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It may be that most men are d*cks, but that doesn’t mean we actually want to see their d*cks. Yet it would seem that, judging from the sexual harassment methods disguised as seduction techniques employed by the likes of Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and Harvey Weinstein, some men really do believe that the sight of a penis, be it an unexpected flash of flaccid flesh in the subway, or an unwelcome appendage sticking out of an open bathrobe, is enough to drive a woman wild with desire.
There are exhibitionists, of course, with a compulsion to expose themselves, and who delight in the shock they elicit from the unsuspecting viewer suddenly confronted with a glimpse of a stranger’s genitalia. And that shock gives them an erotic thrill.
When I was a student in Paris and living with a French family, the younger daughter came home from school one afternoon, her face flushed. “Maman!” she cried to her mother. As she walked through the park on her way home, a man all of a sudden unzipped his pants and showed his zizi. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry; she thought it was the most unattractive thing she had ever seen.
We don’t expect the men we encounter on a daily basis, the “normal” ones we share office space with, to be exhibitionists. So why are there men who believe that pulling out their d*cks and showing them to a female co-worker will get them some action? It could be that a man in a position of power believes he has earned the right to quite literally demonstrate that he’s a Big Swinging D*ck and delude himself into thinking that the organization he lords over is full of women who are hot for him. All he needs to do is whip out his penis.
As a recent piece in Medium by Chris Rosenthal elucidates, “Nobody wants to see your dick.”
There may be exceptions, the article allows, but on the whole it said, “Is this a sweeping generalization? Sure. In fact, there’s probably somebody out there in this crazy world who would enjoy access to your penis (albeit as more of a means to an end than actually sitting back and admiring it like a Renoir or something) from time to time. However, in this particular context, with regard to the position of power that you now occupy, it’s in your best interest (as well as that of literally everyone who works with you) to go ahead and operate under the assumption that nobody in the whole wide world wants to see your stupid dick.”
Can’t men just keep it in their pants? Echoing the general sentiment everywhere, the TV satirist Samantha Bee tells men in a recent episode of Full Frontal that their penises are ugly and that “[No] one wants to see your d*ck in any context. Even the straightest, horniest woman who loves you the most is hoping you can get it inside her without having to look at it, so definitely don’t show it to strangers, don’t send pics of it to people, and don’t whip it out at film festivals. Your d*ck is objectively the worst part about you.”
While Michelangelo did paint and sculpt quite a few penises in his lifetime, that doesn’t automatically elevate male genitalia to aesthetic heights. Even the men’s magazine GQ notes about d*cks, “Penises are weird. Penises are ugly. They look like creatures that should be kept in aquariums. The image of an unadorned penis doesn’t make the recipient horny. It’s like trying to inspire hunger with a shot of a crusty mustard bottle in your fridge.”
A woman’s breasts, on the other hand, are universally acknowledged to be a thing of beauty. Men and women alike have rhapsodized about them, and their erotic power. The mere sight of them—pert, full, pendulous, or flattened by breastfeeding—seems to consistently arouse some level of passion. In the novel Elizabeth Costello by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, the protagonist, a novelist like Coetzee, writes to her sister Blanche, a nun in South Africa, that “there is nothing more humanly beautiful than a woman’s breasts. Nothing more humanly beautiful, nothing more humanly mysterious than why men should want to caress, over and over again, with paintbrush or chisel or hand, these oddly curved fatty sacs, and nothing more humanly endearing than our complicity (I mean the complicity of women) in their obsession.”
Elizabeth recounts to her sister how, in her ’40s, she would sit for their mother’s friend, Mr. Phillips, who lived in the same old age home. The old man could not speak after surgery on his throat, and the painting sessions would cheer him up. One day, Mr. Phillips scribbles on a note pad that he would have liked to have painted Elizabeth nude. She decides to oblige him and removes her clothes. She doesn’t know if the sight of her breasts rekindles some kind of force in him, but at the end of the session, he writes, “Thank you.”
What she doesn’t tell her sister is that years later, hearing that Mr. Phillips is doing poorly after a bout of radiation, she visits him once more upon her mother’s urging. It becomes her Saturday routine, and as the old man deteriorates, not much conversation takes place. One Saturday, however, “a little more chipper than usual, a little more spry, he pushes the pad towards her and she reads the message he has spelled out beforehand. ‘A lovely bosom you have, I’ll never forget. Thank you for everything, kind Elizabeth.’”
Now imagine if the roles were reversed, and the man in question was Matt Lauer.
“A lovely penis you have, I’ll never forget. Thank you for everything, kind Matt.”
Wrote no woman ever.
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.
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