I attended my final sewing class. I am sad. I discovered that all day long on class days I would look forward so very much to going to class. I would remind myself throughout the day that I get to wear something pretty in X hours. It was like the last day before Christmas break at school. This time I wore my orange maxi skirt with a black, acetate top and an unbuttoned, white, collared shirt over it. I wore nude pantyhose and my strappy, black flats. I was a man in a [pretty] skirt.
Let me interrupt my story here to say something. I have a collection of maxi skirts that I wear in the summer while I have leg hair. I wore four different skirts to the first four classes. However, this week I wore a skirt that I previously have worn to class. This is a clear sign that I should get rid of any skirt I have not worn. If I would prefer to re-wear a previous skirt than wear one of the remaining ones, then I probably will never wear them. I do not like them enough to keep them! Thank you for your patience. Now, back to the story…
I was the third person to arrive for class. The door was locked. As I approached the ladies waiting in the hallway, one of them, “the experienced sewer,” greeted me. After I said hello, the other lady, “the thrift store owner,” said hello. I thought it was nice that the experienced sewer greeted me without me saying something first. Later, she asked me how my Father’s Day was. We stood in the hall and talked while waiting.
When we were let into the classroom by the teacher, we all started working. There was very little talking. The woman who sat to my left asked me for help a few times. I did my best to help, but sometimes I did not understand the instructions on her pattern any better than she did. The fact that she turned to me, a man in a skirt, for help was encouraging. She never acted like she found me creepy or anything. I think she trusted my ability.
At one point, I realized that I was walking around the room doing what I needed to do and I was paying my outfit no attention. I was completely at ease! How beautiful it felt to realize that!
I noticed that when my teacher helped me today, she did not appear to be apprehensive. She seemed apprehensive during a previous class. I believe it was due to me wearing a skirt that day that was identical to hers other than the color.
I finished sewing the item I was working on. I tried to decide whether to leave early or to start another project. Then I remembered that I had a dress that is too big in the hips that I wanted to take in. I marked the dress for sewing. My teacher came over and gave me advice. There was no awkwardness about the fact that she was teaching me how to alter my dress.
By the time I had sewn both sides of the dress, it was time for class to end. I packed up my stuff and said goodnight. Since it was the last night, I told the group good-bye and thank you for being so nice to me. I did not know what to expect when I came to class. I said that I do not always dress like this. I told them how this was the first time I have ever done something where I would get to know people and possibly make friends. In retrospect, I suppose the small group meeting I attended at a sort of religious organization might have also been a chance for me to make friends… but this was clearly a different and more interactive experience.
They responded very politely. The thrift store owner invited me to pay her store a visit. The teacher said that if I had any more questions about my project to feel free to contact her and ask.
And that’s it. A man in obvious women’s clothes can take a sewing class with a group of ladies and not be harassed, rejected, ignored, or anything negative. I suppose it is possible that I could have been spoken poorly of when I was not present. But by the end, after they had enough opportunities to to get to know me, I hope that they did not have anything too harsh to say about me. I suppose every experience like this will be unique. I should expect the best and the worst.
I have found that the community that I live in is fairly kind to me. I live in a fairly conservative part of my country. Also, I have traveled around and have done a lot of my longer-term dressing on trips. Everywhere I have gone, I have received similar treatment. I guess I should say as a disclaimer that I have always tried to behave respectfully and normally as possible. I dress conservatively and usually in rather plain outfits. All of my skirts hang to just above my knees or are longer. I normally wear flats. I do not want to look like a stereotype. I want to look like what I am, a forty-something, married, parent of young children.
I attended my fourth sewing class while dressed pretty. This time I wore my multicolored, green, silky skirt with a brown top. I wore nude pantyhose and black flats. I think the shoes do not look perfect with the outfit. I chose not to wear my nude heels with this outfit to class because those heels are too tall. I already cannot cross my legs under the tables in the classroom.
I came in, said, “Hi,” to those present, and went to work. No one talks in class. It is such a quiet room. Things are said, but not for long and not very loudly. It is like a library. I will try to talk to people, but no significant conversations result from my attempts.
I accomplished a lot in class today. I finished everything for which I had a pattern. I completed a second item that I was making up as I went. I put on the second item and I used my phone as a mirror so I could get a look at myself. I put down my phone. The woman in the row behind me offered to take my picture and had her phone in position. She was going to take my picture and then send it to me. I declined.
A few moments later, after I took off the item, I asked her if she would take my picture with my camera. She accepted. We tried a few locations before we found a backdrop that was not white. The white tunic that I made for a costume was blending into the white walls in the room. While I was getting ready for her to take my picture, a second woman stood up and got her camera/phone ready to take my picture for me. I asked the second woman not to take my picture.
