Let’s not talk about my pink underwear. I get it. I know. You know me as what I present on a daily basis. I am strong, and solid, and masculine. So, when you see the minute stash of panties I keep hidden like a bad secret in the back of my dresser, you joke, and you whistle, and you laugh.
But can we not talk about my pink underwear? That they feel as out of place against my hips as his hands always did. The way they speak to a box I no longer fit in. I am not comfortable in them, but still, they sit there behind boxer briefs and black tshirts. I am not me in those underwear. I am not the strong person you know, and it’s odd that some fabric that no one else will see can do that.
Let’s not talk about how they threaten my masculinity. And how they make me feel like less of whatever I am. Those pink underwear that wear me like a stranger. Like someone I don’t know who’s grabbed me on the bus. Like the men who shout homophobic slurs at me at four in the morning when I’m just trying to get home.
I wear my masculinity like a badge. I am proud to fall into whatever category you want to define my presentation as. I am not here to make you feel comfortable about my gender. I find so much solace in my androgyny, so much strength.
No one fucks with the girl with a crew cut, and damn, does it accentuate my eyes. There is no reason for me to lace my keys between my fingers on the walk back to my apartment, not on the days I’ve donned scuffed jeans and dark leather boots. Not when my shape has been covered by three layers of shirts. But I’ll tell you, on the days I wear the pink underwear, I carry extra keys. I carry extra bullets. I carry an extra hardness in my eyes, and my heart. I ask a boy to walk me home. I hunch my shoulders, and dip my head.
There is too much vulnerability that come along with those underwear, too much room for error. And that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. So let’s just ignore my damn underwear.