Monthly Archives: May 2012
Why, indeed? First, let me preface this entry with a bit of minutiae concerning my motivation for writing this…I was just lolly-gagging about doing nothing when I decided, as I sometimes do, to check my WordPress dashboard. As I scanned the search terms my beloved audience used to find me over this past year or so, I saw that one of those search terms was ‘why date a transsexual?’ Now, I’d done a post when I first started this blog about why gay men don’t date transsexuals, mostly to educate those certain individuals out there who can’t seem to distinguish ‘m-to-f transgender’ from ‘flamboyantly effeminate gay man’ and explain why things are as they are. It must have been that entry which hooked in the querent who’d made that particular search. Either way, seeing that search term ignited something in my brain and I thought, “Hey! Why would you want to date a transsexual?” Especially with all the negative stigmas that exist towards us as a group. Upon careful reflection, though, I’ve found that there are actually a lot of good reasons why you should date a transsexual (or at least be open to the idea). This can certainly apply to many other people out there who are not transgendered or even female, and it might just be a list of sweeping generalities, but it’s my blog…so I don’t care. Without further ado…
1) Depth Of Perception: Trans-people tend to be gifted with amazing perceptive abilities that extend even beyond themselves and onto others. They tend to be able to see through all the muck and see the true, underlying substance of a person. This comes from the experience of having to establish our own identities firmly in spite of what society tells us is otherwise the case. Perceptive people usually make more attentive significant others as they can pick up on subtle cues that other prospective partners may miss.
2) True Appreciation: From my own experiences, I can say as a transwoman I sometimes feel like complete shit about myself. I think that’s the same for a lot of trans-people out there, if not all. In the back of our minds, we can’t really shake that feeling that we’ll never measure up to “the genuine article.” But what is “the genuine article?” What is the measure of a true man or a true woman or a true human being? True…being true to yourself, maybe? In that sense, we are the truest form of human. The most genuine. Still, there lies that inferiority complex which society is mostly to blame for. That being said, when we find love, we tend to really appreciate it because we know it’s such a rarity to find considering our situations.
3) Enduring Affection: Trans-people know how to set goals for themselves. The biggest goal being attaining some form of gender congruency (whether it entails surgical intervention or not). We know how to value the new developments of our transition (whether it’s a name change or your first bra) and using that as an impetus, continue our struggle….always. That kind of philosophy extends to how we treasure our relationships. When something is not the way it should be, we take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. That is the very foundation of our lives. We don’t give up, we endure, no matter what. In today’s society of, “He said such and such, who needs that? I’M DUMPING HIM!!” this can be something of a rarity. That said though, we’re not doormats either, if something’s making us feel less valued as a human being, we won’t settle, if fixing things doesn’t work, we’ll cut our losses and move on.
4) Embracing Of Femininity: This is nothing new. Many men I’ve dated have told me that the reason they favored transsexual women over their cisgendered peers was because many trans-women tend to carry themselves in a more conventionally “feminine” manner. Nowadays, a lot of girls just dress up in sweat pants or pajamas and think they look cute. Really enjoying the privileges society has bestowed upon them as natal females, such as wearing make-up or having long, done-up hair has become a chore for many of them. And I’m not saying that I always look like America’s Next Top Model, because I don’t, but I do always make some effort to display the femininity I haven’t always been so free to express. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but many men are attracted to femininity. Opposites attract and this is true here. With a trans-woman, you’ve got a partner who embraces and expresses her femininity in ways that many cisgendered women just don’t feel like doing. Not that that’s bad, per se, it’s just…different. ^_^
5) An Open Mind: As transgendered individuals, we have to have open minds. This is just something we need in order to understand the context of our unique situations. With an open mind, we’re more willing to hear what our partners have to say about a plethora of different subjects. We can freely see ourselves in their shoes because not so long ago, we were in their shoes. As trans-women, we know the demands society places on men and I think, because of that, we’re a little more lenient. We understand that there is duality in everything and truly two sides to every story which is helpful in developing an effective rapport and building communication.
6) Personal Test Of Character: It won’t be easy, champ! But, really, what in life is? Society is still at a point in its evolution where many people don’t think it “proper” to date a trans-person. Especially considering all the supposed “cons” (dating us is a reflection of your own masculinity and makes you gay, we can’t have kids, the current state of our bodies, etc, etc.). Still, if you have the courage to just cast it all to the wind and date who you want to date because of who they are and not what they are, you will be happier in the long run and also become more aware of your own amazing strength of character…because it’s not easy risking rejection to follow your heart…but we manage to somehow and so should you! ^_^
So if you’re one of those men out there teetering on the fence about a girl you like who just might happen to be trans, think less about the negatives and contemplate the positives. And most of all, just love who you love…don’t let society tangle you up in its bullshit…it’s never worth it…take it from me!
Well. Firstly…spoiler alerts, so if that’s gonna be a problem, take a U-turn.
