Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Do You Do?

In my last post, I invited suggestions on how my outfit could be more feminine -- and you were wonderfully helpful.  Your ideas are sound and I learn from them.  I'd like to build on that response in another direction.

One thoughtful commenter suggests that, in addition to clothing, I explore activities to feel more feminine.  Her suggestions are things I already do -- with great enthusiasm.  I started incorporating these activities into my life during the past few years and find deep joy in them.  The expression, "Fake it 'til you make it," has some application here.  Diving into feminine activities makes me feel "normal" even when I'm inept at them.  Opening doors to female life is immensely fun for me.  Plus, I will eventually get better at them and growing mastery is pleasing in itself.

The commenter suggests (1) wearing perfume, (2) mani-pedi's, and (3) watching Fashion Police.  I replied to her and said: "You're right -- and I'm pursuing them with enthusiasm. I found and wear a wonderful scent (Harvey Prince's Hello); I paint my toes every week; and I not only watch Fashion Police every Friday, I bought my own Joan Ranger t-shirt." 

When I went to the Fashion Police website to buy the tee, I was surprised to discover that they only sell the shirts in women's sizes.  Are there no men in America who want to buy a FP t-shirt?  I guess I'm the only one.  I ordered the largest size they offer and hoped for the best.  It fits, barely, and shows off every muscle in my chest.

The commenter's kind suggestion makes me wonder if there are other activities out there that I would enjoy.  My vision on such things is not as broad as yours, so I'd like to ask you for help once again. What do you do that makes you feel feminine? 

There are some things that are not available to me (e.g., birthing a baby), but those are actually very few; most activities are open to everyone and just require desire and effort.  For example, I've always wanted to learn how to sew.  I plan to embrace that activity soon.  Several of you display masterful sewing creations on your blogs and I admire that skill.  Plus, knowing how to sew would actually improve my outfits since most thrift-store purchases would benefit from some tailoring.

What else is out there?  What do you do and enjoy?

47 comments:

  1. Now, see, you look GORGEOUS!! I've learned that adding some space between chin and chest improves almost any outfit, unless you're a giraffe.

    What Not To Wear is also a great resource. My fashion sense began to improve after my (gay) assistant threatened to send secret footage of me to the producers.

    Also: sewing/knitting/crocheting. That's what women do to calm down. If they're smart!

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    1. WNTW was my favorite show and I learned gobs from it. I'm sad it ended.

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  2. And bless you for shopping thrift stores.

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    1. Everyone should. Re-using barely-used clothing benefits the environment, charities and our wallets.

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  3. This is a great suggestion!! How about a pamper night? Treat yourself to nice bath products and take a hot bath. You can find bath products with amazing scents at tons of different stores but if you want to splurge you can go to Lush. They have amazing bath products with the most beautiful scents and they leave your skin feeling silky soft. There is a Lush store in the Roosevelt Field Mall if you are ever out here (there may be one closer to you, I'm not sure though). The products may seem expensive but you can usually get multiple uses out of them. There are also tons of amazing shops online that offer lovely, affordable products.

    Enjoy your bath with a good book, some music or just enjoy the silence. Add in a face mask and your favorite beverage (coffee, tea, wine, hot cocoa... whatever it may be) and make your pamper night that much more special.

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    1. I love this idea,Sarah!! Thank you so much. I've never done this before and am excited to try it. There's a Lush store in the Walt Whitman mall down the block from my house.

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    2. It's a fun experience just shopping in that store! Take your time and enjoy all of the amazing scents. :) enjoy!

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  4. You look fantastic in this long dress!
    I talked to a woman today who invites her friends over for an evening of wearing feather boas and sipping drinks from designer drinks glasses.

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    1. Ooohh, fun! Wonder how I can get invited?! :-)

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  5. OMG Ally you look wonderful. I love that dress, and you have a different facial expression! Kudos to you.....

