Samantha Denier - my feminine alter ego came to life a few years ago thanks to my good friend Janice, who asked me if I had a female name for myself. Samantha had always been my favourite female name ever since I was a boy, and it seemed a natural choice for me to take it on for my online persona.
Whilst she may just be a second-hand photo on the web for now, I do have passionate hopes of dressing up properly and allowing Samantha Denier to become real. For years I've been toying with the idea of visiting a dressing service like The Boudoir or Femesque, but I still haven't quite found the courage or the right moment to go. However, I have come agonisingly close!
At one point last year I exchanged some emails and got very lovely and supportive replies from Jodie and Claire - the ladies at both of the places named above. These gave me some much needed confidence and I decided to be brave and go for it! Hadn't I waited long enough for the chance to do this, after all?
After some more emails to clarify the details and put my mind at rest that my cover wouldn't be blown, I reserved a four hour afternoon appointment and got ready to have the time of my life. It wouldn't be fair to say which of the two places I chose, but the lady at the dressing service closest to me was very keen for me to come, and she assured me that I'd soon relax and enjoy the experience.
Security and privacy were the hallmarks of their business she assured me, and there were hundreds of previous visitors to report their safety and trustworthiness. The lady was really keen to give me my first taste of womanhood - saying that she especially loved giving men their first makeovers. She'd set aside a long session for me so that we would have time to take things slowly. She was so keen in fact that she offered to accompany me to her local pub where I could go public as a woman, in safety for the very first time if I wanted. Lots of men did go out, despite their initial reservations, apparently.
I was so excited and mentally preoccupied with the impending visit and female experience that I had difficulty sleeping. But, as is so often the way in life, on the very day I was due to go (I had secretly taken a sick day from work) a family crisis suddenly flared up and meant that I was forced to stay at home - my wife and children at my side.
I can't tell you the very strange feeling of deflation and relief at the same time - a bit like knowing you've escaped an exam or dental appointment whilst knowing that it will have to happen again, at one point or another. A temporary reprieve.
Despite all of my previous worries I hadn't slept a wink the night before. I was so incredibly excited about the prospect of being turned into a convincing girl for the first time that the blood charged through my veins and my heart throbbed impatiently in my chest - stopping me sleeping.
Visions of lipstick, mascara, nylon, lycra, satin, skirts, dresses, hemlines and heels danced through my head like a child on Christmas Eve. Just the thought that by that time tomorrow a woman would have dressed me in tights and heels made me giddy as a schoolgirl. It felt like a thirty year wish were about to made real, but it was underpinned with that awful feeling of doing something profoundly wrong.
It also felt like I was about to have an affair. Alongside the excitement, the guilt and worry weighed on my heart - I felt awful about committing such a strange betrayal of my responsibilities and role as a husband and father. I also had visions of being embarrassed - spotted by a friend or humiliated by an unpleasant group of men staring in through a window who'd seen through my disguise. I could see their prospective reactions already in my mind's eye and hear their words piercing my ears - making me feel ashamed and terrified.
The friend - looking up at me in the street after doing a double take:
"Robert! Robert is that really you! Why are you dressed as a woman, what's going on?"
The leery men, catching sight of me through the window as I sat cross legged in the salon:
"Look at the state of that - it's a tranny! You big queer - what a disgrace!"
Sadly, I've never felt quite the same conviction to make a booking again and still haven't been to a dressing service, or gone out properly in public as Samantha. This is very silly since these dressing agencies undoubtedly offer the precise thing I've been looking for for most of my life - the chance to wear tights and become convincingly female without the risk or shame or exposure.
This year then, will be the year that it will happen, I've promised myself. Samantha Denier will, one day before the sun sets on 2015, walk proudly down the street in her heels, dress and beloved opaque tights - her long hair twirling softly in the breeze feeling unimaginably happy as dozens of eyes admire her.
Samantha's makeover will be beautiful one.