I dressed pretty and went for a hair cut again. This time was different in a few ways. I received some cold reactions from some people, a mysterious comment from a man that was either a compliment or an insult, and some direct, friendly engagement from complete strangers.
I dressed in an orange maxi skirt; a zebra print, stretchy, knit top; nude pantyhose; and flats, and went out for a haircut and lunch. As usual, I was a man in a skirt. First, I went to a sandwich shop I have frequented in a skirt. The time of day was shortly before noon. I normally avoid the lunch crowd by going out on skirted outings earlier than this. As I drove into the parking lot of the restaurant, I tried to see into the restaurant. I thought I saw a few men inside. I normally feel less comfortable being dressed pretty around men. I was not sure if I wanted to go in.
I parked deep in the parking lot. I walked up to the entrance. I would not be able to see inside the dining area until I got to the door. When I arrived at the door, I found two men eating lunch outside. I immediately decided to go into the restaurant no matter what. I walked in to find three men eating at different tables. The only women in the restaurant were the workers.
I went up to the counter to place my order. I noticed one of the men look over at me for a few seconds. He was possibly 55 years old. Let’s call him “the looker”. I placed my order like usual. Two female workers talked to me. One of the women is slightly older than me and she has spoken to me on most of my visits to this restaurant. I paid my bill, filled my drink, and found a seat near the door. It is humorous now that I think back about it. All four men in the restaurant were evenly distributed. Just like how men space themselves in the men’s room.
At one point during lunch, I made eye contact with “the looker”. We both greeted each other as is common where I live. Other customers came and left with their to-go orders. Once, a man who works in the restaurant came near where I was sitting. He noticed me and greeted me like normal. “The looker” finished his meal. He walked past me to the trash cans. On his way by, we made eye contact again. Again we greeted as is common. But this time he smiled — or perhaps I should say he smirked. He said , “I like your dress.” I could not tell if he was complimenting me or making fun of me. His unusual smile, and the very nature of being complimented by a man made it feel ambiguous.
“The looker” left the trash cans, walked over to the drink machine, back to his seat, and back to the drink machines for a straw. All this time, he avoided looking at me. I could not tell if he was feeling awkward for complimenting me or awkward for mocking me. I honestly could not figure out how to receive his words. Eventually, he walked past me to the door. We made eye contact one last time and told each other “good-bye” and “have a nice day”.
I eventually finished my meal, filled my cup, and left the restaurant.
I walked into the hair salon I have recently started going to. I believe the workers in this establishment are particularly conservative, morally. I walked up to the counter. One employee was putting a permanent curl into a customer’s hair. Both she and her customer could easily see all of me. The employee looked at me with no expression. The customer appeared to be shocked and possibly disapproving.
The woman who has previously cut my hair was not visible. Only one other employee was in the room. Let’s call her “smiley”. I asked if my regular person was available. “Smiley” invited me to her seat. She greeted me and introduced herself when I was close enough to shake hands. “Smiley” is the woman who had said, “Please come back,” when I first visited this salon. She is a happy person who laughs and smiles a lot. We had a pleasant time talking and laughing during the hair cut.
At one point, the woman who normally cuts my hair appeared. She was in the back working with another customer. She greeted me nicely. The customer also gave me a look, but it did not seem to be as disapproving as the first one. She did not speak to me.
At one point, I asked my hair cutter if my outfit was too wild. I am not normally a person who wears “prints”. I primarily wear solid colors. When I wear women’s wear, I often look very plain. This zebra print top is a very bold change for me. I felt like “smiley” was made a little uncomfortable with my question. I think she was being nice to me, but still disapproved of how I was dressed. I may have put her into a situation where she had to either compliment me or say she did not like it. I clarified my question when she hesitated. “Is this shirt too wild?” She told me she thought it was not too wild.
After my hair cut, I was taken to the back to wash my hair. Then I finished up. I said good-bye to “smiley”, then to both the woman who cut my hair last time and the customer she was working with. The customer responded appropriately.
My intent was to go to my friend’s consignment store next. However, I did not want to stop being out in public yet. I drove to a grocery store. I decided to get some milk and some candy. I am nervous about going to the store because it is a big room and I never know if an acquaintance is nearby. The parking lot was not very full. It gave me confidence.
I walked into the store and no one was near. I walked through the store. A few people saw me. However, no one stared or spoke. It is SO refreshing to go to the grocery store crossdressed!