    Some suggestions-
    -Getting a massage, facial, pedicure manicure
    -Taking a trip to spa castle as an excursion with you, your wife, (Martin and myself) and any friends you want to invite-A Korean Bath house in queens that is TOO DIE FOR!!! Believe me You willl LOVE IT! :-)
    -having a ladies tea party-complete with tea, scones, and fancy hats
    -trying fake eye lashes and taking some pictures with different eye lash designs, particularly the bright colorful ones
    -take a ballet, belly dancing, pole dancing, or some sort of dance class (yes it is totally acceptable for men to attend these classes) there is a really great local pole dancing belly dancing studio that i can recomend
    -Host a Mary Kay Make-up Party..(helps a local rep, gain some great make up ideas)
    -Have a passion/ slumber party- Yep girls sex toy party!
    -Do a photo shoot with a friend (hint hint)
    -Attend a transformation workshop (i an give you the info next time they have it)
    These are but a few suggestions.. ...Hope you can enjoy some of these, and create your own personal bucket list....

    PS i now see you have another Melanie on your friends list..lol...I will be Melanie Light :-)

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    1. Honestly, I've never been to a spa for anything. I thought they were off-bounds. Sounds enticing. And dancing! What a terrific idea. I don't know how to dance at all and would love to learn how. Plus, you get to wear cute dance costumes!

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  6. you look SO GREAT in that dress! like knockout spectacular!

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    1. Thanks! Good to hear from you, buddy.

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  7. Marvelous topic, dear Ally. The sky is pretty much the limit here, but a few things that have always made me personally feel deeply feminine are...

    -The colour pink. Cliche thought it may sound, there really is something about this soft, sweet, cheerful hue that instantly brings my girly-girl side to the forefront.

    -Spending time in the company of other women.

    -Shopping for items that men rarely, if ever wear, such as floral hair clips, feminine jewelry, and alluring lingerie.

    -Creating craft projects that embrace my feminine side via that use of certain colours and designs.

    And another, which you've already gotten great at, is simply wearing very ladylike styles. I'm an inherently feminine dresser and usually feel most like myself in styles that convey a sense of my womanly figure and traits.

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Stunning evening frock!

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    1. Wonderful ideas! After I wrote the post, I wanted to add as an example the joy I find in shopping for feminine items. Once I overcame my fear of being seen doing that, I discovered how much fun it is. And crafts! Terrific suggestion. That would really make me happy.

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  8. I say get a hat, a wonderfully feathery ott hat!!!!! You.look beautiful! X

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  9. have you tried a corset? if you're looking for a curvy figure. i'm all for a spa day at home, doing my hair, and playing with makeup. not sure what you sleep in, but maybe changing your attire for that?

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    1. I like the spa day idea. Never tried that. I have five nighties for lounging and sleeping. I've tried a corset which pulls in my tummy but doesn't do anything to the sides of my body (because of bone-structure) so it doesn't visually make me look curvier. Thanks for helping out, Elle -- you're sweet.

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  10. I feel like what I'm going to say is going to be a bit deep here, but hear me out. The fact that you FEEL such a compulsion to dress feminine, to me, means that there are other feminine feelings there that you just haven't tapped into. It's funny, a woman can write a post about being a lady and it can be taken as offense because other women will see it as trying to put women in a box of traditional femininity when every woman expresses her femininity differently. But as a man, when you pose the question of feminine activities, let's be honest, most of us will make the same suggestions! Ha! There are just things that come to mind when we think of being a woman....of being feminine.
    I would suggest that you are already there. I think as a woman, one of our strengths is that we are very sensual (I'm not talking sexual here, though we are that too, but rather sensual). We enjoy the feel of fabric on our skin. We love how a room smells lit with scented candles. We relish the act of grooming for its own sake. We feel seductively powerful with the wind blowing in our hair. I would suggest approaching everything that you already do everyday with the feminine attitude that is apparently already in you. The way you cook. The way you ride your motorcycle. The way you run your hand across your clothes in your closet and feel the difference in the textures. The way you keep your office. The way you touch your hair. How you hold your hands. An unabashed laugh! It's there. It's really not the activities that make you feminine, but rather it's what YOU bring to those that make them Shybiker feminine! I hope all this makes sense! It does in my head at least! :) Hugs to you my friend!! Serene

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    1. Beautiful, Serene. You are so right. I wondered if I needed to add explanation about this when I was writing the post but chose not to. Being feminine is not doing female activities but feeling female in doing everything. And, as a feminist, I don't believe there are any limits to what we should do.

