Archives for posts with tag: dating

Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing.
I just stop, and look at the mess around me, and the way that emotions make me feel, and I wonder why I keep on doing it.
Sometimes I wish that you actually could burn out the emotions that happen when something good doesn’t work out. Sometimes I’d like to not feel, to not have that grip around my heart, that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I’d really like to be able to eat something without wanting to immediately throw it right back up. I’d really like to feel that I want to eat at all.
And yet, in the moment, oh my god, in the moment, that sense, that rush, that swell of emotion that engulfs me when I drop my guard, and let myself feel. How could I give that up?
It’s like a drug, and I know I’m addicted.

The sense of belonging, even for just a while, is something I need. Walking along the seafront at five in the morning, your arm round my waist, mine around yours, the smell of your hair as it occasionally blows into my face, how could I want to forget that?
And yet now, when I see that’s likely the only time I’ll know that moment with you, there’s a part of me that almost wishes it wasn’t real. The sadness of knowing that’s all there ever will be is crushing, and that pain, that’s something I wish I didn’t have. That’s something that never changes.
My problem is that I feel. All of our problems are that we feel. Feelings are the worst, and yet, I keep on doing them. We keep on doing them.
When we kissed you said you don’t do feelings. You told me that I make you feel, and I told you that maybe just for now, right at this moment, feelings are okay. They needn’t last forever, they can just be about the moment.
I was right, but I was also wrong. Feelings start in the moment, but they don’t always stop there. Sometimes they carry on, and they follow you around, like a shadow you can’t see, always a little behind you, but there none the less.
Fucking feelings. They eat me up, and stop me from being okay.
And I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t know where to put them when they become memories. I don’t know how to feel about how to feel.
Friends tell me that I need to protect myself better, to develop a tougher exterior, but I don’t want to harden up. I don’t want to build a shell to protect myself, even though it would be the sensible thing to do. I’m afraid that if I do, it’ll make me cold. I’m afraid that I’ll no longer be able to feel anything at all. And yet I know the stark truth in this, as if I didn’t feel then I wouldn’t have to spend days, weeks, months getting over people, and I wouldn’t feel that sadness that walks alongside me in those times.
But I’m afraid of losing the ability to feel just the same. Like I said before, it’s a drug.

I leaned in close to your ear, and asked if I could kiss you. You leaned in as well, and as our lips touched I felt the rushing of blood through my body, the tingling of nerve endings, the softness of your mouth, and the gentle warmth of your tongue as it discovered mine. It felt like everything else dissolved away, even though we were surrounded by a hundred other people, and the music was so loud.
Your hand touches my face, and as we kiss you slowly stroke my cheek. My skin prickles with goosebumps, but it’s not from the sharpness of the winter night.
My god, those feelings. They run rampant through my soul, and make me realise that this is what life is about. Connections and emotions. Links between people, delicate and strong, like spider silk, weaving lives together, sometimes fleetingly, sometimes forever.
Those glorious, burning, heart ripping feelings.
And we can never win. It’s like a glacier, a huge unrelenting emotional glacier. We chip away at its vast hulk, trying to get a foothold whilst all the while it keeps on coming.
We can climb to the top, only to look around and realise it’s so vast, so uncharted, that we were foolish to even think we could ever claim it as ours alone.
I need to feel, even when I don’t want to feel. I need to know what it is to keep the glacier at bay. I need the warmth from another, I need the warmth from you.
I know given time I’ll forget what this feels like. I know this because when I do feel like this I remember the times it’s happened before. I remember the feelings, the magnificent, all consuming intense and beautiful feelings. I remember all the feelings, even the gut wrenching, all engulfing, salty sharp feelings.
The happiness, the sadness, and everything that lives in the gaps between.
Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing.
Then I remember, and I realise why even if I could, I’d never give this up. How could I ever let go of those glorious, burning, heart fucking feelings?
How could I even think that was an option?

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It’s easy to generalize, and stereotype people. We all do it, intentionally or otherwise. It doesn’t mean that these stereotypes are true of all people in that group, and I know this, having been stereotyped many times because of being a trans woman.
I think it’s important to state this, as inevitably, when I’m writing about personal experience, as I do, the people I interact with, will, on occasion, do shit that is classically stereotypical.
Let’s take men, for instance, because well, this is what this piece is going to be about…..

