4 min

When you’re packing

Beware of snooping mothers

Credit: Xtra West files

I’m going to get a little personal here for a bit. I like to pack.

There. I’ve said it. Almost anyone who has seen me in jeans over the last five years or so already knows this about me, but it is something I rarely talk about, for all the obvious reasons. My ninth edition copy of The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines “pack” in quite a number of ways. the closest to my meaning is: “Pack: /pak/ 1 (n.) a collection of things wrapped up or tied together for carrying. And then, in its verb context: to fill (a suitcase, bag, etc.) with clothes and other items; or in its transitive form: to put closely together, to crowd or cram (as in packed a lot into a few hours).”

This last definition only works with tight pants, of course, but you get the idea. There is also the transitive colloquial form, which is: “to carry (a gun, etc.) or to be capable of delivering (a punch) with skill or force.” All definitions sort of hint at but don’t exactly apply to what I actually mean.

Perhaps, a few years and a couple of editions of the dictionary down the line, there will be a queer vernacular definition which will say “to fill, crowd or cram one’s tightey whiteys with a dildo, sock or some other bulging object meant to represent a phallus or prosthetic penis of some sort.”

Myself, I find packing a hard dildo all the time, well, too hard, frankly. Aside from the obvious uncomfortable drawbacks of sweating and chafing, I find it rather unsightly. Ask the Viagra generation how fun it is to walk around all day with a woody. They’ll tell you. Any man who ever managed to make it through high school has an embarrassing tale to tell about being called to the blackboard at the wrong time. Nope, not for me. A sock? Well, this method of augmentation may have worked fine for ’80s rock bands, but I prefer something with a little more substance.

The model I use is called, I believe, Mr Softee and comes in three sizes: small, endowed and ridiculous, and a variety of skin tones from cappuccino to Caucasian- if you’ll pardon the pun. It provides a pleasant little bulge and feels good to rub up against. Some folks wear a jock strap or soft harness to keep their business in place. I find a newish pair of briefs works just fine, provided the elastic is still trustworthy.

Think I’m over-sharing? You just wait. Now, I’m sure the Freudian analysts and the radical feminists have a myriad of theories as to why I like to pack, and for sure I’ve questioned my motivations myself. Turns out I’m not a pawn of the patriarchy, full of self-loathing and internalized misogyny. I’m proud of who and what I am, and I’m about as okay with my body as I’m going to get. I just like to pack. Leaving home without my little friend feels, well, empty to me now. I can’t explain it, other than to say it is similar to leaving the house without feeling my car keys in my pocket or the weight of my wallet on my ass cheek. Some women can’t leave the house without lipstick or their purse on their arm. Same thing.

But there are obvious political consequences to packing a penis substitute in your pants and refusing to conform to anyone’s gender box, of course, which put my dick in a whole other category. My dick is not the same thing as your purse, or his favourite lighter, or even her push-up bra. But to me, it is just something that makes walking through the world a little less hard. A few years back I could leave it at home if the situation required it, but lately it feels, well, even more wrong than it used to. That is why I was packing last week when my mom came to town and I took her shopping.

I’ve had a few dick-related incidents in the past, like the time I was up at SFU to do a gig and the women’s studies bigwig was escorting me to the auditorium and my dick fell out of my manties and slipped down my pant leg. I was forced to feign a dislocated knee and hobble into the washroom to tend to my wardrobe malfunction. Then I had to remember to limp for the rest of the day. Oh, the tangled web we weave.

One other time I was at a bar, and a young trans fellow was in the bathroom stall next to me. When he pulled his pants down and sat, his number hit the concrete, and rolled to a flaccid stop just in front of my right foot. Do unto others, I thought, and there but by the grace of God go I. I silently nudged his errant prosthetic back under the wall with my foot, and never mentioned the incident again, reminding myself to be extra careful when I’ve been drinking. Kind of gives “keeping it in your pants” a whole new meaning.

My mom is a shopper. She loves to shop. She loves it more if you shop right along with her, and she insisted that I try on this pair of pants. The great thing about these pants was that they gave me a great package. The terrible thing about these pants was that they gave me a great package-such a nice one that I could not bring myself to leave the change room and face she who birthed me. I thought about removing my cock and hiding it, but there was no time.

“Come on out and show us.” My mom and the salesgirl were looming right outside the door.

“They‚re perfect. I’ll take them.” I pulled the pants off, and was bent over picking up my jeans when the unimaginable happened: my mother whipped the curtain back, revealing me in my briefs to the whole store.

My polyester shirt was hanging down in front of my package, thank Christ, but I was afraid to lift my arms to close the curtain.

“Mom, what the fuck, close the door, I’ve got no pants on.” I was frozen on the spot, and she was staring at my crotch. I guess it only makes sense that my mother would wonder what is in my pants. She of all people knows I wasn’t born with a bulge. She pulled the curtain back.

“Relax. I’m your mother. I’ve seen it all before.”

I was leaned against the bench in the change room, trying to breathe around the lump of panic in my throat.

“Not all of it, Mom, and not lately.”