real life

Her husband said: "I've got something to tell you."

It was all about accepting Tim as a person, just like if his hobby was basketball.





A couple of years clear of her traumatic separation, a friend has found herself in a good place. So, in the quiet corner of a city wine bar, she tells me about the man she married. A man that sometimes wears dresses and heels, indulging in what he calls his ‘little hobby’.

When did you meet *Tim? I’m intrigued to know how someone begins dating a man with such a hobby. “I’ve known him since school,” she says. “I got to know him better when he was dating a friend, and one night he just said ‘I’ve got to tell you something’.”

Just like that? “He just randomly just dropped it in,” she assures me. “I was just like… what? Are you having me on?” Tim had then sent her a photo. “He looked like a grandma,” she laughs, “with a cardigan on.” Another one soon appeared with him sporting a mini-skirt and knee-high boots. That’s more like it, I think.

In his female attire, Tim would head out on the town, frequenting gay and ‘tranny’ bars, or for a spot of shopping. How did he look? I ask, “Quite feminine,” my friend says. “He’s got very sharp features and is slender in the face, and he doesn’t have much facial hair, so he pulled it off.”

And what about makeup? “He was kind of shit at it actually,” she remembers. “I helped him out sometimes. It just became normal to say ‘hey I’ll do your makeup’ once we were together.” And together they were – Tim and my friend grew very close, shacked up, and soon got engaged. I ask if she hesitated before taking the plunge. “As a friend I’d accepted it,” she says of Tim’s cross-dressing. “So as a girlfriend I thought, why should that change?”

“He did try to fit into a lot of my stuff,” my friend recalls. “I would say, ‘hey, your shoulders are too big!’ Don’t stretch my clothes!”

She did, however, do her research. Tim sent her to relevant websites and forums. She even read his online profile on transgender social network site “It said he’s a bloke 95% of the time – he loves sport and has a girlfriend, but there’s this part of him that likes being this other thing,” she tells me.

Despite Tim’s assurances, my friend was understandably suspicious that he might be bisexual or gay. “A little part of me still thinks it might be a sexual thing,” she says. “But I was really accepting of it. At the time I had the vested interest of being with him.”

Without any prompting my friend then answers the niggling question at the back of mind. “I have to say though”, she continues… “sex with him was a bit boring.” So he never got intimate while dressed as a woman? She tells me no, quite the opposite. The times that he did don the dress were pretty ordinary. “Like just hanging out at home, watching a DVD,” she says, making it all sound so harmless… but surely it bothered her?

“It did because his mannerisms changed,” she admits. “He was a bit more feminine in the way he would stand or move his hands.And he would pout in the mirror when he looked at himself. It was weird, and I wasn’t attracted to him. We’d just hang out as friends.”

Why do you think he did it? My friend had of course asked Tim ‘when did it all start?’ He had said it was around the time that his mother and father divorced, when he remembers putting on one of his mum’s dresses. I nod in understanding, familiar with the deep-set affects of a broken home. But later in life, without access to mother’s closet, did he ever wear your clothes?

Melanie Dimmitt

“He did try to fit into a lot of my stuff,” my friend recalls. “I would say, ‘hey, your shoulders are too big!’ Don’t stretch my clothes!” She likens this to having a girlfriend who raids your wardrobe and makeup. “I do remember getting shitty at him, saying ‘just ask, it’s polite!’ Because you wouldn’t do that to a girlfriend,” she explains. “If I wanted to use your lipstick I would be like ‘hey, can I borrow your lipstick’?” Yes, dear friend, I hear you. But I do find it hard to relate. “It happens a lot more than you think,” she goes on.

“Many men, even those married with kids, do it,” she says. “It was all about accepting Tim as a person, just like if his hobby was basketball.” I’m still not convinced, but she truly feels this way. She is so open-minded, and went on to marry him. “It was never an issue,” she says. “It never affected our relationship.”

Tim would justify his hobby, saying it didn’t affect anyone negatively. What about his family? I ask. Did they have any idea? “No”, she tells me, echoing her then husbands words “because they don’t need to know… it doesn’t matter.” But as my friend well knows, knowledge of this behaviour does change your perspective on someone. To her credit, she kept her husband’s secret, even after he went on to cheat and leave her.

“It wasn’t just a break-up,” she says. “I was breaking up with someone who I completely accepted.” Incredibly, Tim was less accepting. “I suffered from anxiety,” my friend continues, “and he used that against me.”

She embraced Tim for everything that he was (and wore) and his deception left her shattered. “It wasn’t that I was committed to a man, it was that I was committed to a person, I really loved him,” she says. Thankfully she is now officially divorced and has glorious, admirable perspective.

“I feel so sorry for him because he can’t be himself, whereas I know I can be, to anyone, completely myself.” She flashes a grin. “I like whisky and holiday smoking – there are no secrets.” If anything, this story speaks volumes for the integrity and open-heartedness of my friend. It also makes me rather curious. How many men are hiding in ladies closets? And how many ladies are letting them in?

*Name has been changed.

A Melbourne-based opinion and entertainment writer, Mel plunders her daily encounters, cultural surroundings and the fascinating lives of others for drama an intrigue. She writes for online entertainment publication The Blurb and has had over 30 reviews printed in The Canberra Times, Geelong Advertiser and Ballarat Courier. You can read her musings, interviews and human interest features on her blog,, or follow her on twitter @MelanieDimmitt and facebook.

What would you do if you found yourself in a similar situation?