Sooooo…The Facebook, right?
Coming through for me the other (early) morning when I couldn’t sleep. I was scrolling through my newsfeed, I had probably cruised through the previous 36 hours worth of newsfeed-algorithm-worthy posts when I happened upon the “People You Might Know” feature.
Probably, this is where the ZuckerDrones are looking out for me, “thinking” this is what usually makes him throw his phone down in disgust so I could get back to sleep. Little do they (or DO they?!?) know that I usually at least look at the top recommendations before throwing my phone down in the aforementioned disgust.
Today, though, today…I’ve clearly got time. It’s 5-ish am, I’ve been scrolling for 45 minutes, “Why not see who the Facebook thinks I should know?” I think, before doing a deep dive.
I was a good 10 minutes into the PYMK section when I saw it.
Ok, given the name of this post, that was a poorly chosen pronoun due to the ease of exploitation that “it” allows. Well, exploit it for humor, we got no problems…we’re obviously chums for a reason. Exploit it for its vaguely gender-vague crime-worthiness and, well, you can fuck right off and then keep on humping.
Because, what I saw was a “who” that I crushed all the way out on while I was working at the airport.
One of the Fabulous Baker Girls has probably already used her super sleuthy skills to figure out who I’m talking about, she’s that good.
For the rest of you…this is a person I used to see a couple times a week because he managed a store out at PDX while I worked there. Still does, if the Facebook is to be believed.
And, believable or not, the Facebook was giving me the profile of a super sexy fella to scroll through as I debated “friending” him.
If he’d remember me or accept said friend request…TBD.
As I scrolled, I was rewarded with those validating pics young folks post…showcasing their natural gifts and/or the fruits of their gym labors.
Oh, right. I forgot there was also significant tattoo-age. They were all spelled correctly, so the attraction was preserved.
What it took me a few extra minutes of scrolling to realize was that the muscle definition and tattoos both served to draw the eye away from some very artfully concealed scars…of the double mastectomy variety.
I’ve always held young people unreasonably accountable to having a better physique than I, however…where gender reassignment is involved, I give a hall pass.
Does that seem fair?
Well, I don’t care. Ask your mother if life is supposed to be fair.
Back to me.
Trans-folk get a hall pass on body stuff because they are fighting an uphill battle. Whereas young cis men have hormones helping their physical accomplishments, trans-folk have what are likely the wrong hormones working against whatever correct hormones they may be pumping into their bodies. It results in a battle of science vs nature toward physically expressing their true selves.
I’m not judging that.
No way, no how.
Plus, in the case of this fine fella, and I’m sure many trans-men…should they put their minds to it, they could kick my ass twice before I knew the first ass whooping was happening. I’m smart enough to not make enemies, let alone enemies that could actually harm my favorite person.
But my trans hall pass has always expired where the appreciation of their physical accomplishments meets the reality of my Kinsey 6 sexuality. Top surgery and potentially hormone assisted physical accomplishments aside, at the end of the day I can’t get my old school homosexuality around the “beaver in my bed” scenario. I’m an ass man, through and through…but frontside foreplay is still a part of the routine, because…well, because it is.
Enter Anachronistic Xtopher.
It’s been a decade long entrance, in case you thought this was a fresh struggle.
You see, when I moved to Seattle back in ’06, I spent more than my fair share of time getting to know my new bevy of gay bars slash neighborhood watering holes. I really loved all of them. Little did I know that a lot of this euphoric experience was relative to me being fresh meat (at goddamned 40 years of age) in a relatively small dating pool’s bar scene.
Still, by ’08, I was well past that…the blush was off the proverbial lily.
It was then that I’d found myself out for a weeknight wee bit.
<Interior: The Cuff, upper bar…because they don’t bother opening the lower dance and patio bars on a goddamned Tuesday>
I’m swilling quietly, minding my own obliviousness at the end of the bar, when a brick shithouse of a dude in all his construction worker drag walks in, sits down by me and orders a beer.
Now, we all know where this is heading, because: title spoilers, but suspend your disbelief.
Jesus. Rough crowd.
I’m sitting there thinking, “Sure, on a four-sided bar, this is the only place to sit where you won’t have an unwelcome crowd form around you”.
It’s also a Tuesday, so crowds would be a no.
It’s also the side of the bar furthest the door.
