The Horror You Experience When You Realize You’re A Rebound

The rebound is a natural part of the love food-chain.

Here’s a guest post from one of my subscribers here on WordPress. I really like her dramatic writing style!

Take it away!

“I don’t know HOW she could possibly move on from me THAT quickly!” I once blubbered to a friend, fat, salty tears sliding down my swollen face. My first serious, committed relationship had just come to a screeching halt, and I’d found out that in the same moment that I’d been nursing my broken heart by weeping into a bowl of macaroni and cheese, my ex had been on her third date with someone new.

“Oh, come on, Zara! She’s totally a rebound,” my friend rolled her eyes so hard she looked like she was being exorcised by a priest.

“You think?” I whispered. I felt my spirit spring up, like a baby meerkat; incredulous and hopeful.

“Zara are you stupid? She’s not even her type.” She filled up her glass of wine to the tippy top. “This bullshit won’t last a month.”

“You’re right.” I felt a sudden wave of relief wash over me. It was as if I’d just popped a Xanax! This new little b*tch my ex was carousing around town with? Well, she meant absolutely nothing. She was a rebound. A glaringly obvious rebound at that. A smug smile made its way across my distraught, dehydrated face. “Poor girl,” I purred flashing my bleached teeth.

We’ve ALL had experiences with rebounds, right? The rebound is a natural part of the love food-chain. We silently shake our heads when our friends claim to be in “love” with some floozy they started dating days after their breakup. We wake up in horror, overcome with a mean case of sudden repulsion syndrome when we realize the person sleeping next to us — the one we thought might be the next great love of our lives — was nothing but a rebound. We judge our exes for their rebounds and gab to our friends about how much better we are and what a downgrade she is and how embarrassing for everyone involved!

But what about the awful, degrading realization of *being* the rebound? Of having that revelation that *you* were the temporary floozy? Of being hit with the dark epiphany that you were nothing but a fleeting distraction, a pretty pink band-aid patching up a cracked heart?

It was a humid, rainy summer in Florida when it happened to me. While it might’ve poured so hard every single day that the palm trees grew cartoonishly big and plump, I was experiencing a drought as dire as Texas in 2011. Dating apps were new and while I swiped so hard I developed carpel tunnel in my right hand, I never seemed to match with anyone date-worthy.

Until I matched with a short-haired editor named Georgina. Georgina and I met up at a cozy Italian bistro and I liked her right away. We had one of those first dates that feels magical — like you’re about to embark on something new and glittery and exciting. We wasted no time suffering through the usual robotic small talk. We dove into the deep end of the pool right away. We discussed our childhoods, our career ambitions, our teenage traumas. We looked into each other’s eyes like we’d known each other for lifetimes. She drove me home and we passionately made out in the driveway, like two sex-starved gay teens having the first taste of their own gender. Before she peeled out of my driveway I received a text message. “I had such AN AMAZING TIME WITH YOU! Can we meet up again SOON!?” she messaged, thirstily.

I forced myself to wait ten minutes to respond.

“Me too. Let’s meet up!”

The next two weeks were a whirlwind of soul-baring dinner dates, libidinous sex sessions, ardent late-night phone calls, and poetic text exchanges.

“Isn’t this a little fast?” my friends said all at once, a lesbian greek chorus clad in dr. marten boots and flannel shirts.

“Maybe,” I admitted as I guzzled down my wine.

“Didn’t she just get out of a relationship?” the lesbian greek chorus dutifully sang. I hadn’t told them she had, but gays somehow know all the tea on other gays, regardless of where they live or where they’re from, or what social sorority they pledge to.

“Yes,” I smirked. “She’s assured me that the fire in her last relationship burned out a LONG time ago.” I smoothed my hair down like a true Republican lady and ignored their worried glances. What did they know about instantaneous love? (A lot because they’d all U-Hauled, but that’s beside the point).

One night, as I was getting ready for a date I felt a strange twinge in my stomach. Do you know that feeling you get right before someone breaks up with you? It sort of feels like you’ve been hit with an arrow straight in the gut? I felt that. “Don’t be ridiculous, Zara,” I said to myself. “After all, she’s the one who is more into YOU. She’s been pursuing the shit out of you. This is SO typical. You don’t, deep down, believe that you are deserving of nice things. Well, I have news for you! You are, babe,” I hyped myself loud enough to drown out the lingering doubt tickling the inside of my ear with its breathy whisper.

