"I Heard It's Not Even That Good for Guys": Another Round Table Between the Trans Men Who Don't Want Anything
Three trans men of a certain type (were Mary McCarthy writing The Group today, they’d have featured prominently in at least the Vassar flashbacks, say. By which I mean: yes, of course they are) sit down at a table. Before them is a loaf of bread and a pamphlet. They wait politely. There is a long silence, followed by an even longer one.
MAN 1: I hear it’s not even that good for guys.
MAN 2: I hear that too.
MAN 1: Oh? Who do you hear that from?
MAN 2: Well, I hear it when I say it myself, of course. And I say it a lot. Sometimes if I’m getting ready for the day, I’ll just announce to my mirror that I hear bottom surgery isn’t that good for guys, without going into any further detail about what “that good” means, or how I’d assess possible outcomes, or which kinds of bottom surgery I’m talking about, or who the guys are. So primarily that’s where I’m hearing it from.
MAN 1: Right, absolutely. And do you try to work in an unspoken intimation that the reason it’s not that good for guys is because it’s good — possibly too good — for trans women, who are probably having too much fun, and very likely getting away with something at our expense?
MAN 2: Absolutely. The doctors used up all the good ideas and equipment on them, and by the time they got to us, all that was left was a little bowl of gruel from Oliver Twist, which is why our options are pretty much just fingerless gloves, orphanage, please sir may I have some less?, terrible hunger, it don’t hurt so much nae more, if you please sir, and never-you-mind.
MAN 3: I heard they can give you [redacted] but only if you let a witch steal away your ability to feel tenderness and smell bread.
MAN 2: Oh, I definitely heard that too.
MAN 1: And a lot of us don’t even want surgery. Not because it’s not that good — I mean, it happens to not be that good, at least that’s what I hear, but even if it were good —
MAN 2: Like as good as the surgery they do for girls —
MAN 1: Right, with their great surgeries.
MAN 3: Which probably happened because of all that visibility. Not that I’m complaining!
MAN 2: Not that I’m complaining!
MAN 1: God, not that I’m complaining, least of all about trans women, and especially trans women of color.
MAN 2: No, especially, trans women of color —
MAN 3: Absolutely, especially trans women of color, especially. But a lot of us wouldn’t even want a great surgery. Which we couldn’t have if we wanted, I’ve heard. Not from a doctor or a surgeon, or anything, because why would I ask them about something I already know isn’t any good, and doesn’t work on top of not being any good? But I have heard it.
MAN 2: We’ve definitely heard enough.
MAN 1: I don’t think there’s any reason to even pick up this pamphlet to begin with. I already know everything there is to know about bottom surgery. I don’t need details.
MAN 2: I heard they just put a doll’s arm down there, and they charge you extra for a nerve hookup if you want to be able to move the doll’s arm, and they chop off one of your own arms for no reason afterwards.
MAN 3: I feel really good about not wanting anything, you guys.
MAN 1: Oh, do you still feel things about not wanting things? I remember that, I think.
MAN 2: I did hear about a guy who got it once.
There is a long pause. Each man attempts to push the loaf of bread away from him and towards one of his non-dining companions at the same time, creating a sort of Ouija-board effect.
MAN 1: How interesting!
MAN 3: Did he die, or explode, or something?
MAN 1: Did he say it wasn’t that good for guys after all? It’s worse, right? Does he wistfully say things like “better the devil you know” when he walks past mirrors now? Now’s bad, but change is worse, right? How committed is he to white transmasculine abjection? I bet not as committed as me.
MAN 3: Does he have pics?
MAN 1: Yeah, I mean, does he — does he have pics?
MAN 3: Yeah, does he have pictures?
MAN 1: Does he have any pictures? Do you know if he took pictures?
MAN 3: Did he take pictures of it?
MAN 2: He did, but I should warn you, they’re not as good as the pictures girls take.
MAN 1: Oh, no, of course not.
MAN 3: No, of course they’re not.
MAN 1: Or maybe you could just tell him to swing by, and he could show us in person, and we could tell him a few times how bad we hear it is. Whatever’s easiest. I just really need to make sure it’s not any good, and to tell him about all the stuff I heard, so he can understand why I need to look at him and not learn anything. Any time that’s good for him, really.