In My Slut Epoch
“This slut pop. Whip your dick out,” are the first words in Kim Petras’s 2022 EP, Slut Pop. Petras released the EP almost a year after I graduated with a PhD and a few months before I started HRT.
“It’s all about being hot and stupid,” says Derek, the person who first showed me the EP. We were on the way home after spending the afternoon at a nude beach, a notorious gay cruising spot in north Seattle.
I slide my thumb across my phone’s screen to type. Sometimes, instead of and my phone interprets my movements as abd.
I download Feeld. I like humans. We message. I download Tinder. I like people. Humans like me. We message. We arrange to meet. People like me. I download another messaging service. We like each other. I message. Humans like me. I like people. People like me. People message me. I confess I’ve entered my slut epoch.
The New York Times publishes an opinion column on “the bimbos of TikTok.” The article refers to a subset of femme presenting content creators who thrive off juxtaposing vaguely leftist, anti-patriarchal messaging with presentations of femininity that pander to the gaze they critique. Part tongue-in-cheek, part like-bait, bimbos are the newest form of internet uncertainty.
After spending the majority of my adult life in academia, there is nothing I want to be a part of more than bimboism—to ask questions that are too obvious, to flatten “complexities” into their most absurd synopses, to perform in opposition of the value system that had been scrubbed into me.
“Have you ever felt like you were a girl?”
I am in space between the seats and the back of the truck’s cab, where my dad stores his tools. My friends are in the passenger seat. My dad is driving us somewhere. We are thirteen.
There is a silence so sharp I’ve never forgotten it, though it lasts only a half beat.
“Ew no,” someone says. Conversation moves on.
After my comprehensive exams, I walked down the hallway of the English building with my dissertation chair. He told me he was proud of me, that I did a great job. For the first time, I noticed how much taller he is than I am. We stood in front of the building’s main exit.
“Brian, you shouldn’t use they/them pronouns. It leads to grammatical confusion,” he said. “I read about za/zem. Have you tried using those? I’ll send you the article.”
“I haven’t,” I lied. The sun shone through the glass doors. I hate Texas. Later that night, I received an email with a link to an article about “alternative” pronouns from 2014.
I message Derek. I tell them they’re hot. I say I wish I could feel confident in my body. I am still a few weeks away from starting HRT.
I remember when they came into my bedroom to tell me they love how I express my gender.
There is a baseball game in Seattle. I am in my parked car. Several cars of sports fans park around me.
The scariest part of jail was the food. Ham abd sandwiches only
Slut Pop is almost sixteen minutes of x-rated pop songs. Musically, the EP never strays far from the throbbing electronica that filled gay clubs in the early 2000s, which is to say it’s infectious. The hooks stay in your head for days—partly because they are so simple and bare and partly because they feel like something you’ve heard a million times before.
Petras is a trans woman. According to her Wikipedia, she started transitioning before puberty, so she can