Passing Part 3 – The Finale I know you must be tired of me droning on about this by now, but I swear, this is almost the last I’ll talk about passing. It really should be titled something other than passing, because what I hope I’m stressing is the need to present yourself in a way that reflects the very best in you. So, the last thing I will discuss is getting a second (or third, fourth or fifth) opinion on how you look. Since we can’t see ourselves, we will need to rely on others to tell us what we are doing right, what can use some help and, if needed, what to avoid at all costs.
Our trans* friends My first lessons on dressing, presenting and mannerisms was from my oldest and bestest trans* friend, Elayne. She has been doing this for many, many years and studies all aspects of feminine behavior. She taught me how to walk, how to point my feet and plant my heels. We have over the years talked about undergarments, slips, bras, garters, stockings, pantyhose, thigh-highs, shoes and dozens of other topics. She takes great care and is always fashionable and appropriate for any situation. She inspires me everyday. No matter how much you read or how many YouTube videos you watch, nothing beats the careful eye of an experienced friend. Thank you, Elayne, for everything.
Unlikely sources I know you will be shocked to read this, but I talk a lot and I talk to everyone. I’m not afraid to ask questions and seek advice. I’m amazed at how many people will give me pearls of wisdom, just for the asking. It happened to me one afternoon at the electrologist. I asked my favorite beard-zapper about hemming a dress. I was stumped on how I was going to pin it by myself and, girl, did I get advice. We went from a hem markers, to wearing the shoes I’d wear with the dress while measuring, to hem heights for flats, low heels and stilettos. What started out as a “straight pin vs. safety pin” question turned into a detailed discussion on getting the proper length of a skirt.
Make up advice I’ve had good luck with the makeup folks at the mall. This can be your local mall if you are comfortable there or go out of town. Sit in the chair, get out your credit card and you will get a lesson in makeup and then walk away with a bag full of all you need. The other good experience I’ve had is from my local Mary Kay lady or any number of other home-makeup companies. Give them a call, explain what and why you’d like to see them and 99 times out of 100, you will get a friendly and knowledgeable person who will come to your home. This is great because you can take all the time you want, try out a number of things, get some good advice and have all the products you need in hand when the makeup lady leaves.
Your cisgender BFFs I’m blessed with great friends. You know the kind. The ones who love you enough to tell you what a huge mistake you are making wearing coral lipstick and too much rouge. Have a dress up day with you BFFs. Break out the wine and snacks, pull all your clothes out of the closet and try them on for your friends. They will give you thumbs up or thumbs down. Some may be brutally honest while others are tactful. Ask their opinions. If they love you, they’ll tell you the truth. If you are like me and a petite plus size and you pull a white leather mini skirt out of the closet, you’ll hear about it. Just be happy you still have the receipt for the white, patent-leather go-go boots.
Ask and it shall be given I’m the type of person who will ask, “How do I look?” My wife would be gentle and tell me, “You might want to try . . . “ I’ve got other friends who’ll blurt out, “You are NOT going out in that!” The first tip I received from my daughter was, “Dad, you need Spanx.” Harsh, but I love her. Let your family and friends see you dressed, watch you walk, stand and gesture. These will be the best lessons you’ll ever receive. Plus, you will become stronger together and they will see that, yes, this is who you really are.