Last Valentine’s Day, I penned a column which included a fake billboard and personal ad in my near constant quest for a female date. Sadly, no woman stepped forward to gush, “I want you, Ellie.”
So much for that innovative—oh, I’ll admit it, desperate—idea.
I then took things in a different direction: I placed an ad on Match.com under “Women Seeking Men.”
Yes, dear gentle readers, in case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I’m bisexual. I make no apologies.
Match.com doesn’t have a category for bisexual people. And as for transgender folks like me seeking to date? There’s nothing for us, either.
Still, I tried my best with Match.com. The very first sentence of my profile advised, “Please read this entire profile before responding.” Six paragraphs later—after trying to be witty and interesting—I revealed that I’m transgender. “It’s not for everyone,” I wrote, “but I think I’m worth the trouble.”
Several men responded along the lines, “I love what you have to say, and I like your picture too.” We’d exchange some messages, spiking my hopes. Eventually, however, things came crashing down when the man would write something like, “Oh, I just went back and read your entire profile for the first time. Sorry, I didn’t understand you’re transgender. It’s too much for me.”
You guessed it—men being men, they simply looked at my Match.com picture and age. I had forgotten that males don’t follow directions especially well.
I gave up on Match.com and went to OK Cupid. At least OKC allows for a “bisexual” posting. Again, I wrote at my profile’s end that I was transgender. Again, the men never read through the entire profile. Eventually, I wouldn’t answer OKC messages until the man confirmed reading my entire profile, which in turn meant that I was pretty dateless.
Women, at least, didn’t need to be prompted to read all of my OKC profile. For most women, my being transgender wasn’t as much a problem as was being bisexual. “My girlfriend just left me for a man,” one lesbian wrote. “I can’t take the chance again.”
Let me share a secret: being bisexual doesn’t mean that I can’t commit to the right person. Sure, I can play equally well for both teams, but I’m not hopelessly confused about what team I want. As they say, “it’s all about the person.”
Failing at Match.com and OKC, a month ago I threw a Hail Mary pass: Craig’s List. At least CL recognizes that transgender and bisexual folk actually exist in the world.
In “Miscellaneous Relationships” under “T4M,” I posted that I was seeking a long term relationship and not some casual sex hook-up. Readers saw that I was single, relatively smart, stable (well, actually that’s quite debatable but let’s sidestep the issue for now), and creative. Potential suitors needed to be the same.
The Craig’s List personal generated a dozen responses. I skipped the married men and three-word-responders, and settled on a man who liked Van Gogh and the MIA. We’ll see where that relationship goes, but at the very least, for the first time in a long time, suddenly there’s some hope.
Believe me, when you’re fifty-six and trying to date, hope is something that’s in real short supply.
I understand that with Craig’s List, I need to be careful. But if you’re trans and seeking to date, there aren’t many options, as the above reflects. While there are some trans-specific dating sites, most get back to the question of sexual hook-ups.
At my age, hooking-up is the absolute last thing on my mind. I want someone to talk to, hang out with, and love. In the end, isn’t that what most of us want?
I tell my friends—and anyone else who will listen—that in twenty years, being transgender or bisexual won’t be a big deal. By then, more and more people will be comfortable with living genuine lives, including wherever their sexuality takes them.
That world of twenty years from now will be pretty cool, I’m just sure. I envy all you youngsters who will get to enjoy it.
As for me, I have to live in the now. It isn’t easy, but at least I’ve got some options, some reason to hope.
That’s way better than what anyone could have said twenty years ago.
Ellie Krug welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org