Thursday, March 17, 2016

Talking with the "Other Half"

By Michelle Bowles

I was interested in reading your heads-up on the Alan Cumming's out en femme feature from Marie Claire. I hope the article can be tracked down and reproduced via the Femulate website.

On following the link to the photos and the accompanying comments, I recognized some experiences I have when out en femme.

Firstly, the supportive way that women openly talk to other women they don't know. Cumming noticed this in changing rooms – where I've also received women's complimentary comments. These can be rather disconcerting at first because at that point, I want to be "invisible" and not draw attention to myself.

If someone says something in a men's changing room (I'm not sure that's ever happened, by the way), it is likely to be because you have dropped something or committed some other mistake. In other words, you have drawn attention to yourself. Men, as far as I know, would never compliment you on the clothes you are trying; if they did, many would automatically assume they were gay and trying to "pick you up."

So when someone talks to me in a ladies' changing room, I immediately expect I have done something wrong and I'm on the defensive. Half expecting "you're in the wrong changing room – I'm calling a member of staff" with the ensuing embarrassment and discussions with the store detective. But no, it's always been "that looks nice" or some other compliment – the trick then for me is for me to regather my composure and respond (hopefully, with a smile).

It's a wonderful feeling and I feel so good when I return to the cubicle. It is also a great compliment; because either she's read you, but is comfortable with how you look and is keen to make you feel comfortable, too, which is a nice thing to do. Or she hasn't, which is even better. Incidentally, the last woman who said the dress I was trying really suited me, didn't persuade me to buy it – a decision I've ever since regretted as I can't now find it on the Marks and Spencer website. Hmmph!

En femme I've been regularly approached by women (and occasionally men) for directions – something that rarely happens when I'm in male mode. I guess woman are not going to think you're an idiot for not knowing your way (why can't men ask for directions, etc.). Also for women, you are not a threat.

I regularly go to a pub where there is music and dancing. More often than not, women talk to and want to dance with me (one up on my male self!). Even nicer is when they talk to you in order to "take the mickey" out of their boyfriend (or perhaps someone who's trying to chat them up). It's "girls together against the boys" – absolutely lovely. Also I've been asked when going to the ladies' at the same pub if another's makeup looks okay or could I do up a button.

The picture I've provided of myself is another nice bonus of going out en femme. Here I am out with my friend Irene at a pub for lunch. I was really happy, probably because the waitress had just said, "What can I get for you, ladies?"

I'm still rather wary of people talking to me and I need to work on a quick and friendly response, but I'm getting better. And I get such a nice feeling from being accepted by others as a woman which is surely the best part about the whole femulation thing.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Veronica Beard jacket, Alexander Wang dress and Jimmy Choo shoes.

Womanless fashion show model
Womanless fashion show model


  1. Yes, that's exactly what I'm missing.
    It's a long time since I've been able to dress. I used to have a GG friend in a shop and she treated me as a woman.. It's hard to explain the difference in approach - but once through that glass dividing wall, I found a whole area of communication that I'd never experienced before with a woman (rather like being backstage in a theatre). I miss that a lot.
    Michelle is so right - that kind of dialogue and the freedom to talk to strangers is entirely absent in the male world.

  2. When I finally grew my hair out, I discovered the same thing happens at hair salons. It is one big conversation. The stylist next to mine was commenting on my hair, my stylist was breaking into the conversations next to her, women were commenting on my hair style, how cute it was, how it made me look younger, how it was was so light, etc. I was amazed. It was like a completely different world. The other thing that struck me was how supportive and affirming all the women were with each other. I loved it, and want to be part of such a world as much as possible!

  3. Just today, St. Patrick's day, I was trying on skirts en femme at Penny's and as I exited a woman stopped me and asked about how the fit of her skirt looked. It felt great to be accepted.

  4. After experiencing Alan Cumming in Cabaret, I will remember him as a superb actor in whatever role he chooses.

  5. I just had three wonderful days out in Mpls/St Paul, Minn. This post is so spot on. For example, no sooner had I entered an Ulta store last Saturday, a woman about 30 rushed up to me. Uh oh, I thought. Now this is just inside the door, what does she... She LOVES my heels! They are cute medium-height black pumps I'm wearing with skinny jeans. Got them at Kohls, they're called Christinas, it's so warm today! Good day to be a bit sexier, etc. etc. I had a half-dozen other conversations like this--about my ring (like three times), my earrings, a different pair of shoes, it's so warm today!, etc. I have a lot to learn about likewise starting conversations with other women.