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  11. You look stunning in that outfit.

    Wow there are so many good answers here to your question already I don't think I can add to them.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  12. To me, the epitome of feminie has always been the way a dancer moves, in particular a ballerina. They move with such grace. Have you ever thought of taking a class? I have thought about it myself, but fear I wouldn't look quite as graceful!

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    1. Yes yes yes!! I love dance and have dreamed about doing it often. I've even bought dance costumes just to wear. It's time I put them to use!

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  13. Some really great suggestions here! I have to second, third, whatever the spa/bath treatment - I love taking a long bath with bubbles and the whole nine yards. Or doing an at home facial is wonderful too.

    LOVE this elegant long dress on you!!

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  14. I wish I had some good suggestions, but I don't know how to describe a feminine activity. I like to use power tools and get dirty and garden, and I also like to play dress up. These were things my Mom and Dad allowed to be included in the female universe.

    One commenter above says that you probably have feminine feelings you want to tap into. I think that if there is something you feel less skilled at, that should be where you start. Like me, I feel like learning basic ballet has helped me feel more graceful. I didn't want to be more graceful so much because it's girly but because it was a personality characteristic/skill I wanted. You should seek out things along those lines.

    Identify a skill or a characteristic you want to embody and then figure out how to get closer to it. Also, if you really want to feel like a proper Victorian type lady like if that's femininity in your head, try a corset. Nothing is more archetypal of that type of ladylikeness than a corset laced up and squishing your insides.

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    1. I'll get dirty in the garden with you if you'll let me wear pink gardening gloves! :-)

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  15. First of all that dress fits you SO well !
    and regarding activities that may be perceived as feminine, I think you do most of the things I can think of. For me perfume, soft fabrics and girly movies do the trick.

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  16. Learning to sew is probably one of the best things that I learnt. also, taking cooking classes and local workshops will help and motivate you as well.
    Happy weekend.x/Madison :)

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  17. I might just be the most unfeminine person ever. I read through all of these comments and ideas and I haven't done hardly any of them. I've never been to a spa, I've never got a massage. I hate cooking and the last time I sewed, I jammed the machine and never touched it again for about five years. I've never had a tea/make-up/girly party. I took one dance class when I was 4 and cried the entire time. And I don't even really care for pink. In my own mind, I'm borderline dude, yet I've had others describe me as "dainty" and "feminine."

    So I'm inclined to agree with Serene. I think you're already there. It's not so much what, as women, we do, but how we do it. How we view the world and how we react. I think it's difficult to pinpoint what femininity is because every woman has their own "brand" of feminine based on their personality and experiences. I think it's about doing what makes you feel the most empowered and putting your spin on it. For you, as Serene suggests, it might be the way you ride your motorcycle. For me, it might be cussing like a sailor while I'm wearing a pair of heels. I think it's important not to categorize ourselves as "feminine" or "masculine". There's a LOT of middle ground there. So, my suggestion is do what YOU want to do, do it your way, and enjoy it! If that means throwing on a feather boa and drinking tea, that's cool. If it means swinging an axe or reorganizing the tools in the garage, that's fine too!

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    1. Good point, Ashley. Thank you for putting this conversation in a broader social context. Perhaps I should have been clearer in my language, although I think everyone knew what I meant.

      Gender is a complex subject. Masculinity and femininity serve as markers for gender but are fluid. Some men sew; some women work on cars. Those acts don't change the gender of the people doing them.

      I am merely asking readers for activities they enjoy doing, as ideas for things I might like to try. Raised male, I was forbidden from engaging in many female activities and even in adulthood I am discouraged from doing them. I want to transgress those social expectations and try new things.