Later, I said to the second potential photographer that I do not dress like this all the time and I try to control what pictures exist of me dressed up.
So, I have a picture from this class. I also have a conspiracy theory. These two women both wanted to take my picture “for me”. I thought, “What if they are offering to take my picture and send me a copy because they actually want to take a picture of this skirt guy to show to their families who have been hearing stories about me.”
When class was over, I cleaned up my things and waved good-bye the last two classmates who remained. They smiled or waved. They were in the middle of a conversation with the teacher. The teacher did not turn to tell me good-bye. The teacher was talking when I departed. So, maybe that does not mean anything. She had spoken with me more casually during class than on the previous week.
I went back to that Cracker Barrel from last week. I put on my nude heels for this. The restaurant was a lot busier than on my previous visit. I was uncomfortable. I walked across the front walkway of the store on the outside. I glanced into the many windows in order to see if there were any customers who knew me. None of the roughly twenty customers looked familiar. I went in. There were approximately fifteen people in the store area. I tried to browse far away from the crowd while waiting for them to leave. An employee walked by me to check on me. She spoke kindly to me and walked on.
I browsed some more and then went to the employee who was visiting with two other female employees who were working on a store display. I asked if the woman I hoped to speak to was working. She was not. During my previous visit, an employee stopped and told me that she once had a neighbor who wore skirts and had a beard. I was hoping to ask her about him and to hear about another guy like me. One of the ladies working on the display had spoken with me last week. She told me it was nice to see me again. They complimented me on my skirt. The first employee talked to me the most. She seemed patronizing.
I have found that I get a few slightly different reactions. People do not say these things, but their behavior and words imply these:
- “You are not welcome here.” (I do not like you or respect you.)
- “You have as much a right to be here as the other people, but I’m not excited about it.” (I do not like you, but I respect you.)
- “You are welcome here.” (I do not care. I respect you.)
- “You are welcome here because we accept all kinds. Even people like you.” (It is so good that I am here for you, you poor little thing. The last half of that could be translated to the Southeastern American phrase, “Bless your heart!”)
This employee was a #4. Normally, the public is #2 or #3. Most employees communicate #2 to me. I have not experienced #4 in a long time.
Eventually, the crowd diminished and I collected the candy that I wanted to purchase. Another employee saw me and said it was good to see me again. She was the employee at the cash register who took my money on the previous visit. I made this trip’s purchase and walked to my car. The group of older people who were in the store were now in their cars. I looked over and saw the driver of one car giving me a long stare. I think they had seen me in the store. They seemed to be looking in my direction often when I was inside. In retrospect, I should have waved at her as I crossed the parking lot. I, however,was walking in heels and was too consumed with trying to do it well to think about waving. Some things just take more focus than others…
I attended my third class while dressed pretty. This time, I wore a black and white striped skirt, black pantyhose, flats, a red top, and a black cardigan. From the neck up, I am a man.
When I arrived to class, a lot of the class was already there. When the teacher walked in, I was near the door. I noticed her take a quick sideways glance at my skirt. Then I realized that she was wearing a gray and white skirt with the same stripes as my skirt. We were wearing roughly the same skirt. I felt like the teacher might have expressed some apprehension when she helped throughout the evening. I wondered if us wearing similar skirts was bothering her. I felt bad about it. She looks way better in a skirt than I do.
Beyond that, I was just a member of the class. Nothing interesting happened. People did not pay my clothes any attention. Some talked to me like normal. I learned some and put it to use.
After class, I walked out into the hallway. My hands were rather full, but I turned to close the door to the classroom. A janitor was in the hallway walking toward me. He made some obvious glances at my clothes. I said hello to him and he replied appropriately. I shut the door and walked down the hall. He was walking in the same direction. When I came to the exterior door, I said good-bye. He was polite and responded wished me the same. He seemed a bit surprised or amazed at what he had seen, but he did not seem hateful.
I went to a Cracker Barrel restaurant on my way home to get some candy. I also went because I did not want to stop being dressed pretty in public. Cracker Barrel restaurants have a store in the entrance area/lobby for customers to browse while they wait to be seated. They have old timey candies, etc. There were very few customers in the restaurant. Therefore there were about six to eight employees in the store area restocking the displays. They all happened to be female.
I walked in and I received several obvious looks. After their first glances, about half of the ladies did not react to me more. The other half took a few more obvious looks when I was near. The girl at the cash register was very natural and conversational with me.
I made my purchase and started to leave. Then, I remembered something I wanted. I asked another employee if they had what I wanted (a money pouch to replace what I normally carry). She had me follow her to where they might be. They did not have what I was looking for. I thanked her and started walking toward the exit again.
