Clothes and identity. Signals clothes send. Clothes swapping but not cross-dressing.
|The Magic Clothes: or One Evening as Someone Else|
There I was very uncomfortably dressed in someone else's clothes having dinner with a beautiful girl. This situation resulted because I did a friend a huge favor. It began near the end of our workday at the city libary.
It was late one Friday afternoon in June shortly before the library’s closing time and the reading room nearly empty. I was finishing my paper work as custodian of the reference desk in Special Collections when Katy, a girl who worked in the library came to the desk. She sat down beside me as she usually did shortly before closing after she had finished her work just to chat about our work. We were both in our first jobs after graduating from college. She was a great looking girl—tall and slim. She had played basketball on her college team and was still very fit. She had an apartment near mine so we often walked the two miles to work together. She asked me if I had plans for that evening. I thought she was going to ask me for a date. When I answered no I thought she might have a suggestion. I was a little disappointed when she said that she and Ryan had something really important to talk to me about, or rather Ryan did, she added. She called Ryan, the stack boy, who was re-shelving some reference books, to come to the desk. He was the only stack boy on duty in our department. Ryan was a sixteen-year-old high school boy who worked part-time after school and on Saturdays. Saturdays were usually our busiest days when some genealogists usually appeared and other days we didn’t need a full time stack boy. He was a clean cut young man and a conscientious worker. Katy really liked Ryan. One time she told me that if he were older she would try to seduce him. “He’s so sexy! Wow!” she exclaimed.
The way she smiled at me I could sense they had something brewing. I was getting ready for some kind of practical joke—not unknown around there. Libraries and librarians are not as dull as most people think. After the last patron left the reference room and a few minutes of small talk with Ryan and me, Katy suddenly asked who was taller me or Ryan. We stood back-to-back.
Katy commented, “You are both the same height and the same size. I bet you could wear each others clothes.” We were both about six feet tall and probably weighed nearly the same.
Ryan just grinned and I remarked, “Yeah, I suppose we could. You could probably wear our clothes too! Why don’t you and Ryan switch. He’d look cute in a dress!”
Katy smiled saying, “Could be. Maybe a kilt would be a better choice! Hmmm. Yeah, we could all three trade. Why don’t we try that sometime?”
Ryan and I both just grinned and agreed that it would fun. “Especially if we could get another girl for Jack to swap with,” Ryan added.
“Ok,” I said. “What’s up? That’s not really what you wanted to talk to me about—or is it? You two have something else on your minds.”
“Well,” said Katy, “Ryan has a big favor to ask of you but is reluctant to ask because you might think he is gay or something! I think it’s really a perfectly reasonable request. He’s just a little shy about it.”
“Oh boy! I knew you two were up to something. Ok, let’s hear it, but I doubt if I’m going to like it. I’m making no promises.”
Ryan glanced at Katy and blushed, “I can’t do it. It’s too embarrassing.” He tended to blush a lot.
“Oh, come on,” said Katy. “It’s a perfectly legitimate and harmless request. You’re in a bind and Jack is the only person who can help you. I’d do it if I if I could. Come to think of it I’d do it anyhow if it would help. As Jack suggested you might look attractive in a skirt. But I’ll ask Jack since you are too chicken!”
“I’m not sure I want to hear this,” I remarked. I had an idea where this was leading and it obviously had something to do with clothes. I thought he might to borrow some of my clothes for some reason.
“Go ahead, Ryan, ask him. You haven’t got a lot of time. It would be better coming from you,” cautioned Katy. “If he refuses maybe you could think of something else.”
“Ok. Jack is my only hope, so here goes,” Ryan said as he cleared his throat. “Listen, Jack, I’ve been invited to have dinner down-town right after work with my girl friend and her family and then they want to go to a play. They already have a ticket for me and I have to let them know before 5 o’clock if I can join them.”
“So, what’s the problem? What has that got to do with me? Do you want me go along as moral support? Or do you need money?” I asked realizing suddenly that it wasn’t my money he wanted.
“Well,” he said, “I can’t go into a good down-town restaurant wearing blue jeans and a polo shirt. They wouldn’t even let me in. Besides I will need a coat and tie to even go into the restaurant. Besides that I want to make a good impression. You always are dressed pretty sharp so I was hoping you might swap clothes with me. I like your preppy look.” He hastened to add, “Katy said you wouldn’t mind and she is sure we are about the same size.” I guess he thought if Katy approved, I would be agreeable to almost anything.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” I couldn’t believe it. I was right in thinking he might want to borrow some clothes but not the very clothes I was wearing! “I’ve never swapped clothes with anyone in my life!” This was not exactly true though. When I was thirteen a friend and I wore each other’s clothes to school one day just for fun. We were disappointed because no one even noticed.
