I step out at least once a month, and almost every time I go out I am told by a cashier, a barista, another shopper, or someone simply passing by in the mall that they love my dress. These compliments have all been from women.
This makes my day, obviously. Everyone loves a compliment and I am flattered by not only the kind words but also touched by the fact she went out of their way to say so.
I started to wonder if this was a common exchange, though. Do women normally compliment complete strangers on their outfit? I started to listen to conversations at the store, the checkout lane…anywhere I could to see if women offered compliments out of the blue to other women. I would hear the occasional “I love your blouse” or “cute haircut”, but these exchanges were not very common.
Now, I am not saying that my sense of fashion is better than anyone else. That’s not the point. I do not think I receive, or deserve, compliments any more often than anyone else.
I started to wonder if “I love your dress” was…well, if it was code in a way. If it’s a way of saying “I support the transcommunity” and “You are welcome here”. The more I hear this, the more certain I am correct. I believe that in the current climate where the transgender community is more out than ever, more politicized, more scrutinized and more visible than ever, that this is a way of saying they are an ally.
I hope I’m right. I would rather have someone identify themselves as an ally rather than complimenting me on my outfit.
Of course, they can do both. 🙂
15 thoughts on “Love Your Dress!”
I agree with your brief analysis of your interactions with other women I am certainly not any kind of a model or beauty queen as I step out. As a matter of fact I seem to be quite the opposite in my own View. But I like to dress nice I like to feel nice and I like to have others see me looking that way. I think that those who comment to me about my hair my dress my makeup are indeed saying that they support me as a person of the trans community, and their acceptance of me in the community as a whole. I am full-time transgender and so in my view I’m just a member of the community as a whole. Best wishes to you as an occasional trans member. For those of us that are full-time it’s just another day love your comments, Bobbie Jo.
I was at a Nordstrom in suburban Chicago and I needed to use the bathroom. I had been going out on a semi-regular basis for the prior six months but this was going to be my first time in the ladies loo.
I walk in, no one is there. Perfect. Enter a stall, finish my business, and exit the stall. Oops. Two women at the sinks, one a few feet to my right.
Before I could do anything, the woman to the next of me says, “that’s a beautiful dress”. Not what I expected to hear.
Washed my hands, went to the counter to make my purchases, and tell the sales angel I had been with about what had just happened. The same woman walks by, repeats the comment about it being a beautiful dress.
Then another sales agent asks what color my lipstick is (so I dig it out of my purse and tell her). That night the waitress complimented me on the color of my nail polish.
Three comments on one day. Certainly has helped my confidence about going out.
I think it’s a bit of both too. People wouldn’t compliment us if we looked bad (or dull), and bear in mind we tend to make the effort to look good when we go out, which we should to set a good example.
I’m sure there are times when they are principally encouraging us with their support (like a recent trip to Ladies Day at Brighton races – mind you I looked great and have a gorgeous photo a friend took, which I might mail to you!).
And sometimes it is a genuine comment on the particular dress or shoes: I had a couple of women say about a particular dress that they’d seen it on-line and wondered what it looked like for real – and that I looked good in it 🙂
Certainly in my experience Women do pay each other more compliments than men do, I have never heard a straight man say to another “Nice suit”. I like your take on this as I have often wondered if it was “lovely nice dress”……considering you’re a man!
I will take compliments wherever they come from, but I will also take support.
Hard to know for certain the nature and intention of the comment.
However, in these days of hate and intolerance, random nice things always welcomed and appreciated.
And, no doubt that it was a pretty dress!!!
While I will acknowledge women have plenty to be jealous about when it comes to what men can do in this world, I have always been jealous of a woman’s right to wear graceful pretty clothes. Moreover, listening to women compliment each other on hair makeup and clothing has always been enjoyable to me, and something I would most like to participate in. I love reading customer reviews on clothing websites because they tend to be full of comments like “I got lots of compliments when I wore this skirt”. Lately, I’ve been complimenting women on their skirts and dresses out in public. It’s the only way I feel I can participate in “skirt culture”.
I think its totally wonderful that you get nice comments, and are accepted as who you are, I also think its wonderful that you are you and you live as you, however that may be. I’ve found that sometimes, actually, a lot of times people don’t know how to react to someone different so they say things which are nice, but possibly out of place in some way. Its the same for so many things, not just trans, cross dress, whatever…
If someone had really gone the mile and looks amazing and wants to fit in, then a person isn’t going to say “I know your not one of us but I see you’re trying”, so take the complements and friendly remarks and enjoy living.
best wishes to you and I like your blog and just started reading it.