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Thread: Passing. Trains. Bus. Food. Coffee.

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2021

    Passing. Trains. Bus. Food. Coffee.

    A detailed travel account for those on the verge of stepping outside of their homes:

    Everytime I step out of the house dressed enfemme, I feel like the character Irene in the first few minutes of the newly released movie (Netflix) 'Passing', conscious and nervous. And yet the voice in my head keeps telling me that I must go out and have faith in the populace around. The calming voice repeats that I will be alright.

    I had booked the train tickets to travel to New York City this week two months ago. I have taken the Amtrak on the NE corridor acouple of times in the past, just never during the day and never enfemme. Something prompted me to just go for it and own it. I never thought that I was capable of stepping out into the wide public domain like this. I have made several car trips enfemme, but the privacy of the car makes it a non-event until you are at your destination. In contrast, spending a good chunk of the day traveling by train, subway and bus to get to the destination was almost unimaginable for me. Still, the voice in my head kept persuading me to do it. I gave in.

    The preparations took some time. I did not have a women's coat and the forecast was on the colder side. I bought one. I had a wig, which is not my favorite, but it would do the job. I have limited wardrobe, with a few dresses and only a couple of blouse, sweater and jeans outfits. I knew that the jeans and sweater outfit would be easier, but was I missing an opportunity to wear a dress. My options in dresses were either of the two floral long sleeve dresses or one of the few sweater dresses in solid fall colors that I own. It's November, too late for the floral ones. Sweater dresses pair well with leggings and booties. With a newly acquired trench coat, the outfit was decided.

    So what is the big deal here? Face, it's the damn face! Square and manly, dense facial hair giving my skin a greenish blue shade right after a close shave. The mandatory mask on the public transport only hides a part of the face. I clean up well, but I am a man, and there's no hiding that, even with the longer hair, a floral mask and a few added curves to the body. Anyone who sees me for a second would know I am a male, or used to be one, and making my best efforts to present as a woman. Makeup is not very kind to my skin, so I stick to very light makeup, which doesn't make me look too different from how I look most of the time. The voice in my head, once again, tells me to have faith in people. Most people are decent. Moreover, I will be traveling under my real name, with my driver's license for ID and using the credit card under my name. My intent is not to fool someone that it is someone else, it is just to be myself the way I see and feel myself to be sometimes.

    I cannot leave from the house dressed enfemme for a multitude of reasons, same as the ones many members of this forum have. On the way to the station is the library, providing enough privacy to transform in less than twenty minutes. I stepped out of the house underdressed beneath an oversized drab jacket and a pair of jeans, carrying the wig, dress, coat and a handbag in my luggage. At the library, I go inside in drab and come out enfemme in about 20 minutes. I saw the cameras scratching their heads as I walked back to my car.

    I like to plan things and I like to be early, to work, to airports, to meetings, to parties, basically to everywhere I want or I have to be. I had accounted for traffic delays but boy there was traffic jam on the interstate. I took an exit to the local roads only to find a disabled semi causing a mile long backup. I try to apply some makeup in my car and gather my belongings to save time when I do get off the car. I reach the parking garage two blocks away for the station 20 minutes before departure. Having never parked at that garage before, the signs directed me to the 7th level. I got out of the car, threw my coat on and with 17 minutes to departure, I dragged my luggage and ran towards the elevator. I was so hurried that I couldn't find the elevator button. I darted across to the other corner for the other elevator. I had company in the elevator, a family of four with young children. Exiting out of the elevator I dashed to the station crossing two intersections without waiting for the pedestrian crossing signals to turn white. At times, I was carrying the luggage instead of rolling it. Entering the station, with only a cursory view of the track number and 'now boarding' sign, I just ran to the track and boarded the train seconds before the conductor closed the door. I verify with the conductor if I'm on the right train and she verifies. I find my window seat only to find I have company on the adjacent seat, a man in his 30s. The seats behind us weren't occupied so I put my luggage and my coat and my handbag on it to catch my breath. I then stowed my luggage on the overhead shelf and headed to the restroom. Remember the cooler weather forecast, that was for the next day. On the day of the travel it was 62 degrees and I was wearing a sweater dress with leggings and booties and a trench coat along with a winter hat. As far as the outfit goes, it wasn't uncommon to see other women wearing coats and hats and such but they hadn't run two blocks to catch train and weren't likely wearing wigs. I was hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. Since it was a short trip, I wasn't carrying extra clothing except for the PJs, one complete set of drab clothes for the return trip and one extra sweater dress for emergency. Moreover, my clothes were in the stowed luggage and it would have been awkward to change back to drab now that nearly 50 other people in that car had already seen me enfemme, including the conductor and a TSA agent. So I took my wig and my mask and my hat off, and stood still in the restroom cool off. Luckily, I was carrying a bottle of water in the handbag, and after ten minutes of standing still and breathing calmly I felt better. I applied some light makeup, put the mask, earrings and the wig back on, put on my coat and walked back to my seat requesting the man in the isle seat to make space for me to reach the window seat. As I walked down the isle, a few people glanced but no one reacted one way or another. Have faith in the people around you, the voice in my head reassured me.

