Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am a transgendered female. I began my journey six years ago and have successfully come out at work and with friends and family. This has involved doctors, therapists, medications, surgeries and a lot of fortitude. I have only one more surgery to go (yes, that one). I am now at a point where my life (socially and professionally) is pretty standard. Men are showing interest, which is nice, but it's also kind of frightening, in that I can't tell if the men I meet know I'm a trans-person. I have two issues I need help with, Amy: First, I believe the right way to tell a guy about my status is when he's asked me out, although I've had friends tell me to go out with someone once or twice before telling the guy (yikes). Second, I had a man show interest in me recently at an industry-related event. He astonished me by telling me (out of the blue) that he's "bi," but that he likes trans-females best. When he said this to me I felt mortified. It's not that I'm afraid of anyone knowing my story (because I think mine is a success story), but I didn't understand his tactic of telling me this information at that precise moment. I felt objectified. I wanted to run. I said something like, "Oh, I see -- that's nice," and just let it drop. I didn't know what to do. It felt like he was all about sex first and maybe knowing the person later. Was his timing as awful as it felt, or did I take myself too seriously? I don't want to settle for this kind of guy. If you can offer any advice on these two matters (or solicit comments from people) I would appreciate it.
DEAR GIRL: First of all, congratulations on your transition. But it's called a "transition" for a reason. This is a process -- physical, emotional and social. And you have the right to take this process at whatever pace you choose.
Any time you find yourself thinking "yikes" about a suggestion from others about how you should behave -- it's the yikes-reaction you should pay attention to. I agree that you should be "transparent" with potential dates at the outset -- certainly during this phase of your transition. Later on, you might feel differently.
In terms of this man's behavior toward you, again I think your instincts are right. He chose a professional event to come on to you, and immediately let you know what his sexual preferences are. He didn't wait to read your potential interest in him.
But you know what? Some guys are like that (some women, too). They see a beautiful woman and immediately objectify her, make all sorts of assumptions, and lay it all out there. So no -- don't settle. Someone like that will never appeal to someone like you.
DEAR AMY: I am responding to a letter from "Worried," who wrote about her husband, a "nice guy" who seemed to function, even though he drank an excessive amount of alcohol every day. Fifty-three years ago I married a similar "nice guy" -- a heavy drinker who could "hold his liquor." Today, at age 84, he suffers from alcohol-related dementia (ARD), which is almost indistinguishable from Alzheimer's disease. Not surprisingly, our golden years have been far from golden. Perhaps if Worried and her nice guy become aware of this heartbreaking consequence of heavy, lifelong drinking they might be inspired to change.
DEAR BEEN THERE: Even cursory research into ARD would scare anyone straight. I'm sorry this is happening to you and your husband.
DEAR AMY: Your advice to "Sad," the young woman whose boyfriend's family constantly made rude and racist remarks to her, was right on. I wish I had received it several years ago, but instead of running from the relationship, I stayed and listened to my now-husband defend and make excuses for his mother's mean and rude remarks to and about me. It was a mistake. Sad should know this: The mother WILL NOT CHANGE.
DEAR SAD: I'm so sorry that your experience confirms my advice to flee.