What young woman hasn’t dreamt of walking down the aisle wearing a lacy and satiny wedding dress? Of course, there are exceptions. Not every woman wants to get married; not every girl has a binder with every nuance of the ‘Big Day’ planned out; not everyone wants to even wear a traditional wedding gown. To believe that all women feel the same about a storybook wedding and the bliss that follows it stands as a universal truth is stereotypical and incomplete thinking.
That being said, many crossdressing men have desires to step into many stereotypical feminine fantasies. Some would like to know how it feels to be a young woman, how it feels to be cocooned in satin and lace, and fulfill the ‘out of reach’ and purely female privilege of being a blushing bride. That is a privilege that I desire to experience. Not to walk down the aisle during a real wedding ceremony, but to don a wedding gown, veil, and train and “be” a bride for a few hours.
Knowing that my girlfriend will always want to be “the bride” and marry her “groom”, I would be happy to simply get an inexpensive wedding dress (that fits well or can be altered to fit well), hire a makeup artist and photography studio to take pictures of me as a bride. The end result would be a fun afternoon with plenty of studio photos to commemorate the day.
My girlfriend fears two things about my expressing that I would want to have this photo shoot. The first is that, as I stated earlier, the role of the bride is a female privilege. Girls grow into women who become brides. It is a rite of passage in a woman’s life. What right does a man have to so eagerly and easily covet the role for themselves? If any man can put on a wedding dress, does it tarnish what it means to be a bride in the first place? The second objection my girlfriend mentioned is that of the worry of the fetish nature she believes it to be for men wanting to do it. Since wearing a wedding dress is not an everyday occurrence for women, why would a crossdressing man want to partake in the same thing? Doesn’t a man voicing a desire to be a bride go far and beyond the “new normal” of that man just wanting to express his femininity in softer and more feminine clothes? A man wanting to dress in a wedding gown seems to be outside that “normal”. Therefore, in her rationale, the man’s want to wear a wedding dress falls into a strange fantasy-fulfillment zone that one could believe would lead to more elaborate ploys to be dressed as a bride more often.
Just as I have had to defend myself to my girlfriend that I am happy as a crossdressing man (as opposed to a transitioning man-to-woman), I have also had to defend myself that this want to be a bride is not a fetish. The term fetish is defined as a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc. While, my girlfriend is right in that my want to dress in a wedding dress does have a component of gratification, it is not one of a sexual nature. It is a gratification and desire similar to the want to see Niagara Falls while I can still walk under the water or taking glamour shots before I lose my looks. The resulting photos can be stored on a CD or on my smartphone (or in the cloud, as the kids say) to have as a reminder of the experience. Does the idea seem like fetish because a cis-woman wouldn’t think to do the same thing?
Being a bride – in the traditional sense – is a once in a lifetime moment. Should there be reason to expect that even crossdressing men can’t experience the same thing at least once in their lives, if they choose to?
As a postscript to this article, I discussed with my girlfriend that I “couldn’t live my life based on her fear”. The want to experience being a beautiful bride is not something I intend to do all the time. She agreed that I should get the dress altered and make plans to have the photo shoot done. We will see if the dress will actually say “yes” to me.