I made my selections and walked the checkout lines. I stopped and debated over which candy bar to buy. The cashier said playfully, “It’s a hard choice.” We talked while she checked me out. She was friendly. She did not seem uncomfortable. I would describe her as possibly being unsure how to behave, but willing to be nice.
I think I love going to grocery stores in skirts!
I finally went to my friend’s consignment store. I shopped around and selected a few items. There was a gray haired woman shopping. She had a lot of personality and one lock of purple hair. While I was shopping a few feet away from her, she started talking to the employees. She was debating buying one dress. They said that it was a short dress. They said she could either wear it with leggings as a top, or as a dress if she was bold. The woman said, “I am bold.”
She tried on the dress. She came out wearing it with her pants and they discussed it. She decided to buy the dress. She walked by me after purchasing it and said, “If you wanted this top, you can’t have it.” I assured her it was OK if she bought it and told her to enjoy it. It made me happy that she spoke to me, a man in a skirt, when she did not have any reason to. She exited the store.
Another female customer entered the store. We spoke our hellos. I picked out a couple unlikely items to try on. I tried on a black dress. It was too big and was too “grandmotherly”. The woman expressed some interest in a dress I was wearing. I returned to the dressing room and took it off. I told the woman the size of the dress and she declined it. My friend suggested a better dress for me to try on. It was orange with white stripes. I thought it was rather bold for me. I tried it on.
A third customer came in. I came out of the dressing room. The third customer and my friend complimented the orange dress I had on. I asked the employee if it was too bunched under the belt. The customer immediately responded. Then, the customer came over to me and started adjusting how the dress was bunched under the belt. Now people… Can I stop and ask just what planet am I on where women ask to try on a dress I am currently wearing and other complete strangers come up to me to help adjust my ladies’ clothes?!? Also, what planet am I on that I took all of this in stride as though it was normal?!?
I have this no-floral-patterns rule that I tend to obey. I am not interested in being dainty or girly. I just like wearing women’s clothes and staying masculine. The top of this orange and white dress has what I perceived to be floral silhouettes across the upper chest and shoulders. So, in spite of all of their compliments, I did not buy the orange and white dress.
…However, I am still thinking about it…
It was time for another hair cut. I did not want to wear a skirt. I wanted to wear a dress! I do not get to wear dresses very often. I am taller than most women (and most men). Most dresses’ waistlines do not fall near my waist. I do not wear a bra or have breasts. Therefore, I avoid dresses that have a dart in them and extra fabric up top. I am a V-shaped man (though I am approaching U-shape) and most dresses are not V-shaped. Dresses that fit me in the shoulders and also fit me in the hips are particularly hard to find. Also, I do not wear dainty/girly patterns and styles. Ladies’ business styles normally work well for me. Dresses that I can/will wear are hard for me to find. I only own three dresses that I have ever worn out.
For this outing, I chose my dress that has a brush stroke pattern of black, and gray. Under it, I wore a black shirt. I also wore off-black pantyhose, and black flats.
It is the time of year when I stop shaving my legs. I thought my leg whiskers would not be very obvious yet. I wore the darker hose to help hide them. When I got dressed, I thought, “Oh, no! My hairs are kind of easy to see!” I did not stop because of this. I just hoped that they were not noticeable from over six feet (2 meters) away.
First I went back to a sandwich shop I have eaten lunch at a couple of times. It was a non-event. There was a family at one table eating. They finished and left while I was placing my order. A woman who has served me in the past took my order. I paid for my meal, sat down, and ate my food. I chose a seat in the corner. I was able to watch the many customers who started pouring into the restaurant around noon. They all took their food to go. None of them paid me any attention. Eventually, a couple ladies sat at the booth next to mine. One made eye contact with me a couple times. I could not tell if she had noticed my outfit or not. When I got up to leave I noticed that she looked down at my legs. I did not watch her or her companion to see any further reaction. When I exited the restaurant a moment later, I turned my side to the door. I glanced at the ladies. They were talking and paying me no attention. Win!
I returned to the hair salon that I went to last month (same link as above). This was my second visit to this salon. Once again, I was the only man in the room. I was not the only person in a skirt/dress. An elderly woman was also wearing a skirt. Otherwise, it was a pants-only establishment. From the waiting area, I waved at the hairdresser who gave me my haircut last time. I had an appointment with her for this visit as well. I took a seat in the empty waiting room and waited. The front desk woman was elderly. She gave me a strange look. After a moment, she asked me if she could help me. I told her who I was waiting for.
