Friday, June 23, 2017

Best Moments Out As A Woman

By Michelle Bowles

When I was young and borrowing my mother’s clothes, I sometimes dreamed of one day spending a day out in public dressed as a female and… well, actually probably no more than just that. In that dream, nobody would pay me any particular attention, and I would just be treated as just another woman out and about doing her business.

Of course, in my heart of hearts I realised that would never happen. Except that it did, and not just for one day, but for numerous days (some of which I have written about in previous posts for Femulate). I then thought, “Can I list the best half dozen moments I have experienced en femme on these outings?”

I started a list of six moments and soon found I had gone past that number without really trying, so I thought, “How about a top 10?” I was soon past that, too – and so you can see, I ended up with a top 20. Cheating a bit, I know, but after I first suggested the “My favourite photo of…myself” feature that Stana ran a year or two back, many people found it really difficult to pick just one picture. So I am really carrying on a tradition (well that’s my excuse).

Here is my list of en femme moments anyway, and rest assured there are a few others I could have put in, too. See what you think.

1. A man opening a door for you and your cisgender female partner whilst saying “ladies.”

2. Being asked to dance by a man when at the pub disco.

3. Asking a shop assistant in a department store where the ladies clothes are and without even a double take, being asked whether I wanted the fashion or the posher clothes departments.

4. On finding the women’s department an assistant approaching me, as I am looking at some clothes, and asking me would I like her to reserve a changing cubicle for me so I can try some dresses on.

5. Being dressed up to the nines and walking into Royal Ascot on a sunny summer’s day.

6. Having a bookmaker say “Yes, Madam?” as I place a bet at Royal Ascot - and being addressed similarly when I go to collect my winnings (in fact being “Madamed” at any time would make my list).

7. When a waitress says “What can I get for you ladies?” as I am out with a TG friend for lunch.

8. Being served first when out with my cisgender female partner at an Indian restaurant, because the waiter obviously hasn’t read me, and therefore “ladies first” is irrelevant.

9. Being waved through past the roped off queue as I enter the pub on crowded Saturday evening as it has a LGBT friendly policy.

10. Being asked to wait in the roped off queue and refused entry at the other door of the same pub because they think I am cisgender female (this is many times better than moment no. 9).

11. Going up to a barman to be asked “What can I get you, Miss?”

12. Realising I’ve just spent a whole day in London, without once being aware of being “read” despite many one-to-one conversations.

13. Being accepted as just another woman by a group of female work colleagues (all of whom were unknown to me and my cisgender female partner) who were out for a Saturday evening together.

14. When in that group of females, a man outs his empty glass on our table, and one of the women leans across to me and says “I just love the way they think we’re going to wash it up for them.”

15. When talking to a woman on a night as she notices her female friend is being chatted up by a man and she interrupts her conversation with me to say “That bloke’s a real w*****.”

16. Being involved in women’s conversations in the ladies’ toilets.

17. When trying on something in the ladies’ changing rooms in a shop and a woman says how much it suits me.

18. Expecting people to look at me as I enter a crowded public area and nobody does.

19. Not noticing I’ve dropped an earring and a woman interrupts her conversation with her friend to let me know (I particularly liked this one, and I don’t know why).

20. Being asked by woman about where to pay in a multi storey car park and then getting into a conversation about how confusing they are.

As you can see these are moments when out and about and largely can be summarised by “being accepted in the female world” as I so wanted to be all those years ago.

Normally when talking about list of favourites we are asked “And which is top of your list?” Before I reveal that, I’m going to list some of my very favourites – hopefully you’ll choose which would be yours. Firstly, I really liked the bookmaker at Ascot addressing me as “Madam” because I was up to that point not entirely sure I was passing, but that proved I was and added to the experience was being dressed in a posh frock, hat and heels – what’s not to like? And of course, going back shortly after to collect my winnings and being addressed as Madam again meant I floated away afterwards, a few pounds the richer.

Being made to wait in the roped off queue at the pub because a number of door staff had not read me was particularly nice, too (no. 10). Also I think experiences that mean I’ve been accepted into the woman’s world must be up there, so examples such as numbers 4, 15, 16 and 17 (excuse me for using number references) would be near the top.

If I had to choose just one, I’d probably say the comment after a man had placed a glass on our table (no. 14) would be my favourite. I had gone on a Saturday evening with my cisgender female partner, to our regular gay (and straight) friendly haunt. When we arrived it was already crowded and there was no seat, but a group of about 6 women saw we were standing and moved up to make room for us.

We soon got into conversation with them and discovered they were work colleagues out together – they were all straight, but just liked this particular pub. This continued for the rest of the evening, and I just assumed they had read me and had accepted me as I am, which was a lovely thing in itself. Then the man put the glass on our table and walked away. The fact that one of the women leaned over to me to comment that he had just thought we, being a group of women, would wash it up for him, was wonderful. It seems, to her, I was just a woman she had met on a night out.

These are all experiences that were a largely a surprise and to do with being out en femme and If anybody has a similar list to send to Femulate I, for one, would love to read it.

Yes, I like lists (part of my male self that carries over into my female half). As they say, there are two categories of people in the world; those that put people into categories, and those that don’t.

Source: ShopBop
Wearing Marc Jacobs (Source: ShopBop)

Yasumasa Morimura
Photographer Yasumasa Morimura femulates Marlene Dietrich.


  1. I to ran through a multitude of experiences while out Relating to the article that Michelle wrote I often dreamed of going out in public as a woman. When it actually started to happen I was amazed. The one moment that sticks out while reading this was a time when I was in the Lennix mall in Atlanta, I was wearing a business suit and a woman came up to me and asked for assistance. It was at this time that I knew I was doing something right and at least being seen as the woman I felt it was inside.

    1. One of my moments was at Lennox Mall also. Shopping at Rich's wearing a black dress skirt with a pink cashmere blazer, then walking down to the food court. For those who don't know, Lennox is huge.

  2. Great post Michelle
    It is outings such as you have described that will move all of us forward.

  3. My number one? Meg at a religious service. At one point, people were all holding hands and the man to my right, before letting go of my hand, looked at me and said "you have lovely eyes."

  4. Sharon RoseJune 24, 2017

    My number one was when I was at my
    TG support group meeting and one of the SOs came up to me and asked me who I was there with (looking towards the room full of mostly TG people).

  5. What a terrific list -- yes, this should inspire confidence in all of us. I think one of my favorites was when my wife and I were at a GF's house for a party, and when I told another woman that we had been married for 40 years, she replied that she didn't think same sex marriages were legal then.