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Undoing the Prominence of Pantyhose

If you have ever raised a daughter into those teenage years, then you know all about a young girl going through that phase of wanting to wear makeup. You can appease her in those younger years with Chapstick and then you get through grade school by allowing her to wear lip gloss, but right around the time she turns 12, talk of wearing mascara increases, and how can you blame a preteen girl for wanting to take that next step? The other girls in school have begun to wear makeup, and that is the time when a little girl begins her transition into womanhood, and so inevitably, a parent--especially a father--must watch this process with a fair amount of helpless trepidation.

Of all the little girls that I've watched transition into womanhood whether its my own children, their friends, nieces, neighborhood girls, soccer teammates, etc., I have yet to witness a case where a 12 year-old girl wearing makeup was actually an improvement in her looks. On the contrary, if I had a bra for every time I cringed when I saw freshly-painted eyelids and too much eyeliner on a 12 year-old that forced me to think, "goodness sweetie, you're so much prettier without makeup," I'd be able to open my own bra boutique called Lisa Diva. With these young girls, it usually takes four or five years before they settle on a look with their makeup that can actually enhance their appearance, and when this transition finally occurs, the young woman has come to realize that less is indeed more.

So how does this pertain to girls like us and our own attempted transition into womanhood? For genetic girls, the transition begins when she dons her first bra and starts to wear makeup. The bra of course is un under garment and must be covered by clothing, and so the first form of outward expression that a young teen girl can use to announce to the world her womanhood is makeup. For girls like you and me, the first items that we associated with this transition into womanhood likely include the following items:

1. Pantyhose
2. Panties
3. Slips

The order of importance for those three items will differ among us, but from my own experience and from all of the emails I get from readers where they tell me about how they first started, the stories inevitably include sneaking a pair of pantyhose, borrowing panties from a sister, an infatuation with our mother's slips, and in my case, all of the above. :-) Now if we examine these three items, two of them are undergarments and must be hidden beneath clothing, but pantyhose are meant to be seen. Like the 12 year old girls above who use makeup as their outward expression of womanhood, cross dressers inevitably use pantyhose as their means to show the world that "yes, we are entering womanhood too!" And to take the comparison one step further, cross dressers tend to overdo the prominence of pantyhose in their outfits the same way the 12 year old girls overdo their makeup.

Now, before I go any further, I must state that I am totally guilty of misusing pantyhose in my wardrobe, and I have yet to venture out in public en femme without wearing nylons, so I am a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black. And I am even including pictures in this diary entry of me wearing outfits where my pantyhose were far too prominent and would have looked out of place had I worn the outfit out in public as-is. The fact that I even bothered dressing in these outfits shows my love of pantyhose and how I cannot separate myself from them, but when trying to pass en femme in public, having the world notice that we're wearing pantyhose should be the least of our worries.

Thirty to forty years ago, I wouldn't have been able to write this entry because back then, it was still the norm for women to wear skirts and dresses outside of the home with pantyhose and heels. I was a product of the 80's and I remember at school that the girls usually wore jeans or other pants, but when they did wear a dress or a skirt, they always wore hosiery beneath them whether it was nylons or tights. I also noticed that if a girl wore heels to school even if it was with a pair of jeans, they always wore nylons beneath their jeans because you just didn't see bare legs back then. Another fond memory from those days was attending rock concerts because the girls would all wear short dresses or skirts, their highest heels, and of course pantyhose with their outfits. I would wear pantyhose under my jeans too in order to better identify with the girls, but I would have to cover them with socks since I didn't want my friends to notice what I was wearing underneath

And the nylon mania didn't stop with rock concerts. Even celebrities would wear pantyhose when making public appearances whether walking the red carpet or making an appearance on a television show. Who can forget the impact television shows like Three's Company and the Dukes of Hazzard had on girls from my generation? Those were wonderful days and undoubtedly left their mark on girls my age or older, but unfortunately, times would soon change.

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