Out and About with Michelle Hart – Column 25

Dude Looks Like A Lady

A few years ago I had gone to see my freind Paul preform at a comedy club. He’s been on HBO, so I won’t mention his last name to prevent any possible damage to his reputation. He’s exceptionally funny and a genuinely nice man. I’ve gone to several of his shows over the years with many of my girlfriends. He was working in Arligton that night with a very funny British guy, who imediately figured out my “history”, I never did ask him how, I was so freaked out by it at the time I actually couldn’t think. Later as my friend Michelle and I were out on the patio smoking another guy came up after some chiding from his friend and asked me point blank “are you a guy ?”… To which my answer was obviously NO, but still. I just looked him straight in the eye, smiled and asked him which part of me he felt made me look like a guy? Was it my breasts, my wide hips, my really long hair, my heels, my white linin skirt, etc.

He looked pretty stunned at this point so in my softest kitten like purr I simply told him “oh yes honey I’m all man… Can’t you tell?” and that quelled his interest in what might possibly be in my knickers completely. Of course at this point I over heard his friend tell him… “See I told you it was a chick!” and I was actually validated by that in a very weird way. Ladies even as attractive and feminine as I am, sometimes people will assume I might be a bloke, it’s utterly rificulous, but it happens.One of the most important lessons to learn when you go out though is exactly how to handle those critical looks from other people. It’s a definate skill that must be mastered if you ever wish to function outside of the closet. while it’s certainly difficult to master, it’s also not totally unatainable if you are willing to really work at it.

Backstage we’re having the time of our lives until somebody said forgive me if I seem out of line, then she whipped out her gun and tried to blow me away.

I’ve seen thousands of crossdressers and transexuals during my time in the open air. Some are flawless, others need a little work, some need a whole lot. Depending on which day of the week it is I usually qualify for all three. No mater how ANY of us look, at some point sooner or later sombody, somewhere is going to see you and make that snap judgement, that instant apraisal of your overall apearance. When they do, there may be just the slightest thing out of place that say’s “MALE” and there is very little chance of ever overcoming it. Girls, even if you could sound like Julie London, look like Vivien Leigh, and move like Ekaterina Krysanova it still wont ever be enough to avoid those random and possibly very cruel comment’s made about who you are. If you can’t handle being looked at for good or ill, then my imediate recomendation is to just get rid of all your bright red hooker shoes and those hot pink spandex dresses.

I’ve experienced it for years in the dozens of clubs I’ve worked in and, the hundreds I’ve gone into, during the years that I’ve been a woman. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been cat called, wistled at, followed to my car, propositioned, felt up, gawked at, leered at, and even been stopped by the police just becasue they thought I might just be soliciting. Ladies it is an absolute unwavering fact of life for a women.. Period… End of story. People look at us! Considering how may girls I know that are infinately more attractive than your humble digital scribe, it’s truly hard to imagine what they have gone through.

Men especialy like to look, it’s hard wired into their brain so deeply that it will never cease. Women will do it to, but for entirely different reasons. Men apraise you at the most base leval for mating puposes first, that’s right, no man will ever see you as brainy initially ladies. Digital cameras were not invented for women, and neither were porn sites… Duh! His very fist thought about you will be sexual. Can she bear my children and survive the trip will be his first thought about you, which is based entirely on your figure and how attractive you are to him at a deep subconcious leval. Sure he may tell you he just loves poetry but in the farthest reaches of his mind he’s wondering how difficult it will be to bend you over the hood of his car. If that bothers you and you find it apalling then ladies it’s time to put down that lipstick and throw away your satin and lace underwear.

Trust me ladies, I know what it’s like after you have just spent hours shaving everywhere, putting on your makeup and then slipping into your nicest little conservative number. You’ve primped and plucked and powdered everything. You then top it all off with your sexy new tube of creamy lipstick, taking one final look in the mirror at that gorgeous and sexy woman looking back. Finally satisfied, you jump into your car and off you go! As you drive off to that rendevous for the day, perhaps a trip to the grocery store, a walk through a distant mall or simply dinner with a friend, you feel confident and feminine. Those initial jangled nerves you had just getting into the car and out of your neighborhood are finally beginning to settle down. Then, as you wait at a some red light, that incidentally takes bloody forever to change, with your manicured hands on the wheel sitting in your most graceful pose, you hear that ominous sound of dread. A strange cackling and hooting is coming from the car next to you, or behind you, or across the intersection somewhere, the park, the back seat, who knows.

Yes, Ladies you’ve just been clocked, read, found out, discovered or whatever term you may fancy. At this point, most of us are more than just a little frustrated by the situation especially after previously putting so much effort into trying to look our very best. No woman likes to feel that she just wasted the last two or three hours of preparation time that day, not to mention the hours and hours of perfecting her feminine wiles over the previous years just to be laughed at by the first carload of juvinile cretins to drive by. So girls, how should you actually deal with being discovered? What should you do and what shouldn’t you do? Well get comfortable on the settee girls while I pour us some of that scrumptuous hot chocolate to find out….

