Tonight I wiped away tears, waiting for a phone call I knew would never come. Phil, a handsome man in his early 50s with salt and pepper hair and dazzling, deep blue eyes, had promised to call me, to talk about what he had discovered about me online.
And so today, on the cusp of a romantic weekend we planned to spend together, he dumped me in a text message.
He made two main points, and said he’d give me a chance to respond when he called me tonight. The first was his chagrin that I had kept him in the dark.
“I am not angry or upset, just disappointed you elected to not be open and honest from the start,” Phil texted, and my heart sank. “I had a gut feeling you were holding something back, and now it makes total sense to me. Intimacy for me requires trust and honesty above anything.”
As for the second part: by not disclosing my “transition from a man to a woman,” as he called it, I had wasted his time. Wasted those kisses. Holding hands. Calls and texts and plans and dreams. We had hit it off so well right from the get-go, we dubbed the Connecticut taco joint where we had our first date “our place.”
Coming into this as a widow meeting a divorcee, each of us having married our college sweethearts, each of us with three childrentwo boys and a girlwe shared sorrows and joys, stories and secrets just not that big one.
“Realizing what I know now,” he said about my past, Phil declared he actually wasn’t attracted to me after all! Um WTF?
“I think you are an interesting person with an engaging personality,” he texted, “but honestly I have not caught those kinds of feelings I get when I meet someone I find attractive physically and emotionally.”
Oh, okay; he now says he didn’t find me attractive. Then I guess scenes like this were just accidental lip-lock.
Of course I knew that by keeping my gender identity a secret that this might happen. But each time, I hesitated.
“My hometown is very LGBT-friendly,” he told me out of the blue on that first date. “And I myself am very progressive.”
Oh? “Who says that on a first date?” I thought. The most likely answer, I figured, was that perhaps he had “clocked” me as trans and that it didn’t matter to him. If I knew this to be true, I would have told him right then and there: “Really? That’s great, since I’m transgender!”
But I didn’t. Instead, we split the tab, braved the crowds at Hartford’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, and held hands as we walked and talked, before sharing a first kiss as we said goodbye. We agreed to a second date right on the spot.
Date two was this past Sunday in his Massachusetts hometown, his treat. Phil got tickets to the wonderfully romantic Irish play, Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley. We laughed, I cried. We enjoyed wine before the show and split a carrot cake at intermission, then dined on calamari and fancy schmancy pizza and much more wine. I felt a buzz, and it wasn’t just the alcohol. We confided in one another that we were not interested in seeing anyone else.
But I still didn’t tell him about my past. Other secrets I kept to myself that night: I hadn’t had a second date with any man, ever, and I knew I was falling for Phil.