I find men attractive. Not all men, because there’s loads of them, and I am but one woman, but none the less, I am interested in them, in a sexual way.
It appears that they also are interested in me. Up to a point.
I know, I hear you, what is this point you speak off? Well friends, I think you know don’t you?
Men, in general, can’t deal with me being Transgender. They can deal with me being hot, and judging from the messages I get before they find out I’m trans, they deal with that just fine, thankyou very much.
But as soon as I disclose that I’m trans, everything changes.
So, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why not just keep it to yourself, don’t tell them yeah?”

Here’s some reasons why that’s not an option for me…

  • I’m proud of who I am, and that I’m trans. Why should I hide that? I may be the reason people can’t deal, but ultimately the issue is with them, not me.
  • Sex. If it got to the point where there’s nakedness going on, we’d need to have a talk anyhow.
  • If we meet, and they realize I’m trans, then I don’t know what would happen. I have to ultimately put my personal safety first. Aside from anything else, it would be humiliating, even if they just walked out on the date.

So yeah, not an option.

Once a man finds out I’m trans, all bets are off. If I’m lucky they’ll just block me immediately. That’s the good option. The worse options include verbal abuse, objectifying language, and expectations that I’m up for anything, because y’know, all trans women are kinky nymphomaniacs right?

And then there’s another response. It nearly always starts with the phrase “I don’t have a problem with Trans women…” ,which if you type into Google translate* comes back as “I’m a ‘nice’ guy, I don’t have ‘problems’ with trans women, as long as you don’t actually want to sleep with me, or meet up, that is, although if asked I will now be adding you to my list of minority groups I’m okay with, just so everyone knows I’m a ‘cool’ guy, yeah?”

These guys, they, if anything are the worst. My latest interaction with a ‘nice’ guy involved him telling me that “I don’t have a problem with people like you, but I’d only be sleeping with you out of curiosity, so you’d only get hurt.”
Thanks friend, thanks for protecting my feelings so well. You’re a real gent, no mistake.
This was the same man, that previous to this, was waxing lyrical about how gorgeous I was, and that he didn’t even have to think about whether to message me or not. Bet you’re thinking now eh?

So, what’s a girl to do? I find myself thinking this a lot. I could just not date men, and stick to women, which is fine, but I do identify as bisexual, so why should I have to curb my identity to fit with society?

As I mentioned at the start, to a degree, the men I’ve interacted with so far have been stereotypes and extremes, I know not all men are like this, because well, I know some that aren’t. I do think that they are a minority though, and that many, many men can’t get their heads round what it means to be attracted to Trans women.

That though friends, is a post for another time….

*It doesn’t translate it as this, I’m being facetious to make a point, it’s like my super-power.

I’ve been using various dating sites for a while now, and experienced the many aspects of this new frontier.
Often however these aspects are kind of bad, and it’s led me to thinking, what could be done to make things better for Trans people, when it comes to online dating.
From my own experiences, I’ve come up with six things people can do that might just make the experience a better one for everyone.

1. Read people’s profiles if you find them attractive and want to message them.
(Actually this goes for everyone, Trans or otherwise). Not every Trans person wants to be visible, but some do, and if they do it’ll be in their profiles. I make a point of putting it there, and honestly it blows my mind how few people bother to read my profile and then freak out when I have to double check they know.

2. Don’t assume that everything you think you know about Trans people is right.
 Here’s the thing, the stuff you read in Newspapers about Trans people is quite often not true. I know, sounds far fetched right? After all the media are renowned for their honest and non sensationalist reporting amiright?

There’s a narrative that all Trans people are messed up, deviant, sexually repressed freakshows. If someone where to say that about everyone with blue eyes you’d know it was bullshit right? So why believe it about us? In the immortal words of Biff Tannen, “Think McFly Think!”

3.When you find out someone is Trans, Don’t be a dick.
 Examples of being a dick include

  • blocking me without a word
  • insulting me
  • sharing my profile among your friends like it’s a godamn circus show
  • saying it’s cool and then not ever messaging again
  • using the wrong pronouns
  • basically showing absolutely no respect for another human being.

4. Don’t agree to meet and then not show up, or ever get in touch again. 
This one kinda goes for everyone if I’m honest.

5.Don’t sleep with a Trans person just because you were curious/wanted to tick it off some sex bucket list, unless it’s consensual.
There’s two ways to approach this.

Way one is sleep with me, and then the next morning let me know it was only to see what it was like. This way is BAD. It makes me feel like shit, and makes you look like a shallow jerk.

Way two is to message me, say you’ve never been with a Trans person and don’t know what to expect, but that you find me attractive and you’d like to sleep with me.

It’s okay to be curious, sleeping with new people is always going to involve an element of exploration, and this is very much okay. The Key things here are consent and full disclosure. If I choose to sleep with you, I know what I’m getting myself into, and you’re being honest with me. Everybody Wins.