One thing you definately should never, ever do is try to hide. Gracefully leave the area certainly, but don’t ever try to hide. That will only draw even more unwanted attention to you. Lying down on the car seat or jumping behind a bush may seem like the only possible thing to do, but it’s not something any real woman would ever actually do! The act of hiding will only confirm that your observers initial assessment about your gender, isn’t exactly what you are displaying. Moving away from them with dignity, is truly your best option, as for their derision, simply take it until you can graciously exit.

So never judge a book by it’s cover or who you’re going to love by your lover, love put me wise to her love in disguise she had the body of a venus lord imagine my surprise.

The words “Take It” really sum up what your attitude must, and really always should be. If a group of immature jerks were laughing and pointing at a woman, she might wonder what they were so excited about, but she wouldn’t do anything more than totally ignore them. Women are totaly secure in the knowledge that they are women, they don’t feel any need to prove it, and neither should you. There is nothing you can do to convince your tormentors that you are a “real woman” or that they should pick up a dictionary and learn the meaning of the word tolerance. If they have decided you are a “bloke in a frock”, all you can do is not react to them in any way, and hope to leave them wondering. Possibly with some lingering doubt they might be mistaken. Just appear as if you don’t even know they exist essentually.

Look straight ahead, play with the radio, twirl your hair or study your manicure, both of which are definately girly thing’s to do. Don’t ever get macho and be aggressive with them because all it will do is further reinforce their assumptions, and invite more trouble that you really don’t need. Don’t ever make any obscene gestures or tell them what you think of their manners or parentage. Any kind of engagement with them usually will just make the situation much worse unless you really have a rapier wit. Those type of responses could also make you an imediate candidate for some kind of plastic surgery… Ok I know it’s a really bad example, probably because a large percentage of my lovely readership actually want’s some kind of surgery. Even if they don’t really need any, it may be forthcomming though.

Of course, you could always adopt that belligerent attitude if you were packing a .357 in your purse, but just think about that fabulous dress honey, blood stains are really tough to get out. Besides, it just isn’t very ladylike to get into gunfights when you’re out on the town. To some, it may appear like I’m being sexist to insist that you act passively. Passive worked for Gandhi…. Eventually… Look girls just give it a try. Granted, there are a lot of women who would not take the kind of harassment we might be subjected to, but they are not going to be there to help you out. A violent response will not help you or change your tormentor’s attitude.
Ladies, it’s much more embarrassing to be in the emergency room with a ripped dress, torn stockings and a fat lip than it is to take a little abuse while remaining dignified and demure.

Seriously consider just exactly what it means to be found out? Not all discoveries are as vicious as the previous examples I’ve used. Sometimes you might be in a public place and you may notice or overhear someone do the whole, “It’s a man” dance. What should you really do about it? Esentually nothing, you’re unlikely to be facing any real physical danger so what’s the big deal? You’ve just sucessfully entertained some bored housewife or a stale accountant whose idea of excitement is a new calculator. Woo Hoo!

Trust me ladies, just ignore them. Go on about your business and continue to act like any other woman would. You won’t ever stop being a novelty to some people, and if you just continue to do what you’re doing they will lose interest rather quickly. If they absolutely will not stop the staring then try staring back with a giant thousand watt smile! Most likely they will turn away imediately and desperately try to ignore you at that point.

If someone actually does figure out your secret, really the nicest way is when you overhear someone whisper, “That’s a man?”. Just the question or doubt in their voice should let you know that all though they may suspect you’re not exactly what you appear to be, your beauty and graceful poise will have left some rather large doubts in their mind. Of course, any time it happens, even the nice ones, can be a total pain and bruise your self image. So what! Are you going to drive home, rip off your wig, wash off your makeup and vow never to indulge in this humiliating behavior again… Not likely. That impulse, the stupid urge to hide again, will get you absolutely nowhere. Trust me girls, it’s not really the end of the world.

Everytime you might detect that someone could have discovered you, there are a dozens who are not even aware of it at all. There are also hundreds of people who may see you when you are in public that have absolutely no idea that you are anything other than exactly what you appear to be too. So ladies don’t ever let being critiqued or found out discourage you. No woman is believable all the time, not even me. As long as you only play dressup a few times a month, or the rare times you are out of town, there will always be something masculine about you that, from the right angle, in the right place, to the wrong person, will give you away. The only way to overcome that is a lot of surgery and transition, sometimes even THAT won’t help some of the people I’ve met. Just remember nobody is always flawless.

What’s really the most important thing my lovely reader, simply, just your attitude about being discovered or critiqued. YOU have just as much right to be right where you are, dressed however you choose, as anyone else in that place. Granted, I would strongly urge you to leave those 7 inch platforms at home when you go to Walmart, but it’s totally your decision honey.

Ninety percent of the time, if you just look and act relaxed, as if you truly belong there, you will be believable. Don’t worry about that other ten percent very much.

Besides, I need that 10% of extra room for my huge collection of hooker shoes!

With love,

Michelle Hart

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