Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Passable vs. Presentable

I like to think that I pass. Just today, I received an e-mail from a dear friend who wrote, "You pass so well."

But who am I kidding?

I am six feet, two inches tall (or a more dainty five feet, 14 inches tall) and I always wear heels of some height when I am out en femme. There are not too many women out there who are six-feet-two. So, when I am out en femme, my height is my biggest giveaway.

I can hear some of you saying to yourself, "Well, Girl, don't wear heels, then you will be shorter."

My response to that is even without heels, my height is still my biggest giveaway and adding three or four inches will not make much difference.

Last Friday at the mall, I passed some of the time.

While I was walking through the mall, I passed a few women walking in the opposite direction, who looked me in the eye and smiled. Of course, I returned the smile. When a woman smiles at another woman, it is a sign of camaraderie, so when a woman smiles at you when you are out en femme, it is a good sign that they have accepted you into the club.

On the other hand, I have also passed women in the mall, whose smiles indicate that they have read me as a male. Their smiles (or smirks) indicate that they are mildly amused by my attempt to pass. Go out en femme for awhile and you will begin to recognize the difference between smirks and genuine smiles.

At the mall last Friday, there were times when I did not pass.

For example, the saleswoman at Sephora referred to me as "he," then quickly corrected herself and referred to me as "she." I was not offended. When you are up close in another person's face, as when you are dealing with a salesperson, it is more difficult to pass because they are concentrating on you and therefore, are more likely to pick up telltale signs that you are male.

I have gone out en femme enough to resign myself to the fact that sometimes I pass and sometimes I do not pass. There is not much I can do about my ability to pass because I believe I have pushed the envelope about as far as I can to emulate a woman without undergoing surgery.

Admittedly, my ultimate goal is to be passable, but since that is not always possible, I always try to make myself look presentable. If I present as the best woman I can be, then I will be less likely to attract attention and will blend in with the real women out there.

On the other hand, if I go to the mall wearing my highest heels, shortest skirt, largest breasts, biggest hair, and thickest makeup, I am going to attract a lot of attention. Dressed so, more people will check me out and thus increase the chances that people will figure me out.

So, I try to present myself as a real woman would present herself in a similar situation. Last Friday, I even wore dress slacks instead of a skirt in order to be more presentable and I believe that helped.

While I was at Sephora perched on the makeover seat at the front of the store, I did attract the attention of a lot of passerbys, but none of them gave any indication that they recognized me as a male. All they saw was a woman getting a makeover, so they gave me an interested passing glance and went on their way.

It probably helped that I was seated, so that my height was hidden, but I think more important was the fact that I looked presentable in that situation. I really looked like a woman who had been shopping in the mall and stopped at Sephora for a makeover.

One more thing: if you are presentable, other people are more likely to respect you and treat you like a lady even if they know you are not really a lady. If I dress like a teen queen, I am not going to get much respect, but if I dress like a middle-aged woman (with impeccable taste, by the way), I have found that I get respect because I am trying to be a female clone, not a clown.

So, the bottom line is that, of course, you want to be passable, but before you can be passable, you must be presentable. And once you hone your presentation, you may or may not pass, but at least you know you did your best come what may.

(Thank you, Michelia, for suggesting this topic.)

(Caveat Emptor: This is a reboot of an 8-year-old post.)

Samantha Mohr
Samantha Mohr in blue.

Artur Chamski
Artur Chamski femulates Irena Santor on Polish television's Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo (2015).


  1. I agree! I have a hard time wearing slacks though. Luckily, more women seem to be wearing casual dresses these days and I spend my dressed time near NYC where I think more women wear dresses for work and therefore are out and about on their way home.

  2. it's strange that it seems the more you dress less femme, the more you pass. You'd think it would be the opposite, but it seems as though as soon as you try to look pretty, then people challenge you in their mind "Oh yea? you think you look pretty? I bet I can find a flaw... oh wait, I think I found it, she's a dude!". Reminds me of the movie "she's out of my league" where a 10 female dates a 5 guy, and he does everything he can to find flaws in her to bring her down to his level because he can't handle the difference in attractiveness

  3. Dear Stana,

    Very nice post today! I agree with all the excellent points you made.



  4. Sally StoneJuly 27, 2016

    I couldn't agree more. Like you I am tall, extremely tall. Additionally, and unlike you, I do not pass very effectively; it's all those secondary male characteristics. Just like you, however, I put great effort into presenting well, and I believe that has made all the difference for me. Back when I worried all the time about passing it adversely affected my feminine experiences and when I let go of the need to pass, my feminine persona was liberated making my experiences much more positive. I know I do not pass yet I no longer care. By presenting well, I am almost always accepted and my interaction with others in public is quite positive. In short, I am enjoying my womanhood even though others probably know I wasn't born a woman. Thanks for such a great subject.
    Hugs, Sally

  5. Lucky for me winter will be here before we know it and everyone will be in pants. Then my problem will be do have have a nice butt in jeans...LOL, A no still too male.

  6. AnonymousJuly 27, 2016

    I read your blog daily and this is the best thing you have ever written! You are 100% right. Most of us are not at all passable, but if we make ourselves presentable, we can move easily through society. That is my experience. I fool no one, but simply go about my business dressed as a woman my age would and have never had a negative experience. The best part is that I usually make new friends every time I am out. Well said!

  7. AnonymousJuly 29, 2016

    This is very interesting and I can definitely relate to the "Trying to look too feminine". After nearly 7 months of HRT, I get ma'am-ed about 50% of the time while in boy mode and I can make it 100% by just simply blowing in my hair and wearing a touch of eyeliner. Then I get all done up, wear a dress and bang. There you go sir. Annoying by very fascinating.

  8. The age old question - do I pass? I have no one to give me the critical final once over, and it would be a comfort. I have a good style sense and as a professional actor know my way around the make up table. But I don't have a close personal coach. The times I have gone out I seem to be accepted as a woman - but to actually hear those words would be a comfort.