When I’m grappling with an issue, I tend to talk about it a lot. I tend to talk a lot in general, actually, so my recent fascination with breast reduction surgery has spawned some very interesting conversations with the people in my life. I could write a book about all of the socio-cultural and gender issues that have come up in these emotionally charged chats, but for today I want to focus on a chat I had yesterday which put an entirely new spin on things.
My friend E is the full-time nanny of a little boy P’s age who we met at one of those little kid gym classes this fall. Ever since we met and discovered we were the same age, we’ve been inseparable. Having someone my age to hang out with during my long ten-hour babysitting days has been nothing short of wonderful, and P and K, her charge, are like two pint-size peas in a pod. We were at the playground yesterday, enjoying the spring-like weather we’ve been having in New York, laughing about the wardrobe malfunction I had had that morning. Getting dressed in a hurry (and, apparently, in the dark) I had thrown on a completely see-through black camisole and a little brown cardigan which is strictly for decoration where my breasts are concerned. My employer gave me a strange look as she flitted out the door to yoga, prompting me to check myself out in a full-length mirror, and, in the blazing bright 9AM sun, I realized my bra, my navel piercing (don’t mock, we were all 18 once…) and the round curves of my biggest assets were all startlingly visible beneath my top. Great. I get away with far more cleavage than I feel is acceptable for work, and as discussed here my boss is pretty forgiving about it….but since yesterday’s outfit was a full-on (accidental) peep show, I made a quick stop at Filene’s Basement while P was at speech therapy and bought a non-see-through black cami for $6. Problem solved.
“Imagine how you’d feel if you were transgender!” exclaimed E.
Enter L, a friend of E’s who was born a woman, but identifies as male. He’s been dressing as a man for years, and he changed his name and pronoun more recently when he began taking Testosterone supplements and growing facial hair. Despite all that, E tells me, strangers (especially servers in restaurants) frequently refer to L as a female–i.e. “Can I get you ladies something to drink?” owing in large part, L presumes, to his ample breasts–(an H cup) whose size has been virtually unaffected by Testosterone. In a couple of months, he will travel to California to have a mastectomy– (complete removal of all breast tissue) which will take him once step closer to looking the way he feels inside. The next and final step in L’s transformation is a sex reassignment surgery which will include a hysterectomy and reconstructive surgery to make his external female sex organ into a male one. Intense!
A veritable “fruit fly,” and an ally and supporter of LGBT equality, I know tons about Lesbian, Gay & Bi culture- but not very much about the Transgender community to which L belongs. Personally, I’m crunchy and liberal to the core, so I say live and let live- if L believes he’s a man trapped in a woman’s body, I believe him. But I’m wondering…what do you think?
My own breast quest is in a holding pattern until I can find a good primary physician in the city and settle on one of the many plastic surgeons I’ve emailed for information. At the moment I’m working 6 days a week (terrible, I know!) and most things (sleep being a major one) are taking a backseat to the search for a better employment solution, so it might take me some time to make the reduction a reality…but until then I’ll be sharing my insight on the matter, as well as lightening up the column with some more of my sass, which seems to have been forgotten in the midst of all my whining and contemplation.
Until next time, ladies!