I'd love some advice. While I was at a tailor recently, he assumed that I was male. By the time he asked for my name I felt that it wouldn't be safe to reveal that I wasn't, so I quickly made up a guy's name. I didn't have any issues, but I felt uncomfortable with the situation, and a little scared of what would happen if I'd ever revealed that I'm female. I've read your post on when to femme it up, but are there times when you have to try and pass and hope no one figures it out? Should I have approached the situation differently, or was flying under the radar the right way to go? Have you ever had an experience where you've had to do this?
Wow, scary incident. It sounds like you did the right thing: followed your gut and did what felt most safe in the situation. At an "uh-oh" time like that, I don't think there's a right or wrong thing to do; whatever keeps you safe is right. Something else to consider: make up some excuse about why you have to leave immediately--stomach flu, friend to meet, whatever--and get out of any situation where you don't feel safe. Leave the suit; it's just a suit. And when you come back, bring a friend (or have a friend go retrieve the suit for you). I'm very big on trusting my gut.
Even when it doesn't feel unsafe, a tailor's shop can be especially awkward. Here are a few things I've done in the past:
- Choose a female tailor. Odds are, you're less likely to feel unsafe. Better yet, choose a tailor with a rep for being queer-friendly. Ask around if you don't know one. And when you find a good one, be sure to leave a Yelp review to let other queers know.
- Make it clear up front that you're female. I now say something at the start like, "Even though I'm female, I want this suit tailored like a man's suit." It will be awkward for a second, but in my experience, it's much better than the alternative (wondering if you're really passing; worried that you'll be "found out").
- Bring a friend. This is never a bad idea. Safer and more fun.
What do you think, dear readers: did Bridget make a wise choice? Have you ever had a situation where you had to try and pass and hope no one figures it out?