The Boxer Rebellion

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.

butch_transgender_genderqueer_boxer_shortsBecause 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.

10 thoughts on “The Boxer Rebellion

  1. Jennie Saia

    Amazing. This post makes me so happy! Nothing feels better than finding something that is – finally – just so *right.* Even if it’s freaking underwear! The little things make up the big things.

    (I am really resisting the urge to make some kind of inappropriate “junk in the trunks” comment… which I didn’t resist, technically, because I kind of just said it. Apologies.)

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  2. Jamie Ray Post author

    I have enough baggage without “junk in the trunk”. Particularly if it is plastic junk. Thanks for the comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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  3. maddox

    I wear AE boxers – the “logo” for my site is my colorful collection, arranged in a rainbow 🙂

    For some reason it was one of the last garments I switched to “men’s” and it did feel very significant, liberated, like I was finally accepting what was going on. Nobody really sees them except me, but it’s reassuring to know that what’s underneath is bright, green, and from the men’s section.

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  4. Jamie Ray Post author

    The AE trunks are a lot of fun, which is not a word I have previously used with underwear. I have a feeling that I am going to be replacing my Jockey for Hers “shortly”.

    I assumed those were T-shirts in your rainbow logo – but I like that they are your boxer collection. I also like the design/theme change you made a while back; it is a good look for your blog (which I always enjoy reading).

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  5. RonaFraser

    I loved reading about how floral panties would be refused but floral boxers were great. Reminds me of how I first started eating canteloupe (bear with me). I never liked it when I was young (my parents ate it a lot). Then, in my early 20s I was at a youth hostel in Scotland, and some hot Scottish guy offered me some. I accepted, and liked it! Somehow canteloupe from a hot guy with an accent was an interesting new flavour, while an “eat-it-it’s-good-for-you” from my folks was just gross.
    But back to undies. I think they are important – especially if it is only (or mainly only) you that sees them. Because it is something you do just for you. When I switched from the pastel full briefs I grew up with to the black and bold coloured cotton minis I now prefer, I felt more like me. I am NOT a pastel person, nor a grandma — why was I wearing granny panties! (No offense to those that wear them… they are just not me.)
    Thanks for the post – interesting as usual!

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Thanks for telling your cantaloupe story, good thing the hot guy didn’t have magic mushrooms with him! I am also thinking of those poor students studying Chinese history who might stumble upon me via google instead.

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  6. honest11

    I remember when I bought my first pair of boxer briefs. I got mine from Target.. I was so nervous going to the check out stand… but the cashier didn’t even blink an eye. All that worrying for nothing. Now buying a pair of boxers can make my day. It gets addicting…trying buying just one pair. Impossible 🙂

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  7. Jamie Ray Post author

    I can see that this is going to turn into a habit. I just wish I could try them on for size first- nothing worse than underwear crotch droop.

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  8. ChrisCQC

    Hehe men’s underwear is great! I don’t usually care once I’m done getting dressed, and I’m not replacing all my women’s underwear until it wears out, but yeah.

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