Eventually, my hairdresser came for me. I had gotten the impression that this salon was a rather conservative place. The magazines in the waiting room had holes cut in the covers where women’s bodies were exposed. I had visited their web presence. I had clicked through to the pages of several hair dressers. Several had information indicating that they were ladies of religious faith. When I decided to go for my first visit, I wondered if they were going to ask me not to return unless I was dressed in menswear. My clothes were never mentioned. They accepted me as a customer. My hairdresser was very social with me. She seemed slightly more casual than last time. A couple other hairdressers spoke to me as I walked to my chair. The owner of the salon remembered my name. This is interesting to me!
My hairdresser completed my haircut. She washed my hair. I paid her. We even stood and talked for a couple minutes before I left. I am a regular in a conservative women’s hair salon!
My last stop was to the consignment store where I find nice clothes and get good advice. I call the owner my “big sister” for fashion advice. I arrived and the owner greeted me. I asked her to give me something to try on that will grow me. I am too conservative in my color and style choices. I think I am doing better, but my fashion tendency is more toward librarian and grand mother than toward the middle-aged extrovert that I am.
The owner selected a black and white zebra print top. It was made of a very soft, stretchy knit fabric. It is a lovely fabric! Another customer came in. I continued browsing the racks while the owner dealt with her. The customer looked at me but did not speak to me. I assumed I made her uncomfortable. I selected a few other items to try on. I went into the dressing room. I could hear the customer talking to the owner while I getting dressed. I was not discussed, of course.
I put on a red skirt with the black and white top. I stepped out of the dressing room. The customer looked over at me. The owner said it was the best thing she had ever seen me wear. I looked over at the customer. She said, “It is a very good outfit.” I found myself between two women who were giving me positive feedback on how I looked a rather bold colored, skirt and blouse. These are weird days, my friends!
I tried on another skirt with the zebra print top. Another customer arrived in the store while I was changing. The owner started helping the new customer. I came back out of the dressing room. The first customer talked with me about this skirt with the top versus the other skirt. An additional woman arrived. She appeared have been either the owner’s friend or perhaps an employee.
I tried on another skirt. I came out and asked for the owners opinion. This time, three women gave me insights on the outfit. Their opinions were all different on the last one. I decided to buy two skirts (the red one and a black one) and the zebra top.
While I was changing into my men’s wear in the dressing room, I realized that my camera was in my bag. I forgot to get a picture of me in my gray and black dress. I did not dress back up just for a picture. Perhaps I will produce one later…
I went on another grocery shopping outing to the same store I went to on a previous grocery shopping outing. I wore a red a-line skirt, black and white horizontally striped sweater top, a long, black cardigan, off-black pantyhose, and flats.
When I walked into the store, I had to walk past the cash registers. There were no customers. There were, however, five female employees gathered near one of the registers. Most of the ladies looked toward me when I walked into the store. One young woman smiled politely (while glancing down at my lower half) and welcomed me to the store. The others did not speak.
On one of the first aisles I went down in the store, I came upon an employee. She turned and saw me when I was about ten feet away. She spoke kindly to me.
I started this outing later than I wanted to. Elementary schools had released their students. There were some children in the store. I tried to make sure I was never seen by any children. Being concerned about being seen by the children caused me to feel more stress than the last time I had an outing in this store. After I had shopped on a couple aisles without seeing any children, I stopped being concerned about them.
I did my shopping. I visited every aisle. Unfortunately, I did not have a fellow shopper who crossed paths with me frequently.
It might be because I was not watching people as much as last time, but I saw even fewer reactions from other customers. However, one older, burly looking man appeared to change his mind about entering an aisle I was shopping on. Shortly after I left it, I noticed that he was on the aisle. I wondered if he was avoiding me. Perhaps I am misinterpreting the situation.
After completing my shopping, I arrived at the cash registers. My cashier and “bag boy” were both significantly older than me. The cashier moved a shopping cart in behind me while I was in line. She spoke to me and said, “Don’t let me bump you.” She explained that after she finished with me, she was going home for the day. I asked her how long she had been there when she started to check out my groceries. We had a short, polite conversation. When I exited the checkout lane, the man who bagged my groceries thanked me for coming.
I went to a second grocery store to find a couple things that I did not find in this store. Soon after I entered this store, I passed a female employee who was on the floor stocking shelves. She turned her head and looked at my face. She smiled and said, “Hello,” and returned to her work. I think she did not notice my outfit.
