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  1. How I present myself in In and Out of Darkness


    By JayM, posted
    I don't like the term 'passing' because it sounds to me like I'm trying to fool people. I'm not 'passing' as male because as far as I'm concerned, I am male. These aren't 'tips for passing' as such, because it's just how I am and what I do, and my way of doing things won't work for, or resonate with, every trans male out there. I think we each need to find our own way of feeling comfortable with what we are and how we present that to the world. There is no right or wrong, and what feels natural for me won't necessarily feel good for another trans man. But here are my thoughts anyway.
    My husband has told me, more than once, that I have always 'walked like a man' - whatever that means  - so I thought I'd try to describe what that is for me. I have never attempted to walk in a consciously masculine or feminine fashion. I have to admit. I just walk. When I asked my husband to describe my walk to me, he said I take longer strides than the average cis woman, and I don't sway my hips. He also said I walk purposefully, as if I know where I'm going and want to get there. Since I ditched my last piece of 'female' clothing last year, he said he's noticed that I pull my shoulders back more and that sometimes I 'strut' when I walk. I'm not entirely sure what that means.
    I do think I'm more comfortable in myself, now that everyone knows who I am, and now that I don't have to dress in any female clothing anymore for appearances' sake, so maybe that extra comfort has made me a little more confident.
    I've never worn high heels. I've always been more comfortable in flat shoes and boots. Maybe that has influenced my walk.
    My hair is short. I cut it myself. I trim the back and sides with an electric hair trimmer and I cut the top with scissors. I admit that I haven't yet found the confidence to walk into a barbers' and ask them to cut it for me. But I hardly ever went to visit a 'female' hairdresser, even before I came out. I've always cut my own hair.
    I don't wear makeup and I didn't like to wear makeup even before I was out. Lipstick, on the odd occasions I wore it in the past (such as on my wedding day), never lasted more than ten minutes before I wiped it off - it always made my lips feel funny. I was never very good at putting on makeup when I had to and I always felt wrong in it, so it was something I avoided.
    ​I've always had a thing for aftershave rather than perfume (I think it smells nicer, generally) and I've bought 'male' deodorant for years because I preferred the scent. There's a thing I did discover, many years ago, about the difference between 'male' and 'female' deodorant. When I was supposed to be female, I shaved my armpits, as 'women' are encouraged to do in our society. If I had 'female' deodorant and used it after shaving, it stung horrendously - and women were supposed to buy special 'no sting' deodorant (which was more expensive) if they wanted to avoid that particular discomfort, not just use any old female deodorant. But here's the thing - 'male' deodorant doesn't sting after you've shaved your armpits. Whatever they put in 'female' deodorant that they don't put in 'male' deodorant is the culprit. But male deodorant smells nicer anyway so I've used that for years. And I stopped shaving my armpits a long time ago.
    My clothes are mostly casual. I have a couple of suits, dress shirts, ties and the like, but they don't come out often. Mostly I'm in jeans with button flies (I like button flies far more than zips) or chinos. I will wear a t-shirt over my binder and a long sleeved shirt over that. Sometimes I will button up the shirt but usually I like to leave it unbuttoned. I rarely tuck in my shirts. I find that if I tuck in a shirt, it's a little more obvious that my hips are larger than my waist. I haven't been taking the T long enough for it to have had a noticeable effect on the shape of my body (although it is happening, slowly - my waist is thicker and my thighs are thinner than before I started the hormone). When I do need to tuck in a shirt, I wear something over it, such as a jacket or waistcoat. My jeans and trousers sit on my hips, not my waist.
    Obviously, I wear a binder. Not only is it there to change my shape, it makes me feel more comfortable and confident. I've been wearing binders for years but only started wearing them seven days a week last year. It's probably more psychological than physical, but I feel more 'me' since I started wearing them full-time. I've bought binders from three different manufacturers but I prefer one of them over the others. It's easy to get them, too, because they're available online from a stockist in this country. I wear a packer, too, and they're available from the same stockist. That's also a psychological thing, I've found. I feel better when it's there. I feel bereft when it's not. When I bought my first packer, I soon realised that the one I'd bought was too big. I switched to a smaller size soon after and I tend to re-order the same 'make and model' when I need to.
    I have, in the past, spent a lot of money on STP devices - some very expensive ones have turned out to be a complete waste of money - but I didn't know that until I'd tried them. These days, I make my own. I know what works for me, now, but it did take a little experimentation.
    I don't think I'm 'fooling' anyone with how I look and behave and dress - but I do now feel more at ease with myself. Whether other people think I'm female, or male, or neither, doesn't matter to me as much as how it makes me feel to be presenting myself as me. 
    And I'm not trying to be a 'typical male' - because there is no such thing.
     
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