My interest in pretending as a leg amp started when I bought some wooden crutches. Previously I had made odd attempts with brooms, but it is not very effective. I wondered what the employee would think when I bought them, but they probably thought nothing. Later I bought some metal elbow crutches, they are much more comfortable and easier to use, especially on stairs.
To prepare to do my pretending properly I bought some trousers a few sizes too large so that the leg would be large, trying them on with my leg folded up to be sure they fitted, and also bought two 6 inch crepe bandages. Later I also used a cylindrical elastic bandage, which worked even better. Already I had a long luggage strap to hold my leg and foot in place.
The first time I tried it was late at night, after coming home with my new trousers. I sat on the bed, folded my leg under me, sitting on it, wrapped the strap around my hips and foot and ankle to keep them in place, trying to keep my foot close against my butt. Then the bandage was wound around my ‘stump’ to make it smaller and for extra support and a few turns around my foot to keep it close to my body, as close as possible. I already had put my trousers and shoe on my good leg, so then just had to put my ‘stump’ in the other leg and pin the empty part up. My ‘stump’ was too long to be able to tuck the empty leg into my waist, pinning the empty leg up seemed to make the ‘stump’ look even larger. It was better to fold the leg inside the thigh and then insert my ‘stump’ and pull the fabric tight. It was the neatest. It was also OK to roll the empty leg up to my knee. Putting a long jacket on completed the new me, to try to hide the foot bulge.
The big problem that anyone has is how to cover this bulge at the rear caused by your foot - I used a combination of tight bandages with a coat going to my knees. In daylight my ‘stump’ would have been obviously too large, so I only pretend at night - there are less people around too. It is lucky I live in a cold climate as I can’t pretend in summer. It is too hot to wear anything more than a t shirt, which doesn’t hide my foot bulge. A loose coat is needed to hide it.
Living on the first floor I was concerned about falling on the stairs or that the neighbours would see me leaving or when I came back, as a one legged man. I was lucky they didn’t. Once someone opened their door as I left the building, I made a noise coming downstairs, but was almost out and walked away fast. They would not have recognised me from behind, certainly not a one legged man. At first I used to hold the railing on the stairs, but got used to using stairs on crutches and found I could manage them if I went one at a time. It was a good feeling to manage a long flight of stairs without trouble.
Walking along the street on crutches I found exhilarating, it gave me an enormous thrill. My crutches had foam pads on the handles, so my hands were not too bad, but blisters still formed. I will never forget the first time I did my pretend walk as a one legged man, swinging along the pavement, it felt so good, incredibly good. So over time, I walked a long way in my area on crutches with one leg. I ended up catching a train to the city, and really enjoyed that, buying the ticket as a one legged man, waiting for the train. It was uncomfortable sitting for too long. My foot would become numb. In the city I would walk to the another station and take another train to return home, like a real one legged man. It is enjoyable to rest my stump on the back of a seat or on a low wall. In a large city, people generally keep to themselves, never speak, look or smile at anyone. I found as a one legged man, people behaved differently, they would sometimes smile, or say hello; as I prepared myself to climb stairs from a train station once - my hands were sweating as I was hot, someone took my arm and offered to help - but I thanked them and said I could handle it.
As a pretender, I have a number of problems. With my leg folded back and tied up, and my foot bound tight against my butt, it becomes numb and can be painful. When I free it, the feeling soon returns, but I hope I did not damage my leg. I do not think I would want it amputated as there are many difficulties, but I could handle it. There is also the problem of the foot bulge at the back. My ‘stump’ is much larger than normal, and longer, although knee disarticulations exist. There was a suggestion of using a woman’s old fashioned girdle or corset to pull the foot in but I would not do that. The other problem is my fear of seeing someone I know. I would love to pretend in the daytime, but the fear of seeing some I knew, and the foot bulge, and my ‘stump’ looking larger than my other leg, stop me from trying. It has given me a lot of pleasure. It is a little like a man dressing up in drag I guess.
Paul / März 2001
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