I arrived early and ordered champagne. I was wearing an amazing dress, a dark gray “fit and flair” that had an actual wire at the hem, which made it flute out at the bottom, like a bell. My hair was long and loose and my eyes were smokier than an Eastern European nightclub. My lips were fire-engine red. My nails were fire-engine red. I felt like a Real Housewife of New Jersey mixed with a chic London socialite. I twisted a faux ruby around my finger, sipped my champagne and tried to quell the gnawing feeling holding court in my chest.

My lover of two fervent weeks finally arrived. She ordered a canned beer, the least festive drink on the planet. The moment it was plopped down in front of her distant eyes, she cleared her throat, dramatically, like she was a politician about to deliver a speech to the people. “Zara. Look, I’ve had an amazing time with you.”

I looked at my hopeful glass of champagne and felt instantly depressed.

“But I think I rushed things a bit. I’m so sorry. I just got out of a really big relationship and I haven’t dealt with it yet. I’m not…”

“Ready. You’re not ready,” I cut in, finishing her sentence.

“Yeah. How did you know I was going to say that?” Her eyes looked a little paranoid like she was afraid I was reading her mind. I could’ve. But I didn’t. (It’s not classy to abuse your psychic gifts on a date).

“Because I’ve given this exact speech before,” I quipped. “To rebounds.“

“You’re not a rebound!” she raised her eyebrows defensively. “I’m just not ready.”

“Yes. But the next girl you date you’ll be ready for. Make sure she sends me flowers and a thank you card,” I grumbled, sliding out of my seat.

I did what I always do when my feelings are crushed. I went out. I met up with some friends at our favorite bar downtown.

“Can you believe it?! SHE ENDED THINGS. WITH ME,” I shouted to my best friend Eduardo.

“That sucks,” he said with dead eyes. “Let’s do a shot?”

“I don’t think you quite understand! I was her rebound. She used me!” I felt dirty, like that old rag you use to wipe down your kitchen and the windows.

“I get it. But it happens to everyone,” Eduardo paid for a round of shots. “It’s just the way life goes.” He passed me a little glass filled with clear liquid.

We tapped glasses, threw our heads back and inhaled straight tequila. My eyes burned so badly from the severity of the alcohol I felt like someone poured peroxide in them. “Am I f*cking rebound girl now? Am I that girl you project a fantasy onto because you’re heartbroken and need a warm body to make you feel whole again?” I shivered. I looked at my red nails. Hours ago they looked shiny and vibrant, now they looked desperate. My nails have no chill. My dress has no chill. I have no chill. My thoughts spiraled out onto the street.

“It has nothing to do with you. You know that. You’ve had rebounds. We all know you don’t even see a rebound. You plaster your own ideas onto their faces. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, Z. Get over it.” His eyes were no longer dead. They were young and alive.

Like me.

Suddenly I felt my feet rooted into the bar floor. Eduardo was right. While it’s a blow to the ole’ ego to be a rebound, it’s not the end of the world. And maybe it’s good for us to be a rebound. After all, isn’t their a famous Sufi saying about how “When the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has gained,”? I’ll do anything to strengthen my spirit! Because I know that bitch will long outlive my frail-ass ego.

So if you’ve just realized you are a rebound, I want you to release your pain into the ether. Because you haven’t really lost anything worth having.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tinder will let you list your sexual orientation in your profile

With the arrival of LGBT +Pride month, dating app Tinder is making moves to be more welcoming to LGBT users for the event and beyond. In collaboration with GLAAD, the company has announced it will now let users list their sexual orientation in their profile.

Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps but does not have the best reputation among LGBT folks. Although users can filter who they want to match with, they don’t always work well. The inability for lesbian women to completely block men from matching with them, for example, has been a source of frustration.

With the new update, Tinder users can list their sexual orientation, which will determine who they match with. They can select up to three terms to describe their orientation.

“We want all of our users to feel empowered expressing who they are while connecting with new people — and we’re always working to make that easier for our users on Tinder,” said Elie Seidman, CEO of Tinder. “Dating apps are invaluable platforms for connecting the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re beyond proud to continue our efforts, in partnership with GLAAD, to improve the community’s experience on Tinder.”

