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Playing with gender while flying

Hi

This is Robin and I am an occasional poster to Denae’s blog. I have not posted for awhile but Denae asked to post some of my more recent adventures since she thought they might be interesting to others.

I travel a lot on business and its usually to the East Coast, either Boston or Miami. These are long, boring trips and one can only do so much work. As I have written about in the past, I have gone “en femme” on some of these flights and have had no problems with the TSA or with airlines. When I go en femme, I tend to go pretty casual (t-shirts and jeans) but with lots of female “indicators”, such as wig, makeup, breast/hip pads, purse, jewelry, etc.. I want people to take a quick look, see all sorts of things normally associated with women and assume I am one. I have found this all works and so I have no troubles with anyone.

On a couple of recent flights, I wanted to see what would happen if I went with a more androgynous look. I also wanted to have the fun of “dressing” but with a lot less work. My clothes were pretty much my normal t-shirt and jeans with ankle boots. The ankle boots don’t have much of a heel and so are not overtly women’s boots. The t-shirt had a pattern but was also not overtly feminine (e.g. not floral). I wore my normal wig which goes a little beyond the collar and is mostly straight. It has a little wave to it but not much of one. I did not wear any makeup, padding, jewelry, etc.. I carried my normal computer bag but did not have my purse. About the only overtly thing was my wig, but even that was sort of androgynous.

I tried this on two round trip flights, one from SFO to Miami and the other from SFO to Boston.

For the first flight, I went through security without any problem. My hair was longer than my picture ID, but that is probably true for lots of people (I think my picture is 15 years old anyway). I stopped at a lunch place so I could eat before getting on the flight. As I stood in line, the person at counter looked at me and said “I will be with you in a moment, ma’am.”  I was sort of surprised at her remark, so surprised that when she got to me, I ordered in my male voice. She sort of did a double take but took my order without any further ado. I got a “thank you sir”. If I wasn’t so surprised, I would have used my female voice and played along. This was my first indication that things might be more interesting that I thought.

The trip to Miami itself was pretty uneventful. I did notice that the flight attendants and others seemed to avoid using gendered references when speaking to me, but I may have been a little too sensitive about it (though I usually get “sir’ed” from them normally). When I got to Miami, I checked my rental car without incident. For the flight home, I dressed pretty much the same way. The TSA was its normal neutral self. When I ordered food, I got a “ma’am” and this time responded in my female voice. The trip home was without incident although I did get some longer than usual stares along the way.

The trip to Boston was a lot more interesting and I will write about it next time.

Robin

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Finding the right skirt for your figure

Hi folks, this is Robin your occasional contributor to Denae’s blog. Denae is taking a few days off for the July 4th Holiday and asked me to contribute something for her. Rather than be creative and make something up on my own I found this great article on Wikihow on picking finding the right skirt for your figure. It was not written with TGs in mind but it has been so helpful to me that I thought I would share it with everyone. No matter your body shape, you will find this article helpful.

I will include an extract of the article here and if you like it you can follow the link the wikihow site. Have a happy Independence Day!

