Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Discussion of fashion elements and looks that are traditionally considered somewhat "femme" but are presented in a masculine context. This is NOT about transvestism or crossdressing.
Skirtlover61
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Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Skirtlover61 »

The other day I was in a CVS Pharmacy, I was wearing a dress and high heels. When I started to check out a lady in there said to me, "hey ma'am I like your dress." I thanked her. She said, "it really looks good on you girl." I thanked her again. She asked me if she could take a picture and I agreed to it. She said, "you go girl." I told her to have a good day. I think she made the next comment on purpose. She said, "you have a good day too sir, I mean ma'am." I laughed at her comment. The lady that checked me out said that she liked my dress. I thanked her and made the comment, "a girl
has to look good." She laughed and told me that I have a great sense of humor. She said that it was refreshing to see a man wearing a dress and that I'm very brave to do it. I told her that I had been wearing skirts and dresses since early 2008 and have loved every minute of it. She said that was great and to keep doing it.
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Pythos
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Pythos »

This post to me was both good and bad.

Good because the girl knew you were a man.

Bad because you fed the stereotype that men in dresses want to be recognized as women.

Playing around with the idea with her would be fine, but after the third time, or before I left her I would have said something like "why is it you call me maam when I am obviously male? Do I call you sir for wearing pants? Think about that little double standard. Oh and thanks for the compliment"

This is not a slight toward you, but remember, feeding stereotypes keep them alive. I personally want them dead.
" Pre-conceptions are the biggest enemy of humans. they prevent us from moving forward. If you want to see "another reality" you must first throw out your pre-conceptions. Every thing starts from there." -Mana
Stuart
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Stuart »

Pythos wrote:This post to me was both good and bad.

Good because the girl knew you were a man.

Bad because you fed the stereotype that men in dresses want to be recognized as women.

Playing around with the idea with her would be fine, but after the third time, or before I left her I would have said something like "why is it you call me maam when I am obviously male? Do I call you sir for wearing pants? Think about that little double standard. Oh and thanks for the compliment"

This is not a slight toward you, but remember, feeding stereotypes keep them alive. I personally want them dead.
Pythos, while I agree with everything you said, I wish you could have said it more gently.

A fellow male skirter was in out in public, wearing an outfit that many of us wouldn't dare, and he had a positive interaction with a stranger. The anonymous female in the story was comfortable enough with his dress that she made light of it. IMHO, this is wonderful news, and I'm grateful that skirtlover61 A) had the guts to dress this way, and B) that he took the time to report his story, objectively and in detail to us all. (skirtlover61 reported the bad as well as the good; he could as easily summarized his story by omitting the details you found objectionable.)

In general, "it's all good," and I think this board is here so that skirtlover61 can inspire the rest of us to be as daring. I say, Bravo to skirtlover61!

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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by crfriend »

From personal experience, I think this can be viewed both ways.

I've gotten a, "I like your dress" comment before -- from a liquor-store cashier in barrier-island Florida -- and it was genuine. I thanked her very politely, but pointed up that it was, in fact, my red waistcoat worn atop a closely-matching skirt; her confusion was justified and understandable. Chuckles and some conversation followed, and it was altogether very positive. From this skirtsman's point of view, nothing but good came from the exchange: she took away an image of a confident and polite man in decidedly "alternative" attire who could -- and did -- engage her in cogent conversation.

From the other side of the fence, I can see how the original poster's experience might not have been so positive as the observer repeatedly confused the skirt-wearer's sex; this is where the problems arise. I do not, nor can I, know the observer's mind-set, nor do I have a concrete image of the outfit that the OP looked like or what he was trying to project.

There's not enough to go on to properly make a judgment call.
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Pythos
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Pythos »

What CF friend is what I was trying to say, and frankly I saw no better way of saying it.

Stuart ,how would you have tried to convey the message I was trying to get across? (that allowing the girl to constantly refer to him as a her was actually not a good thing.)

We want to be accepted as "normal" men, just with a wider fashion sense than most. Not as women or wannabe women.

Heck even when I wore drag, at Rocky I liked to be referred to as male, LOL.