The update will be rolled out to the iOS and Android app for users in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand this month.

 

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

Tales of Rock – Right Said Fred Turned Out … Kind Of Awesome?

Thanks to any movie or TV show that has ever had a makeover scene, Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” will never die.

Even Taylor Swift sampled it. That song alone could have kept sibling duo Fred and Richard Fairbrass in fishnet shirts for decades to come, but they weren’t done. The host of the BBC’s Gaytime TV (yep) in the ’90s, Richard has long been a prominent member of the UK LGBT scene, but something happened in 2007 that convinced him he needed to become a political powerhouse. Shortly after announcing his intention to run for mayor of London, he set out for Moscow to attend a gay rights march, where he was brutally assaulted by counter-protesters. Far from being discouraged, Fairbrass went right home and marched some more.

Right Said Fred reached the height of political disco (which they almost certainly invented) when it was reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had downloaded some of their songs from iTunes. They responded with a full-on diss track against Assad, brazenly singing that he was “too awful for this earth,” and a war criminal who should be tried for his offenses.

It turned out the one thing they weren’t too sexy for was justice.

 

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Pennsylvania must do more to protect transgender people from violence

Last Sunday at 5 a.m., a trans woman named Michelle Washington — who also went by “Tamika” — was found shot in the head and left for dead in North Philadelphia. Coming just a day after another trans woman, Muhlaysia Booker, was found shot and killed in Dallas, this homicide marked the fifth trans woman violently killed in the United States this year. Last year, we lost more than two dozen trans women to violence. More than half of those women were African American, and this year, all five recorded trans victims of homicide are African American women as well.

In April, a video surfaced in which a man named Edward Thomas savagely beat Booker until she was unconscious, while a crowd of people watched and other men joined. Eventually a group of women intervened and pulled her to safety, possibly saving her life at that moment. But a month later, the same woman would be found dead due to homicidal violence, without a suspect identified.

With two trans women of color found dead within 24 hours in different parts of the country, and 2018 being one of the deadliest years on record for trans women — especially black and Latino trans women — it’s past time we address this violence. This includes adding measures to combat anti-trans violence to the top of the page on progressive agendas. In particular, we need to end shoddy legal defenses used to justify this violence.

The gay and trans “panic” defense is “a legal strategy which asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder,” as the National LGBT Bar Association defines it. This strategy can include arguments that the gay or trans victim of violence made a sexual advance that caused “panic” in the attacker, or that the victim’s identity was reasonably viewed as “threatening” by the attacker, who then acted in self-defense. These defenses may even be employed when the attacker and the victim had a prior relationship, and the attacker wants to claim that they were “tricked” regarding the victim’s identity.

These arguments wrongly suggest that gay or trans identities pose an inherent safety risk, and that violence against LGBTQ people is justifiable simply when another person objects to their identities. Such an excuse for violence is flat-out wrong — yet it succeeds in some cases, reducing the sentences of those who commit hate crimes. This defense was put forth to justify, for example, the 1998 beating and killing of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard in Wyoming.

In recent years, lawmakers have pushed back against this line of defense. Here in Pennsylvania, State Rep. Michael Schlossberg (D., Lehigh) introduced a bill addressing gay and trans panic defense, but the bill didn’t make it out of the Judiciary Committee. In July of last year, State Sen. Larry Farnese (D., Philadelphia) began to lobby his colleagues to pass similar legislation, but we have yet to have anything for the governor to sign.

Pennsylvania — which still does not include LGBTQ people in its laws protecting against hate crimes — needs to step up on this issue. It’s time to start protecting women like Michelle Washington, and like Shantee Tucker, a 30-year-old black trans woman shot and killed in Philadelphia last year. Those are two lives we cannot bring back. But we can do more for the trans community in the future.

 

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Six Things Every Man Who Dates Transgender Women Needs To Know

We’ve brought in a guest writer to address this subject. I’d like to invite more people from the LGBT community to guest post on phicklephilly.

Dear Boyfriends,

This is a love letter to each and every one of you.

This is a letter to let you know that I still think about everything we did and will do together, everything we’ve talked about, every fight we had, and every tender moment we’re going to share.

