Archives

Flying En Femme 2012 – The trip home

Hi, this is Robin and this is the final installment of my Flying En Femme 2012 adventure. It is about the trip home from Atlanta.

One of the nice things about SCC are the large number of merchants who show up selling items ranging from clothes to books to jewelry. My favorite wig has been getting rather tired and every time I brushed it I ended up with a brush full of hair. It was clearly time for another one. I had purchased a Jacquelyn human hair wig some years ago on eBay and was saving it for such a time. I really like the human hair wigs as they feel very light and natural. They do require regular care and styling but I feel it is worth it. As I have mentioned in the past I tend toward simplicity and speed in putting together my feminine appearance but the one area I do spend time on is my hair. Another image consultant I visited for a long time said that the most important part of your feminine presentation is your hair and I really believe that. Thus the care and styling of my human hair wigs is worth it to me.

Unfortunately I could not find a wig stylist in the South Bay who would cut and style my wig and so I brought it to SCC hoping one of the merchants would do it. Fortunately I found one who would and she charged me only $50 to cut and style it. She did it just like I wanted. Unfortunately she is in Atlanta otherwise I would become a regular client.

It turned out great, how great I would discover later.

Denae’s second seminar was also at 9am on Saturday and so we got off to another early start. We were done by 10:30 and checked out of the hotel by 11:30. Our flight was at 2pm and so we had time to get to the airport without too much of a rush. The two flights had gone so well that flying en femme on the way home was the obvious thing to do. The drive to the airport did not take long since there was little traffic on a Saturday morning. We checked the rental car back in and it went fine. I assume the agent just assumed I was the wife of the guy on the rental contract. We got our luggage and headed to the terminal.

We approached the luggage check in counter and I gave the agent my boarding pass, luggage, and male id. She took one look at it and handed it back to me saying

“I am sorry but he has to be here to check in his luggage”

I got a big grin on my face and I told her “it is ME and you have just totally made my day”. She looked at me more closely and also grinned. She said she did not realize the picture on my id was me. She then checked me in without a problem. From there we went through TSA security without a hitch. Everything passed through the Xray machine without a problem. Likewise I went through the full body scanner without any further inspections. The screen flashed an “OK” on a green screen and the agent smiled and motioned me to pick up my stuff.

Denae and I made our way to our gate. We had time to get some lunch since it was a long ride home. Before boarding I stopped in the ladies restroom without a second thought. After spending 3 of 4 days en femme and passing through multiple inspection points along the way, I was feeling completely comfortable in my feminine self. Being “me” felt like me.

The trip home was also completely uneventful. I did some reading, Denae did some sleeping, and we arrived back in San Francisco late in the afternoon. We got our luggage, made our way to my car, and drove towards home. We met Denae’s ride back to Santa Cruz in San Jose and I headed home. Of course I had to change back to boy mode before doing so and that was a bit of a downer. In some ways getting back into boy mode was something that took some effort. After spending those few days as a woman, I struggled somewhat to get back to my typical male mannerisms, voice, movement.  Feminine had become new “normal”. It was sort of an odd experience.

In reflecting about it now, the trip home seems uneventful, almost boring, and in many ways it was. I have been on hundreds of plane trips in boy mode and have gone routine many times: leave hotel, drive to airport, drop off rental car, go through security, get on the plane, and fly to my destination. The only difference this time was that I did it all as a woman. It was both very familiar and oddly different. Everyone I met accepted me as such and were polite and friendly.  Overall it was a great time, if for no other reason, than it seemed so commonplace and boring.

I am ready for my next trip en femme. I just need to make sure I don’t bump into any coworkers along the way….

Flying En Femme 2012 – From San Francisco to Atlanta

Hi again

This is Robin with the next segment of my recent Flying En Femme adventure. This part covers the trip from San Francisco to Atlanta.

Denae’s and my flight was scheduled to leave on Wednesday at 11:30am and since we were coming from different directions, agreed to meet at the Delta baggage check-in counter around 10-10:15am. I arrived a little early with my suitcase, computer bag, and purse in tow. I decided to be brave and check in the luggage myself. I stood in a short line and when I reached the front I walked up to the counter and gave the man my boarding pass and  my male id and waited to see what would happen next. Just as I had found two years ago, exactly nothing happened. He typed into his computer, took my suitcase, gave me back my boarding pass and id, and wished me a good flight. It was much the same as the hundreds of other times I checked luggage. I had made it through the first test.

Denae was late arriving at the airport due to problems with her ride from Santa Cruz and did not arrive until almost 10:45. We rushed to get her luggage checked which would be the cause, as we would discover in Atlanta, of her luggage not arriving.