  • Short figure: The best skirts for short figures are tapered straight (slim) skirts and A-line skirts but avoid stiff A-lines as they can make you appear squat. Length should be around the knee; if it’s either too long or too short, the skirt can make you appear even shorter although if you have shapely legs, a shorter skirt can make them seem longer. Suitable styles include button-fronts and wraparound skirts, as long as they are not stiff. And off-center slit can help to elongate the legs. Vertical embellishments or detailing will also help create the feeling of length. Things to avoid include hem detail, mid-calf length skirts, patch pockets, and girly skirts.
  • Thick waist: If you have a thick waist, wear skirts that draw attention to your legs and away from the waist. Wear long and full skirts or short skirts. Avoid skirts with any embellishments around the middle, as these will draw attention to the waist.
  • Curvy figure: Skirts with subtle tapering are ideal, and A-lines and wraparounds are also suitable. Choose skirts with a flat front, side or back zippers, drop-waists or no waistband if you’ve a thick waist (or keep if you have a waist to show off), flat-textures with little stretch, and soft, fluid fabrics to float over curves. As with the short figure, an off-center slit can help draw attention to the legs and not the curves. Skirts to avoid include box styles, stiff fabrics, pleats, patch pockets, full styles, and any horizontal patterning. Don’t wear any skirts that are too tight.
  • Larger stomach: Wear lightly tapered pencil skirts and A-line skirts that drape. Avoid waistbands or remove them, avoid anything clinging or tight, bias cuts, pleats, wraps, darts in the front, gathered or bulky styles, and front pockets. Dark colors and flat textures are best. Don’t wear sarongs.
  • Boy-like figure: Skirts suitable for this type of figure include most styles although if you are concerned that your legs are too skinny, wear a long skirt with a slit or buttons on the front to increase the leg appeal. Pleating is good for slim hips and you can wear slanted pockets, patch pockets, gathering, belts, and thick waistbands. A small waist can be given added attention by the use of a wide belt.
  • Bottom-heavy figure: This figure is flattered by a moderate A-line style or loose,softly draped skirts, and wraps, and the good news is that skirts flatter your figure more than pants. A tapered knee-length skirt can work if it’s not too severe, and avoid waistbands. Details should be vertical, and prefer dark colors. Avoid pockets on the skirt, pleating all the way around, bias cuts or trims, Lycra fabric, hem detail, a lot of flare, or horizontal embellishment. Don’t wear any skirts that are too tight and avoid any skirts that have pleats above the hips.
  • Flat bottom: Wear Lycra fabrics, tight skirts, and bias-cut skirts.
  • Long waist, short legs: Select straight skirts to give your legs length. The best length for the skirt tends to be between mid-thigh and above the knee. A belt in the same color as the skirt can visually shorten the upper body. Wear short tops or jackets, tone the pantyhose with the skirt, and rely on vertical embellishments to give a sense of length.
  • Short waist, long legs: Look for skirts which are straight and have a dropped waist. Skirts that hip-hug or are low-rise, no waistband, and low-slung skirts are also a good choice. Tops that fall past the waistline can swallow up some of the leg-length and fluid skirt fabric can hide the short waist. Avoid anything on the skirt that interrupts the line of the top coming over the skirt (for example, pleats), belts that don’t blend in, high or wide waistbands, and horizontal detailing near the waist zone of the skirt.
  • Large thighs: This figure is flattered by skirts that are loose and drape or have soft pleats. Avoid wearing Lycra-blend narrow skirts.
  • Thick ankles: If you have thick ankles, skirts are best when long and loose and with above-the-ankle boots. Any skirt with hem detail, embellishment, or flare in the lower half will draw attention to the ankles, so avoid this.

Here is the full link:

http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-the-Right-Skirt-for-Your-Figure

Experiencing the feminine in the simple activities of life

Hi

This is Robin and I know its been while since I contributed to Denae’s blog. Denae has resumed contributing to it and so I took a break from it. Its actually hard to contribute to a blog on a regular basis.

In the interim I have  had lots of time out en femme, but most of the activities have been pretty ordinary. There have been no trips to the symphony, ballet, or faires. Instead I have been doing the ordinary tasks of life but in my prefered “femme” image. As I have mentioned previously, I have come to value such times even more than events like the symphony since they are more like real life and not just “dressing up.” I have developed a nice wardrobe of T-shirts and jeans that are perfect for “real life” and living like every other female. Add in some boots, sandals, sweaters,  and ponchos and one can create some great looks. Its been ages since I wore a skirt but I have found that T-shirts and jeans can be just as feminine. It has more to do with the presentation than the actual clothes. I now have all these skirt suits and dresses hanging in my closet that never get worn. I gave away probably 5 bags of clothes recently (and I could hardly tell anything was different in my closet!!).

So what ordinary things have I been doing? I have had lunch probably 5 times with one of my female friends who knows and accepts Robin. We have just gone to sandwich shops and similar places. Nothing fancy but its been fun.

