I went through the mail quickly, saw nothing of interest and tossed the pile back on the kitchen table. A catalog I had passed over poked out from the mess of papers. The catalog had a white piece of paper obscuring the front cover. The white piece of paper had a typed message which read, “Some of the items in this catalog may be viewed as: Adult Related/ Sexually Oriented Material . DO NOT OPEN this mail if you feel you would be offended. If you did not send for this catalog – please return it to us via certified return receipt mail and ask for your name to be removed from our mailing list.”
Now I was intrigued - something possibly sexually taboo and offensive?! The catalog was titled Suddenly Fem, selling clothing, lingerie, and more for the cross-dressing male. Beautiful “women” in teddy’s, garter belt, corsets, mesh mini cocktail dresses filled the pages. The models stood in front of burgundy crushed velvet walls that flowed to the floors. They perched on crème suede chez lounges while seductively lowering their “sexy secretary” glasses and pushing back a curly tendril of hair. The first page explained more, “Our staff creates the designs & special patterns for feminine dresses, skirts, blouses & lingerie to fit men, plus securing manufacturers for our specially designed wigs, jewelry, breast forms and hormone supplements.”
More fascinating than the clothing were the tools sold to help shape the male body into a more feminine form. There were Gaffs, which they describe as a “frontal smoothing garment” used to hide the male genitalia for a feminine looking crotch area. Their breastforms were equipped with special features – a matte outer finish, perfect nipple shape, extra projected appearing nipple, and a softer touch and feel. With the breastform, a breastform adhesive and adhesive remover is sold. They sell all of the usual makeup and also a beard shadow cover with application instructions.
As I perused through it reminded me of the Fredrick’s of Hollywood catalog we occasionally receive - selling sexuality of an overt and generic nature. But the poor photography, strange font usage, and the featured bottles of unrecognizable pills and creams made it feel outdated, like one of those catalogs targeting the senior citizen demographic selling “As Seen On TV” items and shoe insoles. I tossed the catalog back into the mail pile and shortly after watched my sister pick up the heap of mail and make the same discoveries I had made ten minutes prior.