Today I’d like to talk about men, or at least the men that we t-ladies come across. Just like there tends to be two types of trans ladies, there tends to be two types of gentlemen we might attract: trans admirers and straight men. Lately, I’ve spent many more of my weekly girl-nights in gay and straight venues than ever before and confirmed a number of notions I’d previously sensed and even learned a few new ones. It’s been enlightening, and I’ll happily share what I’ve learned from my, and my friends’, and my patients’ experiences.
First and foremost, I’ve re-acquainted myself with that classic lesson from Out and About 101: gay clubs are the best, and gay men even better but not the least interested in us. What can make a gay club interesting for t-gal like me who’s in touch with the softer side of her sexuality, however, is the incidental appearance of one of the other two types of men: straight men and admirers—and it’s often very hard to tell the difference.
Of course, it’s a whole lot easier to find straight men at a straight club, but even there, there’s always that tense question of “Does he or doesn’t he know?” and what that says about me as a woman and him as a man. Ah, the difficulty of distinguishing the pass from the play-along, especially the well-oiled play-along of the experienced trans-fan. I have a hetero crossdresser friend who cheerfully skips right over it and always assumes she’s passing and that the men hitting on her are straight. Though it “works for she,” making this distinction and coming out—at the right place and time—might really start to matter if she ever hoped her flirtation might lead to something more.
Is there truly a difference between straight men and trans admirers, when most of them and many of us would deny it emphatically? Well, like the distinction between started-out-straight and started-out-gay MTFs, the distinction between straight men and admirers is one of those things that “seems to be” even if it doesn’t always “work for you and me.” So, you man hunters out there must by now be hungry to know why admirers are different, how to tell them apart from regular straight men, which kind to go for, and what you need to know if you do.
“But aren’t all admirers really gay?” the most naive among us ask. “Certainly not,” I say. The word gay, at least according to gay people, describes something very specific: men attracted men—in male form. It does not describe any man who does anything non-straight, no matter how much your angry ex-wife might say so.
The more informed among us know that admirers almost always come from the straight world, Studio City rather than West Hollywood as we might say around L.A. I must admit I had a ball the first night I spent at the Mangy Moose, a rockin’ dance joint for older singles in Studio City. I’ve never been so whirled and twirled in my entire life. But I wasn’t nearly so popular the next time and soon learned that I’d been read and word had spread. Where before I’d been courted by twenty, now there seemed to be none. But with a little patience and a comfortable bar stool, I was pleased to discover there was still somebody looking to get up my skirt. And after talking for a little while, I could tell he’d read me or been tipped off, when there were too many references to my height or the “great shape” I was in.
I recently compared notes over lunch with a beautiful, bright, little Filipino non-op TS, and what she’d gathered was so different, but really so much the same. “I get a lot of guys hitting on me,” she explained, “but when I tell them I’m T, they all back away, or at least 95%. I’d have to be post-op and stealthy to keep ’em interested.”
But if a man stays interested despite learning her secret or realizing mine, is he just common Joe tempted to walk on the wild side or a simple Simon smitten by the singular charms of one Alice Novic (or Teresa Teruel), whatever she may be? Whoever such men are, they seem to emerge mysteriously from the straight world, even for me still at forty-four years old, and I thank heavens for them. Who needs to think it through any further than that? No one! Okay, end of article . . .
Just kidding. I do. Maybe it’s the former math/science geek in me—now trapped in the body of a transvestite, or simply the fact that I’m a psychiatrist. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t like surprises down the pike. But I have to ask questions and learn as much as I can from what people say and especially what they do.
So what about that magic 5% of straight men who stay interested? Are they the same as the other guys? If the mood strikes, might any straight man consider a walk on the wild side? First of all, dear readers, don’t answer this question based on your own experience as men. Because, whether CD or TS, you are not and never were a pure straight man, you’re trans—and because of that you see and have always seen the world differently. To avoid this pitfall I surveyed three really good straight friends who had already shared all kinds of secrets with me. If any of them had been trans or trans-admiring they would have long ago let me know.
And, alas, all said they’d lose interest and have to bow out as best they could, if they learned they were getting involved with a transwoman. It seems that these three, at least, were just plain not oriented to us. “If I was already in love with her,” one, who happened to be a doctor, said, “then it would be a bitter pill to swallow, like learning she had herpes or diabetes, but we all have our issues.” Well, it seems like my doctor friend might be able to look the other way when it comes to love, and straight men, bereft of other options, seem capable of looking the other way when it comes to lust. Just consider how many of them find sexual satisfaction from other men in prison. I’m sure resorting to a trans woman would be far less of a stretch, especially if it’s getting near closing time, and sweet little Teresa is right there, ready and willing.
But nearly all the strangers who come out of the woodwork for a readable gal like me or the majority of the men who stay interested in a tell-them-right-up-front girl like Teresa seem to resemble the folks we’re more familiar with from our tranny clubs. For them we’re not some kind of icky in between, but the best of both worlds. Bless their hearts.
Regardless of where they’re found, these men are best thought of as a second and distinct type of the men who might like us, trans admirers, because they seek us out and fall in love with us because we’re trans, not in spite of it. If you’re ever in doubt about what kind of man you’re dealing with, ask yourself, “Did he hit the gas pedal or brakes when he learned I was a trans woman?” If a guy neither speeds up or slows down when you tell him you’re trans, that probably means that he is an admirer who already knew. Another useful question is “Does he steer toward or away from my transhood when we’re in bed?” because many but not all trans admirers crave the opportunity to give oral sex.
Who are these admirers anyway? Simply some small renegade percentage of otherwise regular straight men? Many insist that they are, and I’d like to think that’s true. They explain their attraction to us with “You’re like women but with a little something extra,” and “You’re all so much more appreciative and care about being feminine.”
That sounds pretty convincing except for the fact that I’ve been out on the tranny and chaser scene since 1994, and many men have offered me—and themselves—such explanations only to admit one on one that yes they’re aroused by lingerie or to come out years later as a crossdresser or even transsexual. That’s why I’ve personally come to believe that Deep inside every chaser beats the heart of a tranny. Can’t many of you ladies remember such a phase? Many admirers may be passing through it now. And perhaps there, some are happy to stay.
Nonetheless, I can’t rule out the possibility that other admirers may be simply who they say are. So we might sum up the kinds of men who might like us into 1) straight men who can tolerate our being trans, 2a) admirers who perceive us as women with some sort of advantage 2b) admirers drawn to us because they are trans at heart. Regardless of which kind you are, thank you for being there.