So you’ve decided you want to go out in public. Like, actual public, not just a walk through some parking lot at midnight. You’d like to go somewhere you might actually encounter other people, but where you won’t have to really interact with them, because you know your voice is a dead giveaway. A bar? Meh. While a drink might steady your nerves, there’s always the danger of being chatted up by some self-styled romeo. Plus, you might not really be a bar person anyway, and how much fun is it to sit there, drinking alone? How about a mall? Sure, but that's a lot of people, some of whom you might know, and there are usually packs of young teens running around who might call attention to you. So probably not.
Well then, how about an art gallery or museum? Here are some reasons why these might just be the perfect place to go out:
1. You won’t stand out. Artsy people to go artsy places. Do you think you’re the most unusual person who’s ever been to an art gallery? Imagine all the artists, art students and other interesting people who’ve passed through before you. If galleries made a scene anytime someone who didn’t fit the norm walked in, they’d go out of business. Some galleries have docents wandering about the place, but they’re not going to pull the alarm bell because they see a guy in a dress. You don’t need to acknowledge them, and odds are they won’t give you more than a passing thought.
2. You’re not really expected to interact. If you’re really self-conscious about your voice, this is awesome. Except for the person you buy the ticket from (and you can probably get one online and print it out in advance if this interaction terrifies you) you won’t have to speak to another living soul. Plus, you’re generally supposed to be quiet at art galleries anyway.
3. It’s okay to be alone. People go to museums and galleries by alone all the time. It’s not particularly remarkable to see someone wandering by themselves. It doesn’t have the self-consciousness of eating at a restaurant or going to a movie alone. Also, you’re unlikely to see anyone you know. Who goes to museums? Mostly tourists. The odds that you’ll run into someone local is pretty small, unless there’s a popular special exhibition. And there’s plenty of rooms to duck into in case you do.
4. There’s something to do. There are lots of interesting works of art and exhibits so, if you choose, you never have to make eye contact with another human. If you have a sudden crisis of confidence, you can literally face a wall until you’re able to compose yourself. And the best part is that the other people there are going to be more focused on the exhibits than on you anyway. Worst-case scenario, you see some cool things and possible learn something.
5. It’s a safe, indoor space with a variety of settings. You can practice walking, standing or sitting on a bench. You can try going up and down stairs in your heels, and no one will notice if you do it two or three times. You can practice eating like a lady at the cafe and, if it’s not especially busy, you can use the ladies restroom without too much self-conscious drama. Sometimes there are even dedicated handicapped-accessible washrooms that you can duck into and lock the door behind you. Also, the floors tend to be wooden or concrete at museums, so if you like the sound of your heels clicking on the floor, this is the place for you.
Now, you will definitely want to choose the type of museum or gallery carefully. A children’s science center? Probably not, because even though the kids won’t care, parents can sometimes be on high alert for anything they’re not comfortable with. I’d suggest a large art gallery or a history museum on a not-so-busy day. And if you're no comfortable going out in the daytime, some have evening hours!
Lastly, once you’ve chosen your destination, dress accordingly. I know you love that body-hugging minidress and those platform heels, but it’s probably a better choice for a nightclub than for a museum. Your goal here is to be unremarkable, in the very sense of the word: see what other women wear around in the daytime, and try to choose something that wouldn’t be remarked upon in the setting. Dress respectfully, and people will treat you with respect. Enjoy your outing!