When I was waiting in the checkout line, a woman in a dress got in line behind me. Suddenly, I was not the only person in the store in a skirt and pantyhose! We stood there waiting. At one point, she made eye contact with me. She smiled a friendly smile and greeted me. I asked her if she was dressed for an occasion or if she dressed like that for work. She had attended a funeral. I asked her about her deceased family member. We talked until the cashier had finished with my order. We said good-bye to each other and I left.
After that, I visited a clothing store that I shopped in during my previous outing. I saw the employee from my previous visit. We spoke briefly. I asked her to take my picture. Shortly after that, I had to go home to put up my groceries.
I had some time, so I put on a skirt and went on a short outing. I wore an outfit that I had in my car from a recent outing: denim above-the-knee skirt, orange top, black cardigan, and flats.
I went to a corner convenience store/pharmacy. The time is approaching for me to stop shaving my legs for the summer. I was shopping for a product to lighten the color of my leg hair. I browsed a couple aisles but did not find anything. There was a man working on one aisle that might have contained what I needed. I hesitated and then entered the aisle.
The male employee did not immediately look at me when I started approaching his area of the aisle. When he did look at me, he looked at my face and nowhere else. He did not give me the standard up-down-up look that I commonly receive. I told him what I wanted. He took me to another aisle and showed me one option.
I asked about an alternative product that I had heard of but I could not remember the name. He called over a female employee. He left me. When she walked up, she also did not give me a look down. She maintained eye contact. Perhaps she saw me when I walked in. In any case, she also treated me like I was the 1000th man in a skirt to enter the store that day.
I explained to the woman what product the man had shown me and asked about an alternative product. She assumed that I wanted to bleach the hair on my head. I told her that I do not shave my leg hair in summer and that I want this product to lighten the hair color to make it less obvious. At that point, she leaned back and looked down at my legs. I was wearing dark pantyhose. I assume she was looking to see my leg hair. The female employee showed me one alternative product.
I made a decision and walked up to the cash register. I had to wait in line. I never noticed anyone else look at me. Only a delivery man may have had an opportunity.
My next stop was a consignment shop that I had never been to before. I parked right in front and walked in the glass door. Perhaps the girl at the counter watched me walk to the door. I assume she saw me approach because she also only looked into my face when she greeted me.
I shopped in the consignment store for a few minutes. The girl did not attend to me, but she would respond if I asked her a question. She was very engaging when she spoke. Again it was as though she gets skirted male customers all the time.
I needed a haircut. I put on an orange top, a black cardigan, a denim skirt, off-black pantyhose, and my black flat shoes. I went to a new barber shop/salon. I got out of my car and walked in. An elderly woman was seated behind a tall counter. This very polite woman welcomed me. She could not see my outfit. However, the other employees could see me. I received the biggest reaction I have gotten for some time from my crossdressing. I received some stares that communicated slight alarm from them. I sat in waiting room and talked politely with a nice older woman who was also waiting.
Here is a picture from a previous outing of the same outfit:
After a few minutes, a female employee entered the waiting area and invited me back. The salon was busy. All of the other people were. There were five or six hairdressers. Each hairdresser had a customer. There were a few additional customers under hair dryers. In a room with fifteen women, most of whom were older than me, I, the only man, may have been the only person wearing a skirt. (I am unsure about the nice lady at the front counter.
The woman who called me back seated me and began to cut my hair. We talked most of the time. She was very business=like at the start, but she seemed to relax as we talked. When she finished cutting, I asked if she could wash my hair so I would not have to itch all day. She washed my hair. While she was finishing washing my hair, the owner of the salon entered the room to do something. I spoke to her. She was the one who gave me the most alarmed looking stare when I first arrived. She talked politely to me and shook my hand. I went back to the barber’s chair and combed my hair.
I stood up and paid my hairdresser. As I was preparing to leave, another employee walked by and told me to come back. She was the only person to tell me that. I do not know whether I will come back or not. I think it depends on how much I like my haircut.
I left the salon and made another stop at a store. It was uneventful.
Next, I went on to the sandwich restaurant I ate at on a recent outing. I was the only customer. I ordered my food and paid. While I was paying, another man entered and got in line. I filled my drink and sat in a booth. The man sat on the other side of the room and never looked my way.
When I got up to leave, I looked over at the man. He glanced up at me. We nodded, “Hello” to one another. The employees welcomed me back next time as I left.
