There is a transgender person working at my Starbucks that I would love to get to know. She is clearly in the process of or has already been sexually reassigned to a female. I want to make friends with her because she seems awesome. I'm very curious about her change also. Since I care very much about others' feelings, I need some advice on what to do or not do on our first encounter outside of Starbucks. Thank you!
— In Love
Dear In Love,
You can always break the ice with jokes like, "Do you know where they put pictures of missing transsexuals? On cartons of half-and-half!" Or, "What do you call a transsexual woman with a strap-on? Nostalgic!" I kid. So, all you trannies out there, hold your fire.
It's unclear whether you want to meet her to be friends, date or have a swollen, slapping session of T-sex. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you want to date her. In that case, you need to follow some general common-sense rules.
First, look your best. You're dealing with somebody who takes extraordinary measures to look like an appealing woman. She is going to expect her men to have some pride in their appearance.
Next, be sure of what you want. If she senses that all you want is a piece of strange with a capital S, she'll most likely send you packing. She's not interested in being somebody's experiment.
You're probably not a little bit nervous meeting her, and you need to get a grip on it. Most likely the nervousness is from those questions banging in your head. As in, "Why am I attracted to T-girls and what does that say about me?" That you're gay? Extremely doubtful.
Most guys into T-girls are straight. That you're twisted? No. There's nothing twisted about being attracted to another human being.
One thing I can tell you for sure: Stop the stare fest. T-girls get stared at a lot — and most of it is not positive. Concentrate on being friendly. Say hello. And for God's sakes, smile. After all, it's the second best thing you can do with your lips.
Establish a pattern. Come in, say hello, SMILE, chat her up. Once it's clear that you've got some kind of connection, make up a nonromantic reason to give her your card ("Oh, I saw something online I thought you'd appreciate. Text me and I'll send you a link.").
From there, it's just a hop, skip and a jump to actually meeting somewhere. Leave your list of questions at home. Talk to her as if you'd talk to any woman, not as if you're conducting an on-the-job interview.
Meet her in a crowded place. It's really important to make her feel safe — by the choice of where you meet, using open body language, not staring, and avoiding any conversation that gives her a twinge that she's dealing with a nut case. It's easy. I do it all the time with my editor.
A couple of things you might want to keep in mind — do not assume she's interested in dating guys. A lot of T-girls don't. Whatever you do, don't be stingy and suggest you split the check. Pick it up. It's a sad fact but the transformation from male to female is not just a sexual reassignment; it's also a socio-economic one. They often break the bank to make themselves whole.
I would also haul out your inner gentleman. T-girls are often even more feminine than G-girls (genetic). If you want to impress her, a robust application of manners will take you a long way. Whatever you do, don't try to get her in bed right away. One friend begged his T-date to go home with him with this classic line: "Come on, you can't get pregnant!" It didn't work.
Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mike Alvear is the author of a line of How To Meet Guys On Facebook and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.