Marijuana had always eased my fears and made me feel like I fit in. I was thrilled to see so many other stoners in military tech school, a real peer group I fit into. My only insecurity was my heterosexual virginity, finally discarded in a Nevada brothel driving from Illinois to California, 56 nonstop hours. My heterosexuality was now confirmed but a sad pattern emerged. The few times I had sex in the next five years was mostly with hookers because I couldn't approach women and I was not attracted to guys.
The worry about my timidity paled beside the mortification at my developing erotic fixation for women's lingerie. In only four weeks it had progressed from merely fantasizing about it to actually wearing it. Towering guilt always followed my crossdressing flings and eventually compelled me to inter my forbidden habiliment in a dumpster at midnight. I'd fight off the urges for a few months (or few weeks), and then I'd break down and buy a new ensemble. Only marijuana dulled my shame, so I needed it constantly. Amazingly my pothead lifestyle never interfered with my job repairing the avionics of Air Force jets — black boxes even trained chimpanzees could have successfully maintained.
Aside from daily drug use and crossdressing, I also started playing Rock guitar and singing. In 1979 I befriended hippie musicians who sometimes fill in on vocals. I was so highly self-conscious about my military haircut that I bought a wig so I'd look like I fit in with the band. Soon the wig became part of my crossdressing ritual. When I got my own private apartment off base, I carried my dress-up to new levels and fantasized of turning into a girl. I'd joined the Air Force partly to find my way, but I was more lost than ever.
In 1981 I received an honorable discharge only to bum around Phoenix, staying stoned and sometimes working for electrical contractors. I ended up homeless, broke and on foodstamps. I finally escaped town when Mom wired me money to come back so I could help her with her new house in San Francisco. So I drove home to California to hopefully find what I'd failed to find in the military: myself.