I am a trans man who’s had a fair bit of surgery, but one surgery I’ve not had is the one that lands you with a flesh and blood johnson in your pants. The complications are simply too severe, plus it’s pretty darned expensive. This may be too much information for some (sorry) but since this post is about how we use clothing as armour to face the world it seems à propos.
In my early transition days I used to stuff my pants with a rolled up pair of socks. I liked the way the bulge looked and because, let’s face it, I was compensating for my lack in the nether region department. As I learned more about the existence of other transmen and explored products available to our small community, I took the step of ordering myself a silicone dildo to stuff in my pants. It was made to look pretty darn realistic and you could even order it in different colours, depending on your skin tone.
When I first got it, I showed it off to my friends, waving it in their faces like I was a child with a new teddy bear. But the sheen wore off pretty quick. I didn’t like how it dragged down my underwear with its weight (I hadn’t purchased a harness for it, being the cheapskate that I am). Plus, what if it fell to the ground when I was running or peeing or just standing and talking with someone? Hard to imagine how I could’ve explained that one away.
I put the dildo aside for special occasions only, like job interviews or going on a date. It definitely had a role to play – as long as I wasn’t moving about too much. It satisfied a need fo protection, for fitting in. But it bothered me how it gave me a confidence boost just by being there. It’s like even my walk had an extra swagger when I wore it.
I questioned myself for needing it to feel whole. I mean, shouldn’t I just feel confident all by myself? Was I lying to other people by wearing it? I used to beat myself up about that a lot. My self-hate fed my feeling that I was a fraud for not announcing my trans status to everyone so that they could all run for the hills. Or at least hate me at their leisure.
Those feelings passed – thanks to supportive friends and therapy. I also stopped wearing silicone dildos in my pants. I no longer needed the extra boost; I wasn’t ashamed of what I had in my pants. I had an active sex life, a partner, I was able-bodied and the only thing that was mildly annoying was that it was hard to stand at a urinal and pee. Big deal.
This past week I’ve found myself reverting to the old sock in the underpants routine. It’s a qualitatively different experience now, though. More like I’m doing the equivalent of putting on make-up in the morning. No longer do I pretend to have an offensively large bulge in my pants; one rolled up ankle sock does the trick. But that extra bit of padding gives me the extra oomf I need to take on the day in comfort.
And, frankly, I don’t care who’s watching anymore.