The Obligatory Testosterone Post

Life before testosterone. image source.  

Many transmen who use testosterone as part of their transition often document the changes.* The truly brave ones post video clips of their before and after progress. Since Transman hates everything about his “before,” he won’t be doing that here. Don’t even ask.

Physical changes:

Transman’s sexy “before” legs … and his not-so-sexy dissertation notes.

Body hair–Transman had been a furry sort before testosterone, but now his legs have enough hair to double as a sub-zero insulating layer under his jeans. The light blond hair on his knuckles has darkened up and there is hair on the backs of his hands. Knuckle-dragging apehood can’t be far behind.

Transman’s body hair used to be straight, but now he has cowlicks on his forearms.

Transman is still waiting for more hair to sprout on his chest. The dozen pre-T hairs are waiting for friends so they can give the leg and arm hairs a run for their money. The happy trail has leapt north of the belly button border and spread out to east and west, so Transman is holding out hope for his own fur shirt in a couple of years.

“Facial hair is your friend when covering a weak chin. Too bad you can’t shred like I can. They don’t call me ‘Slowhand’ for nothing. We all know the ladies love a man with a slow hand.” Eric Clapton as himself. image source.

Face shape—the other day Transman’s son reached over and jabbed two fingers into Transman’s face.

“You have a chin now,” Transman’s son said. “Your father is going to be so proud.” (Transman has an Eric Clapton chin—or he did before starting testosterone; Transman’s dad always tells him “Stick your chin out!” without acknowledging that one has to have a chin to begin with.)

Transman’s jawline is squaring up and his face looks a bit wider. Transman is fascinated by his increasing resemblance to his grandfather. All he needs is plaid pants and a white leather belt that matches his loafers and the look will be complete.

Facial hair—Transman won’t be Grizzly Adams anytime soon, but he has enough dark fuzz on his upper lip that he shaves so as not to arouse suspicion at work where he’s still in the closet.** While Transman doesn’t have 5 o’clock shadow, there is a subtle darkness to his skin where the beard will eventually come in.

Body—Transman’s biceps, shoulders, and neck are getting bigger. His suit jackets are getting tight in the arms. Transman can carry heavier loads, too, but don’t ask him to come move your piano for you.

“Do you want fries with that?” Jeremy Freedman as Transman. image

Vocal changes—the sound of Transman’s voice hasn’t changed much. He mostly sounds like he’s getting a cold or fighting off allergies, but he gets these weird sensations every couple of weeks and then his voice gets a little huskier. The sensations are hard to describe; they feel like Transman has swallowed something that won’t quite go down and like there is a pulling or stretching in his throat. The sensation isn’t painful, but it is distracting.

When Transman tries to speak louder in group settings, the voice gets a little raspy and out of control. Transman doesn’t exactly squeak, but when he speaks, he imagines everyone in the room is hearing Jeremy Freedman.

Transman’s laugh sounds different. Weirdly, the laugh has more resonance than his speaking voice.

Emotional changes:

Self confidence—Transman used to second guess himself and worry about making other people happy. Now, he doesn’t care too much about what others think. His confidence isn’t obnoxious cockiness; it’s more of a comfort with himself and belief in his abilities that wasn’t there before the right hormones were in his bloodstream.

“Transdaddy, you’re a cold, heartless bastard! Please come get me before the afternoon nap time!” Dawson (James Van Der Beek) as Transman’s kindergartener. image source.

No more tears—Transman used to tear up a little at Hallmark commercials and the like, but he’s sort of on emotional cruise control now. He still feels bad when his kid pouts about having to go to school and sheds a few tears when separating from his Transdaddy, but Transman no longer finds it as difficult to give the lad a hug and hop back in the car and head off to work.  Transman still hasn’t put his testosterone-fueled self to the Old Yeller test, so this might all be speculation.

* Some of the changes that transmen go through involve more intimate parts of their bodies and emotions; to read those, you’ll have to wait until Transman publishes his memoir because he tries to keep the blog PG-13.

** Transman is out in most places in his life, but is waiting to come out on the  job until his position is a little more secure. He dresses in male clothing and carries himself the same as he does everywhere, so he’s a source of office speculation—”is X gay?” and often scares people from other departments when he walks out of the bathroom (more on the weirdness of work some other time.)

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49 responses to “The Obligatory Testosterone Post

  • Stacie Chadwick

    “Transman used to second guess himself and worry about making other people happy. Now, he doesn’t care too much about what others think.”


  • meizac

    I don’t know, those dissertation notes are pretty sexy….

    Soon, you’ll only be able to answer one question per e-mail as well. (Why is that men can only answer one question per e-mail, and it’s not even consistently the first or the last, but only one?)

    I also need to say, from a sociological perspective, the emotional changes and the note about strength are fascinating.

    • transparentguy

      Dear Meizac,

      To answer your question, let me just say this, “Sandwich.”