    Even though the announcement said that traveling in business class was like traveling in a quiet car, the man next to me talked continuously on the phone, not in a disturbing way with his airpods, but in a low monotone voice which kept putting me to sleep. I was determined to not sleep as a I wanted to the see the scenery outside while it was still daytime so I kept fighting with myself to stay awake. Across the isle was a young mom with her kindergartner daughter and was dressed very smartly in a dropped shoulder V neck sweater with fitted pair of jeans and a fashionable long coat. When dressed enfemme, I'm not very comfortable wearing just a sweater dress without some kind of light jacket on so I wore a cotton jacket to complete my outfit for the train ride.

    I read for sometime, I stared out of the window, walked a few cars over to the cafe car for a coffee. I got a few short stares from the crew in the cafe car, but they were of a curious kind rather than the bad kind. I couldn't tell if the attendant called me sir or not but that's not something that I let myself be bothered by. As long as you are respectful and dont go out of your way to make me uncomfortable intentionally, I don't demand special treatment. All I ask is basic courtesy you would extend to any other passenger. Once when I was in the restroom in the middle of the journey, a woman knocked a few times and when I stepped out she apologized and said that she really had to go and the other restroom's door was stuck closed. I got a few curious glances as I returned to my seat but nothing out of the ordinary.

    The man sitting next to me talked on the phone for the entirety of the trip, hanging up finally on his 9th call when the train was approaching New York city. He just got up and headed straight to the exit which allowed me enough space and time to gather my luggage and put on my coat to exit the train.

    I have been to the Penn Station before but the Moynihan Train Hall where the Amtrak trains now stop was a new territory for me. I bought a ticket for the LIRR. On the LIRR, I was in the last car, and when it was announced the last car wouldn't make it to the platform, I had to talk to the conductor and an operator to help me move to the next car. The grumpy old operator as well as the young gentlemanly conductor were both courteous and helpful. Neither addressed me as ma'am or sir but treatment was at par with what is typically offered to women.

    It was nearly 8pm by the time I reached the local train station and the Airbnb I was staying at was still a bus ride away. I was starving as all I had was some juice and coffee aboard the train. I saw a Panera and I went in. My plan was to also change into semi drab before heading to the Airbnb as the check in process included meeting with the host to get the keys to the apartment. I paid for food and asked to used the restroom which was locked. It was big and clean enough for me to change but there was a little line behind me so I didn't think it was right to hold off everyone for ten to fifteen minutes it would take me to change. I headed back to the cashier to pick up my takeout for which I had already paid. The whole establishment was run by women and girls but a different girl was at the counter now. So as I picked up the bag, she asked me out loud, "Sir, have you paid for the food already?" Like I said, I don't let such occurrences affect me. She seemed new, probably still in school or college, and she was just making sure the customer had paid for it. She couldn't see me below the waist from across the counter, I was carrying backpack and luggage and the handbag across my shoulders over the coat covering the bulges on the chest somewhat. I politely said yes and as I exited her coworkers corrected her calling me sir. There was no reaction from any other customer, probably because it was New York or perhaps everyone has had a long enough day. I thought I would change at a McDonalds near the Airbnb where I intended to stop for a coffee anyway.

    After a ten minute bus ride, I went inside the McDonalds. I headed straight to the restroom before ordering coffee but the women's had a 'Out of service temporarily' poster on the door. The men's room was open for use and even though I was tempted, I couldn't go in dressed as I was as there other customers, mostly men around. As I went to the cashier to place my order, the middle aged woman at the register said, "Sorry sweetheart, the restroom is unavailable." I ordered a coffee and as a I waited there was some confusion with multiple orders which kept delaying the coffee. The cashier was also the manager and she checked the status of the coffee twice or thrice with her staff. A rowdy drunken man, who seemed to know the manager was creating a scene inside. I moved a few steps back near the tables to wait for the coffee. The other customers were waiting too, all men, but they all seemed to keep distance from this guy. After a full five minutes which seemed like an hour, the manager came to the counter and looking said looking at me, "Ma'am, your coffee is ready and I apologize for the delay." As I stepped forward, the guy who was making a scene approached the manager first to take my coffee. She said to him that the coffee is hers (mine) and the guy said that he would give it to me. She then warned him to stand back and that she'll call the cops and handed me the cup of coffee. I left quietly, carrying coffee in one hand, handbag on the shoulder, takeout from Panera in the other hand, backpack on the bag and rolling my luggage with the same hand carrying dinner. The apartment was a couple of blocks away and although it wasn't even 9pm, it felt odd walking alone.

