I just exchanged e-mails with a smart, straight woman who feels angry because a friend of hers is getting distant, not wanting to share or address challenges. She’s upset because she really misses this friend and the relationship they had, because the friend is so much more fun and interesting that most other women.
Of course, the friend in question is a transwoman, who is in her first year after transition. Things are going well for her on some levels, but in other ways, she’s doing the situational blindness that we so often need to help us focus and survive the challenges of a transgender life.
From my vantage in this basement, the amazing thing about this conversation is that this gal gets the whole idea that transwoman have something to share, that they can be fun and interesting, and that when they aren’t there, you can miss them.
This is something I understand in the abstract, of course. I think that I am fun and interesting and a good friend, and I sometimes wonder why other people don’t figure that out.
“Hay!” I imagine them saying, “you are so smart and funny and interesting. Do you want to come to my house for dinner?”
Needless to say, this doesn’t happen at all while I hide in this mildew laden basement, but it’s nice to know that for at least one person, it happened. I want to hear the whole story, of course, to have a conversation with real eye contact about how this magic came about, but chick chat doesn’t really work well in e-mail. That’s one reason I suspect that femmes aren’t well represented on the internet; we really, really like full bandwidth conversations, sunglasses off and everything.
In many ways, my life has been a theoretical exercise. “Well, that’s true,” I would admit, “in theory anyway.” I have spent my time not engaged in the practice of life, but rather in the theory of it, understanding how things fit together. It’s kind of a guru thing.
One problem, I suspect, is that mastery of theory makes me seem much more worldly than I actually am. People assume that if I understand the theory, I must understand the practice well. Either that, or they assume that because I tend to expound on theory I must be a real pain-in-the-ass when I end up expounding on their life choices.
My challenge, now, of course, is to move from the theoretical to the practical. Theoretically, of course, I should be a great success because I am smart, funny, interesting, insightful and engaging, but how does that actually work?
I had a lovely conversation with some college students at the Startup gathering. It didn’t create me any good connections, but it did remind me that I can give good chat. I tend to listen close, make connections, have something to offer, and be a bit witty at the same time, so those are all good things, right?
Still, my experience on the blog is a bit challenging. It’s not like I get lots of people here wanting to engage me. Of course, they are all doing their own work, and the tradition of the internet is simple: you only speak up when you want to tell someone where they have their head up their ass. A few people, though, have had the courage to use the contact page provided, and have found me a whimsical and useful correspondent.
The theory is simple. I should get some business cards printed up, start schmoozing and build a network of people who have met me. Theoretically, that’s the only way to actually meet people who think I’m cool and fun and interesting and who might want to invite me over for dinner. (Just for the record, I will bring a casserole. You don’t take care of partners and parents for so long without being something of a cook.)
I need to believe it’s worth it to put theory into practice, that there is really a chance that success exist in the world for someone like me. Well, actually, that success exists for me.
My correspondent proves that connection is possible, even if they did have to reach out to a trans-theologian to get some theoretical insight on why a transwoman might stick their head up their ass and dismiss a strong friendship. (We need our blinkers and don’t have long training in how to be a good girlfriend, I reminded her.)
I’m a good value friend and coworker, at least in theory.
Now, is that true in practice? Or will, I, as so many people do, just fluff the execution?
Execution will make or break an concept. Or at least, that’s the theory.