So, tell me about your genitals; I find them fascinating.
Bit of an odd conversational gambit don’t you think? Yet any conversation with (or about) guys dressed in skirts has a pretty good chance of turning to a morbidly curious question about their wedding tackle. Still got the meat and two veg? Where do you hide the family jewels? (etc…)
I was asked by a taxi driver once, when I decided I didn’t want to walk across town in heels. He’d been silent for about ten minutes, when, towards the end of the journey, he asked,
“So are you a man or a woman?” (I told him I was a man.)
“And you’re comfortable like that?” (Pretty much. It was a warm day and I was well ventilated.)
“So, are you pre-op, then?” (Nope, I’m just a guy wearing a dress; that’s all.)
Why the interest? Nobody else gets asked this, do they? It’s baffling.
As Stephen Fry found in his documentary Out There, homophobes seem to have some sort of fixation with genitals and anuses. Maybe it’s a religious thing (by which, I mean, religions derived from bronze-age Hebrew mythology)? Maybe this religious fixation with genitalia has percolated through society for long enough that everyone’s become obsessed, regardless of whether they’re religious or not?
During Skeptics on the Fringe this year, I introduced a talk by Rich Peppiatt, a former tabloid reporter who was once asked to cross-dress… for no particular reason, as far as anyone could tell. And yes, he was obliged to tell readers that he tucked everything away between his legs (where else?) and that it wasn’t comfortable. Well, no kidding; as it has been said, balls are weak and sensitive.*
This isn’t something I get offended about by the way. Life’s too short to take offence. If someone asks me, I can’t really take it as an insult. If anything, it just means they’re curious and want to find out more. The whole issue of transexuals, transgenders and transvestites can be tough for people to get their heads around if they haven’t encountered it before. If they persist, I just quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: “Nature finds a way.”
I don’t often wear clothes that require me to hide everything; I’d rather be comfortable than not. Trouble is, it’s the tight dresses and skirts that look good, so once in a while I just think ‘what the heck, why not?’ There are a few things, though, that I’ll only wear for a quick photoshoot. I have a pair of leather shorts I refer to as my nad-mashers which I’ve worn on only a couple of occasions, and for no longer than about an hour. Any longer than that, and I’d start to wonder if the pain was worth it…
*No, Betty White did not say “Grow a vagina; they can take a pounding.” Sorry to disappoint you!