This day I was wearing khaki pants, a white shirt with a blue blazer and a regimental tie sporting my school colors. I was wearing white bucks which were popular at the time. Admittedly he would look much more presentable in my clothes than in his own. But I couldn’t see myself dressed like him unless I was at home. It just didn’t seem right for me to be down town dressed so casually.
Katy said, “Go ahead, Jack. What’s the harm? Don’t be so proper. Ryan can’t get home to change and get back down town in time. If you won’t do it, then he will miss a great time and it will be all your fault. I would do it if I were in your place. Come on, Jack, be a sport.”
“Ok, pour on the guilt. Where do you propose we make the change? In the middle of the street? My apartment is closer than your house. Why don’t we go there and I could lend you some clothes.” I suggested.
“No, no, there isn’t time. Ryan has to meet them at 6 o’clock so we don’t have time to go that far and then for him to get back down town. And anyhow I have it all worked out,” she said. I knew she would—always planning ahead and always having an answer. “We can go to the cafeteria just up the street. You two can go to the men’s room and make the trade. Then Ryan can go on his way and you and I can have our dinner there. Wouldn’t you like that? Ryan can stop by your apartment on his way home and you can trade again. Or, if it’s likely, they will take him home, you can get together tomorrow either at work or after work.” The three of us were scheduled to work Saturday.
“You certainly don’t expect me to come to work dressed like a high school boy do you?”
“Hey!” Ryan exclaimed, “That’s not a bad idea. You can be the stack boy and I will work the desk. Then you will find out how hard I have to work!”
“By the way,” Katy said, “what size shoes do you wear? He can’t go dressed up wearing those dirty saddle shoes.” As luck would have it, we wore the same size shoes.
“Should we swap underwear too?” I asked.
“Only if you want to,” she relied grinning.
Ryan just grunted and reddened again.
“Oh, come on, you really don’t expect me to let this boy wear my clothes do you? He’ll spill something all over them. Anyhow it might be pretty risky swapping clothes in a public rest room.”
“Please, Jack, will you do it? I’ll be careful.” Ryan was begging. “Come on, say yes, I have just a few minutes to make the call.”
“Ok, I guess I’ll go along. You two talked me into it,” I replied without really giving it much thought. “But I still feel a little uncomfortable about it but I’ll swap. I don’t want to be responsible for spoiling your evening. You really put me on the spot. You’ll both owe me big time!”
Katy almost shouted, “Wow, this is exciting! I knew you would agree. I can’t wait to see the new Jack and new Ryan!”
“I promise to take good care and not spill anything and I’ll make it up to you sometime somehow.” I could see Ryan was excited too. I didn’t find it at all exciting but I must admit it was kind of intriguing and changing clothes in a public rest room seemed a sort of risky adventure.
Ryan happily made his acceptance call from the phone at the desk. He was clearly excited. After the library closed at five o’clock we took off walking to the cafeteria. I was surprised to see that Ryan also wore his high school windbreaker with the school logo on the front. I hadn’t planned on masquerading so completely as a high school boy.
At that early hour, the cafeteria was nearly deserted. It tended to get really busy shortly after five. Katy said she would wait for us in the lobby while we made the change in the men’s room. Fortunately the men’s room was empty and I hoped it stayed that way for a few minutes. We each went into separate stalls and stripped to our underwear. I hung my clothes on the hook on the inside of the door. Luckily we were both wearing dark socks so there was no need to swap them! Then we were ready to switch stalls. I felt kind of silly walking around in a public rest room in my Jockey “Slim Guy” boxers. No one else was there though. Ryan was wearing jockey briefs.
“Want to trade underwear?” he asked, blushing again.
“I’m not ready to go that far!” I replied.
“Ah, come on, Jack. Let’s go all the way. It’ll give Katy a kick. She’ll think that was terrific! She’ll laugh herself silly.”
“We could not do it but tell her we did. She’ll never know the difference. She doesn’t know what kind of underwear we have on anyhow—does she?”
Ryan ignored that last question. “Shucks,” he said, “it won’t be the same. Let’s do it. OK?”
