Through the Looking Glass
 
 
     
 

The Two Types of Men We MTFs Might Attract

 
     
  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 imbetween, 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.

Looking for Trans Admirers

If so many admirers are tranny at heart, why don’t they just dress up and hit the town like we do? Why settle for soaking up someone else’s satisfaction? And why are admirers such a less impressive bunch than gay men and even regular straight men? Gosh, that’s an appalling thing to say about our guys—and thank god for the many exceptions—but anyone with any real heels-on-ground experience is aware of this unfortunate fact.

Why oh why, I’ve asked myself, until thinking back on the innumerable men I’ve met over the years at the tranny clubs and realizing that one simple explanation solves both of these puzzles. But like most of the mysteries of the TG world, we can see it only if we take off our blinders and rein in our sensitivities.

Each admirer is a bird unable to fly. Maybe he’s flown before? Maybe he’ll develop tail feathers of his own and shake them around in style in the future? But for now he’s limited by something. And that same thing that keeps him from being a terribly happening woman may be what keeps him from being an especially happening man.

That would explain why admirers tend to be a heavier and older bunch of men. It would make sense if they were also taller, though I haven’t seen that near as much as I’d like. Some may have their wings clipped by lack of a steady job, car, or apartment. Many are married and unable to get out except under the rarest of circumstances. Some may be constrained by psychological baggage, religious guilt, or macho ethnic tradition.

But the problem for a man-loving TG like me is that once one of these fellows shakes off his shackles and sheds some pounds he may not emerge as a hot, happening man on the scene; he may just show up next week in a dress. “Darn,” I’ve often complained, “the best men here tonight are women.”

Looking for Straight Men

So, with all that being said, maybe it’s better to leave your local tranny night behind and look for straight men at a nearby singles bar. That’s all well and good but unless you’re 5’ 6” and Filipino or a slender white girl with amazing FFS, you’re not going to fool anybody. And if you think the men you reel in are pure, straight men with no clue, then you’re only fooling yourself—pleasant as that may be.

But let’s assume you can reel in the swordfish like some of my tinier TS patients and friends, then what do you need to know moving forward? I’d advise dating for a while before ultimately revealing your secret. That way he can get to know and love all the great things about you before he learns about this not-so-great (to him) thing. Don’t wait too long, because you don’t want him to feel deceived and definitely tell him before making any long-term commitments. Also, whether pre-op or even post, be prepared for your new beau to struggle a bit with the notion of seeming gay to himself and to anyone else in the know. And he probably won’t be interested in hearing too much about TG life, so you’d best be happy living year after year as an ordinary woman.

Now if you reel in one of our admirers, on the other hand, you can be pretty sure that he’ll be accepting and interested in who you are and how you got there. But be forewarned, you represent a forbidden pleasure that might light all kinds of fires inside him. Because of that, he might be all over you like there’s no tomorrow one night—only to discover later that there never really was any tomorrow as far as he was concerned. And if there is a tomorrow, make sure it’s a date unless you want to be someone’s secret playmate. Enjoy each other’s company and have fun. Just make sure he doesn’t get too attached to your original equipment if you’re planning to go for new parts. And finally be aware that he want to blossom himself someday.

Yes, there are special concerns when it comes to either kind of man we might attract. But romance is never risk free and forewarned is forearmed. May you all profit from my experience and find your way to the kind of love or lust you long for.

Life’s rich, complex, and full of possibilities. Be careful and enjoy!

Alice Novic, M.D.

To learn more about me than you’d ever dare ask, please see my smart, sexy memoir, Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age

 
 
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