Transitioning Through Online Dating
It gives me the momentary illusion that someone is actually into me
When I came out to my parents and closest friends, I knew that a good deal of things would have changed, and dating was ultimately one of them. At first, I was decided not to cave in and let myself “grow” into my new body, while the hormones where doing their thing and in view of different surgeries.
However, since I had dated someone in the two years before my coming-out, I knew how it felt and did not intend to abandon that fantastic sense of intimacy, closeness and comfort with someone else.
That way, I soon began delving into an ocean which had a closer resemblance to the Mariana Trench than to Phra Neng Beach.
Why would I need a date anyway?!
Well, good question. Although, I do not really have an answer to it, as I still cannot find peace (notwithstanding the fact that I tried to self-analyze myself before and thought I had achieved a decent level of introspection).
So, I threw myself in and started creating accounts on all sorts of platforms: you name it, I had it. The interesting feature about these platforms is that they are quite distinct and unique. Consequently, even the (type of) people registered differ — with a few exceptions here and there — leading to interesting, funny, and at times somewhat fascinating “alias situations.”
In short, you could never tell what a certain app would present you with beforehand, but once you have been on it for a bit, you can straightaway predict what is coming next.
Now, I have rarely ever brought any of these potential matches further than a basic chat and you need to consider this: most of those I used actually occurred before the beginning of my transition.
Dating as a “bisexual man” is not the same as dating as a trans woman
This might sound obvious to some, and maybe a bit incorrect to others: we could, in fact, discuss how I chose to confront sexual orientation with gender identity, these pertaining to two completely distinguishable aspects (respectively, who am I attracted to? and, what do I identify as?). Nonetheless, these are the categories I put myself in until over a year ago and now, they automatically change the way other users see and refer to me: from not wanting to interact with me for simple incompatibility, to sheer abhorrence.
Did this even leave me anything at all?
Online dating is often labelled as “sad” or “pointless” and to a certain extent, I do agree with such definitions. Yet, there is more to it and that is probably why I cannot get away from it. I hop and loop, but I never find my way out and constantly end up back to the AppStore, ready to re-re-redownload an app for the umpteenth time.
Why? Because, according to what I want to believe, they made me grow, they developed my character and the ability to interact with people on a more private and even romantic level faster. During those instances when I actually met somebody, I understood that I was not seeking for a gay relationship (which, instead, I strongly thought was what was expected me). That is, while everyone was pinning that label on me — this, yielding various repercussions depending on the period, — I started realizing that I did not feel like the (other) man in the relationship, and that I did NOT even intend to!
I did not want to be the bigger spoon, the one offering their coat, protecting the other (although this will inevitably happen, given my mama-raccoon-like energy), paying for our dinners out, and all of this unnecessary and honestly far too dated way of seeing “what a real man should act like” (which is definitely also how things tend to work on a general level in Italy — where I come from).
What am I looking for now?
A lot of things, and someone to be with is not the first item on the list (nor the last!). Like many of those who have loved and lost, I miss spending time together vibing, but I reckon that working on myself, my anxiety and transition is far more important at present.
Yet, I still wonder how these apps are doing. So, from time to time, I go back online and check them out. (But finally knowing what I am doing and looking for, and most importantly, who I am).
A simple, well-behaved, nice, interesting and passionate person (gender does not matter much, even if lately I have been quite “oriented”). They… do not exist on such platforms; trust me, there are so few of them that if you ever come across one, please, do it for me, do not let go of them easily! I’d hoped this would be different, and would love to tell you that there are plenty of people to match with for everyone, but I would be lying, and that is not the reason I am writing this. Maybe, you will not give up anyway, even after I have said all this, and I would never blame you — I don’t either!
Finally Reddit came on the scene
My friend told me about it — a subreddit, not Reddit itself — and headlong asked him to send me the link, since it was all about people showcasing themselves in a brief and straightforward presentation through which one can decide to contact them.
However, I am not the type to start chatting with someone; so I showcased myself! It literally took only a few minutes before messages galore hit my inbox. One very positive feature is that Reddit does not allow pictures to be sent in a conversation, so you won’t get spammed — unless you go check their profile…
Anyway, for the time being, nobody too interesting popped up, so I do not believe this will be much different from other websites and apps (besides receiving an avalanche of texts).
I have not found anyone out there; not even this time. Will there ever be anyone out there up to my expectations? With the right looks, personality and brains?
Perhaps not and this is completely fine. At the same time, am I going to stop using these sites? Most likely not (you know, “you never know!”). Yet again, they give me the momentary illusion that someone is actually into me, no matter how weird, unattractive, unpleasant I might ever perceive myself as; and trust me, when dysphoria kicks in hard, you do need someone to just tell you to shut up and stop complaining, because you are just so much better than your mind tells you.