The experience was good, but the girl did not go away with an image of a confident man, but instead of a man wanting to be a woman. That does not really help, in my opinion.
" Pre-conceptions are the biggest enemy of humans. they prevent us from moving forward. If you want to see "another reality" you must first throw out your pre-conceptions. Every thing starts from there." -Mana
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Stuart »

Pythos wrote:What CF friend is what I was trying to say, and frankly I saw no better way of saying it.

Stuart ,how would you have tried to convey the message I was trying to get across? (that allowing the girl to constantly refer to him as a her was actually not a good thing.)

We want to be accepted as "normal" men, just with a wider fashion sense than most. Not as women or wannabe women.

Heck even when I wore drag, at Rocky I liked to be referred to as male, LOL.

The experience was good, but the girl did not go away with an image of a confident man, but instead of a man wanting to be a woman. That does not really help, in my opinion.
Apologies for using another cliche': "Don't sweat the small stuff." IMHO, the best course would be to ignore it. If the woman is deliberately trying to insult you, ignore her. If she is sincerely trying to be complimentary, and the offensive part is unintentional, ignore it. If you can't tell, ignore it.

IMHO, it shows more confidence/manliness/testosterone/whatever to not worry about what others think. Clearly, skirtlover61 was not worried about what other pharmacy shoppers might think; he wore a dress and heels into the drugstore.

If you are deeply offended by the "compliment," you could try to explain your feelings and defend yourself, but how likely are you to change somebody's attitude? If they are trying to insult you, your protest will be interpreted as weakness; if they were trying to be nice, they'll think you're ungracious for rejecting their compliment. Drop it!

Men in skirts are still a novelty, and we can expect some insults along with the compliments. If every imperfect encounter with The Public turns into a lecture about how we want to be treated, other bystanders will think us overly sensitive, or "stuck up." (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=stuck+up) The same advice applies if you're wearing a skirt, and someone refers to your "dress." Smile, roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, let them know that you heard them and you're not bothered, then move on. It's nice to be validated, but we're not skirting to get compliments; we're doing this four ourselves. A few insults, intentional or otherwise, are not going to stop us.

Honestly, this is all armchair quarterbacking. Only one of us was there, and I think skirtlover61 is to be commended for "wearing his convictions" and not getting flustered by one misguided female.

stuart
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by AMM »

For what it's worth, the woman making the compliment might have thought that skirtlover61 wanted to be addressed as "ma'am."

I would guess that the majority of men who go to the drug store wearing a dress and heels are Orthodox Crossdressers, and they would prefer to be called "ma'am." Especially if they aren't really able to "pass," they might be delighted. Crossdressers.com is filled with little vignettes like these.

So one possibility for those of us who weren't there to consider is that the woman in question had some knowledge or experience of Crossdressers, and was doing her best to be understanding and considerate. It was just her hard luck to run into one of the exceptions, a man in a dress who would have preferred to be called "sir."

But, as a few others have pointed out, we weren't there (well, except for the OP :) ), so we can't really say what she was thinking.
Skirtlover61
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Skirtlover61 »

Since I was wearing a dress, high heels, and nail polish in the drugstore, maybe the woman thought it was okay for her to call me a girl and address me as ma'am. It did not bother me one bit what she said, I thought the best thing I could do was to laugh it off and play along with her. If she had said something ugly I would have ignored her. When a person says something to insult us it often makes them worse to get defensive and tell them what we think. I did not have to explain to her that I'm a man, she could tell that. Maybe she was just playing when she called me ma'am and did not mean anything by it. I was not the least bit worried what the people in the drugstore thought about me. I don't worry about what anybody thinks about me. I'm very happy wearing skirts and dresses and high heels and I'm going to keep doing it. Nobody is going to get me down.
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by r1g0r »

a lot of businesses have gotten lawyer-driven guidelines for dealing with "unusual" customers or employees.

she may have been trying to comply with a directive that was less than coherent.

if it didn't sound like she was "baiting" you, then it sounds like a positive experience. :D
you know... george orwell warned us!
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Pythos
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Pythos »

Ok, I need to ask this.

Are we trying to get skirts and other items of clothing not normally considered "masculine" accepted as men's wear? Or are we just trying to be accepted as what ever people want to call us?