In a previous post, I described a Day Off Outing that I went on. During this outing, I did some shopping for my wife and I. Later, I discovered that I would have to take a few items back for a different size. So, I planned a return trip. I set off after lunch and changed into a black knee-length skirt, off black pantyhose, black flats, and a red top. I also brought a purple sleeveless top to wear, but I forgot to bring a white, button-up shirt to wear unbuttoned over the purple top. Like usual, I was presenting male — no bra, no makeup. Just a man in a dress. If I had done only the things I had intended to do, then I would not have gone over my planned schedule. But, I did…
My first unplanned stop was a shoe store. I and an older woman were the only customers. She and I shopped on the same row. Other than saying hello to me before I left, we had no interaction. The sales people spoke to me as the walked down my aisle, but did not take any interest in me. At one point, I saw two young men, with piercings and flat-billed hats walk along in front of the store. I thought, “I hope they do not come in here.” I presumed that I would have felt awkward around the two young, “grunge” styled men.
Near the shoe store was a sort of hobby store. I walked in and discovered that the two “grunge” guys were in the store talking to the main employee, a man. There was one other male employee sitting at a table. I looked at the two grungy guys and they looked at me. I discovered that one appeared to be either a trans-man or a woman trying to be androgynous. I heard this person speak in a female voice, but all other indicators suggested that the desired presentation was male. I relaxed about those two! They exited shortly after I arrived. While I was browsing, the main employee came to help me. He was in his 30s. He had a few uncommon piercings. The other man working in the store was sitting at a table. He had a lot of tattoos. Both men treated me with respect. Eventually, we talked about hobby projects that we are working on for about ten minutes. This was also an unscheduled stop.
Ladies’ Wear Store
For my next unscheduled stop, I walked to a ladies’ wear store in the shopping center. I was looking for a cardigan. Due to the time of year, they did not have any cardigans. I left.
Fast Food Restaurant
It was time for me to eat some lunch. Since I was behind schedule, I went to a hamburger restaurant. I walked across the front of the store to the door. Two young men, possibly teenagers, were on either side of a car talking. One was facing my way. I looked over at them and saw that both were looking at me. I waved hello and they returned to talking. In the restaurant, there was one customer. His back was to me the whole time he was there. The employees never looked my way until the counter blocked my skirt. I think they never saw me either. I ate my lunch in peace. That was my first scheduled event.
Going to the grocery store was a planned activity. Years ago, I went to the grocery store in shorts and nude pantyhose and I did our family’s grocery shopping. I was so nervous. I kept the shopping cart between me and most people. As I recall, no one showed any sign of noticing what I was wearing. It was a major event. I loved that experience. While anticipating this far-from-home outing, I decided to do our family grocery shopping in a skirt. I have been in grocery stores in skirts before, but it was only for a couple things early in the day. This trip would be during the day. This trip would be long. I assumed I would keep running into the same people as I traveled the aisles, like normal.
I scheduled my day so that I would go to the grocery store while school was in session. The store was rather empty when I started. It did not stay that way. I had a long list of things to buy. I walked down every aisle. Other than the initial look that people give me to see what is before them, roughly everyone treated me like I was dressed normally. This store is in a small, conservative town. Regardless, they treated me like larger towns in which I have crossdressed.
As I said, I walked down every aisle. Normally, I felt comfortable and welcome. There were a few occasions where either people reacted differently to me than described previously, or where I felt like hurrying away. One time, a man and his teenage son walked down the aisle toward me. The man seemed like a serious or stern man. The boy was rather stoic. Perhaps he was somewhat “stiff” from trying not to react to me. After they passed me and started turning up the next aisle, I looked their way. The man was now looking at his son with an amused look on his face.
Another few times, there were children that I wanted to avoid. The only significant one was when a man with two girls were on the aisle with me. The girls were between nine and twelve years old. I kept the cart between us and they did not see my outfit. Later they were on my aisle again and I could not avoid being seen. I left the aisle promptly. I heard them giggling. I assume they were probably giggling about me. While I was on the next aisle, they peeked around the corner to get another look at me. I saw them and I turned my head toward them. We kind of looked at each other for a second. I gave them a slight smile and a short wave. They stopped staring and “became distracted” by something nearby. Perhaps they took more looks at me, but I did not bother to find out.
That is about all that happened. There was one customer whom I saw on most aisles. She is in the picture below. When she first saw me, she gave my outfit no reaction. She never acted like she minded being around me. We never spoke. I feel like this outing might sound boring. But it was not. I loved it! I want to do all of our grocery shopping in a skirt now! Some customers only nodded a “Howdy,” others smiled and said hello more like normal (I live in a friendly part of the world). I loved this part of this outing because I was a normal guy in a normal place doing a normal thing while wearing a skirt. That was rewarding.
