Every day when I opened the door to the bridal salon, I never knew who would walk through the door. Same for the phone, I never knew what strange request was waiting or what was going to go wrong.
As women, we can wear pants on a daily basis and not get a second glance. But men, put them in a dress and they get stared down. I was naive, I didn't know how many men dreamed of wearing wedding dresses. I soon learned.
One day the best looking man I'd ever seen walked into the salon. He was drop dead gorgeous and built like a fitness model. He told me he wanted to buy a wedding dress as a gag for his best friend's bachelor/Halloween party. He was so sincere, and since he had no clue how to put on a wedding dress, I told him that I'd help him get into it. Then he dropped the bomb on me "I wore a bra so the dress would look right on me." I did a double take, he was wearing the most gorgeous hot pink bra I'd ever seen. It was lacy and had a pink bow and pearls on it. I wanted his bra! But how did he find that gorgeous bra in his size? I wanted to ask, but I was literally speechless. (I'm never speechless!) Then I glanced down, he was wearing a thong to match...a freaking hot pink thong on the most gorgeous man I'd ever laid eyes on in person! And, did I mention panty hose? How he pulled that off, well, I really didn't want to know. Well, yes, I did, but I was afraid to look anywhere but his eyes and I couldn't find the right words to ask. He decided instead of a wedding dress, he'd buy a frilly ruffly pink chiffon ballgown. He loved it, he twirled and he pranced and kept talking about how he was going to be the hit of the party. I have no doubt.
Truthfully, I was more than a little bit freaked out. So was the rest of my staff. So we had a new rule after that, any men in the shop become my customers. I wasn't going to put them in any harm, should the guy turn out to be a total freak. Like the guy who walked in barefoot wearing only ballet tights during a snowstorm. Hello, 911!
About a week later, I met Brenda who was really named Steve. Brenda strutted into the salon for her appointment, a stunning statuesque blonde in a mini skirt, stiletto heels and blood red nails. Something seemed odd to the gal helping her, so I stepped in. Took me all of a second to realize that Brenda was a guy. Brenda had the best makeup I'd ever seen on anyone. I've worked with some amazing makeup artists, but Brenda was perfection. So perfect, she looked Photoshopped. The giveaway was her hands, even though they were perfectly manicured, they were men's hands. Brenda knew that I knew and asked me to help her dress...then she asked me if I dealt with people like her. I said "Honey, I've dealt with everything, so lets get to trying on dresses." The relief showed in her eyes.
When I walked into the dressing room, I nearly fainted. On the pedestal, Brenda had taken out her breast prosthesis, and there were two large breasts staring up at me They looked so real that it was surreal. She then asked me to help with her strapless bra, well, OK, I do this for women every day. Put on your big girl pants and treat her like a woman. So I did....until I realized that Brenda was wearing a frilly pair of panties that made her look like a woman in front. Then she bent over and she was um....extremely well endowed. I saw all the family jewels. After that, I looked only in her eyes until she was dressed. The sight of her bending over is forever burned into my eyeballs......
It took Brenda nearly an hour to get herself back together. She changed her outfit and fixed her makeup because she had a date with her honey. Then we did the paperwork. My manager saw my husband pulling in the parking lot. With a big grin on her face, she told him she had a big surprise for him for his birthday and to keep his eyes open. A few minutes later, Brenda sashayed out the door, my husband holding the door open for the stunning lady. Brenda winked at my hubby and I watched him checking out Brenda while we girls were falling on the floor laughing at my husband. What ticked me off wasn't his reaction, it was that Brenda looked so much better than me. She looked better than all the women in the shop. Damn!
Brenda and I became friends of sort. I learned he was really married with small children and his wife allowed him Brenda time....where he became Brenda for a few days. He and his wife were renewing their wedding vows and yes, he was wearing a wedding dress. I never knew him as Steve.
Brenda must have told her buddies, because suddenly, I had lots of men wanting to play dress up. I had to make a new rule. If the men wanted to play dress up, they had to rent the dressing room and pay for my time and the money would go towards a purchase. It cut down on the players who were indulging in their fantasies.. I couldn't have men playing dress up in the dressing rooms because it freaked out the real brides. And I couldn't have my dressing rooms tied up when I needed them for my real brides.
The one thing I've learned in dealing with man brides is that we are all human and to treat all humans as we'd want to be treated. But please, no more man thongs!