Thursday, 10 February 2011 04:56

Exploring Gender: Gender and Dating

Written by  Cael

I want to talk about dating and how gender affects the process. Generally, dating is hard. There are so many aspects which go into a relationship: compatibility, willingness to compromise, similarities in values, and attraction, just to name a few. It is a struggle to find someone who lies within the parameters of what you are looking for and to fall within what that other person—who might fit all your hopes and dreams—is seeking.

People have certain expectations going into a relationship, and it is hard to compromise those expectations for yourself or to set yourself within those your partner might have. So what do people expect from me? Or really anyone? I feel like expectations have a lot to do with how you present yourself. If you present yourself openly and honestly, what you see is what you get, and you don’t have to worry about that conversation down the road of Hey, I think I might want to be a man or I have kids or any other form of surprise a partner might reveal once comfortable in the relationship.

I worry about how people see me, though. I think most people do. Society puts such pressure on people to conform: to look like this, to act like that, to say the right thing, to make the right choices. Everything has a definition, a label, something to keep it in its place, and things are placed in the right or wrong pile based on societal norms.

As it stands, I think of myself as genderqueer, but what really does that mean? How does that label me and change expectations about me? I’m just trying to find how I am comfortable with myself. I work toward that every day, but as I change, so does how others see me. In my experience, the LGBT community is very accepting of all kinds of different people, but when it comes to dating, people usually go in knowing at least a basis of what they want.

So I worry. I worry that I don’t dance well, that my breath smells bad, that I’m a nerd, that I’m strange, that my hair sticks up in all directions, that my feet are two different sizes. I worry about all of those things we all worry about when we start thinking about trying to catch someone’s eye. We want the people we like to like us, so it is hard to let all those little things go and be yourself.

But I also I worry that if I don’t shave my legs, I might not get that date. I worry that I might be seen as a guy and I don’t want to misrepresent myself. Really, I’m not sure how I want to be seen yet. I don’t know how to reconcile these things. I guess they are just more little worries, more little things to think about before going out for the night.

And here we come back to expectations, because the most important thing becomes to represent yourself honestly. It comes down to the fact that if I feel more comfortable with myself not shaving my legs, then whoever decides I am not worth it because of that is not worth my time.

So dating as a genderqueer individual is a bit harder. It is a bit harder to find a partner willing to extend acceptance no matter what that entails and a bit harder to come to a place where you can openly display who you are. But there are still chances, and belief and patience can go a long way towards finding yourself someone to love.