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Thread: Broke my dry spell with a mixed bag of an outing...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Patience's Avatar
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    Broke my dry spell with a mixed bag of an outing...

    Warning: Long post.

    After being cooped up at home for a week training for a new job and anxious to finally break out of my recent long dry spell, I finally planned a proper outing. It involved, among other things, finally going dressed to a specialty music store I have frequented for over 20 years. I'd been putting off going there dressed for reasons even I didn't fully understand, as the store is only a couple blocks from the art store and thrift store I visited the first time I went out en femme-ish last year and where I go practically every time I'm out en femme.

    My first destination was the store in question. I had a repair to drop off. The assistant who took my info seemed befuddled and not sure what to make of me, even though he'd been serving me in guy mode for years. Instead of estimating the repair cost at $25 as usual, this time the guy said the repair might be $40 or so. He accessed my customer info from his computer for the repair ticket, but even that didn't seem to help him remember who I was. While this was happening, the manager (on whom I can honestly say I've never made an impression in guy mode) actually walked up and closed the normally open small door separating the customer area from the employee area. Most days, he spends all his time sitting down looking at accounts.

    With the repair ticket printed, I took a moment to look around. As if clockwork, another assistant I know well does the old following you around accidentally-on purpose thing. As he's walking away, I say: "You know, it's funny. You come to a place for years without a problem. You show up crossdressed once, nobody knows you. The clerk said: "I've never had that experience". I said "I'm having it now". The clerk made a quizzical face and walked off. Eventually, I left the store.

    Thinking about the event afterwards, my reluctance to appear dressed in this place came a bit more into focus: In the twenty or so years I've been coming to this place, I can honestly say I have never seen a woman working in this place. Ever. It's a bit shocking when you think about it and indicative of a flawed working environment. Granted, guitar stores in general tend to be sausage fests, but this store's staff has seen less women in the last twenty years than your average men's restroom.

    I then started driving to a neighboring town to shop at a couple of art stores I've visited dressed before. About ten minutes into my journey, I was at an intersection waiting for the light to turn when along haired middle aged-ish man with a backpack started running across the street trying to make it across before the lights turned for him. Around the middle of the road, he started losing his balance while running, eventually falling into a heavy heap on his face in front of my car. I'm wearing makeup. The man lay stunned for a few seconds, then picked himself up slowly, apologized sheepishly while ambling off the road, a noticeable red gash on his forehead. Then, the light turned green.

    I drove to another town and before going to the art stores, I decided to stop at a major chain music store, as it had been a long time since I went there. I picked up a bass, sat on a bench and plugged into an amp. A man with a teen and a preteen boy were there as well and rolled with it pretty good. We didn't really talk, but shared the space cordially. At one point, I got that funny feeling at the back of one's neck one sometimes get. I turned around and this shortish middle aged man was standing there, practically breathing down my neck. I glanced at him and although I don't entirely remember my reaction, he asked me "Do you MIND if I stand behind you?" I said "I don't, but I want to be aware that you're there"? Eventually, he walked off. Ten minutes or so later, so did I.

    On my way to the art store, I got a call from my friend Amy. I hadn't seen her in a couple of months. I agreed to stop by her house when I got back in town.

    Upon entering the art store, I saw this tall, slim woman-ish person looking at a section and thought she might have been one of us. I then went about my business. Waiting in line at the checkout, I heard the lady talking to a man she was with and sure enough, the voice confirmed it. I told her I liked her outfit. She thanked me, said she was feeling cold and walked off. (to be honest, I don't remember what she was wearing. It's just that it was my first opportunity to interact with a girl like me).

    On the way back, I stopped by Amy's house. Amy and her (now deceased) roommate Tony were the first two people I came out to. You can see my story of coming out to Tony here. Nothing to report on the conversation with Amy, but I did notice her flinch when she opened the door and saw me. After that, I went home.

    All those experiences reminded me of something people have told me before: My fem mode is perceived as a distinct person from my male mode. I guess it's the whole point, isn't it? I don't know...

    Anyway, I was considering another outing today, but I feel I got enough packed in one day. I'm just gonna stay at home, make myself pretty and put together outfits.

    So, how was your day?
    ...throw off those chains of Reason and your prison disappears...

  2. #2
    Aspiring Member abbiedrake's Avatar
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    Dear Patience.
    What a day!
    Eventful trip aside, for which I can only offer my sympathies, you make an interesting point about the fem you being treated differently. Logically there has to be some disconnect for people seeing you look so differently. The semiotics involved in gendered fashion mean we're screaming mixed signals as CDs. But, all things being equal (which they're demonstrably not) it would be nice if these things, our outward appearance, didn't affect how others treat us. That's true of non-gendered clothing too, of course.
    I'ma shut up now. I'm sorry your day was mixed at best.
    Mine was quiet, thanks for asking. Got to wear a skirt for the first time in a while. And a floral embroidered vest I've never had a chance to wear before. So yeah...

  3. #3
    Goddess-In-Training Macey's Avatar
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    What troubles me is a $25 repair suddenly being $40. I'm familiar with luthier work, curious … what was the repair?

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Beverley Sims's Avatar
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    Patience,

    That is something I have learned, never go to a car accessories store dressed as a woman if you want sound advice from the sales people.
    Work on your elegance,
    and beauty will follow.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Patience's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macey View Post
    What troubles me is a $25 repair suddenly being $40. I'm familiar with luthier work, curious … what was the repair?
    It's an electrical fault. Apparently, a pot needs replacing, as it fails intermittently.

    I was quoted $80.00 for the full repair, but as I decided not to have it done, there’ll be no charge.

    Thank you all for your responses.
    ...throw off those chains of Reason and your prison disappears...

  6. #6
    Goddess-In-Training Macey's Avatar
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    See, if you were talking about fret work, fixing internal bracing, replacing a bridge or nut, truss rod adjustment, intonation, yadda yadda, I could help. The electronic part of it? I'm hopeless!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Patience's Avatar
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    I like to build basses out of parts, Macey. I also do my own setups.

    Got the bass back today. Yet another assistant helped me. He was totally cool, though. Boy, was this trip eventful!

    Time to resurrect the minor event thread, I think.
    ...throw off those chains of Reason and your prison disappears...

  8. #8
    Goddess-In-Training Macey's Avatar
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    That's really cool, Patience! Only work I've done on a bass was an old upright, badly damaged, had to take the top off, replace the sound post, reattach the top, a lot of clamping and … forgive the unintended pun … patience. Got a few more years of light gigging with it before it finally gave up the ghost!

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