After the joy of arriving: the fun of dressing up; and the excitement of the party; it must sound a little dog in manger to criticise the ball itself.

Still, there were one or two things that spoilt the evening. The cold! Oh, the cold!!!

The place was not heated. It was open: and the weather had turned, once more, to winterness. Add to that my remarkable dress – and you can imagine how i froze for the evening.

Too, the dressing areas were anarchic and poorly lit. Doing complicated make-up in dim light is distinctly difficult. And the loos were minimalist. At the end, when i came to wash my make-up off, an assistant sat just behind the sink area doling out liquid soap, one squeeze at a time.

For me, though, the greatest sadness lay in the way i was not allowed in to a couple of places described as “women only”. A shame because, as with so many of these depraved (!) sensual events, i am the eternal voyeur: destined to watch and report back, but rarely participate.

There was much for couples – but andrea, laid low by sudden agoraphobia, was not with me. There was some kinky stuff that really did not appeal: and there was some sensual stuff. Massage. Breast therapy: oils, incense, and a lot of attention, which would have felt wonderful.

Because the hormones put me in a weird space right now: my body is alive…buzzing with energy…but the last thing i want is traditional sex…

i don’t know how common this is…but sometimes i could cry with the need to be touched. Correction: sometimes i DO cry.

Imagine, therefore, the feeling. Here is an area offering exactly what i want and need – only i’m not allowed in because i’m not officially a ciswoman. Gutted.

On the plus side, i didn’t have a go at the steward on the door: gave her a massage instead, and she was very grateful for that. Later in the evening, one of the staff did give me a back massage. Purrrrrrr-fect: i could have let it go on forever.

Mostly, though, I was left feeling sad. Alice, looking through the keyhole of the door to a wonderful garden – and no way through.



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