Once that was done, it was TSA time. We walked to the security checkpoint and after standing in a short line reached the TSA agent. We both gave him our boarding passes and ids. He stared at them a long time and I began to worry. He then flipped the boarding passes and ids and all was well. Denae and I had somehow switched boarding passes which further confused the poor agent (since Denae and I look nothing alike). Once that  was clarified, he checked the ids, wrote on each boarding pass, and indicated we could proceed to the inspection area. Once there I repeated the drill I have done hundreds of time: remove computer from its bag, remove shoes and belts, remove the 1 quart bag with your “fluids and gels”, and put them all on the belt for the xray machine. This time I added a few extra items to the belt such jewelry and my purse. I then approached the full body scanner.

The agent asked me to step inside the scanner and raise my arms above my head. It was a little scary since the scanner could see “everything” but also sort of liberating. Based on Kimberly’s report, I fully expected to get called aside to get patted down. Much to my surprise the agent simply said “thank you ma’am, you can gather your things”. No inspection, no pat down, that was it!!

I felt really good at that point, thinking the worst was over. Denae also got through inspection without any problems. Fortunately our gate is near the inspection station and so we didn’t have far to walk. While we are waiting I bought some food for the trip and visited the ladies restroom. The last step was to get on the plane. We were in the last boarding group since I don’t normally fly on Delta and so did not have the option for priority boarding. We approached the ticket agent and I gave her my ticket. She scanned it, up popped my boy name, and she handed me back my boarding pass with a smile. Everything was going very well.

The flight to Atlanta was entirely uneventful, much like almost every flight I have taken. Denae and I planned her seminars, I worked on my work presentations, and we generally rested. Four and half hours later we arrived in Atlanta and made our way to the baggage claim area. I had allocated a couple of hours between our arrival and my departure for Boston. I figured we would get our luggage and I would get Denae on a shuttle to the airport. Depending on how the boarding process had gone in San Francisco I figured I could always change back into boy mode for the flight to Boston.

Unfortunately things would not be that simple..

Next Post: Trouble in Atlanta and my trip to Boston

Flying En Femme 2012 – Getting Ready

Hi folks,

This is Robin, Denae’s assistant here at Femimage and occasional contributor to this blog.

Denae and I recently attended the Southern Comfort Conference (SCC) in Atlanta, Georgia. For those of you who are not familiar with SCC, it is the largest gathering of transgendered people in the United States and probably the world. It is held in Atlanta every September and has been going on for at least 20 years.

Denae was presenting two seminars at the conference as well as doing private consults with interested attendees. I went along to help with the logistics of things and to keep Denae on schedule. We planned to fly to Atlanta on Wednesday which would give us a chance to rest on Thursday before the seminars on Friday and Saturday. It would also give me a opportunity for an extended time in girl mode.

While I had flown “en femme” two years ago to attend an earlier SCC conference (which I wrote about here: http://ptrobin.wordpress.com ), I had not done so since. While the earlier trip was completely uneventful, much to my surprise,  soon after the trip airport security become much tighter including the widespread use of full body pat downs and/or full body scanners at nearly every airport. It was frankly a lot more intimidating and so I had avoided doing so again since the initial trip.

Still, those few folks who did write about traveling “en femme” or “flying pretty” reported few problems with the new procedures. Kimberly Huddle recently wrote a long blog entry about doing do (http://kimberlyhuddle.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-fly-pretty.htm) and indicated she had encountered few problems, except perhaps, for regular pat downs by female TSA agents after the body scanner detected the breast forms she wore. Since Kimberly “flies pretty” on a regular basis this gave me some confidence to try it again. I figured at very worst, I would also get a pat down.

The plan was thus for Denae and I to fly nonstop from San Francisco to Atlanta on Wednesday and return on Saturday after her second seminar. We booked the flights and all seemed in place. I figured two flights during which time I have Denae for support would be okay. Unfortunately my regular job intervened with the need for me to be in Boston on Thursday for a series of meetings. Hence my two flight adventure suddenly turned into a four flight one. I would fly with Denae to Atlanta and then catch a flight Wednesday evening to Boston. I would attend my meetings on Thursday and then fly back to Atlanta Thursday evening. It would be a long trip but I could deal with it. The only issue would be that I would need to bring some boy clothes to wear for the Boston part of the trip. I would send my regular suitcase with Denae to the hotel while I took a small bag to Boston. All seemed doable.

For the trip from San Francisco, I decided to go with my typical femme outfit: patterned t-shirt like top and jeans, comfortable shoes, brown purse, wig, simple makeup, little bit of jewelry, and breast forms. I skipped the hip pads since they would clearly show up on the full body scanner and getting a pat down there could be a lot more awkward.  I added a light sweater since it was chilly at the San Francisco airport and could be on the plane as well. I was able to fit all my clothes for the trip (a second pair of jeans, a skirt, more tops, pajamas, underwear, and a couple pairs of shoes) into a small check-on bag. I even included lots of Denae’s DVDs for sale at the show. I was proud of myself that it all fit!

