First I had signed up for a Match.com social event, called a "Match-Stir", a river cruise on the "Portland Spirit," a big three deck river cruise liner for 3 hours. One whole deck was reserved for Match.com people, all of similar age, men seeking women, and women seeking men, with a balanced number of each sex. The hors d'oeuvres were tasty, but not expensive, the wine was good, but nothing special. The event didn't have any formal structure, just drinks and hors d'oeuvres. I ended up sitting at a table with two other girls as a number of guys came by and sat down for a bit to meet the other girls.
I found myself, quite unplanned, falling into the role of (don't get mad at me....) "homely wing-woman" to the other two lovely ladies. I often helped keep the conversation going and easily made people laugh, the guys and girls alike. Though polite to me, it was clear the guys only had eyes for the other two girls. The girls kept bringing me back into the conversation as if to be a buffer to keep the guys from dominating the conversation, and to keep then off balance. It was all a kind of intuitive female social dance, not planned, but a very clear, rather fascinating dynamic.
It was all quite interesting, but of course, I'd have rather found a guy who was interested in me. I did meet at least one young woman who may become a great friend. I certainly didn't embarrass myself, found everyone quite gracious, and I would go on another event like that. This time was a bit intimidating, next time would not be. So it was at least a win in terms of building my confidence.
After returning from the cruise, it was still early and I had not made any connection that might have filled the rest of the evening, so before driving home I contacted a guy who had been chatting me up all morning from OKCupid, and had an odd "date" experience.
His name was Pat. I had told him earlier that if I wasn't too tired after the cruise, maybe we could get together later. He was ruggedly handsome and seemed quite nice as we chatted all morning. His profile said he was an old fashioned romantic guy, six feet tall (which is not bad for me, although I love someone a bit taller), very lean and muscular, a construction worker, and he showed up in a good looking casual outfit in cowboy boots and jeans that hugged his butt. I don't remember it saying he was a smoker, and his profile is deleted now, but he said it was in there, and unfortunately he did smoke (yechhhhhh!!!)
I was already on the way and going to be arriving at the pub first, so he told me he'd get there about 20 minutes after me and to pretend we'd never met when he got there and he'd come up and we'd sort of role play a casual first meeting and play some games of billiiards together. So we did just that. We actually had a pretty good time playing, He told me I looked beautiful, better in person than in my profile pictures. He behaved as a perfect gentleman all the time we played, chatted, and had a couple drinks.
After three games (I won two and he won one, but who keeps score? - LOL), we both decided we wanted to go someplace where we could talk. I suggested we to go to this smaller intimate, quiet pub next door. While I was paying my tab at the first pub he said he'd go out and have a smoke (yech!!! wretch!!! I hate to kiss an ash tray!) and meet me out front. When I got out front he wasn't there. I first thought maybe he had gone to the restroom when I was busy paying, so I sat down out front to wait for him.
After a minute he texted me that he was in his car around the corner and to come join him. I told him we had just met and hadn't even had a chance to talk and get to know one another. I told him I was sorry but I wasn't jumping into a strangers car minutes after we met. From some other intimations I know he wanted to neck and have some sex play like I was a volunteer sex worker or something, but I wasn't getting in the car of a complete stranger who I knew wanted to go faster than I was ready to, much stronger than me, easily could overpower me, might even have a weapon, that just didn't seem smart.
So we argued through several back and forth text messages, he appealed that it wasn't nice of me to expect him to come out of his comfort zone. The bottom line was he was embarrassed to be seen in public with me, but thought he was entitled to get me to service his sexual needs! (Or, who knows, maybe worse?)
There are a lot of guys who look at all trans women as implicit sex workers, or sex toys, for their pleasure, but oddities that they certainly don't want to be seen publicly with.
In the end, this was a good experience for me. Good for me in the sense that I had read about this sort of attitude a lot but had not experienced it personally. Now I would recognize it more quickly and be confident I knew how to handle it.
Afterwards, I went back into the first pub and texted him that I'd be there if he changed his mind, just in case I was over-reacting or misunderstanding (although I knew I wasn't). Soon several very nice young girls came and sat with me, seeing I was sitting there all alone after I had seemed to be happily leaving with a guy moments before. Now I was all alone, and they kind of saw me get stood-up. We had a nice time commiserating about some sucky guys, and chatted our way through a whole big platter of nachos.
On balance, it was a good evening of interesting life lessons, ... and it was kind of sucky on the loneliness scale. A sweet young friend commented that the world shouldn't be like that. I responded that "I like your world, but sadly it isn't the real world."
I have to take the victories where I find them; I know I did the right things. I was strong, and safe.
So, yeah, I'm okay with it all, strangely. I knew enough to expect that sort of thing, I suppose I'll be totally thrilled and surprised if a genuine relationship ever comes along, sighhhh...