Occasionally (ok, all the bloody time) when scrolling through the Sky Planner I stumble upon a bit of television so clickbaity and tempting that I just can’t pass it up. A programme title so ludicrous and filled with the potential for disappointment that I just ‘have to give it five minutes’ and invariably end up watching the whole sodding thing, my face contorting every thirty seconds as it runs the entire gamut of human emotion in the space of one shockumentary. This is precisely how I came to watch The Man With The Ten Stone Testicles, The Girl With Eight Limbs and that excruciating Louis Theroux thing about creepy American swingers.
You know the one – where Louis peers round the curtain of the ‘group room’ and despite being confronted by wobbling genitalia with a collective age of around five hundred years, somehow manages to maintain an expression of ‘mild surprise’. He must be on lithium or some other hairy mood stabilising chemicals because I’m fairly certain that the sight of 17 stone Dwight from Utah and bearded Dudley from Oregon going like the clappers at June from Wisconsin who hasn’t trimmed her bush since 1986 would be enough to incite most people to live on the top of a mountain, blindfolded and with their genitals encased in concrete.
And so, undeterred by a fear of being confronted by the terrifying, the repulsive and the downright bloody peculiar, my televisual journey drew me to Sky Living and ‘Forbidden Love: I married a cross dresser’.
Anyone who knows me will know that I am a shocking bitch when it comes to fashion. Not that I always get it right, far from it, but I think I know when something looks good or looks shit. My Instagram feed is littered with Matches Fashion, Net-A-Porter, Vogue, Alexander Fury, Man Repeller, Charlotte Tilbury and Sali Hughes. I am a heels devotee and truly believe in the transformational powers of The Right Handbag. So when I stick on Sky Living (which, let’s face it, is hardly high brow) with a view to watching women and the transvestites they love, I am fully expecting some serious #fashionbravery.
That’s right. I want a riot of inappropriate spangly miniskirts in the post office and day glo 6 inch platform heels on a six foot five man during the school run. I want “WAAAAAAH, WE WERE TOGETHER TWENTY YEARS AND SUDDENLY HE STARTED WEARING A SEQUINNED TURBAN AND DROP EARRINGS!!”.
What I found were stories of love, loss, support, friendship, sweetness and sadness. Granted, they were illustrated with a lot of leopard print and questionable wigs (which, frankly, I have no business making any judgements on), but there was nothing out of the ordinary. In every family there is estrangement and skeletons in closets, these families were no different to any other. Just better accessorised. The wives featured knew that their husband’s choice to wear frocks was completely irrelevant to their relationship. And no matter what mechanics the documentary makers brought into play, there was nothing shocking about these couples. This was no Ten Stone Testicles.
It was a show that didn’t need to be made. These couples didn’t need their relationships examining because there was nothing out of the ordinary in them. These men just want the freedom to wear whatever they want, which is precisely what women have been fighting to achieve for a century. They are not experiencing any kind of sexual identity issues. They are men. They are men who are either using their clothing to identify with their feminine side or just wearing the clothes they jolly well feel comfortable in.
I’ll admit, being the mean old bag that I am, I was bloody disappointed not to have the opportunity to give my ageing facial muscles a good old laughter/horror workout (my jawline looked noticeably tauter after the BodyShock Series on Channel 4). But then it takes a lot more than a man with a beard and coral lipstick to have me making Kenneth Williams faces. I am the sort of woman who wouldn’t bat an eyelid if my husband came home wearing a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress.
I’m not entirely unshockable though; I’d demand a bloody divorce on the spot if he came home in a pair of Crocs. I think that qualifies as ‘unreasonable behaviour’, right?