      Seriously, there are some interesting things that happen that I don’t feel like putting in the blog. It’s definitely changing some of my ideas of what is hormone driven in our behavior.

  • Christine

    I confess to being fascinated by the arm cow-lick. My noggin is covered in them (as is The Kidling’s), but I think that would probably be a bit charming, no? I also think it needs a name: Arm-lick? Cow-arm?


  • walkwiththerabbi

    It’s been a while since I read your post. I’m back and luvin it! Shalom brother!

  • SummerSolsticeGirl

    Awesome news altogether.

    Sadly, I haven’t been reading your blog (which I find completely fascinating and inspiring) long enough to know what kind of questions make you uncomfortable so please feel free to delete my comment if it does.

    When you say not out, does it mean that you still go by your “before” name at work? That must be so difficult given that you hate everything about your “before” :(

    I remember reading here on your blog that the “after” or chosen name was a very important part of the whole process.

    • transparentguy

      Yeah, I still go by the name on my birth certificate at work. It’s kind of funny, though, because other than the name and pronouns people use, everything else is masculine. At this point in the process people who don’t know me either don’t gender me or gender me as male, so it’s kind of silly that I haven’t come out at work.

      People in the rest of my life (and a few of my coworkers) know, so it’s only a matter of time until there’s a slip up that outs me anyway.

      • SummerSolsticeGirl

        oh, I see. Well, there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and setting a slow pace.

        I’m sure you’ll feel when the right time comes to disclose it at work. Or like you say, there’ll be a slip out and that’ll be the end of it :)

  • Eli

    My favorite rhetorical choice you made in this post is actually an illustrative one: The Beek as your youngest? Sheer brilliance.


  • Joe Pineda

    If you keep writing, you’ll be as hairy as I am one day. (I’m more or less Hemingway’s Sasquatch cousin)

  • Alison

    I have a favourite bit from this post… The Self Confidence part – the “right” hormones. That made me happy for you.

    I also have a not so favourite bit… I was building up to ask you to lift a piano for me, but you have thwarted that plan. *pout*

    (I won’t mention that you are lacking a few JD pictures!)

    You write so wonderfully it is a sin that you are not published.

  • clownonfire

    You and I will take a pee one day in a public bathroom for men. We’ll make noise, tell a dirty joke, and spit on the floor. We’ll be real men.
    Le Clown

    • transparentguy

      I won’t be happy until we’ve peed into Niagara Falls from both sides of the border.

      • clownonfire

        I have to admit that the thought made me smile. And if we ever attempt this magnificent idea, I’ll be thankful for the Canadian free healthcare…
        Le Clown

      • americantransman

        But then you two will be “pissing” or “taking a leak” because dudes don’t seem to “pee.” At least not the dudes I have heard mentioning this bodily function. Why is that, I wonder…

      • transparentguy

        True, Americantransman, true. For the PG-13 version of the blog, we’ll say “leak,” “draining the lizard,” and things like that, but in reality, Le Clown and I will be taking a piss … hopefully, it won’t become a pissing contest, though, for we are both mature men who are above petty squabbling.

  • transbeautiful

    I’m sending this along to my son. Poor kid is so blonde people have asked if he’s albino (i’m not even kidding) so i don’t think there’s much hope for him in the hairy-man department, but he can’t wait for the voice changes and the no more tears stuff to kick in once he can begin T sometime in the next year.

  • theforgottenwife

    Awesome post. I’m so happy that you are finally following your happiness and that you are becoming more confident in who you are! That’s terrific!!

  • Madame Weebles

    Okay, I just got here but I’m already hooked. Loved this post. As for your non-PG experiences with Vitamin T, I remember when a friend of mine was transitioning, he had quite a bunch of interesting observations about the changes he went through. I bet this must be quite a ride.

  • Fathead Follies

    The biology of your transition is fascinating–like the feeling in your throat as your voice changes. I’ve heard people talk about the changes in a generalized way, but you are way more specific, which is all kinds of awesome (yes, eloquence is my gift).

  • QueerHubby

    I still cry all of the time. I thought that would stop after starting T, but I’m kind of glad it didn’t. I come from a family of sensitive men though, my dad cries a lot and my grandfather did too.

    I feel ya on the hair thing. It’s crazy. It was the first thing that started for me, needless to say, my spouse is not happy about the hairiness that is occurring.

    After reading this one post, I’m definitely following your blog!

    • transparentguy

      It’s good that the men in your family expressed their emotions freely. That’s a much healthier way to live.

      I’ve been surprised by how unemotional I’ve been. The emotional auto pilot mode is very strange.

  • Rachel

    I just started reading your blog and it’s great. I enjoy reading about what it’s like from the ‘other side’. I happen to be typing this by the community pool. I am the thinnest, most hairless(except the head) dad with boobs here :) (is it me or are moobs in style) A few more months on E though and I’ll have to stop going topless.

    Don’t worry about the piano moving thing. Even before transition I wouldn’t have tried it. :-)


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