Dating. The social interaction that so many people get to do as they start discovering that people are attractive. As folks start to go on dates, participants get to the learn the ins and outs. How men act, how women act. This of course I am referring to the social conditioning we are taught. Despite this, there are still nerves, does s/he like me? Am I boring this person? Do they find me interesting? Should I have worn this outfit?
For those of us who have transitioned, there is a whole new element that is brought into the mix. The question of, who are we attracted to can arise. There is also fighting the social conditioning we are taught. Trans-people are can be self destructive in deciding people may not find us attractive. This can make dating very familiar to when we were teenagers, learning to date in the first place. This can make some folks depressed, or leave us very confused. The issue of whether we disclose we are trans to a person we are interested in dating, (and there is a wild debate about this issue itself.)
My personal experience was no different when I jumped back into the dating scene. Before any dates happened, I was partly convinced I would never date again. Let me tell you, a 25 year old should never have to think they’ll never date again. It was something I was willing to accept to move in my transition. Now, before I go on, I can admittedly say this is partly based on my sexuality. Before the dates I am about to describe, I have been asked by a handful of men. Believe me when I say I was flattered. Of course, I have no interest in men. I may be a little flirty from time to time, but at the end of the day I am attracted to women, anyone who knows me well will support this claim.
My internal reflections regarding dating changed after I met a gal, whom after talking to her for a while, we decided to get dinner. We went out a couple nights later, and it was rather uneventful. It wasn’t horrible, and we had fine conversation. We made plans to hang out. It was after that second meet up, that it was decided that it wasn’t worth pursuing. During the first date, there came up questions of, who holds doors for whom, or who pays? We ended up winging it, making up the rules as the night went on.
A couple weeks after this dating bomb out, I was thrown right back at it. I had another first date with another lady, I felt really fortunate about being able to go out on a date again with someone, not to mention I felt a lot more confident about it. This woman and I were introduced by mutual friends. After a long conversation about video games, cosplays, conventions and other nerdie delights, a date was a must! A couple days after we met, we started messaging each other about going out the Friday after I was done with work. (I admit I was pretty excited about it.)
That night, I rushed home to get ready to go out. Clothes and make up were flying as I tried to make the time we agreed on. I felt pretty bad about being late, but was relieved when I learned the restaurant we were meeting at wasn’t too far from my home. I rushed up there, to meet her. We had dinner and continued the conversation that we had Monday. Come check time, the issue of social conditioning came into play. Upon mentioning this to my date, she took it upon herself (since she is certainly the more masculine in personality of the two of us) to pick up the tab. I instantly related to friends who have vented about this same thing happening.
Not ready to have my night finished, we went to see a movie that was out a while. The ideas was to watch a film which we wouldn’t be sharing a theater with many people. The idea was to visit while we watched. Being the oh so clever gal I am, I was able to return the favor of picking up a tab for the tickets by being oh so quick my stub card and swiftly placing my check card in which the stub card. We kept each other company into the wee hours of the morning.
I will admit, I am very fortunate. After a short time, There was a conversation I was having with my date (this is after several more meetings) I was referred to as her girlfriend. How did this come to be, I was myself. I had the conversation about being transgender early on. Lastly, there has been a lot of communication. Any issue, interaction, or anything that’s been new to us, we talked about it. We spoke, shared feelings, and came to understand each other. But, I was certainly taught that self doubt and the sacrifice I was prepared to make was nothing more than my imagination.