When I check into hotels for bondage photoshoots I usually arrive dressed up, but I do it in a more toned-down androgynous way, wearing girls’ jeans and a girl’s top and full makeup and a wig. I know mask wearing is controversial and political, but I do like wearing a Covid mask since I’ve been a germ phobe for decades, and they are great for the anonymity. (If only I’d known I could have been wearing a mask on the plane and at the gym all this time!) If it’s cold I’ll also wear my favorite ladies’ trench coat. The thing is, though, I don’t pass as a girl when I’m dressed in this casual mode. I’m certainly not going to show up at the check-in counter wearing a tight bodycon dress with hoop earrings and five-inch heels – not that there would be anything wrong with that – but in the summertime, no thanks. Besides, I have to load in my camera and lighting gear and all the bondage gear and clothes and heels. I’d be a sweaty blob by the time I got everything into the room – and I often end up a sweaty blob anyway.
Dressing in my “casual Sandra” mode, the one question I’ve been asked probably more than any other is, “Are you a musician?” It always makes me laugh when people ask that, as it’s just so ridiculous, but it also really underscores the point that I’m not passing as a girl. Hell, even in my regular boring “Robert” mode I’m occasionally asked the same thing (happened just a couple weeks ago in a parking garage) – probably because without a wig I have fairly long hair (though starting to thin in back like Prufrock) and I’m often wearing girls’ jeans anyway. So as casual Sandra I guess I just look like one of the guys from the band Sweet. You could do worse, I suppose.
My experience though does point out just how hard it is to fully “pass” as a woman – to meet someone and for them not to realize that I’m a crossdresser and to see me just as a genetic woman. It just doesn’t happen, at least for me, and I try not to kid myself into thinking that it will. Looking nice, that’s another matter, but passing and being seen as a genetic woman, that’s something else entirely. In any case it’s a subject for another blog post, maybe the next one. I know passing is controversial in the trans community but it’s worth reflecting on and being honest about. Hopefully more coming before too long.