As I approached the exit, I passed two female employees who were working on a display. The older one spoke to me and said, “You’re not from <a specific town>, are you?” She had an accent. She was not from my country. I was not from the town she asked about. She said she used to have a neighbor in that town who liked to wear skirts. She said he always had a beard. I wish I had spoken with her more about this neighbor. Maybe I will go back.
I stopped at a gas station to buy some milk to go with my candy. Store keeper was listening music that sounded to me to be from the Middle East. He looked Middle Eastern as well. He spoke politely to me and treated me normally.
I ate my candy as I drove home. When I changed out of my clothes, I was very pleased to find that my shirt was not sweaty. I was very relaxed this evening.
I went to my second class while dressed pretty. I was wearing a long, black ankle-length skirt. I also wore off-black pantyhose and my black flats with straps. On top, I wore a lightweight, orange blouse and a white, collared shirt as a cardigan. Otherwise, I looked like a man.
I arrived about twenty minutes early to class. Another classmate was sitting in her car, eating. We waved to each other as I walked into the building. I was the first person in class. A few others arrived together shortly later. I asked the people near me, “What is your project?” They showed me their patterns and I shared mine with them. I detected no awkwardness in them.
I felt more apprehension today, but it quickly faded when I arrived to class. Everyone arrived, including the teacher and class started. The teacher had us all come up to her table to watch what her demonstration. I was standing with the others from the back rows of the classroom. The front row people stayed seated. I felt a over exposed. I was standing where everyone could look at me. However, I never saw anyone sneak any glances at me. I relaxed.
Then we started working on our projects. I had to stand a lot while I worked. I did a lot of bending over my table. I was aware that the ladies behind me had a view of my backside when I bent over. I made sure that my shirt was pulled down to cover my waistband. I felt distracted because I did not want them to see any lines indicating what I wore underneath. Eventually, I gave up on that. Hopefully the did not pay me any attention.
The time for class to end passed. We all kept working. Every few minutes, a student would leave. If I said good-bye they would reply. I wanted to ask the teacher a question before I did any cutting. I did not want to go home and do anything that I might want her input on. She came to my desk and started talking to me about my options. While she was talking to me, the three other remaining students left. The teacher and I were the only ones who remained. (This was not on purpose.) She did not seem to be at all uncomfortable to be alone with me. I finished up and she and I left together. While we walked down the hall, we talked about some non-class topics, such as family and work.
We went to our respective cars and departed. It was completely normal, decent evening.
I signed up to take a sewing class. I decided that I would go to the classes while crossdressed.
I arrived early to class on the first day. I needed the extra time since I did not know how long it would take to drive there. Also, I did not know where I would change clothes. The extra time was also useful because I was not sure if I would have the courage to go to a class while crossdressed. I ate on my way and arrived at the building twenty minutes early. The campus had no conspicuous activity. There were very few cars in the parking lot. The building was almost deserted. I walked around the building while wearing menswear until I found the classroom. It was empty and the lights were off.
I decided to go ahead and change clothes. I went to a men’s room in the building and put on a white top, an orange skirt, and a navy cardigan. I also wore nude pantyhose with white Keds. As usual, I had my normal man head. No wig, no makeup, no breasts. Just a dude in pretty clothes.
It was almost time for class to begin. I decided that I should move my car to the other end of the building in order to be closer to the classroom. As I was approaching the row of parking spaces, a car coming the other way slowed down. The driver rolled down his window and started motioning me to stop and open my window. It was security! He stopped me in order to be helpful. I told him that I already knew where my classroom was and he sent me on my way. That was a little unsettling, and it took up a couple minutes.
I walked into the classroom. Class had already begun. I slipped in and sat down. Only the back half of the room saw me. I suppose the teacher saw how I was dressed. I exchanged smiles with a couple of the nearby classmates. There were a total of ten students. I was the only man. Happily, I was not the only one in a skirt. There were two dresses and two skirts in the room, including mine. The teacher had us introduce ourselves. Most women were in their 50s. Some were younger and some were older. I was treated with the same respect I would receive in pants.
No one really interacted with me. No one interacted with anyone else either. The woman to my left leaned over and said my name. She asked to see the example item the teacher had passed to me. She remembered my name. I was impressed with her.
The tables were too short for me to cross my legs, so I had to keep my knees together. It was somewhat hot in the room. My shape wear was holding my heat in. In spite of the heat, I was not very sweaty when I ended the day. I was VERY impressed with that. Apparently, I was not very stressed.
Only once did I see anyone pay attention to my outfit. I believe I saw a young student who sat in front of me glance at my skirt.
After class, I returned a pencil I had borrowed from the teacher. She was talking to a few students. I just placed the pencil on her table and turned to go. As I was leaving, two other students were exiting the building. I asked them, “Now, you two are friends?” I had learned this from their introduction. The friendlier of the two ladies said, “Yes, we’re old friends.” The conversation stalled out there. I think we were all felt too awkward to come up with something smart to say. We said good-bye. As I was driving away, the friendlier lady smiled at me and waved. I waved with a couple other attendees as I drove away.
