I just couldn’t resist. The above phrase appeared as a heading in my spam box and throwing it away was beyond me. There must be a story to this, thought I. Of course, I didn’t dare open the mail to get the instructions because I feared that then I would be flooded with all the techniques for having a better, bigger, longer and more satisfying penis. Considering I had never had one at all, I could not see the use of having this kind of information swamping my spam box.
Just so we get clear before anything else: I DO NOT HAVE A PENIS. There, I’ve said it. My Mother is probably turning her ashes over in … hmmm, I was going to say “her grave”, but then she doesn’t really have one. Her ashes have actually stayed in my house, carefully placed in a flower pot that holds a lovely indoor ficus tree and sits next to the stone dog that used to mark the place where my father’s ashes were until I moved to Spain, left the ashes, and brought the stone dog. Anyway, the above P word is not one I ever heard my mother stain her lips with. As a matter of fact, I was still brought up saying “My pee-pee itches” and not “I have an itch in my vagina”. Vagina and penis were not part of my vocabulary until after I began psychoanalysis and was forced to talk about these things with the man that sat behind me –thank goodness- so I didn’t have to look at him as I said them or, rather, he said them, to provoke me. Anyway, by the time my children were in need of the sexual facts of life, I was at ease with vagina and penis and we no longer said “your thing-a-ma-doo” or “wee-wee” or “that”…
As a matter of fact, I will never forget one Thanksgiving dinner that we (my husband, myself and our two offspring) had at my Mother’s house. I can’t remember the gist of the conversation and certainly the word “penis” had not been mentioned but someone must have been talking about nether parts because my four year old daughter suddenly piped up and said in a loud, clear voice: “I’ve seen my brother’s penis” and I thought my Mother would dive under the table as she glared at me and growled: “How can she talk like that?” I shrugged thinking that it wasn’t the moment to get into an argument over the proper names for “things”.
Anyway, penises were pretty much the subject during psychoanalysis and not only the one I was supposed to want (penis envy, according to Freud), but those I had had been afraid of, or coveted (my Father’s during the Electra complex, according to Freud; my brother’s from the moment he was born), and the one I pretty much had the use of although I still hadn’t learned how to enjoy it (my husband’s). Even then, and under the influence of the authority of a very imposing psychoanalyst, I couldn’t swallow the story of Penis-Envy. I did not want that thing hanging down between my legs and always getting in the way, not to mention the fact that it had a life-mind of its own and could make a display of its existence at the slightest provocation and without warning. I actually was quite pleased at the neatness of what was commonly known as “my cunt”: everything tucked away in a nice little package where no one could possibly see if it was standing on its head or not! And when I learned that that tiny little stump, considered by Freud a “failed penis” (when in reality a penis is no more than an overgrown clitoris), actually had thousands more nerve endings than anything men had ever dreamed of, I no more felt cheated than a butterfly watching an ostrich trying to hatch its one lonely egg.
So, no, I have not wanted a penis which doesn’t mean that I didn’t spend the first half of my life wanting to be a man, but not because of the penis, rather because of the power, and for thethe love and admiration that my Father seemed to elicit from those around him. I would gladly have been a man without a penis if that had been considered kosher, but a man nonetheless. It never occurred to me then that men, a lot of them, have terrible hang-ups about their supposedly superior appendixes that can cause them everything from impotence to premature ejaculation, from erectile dysfunction to an inability to reach orgasm. I ignored the fact that they worried about the size, the potency, the duration of erection, the aspect, the tidiness of their circumcision or the length of the prepuce. That they checked themselves against every other man in the locker room, and sometimes –as was the case of my husband- against their father-in-law and brother-in-law– to see if they measured up. I was surprised when I learned that my husband watched, first with misgiving and then with pride, as his son’s penis grew to what he considered the appropriate length and thickness. And, as I have grown and matured and begun working with women and men who come to me with their problems, I have felt a tremendous compassion for those of the “stronger” sex, that have fallen prey to the exaggerated demands of that small, but for them central, part of their body.
As I have become more and more conscious of the disadvantages that said appendage brings with it, I have come to appreciate more and more the advantages of being a woman. In spite of what is supposedly a “castration” complex because we lack the holy totem of Freudianism, most women end up discovering the pleasures of an all-in-one genital package with one-touch dialing before they hit the mid mark (50), and the joy of having a loving counterpart that fits so neatly and pleasurably into said package.
So much for The Multi-Faceted Approach to Building a Better Penis which will forever remain in darkness as to details, for it went the way of all unwanted e-mail. I have had my say, it appears, and now find myself asking how I ever on earth got into this subject from that silly title I pulled from my spam box?