Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 35: Kind of Flirting

Libra (College me): Hey Mom, can I bug you about something?

Mom (Present me): Of course, Daphne. What’s on your mind?

Libra: Well… I’ve seen you flirting with other trans women online…

Mom (worried): Whoa, whoa! Let’s not give anyone the wrong idea — some of those trans women are reading this, you know.

Libra: Okay fine, you’re not looking to forge new romantic relationships. But you tell other women how cute they look all the time.

Mom: Yeah, I do a lot of that.

Libra: That’s *kind of* flirting, wouldn’t you say?

Mom: I don’t think so. Lots of other trans women do that too — they’re not *all* trying to date each other. Besides, It can be difficult for trans women to see themselves as other people do, so telling them how cute they are is a vital service to the community.

Libra (annoyed): I feel like you’re dodging the issue here. If you wanted to escalate to actual flirting, you could, couldn’t you?

Mom (embarrassed): Well, I… Uh… Yeah, I guess I could.

Libra (frustrated): I couldn’t. I actually wanted to make romantic connections but never could. Not only was it difficult to bring myself to try, but when I did it *always* went poorly.

Mom (sad): Yes, I remember.

Libra: So what changed for us? Why is it so easy now?

Mom: Two things — First, we live as women now. It’s socially acceptable for women to pay each other compliments, or build each other up emotionally. For trans women especially, we have a mutual understanding of how difficult it can be to present as your authentic self because we’ve all had to make similar journies through masculinity and doubt. We know compliments will truly be appreciated because we’d appreciate them too.

Libra: So there’s less social friction.

Mom: Much less. We’re also expected to relate *as women* and not as men, which is a very different dynamic. And *being* women, relating to others as women just feels more natural.

Libra: I guess that makes sense. I do love being one of the girls.

Mom: Right, it’s one of our favorite things about transition. The second reason is sort of related: We have estrogen-dominant brains now. Estrogen has rewired how we process information a bit, and vastly increased the amount of emotional data we take in and process. It’s also changed the kinds of thing we find rewarding — remember our conversation about video games?

Libra: Of course; how we mostly enjoy reading over games now because stories are more emotionally engaging.

Mom: Exactly. Interacting with living people is more engaging yet. Getting positive reactions back from other trans women feels *really* rewarding.

Libra: So even though it can be nerve-racking to interact — I remember how tense you get after sending personal messages — it still feels worth it to take the plunge.

Mom: Just so. And you’re right, that means that if I *was* actually trying to flirt, I could probably overcome my anxiety and do it… As long as I didn’t get rejected *too* many times.

Libra: Rejection sensitivity is still a factor, huh?

Mom: I’m afraid so.

Libra (content): Still. I’m glad we can engage with other women now. It feels really nice.

Mom (smiling): It absolutely does, Daphne. It absolutely does.