I wore my favorite dress and broke in a pair of heels that I bought on clearance from Newport-News
I was out the door and arrived at my first stop, Payless , just after 10 AM to shop for a big handbag and comfortable shoes for my NYC trip.
They had a nice selection of big bags, but only a few had the top zip closure that I desired, so that narrowed down the selection process. After perusing all their offerings, I finally chose a big black "chic oversize tote" featuring "softie faux leather, silvertone grommet details, an interior large enough for most laptops."
Next, I shopped for a pair of comfortable flats for trekking around the paved canyons of NYC next month. The sizes were not consistent between styles, so I tried on every pair of flats that the store had on display in sizes 11, 11W, and 12.
I almost settled for a pair of size 11 Mary Jane flats that were a little loose, but then I spotted a pair of size 12 black patent moccasins that fit like a glove. I don't usually like moccasins, but these were different; they had black patent "faux leather uppers and a stylish silver buckle detail." They are really cute and don't look like traditional moccasins; they are also very comfortable and are the Dexter brand, so the quality is probably better, too.
While searching for the flats, I also found a pair of comfortable black round toe mid-heel Mary Janes that I added to my purchases.
The cashier was very chatty and remarked how I had such good taste! He liked all my purchases and said that the handbag I chose was flying out of the store. He also remarked that the mid-heel Mary Janes were very popular with dancers; he recently had to special order 15 pairs for a local dance troupe.
By the way, while I was trying on shoes, another customer said she loved the shoes I was wearing and wondered if I bought them at Payless because she wanted to buy a pair for herself. My Newport-News clearance shoes are black peep-toe Mary Janes with a 3-inch stiletto heel and a white button that holds the strap in place. The shoes are very cute and surprisingly comfortable considering their height.
I loaded my Payless purchases in my Subaru, then went shopping at Dress Barn, which was in the same strip mall as Payless. My goal was to find a pair of cropped pants and top to wear during my NYC stay in June.
I found a cute beige tunic length top with a square neckline and a brown floral print and I matched it with a pair of beige cropped pants. When I tried the outfit on, it was adorable, but the pants were too big. I figured that the next size down would be just right, but they did not have the next size down; I tried on a pair two sizes down, but they were too small. I bought the top and plan to go to another Dress Barn today to see if they have the pants in my size. (Scored! I found a pair in my size at another Dress Barn and I also bought another top to go with the pants.)
As expected when shopping during a weekday morning, most of the customers I encountered were retirees and young mothers with babies in tow. Nobody paid much attention to me. And the ones that did, like the woman in Payless, interacted with me as if I was just another female customer. It was very validating.
My shopping was a little rushed because I had to be in New Haven for the 12:20 PM class that I was outreaching. So back in the Subaru, I had a 15-minute drive to Diana's house. Diana was also participating in the outreach and she offered to drive to New Haven. I arrived at her house at 11:45 and she drove me in her Prius to Southern Connecticut State University. We arrived at the classroom right on time and met the other people doing outreach, two no-op male-to-female transsexuals and the spouse of one.
We each gave a short bio, then the class split into three separate groups and each of us took a turn answering questions for each group. Professor Schildroth has been very accommodating and I was able to go solo again, which pleased me because all the questions would be related to my brand of transgenderism (whatever that may be), rather than sharing the Q&A time with someone whose brand of transgenderism differed from my brand.
We outreached two classes yesterday, each with three groups, so we each did six Q&A sessions yesterday. By the way, the ratio of females-to-males in each class was about 10 to 1 and each class had about 30 students. (The photo is me waiting to do outreach at the second class.)
Here are the some highlights of my Q&A sessions:
I received a lot of questions asking if I was gay (I am not).
A couple of students asked if I have been hit upon and what do I do if I am (yes, I have been hit upon and when I am, I point to my wedding ring). That question is validating in that the students asking the question must think that I look like someone who might get hit upon!
I also received a lot of questions about my voice. Usually, I do not get asked about my voice, but yesterday, I was a little hoarse (from allergies) and my voice was less feminine than usual, so I think that is why I had a more inquiries about my voice than usual.
My makeup received a lot of inquiries (how did I learn to do my makeup) and a lot of praise.
My hair also received a lot of positive comments and many of the students were surprised when they learned that my hair was a wig. I was wearing my new "Stacie" wig for the first time yesterday and it was a little tight, but that too shall pass.
Most of the students seemed to appreciate our presence in the class; they showed us respect and laughed at most of my attempts at humor. By the way, I mentioned my blog and some students asked for the URL. If any students are reading this, I would love to hear from you, so write a comment or send e-mail.
In between classes, we dined at the student union. I had a slice of pizza and a bottle of iced tea while reading the comments from the students in the first class. I received some positive comments along with some "Staci seemed nervous" comments, but nothing negative.
After the second class, Diana, I, and the married couple went to eat at a diner in Cromwell. At that point, I had been wearing a heels for over 7 hours and I was surprised how comfortable they were after that long and active day, but I decided to switch shoes on the way to the diner and wore my new mid-heel Mary Janes. What a difference! It was like switching to bedroom slippers!
Being a Tuesday evening, the diner was not busy and we were able to get a big corner booth. I love diner breakfast food, so I had an omelette with home fries, rye toast, and coffee. We talked about the day and had a pleasant dining experience. Our waiter was very accommodating and treated us like ladies.
After dinner/breakfast, we said our goodbyes and I drove home exhausted from my day out en femme, but very pleased about how well it turned out. It was a very positive, validating experience and I look forward to doing it again.