cooking pal (I love the wharf and farmers markets) who sometimes struggles with operating blenders and bread makers, a running partner, a fellow crayon doodler, or someone for random adventures, shoot me a message.
Other than that...
Yes, you may have noticed from my pics that I don't always dress like a Kevin. No, those photos weren't edited and it's not your imagination. I have come to terms with the fact that I'm what you might call a cross-dresser or a transvestite, meaning I like to dress in clothes designed for the opposite sex. No, I'm not a drag queen though I have thought about performing--I just can't dance, especially in heels. It's pretty harmless but either way, I'm not into labels. Call me what you will; at the end of the day I'm just me and I make no apologies for it.
Lots of people ask me why I do it? Am I gay? Do I want to be a woman? Was I dropped on my head as a toddler? No. I am and have always been attracted to females. In fact I LOVE femininity, but have no desire to be a woman. As far as I know I have never been dropped except for into a pool at summer recreation. In fact, I had a great childhood with lots of opportunities and wonderful parents and, looking back, I wish I could repeat it. I was a fairly regular boy: I loved drawing dinosaurs and firetrucks, played soccer and joined cub scouts, learned to ride a bike (I was a slow learner) and played the trumpet, though not very well. In the winter I skied and in the summer I participated in summer recreation. Take away my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunchbox, blue t-shirts and toy guns (and all the other stuff that defined me as a boy) and I was just a quiet, painfully shy, affectionate, gentle, little guy who loved cuddling with animals and his Cabbage Patch doll, Scott Rudy. Though the times have changed (bye bye Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and so have I (where'd my Smurfs plastic lunchbox go?), much of who I was still remains. There's a newfound creative side that loves expressing itself and it's in direct opposition to my awkward, sometimes childlike shyness that feels it has so much to hide.
Don't get me wrong--I like being a guy. I like being able to pee standing up. Being a male or female is its own experience; it can be a gift for some and a nightmare for others. Somewhere, somehow it became apparent to me that I had a "feminine" side that wanted to make itself known. It's always been there--I just never cared to or knew how to define it. I guess I still don't know how to define it, but more importantly I want to explore it. You only live once.
What is "feminine"? You might say that my childhood introverted, flower-picking, doll-cuddling qualities are feminine, but none of these is wholly or exclusively masculine or feminine. Nothing is entirely masculine or feminine. Our often pointless and outdated gender roles have been constructed, enforced, reinforced and cemented for centuries without much review or consideration for anything inbetween or outside. My "feminine" side is kind of like the ying to my yang. It's a black to my white and it's put me in somewhat of a gray area that makes some people very uncomfortable. So, again, why do I cross-dress? Why bring dresses and heels into this? Why not stick to my water colors and camera?
Creativity. Humor. Fun. It's a fairly obvious, unique, visual representation of how I'm feeling at the moment. The psychology behind it is rarely "fairly obvious" to people I meet, but I don't do it for them. I cross-dress for me. It's a blend of genders, emotions and colors and an acknowledgement of my many different sides. In some ways it's like a tattoo come to life. It's animated and expressive. It's so very me in the moment, moreso than any painting or sculpture I could make.
It's also fun. Consider the wide range of colors, fabrics, styles and items readily available to females. The next time you go to the mall count all the stores devoted to women's shoes, jewelry, bags, accessories, clothes, makeup, etc. Think of all the possibilities! Men's clothing pales in comparison...except for sneakers!
I like to dress up and go out once or twice a month though I would dress more if I had the time. When I dress I go the whole 9 yards: makeup, shaved legs, wigs, heels, dress, etc. It's a lot of fun and I invite others to come out with me. I've met a lot of great people along the way and learned so much about myself and what I'm capable of than I ever thought possible a few years ago. In many ways it's been a blessing in disguise. It hasn't always been easy but it's been worth it. There's something to be said for putting it all on the line and making yourself vulnerable both when you look in the mirror and when you go out in public. It's exciting--you don't know what to expect, but you're doing your best to be yourself.
That's why I do it!
I know that's a lot to pour on a site like this, but I feel it's a story that has to be told. Eat your vegetables.