At last week's meeting with Sandy, my voice coach/therapist, she recalled that early in our work together she'd offered to also coach me on feminine poise, mannerisms. Was I still interested? Absolutely! We thus spent a very fun hour working on my walk during which I recalled the line, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain."
As with so much in life the differences between how men and women stand and walk are subtle. For some none of this may matter but for me I want the whole package. Here's some of the high points which are admittedly hard to describe in words but I'll try.
- Women occupy less space than men. They tend to keep their arms and hands near their bodies, don't stretch their arms out on couches and chairs. If there's one thing to remember that's numero uno.
- When standing (such waiting for a stoplight to change, keep both feet pointing straight forward, ankles touching. It's a bit of a balancing act at first. Stand upright as if there is a string that enters the top of your skull and travels through your body to the floor.
- There are several aspects to the walk. It helps to first notice how you walk (if you're a trans woman) "normally." Most men, for example, lead their stride by throwing out their feet/heel to create the momentum to keep moving. The ankles tend to travel further apart and toes are often splayed outward. The overall situation is that men follow their feet. Women, however:
- Push off their stride with their toes and the torso catches up while the other foot pushes off with its toes. Women's calves then tend to follow their torso.
- Shorter, calmer strides than men.
- Toes are pointed straight forward, ankles traveling close to each other as the feet glide past.
- Walk with upright good posture, as if two strings are tied to your clavicle and gently pulling you forward.
That's about it. We put about 15' of masking tape on the floor in two stripes about 5-6" apart. Its a good exercise to walk along those tapes, keeping the toes forward. Move forward and backward so as to work on embedding the new walk into your muscle memory.
I'm far from an expert with it but it's fun to be aware of and use.
Last night I went over to a friend's house for dinner and wore shoes with 1 1/2" heels. As I walked around my house, to the car, etc., it became so clear why women walk the way I described. Having heels on shoes makes it quite awkward to walk like a man and naturally encourages walking like a woman. Fun!