Field Notes In/On Transition
The “R” Word (and the "B" word?)
I have breasts now. If you know me, you might say, well you’ve always had a bit of the old man-boobs as they call it/them these days. Well, yes I did, but this is different. There is heft now. Weight. Breasts. Real breasts, that may not yet, and may never be as sensitive, full of breast tissue and functional as CIS-gendered ladies, or Estrogen fuelled Trans Women’s breasts, but they are not the flabby things they were, just a few months ago. This for me is a really big thing. It makes me feel like things are really happening transition wise. It also helps me feel like maybe I could at some point in the near future be ready for some romance. Not sex, but capital R - Romance.
Ah Romance, corny but there you have it. More and more I’m thinking this is the case. I want the scruffy but Gallant Knight (maybe on a Motorcycle) to rescue me from my mediocrity and take me to all the best parties in 1920s New York, as much as any girl, but I’m pretty cynical about it as well.
I’ve had a lot of different lovers, men and women, most short term; hookups, a few dates kind of thing. The Thing is I was living so much In My Head that I never really was that interested in a long term thing. There was always the Gender Issue, in my way. I could never really give myself over to love, because I was afraid that the Gender Issue would come up, which of course it did every time I stuck around long enough for a real connection to be formed. Never ended well.
I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling like I was “doing the wrong thing” no matter who it was I was dating, boy or girl. It was never right, if you grok me. I tried hard in many variations gender and sexuality as I could manage. It was never quite right, no matter whether it was one date or dozens and dozens, I always wanted to be the girl of the relationship (and I had, nor have I any real idea what that means) which was something that in pretty much every case was the opposite of what that other person wanted.
I’ve spent far more time (almost wrote thyme) whinging and whining about some object of desire, than in actual contact with said object. Of course I was rarely ever able to face up to this fact, especially in my earlier years, I tried hard to separate the sex from the Gender Issue. I wanted my “transformation” (what I called it in my mind back then) to be more wholesome and not so sordid, despite the stuff definitely titillating me. I wanted to maybe be a voyeur of the sex part.
I was too disconnected to really even/ever Try To Be A Guy as the hunt for sex went, however I was presenting: Straight, Gay, Bi. None of it is/was real to me. Maybe because my guideposts were ladies on 70’s TV, who were maybe sexy, but pretty wholesome overall. I just knew that I didn’t want to have to be “forced” to do anything. There has always been and still is a lot of humiliation in “tranny porn,” so called. I didn’t want to live on the street and be on smack and sell my body either, which seemed from the porn the only other option to being forced to be a girl.
And early on in my awareness of the fact that I was a girl trapped in a boy body; all that was available to me to learn what that meant were hateful sensationalistic National Enquirer stories, and porno stories in copies of Penthouse Forum etc, that my stepfather gave me, I’m sure never realizing that that was all that interested me in those books. Of course, if there weren’t any “tranny” stories in those magazines, I ignored them. In the actual playboys, Penthouses etc that were passed down, all I got was imagery of women I wanted to be, airbrushed and all.
It really wasn’t until the early nineties (my mid twenties) that I found “serious” Trans biographies/autobiographies, and books about the concept of transgender/transsexualism and so on. Many of these books especially the bios were sanitized from the sex aspect. Jan Morris and Tula mentioned sex of course, but it seemed an afterthought. It made me feel like I could approach being transgender if it could be separated from sex which was/is more confusing to me than the being a female in a male body.
I feel this is the main reason for my disconnect from my body for much of my life. All that gorging, inattention to healthy living of any sort, was in main due to my being so disenfranchised from being a dude. Not that I was bad at all that, I think. I was a pretty funny, clever guy with many typical (nerdy) male obsessions: comic books, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Hockey, Beer, and so on. I ignored nagging health issues, was infatuated with a great many ladies who were also my friends. You know: dude stuff. But I never held much of it as real. For me it was all a mask that really was only a fraction of the person I was doomed never to become, no matter how many stars I wished upon, or millions I won in the lotto.
What I’m trying to do in my usual long winded confessional style is get to the thing that has always been missing (with a few exceptions) from my dating/sex life: Romance. I tried to be a romantic guy with most of the women I thought I loved (and the ones I truly did), all of whom didn’t see me “that way”. It was always The Friend Zone in which I was thinking I’d found romantic partners.
“Lady X is so nice to me, such a good friend, she must want to date me” was a very common (even fairly recently) thought that bounced through my brain over the years. It was the wrong thing to say/think in every single case. Every woman I have ever given flowers to, has responded in the same way: “What are these for?”, or “Why are you giving me flowers?”
In every case I would mumble how I wanted to date them, or that I loved them, sometimes I would apologize, and always I would eventually wander off in near-tears which was all I could muster under the weight of testosterone.
This only reinforced that I didn’t really know How To Be A Man, in my feverish closeted Trans brain. It fuelled drinking, partying, food gorging binges that make me shudder now. My relationships or attempts at such with men were even stranger, because the only thing I felt I had to offer gay/bi men was sex. Sex that never felt right, just as sex with women never felt right. How could both options be the wrong thing, is/was something that has given me a lot of grief over the years.
The only times where I felt able to be myself with a partner are the few one off encounters where I was “picked up,” or seduced. It has happened twice with men, and twice with women. These are the only times in my life: four separate encounters where I felt like someone was actually attracted to me, and wanted me for whoever it was I was presenting as at that time.
The second to last time being the only one that turned into a relationship of sorts. In japan, the last several months I was there I had a casual “boyfriend” who really was a sex friend (to use a Japanese term) but we only met and had the relationship that we had because he seduced me at a club, by doing all the typical male pick up things. This relationship though quickly became not what I was really looking for, as he really wanted me to be a man, a western man with him, around him. I had no idea what that meant, really, nor do I now. He was a lovely guy, but he we were both far to passive in the relationship for there to be the romance I’ve spent my life hoping to recognize.
So how does having breasts help me recognize romance when I see it? They don’t, actually, but they do make me feel as though the path I’m on is the path I should/want to be on. Body image has played an insidious role in almost all the choices i’ve made in my adult life. My current body image is the first positive image I’ve ever had. I feel like my body is finally becoming my own. I have far more body confidence with my feminized presentation than I ever had in my masculine presentation, despite “passing” as a man with much greater ease. I passed, but my heart was not interested.
This same heart is now opening, and accepting my physicality as it’s own. I might even someday be open to being loved, found attractive, and desired. I am suddenly open to LOVE. It’s a bit scary, and weird, but mostly awesome.
I know I likely have a limited range of prospective partners as a Trans Woman, but maybe just maybe there is someone out there who won’t see me simply as a fetish object to use and abuse, but rather as someone they can love. May be.
*the three similar pics are my most recent stabs at beard covering makeup. I'm not ready for daily makeup beyond my usual eyeliner, and lippy. But it will happen, maybe before, or after I start some electrolysis. Even if as I desire I become a woman who uses only some eye makeup and maybe some blush, lipstick/gloss (what I do already but sans heavy beard shadow) I feel I need to know how to do a bit more than that. *