Now. Before I delve into the campy schlockfest that is Roger Ebert’s, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, let me just say that if you’re looking for a film that has everything…really, everything you can think of (girl groups, musical numbers, murderous transsexuals, nymphomaniac porn stars, girl-on-girl action, boy-on-boy action, sex scenes, drug usage, legal battles, assault and battery, infidelity, paraplegics, attempted vehicular manslaughter, superheroes, occult references, gory violence, T&A, A&T, and a host of other acronyms)…then this is it. About the only thing you won’t find is any reference to the original Valley Of The Dolls, as some legal issues arose and forced the directors to change the character of Anne Welles (the original’s protagonist) to Susan Lake who assumed the position of main character, Kelly,’s aunt, thus obliterating any potential link to Jacqueline Susann’s story.
Now that you know THIS IS NOT A SEQUEL, prepare to be taken on a journey that will leave you reeking of cheap, sexually-transmitted aftershave and “marijuana cigarettes.”
The barest of plots centers around Kelly Mac Namara, a plucky stoner who enjoys singing with her rock band, the “Kelly Affair,” which consists of her two friends, sassy Petronella “Pet” Danforth and introverted Casey Anderson. They’re managed by her boyfriend, Harris, who’s charming in a stoned-schoolboy kind of way. Anyway, they decide to take a road trip to L.A. Why? I can’t remember. “To make it big,” I suppose. Oh! And to meet Kelly’s aunt Susan whom she’s never met and is extremely wealthy and plans to include her in an inheritance of some sort.
So, the main creeper of the film is Porter Hall, Susan’s square financial advisor. He hates the group because…well, I guess he hates hippies since he’s square, his motives are never made too clear but presumably he wants the piece of Susan’s inheritance that she’s decided to give to Kelly. Anyway, Susan shuts him down and encourages her young niece to become a success. She introduces them to the second creeper of the film (and to be considered a creeper in this film, let me tell you…is a rare distinction), Z-Man, who’s based on Phil Spector and is nearly as off-putting. Anyway, these girls are at a swingin’ party full of booze, boobs and bizarre guests (including a toothless senior and a man whose head, I recall thinking, resembles a gourd of some kind). What really stuck out to me though were the fashions, the hair, the make-up…all of it, taken over-the-top and I must tell you…I did NOT want it to come back down. That, coupled with the bubbly musical number by the suddenly re-named “Carrie Nations” (formerly known as “The Kelly Affair”) combined to form a richly resplendent retrospective of the 70’s.
We also meet nympho Ashley who develops a crush on the alienated Harris and some man-whore named Lance Rocke who Kelly becomes involved with. Also, Pet meets Emerson, a waiter who’s working his way through law school and is probably one of the most (or only) decent characters in the whole film. Casey has words with Porter, but also meets Roxanne, the slightly shady lesbian fashion designer who complements her figure and practically eye-rapes her.
So…then Kelly smokes some weed and has casual sex with people. Harris experiences doubts about his sexuality after an (apparently) disappointing stint as Ashley’s personal man-dildo, and feels even MORE alienated. Pet “makes it” with some prize fighter with roid-rage who assaults Emerson with his car and Casey…sleeps through everything thanks to the titular “dolls” of the film, uppers and downers.
Towards the film’s end, we see a rather quickly strewn-about cornucopia of increasingly improbable situations and equally improbable (albeit hilarious) dialogue. We see Harris’ failed suicide attempt which leaves him a whiny paraplegic, instead of just whiny. We see Casey getting preggers but taking care of it real quick as the following scene of a cracked egg in a frying pan so brilliantly illustrates. We see Pet growing a pair and telling the prize fighter to stop before she “cuts him.” Next, in no particular order, we see Z-Man’s boobs, a laughable action scene, Harris struggling to not be paralyzed and then half the cast dies. No seriously.
During the gory ending I couldn’t help but think that whoever thought up this screenplay. *Ahem* ROGER EBERT, must have been in the throes of a rather sexy fever-dream or hopped up on INSANE amounts of illegal substances. Either way, I was absolutely enamored by the whole thing and can understand why this film’s done as well as it has, becoming a cult classic and garnering ten times its budget. I laughed, I cried…well not really…I did furrow my brow in confusion a few times though, and that’s nearly the same thing, so…there you go. This was a technicolor tapestry of campy, kitschy excellence. It’s like ambrosia salad or a mystery meat-laden gelatin mold…a product of its time that, despite being a tad unsettling in appearance and certainly difficult to digest, is ultimately too full of character to trash. Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls never takes itself too seriously, and neither should the viewer. As a serious piece of storytelling, it’s laughable and lacks depth, but as a piece of entertainment (which is what I gather it was mostly intended to be), it shines brighter than sequins, rhinestones and all manner of tawdrily terrific tinsel.
Let’s finish with some of my personal favorite quotes…
-“You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance!”
-“You’re a groovy boy! I’d like to strap you on sometime!”
-“C’mon, Casey. The principal’s supposed to hit me with a coupla caps of acid.”
-“God only knows what they were up to in there… and furthermore, Susan, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that all four of them habitually smoked marijuana cigarettes… reefers.”
-“Step into my web said the spider, etcetera.”
Poetry. Sheer poetry. I expect you readers to use these quotations frequently and unapologetically in your daily interactions AND interjections…after being cut off on the highway, at the grocery store when they won’t take your coupon for kitty litter, before engaging in a drunken tryst with some random stranger…really, these can be interchangeably switched for whatever the occasion and that’s the real beauty of Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls…it’s tackily trashy timelessness.
Now get lit and go watch it!