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Thread: Respecting the comfort zone of others

  1. #1
    Aspiring Member DanielleDubois's Avatar
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    Respecting the comfort zone of others

    There have always been a number of threads about shopping in male mode, going to a wig salon, shaving legs etc. but a couple of recent ones made me reflect on the advice given in those threads so here's my 2 or 3 cents worth.

    I have always appreciated the advice I have received here but I think we always have to be aware, as in many things discussed here, the spectrum of people's comfort zones can be huge.

    It's fine to say no one or the SAs care if you are buying women's clothes or to go ahead and shave your legs as no one will notice but it doesn't change the fact for some people they will find doing those things are outside their comfort zone and can be stressful.

    From personal experience I know most SAs don't care if you are buying women's clothes but it is naive to think some of them are not suspicious. In a Winners store (similar to TJMaxx) I was shopping for some housewares years ago when I spotted a separate rack featuring some gorgeous royal blue Liz Claiborne cocktail dresses with a cute crinoline to make the skirt flare out. I couldn't resist and as I quickly pulled a size 16 off the rack a lady came over to me and said it was great seeing a man confident enough to look and but something like that for his wife. I still do not know if she was being honest or nicely trying to say I know it's for you and there's nothing wrong with that. Coincidentally when I took it to a young male SA he said something indicating he thought the dress was for me. I answered back no, but I think it's more your colour. So, even if a SA doesn't say something it doesn't mean they are not thinking it.

    I have been in a wig salon and the SA did her best to relax me. I have bought high heel shoes at Payless. I have bought a bustier in a big department store at Christmas. I have shaved my legs and and arms many times. I have done the stealth shopping by using self checkout or putting cosmetics or pantyhose in a shopping cart with other items. I have gone dress shopping with my wife helping to pick out dresses and then her paying for them while I hovered nearby. I have done all of those things but it doesn't mean I have become comfortable with it or still don't find it stressful.

    I guess what I am saying is it is easy to tell someone to "just do it" because you are comfortable doing it but you do have to respect that for individuals such as myself it is not always so easy.

    Sorry for the soapbox speech,
    Happy New Year
    Danielle

  2. #2
    Member Jessie Mae's Avatar
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    Very true Danielle, we all are at different places and moving at different speeds.
    The "hovering husband" image made me laugh, that is so me many times.
    Two penguins are standing on an ice floe.
    The first penguin says, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo."
    And the second penguin says, "What makes you think I'm not?"

  3. #3
    Silver Member Crissy 107's Avatar
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    Danielle, I think what you said makes a lot of sense. We all had to start somewhere and I can say for myself I was very nervous thinking someone I know is about to see me buying something in the women?s department. I am now much more confident but I understand that some of our members may never be comfortable. That is just the way we are. It really is a to each their own type of thing.
    I find that getting pedicures at my salon very enjoyable, talking with the ladies and just being one of the girls. That?s me and my attitude but we are all different. To say, just own it, is good advice but not for everyone.
    Crissy

  4. #4
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    I am glad I am not the only person on this forum who feels as you do. Amen!

  5. #5
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    I agree in concept with you Danielle. However, since you have to be 18 to join this site and I bet anyone under 25 is fairly rare, I would say that the vast majority here are older and know how to ask for advice from others, read that advice, and then figure out what may or may not work for them. Those that are constant encouragers, like me, just want to let those that really want to do it, that it can be safe and a lot of fun, using, of course, some normal common sense, like stay out of the bad side of town. Now, if someone goes out only based on others' recommendations then, in my opinion, it is not the fault of the encourager. I normally preface my encouragements that it is for those that really want to get out, and to only go out when they are ready. For those younger rare members here, they should have already learned through high school and college or work that you don't always do what your friends or buddies do. We all, and they, have to take responsibility for our/their own decisions, some work out and some don't. We should not be responsible for other's actions nor feel bad because someone followed our or other's advise on a website like this without thinking it through. Maturity is learned in many ways, including making mistakes.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member kimdl93's Avatar
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    I don?t see much harm in being a constant encourager...though I don?t often do so. All that Allie and others are saying is that your fears are something that comes from within. Its absolutely true that the vast majority of SAs do not give a hoot what any of us buys, nor does it matter if a rare exception might be offended. The fear is not much different than stage fright. Some of us, myself included, never quite fully get over stepping on a stage to speak or perform. But we learn to manage our fears and our apprehensions. In doing so, we achieve things that fear would otherwise have prevented.

    Easy come, easy go;
    Easy left me long ago...

  7. #7
    Aspiring Member DanielleDubois's Avatar
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    I hope I wasn’t giving the wrong impression. I always do truly appreciate the encouragement but no matter how unwarranted my fears there are some things I will not ever be comfortable with.

