There is an empty pouch in my boxer briefs. I notice it, but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t pack.
I never thought I was missing a penis. I was envious of my brother because he was a boy; not because he had a penis. I kept hoping that I’d wake up and be a boy. I prepared myself for this by practicing boy things, including standing up to pee. I gave that up after a few days, and went back to memorizing baseball statistics and solving math puzzles.
There is a hole in my vocabulary. I rarely talk about my genitals or anyone else’s. I don’t like to use either scientific terms or slang. The words sound foreign to me. Growing up, I pretended there was nothing there, the way male and female dolls are smooth and intact under their clothes.
Maybe because I was attracted to women, I didn’t pay any attention to penises. They seemed superfluous, and vaguely unclean, except on marble statues in the museum. Maybe because they seemed so important to everyone else I decided they were unimportant to me. Denial and dissociation as a defense against dysphoria.
I refused to wear fancy underpants. The kind with lace or hearts. I really wanted to wear my brother’s Fruit of the Looms. I knew not to ask (once in a while I stole a pair), and settled for six packs of plain white panties. When I grew up, I bought the simplest cotton hipsters I could find. White, black, gray, or navy. Jockey for Her. I pulled on my Levi’s to cover them up. Then it occurred to me that I could wear whatever underwear I wanted, regardless of what went in them, or what they were designed to cover.
After a short and expensive period of experimentation, I rejected tighty-whiteys. I like low-rise boxer briefs (and trunks). In cotton, with a little spandex, without the Y fly/opening. I have striped, plaid, neon, and flowered boxer briefs. They all have a little extra room in the front.
I doubt I’ll ever fill that pouch. I’ve looked at packers and STPs (stand to pee) and they don’t appeal to me. A little bulge in my crotch is not going to affect whether I am read as male, butch, or something in-between. I don’t think adding a packer would make me feel more comfortable, the way that binding and top surgery did.
I was dysphoric about my chest and my silhouette, but not my bottom half. It could be that I dealt with my bottom dysphoria early on by wearing Levi’s. I started right around puberty. I liked how Levi’s looked. I liked how they felt. I liked that they had a button fly. I liked that everyone knew they were men’s jeans. I didn’t notice that they also had a little extra room in the front.
I don’t know why it took me so long to make the jump from jeans to boxers. Jeans tell a story; boxers are private. My boxers don’t show, except when I change at the gym. I don’t think the guy at the laundromat cares what I drop off for him to wash, dry, and fold. Donna thinks they are cute compared to what I used to wear, although the empty pouch makes her anxious about what is on the horizon.
Notes: Mae West would have had a field day with that pistol packing boy; it is a real print advertisement from 1955. “To Pack or not to Pack” by Rocco Kayiatos, tells the story of one trans man’s decisions to pack and unpack, and ends with a half-dozen other guys chiming in on the subject.
“How the Boxer Brief Got Into America’s Pants” details the recent changes in the design and marketing of men’s underwear.