There was one non-normal thing I did… I brought in my camera and took a couple pictures of me in the store. I did this because a couple people have asked me to post a picture. It really feels odd using a camera in auto mode to sneak a picture of myself. When I walked away from my cart for the first picture, I realized that I did not turn off the flash. “Oh, no!”, I though. “Anyone nearby is going to know I am taking pictures of myself!” Fortunately, the flash did not go off.
Small Clothing Store
I was still looking for a cardigan when I went to a small clothing store. Again, this was not scheduled. They did not have cardigans. I walked around the store looking. I came upon a family. There were two little children that I did not anticipate. They were probably two and three years old. I was at a rack and both kids came around the rack on either side of me. The older child, a girl, stopped and looked at me. She said to the roughly fifty year old woman who was with her, “He is wearing a dress. Why is he wearing a dress?” She said it in a hesitant way as though she did not know if it was inappropriate to say out loud. The woman said, “I guess because that is what he likes to wear. Don’t you like to wear dresses?” A few minutes later, the woman spoke to me about the kids, but not about the girl’s comment.
I went to a nearby department store. Again, unscheduled and again looking for a cardigan. At this point, I am not going to get home when I wanted to. In the ladies’ section, a sales girl tried to help me. She was in her early twenties. This young woman was very nice to me in spite of my clothes. While talking to her, I spoke negatively about my extra weight and later about my shoulders, etc.. Each time, the sales girl had something bad to say about her weight or shoulders, etc. In my opinion, she looked like a pretty woman. She smiled a lot, which is the best makeup. If she is so wrong about the negatives she expressed, then maybe I am wrong about my negatives too…
I asked the sales girl if she would take my picture. I mentioned that I wanted the picture for my blog. She asked for the name of my blog. That was a bit of a moment for me. I do not give out my blog name in person. I try to keep my blog more anonymous than that… I gave her my blog name. I assume she forgot it by the end of her shift. What I know for sure is that by this point, I was late, and I still did not have a cardigan.
Department Store 2
I said to myself that My next stop needed to be the store where I needed to return some items. However, on the way, I stopped at another department store. I shopped around and found a few cardigans to choose from. I asked another customer for color advice at one point. She politely helped me, but I think she was a bit surprised to be helping a man in a skirt. Her surprise did not limit her help. I selected a cardigan. I worry that it is too feminine for my style. I got in line to check out. There was an older man talking to an older couple. They must have been friends or neighbors. I was standing in plain view not too far from them. At some point, the man, who was talking, looked my way. He totally lost his train of thought. He paused for a couple seconds trying to remember what he was saying. His friend spoke up changing the subject and saved him from the moment. That is a decent friend!
Finally, I made my way to the outlet mall. I changed into my purple sleeveless top and the new white cardigan. I returned my items to the store at the outlet mall. The same employees were there that served me when I went the first time. I was feeling good in my black skirt, purple top, and white cardigan. I thought the outfit was pretty. The sales girl said it looked good. I left the store and took a lap around the group of stores I was in and returned to my car.
When I got home I was over an hour later than I intended to be. My wife was annoyed at me for being late. Getting home on time from outings is a problem for me. I have too many “just one more” moments.
I took a day off from work. I arranged with my wife for me to take a road trip to an outlet mall for a crossdressing outing for the first part of the day. This stuff makes her uncomfortable, but she is still good enough to let me have this liberty.
I had to decide which outlet mall to go to. I have gone to one outlet mall several times. The one I have been to is near a city. The people there are rather liberally minded. I decided to try a different outlet mall. This one is in a rural area. I assume that this town’s inhabitants are as conservative as one would find anywhere in my country.
I dressed in a red a-line skirt, a teal top, off black pantyhose, black flats, long black cardigan. As always, I was presenting male. I was just a man in a skirt. During the day, I asked a clerk for her opinion about my outfit. She recommended that I should not have worn the teal top. Apparently, it would have looked better to have worn something neutral with the red skirt. I am new to dressing in much color. I geeked out on color, or so it appears…
Restaurant With Store
On my way to the outlet mall, I stopped at a restaurant that has a store connected to it. I had already eaten breakfast at home. I was stalling. I needed something to do for ten minutes to make time for the outlet stores to open.