I went to a regular hair stylist to get a wig trimmed. My favorite one was suffering from overuse and was shedding handfuls of hair everytime I brushed it. I found several nice human hair wigs on ebay and bought them but they needed styling. I called wig shops and none were interesting in cutting a human hair wig and so I looked around for a regular sylist. I found one who who would do it and went to the studio in her home. I had to wait weeks since she is evidently very busy. I met her and she trimmed it nicely. She treated me very nicely and all went well. There is almost nothing to report. I am heading back since the wig I purchased is not what I hoped it would be and so I will have her work on another.

My most recent outing was going grocery shopping for a sick friend. The woman with whom I had lunch became ill  and was laid up for several weeks. She had been unable to drive since the medicine she was taking made it unsafe to do so and the store is too far away to walk to. I asked her if she needed someone to go to the store and she said she did and so I volunteered. I met her at her home and we made a list. I drove to the nearby Safeway and filled the cart with items on her list. In the process I chatted with clerks and other customers. It all was completely normal, no rudeness, no weird looks, just another woman doing the shopping. Is there anything experience more typically female than grocery shopping? The checkout clerk even asked me if I needed help with the cart.

My friend is doing better but the shopping experience really reminded me that we often better experience the feminine in the simple activities of life. In some ways they are a lot more scary since it is the real world rather than some extented TG closet but it is also a lot more satisfying. Getting the oil in your car changed while en femme may not seem as exciting as dancing the night away in some TG club but it is a lot more real.

A Fun Evening at the Ballet

Hi Ladies

One of the regular readers of this blog sent me the following story of her evening at the ballet. It sounds like she had a great time. If any of you have similar stories, please send them to me.

Denae

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Denae,

I always enjoy your posts on girls going out for an evening and it was two years ago that one of Robin’s posts got me over the top to go out to the Performing Arts Center for the ballet. I had a wonderful time and have done it several times since then, but always by myself. I think we are all a bit self conscious when we are out alone and spend a fair amount of time wondering what other people are thinking. When you are out with someone, however, you are distracted by your interaction and don’t have time to speculate on what other people are thinking and are therefore more relaxed and natural. Anyway, I recently had an opportunity to go to the ballet again, but with someone and I thought I would tell you about it so you could post it on your blog if you think it worthwhile. I am also including a photo that you can also use if you like (Lisa is on the left, I am in the middle and Stacy is on the right).

I have developed a very close friendship with my hair stylist, Stacy, and since we both love ballet (I used to dance – but now have bad knees and she still takes class from time to time) we have been trying for over a year to get our schedules to synch up so we could go together to a performance.  All the stars finally lined up last week for the opening night of American Ballet Theater’s visit to Orange County.  To make it even more interesting, Stacy had a close friend, Lisa, who also loves ballet and who wanted to go as well. I had never met Lisa so this was a great opportunity for me to interact with someone new over an extended period of time.  We got our tickets and made dinner reservations at the restaurant right at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The day before, I was able to squeeze in a visit to Stacy in her professional capacity as my hair stylist.  I have had a tendency to have my hair done up as much as I can (it being a wig and all) but this time we decided to have it down with just soft waves (you can see in the photo).  We both thought it looked very soft and feminine so I will probably keep it this way for a while.  We arranged to meet in a shopping center about half way between our homes, leave one car and then go get Lisa who lived only about a block from our meeting place.  On Thursday afternoon, I managed to get off work in time to get home and change without being too time constrained.  I wore a dark red sheath dress under a black blazer (both were velvet plush material, fitted and much more conservative than they sound). With the outfit I wore a simple string of pearls and pearl earrings and a pair of black pumps with 2.5″ heels (there was some walking involved, but I have done it before with these shoes and can handle it without any problems).  Once I was all ready, I called Stacy and she was just leaving home, so I jumped in my car and headed to our rendezvous.  When I parked in the shopping center, I immediately realized the potential flaw in our plans – I am so 20th (or is it 19th) century – I do not have a cell phone. As soon as I leave home, I am out of contact with the world.  Fortunately, Stacy was right ontime and we decided to go in my car as she still had her surfboard in hers.  As we were driving over to pick up Lisa, we spotted her out walking her dog in her evening outfit.  Both Stacy and Lisa are soooo Laguna Beach.  Anyway, after she put the dog back inside her house, she hopped in and we were off.  Lisa turned out to be a very sweet and interesting companion.  On the way we talked about movies, vitamins, health, spirituality, pets and annoying adult children (Lisa’s and Stacy’s, not mine).  In all to me it sounded like an entirely normal conversation that three girlfriends out for a night on the town would have – nothing forced or awkward.  Lisa was a jewel and had no problems reacting to me as just another girl.  What a wonderful feeling and a great validation.

