On a brisk fall afternoon, Pat shows up at the Manhattan apartment dressed like your typical soccer dad. He's wearing a baseball cap, sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers. He's greeted at the door with a kiss on the cheek by the gracefully-attired Veronica Vera.
In a few hours, after Vera and her team have asked Pat a few questions about his female persona and provided him some practical lessons in social graces and female aesthetics, he'll walk back out as "Bianca"– a sassy, 30-something-looking strawberry blonde.
"That's the perfect cue for my line, 'For every woman who burned her bra, there's a man burning to wear one,' " says Vera, who goes by the name Miss Vera.
About 60 percent of the people who come to Miss Vera's academy describe themselves as straight married men.
In fact, Pat came to Miss Vera's Finishing School with the support of his wife of 15 years. She asked that we refer to her by her middle name, Leigh — because she too is concerned about potential scorn. Leigh says she sees how becoming Bianca lifts the weight of the world off her husband's shoulders.
"It's definitely a stress release for him," she says. "It definitely helps him have more balance in his life. And all of that is good. It's good for me as his wife. It's good for my children."
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