This is a letter to P, who was always gentle. It’s a letter to M, so curious and kind, if occasionally thoughtless. To S – with whom the sex was freaking unbelievable. To J, always punning and making me laugh; and to E, who is always truthful.

This is a letter to all the men, both cisgender and transgender, who have ever loved me, and to all the men I will ever love.

I want you to know that you change my life and give me strength – even when things between us were/are hard. I want you to know that I see you, I appreciate you, even when I am challenging you to treat women like me – trans women and women of color – better than men in this society are taught to.

I know that being a man who is dating a trans woman (who is outspoken and only sometimes passes) is not always an easy thing. Let’s also take as a given the fact that being a trans woman who is outspoken and only sometimes passes is pretty much never easy thing.

Both of these things are true because of the transmisogyny that still runs rampant in our society and the communities we live in. And while this discrimination and hatred is mainly leveled toward girls like me, I know that some of it is reflected onto you as well.

This is something that is so, so hard to talk about. It’s something has remained unspoken, yet incredibly real, between us, as it does between so many trans women and the men they date.

Part of the difficulty, I know, is that you may not want to admit that being attracted to, going out with, and having sex with trans women comes with intense social stigma.

Another part is that trans feminists like myself believe that any discussion of transmisogyny must center around trans women ourselves. I don’t agree with Laverne Cox (for once in my life) when she says that men who date trans women “are probably more stigmatized than trans women.”

Because that is blatantly untrue.

Men who date trans women are not murdered regularly the way that we are. You don’t experience employment and housing discrimination or exclusion from social spaces in the way that we do.

But neither can I pretend that you live your life totally free from the violence and humiliation that a transmisogynistic culture attaches to my body – a body that you have touched and held and become associated with.

And as much as we may wish that things were different, you and I know that there are so many walls that lie in the way of our loving each other. These barriers have caused us to question ourselves, and our relationships.

Often, we fought about them. Sometimes, we broke up because of them.

You shouldn’t have to learn how to fight transphobia and shaming in order to be with me. I shouldn’t have to teach you how. But the truth is, this is world that often necessitates both.

Whether I like it or not, I am in this fight to the end. I have to be.

You, however, have a choice: your privilege allows you to choose whether you want to walk away from the struggle that is loving trans women, or stay fighting with us.

And if you should choose the latter – and I hope you do – then there are a few things I need you to know about shame, loving trans women, and loving yourself.

1. Dating Me Doesn’t Change Your Sexual Orientation

A huge amount of the stigma around straight men who date trans women is actually based in homophobia. Straight men who are attracted to us are called “f*ggots” and “h*mos,” and may have their heterosexuality called into question.

The implication here being that trans women aren’t really women, so if a man dates us, that means he’s gay.

Conversely, gay men often shy away from dating us – even if they want to – because they “aren’t supposed to be into women.”

And most anyone who dates trans women is at least occasionally subjected to the notion that they’re “into freaky stuff.”

Freaky stuff meaning, of course, women like me.

Past, present, and future boyfriends, I need to tell you something: If you identify as straight, then you can date trans women. If you are bisexual, you can date trans women. If you are gay, pansexual, omnisexual, or asexual, you can date trans women, and it doesn’t change your identity one little bit unless you want it to, because you know what?

You and only you get to decide how to define your sexual orientation.

2. Dating Me Doesn’t Make You ‘Abnormal’

I sometimes meet men who believe (or have been told) that their being attracted to trans women is a form of mental illness. Some of you are, or have been, those men.

Most often, you have absorbed this message from the media: How many Hollywood comedies feature jokes where a straight man finds out that he’s been dating or having sex with a trans woman and flat-out vomits? How many tabloid stories proclaim that a male celebrity has been caught with a trans woman as though this were shocking, sensational news?

More rarely, though still frighteningly often, they have been explicitly told this by a religious/spiritual leader or a health professional.

The implication here is that trans women are so repulsive that you would have to be “crazy” to want to be with us – which bears a striking resemblance to the idea that a person must be mentally ill if they identify with a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth.

But neither my body nor your attraction to it is disgusting or sensational or ill. My body is beautiful, and so is your love. If we are abnormal, that means only that our relationship is different from the one prescribed to us by society.

And there is nothing repulsive about that.

