Al is a football agent.
He flew in to Libreville in Gabon to make me an offer I can’t refuse – after seeing my ‘wonder’ goal on TV. He wants me to sign for an English Premier League club. I will be given a month’s trial and if I can make the grade I’ll be offered a lucrative contract.
Al wants me to fly to England with him in two weeks’ time. He says I’ll earn pots of money and that he’ll take care of where I live and all the things I would need to adjust to the English way of life. The cold weather. Accommodation.
It should have sounded like a dream-come-true. I would have money. Security. My mother has been ill lately and I could pay for her care. I would have my own apartment where I could dress in whatever I liked. Perhaps even invite ‘friends’ around. And as many shoes as I could wish for.
But actually I wasn’t listening.
I was staring at Al’s toes. Because Al has a secret. Like me. The residue of that red nail varnish on his toe-nails.
And he knows I dress too. The way he looked at me.
“Give me a call about anything that might be bothering you,” he said.
As if he knew about my secret.
And here’s the thing. If Al could suss I was a cross dresser, well, how did he know? Is it so obvious? How many other people suspect? My team mates? The media who followed me around the day after I scored that goal? The Team Coach?
How do you tell if another guy is a cross-dresser? There are 24 players in the Nilemwe National Team squad. According to a survey I read one in eight men have an inclination for cross dressing. OK the survey probably isn’t entirely accurate but…! It would mean out of the 24 players there would be at least two guys, apart from me, who cross dress! But which two?
Is there any way of knowing? How can you tell if someone is a cross-dresser? There’s no secret hand-shake. I’ve recently read about women being married thirty years before discovering their husband was a CD. That guy in the chic lemon pinafore might be a drag artist or a comedian or on his way to a fancy-dress party or fun run.
Thin eyebrows or shaved legs aren’t necessarily a give-away. Nowadays lots of men shave their eyebrows when they shave their scalps for fear of looking like Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. Bodybuilders shave every inch of their body. There are some Cross Dressers who have more hair than the Yeti. There is no rule.
The too pretty guy buying pantyhose or feminine hygiene products might be a caring husband.
Garter tabs under trousers or a tight bra strap on the back are probably a ‘sign’ – as are traces of eyeliner or, like Al, remnants of nail polish. But! It’s too crass to make ‘easy’ judgements. That guy with the flat nose and the build of a Latvian truck driver – might dress as alluring Olga at week-ends.
I ask these questions because I have this fear of being discovered. Will it be easier if I move to England? You read about lots of American CD’s shopping openly in Walmart or Target. That would be fantastic! Shopping with ‘friends’ and comparing underwear!
It’s not like that in Nilemwe where you would immediately be arrested, beaten up, sexually assaulted and thrown into a cell to await trial in three to six months’ time. There are joints like the Zebra where Cross Dressers can hang out, but the owner has to pay a bunch of money to the authorities to prevent it being raided.
Maybe it’s all better in England. I’m about to find out.