Dear Annie: I've been seeing a very nice man for more than a year. We are both in our late 50s and divorced. He is affectionate and kind, and I love him quite a lot. He doesn't have any of the obvious problems -- money, drugs or alcohol, but one thing bothers me a lot. He likes to wear women's thigh-high stockings.
He started wearing the stockings near the end of his previous marriage. His ex wouldn't wear them, so he decided to try them himself and ended up liking them a lot. He says they give him a lot of pleasure and make him feel sexy. He was upfront about it early in our relationship, and I said I didn't think it would be a problem. He likes wearing them around the house and in public under his pants. He doesn't want his friends and co-workers to know. He's not a cross-dresser or anything like that. It's just the stockings.
The problem is, I haven't been able to accept it as well as I thought I could. I wear the stockings for him, which pleases him a lot, but he still wants to wear them, too. He agreed to put them on only once a week until I adjusted, but now he says he's getting frustrated. I'm resisting. I've told him I don't see this as very manly behavior. He says he feels a need to express his feminine side. I don't want to lose him, but I'm not sure how to deal with this. Can you help me? -- Thigh High in Confusion
Dear Confusion: If your boyfriend derives sexual satisfaction from wearing women's stockings, he is a cross-dresser, even though he may not wear the whole ensemble. We are glad he was upfront about it, but you need to educate yourself on the subject, so you can decide how tolerant you can be. Cross-dressing does not mean that your boyfriend is gay (most cross-dressers are not) or that he plans to change his sexual identity (not likely). The stockings may be as far as it ever goes. Check out tri-ess.org for information and support -- and please don't judge the book by its cover. He's still the man you fell for.
Dear Annie: I'd like to weigh in on the letter from "Wondering in Pennsylvania," who asked how to have a surprise wedding as part of a picnic.
My husband and I had a surprise wedding in the large backyard of a home we had just purchased. We sent invitations inviting everyone to a picnic, claiming that we were recently married. The invitations were artist-drawn, and we specified that the recipients' presence was all that was required, which took everyone off the hook of bringing gifts or food. We hired a caterer, parking attendants, a cleanup crew and an officiant, and did all of the decorating ourselves.
It was a huge hit, and people still mention how lovely it was. Even my mother didn't know there was going to be an actual wedding until the last minute. That was 29 years ago. Tell "Wondering" that it can be done. -- A.
Dear A.: We like that you handled all of the details on your own and didn't expect the guests to bring their own food. Bravo.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com, or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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