"In Case I Have To Go Off T Someday"

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 three syringes. They wait politely. There is a long silence, followed by an even longer one.

MAN 1 [brightly]: Does anyone want some?

MAN 2 [even more brightly]: Sorry, what?

MAN 1: Some T? Testosterone? I don’t need any — I found an old patch in the bedroom trash can last night, that still had a little gel stuck to the foil that I guess I didn’t absorb last time, so I’m good for another month at least. But if you want some, please, go ahead, by all means, I don’t mind.

MAN 2: No, sorry, what’s “wanting”? I’ve never done that. What’s wanting? I don’t happen, personally, to have ever done that, or experienced that, or met her, or whomever. But if you guys want stuff, go right ahead, by all means, I don’t mind.

ALL THREE MEN, IN UNISON: Go right ahead! I don’t mind. You seem hungry.

MAN 3: We don’t have to keep shining a spotlight on it. Obviously maybe someone wants a little testosterone but feels self-conscious about taking it in front of everyone because of—

MAN 2: Don’t say it!

MAN 3: I wasn’t going to say that.

MAN 1: You looked like you were going to say “female socialization.”

MAN 3 [stiffly]: I wasn’t going to.

MAN 2: Well, you looked as if you were.

MAN 3: I was simply going to say that not all women go to the bathroom together, and not all trans men have to wait for their friends to go on T before they’ll try it, too.

MAN 2: So you might as well have said it, then.

MAN 1: If you want some, just go ahead and take some. You don’t have to displace it onto “the group.” You can just say you want some, and take it.

MAN 3: I’m perfectly aware of what I can say and what I can take, thanks very much.

Another silence. MAN 2 tears off part of the bread loaf and alternates between uncomfortable bites and making little bread pills.

MAN 2: I would have some, but I really did just do my shot this morning. Also I’m thinking of decreasing my dose, anyways.

MAN 1: Which is fine.

MAN 2: Which is fine!

MAN 3: Which is fine!

MAN 1: It’s about whatever works for you.

MAN 3: I’ve been cutting my dose in half every two weeks and filling up the rest of my plate with leafy greens. It’s important to fill up on leafy greens, and most of us don’t even know what a serving of testosterone looks like.

MAN 1: Plus, you know—I think it’s important to go without sometimes, because there’s always the chance I might have to go off T someday.

MAN 2: Right, I might have to go off T someday.

MAN 3: I might decide to go off T someday, or something might happen to society, so I think it’s better to be on the safe side, in case I have to go off T someday.

MAN 1: Honestly, I don’t even know why I take it. Because I know I’m going to have to go off it someday, after the total breakdown of society.

MAN 3: Oh, do you take it? I just went off it, myself.

MAN 2: Which is fine.

MAN 1: I would be down to split this, just as sort of a fun “goodbye” thing before I go off it too. I mean, I know I haven’t technically started it, but I think it’s important to go off testosterone before you start it, in case you have to go off T someday. I don’t planning on going on testosterone, personally, but I do want to be prepared in case I have to go off T someday, just in case.

MAN 2 [brightly]: If there’s a joke here, I’m still waiting to understand it.

MAN 1: Yes, what’s the joke here?

MAN 2: It feels like someone wants there to be a joke here.

MAN 3: I think a joke would feel very appropriate, just now. If our only other options are bread and testosterone, I for one would appreciate a joke.

MAN 1: And that little “yes, of course” line before—that was about whiteness, right? I don’t understand what the point of the coyness was, there. Was it supposed to be cute? It felt like it was trying to shrug something off.

MAN 2: A particular type of whiteness, certainly.

MAN 1: Okay. Which type?

MAN 2: I don’t know!

MAN 3: Well, maybe I really do just want a little bit! Am I supposed to apologize for that?

MAN 2: We all just want a little bit!

MAN 1: I knew a guy who wanted a lot once.

MEN 2 & 3, IN UNISON: Really?

MAN 1: Yeah.

Another pause.

MAN 3: I just want someone to explain to me whether there’s a joke here or not, whether the joke is supposed to be at my expense or not, whether the syringes are a joke or whether I can take mine home for later in a doggie bag because I might get hungry at like, nine, and whether the joke is supposed to be what I want, or the way I want things, or because our host doesn’t believe me when I talk about the things that I want or the way that I want things, or if the joke is that we’re just all nervous about the same things, or what type of white person I’m supposed to be—

MAN 2: The type who doesn’t know the type—

MAN 3: If one more person accuses me of wanting something, I’m going to lose it.

A fourth trans man walks onto the scene from stage right. He has his hands in his pockets, and a frog and a slingshot, too.

ALL THREE MEN, IN UNISON: Hi! Hi, welcome! Are you hungry? Do you want something? We just finished, but if you—

[Image via]