    There was nothing I could do to change my appearance. While walking on the sidewalk, I briefly stopped to take my wig off and put my hat back on. I unbuttoned the coat partially and threw a scarf around my neck, the way men do, to cover hide my 'breasts' and the dress belt. I stashed the handbag inside the luggage and proceeded to ring the doorbell at the host's apartment. The host's husband met me at the door and after brief introduction, took me to the apartment's entrance and showed me around. He offered to carry my luggage up the stairs which I accepted and after a quick walk around we said good night and I locked the door from inside and sat on the chair in state or disbelief about the day that I just spent. When my phone pinged with a text notification five minutes later, I unlocked it to read the text from the host (the wife this time), "Hi (my name), welcome to our home. Please feel free and safe to text me if you need anything during your stay." "Have faith in the people around you", the voice in my head reassured me and I smiled and texted "Thank you so much!"

    If you made it to the end and have any questions, please just ask, here or in the messages.
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    Last edited by Prazia; 11-21-2021 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Added attachment.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator char GG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    You had quite the adventure getting to your destination. I hope that you enjoyed the rest of your stay in NYC.

  3. #3
    Member Marissa Q's Avatar
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    Sep 2021
    SF Bay Area, CA (US)
    What magnificent detail, Prazia, and what a knockout first post here! I fell right into your story and felt some of your trepidation as if my own. All these small, innocuous acts that most of us hardly think about while in male mode -- taking a train/bus, ordering food, coffee -- suddenly take on epic proportions when venture out en femme.
    Again, thanks so much for bringing your story here and taking us along with you.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member kimdl93's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Nearing the end of the trail.
    You have captured many more details than I ever manage to during an outing. Well done!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    NJ, where else?
    Prazia, so awesome an adventure! Living in the NYC area and having worked there for far too many years, I'd say you saw about 20% of the crazy that is out there and did so incredible a job of just rolling with it, an inspiration to all of us to just go for it. Being out of town helped but you kicked butt and just kept going.

  6. #6
    Aspiring Member Barbara Joanne74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Oregon, South of Portland, North of Salem
    Prazia, thanks for sharing your adventure with us. I hope you were able to enjoy it. It is a big step to go out in the world the first time, especially if you dont have much confidence. Hold your head up high. Enjoy your time being you.


  7. #7
    Member FrannGurl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Sounds like it turned out to be a great day despite the few inconveniences. Thanks for sharing !

  8. #8
    Aspiring Member MonicaPVD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    New England
    Sounds like a wonderful time. That green/blue tint on your face is solved with orange concealer on the bare skin, underneath whatever foundation or base you use.

  9. #9
    Gold Member Helen_Highwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Midlands UK
    This was a post I had to read as only a few days ago I'd travelled enfemme by train and bus. Not my first time but not something I've done that often.

    I've always been treated well. I buy my ticket on the train, I've had little conversations with the train attendants, even chatted to fellow travellers.

    I think I actually relish the opportunity it brings to experience those interactions with the wider community. To do the things we take for granted while in drab.

    Getting mis-gendered goes with the turf. However I find that the cast majority of folks I come into contact with respond as if I was female and trust me on this, up close I don't pass.

    As for your beard covering I'll give you a second bullet to bite on. Go get your makeup checked in-store. Go enfemme, be confident and all will be fine. It might cost you a bit in products but if it improves your look, that will improve your confidence and no price is too much for that.

  10. #10
    Just finding my way.... StaceyJane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Harker Heights
    I've been thinking about taking a trip where I fly to JFK then ride the train all the way to Newark then fly home from the Newark airport. I've flown as stacey before but I don't know about getting around NYC as Stacey.

    I'm not a doctor, I just play one on TV.

  11. #11
    Aspiring Member Territx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Houston, TX
    Great story -- glad it ended weel with you at your destination.
    I am what I am and also what I am not!

  12. #12
    Platinum Member Beverley Sims's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Lowestoft UK. Beverley was here.
    Welcome to the forum.

    I look forward to seeing how you have progressed in the next six months.

    You are already doing well.
    Work on your elegance,
    and beauty will follow.

  13. #13
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    I went to Sephora and asked for an orange concealer. They were out of it unfortunately so I just bought an eye shadow palette and will return next week. I have known this technique fo use concealer but never used it before.

    [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Marissa Q View Post
    What magnificent detail, Prazia, and what a knockout first post here! I fell right into your story and felt some of your trepidation as if my own. All these small, innocuous acts that most of us hardly think about while in male mode -- taking a train/bus, ordering food, coffee -- suddenly take on epic proportions when venture out en femme.
    Again, thanks so much for bringing your story here and taking us along with you.
    Thank you Marissa. It makes all the writing (typing) worth even if one person here reads it and gets something from it.

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