For Gloria it was indeed like coming home when they entered the driveway to the magnificent Villa, where her conversion into a girl had started. She was shown to his old suite of rooms by Aunt Margaret. Nothing had changed here.
“I promised you,” Aunt Margaret began when they had settled down in the comfortable easy-chairs, “if the circumstances allowed it, you could return to being a man. Now, I was able to clear everything, get you exempted from military service, and all charges against you were dropped.”
“You may now appear as a man in Berlin if you wish. I have prepared some male clothes for you that should be sufficient for the beginning.”
Gloria now suddenly Jean-Marie again was completely surprised by this turn of events. He did not know what to say or even think. First, Aunt Margaret took every step possible to turn him into a girl and now after she had reached her goal she was simply offering him his former existence as a man again.
“Well, you don’t have to decide right now. Take your time to make up your mind if you want to go back being a male. But I think you should try it right now, before people see Gloria back in Berlin. In fact, why not start this minute.”
She rose and went to a closet.
“See here: There are three suits, shirts, underwear, everything. So take off your dress and everything else and I shall help you dress as a man again.”
He was so used to doing what she told him that he followed her request at once, and soon stood completely naked. Aunt Margaret gave him male cotton underwear, then a shirt and trousers, socks and shoes. He put on all the things she gave him. The things felt scratchy and rough, not at all as soft as the things he now was used to.
“Come over here to the mirror. I have to remove your make-up and take care of your hair. I don’t think it wise to cut it now. It should be done professionally when you want it. We’ll just hide it under this short hair wig.”
When she was finished, he looked into the mirror and saw a strange creature: a girlish boy or a boyish girl. The shirt fitted his body closely and was pushed out by his breasts. Aunt Margaret saw his doubtful expression.
“You are right: we have to do something about your breasts. Take off your shirt and undershirt.”
She brought a wide bandage, which she wound several times around his chest, flattening and hiding his bosom. When he had dressed himself again, these obvious signs of feminity had disappeared.
“You should stay in the house today, so you can get a better feeling for these clothes. Tomorrow you shall go out in them.”
All day long he walked around the house, up and down and tried to accommodate himself to his new clothes. Free of the hampering skirts, the tight corsets and high heels, he had expected to experience a feeling of freedom but much to his surprise, soon enough, the tendons and muscles in his calves ached and he felt very uncomfortable without the security the corset had given him. Soon his back ached too from the unaccustomed strain. His muscles evidently were not used to holding up his body any more. He complained to Aunt Margaret about this.
“Well, then tomorrow you shall wear a corset under your suit. In fact many men do, especially the smart officers of the Guard Regiments, who want to keep a trim figure.”
At dinner Aunt Margaret revealed to him that Fritz had let her in on his secret. Fritz was presently in Vienna for some post-graduate work in psychiatry. Fritz still lived as a man and had not yet decided if and when he would reveal his true sex. He loved his work so much and he feared he could not continue working in his field as a doctor if he made it known that he was in fact a woman.
“Well, when he returns, both of you can decide what to do about this situation, if you are still in love with each other although from what I hear from Fritz, you must have made a lasting and deep impression on him. Anyway, if you live as a man when he returns, you can be friends with him and try to hide the fact that you are lovers too. Probably you will both soon be regarded as homosexuals, but Berlin is pretty liberal in this respect, especially if it concerns people of a high social status. Of course, if you decide to live as a girl, there would be no such problems. But first we shall find out how you like being a man.”
At night he was glad to be able to slip into his high-heeled mules and don a soft silken nightie. The simple cotton underwear had felt so rough and scratchy that he was glad to take it off and the bandage that had imprisoned his bosom was everything but comfortable.
The next morning Suzanne came to help him, and he asked her to lace him into one of his corsets.
“But not too tightly, please. I just want it to hold everything together.”
Suzanne, however, proceeded to lace him as tightly as ever, until the sides were closed at 19 inches.
“If you want to wear a corset, you’ll have to wear it properly laced. Now, to hold up your trousers, you just have to pull in the belt a few more holes.”
