Thursday, February 19, 2015

Female Masking: Practice to Deceive by Ghostly Writer

Something a little different for you this week, as we suit up, adjust our faces, and explore the world of female masking. This is something that really slipped into the mainstream over the last year-and-a-half, with a Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of the Living Dolls, and several newspaper articles that followed - all of them exploring it primarily from a fetish or cosplay angle. While I don't deny that aspect, I immediately saw a potential for transgender expression, so I decided to talk to the people who live it, love it, and write about it to learn more.

If you have yet to read this month's issue of Frock Magazine, then I urge you to give it a read as soon as you're done here - I think you'll find my article on Female Masking and the Trans Community a great sort of primer, and a natural lead in to this week's feature.


Mix a little crossdressing fetishism with extremes of female impersonation, employ some female masking as a necessity of deception, and sprinkle it all with just a touch of an Oedipus complex, and what you get is the rather stunning, sometimes shocking, Practice to Deceive by Ghostly Writer.

Billy starts out like so many crossdressers, immersing himself in femininity as an act of comfort when his mother's away, and indulging himself in her clothes out of sheer convenience. What begins as an opportunistic indulgence, however, soon turns into a full-on obsession not just to become a woman, and not even just to become his mother, but to become a specific representation of his mother's past. It's not long before Billy is ordering breast forms and professional bum padding, but he still sees a boy in a dress when he looks in the mirror, when he wants to see his mother. That leads him to custom order a mask online, created from an array of his mother's old photos, that fits his face to literally remake him in her image.

Where the Oedipus complex comes in is with the sort of dual personality that develops. Billy is fully aware of himself, his urges, and his arousal from inside his mother's image, but he inhabits the Linda in the mirror as a completely different person. He engages in conversations where he is responsible for both sides, and even flirts with and comes onto himself. It's very weird, almost disturbingly surreal, but it's all part of immersing himself in the role and practicing to deceive not just himself, but the world outside his front door.

Yes, it's an odd way to establish a protagonist, and an unusual way to begin a story, but it's Ghostly Writer's commitment to the idea that makes it work. There's an attention to detail here that is lovingly crafted, allowing the reader to feel it all, from the sensual pleasure of a pair of stockings sliding up your leg, to the exotic pleasures of an evening gown billowing around your hips, to the sheer thrill of walking through a mall in heels and having nobody question your appearance. Ironically, it's not so much when Billy takes Linda public that the story really begins to develop, but when he invites the world to accompany Linda back home.

With such an elaborate, detailed set-up, I really wasn't sure where the story was ultimately going. There were a few points at which I thought I knew what the end-game would be, but each time a new twist entered the tale to surprise and delight. I was looking for a lot out of this, and came away from the first few chapters with some significant expectations, and I am delighted to say that Practice to Deceive not only delivered, but did so in ways that honestly amazed me. This is a story to which any crossdresser can relate, and which any masking aficionado will appreciate.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot believe I never commented on this review.

    Sally, thank you most sincerely (and most overdue-ly) for a wonderful, honest and quite frankly blush-inducing review. I appreciate it enormously.