I got called ‘hot’ the other day, by a guy. And not because he thought I was a girl, and goes for the butch type, but because he’s a lover of men. All of this caught me a little bit by surprise, because I’ve never considered myself to be ‘hot’ in my life. Not in that way. On a good day, when my self-confidence is above its usual ebb, and the wind is blowing right, I think of myself as ‘ok looking’ – more ‘luke-warm’ if you will. Definitely not sexy, or anywhere near it.

I wrote about this before, in I’m so vain. I lived for a very long time as someone who was unhappy with their body and dismissive of any attempts by loved-ones (or strangers) to reassure me I really was attractive. It’s really hard to get out of that mind-set, so being called ‘hot’ was, well, a bit nice!

Being complimented by a man was even nicer, I think, because it’s a very long time since my gender presentation screamed ‘pretty, sexy available girl!’ so I’ve not been at the receiving end of a male sexual compliment for well over a decade. In many ways my recent encounter made me feel that I had been recognised as a man, and even more so, an *attractive* man. I have no real idea what I will look like once the Trans Popcorn Maker has popped all my kernels, and whilst, let’s be honest, I’ll be happy to live my life as a man as the most ordinary looking chap around, it’s good to know that something is going right. Saying that, though, feeling sexually attractive is very unusual for me, and something that will take a while to get used to.

When embarking on transition, there’s lots of things you expect, difficulties catalogued by those who have gone before, and a zillion and one websites, blogs and YouTube videos to help you know what’s coming. But there’s some very odd, quite subtle things that no-one ever seems to talk about.

Size, for instance. Not all transguys are short, but a lot are. Short for men, that is. I’m 5’5″, which made me an average sized ‘woman’. However, I now find that I am ‘small’. That sounds so obvious, and unimportant, but going from average to small in one fell swoop takes some getting used to. I’m having to reposition myself physically in the world. Some years ago I used a walking stick to get around from time to time, and I found that a similar social process went on when I had my stick. Physically, and on a deeper level, I related differently to the rest of the world.

I have also had to realign things like shoe size. I’m a 7, which used to be considered quite big  (“Shoes like barges”…you know who you are!). Just as suddenly, I have small feet. It’s not something that seems even remotely significant in the grand scheme of things, but it is a clear example of the ways in which trans people have to redefine themselves: to others, to themselves and in their core ‘story’ or beliefs. Just as I am having to consider that I may be more attractive to others than I have ever believed in my life.

Transition is not just about the big, obvious changes. We are also faced with a myriad of repositionings. It’s hard work!

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