Today I had a few errands to run. I had to drop off the car at the mechanic, deposit a few checks in the bank and do a bit of shopping (My lovely wife rang the death knell for our water purifier last night). For some reason the mechanic always insists that you get there early, and for me 8am on a weekend is very early. After dropping my car off, I realized that nothing else was open for a good few hours – a perfect excuse to walk down to the local Starbucks and do a bit of writing while sipping a Grande Americano – my poison of choice.
On this lovely Seattle spring day, my wife had helped me choose a cool, comfortable outfit. A long flowing skirt, cami under a light long sleeved top and the open toed sandals I bought two weeks ago. On the walk down to Starbucks I noticed something curious – as they drove past men were staring at me. And not just me – I noticed one guy start his gaze with the woman jogger in front of me before smoothly switching and resting his eyes on me. I must admit, I had decidedly mixed emotions about this.
Five looks for a crossdresser
Very clearly there are different kinds of looks that we receive out in public. Over the last few months I’ve been working to decipher the different looks I receive, and I’ve figured out a few distinct reactions others will display to a transgendered girl.
Nothing to See Here – Move Along
This is not strictly a look reserved for crossdressers – we all come across this in our daily lives. It’s the momentary glance you receive as someone navigates around you, or interacts with you as if you were a regular woman going about your day. A good 95% of all your looks will be of this kind. People will treat you like another person, without any particular malice or attachment. It can mean you pass, or that you pass close enough the other person would feel awkward making a scene, or that you don’t pass and they don’t mind.
Point And Stare
By far the most feared look is the ‘point and stare’. This look can be accompanied by a derisive facial expression, or in extreme cases slurs or even violence. This look is mainly shown by men when they figure out that you’re not all woman, and can’t help but let their displeasure show. You’ll know this look when you find someone looking at you in a ‘hard’ way, with an unwavering gaze. They won’t seem the least bit embarrassed when you notice them staring. The best advice I can give is to smile and move on.
Something Strange is Afoot
This is ‘Point and Stare’s’ tamer sister, and is often difficult to distinguish from ‘Checking You Out’. If you notice people looking at you out of the corner of your eyes, or quickly averting their gaze when you look at them you could be dealing with ‘Something Strange is Afoot’. The surest way to tell when you’re receiving this look is when you watch it transform before your eyes from ‘Nothing To See Here’. This can happen when you speak in a not so feminine voice for the first time with someone. You’ll see a moment of confusion before they compose themselves.
Checking You Out
This can be a pleasant experience, since it validates you pass well enough to satisfy a hormone soaked male. Though it can also be a little off putting after a while since you can feel like a piece of meat on display. Depending on your paranoia level you could easily mistake this look for ‘Something Strange if Afoot’.
One sure way to distinguish the two is if you notice the same guy’s attention lingering on another woman a moment later. He’s a serial looker, and you just happened to be on his look list. A corollary to this is if you find his gaze transfixed on a part of your body that’s not your face. He’s a serial looker, and your face is somewhere near the end of his list.
Another way to tell is to watch how other woman react. Woman are usually the first to give you very subtle hints that you’re not fully passing. If other woman aren’t bothered by you in any particular way you can be sure that you haven’t been outed. Trust me – men see what they want to see, and it usually doesn’t extend much beyond the pleasing feminine figure.
This is by far my favorite look, and is reserved exclusively for visual conversation with other woman. It affirms my femininity without making me feel cheap or used. For a moment you catch her eye – you smile and she smiles back. You acknowledge each other’s passage through womanhood with a brief show of support, of recognizing each other’s worth and humanity. Sometimes this is the start of a conversation – a few moments of connection in a world full of strangers.
This look doesn’t mean that you pass – it means that you’ve been accepted into her circle of fellow woman. If she’s recognized you as a man, she’s also acknowledged and accepted your femininity.
What other looks have you received?
Have you found any other ways to decipher them?
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