I’m drinking my last cup of black tea before I go asleep. My phone vibrates. It’s late and I wonder who would be up at this time. I’m sitting in the dark, wrapped in my silk dressing gown, with the only source of light coming from my laptop. I’m listening to soft, slow songs and doing my nails. I have a text from a boy who I met online. We’ve been texting back and forth for a few days and he is quite sweet. I also think that he’s quite attractive. He is always the one that initiates conversation between us and he seems a lot more interested in me than I am in him.
The message asks me to go on a date with him. I think about it for a while before telling him that I will. He wants to go to a tapas bar in the city and go for a few drinks afterwards. I’m quite into that idea. His next message tells me how excited he is to meet me and that he thinks I’m beautiful. I can’t help but smile in spite of myself.
He goes on to tell me how nervous he is as he has only ever dated cisgender women before. I tell him that I’m not looking for anything serious and that I’d love to keep things as casual as possible. He tells me he’ll text me in the morning. I go to my wardrobe and pick out an outfit for the following day. I fall asleep at 4 in the morning.
My alarm goes off at 12 the following afternoon. I pad to my kitchen in my bare feet. It is a beautiful day. The sun shines in through the windows as I pour myself a cup of black coffee. I go to the window that looks out towards the city (something that I do every morning) and stare out. It is then that I remember. I have a date tonight. I check my phone. No text from him. I think about this for a few minutes but I’m not worried. I decide to start getting ready.
After showering and getting dressed I sit in front of my mirror and begin applying numerous face creams and putting on lipstick. My phone sits beside me but there’s no message from him. I pick up my phone and message Sophie Clarke and Lauren Fetherston. We organise to go for dinner, before coming back to my apartment to drink wine and talk about life.
I sit and stare into the mirror. Into my own eyes. Full of light. Full of stories and feelings. I ask myself whether being stood up matters to me. As far as I can tell I don’t care. Although I tread cautiously inside my own head unsure whether some part of me is upset. I take my time getting ready, all the while drinking glasses of water to make my skin look and feel good. I step back from the mirror and I like what I see. I pick up my clutch bag, fluff up my hair, put on my large sunglasses and strut downstairs.
The sun is warm on my face on the bus journey into town. I listen to upbeat music on my iPod and stare out at the world. I am pretty amazed at how well I’m taking all of this. I always thought that a situation like this would upset me somehow. But what do I have to be upset about? I’m about to spend the night with some of my favourite people. We’re going for Italian food which is my favourite. I just know that I’m about to have a glamorous evening that will make me smile and feel warm inside. I’ve just published a book and the reaction has been amazing. I have so much love and light in my life and I don’t need a boy in it.
I had not pinned all of my hope on this date, but I was not cynical about it either. I was open to the opportunity of a nice date with a nice boy, but it just didn’t happen. This is okay. I do not resent him. After all, what was he to me except a few nice texts and one smile? I am grateful that he showed his true colours early on, before I felt anything for him.
I can’t be annoyed at the fact that a nineteen-year-old boy is afraid to be seen with me. There is so much stigma around straight boys who are attracted to trans girls. I believe that his attraction was genuine, but that his fear outweighed that attraction. I hope that he overcomes this fear someday and that he is able to find someone that he can love unencumbered. But I will not be that someone. David Beattie waits for no man.
As I step off the bus I am aware of how good I look. I walk confidently along the quays and feel people’s gazes following me. Whether they are staring at the fact that I am extremely tall, that I am trans or that I am wearing a killer outfit (black skinny jeans, long red shirt, all wrapped in a large colourful shawl) I do not care. Their gazes are warm and I smile as they look me up and down.
I tilt my face up to catch the sunlight and I feel as though my insides are glowing. As I cross the bridge to meet the girls I take out my phone and block the boy’s number. I am having one of those beautiful moments that happen to you every now and again. The moments where your life feels like a scene straight out of a feel-good movie. The girls wave at me as I approach them.
Boys. Who needs them?
Watch my video about online dating as a trans woman below:
Read more about the boys I date in Disappearing Acts.