15 Things To Look Out For While Dating As A Young Trans Woman
This is a dating guide for trans girls becoming women quicker than it feels like their hearts can survive the journey through the hands of men. As a young trans woman, the world has already taken so much from you. It has tied your wings even before you learned the feeling of flight into the world and your lover’s arms. You would think that men would be gentle with women who have had so much taken from them. You would think that they’d recognize your vulnerability to the elements of the world and put themselves in front of you, as protectors, instead of leaving you to weather its storms alone. You would think that others would not feel the need to create competition with girls who are most often not considered “real” women and who are killed in the act of un-naming them.
Even with these hard truths forging you in their fires along the way, there is hope. Your journey is one that ultimately fashions a passionate, resourceful, and fiercely self-loving woman. There is however the issue of survival against destructive forces. The intimate space that young trans women navigate in the exploration of romantic love with men is often a high-stakes game of minesweeper.
These are some of the trials and characters you may meet along the way:
Lipstick Alley Headline
Things may often seem very unfair. Cis people love to pass Black trans women's photos around the internet as a "warning" to men. They love to pass around a trans woman’s photo and perform a ritual to tear apart her beauty, nitpick her face and try to destroy her reputation and image. I pray for spiritual protection for all trans women. Pray with me. Our beauty is not defined by the cis tribunal. You do not have to feel shame for your desire and others’ desire for you. Do your best not to allow others' behavior towards you to define you.
An unending party of vibes and vaguery that never ends. There are many men who will not create safety for you or openly express their feelings for you, yet will try to push a sexual agenda on your body and place you in a dangerous space of ambiguity. They will try to turn a “vibe” into sex, without any communication or admissions of romantic affection. This can be extremely dangerous for a trans woman. It may work for cis people, as a moment of fleeting pleasure, but often you may find it just feels scary and unsure. Allow them to do the work for you. All girls deserve an admission of desire and an allowance of care. Allow him to establish a context of safety as a beautiful bridge into the erotic.
The Casual Criminal
It’s no big deal. Nothing is a big deal, even when you need it to be. There’s not much room for intimacy, only vibes. These are men who see you as one of the world's many buffet offerings for his perusal, as opposed to honoring your unique needs and vulnerabilities as a trans woman. You’re considered the same as everyone else in his circus, the only problem is you’re not. You’re not for men who don’t have the time to consider you, the offering of your vulnerability, or your safety. He may be using the idea of “sameness” to avoid intimacy and accountability and considers all of his work done for being “cool” about you being transgender.
Sometimes cool can be too cool. So cool, it becomes lukewarm, stale, and tepid. You don’t want boring. Hold out for a little passion. Be a big deal. You are one and you deserve it.
Completely disappears after the slightest moments of intimacy. Reappears when the chemistry fizzles out to keep the cycle going. Cycles of intimate rejection and painful revolving doors rarely end in the love you seek. You are the magician and your magic is in the craft of your heart, not disappearing it.
The Therapy Bill
Not sure why but you feel terrible after every interaction. He doesn’t create or encourage a context of safety or transparency. The longer they know you, the more increasingly psychologically complex they become in their emotional terrorism of you. You keep waiting for things to let out into peace and clarity, but instead of an ocean, it's a drain circle. If you have to ask your friends for too much advice to feel “okay” or if at every turn you are more disturbed and confused than the last, it's likely a negative cycle, not a deepening intimacy. Hold out for a man who is a friend to your mind.
You deserve more than men who target vulnerable women and use them as a kink. You are not a kink. You are a woman. You are easy to love and therefore you do not have to worship a man for finding you beautiful. Men who move through vulnerable communities of women for their own emotional and sexual pleasures are simply a different type of misogynist. And no one deserves an award for loving you. You are alarmingly beautiful and unconditionally inspiring of love.
There are men who talk a good game about liberation and fill their bookshelves with the self-righteousness of their own literacy. Do not be surprised if they never apply any of it to relate to you. There are men who will learn just enough emotional depth and get in touch with their feelings just enough to use them against you. There will be sensitive poets and writers who ultimately only understand their own pain and the desire for their own freedom, while yours largely remains a theory or a cudgel to use against others. There will be many who define their own liberation as the right to quiet you.
When you explain your sufferings and ask for a reprieve from your pain, they will talk about how it's really them that's suffering. These men rarely actively address their own sufferings, merely use them as reasons why they should be able to abuse freely. Your job and your labor of love as a trans woman are to live the freedom he can only ever read about in books. Walk out of the pages and away from his hands.
Is this a date? Are we friends? Are we attracted to each other? What is happening? No one involved has any idea and so you float until there is finally heartbreak to free you. There are men who have no idea what they are doing and in the space of ignorance, they keep you at arm's length, while using you for whatever desires randomly emerge during a drunken night. There are men who are far too afraid to face their desire for you, yet they can’t let you go, so they keep exactly the information you need to make the best decisions for your own life. There are men who are criminally casual. In the face of stagnation and emotional poverty, pray and walk steadily from these lands until you find love.
There are unfortunately men willing to kill in order to preserve their sense of self and enact power over vulnerable women. Develop a practice of safety that serves your unique circumstances, honors your truths, and practice not sacrificing your own safety and body in the pursuit of romance or pleasure.
There is often someone trying to “clock” and “check” your womanhood. There is an impossible standard of beauty imposed upon trans women. Nothing short of perfection is ever enough for the naysayers and even a few of the well-meaning. No one has to be as beautiful as you to be loved.
