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Mar 27 17 12:18 AM

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MaleFemme (AKA Jonathan) has written an interesting post on how people may misinterpret a crossdresser's interest in clothing:
As a transvestite, I'm very interested in clothing and in how clothes fit bodies, so I look at how people are dressed quite a lot. This seems to make some people uneasy, presumably because they think the "male gaze" is inevitably sexual. So men think I'm cruising them, and women think I'm mentally undressing them or generally being creepy. As I answered in one of your earlier surveys, what I need is a big sign that says: “I'm looking at your clothes not your body. No, really!”

When complementing their young niece on her hair at a family gathering, they found that this is not necessarily acceptable.  

Okay. Being socially rather inept, slow to pick up on other people's feelings, and otherwise just plain stupid, it was only later I realized that my niece hadn't responded because I had totally creeped her out. Shit. (Sorry, Libby.) Since then, and since “creepy uncle” is not the sort of reputation I want, I've been re-evaluating my general behaviour, and have come up with two resolutions (so far):

The recommendations are basically: 1. Do not touch! and 2. Do not stare!

Read the whole blog post here.
 
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#1 [url]

Mar 27 17 3:45 AM

I'm not a tactile person at all and I just don't go round touching people. Sometimes I accept other will touch me in just a way they intend to be friendly, or even offer to hug me.. Sometimes I acquiesce; Its not that I don't like it as such; I just don't know the rules. I don't come from a very touchy feely family... and since I don't really need hugs I don't initiate them. Recently I got a hug on my birthday from the woman I've been 'carrying a torch for' for a few years.. completely initiated by her. I would never suggest such a hug because I KNOW I would want that to MEAN something that she wouldn't... the possibilities for a faux pas are just too great, the idea that she might think I'm some kind of sex monster is too horrible for me.... such is the lot of a 'demi-sexual I think.

Here is a situation one can get into if you doesn't know the rules.. this happened to me 20 years ago. I was on the last day of a 6 week course.. there had been 12 people on the course. 6 Guys were Arabic + me. Then 5 women, 2 English (white), 2 from Tanzania and 1 Arabic woman, who wore very western clothes and was generally 'westernised'. My best friends on the course were the two ladies from Tanzania and 2 of the Arab guys. I really didn't like the two English women; nothing specific, I didn't like them....... anyway back to the last day, and the two English women gave me a goodbye hug without asking if I wanted one. I passively 1/2 returned the hugs, as one does when wanting to be seen to do the right thing. I felt uncomfortable but it wasn't the worst thing that hade ever happened to me. Now their Arabic friend stepped forward. None of these women had made any attempt to be friendly to me for 6 weeks, but I was rather resigned to the situation.... I didn't step forward, I just took the stance to passively accept a hug I didn't want... and then all hell broke loose.... from the two English women mainly. How dare I expect a hug from a Muslim woman, didn't I realise that as a man it was a great insult to offer myself to a woman in her culture.... Hang on a minute, I wanted to say, I didn't WANT any of this.. no one asked me what I wanted. Even my Tanzanian friends, who didn't witness the event but heard the discussion afterwards, laid into me for my 'cultural insensitivity'. I tried to explain what had happened to them but they said I shouldn't 'make excuses' for my behaviour....

I think the story of the compliment of the niece's hair is sad.... why should a man be considered a creep for giving a compliment in a situation where a woman would not. That's part of sexual stereotyping that I'd really like to change.

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#2 [url]

Mar 27 17 8:25 AM

After reading the actual post it seems clear that it wasn't the comment that caused the issue, it was the touching. Respecting personal space is important. Unless you're around some one a lot and know their idiosyncrasies you should restrict bodily contact to maybe, handshakes.

I know a few people who seem to have to touch people when they're talking, like grabbing your arm or touching your shoulder and it always creeps me out. And god forbid if they grab my pony tail! I can see why the niece reacted as she did.

A lot of the females I know love hugging as part of greeting people (I sure like it from my mtf female perspective). And there are subtle hints that let you know if a hug will be accepted from a casual acquaintance. There seems to be a form of positive energy transference from pressing your bosom against another's. But you have to be certain it WILL be accepted. And I'll only explore the possibility of a hug if I've had meaningful conversation before.

Lindsay


"The thing is you see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear, dig?" the Pointed Man

Last Edited By: Lindsay Mar 27 17 8:38 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#3 [url]

Mar 27 17 11:22 PM

 Respecting personal space is important. 


You are absolutely right about this. But it can be confusing at times. PipX' story is about different rules for different cultures and different genders even.

I grew up at a time when Scandinavian culture rewarded reservation and distance. Men didn't hug when I grew up. A handshake was as far as you could go.

The Millenials, however, have adopted Southern European and Middle East practices. There is a lot of cheek kissing going on, which confuses med immensely. Men also seem to touch more.

I have also Southern European male friends who think it is competely natural for men to hug and embrace each other, which is a good thing, I am sure. But for someone who was raised the way I was it causes a lot of conflicting feelings. And yes, I see the internalized homophobia here.

As for women in the Middle East: I have been meeting with women from various Arab countries, and their way of behaving is extremely diverse. I have been to meetings when some of them shake your hand, while others keep their hands to themselves, not wanting to touch a man that is not a family member. My tactic is simply to smile, nod, and wait to see what they do handshaking wise.

(By the way: I have also learned that the demure behavior of some Muslim women can be misleading, especially those of the more Conservative states. As soon as you realize what is going on behind the facade, you might find that many of them -- in politics or business -- have real power.)

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#4 [url]

Mar 29 17 11:00 PM

As I say, I don't like being touched either; I have a wide sense of my own personal space. But leaving aside the general issue about how compliments are taken – in a world where women face sexual harassment on a daily basis – it was as much a cathartic post as anything. The incident bothered me quite a lot and I needed to work it through. And in this regard I find writing stuff down more useful than talking about it.

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