Balls Out
February 4, 2011 1:17 AM   Subscribe

"Casey Plett is a twenty-something dude who has dressed in women's clothes with gently increasing frequency over the last six years. He is taking estrogen and testosterone-suppressers, and will probably transition to being a woman in the next year or so. Barring unforeseen circumstances, we're going to put about a 90% probability on this one. Casey's genitalia is not the focus of Balls Out, but it does perennially show up uninvited and eat all the Nutella."
posted by jnaps (30 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Find that none of the pants fit except for the biggest size. (The Dickies in particular give your legs and belly the appearance of a smokestack belching out a melted gumball.) Look at yourself in the mirror. Decide that even the pants that fit look terrible. Go back into the store. The skirts section will now look appropriately inviting.

This is probably why I own so many skirts.
posted by NoraReed at 1:29 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Okay, I'll be first to point out that "genetalia" is plural.
posted by Lezzles at 1:53 AM on February 4, 2011

"genitalia": Cosmic comeuppance for the smart alec!
posted by Lezzles at 1:57 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Find something you think is nice... Something white, made out of impossibly thin fabric, with bright green flowers and green lines running along the sides, narrow at the top and widening to the bottom just below the knee, like something you might have seen a girl wear to the park in high school, sitting cross-legged and laughing with the skirt barely draping her knees, while you sat in huge jeans that seemed to billow around your legs, perspiring in a thin sweatshirt (you've never liked showing your bare limbs) feeling, again, that clumsy bloated-ness. Watching the skirt's thin white zipper sway by her right hip as the lower inch of the skirt flutters in a light breeze, looking with a confused, implacable desire that only much later did you recognize as envy.
Oh, seriously. Suddenly I'm a self-hating teenager again and everything is confusing and disgusting and I feel trapped in an oaf by people who love me.

I want to buy this kid the world's largest, softest cookie.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:00 AM on February 4, 2011 [17 favorites]

posted by eeeeeez at 2:48 AM on February 4, 2011

Okay, I'm giving up Nutella now...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:50 AM on February 4, 2011

My genitalia and I are also giving up Nutella.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:10 AM on February 4, 2011

If you're not gonna eat it, can my genitalia and I have your Nutella?
posted by NoraReed at 3:15 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Aww! Yeah, the bit about the skirt buying got me.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:22 AM on February 4, 2011

How does Casey not know about hair straighteners and blowing your hair down? Could this be the one person in the world who has not dated my overly-explanatory ex-girlfriend?
posted by adipocere at 4:38 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

blowing your hair down

Blow your hair down, ladies
blow your hair down
Yo Ho! Blow your hair down.

Sea chanties just entered a whole new world.
posted by eriko at 5:42 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Man, being female gives you such a leg up when you're embarking on the whole cross dressing (and/or correct mental dressing) thing.
posted by Phalene at 5:49 AM on February 4, 2011

If you want readability you need to create a bookmark with this as the link. Awesome.

posted by zeoslap at 6:46 AM on February 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

Wait, I'm supposed to blow my hair *downwards*? And here I thought blow dryers just hated me.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:15 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Man, I read that whole awkward conversation about his genitalia and there was NO NUTELLA AT ALL. Disappointing.

(Actually, these are really good.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:35 AM on February 4, 2011

Tiny derail: You can generate your own bookmarklet like zeoslap's here (or grab an add-on that does the same thing).
posted by mendel at 9:18 AM on February 4, 2011

That article about purchasing women's clothing was an impossibly depressing read. I feel terrible for the kid.
In Kalamazoo, Bell's Brewery hosts an Eccentric Night along with several other "dress up" events aimed at encouraging outside-of-the-box thinking when it comes to clothing. Naturally, many folks started showing up naked. Eventually they banned the nakedness thing. Interestingly, many, many males now show up in skirts and dresses. After we fought long and hard to pass GLBT affirming legislature - a movement led predominantly by several trans heroes in the community - the number of guys in skirts and dresses has noticeably increased.
I, for one, would never dream of showing up at Eccentric Night without a skirt. Though I am not a transgendered individual, I found myself nodding as he described the difference between skirts and dresses in regards to the male body. Additionally, wearing a skirt gives you the freedom to go wild with your top.
It's no longer unusually to see folks wearing whatever the hell they want in the city anymore. This is a good thing.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:27 AM on February 4, 2011

I'm not huge on Nutella, but my genitalia go CRAZY for it. ALL my genitalia. Every last one.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:53 AM on February 4, 2011

Boy, here's a guy I never wanna meet.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:59 AM on February 4, 2011

OK, to clarify, with regard to the excruciating article about shopping for clothes. Why can't this kid shop online?! At least to experiment and figure out his size without the soul-crushing experience of going to the store? Then when he knows the kinds of clothes that fit him and feel comfortable, he might feel better about shopping in public. If he feels like crap about not fitting into women's clothes now, how is he going to feel later? It's not like being transgendered keeps you from being a fattie (case in point, Cher's kid.)
posted by ReeMonster at 10:10 AM on February 4, 2011

But with shopping online, when you don't know your size, you have the soul-crushing experience of going back to the post office over and over again to return things.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:41 AM on February 4, 2011

Near where I live there is a store specifically for crossdressers, drag queens and trans women. (I know those three groups are not the same, but they probably wear similar sizes, no?) Granted, there's a lot of 'sexy' stuff that most people wouldn't opt to wear everyday, but a safe space like that might help someone going through the transition to be able to determine what size range they fit in.

