The following is an open letter to two of my longest-term companions, Right Boob (“RB”) and Left Boob (“LB”).
Dear RB and LB,
Hey guys. How are you doing? It’s been a while since the last time we really talked (maybe right before our most recent awkward gyno appointment?), and there’s a few things that I’ve really been meaning to discuss with you.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but you two have come up in quite a few conversations lately. My online butch network and I have been swapping a lot of advice about bra shopping, binding, and generally dealing with our chests. I even was interviewed in a video by The Bois Department where I (in somewhat tipsy form) explained my feelings about you two.
I hope my bluntness doesn’t come across too harshly. It’s true that our interactions have been a bit, um, uncomfortable for some time now. I mean, if you had a Facebook profile, our relationship would probably be listed as “it’s complicated.” Even so, you do know that I want you around, right? I do. I just have a funny way of showing it.
You see, RB and LB, there are many times when your presence is absolutely invaluable. These occasions typically take place in a bedroom, but they’ve also been known to pop up in a shower, on a living room sofa, and occasionally, even on a dining room table. You know exactly what I mean. These are moments when you are appreciated, celebrated, even loved. Believe you me, I try to make these moments happen as often as possible.
But there are other times when, well… I don’t know how to say this in a more gentle way, so here it is: Sometimes, my boobs, you’re really embarrassing to have around.
It’s not that there’s something wrong with you. There isn’t! In fact, I’ve been told by kindly femmes that you are both actually quite nice. Not to bust out a tired phrase, but it’s not you, it’s me. You and I, we’re just too different. I take such pride in my masculinity; it’s incredibly important for my butchness to be seen, recognized, respected. And I just feel that, with you two around, that’s sometimes difficult.
I mean, look at yourselves. You’re so…feminine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You know how much I love femininity. I cherish it, just…not as a part of me. I’m so afraid that, if people see me with you, they might not also see my butchness. What if they think that, because you’re so feminine, I also must be feminine by association? What if your presence erases mine?
You’ve probably noticed the lengths that I go to to make it look like we’re not together. I’m sorry that my bras have gotten so much more restraining. I’m sorry that I feel the need to mask your presence under baggy clothes. I’m sorry that sometimes I’m so unhappy to walk by a mirror and, despite my best camouflaging efforts, to see you so plainly in it.
I know you think that I hate you, but I don’t. I just don’t know what to do with you sometimes, my boobs. I don’t know how to make us work in a way that doesn’t shame me or hurt you (and I know those tight sports bras can hurt like hell). But I’m trying, I swear. I’m trying. Just stick with me, ok? Not that you really have any choice.