Next Post: From San Francisco to Atlanta

Perfume

) Hello, I had a friend email me.Herewith part of her email and my post about tg and safwty.

There are men approaching women (all women) at gas stations, mallls, etc. They ask the alone woman, what kind of perfume she is wearing. Then they asked if I’d like to sample some fabulous scent they were willing to sell me at very reasonable rate. I probably would have agreed had I not received an e-mail warning of a ‘Wanna smell this neat perfume?’ scam.  THIS IS NOT PERFUME… IT IS ETHER! When you sniff it, you’ll pass out. They’ll take your wallet, your valuables and heaven knows what else.

 From Denae: welcome to the world of women (smiles). When dressed, CD or full time you must have a much higher security awareness when  dressed..  Some men do like to hurt a transgendered woman, we had  here in the San Francisco (Hayward) CA area, and when they realized she was a man (lets say part time transition) they took her life. So, have fun, feel good about yourself, but keep your eyes open. Basically, all the same things you would tell a daughter or friend.  And in closing,, they warned women to not park next to vans with dark windows and sliding door, as it is easy for you to be taken while locking your car….and they pull you into the sliding van door. And, I was thinking of the oldest trick I have encountered. I am driving, and a man will yell out to me, to roll down  my window and he points to my left front tire, and yells my tire is low. Many of you look so good from the FacceBook photos I have been seeing, and from many of my clients at wwwFemImage.com  that you have to havee the same awareness as any woman. So, be ccarreful out there! But, of course have fun looking fabulous

Denae 

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.

Going to the Symphony – Being there

After my wonderful 7-11 tuna sandwhich, it was time to think about changing into the clothes I would wear to the symphony. Given I was already wearing a skirt and pullover top, changing in the suit I had chosen to wear to the symphony should be pretty easy. I had purchased this JNY suit on ebay almost a year ago but had not worn it anywhere. As I have mentioned before, I have become more casual in what I wear over the last few years. It was not long ago that I tended toward a more professional look, favoring skirt suits and pant suits over anything more casual. I had accumulated way too many such outfits along the way and have been loath to get rid of any of them as I love them all. Still, the opportunities to get dressed up are mostly limited to the symphony or some other classical performance like the ballet. Going to the mall in a skirt suit or other professional attire makes blending in harder.

The skirt suit I had chosen was a lighter shade of blue although not like a powder or pastel blue. It is sort of a hard color to define, almost like a steel blue.  Given it was almost like a spring day (although in the middle of winter) the suit fit in perfectly. If it had been cold or rainy, I would have worn something more somber but on a clear, sunny day it worked. The jacket had a zipper front without any decoration and without a collar. It almost looked like a more casual jacket but it was clearly a dress garment. The skirt was knee length and straight. I tried all sorts of tops but none really worked except for a sleeveless shell that had horizonal stripes across it. The stripes were in all sorts of shades of blue and so it worked with suit. The only problem is that it was a little tighter around the bust than I recalled. Still it was comfortable and looked nice with the skirt. My shoes were midheel black pumps that looked nice and were comfortable.

I ended up changing in a parking garage that was next to the mall. It was done in just a couple of minutes and I was on my way. I arrived at my favorite parking lot near Davies Symphony Hall and left my car with the attendant. He asked me “Ma’am, how long will be leaving your car” and I told him just a few hours. I paid my $10 and walked to Davies. I had printed out my ticket and so was able to get right in. I was almost 20 minutes early and so I killed some time wandering about. Shortly before the symphony was to start, I made a stop at the ladies room as the lines at intermission are often long.

I made it to my seat with time to spare. I sat in a short row of just 3 seats and the other two were filled with women who clearly had come together and were engaged in a lively conversation. Both pretty much ignored me. Since I had forgotten to get a program I entertained myself by people watching.

The first program was Mozart’s Piano Concerto #9. I had not heard it before but generally enjoy Mozart. Unfortunately I found it rather dull and unmoving. It was one of his early concertos but lacked, at least to me, the thrill and emotion of his later ones. The audience seemed to feel the same way as afterwards the applause felt a little unenthusiastic. The piano soloist played well, but it was just not that moving.

At intermission, I left my seat and wandered around the symphony hall. I purchased some bottled water that I could take inside and visited the ladies room again. I decided to sit someplace else for the second half of the performance and found a nice place that was to the immediate right of the orchestra. At Davies there are seats that form a “U” around the orchestra and which provide a great view of the performs. They are the cheapest seats in the place (normally only $25). I had seem some were not taken and so I slipped into one of them.