He did not notice how much wearing the corset influenced his movements, particularly his walk.
After breakfast, the three of them drove into the city in an open carriage: Aunt Margaret and Coco, both of them dressed to the hilt, and the re-born Jean-Marie. His outfit was very stylish, too -he looked a perfect dandy. Everything matched and fitted perfectly even too perfectly for a man, one could say.
As usual, they created a lot of interest wherever they appeared. Jean- Marie noticed that many looks rested on him longer than on the two ladies he was accompanying. The glances showed curiosity, as if there was something unusual about him.
When they went to a restaurant at lunch, the head-waiter greeted them effusively “Welcome, Mesdames. You look wonderful today and it is a wonderful day today, isn’t it? Would you care to follow me, Mesdames, I have a wonderful table here right at the window, so you can look out to the street.”
He summoned two other waiters and when the little party had reached the table, the waiters held the chairs for all three of them.
When the head-waiter brought the menu, he kept addressing the party as “Mesdames”, never once referring to Jean-Marie as “Monsieur”. Could it be that the head-waiter mistook him for a girl?
When he offered champagne for “Les Dames” Aunt Margaret, to whom he had addressed himself all the time said “Yes, please bring us two glasses and for the young gentleman please bring us a lemonade.”
The headwaiter looked at Jean-Marie with an amused smile.
“For the young gentleman? Of course, if you wish Madame, for the young gentleman. One lemonade and two glasses of champagne, very well Madame.”
There it was clear, the head-waiter had mistaken him for a girl wearing men’s clothes. Jean-Marie was so humiliated he wanted to disappear into the floor. What made it worse was that the head-waiter, even after Margaret had corrected his error, thought that Margaret had not told the truth and he obviously still took him for a girl, addressing him as a male only to humor Aunt Margaret.
This was not the only incident whenever they talked to someone, in shops or at a cafe, everybody treated Jean-Marie as a girl, or worse yet some people addressed him as a male but in a way that was meant to show that they were “in on the joke”.
Jean Marie could not understand why this happened. He was a man, dressed as one and yet everybody took him for a girl. It was so distressing and humiliating. All the time he was dressed as a girl, nobody ever questioned his sex, never did anybody take him for anything other than what his manner of dress proclaimed. Neither did anybody take Coco for the male that he was, which should have been proof enough that clothes make the man (or girl). But why then didn’t the male clothes he was wearing now make him a man? He didn’t understand the world anymore.
He stayed quiet for most of the afternoon, while Aunt Margaret and Coco obviously had a wonderful time.
When they had returned to the mansion and sat down after dinner in the hall, he asked Aunt Margaret and Coco why everybody took him for a girl.
“Very simple, my dear,” Aunt Margaret stated in a matter-of-fact tone, “because even in male clothes everybody can see that you really are a girl. The way you walk, the way you carry yourself, the way you speak and react, your face, your figure everything about you says “I am a girl”. There is no use in fighting it. You should acquiesce and yield to the fact that with one exception you are a complete girl in body and mind. Come on, admit it: you love your dresses; you love being a girl.”
“Do it,” Coco chimed in, “do admit it, I know how it is, I have gone through it myself.”
“But I wanted to be a male! I wanted to become an engineer like my father was. It was you who forced me to become what I am now! It is all your fault, Aunt Margaret.”
“Now, be honest with yourself I would never have been so successful, if you hadn’t cooperated. I could have dressed you as a girl for a few days, but everybody would have looked through your disguise if the girlishness hadn’t been in you.”
“I have discussed this at length with Fritz and believe me he knows as much as anybody, maybe even more than everybody else about these things. Maybe you did not realize it yourself at that time but from the moment I tricked you into wearing a dress for the first time, you were hooked. You wanted me to force you into feminity, you were just afraid to follow your own inclinations as Coco had done before. Be honest with yourself only once, only today and admit that I am right. Now go to bed and think about it. Tomorrow you will appear at breakfast in the clothes of whoever you want to be in the future Jean-Marie or Gloria.”
