Like most of us, I remember growing up and taking chances to find moments to be me. I would go into my sister’s room and wear one of her dresses, even for just a minute. Later on in life, living by myself, I had more chances to dress up. I realized I didn’t know much about clothes and makeup, what colors and styles would suit me, what sizes to buy, hair styles or color. All the things mothers helped their girls learn as they grew up into women. When I started going out, there were so many things I had to learn all by myself. These are a few of the things I learned on my journey; I hope they can be of help to others as they embrace their own path.
I posted this list of mostly common sense tidbits on a different forum before. I had many good comments and I wanted to share them here. Most of these, I learned firsthand through personal experience (another story to share someday), and others happened to my friends and family. Hopefully, this list can help some of you avoid the mistakes that I learned the hard way!
1. Most important; you are the only one who knows all the facts about your own life so don’t let others tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Make your own choices within your comfort level. Be happy with who you are.
2. Dressing up to stay home is a cool thing. You can wear whatever you please, makeup doesn’t need to be perfect, clothes don’t need to match, and it’s a great opportunity to experiment. If it makes you happy, great!!
3. Women come in all heights, weights, and shapes. It’s the same with us. You can look good no matter your body makeup. Don’t be afraid to try different looks.
4. Be realistic. Going out and trying to “pass” isn’t about being a glamour model…though some can pull it off; it’s more about looking like an everyday woman. I’d rather pass as a soccer mom than be called out by comments such as “That’s a hot tranny”.
5. Gaby’s Main rule for going out. There’s a big difference between being read and being recognized. Being read isn’t always a big deal. If you aren’t ready to deal with the repercussions of being recognized, then DON’T go out, at least not where you might be compromised.
6. Gaby’s second rule about going out. BE SAFE! Going to places that might put you at risk should be avoided. They might sound exciting, but if you don’t have a support group to go with, it’s better to go elsewhere. Don’t put yourself in a situation that could lead to harm.
7. Unlike dressing at home, going out is about blending in. The best way to find what works is through trial and error. Wearing the right size of clothes is key!!! The fact that you can squeeze into a size 8 dress doesn’t mean you’ll look good in a size 8 dress. It’s better to pay attention to how the clothes fit, rather than the size. This is especially true when buying tops and bottoms, usually different sizes for most of us.
8. About makeup. You need to find the right light to check your makeup. What may look good under fluorescent light may look like… well, not good in the sunlight.
9. Don’t be afraid to try different colors and clothing styles. The dress you envy in a catalog looks great on the model, but might look dreadful on you.
10. Most anybody can do a “glamour” look. The glam look isn’t normal for going out to most places. Take the time to practice with a more natural look. It also makes it less likely you’ll be read.
11. Always carry your real ID with you. If flying, don’t try to use a fake id, the same if you are stopped by police when driving.
12. Most stores will be ok with you shopping there as a woman, even if they read you. One thing to do to avoid a potential problem… when selecting things to try on, ask the clerk “Where can I try this on?” She may lead you to a more private dressing room. If you take the clothes and head to the main dressing room, and the women read you, it might make for unwanted trouble. Be upfront.
13. On using the ladies room. Act lady-like. Remember most women wash their hands before leaving the ladies room. Many times, you’ll find a line of women. Take a notebook, agenda, or something else to read, write on, etc. so you’ll look busy. The women will be less likely to talk to you (if you want to avoid small talk or lack confidence at first). A crowded restroom isn’t a good place to re-apply your makeup. If you are read, be quick to leave if you are asked and avoid making a scene. It’s not because she has the right to kick you out, but sometimes the wiser decision is to avoid the hassle.
14. High heels are nice. It takes lots of stamina to stand all day in them, especially if you aren’t used to doing it. Try keeping another pair of flats nearby, just in case.
15. In the long run, passing is better than not passing, though it sometimes feels anti-climactic. How can you really be sure you weren’t read and actually passed? (It’s not always easy to tell)
16. The chances of being read increases greatly by the number of CD’s in a group. The more there are, the more likely you might get read. Not that it’s bad being read, just be aware of it.
17. Do your best not to become a caricature of a woman. Avoid falsettos! Don’t overdo the hip-sway, etc.
18. Unless you are lucky to be “blessed” with wider (woman-like) hips, use some padding… really. Many women would love to have “boyish” hips, but in a CD, it increases the chances of being read. It’s better to keep a proportioned figure… (hips and shoulders should be balanced, waist should be roughly 2/3 the size of the hips)
19. Even if you have a credit card in your femme name, always carry some cash with you. Be sure to carry your male card with your name and another appropriate ID in case you are asked when you use your femme card.
20. A good “Rule of thumb” on how to dress for the occasion. Take note of what other women wear to similar outings. You don’t often see women dressed fancily at the mall. There is a cool trick if you want to dress up. Wear a small badge/plaque with your femme name on your lapel and people may think you work at one of the stores at the mall.
These are only a few of the things to be aware of and considered. I’ll share more in another post.