Monday, February 15, 2021

Ancient History

The following post originally appeared in my old blog, A Passing Interest, on November 3, 2006. I believe Femulate readers will find it interesting because it documents my first solo trip out among the civilians.

What a day!

Yesterday, 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 my 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 (both from Newport-News) and 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 friend Sylvia, 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 more of an 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. Here it is.

I bought the mascara, blush, and lip-gloss the saleswomen used on me and went on my way to meet Sylvia 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 Sylvia since my support group’s 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 awhile 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 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 Talbots.

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 Women’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 Talbots. 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 Talbots, 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 boy mode, so this would be something completely different. My goal was to find tops to go with the skirts I bought at Talbots. 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 website, 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.

Wearing JustFab
Wearing JustFab

David Strajmayster and Guillaume Carcaud femulating on French television's Samantha oups!


  1. I never cease to enjoy stories of first times out en femme. The exhilaration always shows in the writing.

    Thanks also for the pointing out the French comedy.

    Sue x

  2. My response to ladies who stare (if I'm feeling sassy) "Jealous?" Otherwise, a simple "Good Afternoon" seems to work for me. (unless, of course, it's NOT afternoon!)(giggle)

  3. Stana they were looking at your because you were so good looking. I was married to a black man for many years and in early days we would get people staring sometimes. That was my motto, they are looking because we look good!

  4. I'm happy to have read your 2006 adventure in shopping. I had not found your Blog at that time. The woman at Sephora was right, it's your life, live it as you see fit. The mention of MAC led me to look at my MAC makeover booklet. There are at least five of us among the many beautifully made up faces displayed. And the cost of a makeover is the purchase of an equivalent amount of makeup products. What a deal.

    At the end of your story you wrote about being exhausted. Girl, burning all that adrenaline for a full day would have exhausted the strongest athlete in the world -- and that athlete wasn't wearing heels all day! Good on you!

  5. Hi Stana,
    I'm wondering... Is the Westfarms Mall still there? I remember watching channels 3, 8 and 61 when I still lived in Western Mass and the ads for stores located in malls like Westfarms and Danbury Square. I think Enfield Square is a ghost of it's former self.

    One time my ex-wife and I were coming back from visiting her friend in Queens and stopped at Danbury Square. Huge difference from the malls in Western Mass. It was obvious that the clientele had a much higher level of disposable income than the farmers and factory workers in my area. My (then new) Ford Escort looked out of place in that parking lot the same way my '01 Honda looks out of place in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas.

    The retail world is SOOOOO different from what it was back in the 80's when I worked for the locally famous Ruby Vine. Ruby Bot last year's leftovers from "Popular Club." Railroad Salvage, located in... "Groton, East Windsor, West Haven Connecticut, Turners Falls, Chicopee and Hadley Massachusetts!" Mr. Vine didn't come north often but his two kids, Roberta and Alan often did. When Mr. Vine visited, he was always accompanied by his secretary.

    Thanks for the fun memories,
    Have a great day!


    1. Hi Heather,

      West Farms is still doing OK. There are a few dollar stores now that weren't there in the past and a few empty stores, but it seems to be doing better than other malls around here.

      I never go to the Danbury mall because it is too rich for my blood! LOL

      I remember back when RR Salvage had only the West Haven store in the early 1960s. It was one of the few stores opened on Sunday in Connecticut. We did a lot of Sunday shopping there. We even saw Choo Choo working in the store a few times!

      Fast forward 30 years and I used to frequent the RR Salvage store just down the hill from me in the Bristol mall. That store went out of business and the mall was torn down in the early 2010's.

    2. Choo Choo was long gone by the time I'd gotten a job there. To think about it, Ruby Vine was a trailblazer. His businesses were pretty successful for a long time. I'm sure he paid next to nothing for the bulk of his merchandise. When I was working there, he started buying some products from distributors so we had some of the current product lines in the hardware department, Stanley Tools, Texaco/Havoline motor oil and antifreeze, Tucker and Sterilite plastics, furniture from Amesbury Chair. He seemed to be big on buying local (New England) when possible. He had investments in lots of companies, he partly owned the company who made the mattresses sold in the stores, owned a precast concrete company and would get into markets that were starting out. When the 8' satellite dish became trendy, they jumped in and sold the heck out of them. Generac generators and some other company's compressors. Royal Computers before IBM format PC's or Apple were the only game in town. Getting a truck from the Meriden warehouse was like Christmas morning, you'd never guess what was coming in next. My friends thought it was a lousy job but I really enjoyed it. I shouldn't have left that job when I did, my next job was commissioned sales and that was awful.

  6. Even though you say the article is dated, which it is by the fact of when it was written, there was still interesting information in it. I have encountered, more so than any other group, the discerning eyes of teenagers, mostly females. I, however, (thank God!) have either been lucky, blessed or too oblivious to notice the wrath of older women. Which makes me happy. Other than missing out on being a teen girl, I really don't care what they think. Not sure how I would act if older ladies came me the stink eye.

    And, also Fashion there's a throwback to a store that I remember quite fondly. Thanks for that pleasant memory, Stana!

  7. I’ve always found “old” ladies to be lovely. The ones I watch out for are the scowling middle aged women who feel, I’m assuming, threatened in some way.


    I remember 'my first time--out'... about four years ago...(since college). I haven't been the same since...
    You think you have 'everything' thought out before you first venture 'out', of course you cant truly allow and and anticipate the randomness of the universe.
    Besides sneaking out of the house and dodging my 'retired military police' neighbor, my next challenge was having to drive around a traffic accident at the direct eye contact and hand direction of a city police officer....
    After dodging the traffic cop, I had a delightful day shopping at the Value Village.

    As for recent news, my wife and I got scheduled for our first COVID VACCINE on Thursday!

  9. Great article, wonderful tips.

    I have some additional tips for going out in femme and traveling pretty. To add to your advice of blending in with cis native attire, I were flats or low heel pumps with rubber pads on heels. I wear a neutral colour wigs with no highlights etc. Brunette or light brown are good colours. Blonde and bright red wigs will get you noticed like a 6"2' lighthouse.

    Same goes with makeup and clothes.- nothing bright. A lot of women wear black even in Toronto summers.

    I preparation for trying femme clothes. I wear pantyhose or stockings ( with oh so sexy garters) under black femme jeans. I carry additional accessories (heels, cosmetics) in my tote bag.

    I was blocked once from using a women's change room by a older Islamic sales person. Another sales women told me to come back in 10 minutes when the first person's shift ended. Oddly enough, I had no issues by MAC cosmetics with a younger Islamic sales person. She was a second generation Canadian. Both women work in same department store.

    Big hugs ... Sherry Soxs