I browsed around in the restaurant’s store. A young, possibly 22 year old, female employee came over to see if I needed any help. She was polite and welcoming. She told me where the sales were and complimented the [feminine] items she liked. She left me to my shopping. I had only entered the store to buy some soft peppermint sticks. Eventually, I went to the cash register. There were two women at the cash register, a waitress and a cashier. I found the peppermints I wanted on the front counter. The two women talked with me while I paid my bill. One even pulled out a coin so that I did not need to break a larger bill.
At the beginning of an outing, I am normally rather self-conscious. However, at opening time on a weekday in this outlet mall, there were almost no people to be self-conscious around. I was so early that not all of the stores were open. As I was walking along the walkway beside store entrances, I heard a security guard and two store employees talking outside of a store entrance. They were farther on ahead of me and across a grassy area. I walked along looking into shop windows. Suddenly, the three women became quiet. When it happened, I was looking in a store window. I looked around and saw them all looking at me. I smiled and waved. They waved back and said good morning.
I went to a couple of clothing stores. Nothing very interesting happened. The few customers I encountered paid me no attention. I believe that many of them never saw my outfit. The store clerks treated me like a normal customer. One clerk asked for clarity when I mentioned my wife. I informed her my “wife” was a normal definition of a wife.
My only planned stop was at a hosiery, etc. store. I needed to stock up. I was shopping for men’s socks, something my wife asked me to pick up, and pantyhose. I was the only customer in the store. One of the clerks was unusually knowledgeable about the products. She was also accustomed to male customers.
Lunch at a Mexican Restaurant
I went to a nearby Mexican Restaurant. As I entered, I found myself in the presence of about ten people. A female Hispanic employee and I almost ran into each other. She seemed to suppress a laugh. There were a couple customers waiting to be seated. One, a woman, was facing me and looked up and down at me. The male employees were completely casual and seated me and served me like normal.
There were three Hispanic men at the table next to where I was seated. They turned to see me approach, but they did not stare or even acknowledge me. They simply ate their food. While I was walking to the cash register to pay, I saw the woman who had looked at me as I entered the restaurant. She was seated in an aisle seat in a booth. She leaned out to see my outfit again. We made eye contact and smiled politely at one another. I paid my bill and left.
I changed into a black sweater pencil skirt and a red top and a faux leather jacket with my off-black pantyhose and flats.
I went to a coffee shop to purchase some gift cards. When I walked in, I looked around to find where I should go. The woman behind the counter warmly invited me to the cash register. I made my purchase, thanked her, and left. No one seemed to pay me any attention. I was starting to feel like I was not an oddity!
From there, I went to a hardware store in the nearby town. This is a small, country town. I was a little unnerved. I figured I might have to hold my head up high around a bunch of hard-working, bearded, country boys. They might not respect my fashion choices.
As I walked into the store, the cashier gave me a look that expressed a little surprise. Regardless, she welcomed me professionally. I browsed around the store for what I needed. There were no burly men to intimidate me. In fact, the store was mostly empty. At one point, I passed a group of 50-60 year old employees (“good ole boys”) sitting and talking. I found the general area that I needed to be in. I hunted around for a few moments. A female employee roughly 55 years old approached me offering help. She helped me until I had found everything I needed. She was very nice and social. She even chatted with me for a little while after I was done shopping. We walked together toward the cash register. She left me in order to go work when we passed the employees who were sitting and talking.
At the cash register, there was a pretty woman in dressy clothes talking to the cashier. She stopped talking so that I could pay. She backed away, but paid a lot of attention to me. The cashier was completely normal with me. Later, I happened to look across the store to where the employees were sitting and talking. The pretty woman was standing near there and had her phone out. I wondered if she had taken my picture. The group of employees were all slightly animated like they were amused. I did not love it, but I was not really all that affected.
Walking Around Downtown
I drove into the downtown area. Most of the shops were antique stores. I saw a fancy dress shop. I wanted to go in. I parked my car. I walked down the block to the store and found it locked with the door stating it was “open”. I was in clear view of a man sitting on a bench across the street. I walked back down the block. I passed my car. I visited an antiques consignment store farther down the block. I looked around the store and then left.
I returned to walking down the street. I reached the street corner. A woman had just crossed the street and was standing there. Another man was sitting on another bench. This time the bench was on my side of the street. I assumed that these men were unemployed. I crossed the street. I saw in a store window reflection that the man and woman were talking. Of course, my worried mind assumed they were talking about me.
I went to another antique store. The employee was very engaging and friendly. I looked around and left. I noticed more men on this side of the street just sitting on benches. I decided it was time to get back in my car. I prepared to cross the street opposite my car. I noticed someone had opened the fuel opening on my car. The car that was coming my way stopped. I crossed. I opened the door to my car. The vehicle that had stopped for me was driving past me. I looked and saw that the driver had her phone up and pointed at me. She had just taken my picture. Not cool!