    However, for years I was a lurker here and afraid to join but obviously I am now very comfortable sharing Danielle with all the caring and thoughtful members on this forum. So, not to contradict my first sentence, but I guess it could be a case of never say never.

  8. #8
    Member April Rose's Avatar
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    I am 69 and have been a crossdresser all my life. I started buying women's apparel for myself in the very early seventies. I have definitely noticed a difference over time, particularly in the last 5 years in how I have been received by SA's and others when shopping. It is not that they haven't always been willing to make a sale, but nowadays they seem to project a more comfortable attitude. I don't think I am fooling myself on this; I think there is a real change in the way people in general look at the rules of gender.

    Everyone is different, I know, so "let the buyer beware", but I don't think encouraging people to relax and enjoy shopping is misplaced.
    I am a vessel of the goddess. Let me express my calling to a feminine life through nurturing love and relatedness.

  9. #9
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleDubois View Post
    There have always been a number of threads about shopping in male mode, going to a wig salon, shaving legs etc. but a couple of recent ones made me reflect on the advice given in those threads so here's my 2 or 3 cents worth.

    I have always appreciated the advice I have received here but I think we always have to be aware, as in many things discussed here, the spectrum of people's comfort zones can be huge.

    It's fine to say no one or the SAs care if you are buying women's clothes or to go ahead and shave your legs as no one will notice but it doesn't change the fact for some people they will find doing those things are outside their comfort zone and can be stressful.

    From personal experience I know most SAs don't care if you are buying women's clothes but it is naive to think some of them are not suspicious...
    OK... Let's unpack this a bit. "Suspicious" of what? Some crime? If you're acting nervous/guilty, then the answer is probably yes, because you look like shoplifter or a pervert. Shopping for clothes is not a crime, of course, and most SA's, by far, just want satisfied customers.
    Look, I get it. All of us have been there at some point, but that does not make those irrational fears any more rational. I submit that it is not disrespectful to point out that reality. The worst thing one can encounter is laughter and/or sarcasm. Yes, it happened to me, maybe twenty years ago in a Catherine's. As the SA handed my purchases to me, she smirked and said, "Enjoy your panties." That bugged me, for about a minute, at which point I knew that I would never shop at that store again. It was a long time ago and to be sure, it's far less common now, but it did happen. I'm sure it still does, if only very rarely. If you're not prepared to deal with even that much reaction, ask yourself why.
    "Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones."
    -- John Lennon

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  10. #10
    Aspiring Member DanielleDubois's Avatar
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    I meant suspicious as in at the checkout they are thinking the merchandise is for you not suspicious as in lurking around the clothes looking to sneak a pair of panties in my pocket

    I have often thought about the reasons why I am not totally comfortable buying women's stuff in person and yes the reasons may be a bit irrational but it doesn't make it any less stressful for me personally. That's not to say there are not times I suck up the courage to purchase things in person.

  11. #11
    Aspiring Member TheHiddenMe's Avatar
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    Posters here are offering their advice. It's up to each person to act on that advice or not.

    Personally, I found courage in boards like this and blogs that I could go out in public dressed (or buy women's clothes in drab). I needed that advice and courage.

    And you MIGHT find a sniggering SA at a store--or you could find a nail tech that finds it cool that you're getting a makeover and shopping for clothes, or SAs that welcome you back, or another nail tech that is giddy you're a CD, and who regularly meets you to shop and go out, and who's daughters are dying to meet you.

    Anyone can choose to fear the worst, or can face their fears and do what the little voice inside their heads are telling them--"you can do this."

  12. #12
    Gold Member bridget thronton's Avatar
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    I have used the positive stories posted here as encouragement for me to grow

  13. #13
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    All things come with practice and confidence too, I remember my first time buying panties, I was sure they knew they were for me, sure that all the SA’s were watching and laughing, they weren’t and it said way more about my nerves than their judgment. Forward to yesterday, bought some nice little ankle boots and some tights, I never gave it a second thought, took my shopping to the line of least queue as opposed to seeing which SA would be best, purchase made, some pleasant chat and the boots are perfect. If you’d told me it was that easy 30 or more years ago, I wouldn’t have belief you but then I never had a forum like this either

    You are right Danielle, we are all different

  14. #14
    1.#QNaN Lydianne's Avatar
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    . . .

    - People read advice so that they can extend their comfort level.
    - If it were already within their comfort level, they wouldn't need the advice.
    - One can't extend one's comfort level by only doing what one is already comfortable with.
    - There has to be that initial over-extension.

    People are different; so we can't advocate a blanket toning-down of encouragement because to do that in 'respect' of one person might undermine the crux for another.

    It's down to the individual to decide how badly they want it and how much they are prepared to commit. ( Note that this can change over time and flip the balance ).

    - L.