Ergo: it’s also the only side of the bar that you have to pass all three of the other (service) sides of the bar to get to.
All of this conspires to convince me that this placement is intentional…for whatever reason.
Nevertheless, there was a beer or two of conversational foreplay before I trot out this gem, “How does it feel to be the best looking guy in this dump?”
“Well, it is a Tuesday…but still pretty damned ok”, he says, laughing.
“I was gonna offer to get your next beer, but as the second best looking guy in the bar, I realize that puts you in a tough place.”
“Drink up. I got this one, since you look smart enough to not waste your aspirations for bar dominations on a Tuesday night. But you’re definitely on the hook for the next one!”
“Thank god this isn’t a Wednesday”, I reply, thinking that this guy’s humor is right in line with mine. I’d love to have an equal in sass…not as easy as one might think since you have to factor overall disposition into the equation. I don’t mind an overly queeny sense of sass near as much as I’d run away from or flat out fail to appreciate a guy with hard up bro-sass.
That struggle? REAL.
Anyway, we chatted a bit about what afforded us the luxury of drinking on a Tuesday night in a bar people only cared about on the weekends. Some other stuff. He was a lot of fun to talk with, truth be told.
However, on beer four – my fifth, just to be completely honest – he disclosed that he was FTM (female to male, for the uninitiated). Now, sexually, my heretofore growing chub lost volume…for previously mentioned Kinsey 6 reasons.
I was really enjoying this guy’s company. Obviously, having lived in Shittatle for two years and still finding myself drinking alone on a Tuesday night, I was in need of friends. If our schedules aligned to allow a regular social coalescence…that’s a good ROI on my Tuesday night of drinking.
Well, I never heard from him again, so fuck me. What are ya gonna do though? This person was – after two years in Seattle – literally within the first six people I’d given my number to.
He didn’t use it.
It’s been 10 years since that eye-opener of a night. But in a decade, I have realized that easily navigated complexities sometimes only end up being precursors to significantly more complex situations. Situations whose ramifications extend way further than the least crowded side of a four sided bar on the least crowded night of the week.
Well, when I put it that way, my ’08 encounter seems…easy. But, trust me…it wasn’t.
Not in the moment.
Reductively, it’s choosing between clams and sausage on the sexual menu. But in reality, clams vs sausage is an argument that a very, legitimately very small percentage of our population known as bisexual ever actually engages in. For the rest of us, that sexual argument is rarely ever brought front and center on a casual night of drinking. For me, dropping my pole in a decidedly gay watering hole for a drink generally results in “I got a drink” at best and “top or bottom?” in an unexpected better than best at the worst.
Having to navigate original plumbing in this fishing hole scenario made me think cats were my future.
Don’t worry, Myrtle has made me realize there’s no love to be found in a truly hopeless place.
Which is pretty much where I was earlier this year when I ended up chatting with Liz at my local caffeination station about proper gender pronoun usage. It was one of those conversations where I not only felt relief that I wasn’t the only person confused by what pronouns were socially acceptable for everyday polite usage, but also a conversation that left me thinking, “Nah, you should stay at home forever” once I realized that if a multi-unit coffee shop manager easily ten years my junior in goddamned Portland, Oregon can’t figure it out then I had – really – no hope.
Like, literally zero chance.
She was referencing customers – well, a specific customer – and in talking about them, acknowledged her confusion about correct pronoun usage.
Because she was using them – a pronoun heretofore used in a plural sense – to reference an individual. It made things…complex. And not just conversationally.
We each acknowledged the pronoun struggle by way of clarifying the actual object of her statements.
Why is this a big deal?
Well, let’s jump back to my awkward night at The Cuff. What if I happened to take my spontaneous drinking buddy’s bathroom break as a moment to confide in the bartender?
“Close me out, I think I’m gonna take him back to my place.”
Yeah, that’s how early 21st century conversation looked.
Ah, the simplicity of the aughts. We’re in the teens now, though.
Nowadays, I’d have to say, “Close me out, I’m taking them back to my place for a night cap.” Of course, I’m referencing an individual while using a plural pronoun…this is confusing!
Not to mention, unsafe.
