You Know You Pass When…
You know how it is.
You’ve taken an hour, maybe more, to get ready in your En Femme finery. You stand admiringly in front of your mirror for a few minutes. Turn away and get some more lipstick or maybe change your earrings or necklace. Then look back into the mirror—pleased at what you see.
“Ah, that’s it! I pass," you think. “Finally, I’ve got the look right. Eureka!”
Or maybe you are out at a gathering of other crossdressers, meeting some friends. You feel and look good, and feel pleased that you did decide to buy that En Femme dress last week. One of your friends comes over to talk and mentions in the ensuing conversation how well you look. The P-word comes up and your friend says, “I’m sure you would have no problem passing if you went out in public.”
Yet, despite your own reassurances and your friend’s helpful comments you still wonder if you really pass. Can you convince all those who see you when you are out in a busy public environment that you are a woman?
Now, passing may not be your goal and I'm not suggesting that passing should be the goal. Passing means different things to different people, and there is no one way to pass. But if you want to understand what my experience was like going out in public, keep reading. Here's what has happened to me when I got curious and went out in public.
Now we all know passing in public is a) part appearance (looking good), b) part body language (confidently carrying off the demeanor, mannerisms, and behavioral traits of a woman) and c) voice presentation.
You carry out all these things confidently for several hours. No mistakes, no silly errors to give you away, no dropping your guard while you are out. But, if you can do all this, and come through it all unscathed, how do you know you really did pass? How do you know that people who saw you were not simply being nice or discreetly ignoring you or avoiding coming too near you?
Well, rightly or wrongly, here are some examples of things which have actually happened while I’ve been out and which cause me, some might say, to have an inflated opinion of my convincibility… But, I’ve been there and had the experiences, so you can’t fault me on that side of things.
A few weeks back I was on holiday in Australia and had just been into the supermarket. Traveling down the ramp to the basement carpark with my shopping, I noticed the lady in front of me was having difficulty controlling her loaded trolley. I gave her some assistance near the end of the ramp, and smiled hoping to simply walk past. However, she thanked me profusely and we started chatting and chatting. Soon, I knew rather a lot about her and her life (she was Irish and had lived in Australia for over 40 years) and it was over 15 minutes before I could extricate myself. At times, she had patted me on the arm just like female friends do and her final farewell was: Hope to see you again here next time, Kathy…
Then there was the time I was sitting in Starbucks, minding my own business, nursing a cup of hot chocolate and picking at a chocolate muffin (not a good diet I know!). A middle-aged lady suddenly appeared in my line of vision and said, “Excuse me, but would you participate in a survey I’m doing for Starbucks?”
What could I say?
So, she sat down and started running through the survey questions. It was all over in less than 10 minutes but we seemed to strike a rapport and she sat with me for another 10, discussing girly things, travel and holidays and, amongst other things, how she’s like to visit Asia (where I live).
Another time, two young Swiss female tourists singled me out of a large crowd of other people to ask me directions somewhere—and, after I’d told them, stayed talking for nearly 20 minutes about the places they’d been and where they hoped to go in the next month.
I’ve saved two of the most interesting examples, in my opinion, for last: I’d checked in to a B&B while traveling (as Kathy) and had been told that breakfast was to be served the next morning at a set time. Upon going in to the dining room where breakfast was being cooked by a man in his late 60s, I realized there was only me and him in the room. He proceeded to cook me a rather delicious breakfast, chatting all the time like a long-lost friend, asking where I was from, where I had been, etc. As I finished eating I asked where to put the dirty dishes. “That’s all right, my love, leave them to me.” I could hardly believe my ears. He was using a generic, casual term of endearment for a genetic woman.
And, finally, I was in the airport about to fly en-femme, feeling quite nervous I must admit and sitting alone in a cafeteria-type restaurant. There were quite a few seats available when, suddenly, a family with two small children appeared at the main entrance. Now, I normally avoid children and animals wherever possible, but the next thing I heard was one of the little girls saying, “I want to sit at the table next to that lady.”
So, the whole family sits down on the next table. There are smiles from the children and the parents, who then start to make casual conversation. Now, children always make me nervous with their often astute perception of male and female but, happily, nothing untoward happened and we talked for 5-10 minutes before their flight was called. I breathed a silent sigh of relief… Another challenge met head on!
Well, you might ask, why do these fairly minor examples matter? For me they matter a lot as, I believe, never once in any of these encounters did any of the participants question my gender through their body language, expressions, mannerisms, or voice intonations.
I felt validated in each and every case.
Now, I’m sure readers have had other similar experiences when out in their En Femme outfits and will agree with me that such experiences are uplifting and a major confidence booster. If you haven’t had the chance to try yet, don’t worry, your time will come—just make sure you grasp the opportunity when it arises! And if after reading this, you believe this is not something for you, that's OK too. We are each on our own journey - this is but one aspect of my journey.
And, in the meantime, if you’d like to let us know about some of your own experiences meeting others, we’d love to hear about them!