No matter what symptoms I plug into Web MD, Post Traumatic Guy Syndrome never seems to come up. I may, however, be at great risk for either scurvy or kuru, even though I eat lots of fruit and hardly any human brains. It stands to reason I guess, since I just made the term up while stepping on the toes of our veterans who have very real, and very debilitating problems as the result of being put in situations of high risk of imminent death. I really think I might be at risk though, and if you are a trans woman, you probably are as well.
If you are a trans woman, or at least know some or one, you may have noticed that some of seem just a little bit off. OK, to be less PC, some of us come off as batshit crazy, or at the very least, went through a long adjustment period as they settled into womanhood. I think the root cause of all this is having to have lived for so many years as a male; an endeavor that was bound for failure, but attempted with great vigor for decades at a time. We like to tell children that they can be whatever they want to, but the reality is that over time, if what you want to be just isn’t you, it’s not going to bode well and you may end up just a little bit fucked up in the process. Prior to the onset of PTGS, there are a number of indicators and symptoms worth taking a look at even though I just made them up on the fly.
1. Sporadic Dickheadness: Guys often exhibit this trait from time to time, and it’s often in good fun. The medical terminology often refers to it as “ball busting” which is known to manifest in the presence of other men, especially when camaraderie is high or alcohol is being consumed. Sometimes the effects are felt by women, but they are often dismissed as just boys trying to be funny. When a woman, particularly a trans woman, shows signs of this, it’s not good. Other women do not lightly suffer this type of crap from other women. As a trans woman, sporadic dickheadedness will probably show up from time to time as a latent effect from male life. Fortunately, the worst side effect is simply being asked out to lunch with the girls a lot less. Secondary symptoms: mild depression and suspected alienation.
2. Minor Adjustments: Until surgical correction takes place, even the very best of restraining methods tend to fail from time to time, or become unbearably uncomfortable at inopportune times. In male life, dealing with this area was simple and expected. A quick look around followed by an over the slacks crotch adjustment, or a more covert hand in the pocket fix was socially acceptable. Women, however, never publically adjust their crotch for a variety of reasons, the least of which is lack of necessity. When discomfort arises, it’s easy to forget you are wearing a skirt and pantyhose, and that grabbing yourself in that area, unless in total privacy, is bound to get noticed. This symptom is unconscious and nearly unavoidable. Secondary symptoms: burning embarrassment lasting for moments to days.
3. Stoic Silence: When men are not interested in a topic being discussed, it is socially acceptable to remain in stoic bored silence until a conversation shift occurs. Women generally ignore this since they are under the impression that the men will probably not add much anyway. A woman, however, displaying this trait is often written off as being a real cold bitch and someone not to be invited again. After decades of enjoying this symptom without repercussion, a trans woman may be surprised and dismayed by the impression they are giving as being cold, or worse yet, just a guy. The only remedy is getting used to talking in groups about shit you really don’t care about. Secondary symptoms: more depression and perceived alienation.
4. Speaking in Tongues: As a male, it was expected that you know at least a dozen lines each from ‘Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail’ and ‘Scarface’. Chances are, you played along unless you are like me and unable to remember movie lines. Hopefully you did, and didn’t just stand there feeling like a schmuck like me. If you were successful, it’s now ingrained and going to come out from time to time. Remember though, you never, ever hear women drag out the infuriating ‘Knights Who Say Nee’ bit. This is good, because no one needs to ever hear that again. As a trans woman there is a good chance you will, and be left standing there feeling like a schmuck as you suddenly become aware of the disgusted and annoyed faces around you. Secondary symptoms: crippling embarrassment.
5. Benjamin Buttonitis: This morning I dressed my 5 year old for school, then came to work and noticed 30 and 40 year old men wearing essentially the same thing. Well, except for Spiderman sneakers that blink. As a male you probably got used to doing this, because aside from formal affairs and high power business, men’s and boy’s styles are virtually indistinguishable. Because of this, many trans women fall into the same trap and think that cute skirt in the junior’s section is perfectly all right to wear. It’s not. Unless you occupy a demographic where dying your hair Smurf blue is all right, there is a rigid age demarcation for clothes. The real kicker is that nobody is going to tell you to your face, because female culture doesn’t lend itself toward making others feel bad about their appearance, so this symptom can persist for a long time. Secondary symptoms: constant paranoia that people are talking about you and judging you, mainly because they are.
6. Space Invader: While never specifically taught, casual observation will reveal that when sitting or walking, men take up the maximum amount of space humanly possible, while women tend to fold themselves into the most compact package, often at the expense of comfort. Think of a man on a couch. Arms spread out over the back and legs splayed open to display his crotch. Now think of a woman. Arms and elbows tucked in, and legs demurely crossed at the knees or ankles. He’s taking up at least 2.5 seats worth of space, and she’s scrunched into three quarters. Trans women easily revert to the male configuration because it’s way more comfortable, but end up looking like a lumberjack in drag no matter how pretty they might otherwise be. Secondary symptoms: more paranoia caused by weird stares and people standing rather than risk sitting next to you.
7. Up In the Sky, It’s Super-Guy!: Men are expected to jump in and solve problems first, and listen second. Women often to the opposite and provide a good ear to listen, and assistance only when requested. This can get confusing if you are used to firing off the means to solve everyone’s worries or worse, jumping into a physical situation. When you do this as a woman, other women get annoyed, because if they wanted someone to go off half cocked, they just would have told a guy about it. With men it’s worse. While they will tolerate this from other men, they really don’t so well with women, and sure as hell don’t want it from you. Secondary symptoms: feeling left out of the loop; sometimes punched.
There are probably a lot more, but these should be a good start to watch yourself for as regularly as you check your breast for lumps. These items along with the secondary symptoms may indicate you are a candidate for PTGS, unless you are naturally an insensitive asshole, and then the secondary stuff doesn’t apply so much. While not fatal, PTGS can leave you depressed and lonely, and wondering if this was all worth it. Caught in time though, a full cure is possible along with a long and happy life as the correct gender.