Friday, November 17, 2023

The Only Thing Certain in Life is Change

By Tami Knight

As I look back on my decades presenting as Tami, it is remarkable how much easier every aspect of my lifestyle is today from just 20 years ago. Most telling is when I am out and about in ‘drab,’ how accepting and even welcoming the retail world is to my interests all things feminine.

My small size and long hair helps cue anyone I interact with. Either way, any makeup counter any of us might approach is happy to help. I have never strolled into a women’s shop and asked about a top, shoes or whatever, without an enthusiastic response to help. I have a good feeling that often (again when in drab), that many women in retail think it is fun to see me try their product.

When shopping many years ago at the mall in Phoenix, I walked into a Rebecca Taylor store.  I wasn’t familiar with that designer and had to look. Rebecca Taylor clothes were on the romantic, flowy and very feminine. The young lady (Jennifer), working there was happy to show me things she thought a somewhat feminine male might enjoy wearing. 

I bought a top and started a friendship with this her. Jennifer went as far as to ship me other tops and dresses several times simply to try and keep or return. We stayed in touch for a couple years until she moved on to work at Joie.

I have and you may as well experienced this: Just weeks ago, I was shopping at a J. McLaughlin store as Tami. The two women who work there know me well as Tami. I tried on a black dress and then a brown leather sheath. Each time I stepped out of the dressing room to stand at the three-way mirror, another customer only away and compliments the fit of both dresses. 

“It looks as good from the back as from the front,” she said.  

I assumed this customer guessed I was trans or maybe not, but the ease and acceptance today is worlds apart from 20 years ago. This is not to say that one’s ambiguity quotient will always be ignored. It is important to have reasonable expectations, and one’s sincerity about our interests is equally important.  

All in all, the free market and good business practices, works in our favor.

Wearing Ann Taylor


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your observations when I used the old excuse of buying a gift. Initially, saying, "Oh, she's about my size," felt daunting, but soon I realized, just as you've mentioned in your writing, that sales associates were genuinely enthusiastic. They seemed happy to assist me on my journey, almost as if they had undergone a conversion themselves, and were eager to see me embrace the feminine side.

    Instead of being anxious, I looked forward to interacting with sales associates while en DRAB

    However, this attitude often shifts when it involves a woman's spouse or partner. They tend to perceive it as a potential threat. I touched upon this in a post about the liberating experience of seeking a blouse and some slacks.

    Paula G

    1. I am envious of shorter cross dressers. I am still stuck in a six foot male body which served me well with the women. My experience with interacting with female sales associates has been mixed. When I did use the ruse of buying for my wife, it was usually around Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and, of course my wife had numerous birthdays during any particular year. There was a definite generational difference with the female sales associates. The younger, the better. Once when I shopped at a Catherine's, knowing exactly what slips I was going to buy, as soon as I entered the store it was as if Martians had landed to abduct tasty humans. Two middle aged women cringed at the man entering their domain, although there was another aged man who was totally bored waiting for his wife to get done shopping. I had seen the rack of slips through the store window, so there was no rummaging through the crowded racks. I selected the two slips. The checkout process was torment for them. They could not wait for me to leave their domain. I did not look like a vagrant. I was returning home from a work appointment and attired in dress shirt, slacks and tie. Before and after I had shopped at three other Catherine's store closer to home, and, the younger sales associates were genuinely friendly and helpful and interacted with professionalism. I had the same experience with female associates at JC Penny, Macy's, Sears and Kmart. Too young, the women were standoffish as if that may be their first experience with a potential cross dresser. Older, but not a product of the 1960's, it was great. Still older and it was obvious they really did not appreciate men shopping for for women's clothing.

  2. As a frequent purchaser of pantyhose, I used to say they were for my gf/wife with some dumb comment like "the things she makes me buy for her" or "I hope these are the ones she wanted", despite knowing the cashier could probably see right through those lame excuses. Now I simply purchase them as if there's nothing unusual about it and no one seems to care. Maybe it's the times, maybe it's my age...