My post “Traveling to Guatemala” was Freshly Pressed. The post was then highlighted again in a Friday Faves. This has brought me some new readers. If you are one of them, welcome.
I wanted to celebrate my 15 minutes of fame, but I had trouble figuring out what would be satisfying. I could go out for a nice dinner with Donna, but I don’t want to sabotage reaching my goal at Weight Watchers. I could treat myself to a new piece of computer paraphernalia, but blogging was supposed to be an inexpensive hobby. I could buy a pair of waterproof Keen summer hikers that I’ve been eyeing, but the space under my bed is already cluttered with dusty shoes. Then I remembered these posts from Buzz Cuts and Bustiers and Butch Wonders.
My Dad wore cotton poplin boxer shorts; my brother wore basic Fruit of the Loom briefs. The kind with the Y-pocket and the striped band. I coveted the briefs. I had a habit of stealing a pair, wearing them, and then putting them in the laundry basket. I was caught wearing them in 11th grade math class. I told the girl that I had run out of clean ones and that it was better to borrow his than to recycle a dirty pair. I had not worn men’s underwear since.
Based on this post from Autostraddle, I decided to try American Eagle boxer briefs. I’ve shopped there before and found them queer friendly. I prefer to shop in stores that cater to all genders; it is less intimidating than walking into a store that only sells men’s. I could have shopped online, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted.
I have a drawer full of plain white, plain gray, and plain black 100% cotton Jockey hipsters. I order them online by the dozen, sparing myself the dysphoria from shopping in Macy’s Intimates department. I figured to buy one pair of American Eagle low-rise boxer trunks in white and one pair in gray and give them a try (wear, launder, and decide what to do next).
I stood in front of the wall of boxers. I was smitten. They were beautiful. There was a pair with blue and orange stripes (Let’s Go Mets), and a pair in red with turquoise blue Hawaiian flowers. The low rise trunks came in bright blue and hot pink and neon green. All with that nice wide waistband to play peek-a-boo with, and a little pouch without the extra layers of fabric (no-Y). I wanted all of them. I bought the stripes and the flowers.
Because they were for men I did not hesitate to buy them. I could pretend to be a dandy. I could pretend to be a surfer boy. In a million years I would never buy a pair of flowered women’s panties. But Hawaiian trunks, no problem. If the exact same shorts had been in the women’s department, I wouldn’t have considered them. I wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Change the context and they are fabulous.
I’ve only worn them once, but I feel at home in the trunks. They give me a little “I know you know” feeling when I wear them. I do not feel at home in my Jockey for Hers; I tolerate them. It isn’t about projecting a gender expression. The trunks are my little secret. It is about feeling grounded and not having anything trigger my dysphoria. The trunks do not disrupt my internal sense of being who I am, butch and transgender.
When I can, I buy men’s clothing. Nature and beer have made me a chubby petite. I have trouble buying clothes that fit me the way I want them to. The women’s clothing I buy must be so man-tailored that you can’t tell that they are women’s. If they made men’s brassieres I would buy them (I know they make binders and compression undershirts but I have another thing about being comfortable). I think of my bras as “gym equipment”. I know this is absurd.
Clothing, including underwear, must have no trace of femininity. All items go through a metamorphosis in my brain to become suitable attire. I learned as a child to re-imagine offensive clothing to make it wearable. Three quarter length sleeves became football jerseys. Pointed sneakers became cleats. Girls panties became boys briefs. This time no brain contortions are required. My trunks are real.