He did as he was told, said good night and went to bed. Out of habit and without thinking, he had put on his lovely, soft, feminine nightdress. He couldn’t sleep for a long time. The thoughts kept spinning in his head like cog-wheels. What Aunt Margaret had said, had at least some truth in it. But if... And then ... However ... What about ... And Fritz ... If he ... No, if she ... But then ... And Coco ... He did not know when sleep finally caught up with him and stopped that crazy spinning of the wheels.
He woke up very refreshed and quite clear in his head. He knew he had to make a decision today NOW in fact.
He got up and walked over to the closet. There they were: his new suits, shirts, socks and shoes. Finally, he could become a man again. All that was needed was his decision. He would be a man again. It was so plain and simple. He was a man, he would be a man from now on. Period. All right, that was settled.
Before he took out underthings, the shirt, and the suit he was going to wear today, he turned around to where the dresses that he had worn before were hung.
Oh, they were beautiful, and he hadn’t even worn some of them, the ones bought last in Paris. He took one out and looked at it. He took it from the hanger and held it to his body. Now, he would never know how he would have looked in it.
Well, he still could try it on just once, just to see how it would have looked on him.
He was glad that he had not removed his corset last night he had been too tired for the hassle with the long strings. Now he just had to slip the dress over his head and close the hooks in the back.
It was beautiful, but its skirt was too long, it stood on the ground. It needed petticoats to make the skirt stand out better. He pulled on two flounced, multi-tiered petticoats and fastened their drawstrings about his corseted waist. He buttoned the long narrow cuffs on the long sleeves and the tight and high standing collar.
It really was the latest fashion, this dress. He turned left and right before the mirror. It was still a few inches too long. Shoes were missing. He pulled on gossamer thin silk stockings and a pair of the new walking boots from Paris with the extra high heels. They made him stand quite differently, pushing his hips forward.
He opened his long blond tresses and wound them up to a becoming, simple hairdo.
He liked what he saw. He liked it so much he was really aroused by the picture of the girl in the mirror.
He sat down and added just a touch of red to his lips and a little khol to his eyelids; just a whiff of rouge high on the cheeks there she was: a beauty.
He got up and walked around in the room, taking mincing little steps, from one mirror to another, swirling his skirts, feeling the caress of the soft petticoats against his legs. He was almost lost in a trance. He danced around a little bit, always watching himself in the mirrors. He flirted outrageously with his image in the mirrors, pulling up his skirts in front, showing the high heeled narrow, shining, little boots covering well turned ankles.
He imagined walking through the park, haughtily ignoring the stares of the men. To complete the costume for this occasion, he put on a saucy little hat decorated with multicolored flowers, which he fastened by tying a pert bow just under the left side of the jaw. He pulled on dainty lace gloves and took a lace parasol just as if he were really taking a walk in the park. He loved it the image the mirrors showed him, the feeling of his high heeled little boots, the swishing petticoats against his silken clad legs, the narrow corseted waist and the girlish pretty face he saw, everything he saw and felt. He gave himself fully to these reveries, feeling content, cheerful and happy as rarely ever before maybe except when he was with Fritz. He wished Fritz could see him like this. He was sure Fritz would have liked it, too.
The door opened and Aunt Margaret walked in, followed by Coco and Suzanne. His daydream ended with a terrible let-down. It took him a few seconds to come back to reality.
Aunt Margaret rushed towards him and took him in her arms.
“I knew you would do it. I was sure you could never return to being a man. You are such a lovely girl, it would have been a shame and impossible to destroy such a beautiful creature. I just knew you felt it, too, and would want to stay as you are...”
“But, Aunt Margaret, I didn’t mean to ... “
He tried to interrupt her gushing praise of him, “I decided to ..., I mean I just ...”
“Manners, darling, manners. It’s “Madame” and not “Aunt Margaret” and why don’t you curtsey when you address me?”
Aunt Margaret’s voice carried a slight tone of reproach, which turned Jean-Marie into “Gloria” right away. She could not help it: suddenly she was a timid, submissive girl again.
