PROBLEMS WITH MY PENIS: A CHECK-IN WRITTEN BY PAT MCGANN, MCSR'S
Our occasional "Check-Ins" provide a place for Men Can Stop Rape staff to reflect on how the topics that MCSR addresses touch us personally. The opinions expressed in the "Check-Ins" are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of MCSR.
PROBLEMS WITH MY PENIS
by Pat McGann
Years ago, when I started doing workshops for Men Can Stop Rape (MCSR), or as the organization was known at the time, Men’s Rape Prevention Project (MRPP), one of the opening grabbers was “Sexual Calisthenics.” At first I felt uncomfortable facilitating it, as did some of the other MRPP presenters, but I decided the only way to perform it was with gusto. So after telling participants the name of the exercise, and then asking everyone to stand and raise their hands above their heads and repeat after me, I would yell as loudly as I could, “Testicles,” followed by “breast,” “vagina,” and “clitoris.” I always saved for last, and shouted with all the energy I could muster, “Penis.”
The high school students would yell and giggle with no problem. Professionals always sounded embarrassed and half-hearted, their hands halfway up. The loudest, most booming group I ever heard was an assembly of 80 soldiers in an auditorium at a military base in Virginia, where Patrick Lemmon, Jonathan Stillerman, and I were co-facilitating a workshop. Patrick – no shrinking violet – told the soldiers to stand, raise their hands, and yell, “Penis.” What I had always thought of as his loud shout became the equivalent of a mechanical squeak when the soldiers sounded off, their roar like an airplane leaving the runway.
Those were exhilarating penis-days, moments of hollering the word with utter abandon, reveling in the power to publicly voice what had been kept private, cleaning it up and stealing it away from the exploitative world of pornography.
But nowadays I hear that the penis has problems, and mine is no exception. Every morning when I open my email inbox, there are messages with offers to help me. I don’t know the people who send them or where the emails come from, but there are so many, from every Tom, Dick, and Harry or Trish, Donna, and Heloise it seems like. I guess I should be thankful they’re concerned about me since my penis has never had a large support group. In fact, until I started receiving these emails, you could count on two hands – okay, one hand – the number of people who have ever shown any interest in my penis.
I can’t help feeling a little confused by it all, though. It seems, for instance, that someone out there wants me to have a “turbo penis,” which on the surface of things seems fairly positive and I initially appreciated, but after thinking about it, I realized that I didn’t have a clear sense of “turbo penis.” It sounds like my private parts will turn into the Batmobile, fire shooting out the back. There’s also the emailer who will give me the means to make my penis “hard as steel,” again difficult to conceptualize, unless I turn into Colossus, a Russian mutant and X-Man who has the ability to turn his body into organic steel – something I’m fairly certain Kitty Pride, his X-Woman, wouldn’t appreciate in moments of an intimate nature.
While the above comments about my penis confuse me, some of the others kind of scare me. I wonder, for instance, about the size of the “megadick” that one person promises to help me grow. I imagine it as gargantuan, Godzilla or King Kong size, something you’d see at a circus, a humongous body part that everybody would point at and say, “There’s that guy who’s a freak of penis pills, mechanical penis enlargement devices, penis weight-hanging, penis patches, penis exercises, penis herbal enhancement formulas, and various other natural penis enlargement methods.” Even if, as one emailer claims, you can “double your penis size,” what would I do with all those extra inches? Where would they go? In fact, if the trend toward “megadicks” continues, if penises increase in size exponentially, at what point, as Patrick Lemmon, MCSR’s executive director has asked, will we run out of room? As the polar ice caps continue to melt away, it seems possible that they’ll be replaced by millions of penises inching either north or south, depending on the side of the equator you inhabit.
All this attention over email to my penis and penises across the world makes me think it needs a lot of shoring up, that we spend so much time generating methods to super-size it and turbo-charge it because, in the end, the penis is generally a pretty small thing.
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