  15. #15
    Rachel Rachelakld's Avatar
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    I went parachuting with the wife, she thought I was smiling as I hung on to the spar of the aircraft - in reality, I was crapping myself (not literally).
    Bungy jumping - same thing
    White water rafting down a 7 meter vertical waterfall and having the raft on top of me instead of under me - same thing.

    The most relaxing thing to do is probably going for a drive, yet statistically probably the most dangerous activity in the world (like 100,000,000 times more dangerous than telling the SA the dress is for yourself).

    The problem with phobias, is they fail to constrain themselves within reasonable terms of outcomes.
    See all my photos, read many stories of my outings and my early days at
    http://rachelsauckland.blogspot.co.nz

  16. #16
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Danielle,
    I'm sure most of us at some point can relate to these felings . Looking back over the last two years I can see it as a barrier , whether we need or want to cross it is up to the individual . For me going full time it obviously had to happen so when I shop now there is no thought of the items I'm buying are meant for anyone else but me , I have to say it is a lovely feeling because the conversations with SAs now are more between two women .

    To turn the problem around I posted recently where I commented how I felt weird and out of place when shoping in male mode , I find it hard if not impossible because I went back to people staring at me when I was checking out some makeup , something I've not experienced for quite sometime .

    The other problem is still having a wife /partner not fully on board , I also know how that feels , not only do you have to deal with SAs but also where to stash the items at home and sneaking time in when you can wear them .

    I don't think these feelings ever disappear until you no longer feel guilty and totally comfortable being out in the RW . That's why I keep dropping my stories in on the forum I've lived all this, now I'm in a siutuation where I can hopefully help others as I have been helped in the past
    Last edited by Teresa; 12-28-2019 at 05:09 AM.
    The real me ,no going back.

  17. #17
    Gold Member Helen_Highwater's Avatar
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    I would class myself in the encouraging camp. That said I appreciate what Danielle is saying. However it's not difficult to phrase a post about SA's not really caring and in the same sentence add a caveat that you will get the odd one who will be a bit off'ish.

    The trick is for the reader to know that while the world isn't universally perfect it's not as bad as some imagine. It's down to aggregating the different posts to create an overall view.

    There will come a point for pretty much all of us were we find ourselves stepping out of our comfort zones. Just because you do it once, that first time out shopping say, there will be others. First time using the ladies, using a female changing room. Getting on a bus or train. All these things can make you feel that bit uncomfortable or nervous. It's part of the rite of passage we go through as we gain evermore confidence.

    I believe the important thing to take away from reading encouraging posts is they're just that, encouraging. Showing by example what's possible. There will be some for whom going out is a barrier to high. The role of the encourages is to point out there's an open gate in that wall.

  18. #18
    Aspiring Member Angela1954's Avatar
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    It all depends on your situation and comfort level; which is different from one person to another. When I began dressing again after my second purge (yuck. big, big mistake. but I digress) I noticed a change in my demeanor. I simply felt more comfortable presenting my feminine side. My wife, who is supportive, only asks that our neighbors not see me dressed which I have no problem with. A few months ago I went into a Dress Barn in male mode and tried on a few clothes. The SA was great. I never would have done that before. I guess my point is that each of us has to assess their own situation and act accordingly. I always appreciate listening to others on this site. I always find the advice reasonable and well thought out.

  19. #19
    Girl about Town Jodie_Lynn's Avatar
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    The great thing about on-line forums, and the stories that people relate to others is that, one can take away what one wishes. Like a buffet. "I'll try some of this...Oooh I love that... Nope, don't like that stuff, I'll pass on it."

    And NO ONE says that you MUST do A, B, and C. Unless I missed the memo and someone published the definitive "Guide to Crossdressing Handbook"?

    I do want to point out some things about the whole "shopping for/buying" issue. People tend to overthink the whole situation. Women buy clothes for the men in their family (husbands, sons, Dads) and don't seem to express any angst about it. They also buy clothes for themselves and their daughters. I can't imagine that they feel 'weird', guilty, or afraid that the cashier will think it's for them.

    And, if a cashier does think that you are buying something for yourself, SO WHAT? WHO CARES? Do you think they are going to get on the tannoy and announce it to the whole store? Or are you planning on inviting this random stranger into your social circle? And if they do tell their friends about 'this guy came through my line and was buying panties!!!!!', do you know them? Are they important to you?

    We all have comfort zones, hela, the only place I'm nervous about, is friggin Walmart! You do what is comfortable for yourself, and stop overthinking the thing. In reality, we aren't as important as we like to think we are.
    Before you can love another, you must first like yourself

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  20. #20
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    I don't think I directly encourage anyone to do stuff - I just describe my own positive experiences. In Scotland the reality of a man trying on women's clothes (often in shops that only sell womenswear) seems almost universally accepted as normal and it is very rare for staff to give you as much as an odd look. I am known in most of the shops I go to, but when I encounter a new member of staff and ask if I can try something on, the answer is always positive and they often use the words "of course" and even in department stores direct me to the nearest fitting room, which will be in the dress department. If anyone is furtive or creepy they will obviously get a different reaction. The advice I give here (a different type of advice) is "smile". If you are nice to people they tend to be nice back.

