Oops, My Mask Broke

I am visiting a friend and infrequent fuckbuddy I haven’t seen in ages. I am wearing a disposable dust mask rather than a reusable one because I am helping him with some physical work and do not want to ruin my good masks.

The good masks, I realize, have become a new category of underwear. They are kept folded next to the socks and they truly resemble a form of panties that one would attempt to put on and wonder what sort of body they were meant for. The slot for inserting a filter even resembles a gusset, that pocketlike lining inside a pair of panties.

Max Siedentopf,How-To Survive A Deadly Global Virus”, 2020

This sort of weirds me out; I am a trans man and have always had a bit of dysphoria around the concept of wearing panties. I find this kind of silly because I am not particularly masculine and sometimes find myself searching for lacy men’s underwear that meets certain criteria and the thing I would like is basically “exactly like women’s lingerie, but shaped a bit different.” Most other trans guys I know who are queer, you see, will simply wear a women’s thong and not give a fuck.

The disposable mask, however, simply feels like a medical device, a prophylactic. A face condom.

I am visiting a friend and infrequent fuckbuddy I haven’t seen in ages, and the strap on my disposable mask snaps off while I am in the bathroom.

He already took off his mask a few minutes after I came in. He didn’t ask me if it was okay. But I kept mine on.

He, at least, had been getting frequent rapid tests, something I had only just learned existed. Maybe he feels that by taking off his mask, he feels he is signaling that he thinks I am not a threat, that I will not give him COVID. But to me, it simply signals that he is willing to accept the risk he poses to me. Because the purpose of wearing a mask, largely, is not to protect yourself, but to protect others. So I kept mine on; because I had not been given permission to remove it.

And I was, after all, in his house.

I wanted to, of course: we had been working a long time, and it was more difficult for me to do with the mask on. And because I wanted to kiss him, and touch him again. But to even ask someone for permission to remove my mask, to touch them — to ask someone I care about — was like asking permission to infect them.

I was willing to accept that others would put me at risk. But for me to even ask someone else: “Can I breathe air with you? Can I touch you? Can I kill you? Can I kill your partner, your family, everyone you love in the world?” seemed way out of line.

Until my mask broke.

And after some hesitation — I asked if it was alright; if I kept it off.

And he said yes, with no hesitation at all.

It was like a broken condom; when neither of you wanted to wear one in the first place. But you knew you should. But you couldn’t say so. And then, an accident relieved you of responsibility. Got you to admit that this was what both of you really wanted.

We know that it’s irresponsible, that we think like this, but we do.

And then we kissed. We hugged.

We didn’t fuck. We kissed. But every kiss, every hug, every time someone has let their hand touch my hand since the start of the pandemic — every kiss from a person I thought I would never kiss again — might as well have been sex.

These incidents are rare. For the most part, we are staying in our houses. Isolated. Pretending that the need for physical touch is not real.

How could I possibly need such an awful thing, need a thing that brings death?

I rode my bike home for the first time without a mask. I breathed the night air unfiltered for the first time in months. It felt good. I recalled the first time I rode without a binder on. How I had spent seven years waiting for unrestricted breath. I felt guilty.

I thought, now I’ve done it, I’ve gone and killed everyone.

We know that it’s irresponsible, that we think like this, but we do.

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trans activist pig, sex maze wizardfucker. (he/him)

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owl

trans activist pig, sex maze wizardfucker. (he/him)

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