Sure, we’re a decade back for this example. Nonetheless, what if this happened while I was talking to someone that the bartender knew to have a chain smoking boyfriend that never made it into the bar? I suddenly end up looking way cooler than I ever was in my original 40s. But I also end up probably equal parts likely to have an unplanned three way as I end up being rolled by an unexpected third or beaten up by a jealous, unknown boyfriend.
There’s a lot of downside to these vague, politically correct repurposing of existing pronouns.
But, by all means…let’s put personal safety aside for recreational contrariness of a sexual minority. Whatever happened to the pre-turn-of-the-century s/him for men veiled in feminine dress?
Was that so offensive, somehow?
My money is on the difficulty in creating the gender appropriate version of a pronoun for a woman out and about with her masculine flag flying. I’ve been semi-thinking about this for over a decade. What would that new pronoun be?
I think that – in a very weird turn of events in gay-phobic America in the second decade of a new millennia – that an inverse Crying Game scenario based on gender appropriate pronoun confusion would create a larger kerfluffle than Jaye Davidson could ever imagine.
Of course I get a text from Diezel a few weeks ago asking if I’d ever date a FTM guy.
<eyeroll> “Why is life so hard?!?” – Me
Still, since I adore Diezel and also kinda try – as long as it doesn’t put me out too terribly much – to be a good friend, we chatted a bit about it. I knew this wasn’t one of those random questions, rather one borne of a specific circumstance – this wasn’t a random Monday Night Supper Club conversational topic like Intersectionality was – after all.
But our little chat took us through this whole decade-long arc of mine.
In mere moments…
The crux being, “What’s the point of plumbing, anyway?”
Honestly, for me, in about ten minutes…nothing. I think we get to a point where the sex is secondary to the connection.
Sexondary – Chrisism!
But as humans, as sexual beings…that secondary connection doesn’t happen until the sexual connection is either satisfied or mitigated. There’s a simple statement. Mitigating that sexual connection is simple…give it a few decades, then who cares?
BOTH OF YOU! That’s who. Since you’ve now both lived through a relationship where neither of you got your rocks off. Obviously, that scenario doesn’t necessarily or easily work. However, it might work if you’re in a post-sexual time of life.
Mind you, I’m <cough> in my sixth decade and my best friend is in his seventh…not sure when sexual compatibility moves to the back burner. But, goddamnit…I hope that this is a thing. Maybe these much maligned – at least in this blog – millennials will figure it out, this sexual conundrum.
<belly laugh interlude>
Better? Maybe you need another minute…
How’s it going? Oh, still wheezing?
Walk it off.
Focus on taking deep breaths through your nose, out through the mouth.
Sometimes Millennials figure things out!
Oh, gawd. It’s gotten worse!
I really feel like I should apologize. I’ll try and warn you before I say something like that next time.
Ultimately, I decided the friend request that motivated this whole blog-thought-exercise was a bad idea, since my desire to know him was initially sexually motivated. That seemed like a recipe for butt-hurted-ness…somehow.
So, for now? I’m leaving it with “I don’t know”. But I’m still thinking about it and trying to work my way through it correctly…
Lordy, I feel like this is gonna need a Part II…
4 thoughts on “TransDating: Part I”
I appreciate your struggle and honestly have anything constructive to add other than when Aaron (my spouse) and I are with friends, we simply refer to them by the pronoun they prefer. If a “he” is referred to as a “she” (and vice versa) then it merely “is what it is.” That may be somewhat confusing for someone listening into our conversation but then, that’s probably the reason we weren’t including them in the dialogue from the very beginning. Naked hugs!
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I am wary – or try to be – of inadvertently offending someone by using the incorrect or un-preferred pronoun. If I make a mistake, I don’t even mind being nudged in the right direction for next time! Hopefully, I’m making these mistakes when getting to know someone…pronouns, included!
There have been a couple of times – definitely the minority experience – where I’ve felt as if the correction came from an assumption that I intended to offend them. That was a hard one to get my emotions around because I had to take myself out of the equation to hear their words instead of the frustration that came along with the words. But…I’ll get there! 😊
I’m sure that once someone gets to know you, they’ll realize that you’re not about disrespecting or offending. My spouse, Aaron, has been the one leading me along this interesting road. Hopefully, one day, we’ll ALL get there! Naked hugs!
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[…] got me thinking about my earlier post on TransDating and how at the end, I’d only shared my experiences about dating – or not – Trans […]
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