Manhunt's For Pussies
By T Cooper
Almost immediately I received a slew of e-mails and invites to chat (in fact my MH e-mail box is flashing '3 unread messages' at me right now, and it's all I can do to ignore them so I can finish writing this damn column). Here's a sampling, all from different guys: 'Ur yummy'; 'I'm going 2 be 4ward and invite myself over right now'; 'Look out when I stalk you down there in the E. Vill'; 'I'd like to take a bite outta your vegetable'; 'You know how to use a semicolon; I think I'm in love'; 'Handsome, u better call me later so we can talk dirty'; 'If you'd let older (45) guy suck you off while you watch porn' no recip' swallower' please call me anytime'; and so on. I'm not saying I'm the hottest person in the world -- not even close -- but I just might've inadvertently stumbled upon the go-to elixir for those sporadic times I lapse into feeling ugly, flabby, old, not masculine enough, and so on.
And yet the time would eventually arrive for me to come out to these guys as FTM. I know I was using a pseudonym and it was just a fun experiment, and my ego wasn't supposed to be wrapped up in it, blah blah blah (not to mention I have a partner and am not looking to hook up), but I was nevertheless completely and utterly blindsided by how difficult it became for me to disclose my gender status. I found myself not wanting to disappoint these guys who were attracted to me and completely accepting me as part of the gay male petri dish that is Manhunt. To be perfectly honest, I kind of liked how it felt.
But inevitably, for many of the guys, any attraction they had for me would suddenly disappear as soon as they learned that I had not been born male, that I was not sporting a penis like theirs in my shorts. Initially they'd be all eager to meet up for a date, to talk on the phone or video-chat, or just to hook up NSA that night -- but when I disclosed, the persistence and frequency of the correspondence would diminish. My favorite was Kevin from Hell's Kitchen, who had been messaging with me on AIM faster than I could type (and I type fast), but after saying he was cool with the FTM thing and still wanted to hang out, he suddenly became deeply and irrevocably engrossed in a musty old Sex and the City rerun, and his messages stopped flowing.
I have to say, though, for the most part dudes were pretty respectful. This might have more to do with the fact that the word conversation was front and center in my profile's headline than the general tolerance of difference in the gay male population, but still I was impressed with a lot of my new buddies. Interestingly, I found that the more I communicated with a guy before disclosing, the more likely he was to express interest in learning something new by pursuing a possible relationship. It was the guys to whom I disclosed in early replies who were more likely to respond immediately with something like 'Cute, but not interested' or 'I don't know what FTM is, and I don't want to know.'
The mind, it seems, is perhaps more powerful than the libido, and not the other way around, as I've always assumed. The same body and person that some guys found attractive in the first place switched to being completely unattractive with the introduction of this new piece of information -- as though the trappings of masculinity are strictly limited to the presence of a penis at birth.
It might've been nice to meet some of these men in person to see which would prevail, brain or libido, but I never got to the point of meeting anybody from Manhunt in person. Like on eHarmony, I felt I needed to draw an ethical, if shakily so, line somewhere. I'm not the first, and I certainly won't be the last person to cruise Manhunt with unclear motives, but the 'great tranny lie' that freaks people's shit out so much and is the stuff of sad films like The Crying Game and Boys Don't Cry is certainly something I felt I had to tread lightly.
I will tell you one shocker from my month on Manhunt -- it's quite possibly the great lie of the gay male populace, if you will. After a couple weeks, I lost count of the number of men who, after finding out about my gender status, said something like 'Wait, so ur a guy, but with a pussy? That's cool. Actually pretty hot,' or 'I've always wanted to have sex with a pussy, even though I've never seen one.' Y'all are a bunch of closeted straights, is what you are -- and I'm thinking they should maybe consider changing the name of the site: to PussyHunt.