“I am sorry, Madame, I did not mean to be impolite.” He curtseyed respectfully, “it is just that you told me to make up my mind and decide how I wanted to live in the future and this morning I decided...”
“We can all clearly see what your decision was you don’t have to explain it or make excuses,” Aunt Margaret interrupted her, “on the contrary: I congratulate you. We are all sure it is the right decision.”
“But I ...” Jean-Marie tried desperately to explain the misunderstanding.
Aunt Margaret had already turned away from him, directing Suzanne to the closet.
“Suzanne, get all the ugly male stuff and throw it away. Nobody can use it, anyhow. No male has hips and a bust that big and a waist that small.”
“But, Madame, what I am trying to say is ...”
Jean-Marie again tried to get her attention in vain.
“I know, I know,” Aunt Margaret interrupted him again. She took away the parasol, to which he had held as if it was the last straw to save him from drowning, then she stepped behind him and took both his wrists, fastening them together with handcuffs.
“I like your ensemble very much. It is very becoming to you. Just perfect for a stroll through the park. But before we take it, let us all have a little breakfast and discuss the future of our sweet Gloria.”
Jean-Marie was completely lost. He was back to square one: dressed and looking like a pretty girl and being treated as one by everybody. Fettered as he was, he could not even successfully object, when Aunt Margaret steered him out of his room towards her suite.
He could only blame himself for getting into this situation, he contemplated: had he put on the male suit in the beginning, his decision would have been obvious and clear. Completely discouraged, he saw Suzanne disappear, carrying away all the male clothes he could have worn, if he hadn’t given in to the urge to try on the new dress.
Sitting at the breakfast table, Aunt Margaret made sure that Jean-Marie had his mouth full and was unable to speak, when she took up the issue of his future.
“Well, friends, now it is decided and I am glad that Gloria is staying with us.”
“And I know somebody else who will be delighted to hear about it: Fritz, Gloria’s admirer. I think with you remaining a girl, you are the perfect couple. Fritz has told me that he probably would have to remain a male, if he wanted to go on practicing medicine. Now he will have a very pretty bride and later a beautiful wife at his side. He told me, he would love to have you as his wife.”
“Yes, dear Gloria, I have promised your hand to Fritz and when he comes back from Vienna next week we shall officially announce your engagement and have the wedding late in June.”
Jean-Marie was completely non-plused by this revelation. Fritz wanted him to remain a girl? An engagement, and a wedding? With him as the bride?
Before he could regain his senses, everyone was already discussing the details how to announce the engagement, whom to invite. And then the wedding: Where to hold it, who would be invited for the party and where the young couple should live.
“My present to the couple will be the wedding dress for the bride,” Coco announced, “I can already see it but I won’t tell. It will not only be elegant and smashing, it will hold a few surprises for the groom too. I plan to deliver the bride to him as a delightfully wrapped package, ready for a memorable wedding night. I have some interesting ideas for this.”
“You shouldn’t talk of such naughty things in front of our blushing bride, Coco,” Aunt Margaret scolded her jokingly and Jean-Marie, now totally Gloria again, really blushed.
“On the contrary, we should use the time Gloria is still living with us to train her for her wifely duties. I think she still has a lot to learn on how to please her husband and I do not mean by cooking fancy meals and tending house. This she can leave to the cook and other servants. She must know all the secrets of giving pleasure by making love: in bed she must be a whore and a slave girl to her husband.”
“I think you are quite right. Let us start today.”
For Gloria once, a long time ago in the distant past, Jean-Marie the die was cast. She was and would remain a girl forever. Somehow, suddenly, she was completely happy. The prospect of becoming the wife of her beloved Fritz erased all doubts. She would gladly be his love-slave if he wished it.
She was already thinking of all the silken underwear, the tight corsets and gossamer stockings, the beautiful dresses, boots, hats, and gloves she would get to wear. Oh, she finally mused, it was not such bad luck at all to remain a girl.