Class 1. A success!
I recently visited a fabric store while dressed pretty. A week later, I returned a second time while pretty. I have written about these events. I returned a third time. Since I was in the area and it was convenient, I stopped in while dressed in menswear. I saw right away that the people who helped me previously were not in the store. I was a little disappointed. I wanted them to see that I was not one dimensional. Then, I noticed something disturbing. Someone I knew was in the store. This is my “crossdressing shopping district”. It is far from my home and work. I have visited this store twice while dressed pretty and I have visited other nearby stores many times while dressed pretty.
Now, I feel like the whole shopping center is a more risky place than it used to be. If she had been there on my previous visit, then I could have been exposed. Sometimes, I think I wish (a little) that my crossdressing was no longer a secret. I am not as ashamed of myself as I used to be. However, if this secret of mine is ever to become public knowledge, I would prefer that it happen at my choosing and not due to my sloppiness.
A positive is that, from what I could tell, she never noticed me. I shopped without trying to avoid her. She did her shopping and was so distracted that she never noticed me. So, maybe if I ever have another event like this, except while dressed pretty, I will be safe.
Afterward, I went to a fast food restaurant. I had eaten there two or three times while pretty. None of the staff there were people I have ever dealt with. That was also a bit of a let down.
On the positive side, I now have a measuring tape and some tracing paper!
I needed to buy some menswear. I dressed pretty during my lunch break and went on a shopping trip. I was wearing a long black skirt, nude hose, black flat shoes, an orange top, and a white, collared shirt. The white shirt was unbuttoned and was not tucked in. I, like usual, was wearing my man head. Also, I currently have a beard. I felt pretty. The soft skirt kissed my shins and ankles as I walked. It was nice.
First, I went to a fast food restaurant. It was early and no customers were there yet. When I walked up to the counter I pulled some money out to be ready. I recognized the lady at the counter. She served me that last time I came to that restaurant in a skirt. Apparently, she was rather distracted by my outfit. She reached out to take my money. I almost gave it to her because I was a little distracted as well. We recognized our mistake and laughed together. For some reason, I was less nervous than normal this time.
Once I had placed my order, the server and I started talking. She was open and friendly. I was amazed at how comfortable I was. I filled my drink and got my food and sat down to eat. Around the time I was finished eating, three men entered the restaurant. They were men who worked outside. Hard-working men. They got in line to order their lunches. At this point, I felt less comfortable. I have never had trouble with men like this, but I feel like they would disapprove of me more than other men. While they were in line, I stood up, threw away my trash, and left. I never looked to see if they noticed me.
I drove toward the clothing store. As I was driving, I noticed a fabric store that was having a sale. I decided to take a quick look. It turned out that it was rather large sale. I started off by doing my browsing while staying hidden between the racks. Shortly later, I was walking freely in the open. I became unconcerned about who saw me. I started out thinking that I was out of my normal shopping environment. These people were all calm, conservative, “crafty” people. But it was no different than shopping anywhere else.
At one point, I asked a woman, “Do you sew a lot?” She said she did. I asked, “How do you decide what scissors to buy?” There were so many at a wide range of prices. She came right over and started giving me perspectives. I started to feel like she was giving me too much help. She was all in. She gave me good advice and then took me to another aisle where the most expensive scissors were on display. She called them the “Cadillacs” of scissors. They were priced accordingly!
Much later, I asked another woman for help. She seemed to me to be rather conservative. I figured she found me distasteful due to my choice of dress. However, I needed help and she was the closest person. I asked her to help me understand how much fabric was required for a pattern. She was just as polite and helpful as the previous woman. I had wrong about her. Perhaps crafty people are just very passionate about this stuff.
I selected my fabrics to buy. The woman at the cutting counter was young and conservatively dressed. I could not tell if she had noticed what I was wearing. I asked some questions about my fabric. She voluntarily took me over to another area to show me the linen fabric. It was too expensive (five times as much as broadcloth). We walked back. By this point, she had seen my outfit, yet her politeness and demeanor was not different. I love this! I felt so welcome and normal.
Next, I went to the cash register. I think I may have forgotten that I was crossdressed. I paid and left. It was a total non-event. However, by this point in my experience I always assume it is going to be a non-event… Because it always is.
I left the fabric store, changed clothes, and went back to work. I had spent an hour shopping in that store. I will have to buy my menswear some other day…
I returned to the fabric store wearing my bright green skirt for a few more items. The girl at the cutting area saw me and called out to me with a smile asking how my project was going. She remembered what it was I was planning on making. I must have stood out to her somehow… But she was comfortable being friendly calling out to me. That made me happy.