Frankly I find the acceptance of this person repetitively being called Ma'am, against the goals of this site. If he was trying to pass as a woman, would that not constitute true cross dressing? Is not one of the rules of this site that it is not about cross dressing?

I am confused as to the stance of some on this matter.

I am not trying to cause problems, just trying to raise awareness of an inconsistency. Recently I saw a thread concerning women's jeans where the OP was basically run off this site (Though I think it was entirely his choice). That was about wearing women's jeans (which I personally don't understand, but at the same time do not think it warrants written abuse from other members here).

Now for some fun

If I was in this get up and called ma'am, and my goal was to pass, then I would not be offended, or raise the matter, just be happy that this nightmare actually passed.
DSCF0927.JPG
Now if in this getup and called ma'am, I would at first shirk it off, but after the next incident I would gently correct the person.
DSCF0676.JPG
and just for fun in this one I would like no gender term. Just M'lord. LOL.
Regal sitting reworked.JPG
The point of this self indulgent silliness is that, I guess the main question would be. What did the OP look like when being addressed as ma'am? Was he trying to pass as a woman? If so, is that outside the scope of this forum?

I am not trying to say he should have been belligerent to the lady, but I am saying he should have clarified that he was a man, and would like to addressed as such.
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" Pre-conceptions are the biggest enemy of humans. they prevent us from moving forward. If you want to see "another reality" you must first throw out your pre-conceptions. Every thing starts from there." -Mana
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Bob »

This reminds me of an incident my wife and I had last week. We were on a long, late-night drive back to our hometown. We stopped for Burger King drive-through at a truck stop we frequent --- and also to get a new laptop battery out of the trunk. So I pulled into the parking lot, there was nobody around, I got out and opened up the trunk.

And who would appear, but this guy who approached me from behind and started off with "Excuse me ma'am...". Yes, I have long hair. Then he got up closer and said "oh I'm so sorry, sir..." etc.

Frankly, I didn't really care what he called me. The real problem came next, when he launched into his sob story, asking me for money. I told him "that's really weird," jumped in the car with my wife and left the area ASAP.
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by Since1982 »

Bob, I've had a similar thing happen to me several times. The only thing that comes to mind is they assume because we're different than the norm, we "must" be fraternal brothers to the BBB's. (BBB=Begging Bum Brothers). :D :D :D
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by AMM »

Pythos wrote:I am not trying to say he should have been belligerent to the lady, but I am saying he should have clarified that he was a man, and would like to addressed as such.
What if he doesn't care enough to make an issue of it?

One of the hard lessons that I'm still learning is that you can't straighten everybody out. No matter how hard you try, lots of people are going to get the wrong idea. About pretty much anything you do. There are enough battles that you do have to fight, there's no sense in looking for more. She didn't throw him out or call the cops; in fact, she was evidently trying to be nice. Why not just smile back and call it a day?
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by SkirtedViking »

Stereotypes, stereotypes.Yesterday I was in a huge store and there was a girl in a male folklore costume and no one bat an eye.When those costumes were worn it was as normal for a woman to wear it as it is normal now for a guy to wear a dress and heels.But nowadays since the stereotype has changed for women it is perfectly fine.And no one called her sir...
There is nothing worse than double standard!
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Re: Hey Ma'am I Like Your Dress

Post by DALederle »

This is all "in the eye of the beholder" sort of thing.
Our culture has, for hundreds of years, fed us positive ideas on women dressing as men. From the legends of women warriors disguised as men to the Hollwood image of women in the old west putting on jeans to do chores around the ranch. So when women began to casually go out in pants and other male garb the culture was ready to accept that idea.
But the idea of men in feminine style clothing has always be presented as either a joke or crime. You have either lost a bet or you are pervert. The ground work for postive male images in feminine attire has never been made.
And that is one of the problems MIS-MIK face in trying to seperate us from the CD/TV culture, which was the only male in skirts most of the public knows about.
I was at a Ren. Faire wearing an earth tone, broomstick skirt and had a man address me as "m'am" until turned around and looked at him. Then he apologized and called me sir! I wasn't wearing heels or anything else feminine, just the skirt.
I think the gender reference becomes what we're used to seeing and expect to see.
But sir or mam? I don't care as long as it is not a harange about how wrong I am for being me.
DALederle :D
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