“Not a chance! Hurry up and get into the stall before someone comes in!” I retorted as I entered the stall Ryan had left just as a man entered the rest room. Luckily I don’t think he saw either one of us.
I found his clothes hanging on the hook on the door. Just then his jockeys came over the wall. I managed to catch them before they hit the floor. “Ok,” I mumbled as I took off my boxers and handed them over the partition. I slipped on his briefs and then his jeans. I was glad he didn’t remember the socks! It really felt strange to be putting on someone else’s still warm blue jeans that he just had taken off. They fit fine. His pockets were stuffed with keys, change, handkerchief, billfold. I reminded myself to make sure we got our own billfolds. I wasn’t used to wearing a wide leather belt that he had in his Levi’s. I didn’t usually wear a belt with my jeans. I liked the belt and decided I would have to get one like it. I put on his blue polo shirt and dirty saddle shoes. I hadn’t worn saddle shoes since I was in high school. I was somewhat surprised to find we wore the same size clothes. I always thought Ryan was slimmer than I was but he wore exactly the same sizes I wore. I was uncomfortable and pretty nervous about all this adventure even though the clothes fit me just as my own. Besides I owned clothes just like these but for some reason I didn’t understand, I felt ill at ease wearing Ryan’s. I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone to see me. Why I felt so self-conscious I don’t know. What a weird feeling!
The man was still there when I stepped out of the stall as Ryan was just coming out of the other. He merely glanced at us and then left. Ryan went to the mirror struggling with the tie. I had to help him with it a little. He put on my blazer and admired himself in the mirror. He did look good. It was the first time I ever saw him in a coat and tie.
“Hey,” he said, “my clothes look good on you and yours fit me great! I feel like a different person. I think this is a lot of fun! This is the first time I have ever worn boxer shorts. I like them.” I have to admit it was a strange but fun thing to do.
“You look like a different person and don’t look too bad either. In fact you look sharper in my clothes than I do. I think you will impress your future in-laws!” Ryan blushed again.
Looking at our reflections in the mirror, I think we both felt we had lost some of our personalities or identities. We just stood and stared for a minute or so. I certainly didn’t feel like myself. My reflection looked like my head on Ryan’s body. That made me laugh—I don’t know why though.
“There you are as me and me as you! It looks like we switched heads!” Ryan observed as we stood before the mirror. We really didn’t look like each other. He was blond and I had dark hair but we both had crew cuts. Yet, in some way I did feel like I was at least part him and he part me. A very strange sensation to say the least.
“Yeah!” I said as I put on his windbreaker. “Just call me Ryan!” I looked like the high school boy I once was! “Let’s see what Katy has to say. I hope she approves.”
We found her sitting in the lobby reading a magazine. She looked up with a surprised expression and then a big grin.
“Wow!” I knew she would say that—it’s her favorite word. “Wow,” again, “you actually went through with it! I thought Jack would chicken out at the last minute. You both look great! What a transformation! Jack, you look better dressed that way than in a coat and tie.”
“Hmmm,” I thought, “was it Ryan’s clothes that turned her on?” I didn’t know what to think or say about that. Maybe she was finding me as sexy as she thought Ryan was. I hoped so. A fleeting idea of a good time tonight went through my mind. I wondered if clothes really make that much difference. Did a coat and tie make me look like a nerd or something?
“I wish I had a camera. And, Ryan, you do look the gentleman! I think your girl friend will be pleased.”
“Are you going to tell her or should I?” Ryan asked and reddened again.
Katy giggled and said, “You don’t have to tell me. You swapped underwear too! I could tell by your blush.” I thought she was going to fall to floor she was laughing so hard. Some people who just came in stared at us as they went past. I guess they were trying to figure out what was so funny. Neither Ryan nor I were laughing--just grinning.
“Yep,” I said. “That’s exactly what we did! We decided if we were to do this crazy thing we might as well go all the way.” I didn’t tell her the underwear exchange was wholly Ryan’s idea.
“I’m proud of you both. This whole thing takes a lot of nerve. Actually, I’m not sure I would have done it if I was in your place.”
“Oh, you would have jumped at the chance,” I said.
Ryan said, “I’d better run. I don’t want to be late!”
Thank God, I remembered we had each others wallets. “Hold on,” I said. “I need my billfold so I can pay for our dinner!
“By the way, don’t be surprised if Katy shows up at work tomorrow wearing these clothes!”