    I rarely ask for advice on this site - I just describe my experiences. If I want advice on women's clothes I ask a woman. I am lucky that I am spoiled for choice and have one GG I go out with regularly in male and female modes. I feel that I have done everything on my Susan bucket list so no need to ask others "Is it OK to ..." (Quora questions!). The first time I went out as a man in a skirt was after seeing someone else doing it without reaction. I hope that by doing this myself I make it easier for the next person and the same goes with relating my experiences - it is leading by example not giving active encouragement. I have met lots of lovely women I would not have met as a non-crossdresser and I would not have met if I did not go shopping for womenswear or go out fully dressed as Susan. My only bad moment was being introduced as Susan to someone I knew but she did not recognise me. That is outnumbered by huge numbers of positive experiences. Happy dressing to all in 2020.

  21. #21
    Silver Member Micki_Finn's Avatar
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    I’ve said it before. Crossdressing isn’t a race or a contest. You’re not a “better” dresser because you only wear panties and threw out your boxers, or because you go out every weekend or whatever. That being said, I thing the chorus of “just do it” can easily sound like an indictment for those who are still nervous about it, but I think the point is to tell you that most of the underlying reasons for your trepidation are largely unfounded, and the only way to get over that fear is to confront it head on so you can know that there is nothing to fear.

  22. #22
    Silver Member CynthiaD's Avatar
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    Danielle, I agree with your comments, as far as it goes. There can be many reasons why people don’t go out en femme or shop for female clothing while in drab. Many are legitimate, and I would never encourage a person with legitimate reasons for not going out. However, worrying about what strangers think of you is not, by itself, a legitimate reason. Nor is discomfort, by itself. Challenging your comfort zone can be very rewarding, like the first time I went downhill skiing. Or the first time I bought panties for myself in a store many miles from my home. This last is a moment I treasure, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything even though I was more nervous than I’ve ever been. I felt really good about buying those panties, and I don’t feel it’s wrong to share these feelings with others or encourage others to have similar experiences. In short, if you’re thinking about going out en femme, or buying female clothing in drab, just do it! Go to a different city, if you must. But just do it. You won’t regret it.

  23. #23
    Seňora Member
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    My response is (1)So what? (2) Stop making excuses for yourself

    Don't get me wrong I am not an in your face chanting "We're here, we're Queer, get used to it" type. But when I go to a store I expect the employees are there to do their job and nothing else. If you work in retail and serving certain members of the public makes you uncomfortable then you need to rethink your career choices.

    I will never apologize for being who I am, nor will I be apathetic of discrimination.

    Because flat out this is no different than saying you are fine with someone who says "Serving black people is outside my comfort zone" and black people should think about that before they go into a place of business.

    Overall your post contained all the same tired old arguments I would use to talk myself out of shopping or otherwise enjoying myself most of my life. Once I fully accepted myself those arguments lost their logic.

    Remember if someone had a problem with you, YOU are not the one with the problem.
    Last edited by Robertacd; 12-28-2019 at 01:13 PM.

  24. #24
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    I think that's a good reminder, Danielle. I was doing this long before there was an internet. When I joined here I was further along and more experienced than just about anybody. I thought it was silly that others on here with the same inclinations would be so afraid/hesitant to do things that I'd already been doing since I was a kid. It wasn't long before many members here passed me by, and instead of being in the advanced class I was falling behind, and I was the one feeling some pressure to get out of my comfort zone. I thought I had a pretty big comfort zone to begin with. Perspectives change.

  25. #25
    Silver Member Micki_Finn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertacd View Post
    My response is (1)So what? (2) Stop making excuses for yourself

    Don't get me wrong I am not an in your face chanting "We're here, we're Queer, get used to it" type. But when I go to a store I expect the employees are there to do their job and nothing else. If you work in retail and serving certain members of the public makes you uncomfortable then you need to rethink your career choices.

    I will never apologize for being who I am, nor will I be apathetic of discrimination.

    Because flat out this is no different than saying you are fine with someone who says "Serving black people is outside my comfort zone" and black people should think about that before they go into a place of business.

    Overall your post contained all the same tired old arguments I would use to talk myself out of shopping or otherwise enjoying myself most of my life. Once I fully accepted myself those arguments lost their logic.

    Remember if someone had a problem with you, YOU are not the one with the problem.
    You might want to re-read the post. Seems like you missed the part where she was talking about CDs respecting other CDs fear of the public, so you coming in and telling her to “stop making excuses for yourself” COMPLETELY misses the point.

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