Buying Beauty products

English: A crabtree in Stonegate. Sign over Me...This week I will be taking a field trip into the world of women’s beauty products. My family has just started a tradition of drawing names for gifts “Secret Santa” style and just getting one useful (and specified) gift rather than a whole slew of best guesses. (I’m glad to note that my mother and children under 16 are exempted from this new austerity.)

My partner and I drew one niece and one sister-in-law. Happily they were into similar gifts, body gels and shampoos, and they were wonderfully specific as to flavor and texture. Who knew there were so many choices of each? Not this butch.

But this butch does feel confident that somebody will help me out.

Pacific Centre Mall in Vancouver

Pacific Centre Mall in Vancouver (Photo credit: russilwvong)

One likes Body Works. The other favored Crabtree and Evelyn. I went straight to Google to the “location near you” and they are, one in the tony Pacific Center Mall and one in the even tonier Oakridge Mall.

Thanks to my new blog, I  am in anticipation of the adventure. Will they  even spot me as a woman? And if not, will they be  kindly, or fawning, or flirtatious? or however they feel they should minister to this man so endearingly out of his depth.

And do I play them and THEN tell them their mistake, which could only exacerbate their “gender shock ” and all the forms that might take, or do I tell them at the first sign of the wrong pronoun? I can pretty much always tell what gender someone takes me for by how they interact with me, but I feel awkward correcting them for what I know they think but aren’t saying. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop wondering if they will catch on and catch  me.

There is a certain “hey buddy” ambiance with men, and flirting/care-taking expectation with women which is unmistakable when I am perceived as a guy. Correcting that mistake at any of these points has a way of generating gender shock, sometimes bringing out the embarrassed and apologetic and sometimes the humiliated and angry and blaming. And that’s when it can get ugly. Nobody likes to look a fool. Even though I obviously NEED as much help and direction in this genre of shopping, the helpfulness does not extend to those who are not really men, but only passing.

But I will have to report “after” and that might make me no end of brave, plus, nothing like  an audience to embolden one.

Or I might correct nobody…pass as a man (so easy for me).

I’ll let you know.


4 thoughts on “Buying Beauty products

  1. roughbykasdorfs

    My sister is trans, so I sympathize with this dilemma! I don’t know how much help I can be, but I’d be happy to extend it if you ever have questions about shopping in this genre!

  2. Evelyn Battell

    Hi She – I’m dying to know how it went and am so thrilled that you now can tell a lot of us about each incident and use them to solidify your status as a real woman – my kind of woman – gutsy and fun. Good on you!


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