As most of you know, going out in public is one of the joys of dressing. At first, I was very nervous and cautious, and my excursions were short, at best, and usually confined to just driving around town,  Finally, I began going to various support groups and clubs where the comments were always positive. I was told I was passable and pretty. It was the feedback I wanted so I felt ready to explore a woman’s world freely.

After making many trips to my mirror, checking my outfit, hair, and makeup multiple times, I decided I was ready. I chose a downtown store I was familiar with and headed for the escalator confident that I belonged. A little more than halfway up, I noticed a group of young male teenagers escalating down. As they passed me, I heard one of them say, “That’s a guy!” Being pretty sure they meant me I was petrified with fear. Obviously, I wasn’t passable at all! I stepped off the escalator, looked back, and sure enough, the boys were headed back up.

Thankfully, the lingerie department was directly ahead. I dashed in, hoping this realm of total femininity might be just where I needed to be. I peeked around the corner and saw them rush by, and when they kept on going, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was hoping these young toughs would be too scared to enter this sacred female paradise. I scurried back down the escalator and out the door, both scared and distraught.

Back safely in my car, I wondered where I went wrong. Then it dawned on me that all those approvals I’d gotten at the groups and clubs were not, for the most part, as sincere as I thought they were. Their support was given as exactly that, support, and perhaps not as justified and meaningful compliments. I don’t begrudge any of them. When I think back on it, everyone received the same sort of attention. We all want to hear that we look nice, pretty, and feminine, but the reality is that very few of us truly are.

Arriving back home, I stood in front of the mirror in my attempt to see what those boys saw.  How did they know? What I noticed at that time was a cheap wig that I was wearing, how my makeup was probably way too garish, and that my posture resembled a football player more than a princess.

Since that horrible escalator experience, I resigned myself to improve in all phases of femininity. I grew my hair out and learned how to style it in a feminine style. I tried many makeup tips until I wasn’t clownish any longer, and I learned to walk, move, and talk as a proper woman would. I pass very well now and have not had any incidences since. Now, I visit not only the lingerie department to buy all sorts of lovely things instead of hiding,  I also feel free to try on shoes, and to use the dressing rooms to try on lovely dresses and tops. Basically, I enjoy shopping as any woman would instead of having to hide from mean people.

A lesson learned!

Exceptional Voice

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Mary Contrary

Life-long but not full-time transgender female looking to meet new friends. It's more than just dressing up for me, being Mary makes me feel complete. Had I had the finances and personal freedom I would have transitioned to full-time many years ago. As it is I now have to be satisfied with picture sharing and making new friends.

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Terri
Duchess
Active Member
7 months ago

Congratulations Mary ! Going shopping enfemme is a big step. I first went out shopping in the early 80’s. Compared to then Going out today is a walk in the park. The majority of people don’t care. The worst you can get usually is a stare. Years ago I had security or sales people follow me around the store. Today the salespeople just want to sell and be helpful. By the way you look fantastic.

Rhonda Hamel
7 months ago

We are so lucky today compared to just a few years ago. I do my best to be presentable but I’m not going to fool anybody. I couldn’t think about going out in public 10-15 years ago but now I go out often. Of course I’m careful where I go, but what woman isn’t. Most people don’t notice and most of those who do pretend not to. I get an occasional complement which is great. In doing this fairly regularly for about four years and I have only had about four bad interactions. Two were a store clerk and a… Read more »

Lucinda Hawkns
Active Member
7 months ago

in today’s world there is a lot of cross dressers that go out dressed as females, Good for them, if you hear someone say hay that is a guy just ignore that and keep walking., they are jealous that they don’t look like woman when they dress up. People are not nice people when they see a person dressed up as a female or a female dressed as a male. as long as you know you look passable and feminine as you walk have the time of your life.

Rhonda Lee
Baroness
Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Mary Contrary

A man in front of me as we approached an elevator, no doubt heard me converse with my friend in a male voice. Never making eye contact he entered the elevator and made a point of looking down at his phone while asking me “What floor, Sir?” I SHOULD have responded “Ground floor, Ma’am.” The best line I can recall was from a friend who responded to a drunk’s question on a subway “Are you a man or a woman” by saying, simply, “Why, yes I AM.”

Rhonda Lee
Baroness
Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Mary Contrary

I felt he was making a deliberate point to let me know it was obvious I was a guy, something that could be determined without even a glance… his way of putting me down because he personally did not approve of how I was presenting. That’s the way it came across to me, anyway.

Rhonda Lee
Baroness
Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Mary Contrary

Some comments just aren’t appropriate… like my asking you “how does your garden grow?”

Milesa Phar
Member
7 months ago

Hi Mary, thank you for writing a very well articulated article on going out en femme. In the mid 80s I would go out in my fantasy outfits, well dresses and long wigs. As fashions changed to more casual outfits, very few women were wearing dresses and pantyhose. I realized I needed to dress like the other women. So often I go out in slacks and dress down. As I aged, I am 77 now, I have to realize I am no longer a young chick, I better be politically correct and say I am a senior citizen woman. Anyway… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Milesa Phar
Jane Don
Active Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Mary Contrary

I think both men & women are taking less & less Pride in how they dress–

Dani Grand
Baroness
Active Member
7 months ago

Every moment is a learning experience, isn’t it?

Samantha Peders
Active Member
7 months ago

This is always been a fear of mine that people would come after me in a confrontational mood. I don’t pass very well I’m too large for one thing I’m about 6’2 and 280 lb. I haven’t gone to a lot of mainstream places, mostly just dress shops a couple of cafes out for a drive, and things of that nature. Since I do not pass no matter what I do this has always been a worry but so far while I have gotten some odd looks nobody has ever gotten in my face. I’m hoping that day never comes.… Read more »

Rhonda Lee
Baroness
Member
7 months ago

Loved your article and words of advice! I also am usually mystified as to what the tip-offs are when I am clocked. In many situations it appears obvious from comments that I pass and in others obvious that I don’t. I generally assume I don’t, but realize upon reflection that I did, so get some puzzled looks and responses when falsely assuming I am read and saying something out of character for the woman they take me to be. I wish there were a graceful way to ask what the tip-offs are when someone addresses me as “Sir”. I did… Read more »

Rhonda Lee
Baroness
Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Mary Contrary

It does provide memorable experiences. One time I was on the 2nd row orchestra at a play. the women behind me commented on men in tuxedos, feeling sorry that men had so few options in attire. I turned to them while glancing at my fellow CDs occupying seats near me to say that is not true for everyone… we all have choices, thinking they’d get my gist. They were just puzzled. Clearly they did not take us for crossdressers, perhaps because one would not normally expect to find CDs front and center at a formal event. On another occasion, after… Read more »

Lea
Active Member
7 months ago

Thank you for sharing the experience and lesson learned. It’s so true that constant support and compliments can build our confidence, yet we have to be ready for the dangers out there in broad daylight. I know I learn more from my mistakes and failures, but it’s hard to keep the guard up all the time.

Michelle Doherty
Duchess
6 months ago

Great read Mary Fortunately, I already know I will not pass, but at this stage of my journey that is not a problem for me. My thinking on this is, that a song as I feel that I am a woman then that is all that matters. Once I believe I am, then I will concentrate on passing to others. I am not looking for a partner right now, as I don’t have any time left anymore what with beauty, skin care, eye care, nail care, laundry, shopping, more shopping etc etc. I would be quite happy sitting with girlfriends… Read more »

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