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  18. Wow, you look so glamorous!! I think it's great for you to explore your feminine self through activities as well. It has made me wonder what I do that is feminine because I have never really thought about it, but now I must!

    I look forward to reading about what you are doing!!

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    1. Sharing my journey with you is fun for both of us.

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  19. You're already well versed in my favorite 'feminine' activity - cooking.

    How about dancing? It's definitely something you can do in the comfort of your own home. Nothing makes me feel better than dressing up in something that makes me feel cute and moving around.

    I know how to do 'girly' things like sew and paint my nails, but I don't really find enjoyment in them.

    Try knitting! Or Crocheting.

    When i was in highschool - EVERYONE learned how to knit. it was some weird fad that boys and girls alike were seen all over classrooms, halls, and lunch rooms with pairs of knitting needles and some project in their lap. Even I managed to learn to make a rectangle. Knitting is quite relaxing too!

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    1. Dancing! I love that idea. Don't tell anyone this but I look at YouTube videos of gals dancing to Beyoncé's "Single Girls" and try to imitate their movements.

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  20. That dress is absolutely stunning...you look fabulous! There are so many great suggestions already that I'm kind of stumped. One fragrance suggestion though...I find this helps my fragrance last all day. After my shower I mix lotion (actually in a complimentary scent, not the same) with my perfume and then put it on. That way it lasts and I have my own unique concoction!
    Debbie
    www.fashionfairydust.blogspot.com

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  21. Talk on the phone! That's what girls do! Or go for a drink... To talk! Or dessert, or tea... And talk. Or shopping. Or a massage. All fun stuff :) You look very glam, loving the strapless dress and gloves.

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  22. Dear Shybiker: I have a couple of suggestions that may be helpful. You could paint your toenails, because they are hidden in normal life. Also, you wear either a belly ring or a belly chain under every form of business clothing. Also, if you wear socks, an ankle chain would also be invisible. I can attest that a belly ring drives the boys crazee. Have fun!!

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  23. You look incredible! This dress is a beautiful style on you! There is so much more to being a woman than just the clothes (although clothes are a huge bonus), I think you're getting the hang of it! I'm honored that my comment provoked more ideas and thoughts for you!
    Regardless, I think standing up straight and proudly and representing YOU is most important.

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    1. I agree. Thanks again for your help.

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  24. This is why I like your blog: because it calls into question things that I never, ever think about. What makes me feel feminine? I don't know...I don't wear makeup, so scratch that. Maybe doing my nails/getting a manicure? But you already had that suggested to you. Wearing dresses makes me feel like a girl, I guess. I seem to be of no help.

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    1. But thank you for trying! And visiting.

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  25. For me it's taking a long time to get ready to go out. Spend time in your lingerie (do you have some?!) applying your makeup and doing your hair. Play your favourite music while you get ready. Have fun getting glammed up.

    I also feel feminine when I cook and bake for my partner. Food is love and feeding him makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I'm taking care of him. Like a woman should do.

    Have fun! Anything can make you feel feminine as long as your in the right mindset. (I feel like a powerful female while running for example. Not a particularly feminine activity, but it makes me feel good inside and out)

    Lisa.

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    1. Good suggestions, Lisa. Thank you. Usually I rush through putting on makeup, etc., to get ready for photographs and it's not fun. I should slow down and enjoy the process, as you say. I agree with you about the mindset being key to this.

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  26. I seem to equate strength with femininity. Whenever I surprise myself with something I thought that I couldn't do, I feel super-feminine, and I like that, so I dabble in all sorts of activities, from writing poetry to basic car maintenance. (and, apparently, the mother of all run on sentences.) If I can then do a happy dance afterwards in a circle skirt (make sure to spin), then that's even better. Also, I can't explain why, but eating fruit, especially cut up peaches makes me feel feminine.

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  27. I also agree with Jessica. Spend time in the company of other women.

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