To me, passing is being viewed as another cis-woman whether just blending into a group or standing out intentionally. There are many cases, such as last night for me, where I dressed up in a short skirt(skort actually) low cut blouse and high heels. Did I stand out on purpose in this particular restaurant due to the clothing selection? Yes I did(based upon the glances from men and women). However, I do tone it down enough to provide a the frame of a woman in her early 50s woman who has taken care of herself and flaunts it just a tad to provide a personal reward to herself(see some of my pics on this site).
Yes, I am lucky to have a physical frame that does enable passing most of the time. At 5’9″, 155 lbs, size 9 heel/shoe and a size 6 and a supportive spouse reviewing my makeup and clothing combinations this is a big advantage. Thus, passing to me is taking advantage of this luck I currently find myself immersed. I push to be the best I can be as a woman(mannerisms, behavior and appearance) as if I owe it to the cis-ladies. I practiced walking in heels for hours with substantially coaching from my wife to perfect “the walk” and hours on makeup techniques.
I am always addressed as lady(ladies), addressed as ma’am by the teenage girls shopping right next to me in clothing stores, been called “pretty” by others who thought I was out of earshot and then of course, the men. Many of you may be asking, “Do you need this to feel good”? Admittingly, I look for that affirmation almost as a grade to my dedication to looking my best.
Now here is the flipside: If you pass are you ready for the consequences? In groups of cis-women female discussions surface of course. I have been asked about menopause(have you reached menopause and how are your hot flashes?), how is your sex life, when is the last time you had a mammogram, I’d love to see that painting you are mentioning – can we all come over to your house? etc…..etc. Was I prepared for this – NOT at all! I am in a book club that is now all female, due to two men dropping out, which changed the discussion parameters. There are other awkward situations that one must be aware if it appears you are passing/passable.
Finally, I am never certain if I “pass”. I try very hard to be passable. However, one can never be certain in my view. Thus, it keeps me on my toes whether I am wearing ripped jeans, a floppy blouse, a tight skirt/dress or sneakers/heels.