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“May I hold your hand?”
He’d been going with her for a couple of months now, but familiarity doesn’t imply consent, and so he was as usual careful to ask her permission before initiating any sort of intimate contact. For a brief moment, he felt the old relief that she chose to go with the conventional pronouns, but he manfully shoved aside such a transphobic thought.
That was the expected response, but something seemed wrong. Her tone of voice seemed flat, and maybe he detected a bit of eye-roll. He grabbed her hand and held it; limply, as if unsure what to do with it now that he had it. She sighed, miffed about something.
He was about to ask, when he stopped himself. As a man of privilege it was his duty to examine that privilege. As usual he didn’t like what he saw; a man about to tell a woman how she’s feeling. If she feels the need to let him know then he’ll sit there, listen, and be supportive, but he’s got no right to intrude.
She’s been discontented more and more often lately, he reflected. He supported her being a strong, independent woman, and he’d be the first to acknowledge that she didn’t need a man to make her happy. Even so, he would be sad to see her go. He quietly resolved to be even more supportive, if that’s what it takes to keep her.
“May I continue to hold your hand?”