Thank you for your comments on last week’s blog; ‘a different voice’. I’m glad you enjoyed it. As promised last week I said I would bring you another woman’s story of her experience being in a relationship with a partner on the transgender spectrum. So here it is…
I suppose you could say I’m in a complicated relationship. Certainly it is unconventional. You see, my boyfriend dresses as a woman. Not all the time, nor does he wish to become a woman at any point, but ‘she’ is a definite and significant part of him.
I have known about this from the very beginning. We met through an alternative lifestyle website. He sent me a message, which was literate, funny and piqued my interest enough for me to want to reply, but I thought; ‘transvestite – hmmm, that’s weird.’ But reply I did, mostly in the interests of being polite. Then he wrote back. Before long I’d found someone I quite liked emailing, and wanted to know a bit more about. Then one day he asked if he could call me on the phone. It was a Saturday night when I wasn’t doing anything, so I said yes. We talked for four hours. He was interesting, funny, liked the same things I did. During the course of the conversation, I asked about the TV thing, and he told me. Then we became facebook friends, and there was a picture of the man. He looked ok – just like any regular 40 something bloke really. He had a motorbike, was a bit thin on top, and he was someone I thought I might want to get to know better. Then I realised I had to actually think about his dressing, and what I really felt about it. So I did. Somewhat naively, I thought ‘it’s just dressing up – just a bloke wearing women’s clothes.’ I realised I was ok with it. I mean, I love fancy dress as much as the next girl!
Then we met. The regular guy walked down my garden path and into my house, and we got on really well. Well enough for me to want to meet her.
I should describe her to you really. She looks pretty great I can tell you! She likes the goth look – all black clothes, dark hair, sultry make up. When she walked into the room, I looked for the guy I’d met. He was there, and yet he was different. But boy (or girl?) did she look good! So I got to know her. Is she different? Yes, in some ways, no, in others – I mean it’s the same person. She doesn’t try to put on a silly feminine voice, but her mannerisms are different – more refined. In a way, she’s more confident than him. She’s more sensual, more – well, more feminine I suppose.
Now here we are 7 months later and I know pretty much all about him, and her. I realise now how naive I was in the beginning. It’s more than dressing up. It’s a desire to be different, a middle finger up to conventionality. It’s a release, an anathema to a rough week at work. I don’t think of her as ‘just a guy dressing up’ – she’s her. She’s my girlfriend. It took me a long time to get my head around calling her that, I can tell you! Because that’s one thing about going out with a T-girl – it’s a rollercoaster! You have to be totally honest with yourself – brutally so, and with him and her too. You have to confront the emotions you are feeling – good and bad, because left alone to fester, they can become divisive. There was a moment when I realised I fancied her as much as I fancied him, and I thought ‘oh my god, am I a lesbian? All these years, have I got it wrong?’ It shook me, more than he realised. But I know I’m not gay. My boyfriend simply has a rather attractive feminine side. Now, suddenly, I see why men make all that fuss about boobs! I like spending time with her as much as I do with him. I even miss her when I haven’t seen her for a while.
However, in some ways she brings out the worst qualities in him – she can be vain, thoughtless and self-obsessive. The transformation from him to her is a massively important process for him. It fascinates me to watch the planning, care and attention to detail he puts in to making her look perfect, and I really want to help her achieve the look she wants. Yet while she is metamorphosing, I might as well not exist. She doesn’t appreciate that I spend the exact same amount of care and detail into my outfit as she puts into hers, and that can be upsetting. I am waiting to hear her say “you look beautiful” as much as she is waiting to hear my appreciation for her. We’re working on that – she knows how she can be, and she’s getting better!
Then there’s the pressure of looking good. Oh. My. God. Her wardrobe is the size of a department store, and it all co-ordinates. I mean come on – I’m nearly 40 and I still haven’t figured out how to get a co-ordinated wardrobe! Her make up box rivals that of a make-up artist. Sure, I like pretty sparkly colourful stuff, and I’m sure I even have a lipstick somewhere. Foundation and a bit of mascara; that’s where it’s at day to day for me. Personal grooming – the pressure to be hair free is relentless! No more letting bits grow during the winter months because nothing is on show – oh no, girls have no hair (that’s what she thinks!) So it all has to go, regularly. It’s costing me a fortune in razor blades.
But you know what? I wouldn’t change her for the world. In some ways she’s brought out another side of me; she’s made me realise that I want to be more feminine sometimes too. That when I make an effort, I actually feel really good about myself. I even brought hair-straighteners and a pot of hair goo the other week! I had to really – I mean she can put on whatever hair she wants, I need to be working some different styles here!
Mostly I like her because she is him. I see him visibly relax when she appears. How much she loves feeling feminine, sexy, attractive, and how that makes him feel. I want him to be everything he can be – happy, fulfilled, true to himself. If she helps him with that, then I am more than willing to accept and embrace her.
So there you have it; my complicated relationship. Only it’s not so complicated to me – I love him, and I love her. Simple really.
This story is awesome, just awesome. There are so many aspects that resonate with me; I could have written it – it’s even in my style! I didn’t, and I am glad; because it gives me hope that there are other women out there who think as I do and recognise the benefits of a relationship with a trans woman.
If you have enjoyed both these stories and you are a woman in a relationship with someone on the transgender spectrum, please write to me with your experience. I have found this such a rewarding and powerful exercise, I would love to publish more stories on my blog.
I look forward to hearing from you.