After those initial sizing experiences in safe spaces, then the internet is your best friend.
posted by palindromic at 11:41 AM on February 4, 2011

Huh. Well, there are millions of trans people in the world, and I guess thus millions of different experiences of transition, so presumably this is one.

People interested in less self-consciously twee memoirs of transition by women who were male-assigned at birth might enjoy Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. (Of course, people interested in less of the self-consciously twee probably don't read McSweeney's.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:38 PM on February 4, 2011

I think, re Sidhedevil's comment above, that I should explain why I like this so much, and it's not just because the author couldn't remind me more of teenage me if she cut out a picture of my horrible boy face and wore it as a mask. It's a bit twee and it's a bit self-conscious and it doesn't really say anything I've not read before like a trillion bagazillion times, but I care more about the reaction of the people who haven't really encountered transition stories.

Trans people pop up on TV and in newspapers a lot, but it's rarely us expressing ourselves in our own voices; we're edited and we're spoken for. The more we tell our stories in our own words, the more places we can stand and the more people we can reach, the better things are going to become for us. The stories of sympathetic, relatable people filter up and out and maybe some daft bathroom law somewhere won't get the votes it needs.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:45 PM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh, hey, this is my friend! ReeMonster, I can assure you that you could meet no more enjoyable a person.

(Now this is on Metafilter I kind of feel like I know a celebrity.)
posted by verbyournouns at 8:48 PM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wait, verbyournouns, you're saying that Casey is a real person? I honestly thought that everything on McSweeneys was satire. I have never read anything there as non-fiction before. I have to say, I apologize to your friend for having read that piece as a big put-on.
posted by msali at 9:52 PM on February 4, 2011

msali: if you google Casey Plett you'll find other references to them that make their actual existence clear. I know this because I did it too, because I had the same question you did.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:32 PM on February 4, 2011

I loved this. Thanks for posting it.
posted by creeky at 4:20 AM on February 5, 2011

Since this is the current trans thread on Mefi I'm just going to leave these here, juxtaposed to make Craig Ferguson look like the total fucking thundering prick he is.

Questioning Transphobia: Injustice at every turn
Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey was released on February 3rd. Pieces of this report have come out over the past several months (posted about here and on Bird of Paradox, as well as likely many other locations). This is, however, the full 220-page report, which is filled with some depressing statistics.

The Advocate has posted a brief rundown of the report:

Respondents were four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, with incomes lower than $10,000
Respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed
One in four reported being fired for their gender identity or expression
Half said they experienced harassment or other mistreatment in the workplace
One in five said they experienced homelessness because of their gender identity or expression
19% said they had been refused a home or apartment
19% said they had been refused health care
31% reported harassment or bullying by teachers
41% reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% for the general population
Pam's House Blend: Craig Ferguson, transmockery and the reality of bias
The sketch featured Ferguson's "half-sister" -- played by a man -- coming out in a skirt and female's shirt, with an oddly painted face appearing to suggest significant facial hair. The first "gag" was her apparently showing male genitalia as she sat down -- to "eww" gasps from the audience.

Ferguson continued forward, mocking at several points that his "half-sister" was sexually unappealing, saying, for example, that no one wanted her in a date auction. There also were repeated negative references to Ferguson's "half-sister" masturbating.
Particularly I despise the notion that it's okay for Ferguson to make loltrannies jokes because he is British, with roughly the same heat that I despise the BBC's statement that distorted stereotypes of other cultures we as a country have zero experience with and have received only through American media is apparently part of our national character.

Stuff like this makes me doubly happy to see Casey's articles. We have a tonne of shit to wade through, and every person like her who gains visibility is a baby step towards making people understand we actually exist, that we're not just pantomime dames, and maybe we might be worthy of a little respect and perhaps even some human dignity if we grovel at the feet of the world for long enough.

No pressure or anything, Casey.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:53 AM on February 5, 2011

It's a bit twee and it's a bit self-conscious and it doesn't really say anything I've not read before like a trillion bagazillion times, but I care more about the reaction of the people who haven't really encountered transition stories.

Yeah, like me. I've never really thought much about crossdressers or transition stories and when I did it was like "weird. I can't imagine what it's like to be them". But the one entry I read made me think "Aw hey, I TOTALLY get that! It was funny and kind of sad and I hope he finds other awesome stuff to wear and people to share his life"

Ok, it's not the most deep reaction, but it did change something for me.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:57 AM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

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