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Illustration: Sloane Hong
Illustration: Sloane Hong

The Sunday EssayFebruary 5, 2023

The Sunday Essay: You can’t hide your prying eyes

Illustration: Sloane Hong
Illustration: Sloane Hong

When I was a man my dick was only average size, but learning how to tuck it out of sight is a steep learning curve for a girl on a budget. 

The Sunday Essay is made possible thanks to the support of Creative New Zealand.

Illustrations: Sloane Hong

The dick became a problem around six months in. I was still trying to pretend I was a boy, wearing baggy boy clothes and no makeup, my hair in a manbun, and I was walking down Oriental Parade when I heard a woman say loudly to her friend “oh my GOD look at her BULGE.”

Which was weirdly affirming, serving cunt despite the obvious cock, her bulge, thank you ma’am I’ll take it, but also came with the realisation that I couldn’t slap on a hoodie and pretend I wasn’t transitioning any more, that a decision I thought I’d be able to make myself was swiftly being made for me. I was going to need to start being more femme in public, and I really needed to learn how to tuck.

I don’t think people realise how much they stare at trans women, but I certainly notice you all staring at me. At a point in my transition where I could pass in public around 70% of the time, I hit the problem of random creeps staring very hard at my junk, for seconds and seconds that felt like hours, whispering to their mates, then having a giggle together as though I didn’t know they were talking about me. I’d start doing the same right back at them, if that wasn’t the sort of thing that ends in a hate crime.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but you shouldn’t stare at anybody’s junk in public and it’s not as covert as you think. But OK, fine, learning how to tuck, gotta get it perfect. Well there’s special underwear called a gaff that flattens things out, aaaand … every single place selling them seems to be in the US and charge twice as much for shipping as the undies themselves. Not great for a girl on a budget. So what’s cheap?

Athletic tape, maybe $6 in every pharmacy in the country, good for a solid month’s worth if you’re frugal with it, then you try to take it off and realise that you’ve put a not-insignificant amount of glue on your taint and that’s one of the places you’ve been too self-conscious to get waxed, and the first time the tape comes off takes 45 minutes and a little skin with it.

Try to shave the taint and realise it’s basically impossible without cutting yourself to shit. Carefully apply Veet and get a chemical burn. Apply less next time and get a cuter, more feminine chemical burn. Now you’ve gotta put athletic tape on the burn. Say “fuck it” and go out without a tuck and realise some tradie is staring. He’s eating one of those egg sandwiches from the dairy and it’s kind of hanging there halfway towards his mouth, which is hanging open and stuffed with egg.

It’s not even that big a dick! It was pretty bloody average pre-transition, and there’s been a little shrinkage, it’s quite frankly incredible the way it seems to attract laser-guided fuckwits. It was not previously, at any point in my life, really worthy of comment, but suddenly I put on some foundation and it’s the only thing anybody can talk about.

Maybe I should cover the mechanics. Lads, you know when you get kicked in the balls and it goes up inside you? That’s your inguinal canal. You’ve got two of them, one for each ball. It’s impossible to be delicate with this, it is one of the least-feminine parts of my routine, I have never once felt cute in this part of the process, but you’ve gotta gently push each ball into its canal, then fold the dick over the scrote back up into your taint, then reach under and tape your dick to your taint. Hold it in position, then pull your undies up very tight, then – holding it in position again – pull up some tights very tight. If you have tight pants, you know what to do with them. I don’t, and I’m too broke to replace my wardrobe all at once, so for now it’s tape, tights, and prayer.

So it’s sorted, right? Oh kitten, no, now you’ve gotta walk in it. It has an unexpected-yet-welcome effect of limiting you to a shorter, more feminine gait. I say it’s welcome, then I notice some creep is following me and realise I’ve engineered a situation where running away is probably gonna entail the tape either ripping or ripping off. Realise why so many Disney movies involved the girl busting out of restrictive clothes to go do action shit because I like these tights a lot and sometimes I worry they’ll tear if I breathe too hard.

He’s still following me isn’t he.

OK you were trying to roll your hips more, now roll them less. OK roll them less but not less like a boy, less like a girl who’s trying to butch up. He just passed you. “Eeeeyyyyy, how you doing?” he says and he fucking winks, is he doing a Friends bit or does he just have no rizz whatsoever, the fuck knows, at least he’s leaving, got somewhere to be, and you look down at your jeans and go is that the denim or have I come untucked, it doesn’t feel like I’m untucked, and you go to flatten it out then worry he might turn around and you just kind of stand there trying to identify via clairvoyance alone whether or not your cock’s out on parole again. He heads into New World and you can breathe again, time to check tuck integrity, where’s the nearest public toilet and can you get there without ever separating your legs, consider saying “fuck it” then remember the tradie with the egg, then you realise you actually need to piss. Can’t go to a ladies’ room, that’s a whole different can of worms, you’ve heard horror stories about girls who get clocked in the ladies’ and worse about girls who try the men’s, so you’ve gotta find somewhere else to go. You wonder where Muldoon’s grave is, realise you don’t even know whether he’s dead or whether his rotten heart is able to die, then hobble to the gender-neutral toilets down the end of Courtenay Place, wait for about a minute too long for one to finally free up, and the bloke who comes out of it is staring at your jawline, which is at least not your cock.

Push past him, lock the door, check. It was the fucking denim. You need to buy girl jeans; you cannot afford girl jeans, not if you want that wax next week. Sometimes you wonder whether you’re too broke to be trans, wishing you didn’t have to make these tradeoffs but it’s only getting harder and more expensive as time goes on. Take a piss extremely carefully so you don’t piss on the tape. Emerge from the toilets, immediately ask wait am I untucked? Retreat, check again, you’re not. Emerge for the final time and there’s a bloke waiting and he stares at your junk, then to your face, then back to your junk, before making a satisfied hmph and brushing your arse just a little as he pushes past.

Hell yeah babygirl that’s awful, you’re crushing it.

Well not crushing it, not if you’re doing it right, but you know what I mean.

Keep going!