Learning to Be Loved

I’ve said before that I really haven’t been fooling anyone with the sad drag show that has been my male life. At support group the topic of coming out on social media came up – I’ve always been out here, obviously, and on Facebook. That’s because I resisted joining Facebook for the longest time, and my erstwhile male identity never was on FB. Twitter is a different story – I have a fairly mature presence there, with a lot more followers than anywhere else. So, it’s actually important to me, and I have given a little thought to coming out on Twitter. I joked at group that I would say, “I’m transgender. I’m sorry for my sad impersonation of a man. I know it’s embarrassing, it won’t happen again.” That actually pretty much sums it up – if you follow me on Twitter* you’ll probably actually see that tweet in a few months. It’s probably funnier to me than anyone – it probably won’t be how I finally break into Huffington Post’s Funniest Tweets by Women weekly column. Sigh.

I’m kind of a walking stereotype, which I’ve also said before. I like heels (but not embarrassingly high, and those chunky low heel pumps from Coach are being discounted, hmmm…). I like skirts and dresses (but not too short). I like makeup (but not too much eye shadow, it looks garish on me). I’m not even full time and I have two designer purses (Saffiano is way nicer than I expected it to be, incidentally). I drink cosmos and drink every kind of martini but an actual, normal martini. I listen to girly music. And cry along at the sad songs. Kind of a lot. I still dream of being Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice (the original, not the one with zombies, although in a pinch I’m open to negotiation). I’m flirty, often just because it’s fun, and I understand the concept of a flirty hemline.

The one place where I’m not exactly a walking stereotype is the continuing ambiguity of my sexual orientation. I do find it incredibly liberating to say I’m not really sexually/romantically attracted to very feminine women, although I like them a lot as friends, and I enjoy looking at how they dress and do their makeup, and I try to learn some tricks from them, because I’m pretty moderately feminine myself. That pretending went away immediately when I came out the first time. I want to be a beautiful woman (and the emotionally unstable one, but let’s not get into that trope) far more than I want to be with one. And I always nod along silently when women say they’re not that into guys based on their looks. Preach it, sisters. I was never really attracted to what I was “supposed” to be attracted to. I am attracted to masculinity, though. At least in relatively small to moderate doses, I find it achingly beautiful. I don’t want to be it. I never have, and this is a big part of why my attempt at masculinity is so sad (on a particularly butch day in my en homme form** I’m probably roughly Ellen DeGeneres). But the gap teeth and the goofy smiles and the bravado, I find it all amazingly cute. So I say masculinity, whatever. I’m attracted to my girlfriend’s masculinity. Or butchness. Or agency. Or whatever. It’s so much hotter to me than girly girlness.

I adore how she can wear the same couple of shirts she cycles through day after day without any self-consciousness, while I try to remember the last outfits the people I’ll see today saw me in, to avoid the mortification that they’ll see me in the same outfit again (I’ve been a little bit less like this in my en homme form, recently, because it’s just getting harder and harder to put on a male mask, even a kind of a sad one, day after day, but before transition for some time, I was pretty much like this already). I love that she doesn’t consider matters such as whether her underwear matches her clothes. That her clothes are pretty much not getting ironed unless I do it. That she went to a “bro party” because her friend considers her one of the guys (and I get to tease her and pretend to suspect that there were strippers involved). That she lets me say I’m attracted to her masculinity (I usually say butchness, but I have said it that way) and isn’t threatened by it.

She’s got some issues that we’re working through, too, to be sure, and I’m still kind of holding on to see how those get worked out. But. I’m kind of in love with her. Okay, when I say kind of, I mean my heart’s skipped a lot of beats recently. I want to build a nest for her and not let her do any of the decorating (she’s been trying to convince me recently that her choices are not terrible, and I’m observing the evidence, but so far, #No). Okay, I’ve already begun reminding her that diamonds are the Taurus birthstone and educating her about the importance of truly conflict-free, ethical trade diamonds. Soon I’m sure I’ll start dropping hints*** about my ring size (7.5) and setting preferences (something simple and elegant, probably white gold, just one stone, nothing ostentatious). Okay, I’m a little embarrassed that I actually typed all that “out loud.” And haven’t deleted it (and in fact saved the strikeout text for a much less embarrassing admission in the next paragraph and neither this nor the really embarrassing thing I say in the footnotes).

trellis-ring

Yeah. So, erm something like this with a didn’t-leave-a-shorty-armless diamond, please? What… not subtle enough to put a picture of an engagement ring in the middle of a blog post? Can I at least work out some click-through arrangement? Or should I just be really embarrassed at blatantly inserting a picture of an engagement ring in this post?