Therefore, it may seem like everyone else but you can be loved. You will wonder what is the formula to be considered “human.” A change of hair, more hips, boobs, a bigger ass, lighter skin. When it comes to the dominant cisgender values on beauty, rarely is anything ever enough. You are always one shifting goalpost away from “enough.” You are always one hair out of place from being unmasked as “unreal.” The beauty that the dominant messaging tries to impose on trans women is a beauty of surveillance. You will often find eyes searching for a reason to unmask what they see as “the trick” of your womanhood. Especially if you are Black.
You may look around while you are hungry and notice a lot of instant noodle romance: Images of love that promise to feed you, but lack what you really need to feel nourished. Everyone seems to have come with the right ingredients in their cup to be instantly loved, ingredients that never seem to include the things that make up women like you. Love may seem instant for others, while yours seems like a longer reach from God. There are many men who may fight their feelings for you because you are far from a woman who is convenient to the status quo. Others may seem to have an easier time in love than you. It may reach them quicker, with fewer obstructions and more open desire. Yours is not a quick plate love, it is a slowly opening one. God’s love for you is flavored to the bone.
Your success in romance, will not come from contorting yourself to a man’s fantasy and avoiding his disapproval by trying to manage his emotions with a tireless performance of femininity. You are not responsible for a man’s emotions and feelings about his attraction to you. Men will often lay this burden at your feet and create a dynamic of constantly courting their approval. They enforce this dynamic through intimate partner violence, from the emotional and psychological to the physical. Men who date trans women often develop a habit of making their fear your problem.
Don’t let a man’s fear of you define you. There will be many men who are too afraid to openly face their desire for you. They will often see you as a shameful desire, like a porn category they can shut their laptop on when they’ve had enough. When they are ready again and the blood rushes to their head, they reappear. They are not reappearing for a better relationship with you, they are appearing for another hit. Repeated behavior without deepened intimacy does not get better, it’s a compulsion, not a relationship.
Men who act on compulsion for you, instead of connecting to you are adversaries to the self-realization of your own humanity. This is always the goal of a trans woman. Our goal is not to prove to others that we are worthy of love. Our goal is not to save the world, it is to remove the projections of inhumanity that society has placed over us and to constantly ritualize our own humanity back into our focus. Our goal is to recognize that we are beautiful, not because we align with images of what is “allowed,” but because we walk the path of life’s wild and unpredictable beauty itself. We are nature unfolding in the personal truth of rare shapes and intoxicating bloom.
The Glitch in the Matrix
Be wary of men who loop. When men perform repetitive cycles of shallow engagement, they are tuning into you as an object of erotic fetish, not a human being. They are extracting pleasure as a means of avoidance and ego, rather than engaging in acts of care and protective love. You will likely find a certain type of guy who enjoys the attention of young trans women but withholds deepened relationships with her.
When asked to clarify attraction, commitment, or intention, this man will withdraw and make the trans woman feel punished. He will reappear when enough distance has been created to restart the cycle and enough time has passed to “forget” your needs. You may think the reappearance means that he is prepared to meet those needs. It does not. He repeats the cycle of rejection and reappearance if you ask again. Over time, the trans woman learns that asking for her needs to be met will be met with withdrawal and abandonment.
When the black cat of a man’s ego appears twice, choose yourself.
The Backseat Driver
There are many who will demand perfection from you that they do not even demand from themselves. There will be people who will say that we deserve to die for not navigating relationships with men according to their idea of “perfection.” Always choose your own safety as you learn not to open where you cannot reveal the truth of your body and your own experiences. Having access to you is a secret menu that many just cannot afford and they do not have the special passwords.
“Perfection” will likely be a huge theme in your life. Lack of perfection for a trans woman can sometimes mean harm or even death. It is not your job to be perfect, it is your job to be “love.” It is your job to live, according to your own needs, not the projections of others. You may face many disappointments in love and with them will come learning. A lot of women struggle with self-blame when relationships end or become destructive. I think a better way to approach a painful relationship is not “what did I do wrong?” but “nothing in that relationship was conducive to me succeeding.” You likely were not set up for success. Dispense with guilt and shame. When you are set up for success, you don’t have to be perfect.
There is room for you and your learning. This includes your romantic life. If you are not supported away from the self-blame of overthinking and being invited into care, you mistake performance of goodness for connection. If you have to fix things all on your own, by lashing yourself with a constant demand for your own perfection, the connection demands too much of your own blood and suffering to be safe for you. If the connection dissolves when you discontinue this practice, it was not of love.
There will be many men who are just not for you. Even if they want you, they ultimately just cannot make the leap across what society tells them they can and cannot have. Only the one can make the jump. Hold out for a “Neo.”
The Concern Trolls, the Bad Faith Actors and Finally, You
There are many people who wish for you to remain in pain and for sadness to reside permanently in your heart. As an act of political and intimate necrotism, like when Colombus set dogs upon queer Indigenous people as his first act of setting upon their land. You do not have to live that way. You do not have to live in competition. You do not have to live in fear. You do not have to waste time fearing for your life, merely let go of the loves that do not become you. You do not have to live in lack, you simply have to practice sumptuously in your prayers. You do not have to argue talking points about your humanity, you simply have to orgasm in the privacy of your templed hands.
If the men do not show, as often they do not, make worship of your love for life in the approach of their death. My advice to you is to live and always forgive yourself for the hard acts against you. Dear young, Black trans woman, we used to follow the stars and night for freedom. Now we follow the Sun.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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