The other day, while driving home from church on a Sunday afternoon, we went past a bar and someone was crossing the street in a nice dress and heels. I tried not to look at “her” as “she” crossed the street a ways in front of me (you know- when I see stuff like that I try to avert my stare so as not to lust and also especially when my wife is right there so as not to get her worried about my unfaithfulness). But as we got closer, it seemed more apparent that it was a man due to the bowlegged walk, the awkwardly large upper shoulder proportions, the general hips, etc. I wasn’t sure, but my wife who was looking more said it definitely was a dude.
I don’t remember what remarks of surprise and rejection were passed between my wife and another friend in our car we were taking home. But I do remember the fact that there was a sort of secret knowledge in the car that only my wife and I know (not our friend and not our kids) that I, too, struggle with the strangeness of that guy’s derangement. On the one hand I think my wife tells herself I would never ever want to actually do that (get all dressed up like that and go out in public). On the other hand, I’m pretty certain that deep down she has a terror in her that I do want that, and she is horrified and disgusted at it so much that she cant’ even face it in the least. So in that moment of recognition where we couldn’t say something like “who would ever want to do that” we had to replace it with “wow, it’s crazy how he’s just going out like that” or something. Right then, I felt such a profound yearning- not to be dressed like that guy, or to go out like that- but for my wife to be able to see into my heart and know what I really want (and maybe also that she would be honest in sharing what she thinks and wants about that too, even if negative).
I think this is a pretty basic and universal yearning- primal even- to know and to be known by our spouses at the deepest levels. I’ve been married over 10 years. I’m not looking for the thrill of a moment or of an imaginary companionship to fulfill all my wildest dreams in life and take away my loneliness forever. Instead, there’s a hunger to connect past the layers of deflection, fear, bitterness, hurt, and offense that gets built up each day. I want a life partner that knows me- that really “get’s” my thoughts and dreams like they get my jokes or hobbies. I imagine this is what is stereotypical in the unfaithfulness of women- when they finally find a guy that pays them notice, that tries to care for their parched souls rather than just sucking the objectified pleasure and service out of them. I fear for that with my own wife. I know I don’t pay her enough care and affection and love and genuine acceptance. Me of all people. Our fights and battles and difference run so deep and I erect my own barriers, too.
Of interest to me though was how, even though I didn’t really have much of an actual crossdressing desire in mind- I didn’t want to be that guy we saw at all- I was infatuated with the notion that I did have an interest which I wanted my wife to recognize as part of me, even if contending that it’s a part of me that is unhealthy. It’s sort like (I know it’s different, but bear with the comparison to get my point) wanting to get a burger and shake for dinner, knowing it’s not the healthy choice but instead of responding with awkward distance, just toying with the idea even if to say no way that’s terrible. In the end it’s not so much about the burger as about the understanding and connection along the way. I’m really not trying to justify it. It’s bad- worse than a cheeseburger. But my point is that I wasn’t even really struggling with a particular interest in any clothing or dressing, but in the profound urge (and associated arousal) with having my wife just notice it as a part of me- a thrill of a little secret escape into me and my wishes even if to reject them after some clarity of thought. I don’t think I’d really be happy if she “accepted” crossdressing. I’d not be able to agree with her that it’s “ok”, even every once in a while. But hiding her true thoughts from me may be the worst possible outcome.
If I didn’t have a challenge to my every whim I’d probably yearn for the reverse- for a close ally in the battle for good rather a partner in crime. Yet there I was wanting so bad to just have a connection- a fun little wink and nod at my heart and hunger for sex play really. And I was fixated for the rest of the day. I couldn’t shake it with the usual analysis of the desire itself for the clothing stuff. It wasn’t the driver, just the accidents of the situation really (for the most part, I guess). This whole thing got me thinking about the mystery of how we want to be known but how we hide and sorta only want that on our own terms. To be known against our wishes or will is quite an awful thought indeed. It is shame, embarrassment, and a molestation of our being. It is a false reputation that we are petrified to allow. So we certainly don’t just want it all hanging out there. But a fragile blossom, and I expect also a profoundly beautiful unity on earth, awaits for the careful self-revelation meeting with a careful (but not uncritical) connection on the receiving side that is then turned and reciprocated as well… all of this is overwhelming to imagine and is fundamental to human relationships, I know. It’s important to note how this ties in with my own areas of thinking- so thanks for letting me chart some waters here.