6. Open your mind a little. 
I’m not asking you to exclusively date trans people, I’m asking you to stop, and think about this one simple thing. I find this person attractive.  You’re messaging me because you’ve looked at my face, you’ve (hopefully) read some stuff about me, and you’ve thought I’d like to get to know this person. Just because someone happens to be trans and you find them attractive it doesn’t make you weird, it doesn’t make you gay, straight or anything you don’t want to be. It just makes you one person who finds another person attractive enough to want to get to know a little better.

That is all. (Unless you can think of anything else, in which case, that is nearly all)….

So, I’ve been using online dating services. You know the ones, Tinder, Okcupid, those guys, and their friends.

Thing is, I’ve not been having a huge amount of success, and I think it’s me, or at least a major aspect of me, that’s putting people off.

Now, I’m not unattractive (and I realise that by writing that I’m immediately putting myself in the firing line regarding said attractiveness), I’m pretty funny (again with the firing line) and I’m a good person with an only slightly dubious moral compass. All good things, yes? So what could it be that isn’t what everyone is looking for, what terrible thing could be so off-putting?

Well, thing is, I’m also Trans.

I know, plot twist.

How do I know it’s to do with me being transgender though? Lets run though the things I’ve discovered to back my theory up shall we…..

I get way more interest when I don’t mention the Trans thing.

When it comes to making a profile on a dating site, we’re all faced with a decision as to how much information to give. In my case, the major question is shall I put that I’m a trans woman?

In the photos I have of myself it’s hard to tell. In fact, from personal experience, most people don’t realise at all. I’m blessed with a photogenic face, and an androgynous figure, so unless I let you know, chances are you won’t realise. (and once again, ready your metaphorical guns for the firing line I seem so fond of putting myself in front of)

When I don’t mention that I’m trans, I get a fair amount of interest. It’s all hey, how you doing, you’re hot, sit on my face, (no, really. Some people have like no boundaries) you know, the standard really.

However, when I put that I’m trans in my profile things really change. People still look, but that’s it. To make sure it’s not anything else, I’ve even used the same writing, the only difference being that I mention that I’m trans in one.

When I do mention the trans thing people can’t deal.

So what happens when I mention that I’m trans after we’ve been chatting for a while? Normally two things. Firstly people always say that it’s not a problem, or that they don’t care about it, because hey, it’s only gender right?

Secondly, they then never message me again.

There could be a few things going on here.

Firstly, maybe people feel tricked, or deceived. Generally people don’t like to feel this, so maybe they’re all “fuck you, don’t need this shit”. However I take issue with this, in that everyone has something they don’t tell immediately, because it could be seen as a negative. If we all ran once we discovered that people are complicated then there would be a lot less of us than there are now.

The other thing that happens is that people think about it. I know right? Unbelievable!

By think about it, what I mean is they think about what it means, and what they think they know about trans people, and what the people around them think they know about trans people.

I’ve been in a few relationships with Cis people, and when they told their friends they were dating a Trans person the response was pretty much the same.

“Trans people have a lot of mental health issues ( or as one person put it, Trans people are fucked up), do you really want to take that on?”

“But if you go out with a Trans person what does that make you?”

“Are you really a lesbian then if you’re dating a trans woman?”

“What are you going to tell your family?”

and of course the old classic, “So how do you fuck/what bits does she have?”

As you can see from these responses, there’s not much in the way of positive there. As you can also imagine, its sort of hard to stay upbeat about dating in the wake of all this negativity.

So, Whats a girl to do? At some point I have to mention it, because a relationship built on a lie is never going to work, and also, more importantly, I’ll be damned if I’m going to hide who I am for the sake of a relationship.

On the other side though, until I do mention that I’m trans things often seem to be going pretty well. Is it possible for a trans woman to find someone who isn’t bothered by it? More importantly is it possible for this trans woman to achieve that?

 I know it’s a battle, and it’s a battle where the odds are stacked against me, because I think that if the majority of people were honest with themselves, they’d have to think about whether they’d date a trans person or not.

So really, I don’t know, can I have a relationship? Am I too complex for other people? Are other people just not complex enough for me?

All I do know is that when things are against you, and it looks unlikely that you’ll get what you’d like, a victory is all the more sweeter for it.

I’ve been on a few dates, with a few people now, and the one thing that I still don’t quite get, is what is meant by “we should do this again”.
I mean on the base level it obviously means, we should do this again, but if we look at it more closely, does it really mean that?

