Stealth Shopping

| Jun 11, 2007
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Angela GardnerLast week I was on a road trip in central Pennsylvania. Passing through the Harrisburg area I decided to stop at The Bon Ton store near the Capitol Mall and check out the bargains.(The Bon Ton is a department store chain in Pennsylvania.) I was traveling in stealth mode, muy macho. As I got out of my car in the parking lot I saw her. She was putting something in her car’s trunk. As she stood from placing the item she tossed her long blonde hair. Being in manly mode I found myself saying, Oh yeah baby.
She started toward the store at the same time I did and made it to the doors ahead of me. All the better for me to check out her butt, revealed as it was by a tight black mini. And, my good view also confirmed what I had thought at that first head toss—this leggy blonde babe was (cue the Dragnet music) a T girl.
What were the clues? She was well over six feet tall, her skirt was a couple of inches above her knees and she was wearing black, patent, ankle strap heels at least three inches high. And—she wobbled in them.

If I had gotten to the door before she did I would have been a gentleman and held it for her. She ended up holding the door for a lady with a baby. The proper thing to do, women with babies take precedence, but she held it in a butch way that really didn’t go with her outfit. Never grab the door above your head. A dead giveaway.

Inside the store I did my best to not seem that I was interested in her. It would have been totally a faux pas to walk up to her and say, Hi. I’m famous transvestite editor Angela Gardner of LadyLike and TGF. I’m dressed as a guy. Don’t be scared. Hey! Where are you running off to?

No, I thought it best that I just went ahead with the pursuit of bargains and let the lady get on with her shopping fun. I worried though that she would be interested in the same racks as me and that we would keep running into one another. No worries, as the say down under. As I checked through the 50% and 75% off racks I didn’t see her. I began to wonder if she had panicked and ran out.

I did a circuit of the store, carefully checking out each bargain spot. In the handbag section I found a Kathy Van Zeeland leopard bag for $24. Sale! I picked up a cute mini dress, the kind you should wear over capri tights, and I found the capri tights. The sales clerk who rang up my stuff made remarks about what good bargains I had found and what good taste I had. I told her I’d been trained and we had a hearty chuckle. I moved off to go up to the junior department and view the bargains there. If you can fit into a junior large or extra large you can often find cute things to wear while clubbing at a fraction of the cost they would be in the misses and designer sections. (Most often with corresponding decline in quality.)

I searched the entire junior department and found a few potential bargains but nothing I actually wanted to buy. As I was heading back to the escalator the woman who had rung up my first buy walked by me and made a remark about my continuing bargain quest. I think she may have suspected the items I bought were for me.

Back downstairs I saw a familiar blonde hairdo sitting at the Clinique counter. I maneuvered myself into the section across the aisle and listened in as the Clinique lady extolled the virtues of the different types of foundation they sell. (I use Clinique Perfectly Real foundation. I find it ironic.) I learned that Clinique actually has a makeup to wear while you’re working out. I never knew! How perfect that is for those of us who tend to sweat in our hot wig in the middle of the summer heat. I’ll have to check into that myself.

The Clinique lady even mentioned full coverage makeup like Dermablend as she explained various techniques to my blonde pal. I was very tempted to approach them and do a sales pitch for MAC full coverage makeup and the value of Ben Nye beard cover under your foundation but again I refrained from intruding. I think if I had been in my Angela mode that day I would have gone right over. A sister can help a sister, can’t she? A scary guy though could spoil the whole day.

I moved through a few of the racks I had already checked, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything before I made my exit. On the second or third pass through the 80% off area a saleswoman asked if she could help me find anything. I told her I was just browsing for bargains and she said that I was sure doing a thorough job. You can’t hide anything from a good saleswoman. They can tell which guys are grabbing the first thing they see that they think their wife might possibly like, and the guy who seems to be putting some effort into stalking that perfect bargain. At the end of the day the staff was probably talking about the two crossdressers who came in to shop, not just the blonde whose outfit made her stand out. But, in the grand scheme of things, who cares as long as she got her makeup and I got my bargains?

(If you were the blonde in The Bon Ton last week drop me a note and let me know how you liked your makeover.)

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Category: All TGForum Posts, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Assoc., Inc., former editor of its newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She was the Diva of Dish for TGF in the late 1990s and Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows.

Comments (3)

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  1. Pam Degroff Pam Degroff says:

    “….famous transvestite editor….?” I love that line. Anyway, you’ve written a very thought provoking article. I’ve been the mystery shopper a time or two myself and have also on a few rare occasions been in drab mode and had the radar go off. Reading between the lines, you actually provided a very good example of proper decorum when out and about. Thanks for sharing.

  2. says:

    I came out of a local store last year and saw a guy with a gg. What stuck out was that he was wearing girls’s flats and hose…then I saw studs in his ears and slighjtly styled hair. I wanted to go congratulate him for his courage, but then I did not want to upset anyone….I still think that I should have and told him why I noticed. Candy

  3. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    Wow! A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I came out of our favorite Mexican restaurant and realized there was a sister sitting in the Volvo parked next to us. She wasn’t going in, just apparently enjoying her evening out in a parking lot.
    I so wanted to approach and talk to her, but I knew I’d just scare the bejeesus out of her, so we left her alone.