by Ann Grogan

©1999 ROMANTASY Corset Boutique
2191 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

THANK YOU FOR INQUIRING about our lovely and exquisitely crafted custom corsets. Bellad 1s You have asked about the most suitable style for you and that is exactly our expertise at ROMANTASY, based on almost nine years in business and experience fitting over 2000 customers, including both men and women.

Before we proceed to advise you which style and which of our many qualified corsetmakers would best suit you, we need to know the answer to three basic questions . . . and the more information you give us, the better we can assist.

First, tell us the main purpose or purposes for which you wish to wear/use your corset? Second, tell us something about your lifestyle and opportunities for wearing your corset, and finally, tell us about your budget.

Think carefully about how often you will wear your corset, under or over clothing, with a specific waist reduction goal in mind or not, temporary or permanent reduction, and to achieve what kind of "look": fashion? fetish? foundation smoothing or enhancing curves? bridal or fantasy? And do tell us if you are a genetic female or male, as it makes a difference in our advice about style and measurements. We also offer private fitting and image Salon consultations for our CD/T clientele, so please inquire further, or visit our webpage to learn more.

In addition, we offer waist training coaching, an extended pleasure plan to protect and repair your corsets over time, and a special ceremony when you bestow a gift corset on a paramour!

If you would like to learn more about these programs, check out the appropriate webpage or write for information, and please consult our 48-page catalog: $20 US or $25 OS, applicable to corset purchase (preview on our first web page).

We'll be writing more on this topic and popular question we frequently hear, so stay tuned for our October/November newsletter. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting us on the web, and do call us for a private fitting appointment or trunk show when you get to San Francisco: (415) 585-0760.

**An expanded 23-page version of this article is available from ROMANTASY for $5 plus $2.50 postage.

Another Wonderful Guest Column From Our Transgendered Clientele,
On The "Esprit" Conference

By Kelly H.

Kelly vignetteI AM AT PEACE . . . in balance within . . . feeling the emergence of my feminine side in harmony with my masculine side that I've known for so long. I write this in the glow of the moment when the two halves of my spirit became one.

My first extended journey into my feminine side was truly an extraordinary one . . . reflected in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and its many moods. I had planned for many long months for this moment, to attend Esprit with my sisters from Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and places afar. I caught the first ferry out of Edmonds bound for Port Angeles on Wednesday morning to begin five full days as Kelly. I was anxious was anticipation, hardly sleeping the night before, getting up at 4 am to finish packing, put on makeup, and getting dressed. I was beginning a journey that I didn't quite yet comprehend, even though I thought I did. The weather matched my nervous mood . . . some clouds, mist, and fog-shrouded mountains, with the promise of sun and blue sky as the week progressed.

I had viewed Esprit as my first time to dress as a woman for 5 complete days, to have fun with my friends, with the opportunity to make new friends, and go shopping of course! Top priority was to improve my feminine look with a new wig, makeup lessons, and all kinds of advice from image consultants. Then the opportunity for my wife of twenty-five years came along for her to attend for a few days, so we made plans to attend the couple's sessions, and for her to attend the significant others talk. Sandra Cole, a nationally known gender counselor would be there help and answer our questions, and help us on our journey.

Yes, I experienced all these things at Esprit, but, oh so much more as well! As I went through each day, I realized there was a change occurring within me, as I slipped deeper into my feminine side.

The weekend is now a collection of memories, each remembered with a smile, a laugh, a tear or two, all with a centered around feeling of peace, happiness and joy over the fun we had together. . . .

Spending time with Rachel, who become a very special friend. . . .

Experiencing the help and advice that was available to us . . . with Karen who helped us with wardrobe and accessories, with a twinkle in her eye and a bounce in her step . . . to Kathy, who is truly a magician with her hands, transforming an old wig into something beautiful and helping me bring our my inner beauty with hair styles that matched my face and personality . . . and finally to Rita, who brought out the colors in me with fun, excitement and friendship. . . .

A blur of workshops, with Annette's beautiful, fluent movement class, complete with smiles and words of encouragement applied with boundless energy. . . . Michelle's voice lessons, so much to learn and practice . . . and Sandra's support and encouragement as we work through issues with our SO's. . . .

Memories of lunches, dinners and drinks with old and new friends, feeling tentative at first, then becoming sisters on a common journey . . . watching the path of JJ & Myra, a beautiful young couple in love, to Bev & Lori, with their wisdom, fun and joy in finding a new life in a second lifelong relationship . . . to the beauty of Claire, Rachel, Traci, Shawna, Meg, Ginger, Bren, and so many others. . . .

And to see how my wife Mary blossomed each day, with the realization and understanding of our community . . . how wonderful the people are, and the warmth of love and support we provide to each other. . . .

As the week unfolded, each moment was savored, and held near to the heart. The fun in selecting what to wear . . . the joy of seeing of Kelly in the mirror . . . working through bad hair days . . . trial and errors with makeup . . . all with the feeling of accomplishment as the problems were solved and the results being better each day! Interestingly enough, the weather improved each day too, as if to mimic my own good feelings inside.

All paths led to Saturday night, and the formal event of the weekend. With Mary's support to "go for it" on my special night, Kelly received the treatment fit for a queen with a new hair style from Kathy . . . dramatic makeup from Rita . . . exquisite jewelry from Karen . . . and a killer new dress, shoes and long gloves all coming together in a special way to make me realize that amidst the work and fun of putting it all together . . . that I was changing . . . that I was stretching my wings . . . that I was truly happy . . . and that I was a woman . . . Kelly . . . not just from the outside . . . but from the inside . . . emerging from my cocoon as a beautiful new butterfly after all these years! I learned that there is more than the external image, that there is a balance between my masculine and feminine sides that is without competition, without guilt, without fear or embarrassment. That it is OK for me to nurture and grow each side of my spirit, to blend all of my qualities in a way to make me unique . . . all with the encouragement, support and acceptance of my loving wife. As I arrived at the event, I felt like a princess at the ball, looking elegant, classy, sophisticated, and daring all at the same time, and feeling so very beautiful from within.

Sunday came too quick, and as we packed and said our good-byes, I knew it was just the beginning of new and expanded friendships, complete with acceptance, love and support for each other . . . knowing that Kelly is now a beautiful woman, balanced by Bob's role as a husband, father, manager, and friend. Where will it all go? I'm not sure yet, but I know from within, that I am happy, content, and at peace with true sprit. And that those feelings will guide me through my journey, floating through the air, spreading my wings and experiencing what life has to offer.

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