Ryan didn’t say anything at that. We made the final swap of pocket change, keys, and billfolds. Then Ryan disappeared to the street after I again warned him again not to mess up my clothes and to be particularly careful of my favorite tie.
Feeling somewhat conspicuous, we went through the cafeteria line and picked a quiet corner for our meal.
“How about a movie after dinner since we are down town anyway?” I asked. We had to pass the theater on the way to our apartments.
“Sure that would be fun. I think it is just great of you to allow Ryan to have a good time. But tell me how does it feel to be wearing someone else’s clothes? Do you feel uncomfortable? I get the feeling you do,” Katy remarked. “I have never done that.”
I was surprised at her question. “I thought girls were always swapping clothes. I can’t believe you went all the way through college and never wore anybody’s clothes but your own. You mean you never even borrowed someone’s sweater or blouse?”
“Oh, yes, I did that but never ever actually exchanged clothes with anyone. I did try on my brother’s Boy Scout uniform once just for fun. We didn’t swap clothes though. He was not even around. Nobody saw me though and I didn’t put on his underwear. I did put on his knee socks and Scout shoes. I was surprised that his outfit fit me as well as it did. I kept the outfit on most of the afternoon and I gradually somewhat comfortable in it. I never told anybody I had done that. I just wanted to see if I could wear it. The fabric felt really nice against my skin. It was actually very comfortable and surprisingly heavy. I thought I might wear it to a party that weekend but didn’t have the nerve.” In those days it was not considered proper for a girl to wear pants or even shorts in public. Even girl’s basketball uniforms had skirts. I think Katy was fascinated with our exchange. Her questions seemed to me to indicate that she wished she could take an active role in our adventure. I’m sure she saw it as an adventure and wanted to be more than a spectator.
“You asked how it feels. Well, to be honest even though I have clothes exactly like these of my own, I am aware that these are not mine. I feel kind of conspicuous, uneasy, a fake. I tend to feel that this is not all me but part me and part Ryan. I imagine I will be perfectly at ease in a little while. It’s only when I look down at myself—especially at these shoes—that I don’t feel right. I think ‘What in the world am I doing?’ I think my clothes say something about me and Ryan’s say something about his character and I am assuming his identity. It’s sort of like presenting a lie.
“I’m sure you’ll get used to the different style of dress quickly. But I can’t imagine how it would feel to put on someone’s clothes that he just took off minutes before. I should think the sensation would be strange to say the least.”
“You bet! It is strange,” I said, “Maybe you should experience it. After the movie we’ll go back to my apartment and I will peel off these duds and you can put them on! I suppose you can squeeze into them! That’ll give you something to think about at the movies!”
I hoped she would take my suggestion as a challenge.
She was silent for a few moments.
“Yep, I’ll think about it! We could swap too! With a little make up and a wig you might make a reasonable looking girl. Maybe a little tall though. Anyhow you might look pretty in a skirt and blouse!”
I reminded her that she was nearly as tall as I was.
“True,” she responded, “I’ll bet my clothes would fit you perfectly.” She was a fun-loving girl and I had little doubts that she would enjoy trying on Ryan’s clothes. I could tell she was beginning to be fascinated with the idea.
Katy was quiet through the rest of the meal. I tried to make some conservation but she was obviously preoccupied. I didn’t bring up my previous suggestion but just thought it better to let it simmer in her mind. I didn’t want to press her, but let her come to her decision on her own.
By the end of our dinner I was beginning to feel more comfortable and no longer quite so conscious that I was wearing Ryan’s clothes. I hoped he was having a good time and feeling comfortable wearing mine. I had the idea that it didn’t bother him at all.
Katy and I left the cafeteria and headed for the theater. We were mostly quiet as we walked but Katy did hold my hand. Clearly she was still deep in thought. When we passed a store window, I didn’t recognize myself in the reflection and had to take a second look.
“By the way,” Katy said, “those pants really look nice on you. They show off your butt!”
“Thanks, I guess.” It was my turn to blush.
“I thought you’d like to know,” she said and grinned.
During the movie, Katie sat closer to me than usual and I put my arm around her. She later put her hand on my thigh. She had never done that before. I beginning to think Ryan’s clothes were magic or something. After the movie we walked the several blocks to my apartment. She had her arm around my waist and had my arm around her. At one point she put her hand in my hip pocket. Hmmm, nice. I was getting more and more excited. It was a beautiful summer evening and we walked along quietly.
When we got to my apartment we went into the bedroom and without a word we began to remove each other’s clothes.