No one ever gave my penis a chance. Back in elementary school, when I was still grappling with the fact that holy shitballs, hair is growing down there!, the other boys in my class started making remarks about how, yes, we’re all small now, but you’re going to stay small because you’re Asian. Combine this with my mother’s regimen of making me as manly as possible and that my nickname in high school was the meant-to-be-ironic “Big Wang,” and it now makes sense why I had penis dysmorphia for much of my life.
In his song “Measure of a Man,” Clay Aiken (now, when’s the last time you thought of Clay Aiken? You’re welcome!) proposed how to calculate the titular measurement:
Would he walk on water?
Would he run through fire?
Would he stand before you
When it’s down to the wire?
Would he give his life up
To be all he can?”
Okay… while I can definitely relate to Clay’s apparent boner for Christ, in reality, I think guys have a pretty standardized method of measuring their manliness.
Most concepts that you can use to describe someone – courage, loyalty, anal-retentiveness – are largely abstract and subjective. There’s no measuring instrument to determine exact amounts of these qualities, and we usually form our own opinions after getting to know someone. But when it comes to manliness, it’s easy to associate it with the size of the penis to which the man is attached. My favorite euphemism for penis is “manhood” (clearly I read too much Harlequin Romance in middle school), and yes, we can actually get a number, down to decimals if you’re doing it properly and not rounding up, of how much “manhood” a guy has.
This, combined with the fact that – unlike a chick’s boobs – a guy’s penis size is not usually showcased to the general public, there results a shroud of titillating mystery surrounding each guy’s package. Bald or hooded? Left, right, or front and center? Straight up or with a twist? Short, tall, grande, venti, or trenta?
I don’t know if I just have a particularly awesome sampling of females in my life, but one of the first topics to come up whenever one of them has a new boy is his size.
Caitlin: Girl, he had the biggest penis!
Me: Girl, lock that shit down!
Straight men, you’re in this as much as we gays are.
Now, this being said, there’s bound to rampant insecurity surrounding our physically manifest manhoods. As much as we men would like to forget, we all do start out with tiny snail-like knots of flesh down there, and it takes many years, filled with angst and bargaining with God, to arrive at our final dimensions. And when we do, we have to just accept it as it is. Despite what late-night commercials on Comedy Central may claim, when it comes to our penises, we really are born this way.
And what’s wrong with wanting more? Thinking that bigger is better? Asking pointedly, “Where’s the beef?” Isn’t that the American Dream? Because being American is all about having, demanding, and deserving the biggest. (We certainly have the biggest asses.) So you’re not a size queen, goddammit, you’re a patriot!
Let’s bring the focus back to my penis. I was pretty much convinced from an early age that I was destined to have a small penis, and I believed it for a long time. I never measured myself with a ruler (I was terrified of a definite number), but I became very protective of it, much like I think an older sibling would be to his ugly kid brother. Sure, sometimes, as the years passed, I’d give it a second glance and wonder if I really was doing that bad, but then I’d come across a chart like this:
You see? I’ve never seen another Asian penis other than my own, but I have to wonder how an Asian guy can’t get penis dysmorphia. No one ever gave my penis a chance. (By the way, the U.S. is only one shade lighter than Asia, so stop feeling smug.)
So what was it like to have a hypothetically small penis? I’m not gonna lie, it was lame. I didn’t have a lot of confidence, I became a phallic apologist to myself, I felt judged every time I dropped trou. The worst thing was, I am very much a “patriot,” as defined earlier. I just felt greedy, since I apparently wasn’t contributing.
If you’re expecting a revelation in which I have an epiphany along the lines of something like, “the size of my heart turned out to be far more important than the size of my penis,” then you clearly haven’t read enough of this blog. No, I got over it at 23, when I told my therapist of many years that I was pretty sure that I had a small penis and that it made me insecure.
Therapist: You’re “pretty sure?” What do you mean, “pretty sure?”
Me: Well I’ve never measured it.
Therapist: Are you crazy? What guy has never measured his penis?
Me: Um, are you allowed to call me crazy?
Therapist reaches into his desk, pulls out a ruler, and hands it to me.
Therapist: Go into the restroom and measure your erect penis.
Me: Shouldn’t we be discussing that size doesn’t matter?
Therapist: With you, this is easier.
I leave the room with the ruler. Five minutes pass, until I reenter.
Therapist: That took a long time.
Me: All you have in there are old issues of The Economist!
Therapist: Sigh. So how big are you?
Me: __ inches.*
Therapist: Congratulations. It’s all been in your head. Pun not intended.
Me: Oh. Cool.
Therapist: So basically you’ve tortured yourself for years over something that took a few minutes to resolve. I think we should instead discuss your incredibly shallow definition of manhood.
Ever since I’ve realized that I had a self-fulfilling penis and that it actually isn’t microscopic, this has put things into a whole different perspective for me. If you’ve read this far and are shocked at my emphasis on the penis, you should be aware that pretty much any guy is fascinated with his penis and how it coexists with others. And from them I’ve realized some interesting things:
- Guys expect me to be small. A lot of them instantly rule me out because of this.
- The guys who are physically attracted to me sometimes are actually disappointed that I’m not small. I can’t fucking win.
- I now occasionally feel guilty that I’m not small. It’s always gotta be something!
But the ultimate goal – let’s make one up to give this post some meaning other than giving me an excuse to think about penises all afternoon – is that I find someone who doesn’t even consider my penis size. You know, one of those types who is “color-blind,” probably vegan, and says silly stuff like, “Size doesn’t matter to me.” I’ve been with my share of those transcending types. But when it comes to that ultimate reveal, as I can’t help but notice each time, most of us are patriots.
* Why give away the titillation?