Now, I do have some advantages. I can pick up a size 6 skirt or a 34C bra and the cashier or the girl on the shop floor could easily reason that, yes, that is likely the size of his wife. And a quick glance at my left hand would add evidence. There is a gold band on the 3rd finger.
And yes, I can fit my skinny butt into a size 6 skirt and hook a 34C bra around my, well, bust if you must. If I weighed another 60 lbs, things would be a little different. I suppose when you are shopping in a Lane Bryant for a size 24 dress, you are kind of giving yourself away. And that's OK. I am not either editorializing or gloating here. Its just the way it is.....
Nonetheless (even when I am legitimately buying something nice for my wife), there is a part of me that wonders …. “Does this nice stranger think this is for me? Did she clock me? And is she just humoring me? Does she deal with crossdressers everyday?”
Well, I did some nice shopping en femme recently, and it gave me encouragement to change the way I shop in drab. Here goes:
Visit # 1
After a superb make up treatment (Thanks R!), I had a little time to kill before the cocktail hour. I popped into Macys, and it was a little bit of a ghost town. Staff said hello. I stopped in intimates, looked at shoes, thought about a couple of dresses, not seriously shopping, but rehearsing shopping. Nothing really stood out, including it seems, Petra. Just another girl in a store.
I strolled out into the mall and was drawn inevitably into Victoria’s Secret. Now the fun begins. The entirely cute and petite Asian girl was envious of my ability to walk in heels. I swear to goodness, I was giving a Ggirl tiny lessons in letting the hips do the work. And there was a terrific promotion in the shop. Spend a minimum of $10.00, and get a gift card with random value --- likely $10.00 but possibly a thousand. How could a girl say no?
The abundance of mirrors and the O so nicely merchandized collections of pretty things were just music to me. Nothing furtive about my browsing. I know I was clocked within seconds by the staff, (and, if I am a realist, by some of the quicker clientele), but no worries at all. In fact, my new friend who can’t walk in heels said that if I wanted to try anything on, I was most welcomed.
Somebody shoot me while I am happy.
The fitting rooms were a little crowded, and really I had the wrong outfit on ( turtleneck dress, a real wig-popper) so a little try before you buy was out of the question. But do you know, the point was, I was fooling nobody (fully) and it just did not matter. Just a guy in a dress.
Just a guy in a dress on a budget too. I really did not want to splash out too much that night, but had to pick something up. Hosiery of course is something you can never have either enough or too much of. So after all the touch and feel, just picked up a pair of superb semi-boarded control tops with a very pretty lace effect at high thigh. Cashed out, got a little spritz of perfume, a nice catalog, a yet to be redeemed gift card and pretty pink bag to walk back out to the car with.
And this really got me thinking. I cannot get out as much as I like to en femme (too many reasons, more on that later). But I do like to prepare for nights (and days) en femme. I do like as well to keep in touch with Petra, and do things for her. Sometimes it is just a visualization exercise. You see a nice look on a real woman, and say to yourself, yeah Petra ought to have that look. And then, maybe you go shopping for that look. In drab.
Visit # 2
So I was in drab yesterday, and my Victoria’s Secret Secret Value gift card was burning a hole in my pocket. Those control tops I mentioned earlier on – fabulous. Really snug around the hips and butt. Nice glossy finish. Yum. So I dropped in.
“Can I help you find something today?”
“Sure, I am looking for hosiery”
“Is this a gift?”
“No, its for me. I wear a size C here”
“OK, just over here…”
And do you know something, there were no flashing red lights, no PA announcements of the presence of a deviant in the store, no women and children shrieking and running away. Just me and the nice girl talking 'bout tights.
“You don’t need the control tops do you? I mean look how skinny you are…”
“Well, I have different parts I need to ... ummm.... well, contain you know… and the padded panties, well they need to be smoothed out a bit too.”
“Really? Well, yeah, I guess that makes sense … oops, hey, I think we are out of the black in C. I like the almost black. Would that work for you?"
"Sure, that will do"
"Do you need anything else today?”
“No, I really just wanted to find out whether my surprise value card is worth $10.00 or whether I like struck gold and got one of the high value ones…”
“Well, I hope you get lucky – check out is just over here...
Nice for the environment too. She did not bother asking me whether I wanted a gift box.
“Do you have a Victoria’s Secret Angel Card?”
“Um, not yet.”
“You really ought to get it. You'll never ever pay full price”
“OK, well I will figure that one out later….”
And so it went.
And so it will go in the future. When I shop for me, I will shop openly. I suspect that some people will just be too unnerved to do their job well. And that is ok. I pretty much expect that I will get terrific service, and will probably meet some nice people just by being a little more honest about it. Perhaps this will help drive down the stigma factor that many of us still fear to one degree or another. And it might just make life a little more interesting for the nice, nice women working in a small handful of shops.
I will keep you posted on how it goes.