"A Brief Rest," detail. Photograph by Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes. Click for full image.
Holly Painter
In Transition

I am waging a war on fuzz:

The cheap burgundy bath towel fuzz that coats
Every faux porcelain surface in the bathroom.
The wispy black comforter fuzz that I never actually see in bed
But which nevertheless nests in my hair
Creating knots that snag up my morning showers.

And, of course, the light, downy fuzz on my girlfriend's cheeks.
Not that I fight that fuzz. I just eye it cautiously, warily.

She started to transition last month. Well no, that's not exactly right.
She's been in transition for years, if not her whole life.

At 15, she started dating girls.
At 17, she shaved her head and gave up skirts forever.
At 20, she started performing in drag king revues.
Now she's 22.

In three months time, her government approved psychologist
Will hand her a standardized letter of prescription
Entitling her to puncture the skin of her tender thigh with syringes of testosterone
Which will deepen her voice, redistribute her weight, thicken her body hair

And God knows what else, in the fine print.

For now, she must take small steps.

Two weeks ago, her sale-priced breast binders arrived in the mail.
There are very few things in this modern world that you cannot acquire
If you have Internet access, a postal address, and a Visa or MasterCard.
She bought a three-pack. They get stretched out quickly.
Besides, like donuts or infomercial knife sets or extra soft toilet paper
Breast binders are cheaper in bulk.

And last week, she finally found a use
For the unpaired socks in the back of the drawer.
She has claimed the ugly argyle ones too
And the sock drawer is divided into two camps:

Socks for feet and socks for packing.

But now she wants proper packing gear for her harness.
So we put on our brave faces and march into Babeland
Past the vibrating rubber duckies and colorful anal beads
Straight to the display of packing dildos.

There are only three. Not much demand for these, I suppose.
We set aside the peach and brown "flesh tone" dildos and examine the purple one.
It is slightly less unsettling only because it doesn't even pretend that it might be real.
But still the inert penis-in-undies shape rather resembles a very small curled up fetus.

We laugh a little too loud.

And as we stand jammed into the pink and yellow changing room
Struggling with all the double-back non-slip clips and straps
(In plastic and cloth. No leather for my strictly vegan trannyboy.)

I realize that we're scared as hell.