Let’s take a recent example.
I arranged a date with someone, who incidentally got in touch with me, rather than the other way round, and it seemed to go okay. We arrange another date, that also goes okay, and the words “we should do this again” come up at the end of the date. I’m like yeah, we should, lets check diaries and sort something out, go for food, hang out, that sort of thing.
Anyhow, a week goes by, and I get a text. It basically says, “hey you seem nice, but can we just be friends yeah?”
Hmmmmm. Now, I’m not that much of a dick to begrudge someone not being into me ( okay, reading that back I am aware that that last statement does automatically make me sound like a dick, but honestly, I’m not ) but why say “we should do this again” if you don’t mean it?

I mean I guess its awkward to say that to someones face, but there is the fact that we never have to see each other again, as we’re basically strangers, who met online whilst looking for someone to hook up with. There is that.

Ack, I don’t know, this is the trouble with language. It can mean so much, and have so many nuances, and double meanings.

It’s such a strange thing. We speak, and communicate and our mouths, our tongues make these shapes and sound comes out, and our brains buzz and translate and we understand what we hear.
And then our brains buzz some more, and we try and understand that what we hear isn’t always what we understand it to mean.

So, i’m using Okcupid to broaden my dating experiences, and I’ve noticed a few things. Allow me to expand in a list type form…..

1. Writing messages to complete strangers you find attractive is tricky, and awkward.

2. Replies to said messages are quite often few and far between. I can assume this is because of one of these things..

a) I’m not attractive to them

b) they can’t be arsed to reply through laziness/apathy.

c) I write shit messages to complete strangers I find attractive.

3. Rating people with stars is both slightly creepy and objectifying. It’s also strangely addictive.

4.Having to pay to see all the people who have rated you 5 stars is a rip off and tempting at the same time. *shakes fist at ego*

I’ve yet to get a ‘hit’ so to speak, there have been vague messagings back and forth between various people, but nothing promising as of yet, although one person did ask me if London was close to where I live, which would be a positive message if it wasn’t their first message to me, and if wasn’t literally just ‘ how far is London from Brighton.’  Nothing like cutting to the chase…..

So I decided, the other day, to put a profile up on a dating site again. So i’m busy filling in the various easy answer questions, where you click on the drop down menus and pick a choice, updating as I went along, and I get a message saying someone ‘likes’ me.

Erm……. right, you like me, even though the only things you know about me are that I like cooking and that I don’t have any pets. Honestly reader(s) I hadn’t even done the difficult about me bit where I actually have to write stuff.  Liking might be a bit preemptive I think.

I suppose this is the world of online dating, my like-ie might be a perfectly lovely person, but it just seemed a little desperate/creepy to me.

Anyhow, we’re going on a date next week, so that’s nice. ( kidding! obvs )

 

 

There’s something I’m not that good at doing. It’s something integral to meeting other people, and it’s something everyone else seems really good at.

I can’t really tell if someone is interested in me, or just being friendly.

It’s a stumbling block, that’s for sure. For instance I’ll be out having a drink with friends, and the person behind the bar smiles at me as I order new drinks for everyone. I smile back, but inside I’m thinking is she being friendly? Is she smiling at me because she wants to sleep with me?  Is she smiling at me because I’m buying stuff from her? And then it’s all she’s making eye contact, is that pay me eye contact, or you’re quite hot eye contact? If it happens every time I go up to the bar is that a sign? Or am I reading way too much into nothing at all?

How do you know people? how do you know? It’s all terribly confusing.

I guess I should elaborate, I have little experience in this aspect of singledom, I’ve always been ‘chased’ so to speak, so haven’t really had to do this whole working out who’s interested thing, as the people who have been interested have made it pretty clear ( using poems, ( yes I had a poem written about me, an awesome poem, I was a fucking muse for someone! Seriously, it doesn’t get better than that ) and kissing and such ).

A friend said her tactic is to give a compliment to the potential person, and if they give one back you’re probably got a shot. I can see the logic in this, but I don’t want to get into a feedback loop of compliments, which is a very real possibility with me as I’d want to be sure they actually were interested…..

Me:”oh hai, I love your dress! ”

Them:”why thankyou, I love your hair!”

*awkward silence*

Me:”also, love your erm….hands”

Them:”uh, thanks, I think? I need to go over there now”

Me:*sad face*

I guess you have to practice, and get knocked back  a bit when you get it wrong, and then pick yourself up and try again. I can do this, I know, I’ve done way tougher things than trying to find out if someone is interested or not, and yet I still can’t help but think… why is it so tricky to tell what someone else is thinking?

Freiya Benson

Writer & Photographer.

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