Saturday, June 29, 2019

Female Impersonation

Many people don't realize how different things were in the past. I've seen dramatic change in my lifetime. Here's an example.

It was illegal -- a crime -- for men to dress in women's clothing in New York as recently as the 1970's. "Female impersonation" was against the law and used as a reason to toss thousands of men into jail. (The law was rarely enforced against cis-gender women.)

Gender presentation laws started in American society in 1848 when Columbus, Ohio enacted an ordinance forbidding people from wearing “dress not belonging to his or her sex.” In decades that followed more than forty American cities passed similar laws limiting the clothing people are allowed to wear in public. This wave of laws was specifically aimed at gender presentation.

In many parts of the world, it is still illegal for men and women to wear the clothing of the opposite sex. Even where legal, social opprobrium punishes those crossing the gender line -- condemnation which includes harassment and physical violence.

A surprisingly interesting academic paper from 25 years ago is available here. (Ullman, Sharon R. "'The Twentieth Century Way': Female Impersonation and Sexual Practice in Turn-of-the-Century America." Journal of the History of Sexuality 5, no. 4 (1995): 573-600)

Obviously if you're reading this blog, you don't have a problem with me violating custom (and a former law). Why do you think society previously outlawed cross-dressing? What were people scared of? What were they trying to accomplish by forbidding it?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

An Experiment

There are many female experiences I've never had -- and want to. I strive to acquire them wherever possible.

I saw this dress in a vintage store and thought, "Hmm, that's new." I've certainly never wore anything like this. It's odd but interesting. What do you think?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

My Letter!

Outside magazine is one of my favorite periodicals. Not only does it focus on outdoor adventure but it does so with intelligence and insight. Recently the magazine expanded to cover social issues reflected in outdoor activity, like sexual harassment of female tour-guides at national parks.

Last month I wrote a letter to the magazine appreciating their support of a transgender rock-climber whose story is linked here. They published the letter in the new issue released today. Here's the page on which the letter appears followed by a close-up that's easier to read.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

I attended the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island today. It's always fun. Do you see any favorite costumes?

That's singer Arlo Guthrie in the first picture; he was this year's King Neptune.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Women In The Woods

I observed something that struck me as odd but I'm not in a position to judge it. If I try, I'll probably be wrong. So let me ask for your thoughts.

I went on a group hike last month with a bunch of strangers (through a local MeetUp). The hike was in the woods, about two hours long, and a little strenuous; certainly an athletic activity where you sweat, quite a lot.

The group of hikers was 90% female. Most did not know each other so there was no coordination among them on what they wore, how they prepared, etc.

What surprised me was more than half of the women wore full makeup -- foundation, lipstick, powder, etc. They all wore appropriate hiking clothes but their faces looked like they were attending a dinner party. Again, this was an athletic hike with inevitable sweating.

I wondered -- and now ask you -- why would someone wear full makeup to such an event? I can easily imagine a half-dozen possible reasons but, not having lived a female life, I can't get into the heads of these women to figure out theirs.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Flying Booties

I spotted some cute white booties last week at Nordstrom Rack. I buy shoes there because it is one of the only retail stores carrying large sizes. (I'm a 12.) The booties were on sale for $40.

I made a special effort to showcase the beauties. I kicked up my heels, stretched my back muscles and used a tripod with remote shutter-release. Here's the result. What do you think?


... or as we say in Brooklyn, "boyds."

At the lofty summit of Mt. Pemigewasset I saw majestic birds swooping in the air. They were quite large. I don't know what type they are. Falcons? Do you know?

Sunday, June 16, 2019

New Hampshire Wilderness

I'm proud to say I just did the most challenging hike in my life.

At beautiful Franconia Notch State Park I climbed up Mt. Pemigewasset -- 2,557 feet of steep incline. Very steep. And much of the trail is simply series of slippery stones in surging streams. Going down is equally difficult as footing is super-treacherous. I seriously worried about breaking an ankle which would be easy to do (and I needed those ankles to operate my motorcycle for the ride home).

The climb up culminates at the mountain's summit where you can walk along the edge and peer down. One slip and you're gone.

I hadn't realized but my local hiking prepared me for this challenge. Those excursions gave me the gear and stamina to conquer the mountain. At the pinnacle I felt like Alex Honnold when he scaled El Capitan ("Free Solo").

Franconia Notch has plenty for non-hikers, too. There's the first aerial tramway built in North America (1938) which goes 4,000 feet up to the peak of Cannon Mountain. At the top is "the highest beer-tap in New Hampshire" which, being in New England, serves delicious cold pints of Samuel Adams Ale. I savored one.

You never know what you're going to see when traveling -- which is a reason to get off the couch. I witnessed a heartwarming act of heroism on my way north.

Riding Route 95, a crowded six-lane highway, I spotted an ambulance on the shoulder and saw a female EMT get out and start walking. I looked in the direction she was heading and saw a big, two-foot turtle wandering onto the roadway from the woods. The turtle was walking toward certain death. The EMT planned to rescue the turtle but as soon as it saw her, it started sprinting. Sprinting! I didn't know a turtle could move so fast. The EMT then realized if she kept walking at the same pace she wouldn't make it in time so she started to run. Meanwhile 3,000-lb. cars are whizzing by at 70 mph without any concern for the turtle or the EMT. Happily she reached the turtle as it was less than two feet away from speeding traffic in the right lane. She swept it up with both hands, twisted back toward the shoulder and returned it to safety. Hurray for heroes!

Hey, isn't that George Washington below?!

Friday, June 14, 2019


No, not camping -- camp. Do you know what camp is?

The famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is currently showing a fashion exhibition on the subject of camp. It explores the history of camp from hundreds of years ago up to now.

Friends of mine saw it and raved. Another friend invited me to join her in seeing it next week and that's my plan. Here's an informative short video on the exhibition and a few photos from the museum's website:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Summer News

Hey guys. Don't mean to ignore you. I've been busy on projects that are taking longer than expected to finish but the results will be worth it. I did two photo-shoots this week that are special and rewarding. You'll enjoy them. I did.

I'm riding north tomorrow to New Hampshire where I hear Franconia Notch State Park is a phenomenal place. The park sits in the heart of White Mountain National Forest between two mountain ranges. There is reportedly "a spectacular mountain pass" containing the Flume Gorge and a famous aerial tram. Have you heard of Franconia?

I'm bringing my eyes, my camera and my tent. If I don't return it's because I either fell in love with the place or was eaten by a bear. Either way, don't wait up.

Enjoy the Summer weekend!