|Image from Vicki|
Hladynets on UnSplash
Even though one of the first things I learned when I began to experience the public first hand as my feminine self was everyone was looking at me, sometimes I still forget the consequences.
This morning I was reminded.
It happened when I went with my wife Liz to one of her doctor's appointments. While I waited, I was facing the receptionist and was oblivious to what was going on until I looked up and she was looking at me. The mistake I then made was instead of immediately smiling my hello at her, she smiled at me first. The whole process took me back to an incident I had years ago with a young girl when I was shopping in one of my favorite clothing stores. The girl ran around a rack of clothes and all of a sudden we were face to face with each other. I must have scared her because the next thing that I heard was Mom, look at the BIG woman. I thought well at the least she didn't mis-gender me, until she said the BIG MEAN woman. I then realized I needed to make a major change in my feminine presentation.
The change I needed to make was how I used my facial expressions. Here I was putting all the effort into my makeup and wardrobe, then I ruined it all by keeping that old male scowl on my face. Especially with other women, I was immediately outing myself as a cross dresser or transvestite. I certainly needed to change the way I was presenting myself to the world. Especially since I was discovering more and more I needed to deal with both genders differently. Specifically in the women's restroom I learned if I led with a small smile in my presentation, it was exactly how the other women did it. Also, it was all right to lead with a smile because I wasn't dealing with the old confrontational world I had to live as a male. I resolved to make my smile a go to effort with other women I encountered and it worked. Even though they may have considered I was transgender, if I smiled first, they didn't consider me a threat.
Perhaps this morning, my excuse was I hadn't had any coffee yet so it was early and I was grumpy. It doesn't matter. I should have never forgotten one of my basic rules of presenting in public. As a woman (transgender or not), we are always on stage and need to remember it. Men bluster their way through life while women finesse it. Just another example of how the rules change when you cross the gender border.
Sadly, no matter how hard I try, sometimes I have a tendency to slip back in to old ingrained male habits without even thinking. Back in the old days, I could simply stop people from interacting with me with a look. The difference now is I want to invite them in as a woman but only if they are another woman. I didn't this morning and I feel bad.
The positive is I realized it and smiled back hoping to manage any damage, Plus, I will have a chance to see her again during the next appointment. Certainly. I will be sure I make the first move and smile with a hello.