After the performance started it occured to me that I was sitting in such a way that virtually everyone in the hall had a clear view of me!! I had a moment of panic but at that point it was not like I could get up and move. I consoled myself that everyone would probably be looking at the orchestra and hence I would just blend in with dozens of other faces. So much for keeping a low profile…

The performance itself was Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. I am an absolute fan of him and love the emotion and passion of his work. I always feel like I am on an emotional rollar coaster when I listen to his works. The 3rd and 5th Symphonies are among my favorite pieces. I discovered the 5th years ago by mistake. I thought I was attending Bethoveen’s 5th but I had misread the date and got Techaikovsky 5th instead. It was a wonderful surprise.

The performance this time was like meeting a wonderful old friend. I knew what to expect and still loved it. Where I was sitting I could see what instruments played which parts and that added a whole additional level of enjoyment. When I hear recordings of it now I can visual the trumpets, french horns, violins, drums, and other instruments and where they are located. It is not longer just music but is almost a 3D experience.

The performance soon ended and I walked back to my car and drove out of the City. The traffic was a mess but I was happy. I finished the day with a quick dinner with my BFF at a local India restaurant. The day had gone mostly as I had expected. I had done some shopping and found some nice things and then went to the symphony and heard some of my favorite music. All had taken place without incident and I was treated well by all I encountered. Even the unexpected work meeting had its own pleasant twist. How often do I get to attend work meetings “en femme”?

robin

Another Pleasant Day Out

I had originally planned on spending my second consecutive day out taking the Ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito and spending the day exploring the village and having lunch there. I have done it before and the ride, especially on a clear day, is amazing with great views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately after my less than thrilling Symphony visit the day before I just was not up for another drive into SF and then across the City to the Pier 39 area. Instead I decided to have another quiet boring day doing everyday life things that would involve less driving. It turned out to be lots of fun too.

I started the day by going to a coin operated laundary to get some clothes washed. Like most people I have a “dirty laundary” bag that I put clothes into after wearing them and it was getting sort of full. Washing them at home is not an option and so I use a coin operated laundary. In my area they are actually hard to find since most people, even in apartments, have their own washer and dryer. I eventually found one, located in a slightly rundown strip mall. There were maybe 10-15 people there, loading washers and dryers, folding clothes, or just sitting around. They paid me little attention when I walked in with my bag. I found a couple of machines, sorted my clothes into them, put soap and quarters in, and started them. I had to wait about 40 minutes for the wash and then another 20 minutes for the dryer. It was entirely uneventful and I just sat there waiting for things to be done. Eventually the clothes were dry and I spent another 15 minutes folding everything. It was a surprisingly satisfying time since doing the laundary is one of those things that is strongly associated with the feminine. It is not sexy or glamorous but is clearly part of most women’s life.

After that I went grocery shopping. I had a list of things we needed at home and thought it would be good time to get them. I did not buy anything that needed to be kept cold but still filled much of the basket. I checked out without a hitch, chatting a little with the clerk. They even offered to help me with my bags!

From there I went to the post office to see if my new ebay purchases had arrived. They had not but some magazines were waiting.

From there I went to a large shopping mall. I wanted to try out the new sandals and see how they felt after a few hours of walking. I had not been to this particular mall in a while and was looking forward to stopping at lots of stores. My first visit was to a Marshall’s where I found some tops I liked. I thought about going the dressing room to try them on but the attendant looked a little stern and so I just left. I was annoyed at myself and promised I would come back later.  From there I visited lots of other stores and found some real suede ankle boots that I just loved. I really like boots and so I had to have them. They were my big purchase of the day ($24). I also bought a scarf and some earrings.

I visited probably 10 other stores and stopped for lunch as well. I also bought a top at the one of stores for about $9. As I wandered around the stores I found many items that I really liked. So many nice clothes and so little time to wear them (or money to buy them). If I was full time, I could easily become a real fashionista!

After almost 4 hours of walking around I found my new sandals feeling reasonably okay. They only had a 1-2 inch heel and were okay to walk in. The ball of my foot hurt a little but they had good arch support. They are keepers. Finally I headed back to the Marshalls, found my desired tops, and headed to the dressing room. I presented them to the same attendant. I was going to deal with this silly fear once and for all. She said “hi” and smiled. She counted my garments and gave me the tag that indicated I had 5 garments. I headed to the “Ladies” side and found a changing room. I ended up keeping none of the tops as I did not like them on me. All the stress for nothing. I ended up buying a belt.

From there I went to a Ross. I normally don’t go there but I knew they also had a dressing room attendant. I picked out 5 garments and headed over to the dressing room. The attendant smiled, counted my garments, and gave me the tag. I actually liked one of the tops and bought it. I really need to get over this dressing room attendant phobia..

I ended the day having dinner with a friend. Overall, another nice pleasant boring day. I was feeling a little melancholy though by the end of the day knowing that I had to go back to regular life the next day. Everytime I get to spend multiple days out I once again realize that I would really prefer to live that way all the time. I could get used to it very easily.

robin