I left there and went to a grocery store to pick up a couple items. Nothing interesting happened.
Office Supply Store
I started heading toward home. I stopped at an office supply store to get some tape. The cashier told me that I had to buy two to get the special price. She was very social and friendly. I told her that I was having a lot of trouble with static cling. She recommended spraying hair spray near your outfit. She said it wears off and you can do it again. She said it works as well as those anti-static sprays in the store, but it is cheaper. She rang me up for two packages of tape. I went to the back and got a second package. No customers seemed to acknowledge me or my outfit. I think the black skirt did not draw much attention to itself as being unusual.
I went to a nearby clothing store. I shopped around a little. I asked a staff member if they had khaki skirts. She said no. She talked to me briefly about what they had and what she likes in khaki skirts. I shopped around some more. I passed a 70 year old woman. She was also wearing a skirt and pantyhose. Later we passed again. We spoke. I told her that normally, I am the only person in a skirt and pantyhose. She laughed in a friendly way. I said, “I am going to think of you as my buddy.” She replied, “OK, I’ll be your buddy. I would be glad to be buddies.” I started walking away, but she started talking to me again. I came back and she talked to me for a couple minutes about how she has trouble finding skirts in her preferred style.
There was a man walking around. He was walking between the ladies’ wear section and another section. I considered changing my path to avoid him. I decided, “No. I will not let fear control me.” I proceeded toward him. His phone was distracting him and he did not look at me.
I had decided that I was done shopping in the store. As I was walking toward the exit, the employee from earlier called to me, “Does it have to be khaki?” I turned around. She had found something for me. She took me to a rack where there were khaki colored knit skirts. Khaki fabric is woven and does not stretch. These skirts were smooth feeling and would fit like some similar pretty skirts I have seen ladies wear.
Ladies’ Dressing Room
I asked, “Can I use the dressing room.” The employee, assured me that yes I can, and motioned toward the nearby dressing room in the ladies’ section. I have been to another store like this and have only tried to use the men’s dressing room. I kept my eyes forward as I walked down to an open dressing stall so that no one would see my tall head looking in any way toward the door of an occupied stall.
I tried on the skirt. It fit snugly. I liked the fabric. I did not care for the style. it had buttons on it for accents and a slit in the front. I exited the dressing area. While I was looking at myself in the three-way mirror, the clerk approached me. She gave me the advice, “It is not the right size. I can see your (short pause to collect the right words) lines from your undergarments.” She resisted saying “panty lines”.
The sales lady also gave me the candid advice, “Don’t wear that black skirt. I don’t like the white part on it. It looks ‘old lady’.” I had some doubts about the skirt. I am going to take her advice.
Just as I started walking back toward the dressing rooms to change out of the skirt, a woman who had seen me and who was shopping nearby said to her companion, “Let’s go to the dressing room and try it on.” I did not really think about it as I walked on into the dressing rooms myself. I went back to my stall (still looking straight ahead in the main area of the dressing rooms). While I was changing skirts, a woman came into the dressing area and walked past my stall. She was not the customer. She was an employee. She was the manager. She passed my stall. On her way back she spoke to me. She, in a polite tone, stated that she might have to ask me to use the men’s dressing room next time because of the lady customers. I told her OK and that I understood.
When I exited the dressing room, I thanked the employee who had helped me. At the rack where the khaki skirt belonged, I found the customer who spoke of going to the dressing room. She did not interact with me. She seemed comfortable. However, I wonder if she complained to management about me being in the dressing room. I did not hear anyone besides myself come into the dressing rooms
As I walked toward the exit, I came upon the older lady in the skirt. I said, “Good-bye buddy!” She responded playfully. As I passed the cashiers, three employees all said their good=byes and come again greetings. One of the three ladies was the manager who had spoken to me in the dressing rooms. She thanked me for coming and invited me to “come again anytime.” That was well played. She politely marked the boundary with me about the dressing room, yet she invited me back and added the word “anytime”. She is good.
After that, I changed and went home. By the time I got home, school was out. I played catch in the yard with me three kids. That evening, I told my wife about all of my experiences. I admitted that going to the last clothing store was an example of me not wanting to stop. It was like when the kids stall so effectively at bedtime. My wife nodded her head while I said it. I think she agrees.
Her final reaction was that she was glad I had a good time.