Because we left a bit early (for our dinner reservation time), when we got to the Performing Arts Center, the parking structure was still functioning as parking for the office buildings in the area.  This meant there was no event parking ticket sales person there to collect $10, so we just punched the machine and took a ticket.  The bottom line here was that we got free parking as there is no one to collect after the evening events are over.  Now we know – if you go early enough, parking is free!!  We walked over to the restaurant where we were about an hour early for our reservation.  They gave us our pick of any table and we chose one right up against the massive window wall that looks out over the quadrangle between the various arts venues (great for people watching – you can see it behind us in the picture).  Our waiter told us that it would be a relaxed evening as they would not be that crowded.  Boy was he wrong, as there were two perfomances going on that night and ours was an opening night that included a world premier.  An hour and a half later the place was packed and we barely made it out in time for our performance even though we started an hour early.  Of course part of that was our own fault – we spent about an hour tasting several wines before we selected the bottle of Willamet Valley Pinot Noir that our waiter had suggested at the beginning.  We must have been driving him nuts and I am sure he thought we were three very ditzy girls.  For dinner, Stacy had a large salad and we split a seared tuna appetizer.  Lisa and I had rissoto for our main course and then the three of us split a dessert of several sorbets.  We had a great time watching people arrive (including the ballet company in two large buses).  It appears that turquoise blue is the evening dress color of choice this year – we must have seen 6 or 7.  As we rushed to leave, I left my credit card and they had to chase me down to return it.  Nevertheless we made it in time to find our seats and make a quick visit to the ladies room.  Our seats were in the first balcony (tier) and were great. 

The program was a repertory one that included three ballets.  In the first half was a Merce Cunningham ballet – Duets – modern in style (no point), no stagework or lighting, only colorful costumes. The most interesting aspect of it was the music by John Cage. It was almost entirely percussion – very powerful and driving. By the end the whole audience was tired so much energy had been expended.  The next ballet was a more traditional non-story ballet called Thirteen Diversions.  It was very reminiscent of Balanchine and it featured some very dramatic lighting effects.  At the intermission we all rushed to the ladies room again and managed to beat the crowd.  Lisa then went off to wander around and people watch while Stacy and I went back to our seats.  We talked for a while with the lady sitting next to Stacy and then Stacy’s old dance instructor showed up and it turned out he had seats in our row so she went and talked to him and his wife until time for the curtain.  The second half of the evening was a world premier staging of Firebird.  It was beautiful and exceptionally well danced – I think ABT is at its best when they are doing the fully staged story ballets and this was no exception (though as a story, if you do not know the Russian Fairy tale that Firebird is based on, you will never figure it out from watching the ballet).  All in all it was a wonderfully enjoyable and entertaining evening with really great dancing.  We were all in such a good mood when we left that we promised each other that we would do this again as often as we could.  I would really like to have a small circle of girlfriends that I could do evenings out and shopping etc. with – kind of like Sex in the City without all the boyfriend issues and this seems like a very good start.  Anyway we will be keeping in touch and will see where this leads.  All in all it was a truly remarkable evening where I enjoyed just being me with two wonderful friends and I do not recall a single moment where I had any doubts or self consciousness.  What a great time!

For Local Girls In San Francisco! TGSF Harvey Milk Memorial Library May 16th

May Mid-Month Mixer:  Wednesday, May 16th, 6pm to 8pm.
Eureka Valley / Harvey Milk Memorial Library
1 Jose Sarria Ct
San Francisco, CA 94114   A great way to meet others, and have fun getting dressed and getting out. Be sure and look at my DVDs if your not sure of going out in public, as they are good training DVDs. TGSF is a great organization and has some of the best speakers and lots of fun too…so put May 16th on your calender and invite some of your friends.