3. Dating Me Doesn’t Make You Less of a Man

As men who are attracted to trans women, you already know that one of most intense forms of transphobia that you will experience is an attack against your own gender identity.

Ignorant people – mostly other men – may insult your masculinity, questioning your ability to attract “real women,” and insult that ways that you have sex.

 

Cis men are not alone in this – trans men, too, are affected by the backlash that comes from dating trans women.

What you have to understand is that these attacks come from a place of fear. You, me, and our relationships are all very frightening to men whose sense of confidence and power come from reinforcing patriarchy.

The existence of romance and sexuality between a man and a transwoman is a challenge to the invisible rule stating that in order to be a “real” man, you have to “win” a cisgender woman’s companionship and sexually dominate her body.

It forces all men to question their belief in the foundations of their identity and privilege.

Remember this: Their masculinity is weak, because it relies on the subjugation of other’s bodies in order to exist. Yours is, or will be, strong, because it is learning how to stand on its own.

4. Having Sex with Me Isn’t a Fetish (Or It Shouldn’t Be)

Conventional straight couples have many love stories written about them: the prince and princess, the beauty and the beast, the hero and the damsel in distress. You and I have only one: the “tranny-chaser” and the “she-male/chick-with-a-dick.”

This story reduces us and the entirety of our relationships to nothing more than a tired old sex joke, a pornographic trope, an offensive cliché.

As trans activist/author/scientist Julia Serano writes, “People automatically presume that any person who is attracted to, or has sex with, a trans person must automatically have some kind of ‘fetish.’”

It’s true, of course, that there are some men who fetishize trans women – who want us only to fuel transmisogynist sex fantasies. I come across them all the time on OKCupid.

But you and I are much more than that. Our relationships have been deeper and more complex than any cliché could ever hope to contain.

And no amount of ridiculous jokes can ever take that from us.

5. You Don’t Have to Pity Me to Love Me

You may hear from people trying to patronize or subtly insult you that you’re “such a good person” for bearing through the difficulties of dating a trans woman.

It’s possible that you’ve received backhanded compliments on how progressive you are, since you’re willing to put up with the burden of my gender identity.

This is insulting to you and me. I am not something you have to pity in order to love. You’re not doing charity work by going out with or sleeping with me.

Our relationship is not defined by the judgments of others, or even by the violence that I – and by extension, you – experience in the world.

It’s true that you, as men, have privileges and power that I don’t. It’s true that this is something that comes between us from time to time.

But real relationships – like ours – are dynamic and transforming, constantly opening up into new dimensions. At our best, I learn from you and you, from me. We fight, we hurt each other, we heal, we grow. We leave and come back together and leave once again.

 

It isn’t your job to “save” me from transphobia. I’m doing that already.

The only person you need to save is yourself.

6. Loving Me Doesn’t Define You

Transphobia is greedy. It wants to swallow everyone and everything.

Because of this, whenever people talk about me, they usually refer to me in terms of my gender identity. I’m not a writer or a therapist or an artist. I’m “that Asian trans woman.”

And when we are dating and people talk about you, they may refer to you “that guy who’s into trans woman.”

It’s easy to be consumed by thoughts about the ignorance and hatred of the society that surrounds us.

How can we not be anxious and angry, when your families get uncomfortable when they find out who your partner is, when your friends snicker at us behind your back, when we have to be wary of violence when we go out at night?

But just as I am more than a trans woman, you are more than someone who loves trans women.

It’s your right and responsibility to decide what that means to you, what it means for your identities as men, and how you will explain (or refuse to explain) it to the people around you.

Choices like this are never easy.

But in the process of making them, you just might find a whole new truth about who you are.

This Is How You Love a Trans Woman

Dear boyfriends past and present: Thank you for being with me.

Please know that I’m not trying to either scare you off (!) of dating trans women or “sell” dating us. As you’re probably already aware (it’s not like I let you forget these things), trans women don’t need to beg men to be into us.

We really don’t.

But some trans women – like me – do want to be with men who know how to do the thing, and do it well. Which is not to say that you can’t make mistakes, or feel confused, or get overwhelmed.

We live in a world that says trans women don’t deserve love, and it will try to stop you from loving us.

Knowing how to love a trans woman is simple. You do it the way you ought to love anybody else: not fearlessly, but courageously.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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