I, Dani St James, am a dating addict, this is, in my opinion, a pretty bold statement to make when we live in a social media society where the last thing you’d ever want to convey is the slightest bit of vulnerability before a well-edited selfie featuring the troutiest of pouts. My addiction isn’t a new thing, I’ve always been this way, but the binges have heightened more than ever since I moved to London three years ago.
Firstly I’ll talk about my experience of dating as a trans woman, which are built up from me transitioning from the age of 17, across 3 countries. I fully understand, however, that these are subjective and depend on the person and their environment among other factors. I think I speak for the masses when I say that comparing dating as a cis male/female to dating as a trans woman is like comparing lube to poppers; it just ain’t the same babe. There are key things that tie into this, and the point that you have reached in your transition is a major one.
The difference between the men that I dated as a 17 year-old in a wig and heels compared to the men that I date now, years after hormones, are worlds apart. But it’s not just me who’s changed, there’s the men themselves. I bloody love men. I love their company – and always have – but Christ, they don’t half know how to make us trans women go from feeling like the Beyoncé of Clapham, to a discarded spunk rag. Not all of them, but the secretive way men treat trans-women is so gut-churning… I see myself as a strong, confident business woman with no secrets, but then it comes down to getting the D, and all of a sudden I am in a world of men that either totally fetishise me, or hide me like a porn stash in a teenager’s bedroom.
I have had incredibly positive dating experiences I must say, with some absolute gentlemen, whom I still hold in high regard, so please, don’t mistake my words as a complete ‘all-men-are-cunts’ rant.
Here in the big smoke, dating is as commonplace as drinking, (which I also have a pretty unquenchable thirst for). We swipe left and right, we see who is in the closest proximity to us before even looking at a face, we send pictures of our junk before sending introductions, we are Londoners, and we are pretty darn good at getting our rocks off.
That said, getting sex isn’t what I’m talking about here, (although I am not someone that will deny my history of crawling out of Vauxhall with some gurney muscle bunny for a mediocre morning of cotton mouthed porn re-enactment), however those days have long fizzled out. I’m talking about the romance bit; the bit where you show your best side in the hopes of fooling someone into believing you’re a bit perfect and that you don’t enjoy anything more than getting yourself into a carb induced coma and watching YouTube shit for hours on end.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating this when I say that I think I’ve been on at least 250 dates. These include coffees, dinners, weekend getaways, clubbing sessions, weddings, baht mitzvahs and even a funeral. I just love dates. Starting with the getting ready; ensuring every inch of me is smooth and moisturised, every nail is painted, every hair is in place… I go all out for the right guy and I think that that’s an art form in itself; little do they know that just hours before I looked like a dip-dyed homeless person.
I think it’s fair to say that I’m a pretty well-seasoned dater, that said I’m fully aware that nobody wants to hear about the good ones, the ones that offer hope of a relationship, or marriage or a happy ending (I’m still very much single by the way – hi guys!). I’ve got some that involve me literally running away. I’ve got some that involve Z-list celebs. I’ve got some that are just simply so cringeworthy that when I’ve repeated them previously, I’ve used the old “so my friend went on this date…” opener.
As with anyone that is addicted, be it to crystal meth, collecting garden gnomes, chocolate or in my case – dating – the only way they can get over their addiction is when they are ready, they want it, and they will it to happen. I’m afraid to say that I am currently not looking to be cured. Who in their right mind would opt out of a free dinner and a chance of getting dicked down once a week? A fool, that’s who.
If you happen to be one of the men mentioned in these stories, I’m not sorry. At all.
Love, Liquor & Lubricant