More Tricks… of the Trade
A Beginners Guide to Cross Dressing
Carollyn Faith Olson
Review by Gina Vizavi
Many years ago I attended a lecture by R. Buckminster (“Bucky”) Fuller, the inventor of not only the geodesic dome, but the concept of synergistic phenomena, various cooperative interactions that occur in natural systems and social groups. The short definition of synergy, in terms of group dynamics, is that the intelligence of the group is greater than the sum of its parts.
Carollyn Olson has taken advantage of this concept and assembled an impressive group of friends and professionals to write about the multitude of facets of the male-to-female transgender experience in More Tricks… of the Trade, A Beginners Guide to Cross Dressing, the sequel to her first book Tricks of the Trade, in which she coined the term ambigender to describe those of us who have been “wired” with both MC (male circuitry) and FC (female circuitry). The 50+ author’s books are designed “to help others reach their goals of becoming women and gain insights and confidence in their own femininity.” She characterizes her own pursuits in this regard by saying “My desire is to create an illusion which is a compliment to all women.”
Those whose primary “trans” presence is online, a “virtual persona,” will recognize many of the contributors to the book, some of whom have their own businesses catering to the TG community:
David Borrows (owner Glamour Boutique)
Tawni Katherine Bonds (professional makeup consultant)
Espy Lopez (owner of Classic Curves Inc.)
Lucille Sorella (owner Feminization Secrets)
Others are widely known on the web in their promotion of a healthy acceptance of who we are:
Ana Cristina (Cristy Garcia)
Kristi Snow (Keystone Conference)
Stana (Femulate blog)
She has been aided by her many friends who are members of The Vanity Club, as well as Marvin Evans, who has counseled transgender clients for over thirty years.
Each contributor brings something different to the table, each with their own unique perspective based on their interest and experience. The diversity of topics covers such a wide spectrum, I can’t imagine anyone reading More Tricks without coming away with something new and interesting in this synergistic work. There are many links to businesses and resources and some authors encourage readers to correspond with them with questions and to obtain more information.
In the Prelude, Marvin Evans describes the ambigender individual, and helps us to make sense of what makes us the way we are. At the end of the book he discusses what it means to be transgender as well as coming out, especially to one’s spouse.
The rest of the book is devoted to the many ways we find to express our “Womanhood.” In Chapter 2, Tanya Simone shares “Being a Lady” (author unknown) which is probably the best description I’ve ever read of what it means to be a human being. She concludes with, “being female is a matter of birth, being a woman is a matter of age, but being a lady is a matter of choice!”
Carollyn has written a number of chapters herself; one is an examination of “Female Deportment,” in which she guides the reader towards successfully presenting oneself to the world as a woman. This emphasizes a re-current theme throughout the book that emphasizes the importance of thinking like a woman.
There are chapters on just about everything you find written about in women’s magazines: shoes, wigs, corsets, makeup, nails, jewelry — all tailored to the needs of the ambigender individual. Those trying to present a realistic feminine image will find lots of information on creating curves and body shaping through the use of corsets, shapers and tape. This writer tends to be less ambitious in her ventures into the real world and started by looking ahead to the chapter for “the lazy cross dresser.”
There are chapters on going out, particularly for those who have not yet done so. And there are tips on how to do so safely.
Kimberly Huddle wrote an excellent chapter on “flying pretty” with everything one can expect when traveling en femme by plane. And Lucille Sorella outlines “Ten Hidden Benefits of Cross Dressing,” the best being the fact that it is a healthy and non-destructive way to relieve stress.
More Tricks is a wonderful compilation that provides the reader with useful information, many examples, and above all, encouragement. And my only constructive criticism is that it would benefit by closer scrutiny by the proof reader. That aside, it is a useful tool for anyone who is actively striving to become a better woman.
About Gina-Vizavi: Part time TGurl who found her way out and about at Angela's Laptop Lounge three years ago. Getting out with the blessings of a supportive spouse has given this gurl a whole new lease on life. Enjoy meeting new friends, being free to express myself and try to help others feel good about who they are.