These gender-bending babes have gone from dating members of the same sex to falling madly in love with each other in their “extraordinary heterosexual relationship.”
Previously gay-only lovers—their avant-garde fandoms—have gone viral and proliferated. 30.5 million views on TikTok – they say together “can’t be happy”.
“It’s an unusual couple – but we’re very happy,” Maren Butler, a 21-year-old self-proclaimed “masculine”, told the South West News Service. She only dated women before meeting James Carrington, a proud ultra-feminine guy on social media.
Videos of James, 23, shamelessly sporting heels, eyelashes and colorful acrylic nails piqued the interest of Maren, who stumbled upon his TikTok in February 2021.
“I remember watching James’ video and thinking he was so cool,” said Maren, of California’s Central Valley.
“Before James, I only dated girls, but I’ve always been into femmes, because I like the combination of confidence and femininity,” she continued, adding that she found his bold androgyny appealing.
“She has a beautiful face and a beautiful smile. What’s not to love? “
Like Maren, a philosophy and public health medical student at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, James has dated members of the same sex before dating.
James, an event planner from Durham, North Carolina, says: “Until I met Maren, I had come out as gay, but I didn’t want to be romantically involved with men.
“I had one boyfriend long before I met Maren, but we lived for a few months because it didn’t feel right,” he added. “When I met Maren, it clicked and I knew it was special.”
After hooking up, the long-distance lovers exchanged phone numbers and spent hours on FaceTime every night for a month. They bonded over their shared sense of humor and love of R&B music.
Then, in March 2021, Maren chose to make the 10-hour trip to visit James in her home country.
“We talked about dating, and I had a few days off from school, so I decided it was the best time to meet,” Maren recalls, adding that the long trip was worth it.
“When I arrived, it was very late at night, but it was amazing to see each other for the first time,” he said. “The way James was on the phone; funny, smart and reliable.”
During the 48-hour visit, the couple ate and James introduced Maren to friends and family.
Nonconformists became an official couple in April last year.
And while their revolutionary relationship has since been praised by virtual fans on TikTok, James and Maren have discovered that people in the real world are not accepting of their unique love.
“When we’re in public, we’re mostly looked at by little kids and old people,” said Maren, who claimed her mother was in awe of James’ femininity.
“We don’t take anything personally because some people don’t know how to react and that’s okay,” he added. “Although it’s boring to explain our relationship, some people don’t know how to react because they’re confused and or curious, and we don’t mind.”
James also recalled his father’s shocked reaction after meeting Maren.
“Dad was shocked when I introduced Maren as my girlfriend because she’s from a different generation and a couple like ours is not something he’s seen,” James said.
Although he insists his father loves Maren as a girlfriend, James understands why many people struggle to accept their romantic partners.
“Society is used to putting people in boxes,” James said. “So when you meet unique people like us, it’s hard for some to understand how we present ourselves in appearance and behavior.”
The quirky lovebirds, who currently live in separate states but occasionally visit each other when their schedules allow, plan to move in together in California soon.
“We can’t wait to enjoy being a couple every day, waking up next to each other, enjoying new experiences and not cramming it into one weekend,” James said. “Most importantly, we are happy to live together, get married and have children.”
Maren added, “It’s important to live your life in a way that you’re happy with and that’s right for you.”