And…moving on.

In terms of defining my sexuality, I’m really not bisexual-going-on-lesbian in the pansexual kind of sense (being bisexual means a whole lot of things, and covers a really wide range of experiences and orientations, incidentally). I really like a slice of mildly to moderately masculine/butch people. The rest, I feel, is actually *gasp* sort of like how those creepy sexologists describe feminine sexuality – I’m kind of attracted to everything pretty. I don’t foresee myself being with a hairy, dirty-white-cap wearing football superfan, and I don’t really want anyone who thinks his biceps are prettier than I am. But… a sensitive guy with strong arms and a gentle smile? A dog and a pickup truck Prius Subaru-with-a-manual-transmission-so-I-can-borrow-it-in-snowstorms-and-continue-to-drive-pretty-but-impractical-convertibles? Swoon. I know. Stereotype. Total Reece Witherspoon movie moment. And I’m sure if I were not in love, and if he came along, Reece will steal him from me anyway, probably by talking him into teaching her how to drive a manual transmission. Hands meet on the shifter. Happy ending by the two hour mark, and time left over to buy new pink Prada pumps that I would never be able to pull off. Sigh.

legallyblond

Oh my god, oh my god you guys…

I write all of this in support of a really cool story that came up on my timeline recently about a cis/het woman who fell for a trans man. I loved that article.

selfmade

Seriously, this was such a beautiful piece, it really made me cry

My situation is quite a bit different, but my experience of sexuality is very similar – there’s some level at which masculinity is kind of a separate entity from maleness (particularly karyotype maleness, since I do consider the gentleman in the story to be male). It would be ideal to call it something other than masculinity to avoid policing anyone else’s gender expression. But whatever, you know intuitively, most of you, what I’m talking about. Whether the objects of our affection are cis men, trans men, or butch women, she and I are both attracted to masculinity or whatever else you want to call it. I haven’t met her, but I suspect like me, it might just her heart swoon. It might make her want to preen and do her hair just right. Maybe it makes her want to twirl around so her boyfriend can appreciate her dress. I kind of get that, because I’m enjoying the same with my girlfriend. It is, in essence, the “deep in the binary” feminine experience of romance and desire, and it’s really just like the straight experience of feminine desire, just queerer. It’s what I’m going through to learn how to finally feel attraction without compromise. And it’s an important milestone on the way to being loved and loving, in a romantic sense, again, without the hangups and compromises and unspoken components all this had when I was pretending to be a man.

And let’s not get into a hierarchy discussion of how it’s less queer than more gender or tradition non-conforming relationships, this is a love story, not the Olympics. Everybody should win their own prize.

* For safety reasons, I’m not linking my Twitter account here, until I come out on Twitter. I’m not trying to hide anything, but this blogging publicly with my full intended name en femme when I’m not full time yet is kind of uncharted territory, and I’m making this up as I go.

** I plan to be full time (Mira forevermore) around August. Can’t come a day too soon.

*** Here’s another thing… So in Michigan I can legally marry her, right now and probably for the next year or so, and it would probably “stick” later, even if I were caught wearing a cute dress, and I am for sure not going to be caught dead at my own wedding in a tuxedo. I really want to legally be a bride, though, and I may sound awfully impulsive, but there’s no way I’m getting married within a year … a small, intimate Indian wedding is 300 people and only one elephant. So I’d need to gay marry her, even if that were to happen. Erm. Support marriage equality.

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3 thoughts on “Learning to Be Loved

  1. Pingback: Reimagining LGBT Community | Mira Charlotte Krishnan

  2. Pingback: Sexual Healing | Mira Charlotte Krishnan

  3. Pingback: The Place of Female Chauvinism in Feminist and Women’s Movements | Mira Charlotte Krishnan

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