Yesterday (Thursday, November 2, 2006), I spent the day en femme. I shaved, showered, did my makeup, dressed, and was at West Farms Mall at 9:50 AM. Then, I sat in my car trying to get up the courage to go inside the mall. After 20 minutes, I made up mind that "it was now or never" and I got out of my car and went into the mall.
I dressed appropriately to fit in with the other women shopping at the mall. I wore a long black tunic sweater and "heather-gray" leggings (the outfit I bought from Newport-News) and the pant boots I bought from Payless. By the way, the boots were a pleasure to wear. Although, the boots had a 2-inch stacked heel, my feet were free of pain all day and wearing comfortable heels helped me get "the walk" down pat. By the end of the day, I was strutting my stuff like a full-time woman! It felt wonderful.
On the other hand, wearing heels did not help me with my height issue. I'm just under six-feet-two in my bare feet and just under six-feet-four with those boots on. I like to wear heels, so my philosophy is that at six-feet-two, high heels are not going to make or break my ability to pass. If I can pass at six-feet-two, then I can pass at six-feet-four. As the day turned out, I did well.
The legend among crossdressers is that when you are out en femme, avoid packs of teenaged girls because they closely check out the female competition and are more likely to spot a crossdresser than other people you will encounter. Being a school day, I did not encounter many teenagers until late afternoon. And when I did, they were very cool if they noticed me, none acted in a disrespectful manner.
On the other hand, watch out for packs of old ladies (I kid you not). They travel in pairs during the day at the mall and if they read you, some of them are the rudest humans I have ever encountered. They stop dead in their tracks and stare, nudge their fellow pack members. I have even had them point at me!
I had lunch at Ruby Tuesday with my good friend S, who graciously dined with me in boy mode. Two elderly women were seated in the booth directly behind me. When we got up to leave, I glanced back at that booth because something caught my eye. The woman who was seated facing my back was alerting her fellow diner to check me out. Meanwhile, the other woman was straining to turn around to get a better look.
I did not react, ignored them ("ignore the ignorant" is my motto), and left the restaurant. But such rude behavior should not be ignored. Next time, I will respond by asking them, "Can I help you?" or some such. (If anyone has a more effective comeback that is not rude, please let me know. I'd like to keep it handy.)
The rest of the people I encountered yesterday were fine. Most people paid no attention to me. Some males checked me out, but did not react in a negative way. Some women were outright friendly, smiled, and some said, "Hello."
My first mall goal was to go to Sephora or M·A·C for makeup advice. Sephora moved, so they were not where I thought they would be, but as I window-shopped, I encountered Sephora before M·A·C, so I went into Sephora. Immediately, a saleswoman asked me if I needed assistance and I asked her if she could provide makeup advice. She was happy to do so and sat me at a makeup table for consultation. I talked her out of performing a complete makeover. Instead, I asked her just to do a touch-up to improve what I had done.
I am always concerned with my eyebrows, but she said I had done a good job with them and that they did not need any work. But she did suggest some other improvements. She said I needed to draw my eyeliner out further towards the outside of each eye to give them a more almond shape. She also said I needed lip-gloss and a little more mascara and blush. She implemented the suggestions and I was so happy with the results that I asked her to take my photo.
I bought the mascara, blush, and lip-gloss the saleswomen used on me and went on my way to meet S for lunch at 11:30.
Except for the encounter with the rude elderly women, lunch was fine. The food was good, the restaurant staff was very accommodating, and my lunch date was fun; I had not seen S since the COS banquet in March and we had a lot of catching up to do.
After lunch, I went back to my car to deposit my purchases and touch up my makeup. I guess my encounter with the rude elderly women had shaken my confidence because I sat in my car for a long time to regroup.
During my makeup consultation at Sephora, I mentioned that I had beard cover under my foundation and that I was wearing beard cover because I was a crossdresser. The saleswoman probably knew that I was a crossdresser already. She sensed my uneasiness and tried to settle me down by saying "You only have one life to live and you should live it like you want. If someone has a problem, then it is their problem, not yours."
Those words came back to me while I sat in my car and motivated me to go back in the mall and do some shopping. I visited lots of stores looking at skirts, dresses, and tops, but did not find anything interesting until I hit the clearance rack at Talbot's.
There I found three skirts and tried them on, but they were all too short. I have nothing against short skirts; I wear them all the time, but these three were mid-length style skirts that became short skirts because of my height.
When I exited the dressing room, the saleswoman asked if found anything and I said I liked the skirts, but they were too short. She said I was shopping in the wrong department. I was in the Woman's Department and that somebody of my height should shop in the Misses Department. Sure enough, I found the same skirts on the clearance rack in the Misses department, tried them on, and their hemlines were just right. I bought two of the skirts. Both were over $100 list, but on clearance, they were under $30 each.
Before I paid for the skirts, I had one more look and fell in love with a pencil skirt that cost $108. I tried it on and it fit perfectly, but in my mind, it had to be worn with a blouse or top tucked into the skirt, which is a look that I have never had success with. Two saleswoman suggested different things to try on with that skirt and I tried them all, but I was not satisfied with the look, so I did not buy the skirt.
I really got into trying on clothes at Talbot's. It sure beats buying online or from a catalog, waiting for the order to show up, trying it on, being disappointed, and having to ship it back on my dime. Instead, I had instant feedback. So, after Talbot's, I left the mall and headed to a strip mall to try on clothes at my favorite store, Fashion Bug.
I have done a lot of shopping at Fashion Bug, but always in male mode, so this would be something completely different. My goal was to find tops to go with the skirts I bought at Talbot's. I went through rack after rack of tops and found a sweater that would go with one of the skirts... as long as it fit.
As I headed toward the fitting room, I encountered the clearance dress rack and I could not resist looking. There were a lot of dresses that did not interest me, but when I got to the "special occasion" section of the rack, my eyes lit up and I fell in love with a $90 cocktail dress marked down to almost half price.
It is a real girly party dress. According to the Fashion Bug Web site, it is a two-tone lace dress with camisole straps and tulle peek-out hemline. The back of dress features satin ribbon lacing, like the lacing on a corset. Problem is that I did not know the back from the front when I tried it on in the fitting room. I thought the lacing belonged at the front.
When I tried it on, it seemed to be the right size, but it did not fit right. Then it occurred to me that I had the dress on backwards, so I turned it around and it fit liked a glove. The sweater also fit. I bought both items and got 15% off by signing up for a Fashion Bug credit card.
That was the end of my day. I was very tired at its end. Some of my exhaustion was probably due to my nervousness. But I think I have finally conquered that problem and next time, I will have even a better timeout. All in all, it was an excellent experience and I can't wait to go shopping en femme again.