I spend more time in the bathroom now that I’m trying to be a man than I ever did before. It’s weird because my utterly pragmatic approach to appearance, not even to mention home decorating, is one of the strongest suits in my masculine credentials.
The shot itself takes time. I don’t want any infections, so I’m careful. On a paper towel on the counter, I lay out the syringe, cotton ball and two needles — large to load up the oily testosterone, and small to inject it. (I tried to use the big syringe to inject once and I couldn’t even get the thing in. A doctor said, "Yeah, you have to harpoon it in.") I have to feel around to make sure I'm injecting in the magic safe triangle on the side of my derriere. Wipe off vial lid and injection site. And hold a cotton ball on the spot for a second afterward.
There’s a cleanup process, too (note: It’s tacky to leave your needles and vials around for housemates to see). The needles go in their special sharps container. Of course one recycles the vials. On a good night, I might even compost the (100% recycled) paper towel.
All in all, this takes about 15 minutes once every two weeks, significantly nosing upward my average-time-in-the-bathroom stats. Don’t be fooled: These stats are a more important measure of masculinity than any sports data ever was.
Have I mentioned that shaving your face is hard? My femme friend assures me that “electric razors are where it’s at,” and I know that if shaving ever becomes a real necessity I will succumb to the utter unsexiness that is the electric razor.
I may in the not-too-distant future also find myself obliged to groom body hair. There’s an electric razor designed for that, the femme — who's Jewish — tells me, which I imagine is a hot-seller in the Walgreen’s on Castro. It’s got some boring name with the word “Norelco” in it, which reminds me of my weird father, so I’ve already decided I will call it The Manscaper.
Thanks to the testosterone, I’ve also become a regular user of antibiotic gel to keep the pimples at bay. The gel has changed my life by eliminating — yes, eliminating — a long-standing skin problem which shall remain nameless but that really wore on my self esteem while naked. For years, I suffered in silence believing it was pure vanity to ask a doctor about something so minor, but now I’ve learned there’s nothing too small to ask a doctor about. And now that I’m on testosterone — and the magic gel — I feel much more comfortable changing in the women’s locker room at the gym.
The gel is delightfully easy to put on my face. But since I’ve been taking T, I’ve developed some minor but vanity-dampening folliculitis/acne on my chest, which means I have to apply the gel after bathing and before putting on my binder. Incidentally, the binder is another life-changing purchase, but it’s tight and made from thick-ish material, so the gel really has to go on first. I’m down to one tube at present and it always manages to be in my bedroom when I need it in the bathroom, creating the perfect scenario in which to walk from one room to another with no shirt on — which I can’t do because I have a housemate, but even on the incredibly rare occasion that she leaves the house, walking from room to room with my tiny breasts exposed just begs the question of how utterly satisfying and erotic it will be to walk about freshly showered and shirtless with my future man chest.
Assuming the man chest happens before I've hardened my contours and furred up my exterior (if I ever suck up the humiliation of being furry like an animal), I may find myself acquiring yet another bizarre girlish bathroom ritual: changing in the toilet stall of whichever locker room I decide to use at the gym.
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