At 24000 people North Platte is the largest settlement for a hundred mile radius, more than double that to the west south and north. Its economy is largely based on being a way station for people on their way to somewhere else; either by Interstate 80 or more importantly the WORLD"S LARGEST RAIL CLASSIFICATION YARD where freight is chopped up and reassigned in route to and from the Middle and West West. I lived a block away from the tracks going up and to this day the unceasing clang in my parents neighborhood is heaviest in midweek, when Great Lakes-to-from-Socal traffic is coming through. At the symbolic level North Platte also marks the eastern border of the central time zone, with the sun going up and down a bit more than 50 minutes later than Chicago at the other end.
All of which is to say that there's a distinctly Tattooine feel about North Platte; and that it's identity is deeply affected by transitory culture; biker culture, trucker culture, vagabond culture. In our country and I suppose most everywhere these cultural strains are strongly associated with solitude/masculinity and that's without even getting into the cowboy influence upon North Platte. It is deeply instilled with an unreconstructed boys perception of masculinity, and certainly all the social problems that go along with that. There's also a lot of biker chicks. Lots of woman who could be generally described as "butch". Like seriously a lot.
So these rumors of "pegging" that I would routinely hear were not you see only just some insane protest-too-much homophobic witchhunt. They were that but not only just. They were reasons why an intelligent person could find any given tale plausible. I remember Merna in particular. She ran with the biker crowd, black leather in all seasons; a couple inches taller than my own 6'4 and stockier too. As we got acquainted I became privy to Merna's very large collection of gay porn and the strap-on that she assured me had indeed been used on most of her boyfriends, though not quite all. The woman was a gay man. That was her natural gender. I wouldn't say she had gender-identity issues as such because she did seem perfectly content with the body she had. She had the sex with men she wanted with no great amount of trouble and of course no one thought anything of it.
The last time I saw Merna would have been about six or seven years ago. I was home for Christmas wondering about town and found myself drinking with Merna and her boyfriend of the moment. The man told me how he admired george Bush's manhood, over and over again, how the invasion of Iraq had taken "balls".
Merna's strap on was a truly elaborate thing. It had balls too, big ones, with the sort of bristles one might find in a good strong hair brush. It would have been a top-shelf piece by 1990's standards but I don't know if she still had it on this night or not.