I am a soft-pack school dropout.
As a guy who has no problem wearing my strap to the club when I know I will be getting some booty afterward or just want to have some fun on the dance floor, I figured the assignment to wear a soft pack for a week would be easy. Plus, I always loved how a bulge in some tight Under Armour looks. Plus, sometimes I get the mildly-paranoid, mildly-narcissistic (but also understandable) sensation that people are looking at my crotch on the train and wondering where my dick is.
Most of the time I’m like let them look and let them wonder. Let them wrestle with their preconceived notions of manhood on the downtown local. But sometimes it makes me feel weird. So, I took a leap into Limpy-land.
My mission was to pack 24/7 for an entire week and see what happened. I know lots of guys pack every day and it is a critical part of them feeling whole and ready to go into the world. I wondered if packing would make me feel good and hot and more myself.
I got off to a rough start.
The Monday I was going to begin, I was feeling really shitty and insecure so I decided today is not the right time. Then I left it in a bag at my sister’s house and had to text her “Hey can you bring my limpy to our coffee date?”, which was not my favorite. Then the next day I was going to be at the gym for the first time in months which already involves me putting energy into not giving a fuck what other people think about me and my body. So adding an extra layer to that challenge didn’t seem smart. All this avoidance made me feel like, ok I am just not cut out for this, it’s not my cup of T (excuse that pun, but I had to).
However, I had committed to trying so the next day I woke up with the conviction to pack and prosper. After I got through the initial confusion of how exactly to weave my limpy through the strap (which was both amusing and frustrating), I got it relatively secure and put on some tight boxer briefs. Then I tried to navigate where exactly to position my dick. I tried on the right leg, then the left, and then ended up tucking it in between my legs so there was a bulge but no clear outline of the entire dick shape. This felt fine for me but did make me wonder if all cis-men are just tucking their dicks in between their legs. I got the bulge exactly how I wanted it and for the first time was like “Ok, this feels good, I can get down with this.”
But then I hopped on my bike and my perfect pack was compromised. The first red light I stopped at, I frantically searched my pants because I was convinced my pack had slid down and was stuck on my calf, confusing and/or traumatizing some woman behind me on the sidewalk. It was indeed right where I left it, but that anxiety remained with me. I ended up spending most of the days looking at and touching my crotch constantly to make sure my pack was not showing in a weird or creepy way. Considering the world did not know my context and just saw a concerned dude looking at his own dick a lot, I felt this was a step in the wrong direction for me.
So that sucked. But I will say at night after a shower, laying with my shirt off in some clean underwear watching Empire, while my boo rubbed it slowly and nonchalantly, made it feel really great and natural and easy.
By day three I had relaxed a little bit more into it. I even came to enjoy having to adjust it as I worked or sat down on the subway. It fit with the often two-tone hue of my longing: to be just a guy doing regular guy stuff like adjusting my junk AND also celebrating being not just any guy and knowing just a guy can mean a million things and being like my junk is different than all theirs and I am proud of that.
Juggling the many pieces of myself, as always, I proceeded into the week.
Going to the bathroom was not my favorite. I had always wondered what cis guys did with their dicks while they pooped. For me, letting my dick just flop onto the toilet seat felt both unsanitary and disrespectful. This left me holding it up with my left hand the entire time, which I found annoyingly awkward when I needed to wipe.
This got more annoying as the weather heated up. I work in a kitchen, I bike every day, and I am a sweaty motherfucker. So by day four, any fun or comfort I had found in it had disappeared, right along with the possibility of me making it through a day without having to change my shirt twice.
Day five. It was early morning, I was grumpy and had to go chop a thousand beets and I said “No!” to the limpy and threw it back in the drawer. As I hopped on my bike I actually sighed in relief. The rest of the day I couldn’t help but feel liberated. I loved not having something extra between my hefty thighs. I loved not having to worry about if it was showing. I loved not having to hold it while I also concentrated on maintaining my squat in the already not ideal public men's room. I then “forgot” it at my girlfriend’s house and when she brought it back to me in a little ziplock bag I rolled my eyes at it like “Oh, you again.”
For me, soft packing actually caused me to feel more detached from my body. I resented having to take it on and off. It even made me angry sometimes and I would yell at it “All I want you for is to pee out of and to get hard when I am fucking and you can’t do either of those things so what is your purpose?!”
The most I enjoyed it was when I could look at my bulge a bit before getting dressed, or when I got to squeeze it and think about the Nicki Minaj lyric “I mean it's something so funny when it get soft. I like to play with it, squeeze it like a stress ball.” At the end of the day, my failed week of soft-packing only reminded me of my frustrations with my body (that I actually would have been thinking about less if I hadn’t been wearing it).
But this is what I think is interesting/beautiful/awesome- some guys have the exact opposite relationship with packing. For some, it is essential for them feeling right in themselves and more connected to their bodies and their personhood. Or it is fun and playful. Some days they want it, other days they don’t. And that makes sense to me. We are guys, we are trans. And...we are people. So we are going to exist along every spectrum of peopleness, like all humans do. How fun to be connected by some deep parts of our identity as trans men, but moving through ourselves, our bodies, and the world in such different ways.
After my girlfriend returned it to me, I placed my soft pack in the back of my sock drawer. Then I took a shower, put my hard dick on, made sweet and freaky love to my boo, took it off, washed it, put it next to Mr. Limpy in the sock drawer, told it not to brag about being all big and hard and to remember Mr. Limpy has a place too. Just not in my life.
So, anyone want mine? I’ll clean it 27 times. Just kidding. But buy one and see for yourself. Let me know if you are a soft-pack graduate or a dropout. In the boxer briefs of the world, there is room for us all.
--- /// ---