A/N: This is written for the prompt "Bitty and Lardo" for OMGCP Friendship Week 2021, organized on Tumblr by birlcholtz. Wear your binders safely, kids! I'm currently (safely) wearing one right now. (This username is from 2011 and doesn't reflect my current self-understanding.) :)
Lardo knocks on Bitty's door, feeling a little shaky and a little twisted up. On the one hand, there's nothing to be nervous about. Being trans isn't bad or wrong, and if anyone's going to know what to do right now, it's Bitty. On the other hand . . . what if Lardo is wrong about themself? Or what if Bitty doesn't want to help? That's not going to happen, of course—but what if it does?
"Come in!" Bitty calls from inside.
Lardo lets themself into the room and closes the door behind them. They don't know quite what to say, so they just look at Bitty.
"Oh, hey, Lardo!" he says. "I was just trying to finish some reading for tomorrow. What's up?"
"How do you buy a binder?" Lardo asks, forcing the words out in a rush before they can lose their nerve.
"Oh," says Bitty slowly. "Well, that depends on your price range, which is probably related to how many binders you want, because you can spend more per binder if you're getting one or two than if you're getting five or six."
"I think maybe . . . two? To start with?" Lardo says. "I can probably spend . . . not much more than $100, total? Is that enough for two binders?"
"Lord, yes," says Bitty. "I mean, it's been a couple years since I bought one, but yeah, even with shipping, that's definitely enough."
"So, like . . . where do I get one? Since you mentioned shipping, I'm guessing you ordered yours online—is that the way people tend to buy them? What's a good brand? And how do I figure out sizing?"
"The best brand is probably GC2B," Bitty says. "They're a little more expensive than some other brands, but still within your price range, and they're worth it. I got my first binder somewhere else and it was . . . not good. GC2B is trans-owned and they know how to avoid messing up your body. They've got a sizing chart on the website—for you it's probably just a question of whether you're a small or an extra-small, and I can help you measure if you want, but I always did it myself, so I know that's possible, too.
"Since you're asking me some kind of basic questions—which is fine! I'm glad you feel safe with me!—can I assume you haven't done a lot of research?" Bitty asks.
Lardo looks down. "Yeah, I didn't really know where to start."
"All right," says Bitty. "In that case, I feel obligated to talk to you a little about safety, because you can cause yourself a lot of problems if you aren't careful or don't know what you're doing. You shouldn't bind more than eight hours without a break, and you shouldn't sleep in your binder. You need to take at least a day or two off of binding every week. Binders are the safest things to bind with—don't use bandages, and don't layer sports bras. If you're exercising, wear a single sports bra, not a binder. If your binder is giving you cuts or bruises, get a bigger size. Ditto if it's making it hard to breathe. I know dysphoria sucks, but so does messing up your body."
"Good to know," says Lardo.
"Do you want to have a broader conversation here?" Bitty asks. "Like, pronouns? Name? People to use those things around or to avoid outing you to?"
Lardo takes a deep breath and says, "Lardo, not Larissa. I mean, Lards works too, but yeah, not Larissa. They/them, I think. Definitely not she/her. Um, I'm planning on telling the team soon, and probably changing things in the Samwell system and telling my other friends and my professors, but maybe not my family yet. I mean, they've gotten used to me being bi at this point, but I don't know how they'll feel now that it's gender, too."
Bitty nods. "Yeah, family's tough."
"Yours use your pronouns, right?"
Bitty sighs. "Now they do. After swearing for the first two years after I came out that they never would."
"Ugh, I'm sorry," says Lardo.
Bitty shrugs. "I mean, Southern Baptists. What can you expect?"
"Still," says Lardo. "You deserve better."
"Thanks. For what it's worth, you deserve to be supported too."
Lardo smiles, just a little. "Thanks, Bits."