Is It Too Late To Name My Penis? [Half a Man]
Deborah Cameron was teaching a class full of college students about language and gender. The conversation turned to penises (BECAUSE WHEN DOESN’T IT!) and a male student mentioned to the prof that he and his roommate once held a contest to see who could come up with the most names for their junk. A female student admitted to doing the same. I miss college.
This went down back in 1990, before the internet, penis pics sent via mobile device and genitals adorably named James Westfall and Dr. Kenneth Noisewater. The world was a little more sexually bottled up during the time of Big Bush’s presidency and Cameron found the entire exchange super hot. Kidding. She did write a paper about it called “Naming of Parts: Gender, culture, and terms for the penis among American college students” which might be the worst name for a porn movie ever. The paper listed thousands and thousands of names for male genitalia, collected from her male and female participants.
The reason I’m fascinated by this study some 23 years later is because while I can come up with a grocery list of names for the male member I’ve never once used any of those names in reference to my own package. I’ve always called it exactly what it is — a penis. The only reason I’m referring to it by other names in this article is because this website is PG-13 and I can’t write penis over and over again like Lena Dunham on her high school History notebook because the SEO ramifications would be catastrophic. The last place I want this website to appear is on page 1 of a Google search for any of these words.
After reading some of Cameron’s paper, I wondered if I was missing out by not taking the time to give my better half a suitable surname. My mother referred to my diaper-restricted and flaccid package as a “peesh” during my formative years and the name still sends chills down my dong to this day. She also called taking a dump “making cocky” or going “ant ah” — making it sound more like a northern New Jersey variation of the response “unt uh.”
I’ll use it in a sentence.
“Want to have sex?”
Always embarrassing was the public questioning if I had to use the restroom because between Mom’s questions regarding “ant ah” and my negative response of “unt uh” we sounded like fornicating cave people. Even more embarrassing is the fact I just compared a childhood recollection about my mother to caveman sex. Oedipus? I hardly know a pus! Peesh knocked me off the penis nickname train at an early stop.
I don’t remember if any of my friends, childhood or college, had used names like Dick Dongerly or Mr. McShafty for their penises because frankly I didn’t care to ask. Contrary to popular belief (Cosmo), men don’t sit around and talk about their junk, unless the story involves an interaction with their package either sexual or accidental. The few times I found myself in the company of men, and the discussion turned to pocket rockets, the tale either involved a woman at the controls or an injury that will lead to launch problems for years to come. The two college roommates who got Cameron’s attention for their late night bonding session over prick puns are in the minority…and were probably piss drunk.
Much like everything in life, which I ignore for the better part of two decades but now have time to ponder, I feel as if I missed out on a rite of passage. Is it too late to play the name game? Naming a penis this late in life seems sadly similar to those people who change their name one day out of the blue. He’s not Art anymore, he’s Arturo and the r should roll off the tongue even though his given name is Arthur and he’s about as Italian as a P’Zone.
I’m on the wrong side of my thirties, I’m months away from being the father of two and I’m just not as creative when it comes to original names. It took months just to narrow down names for my offspring. Suppose I choose too quickly, and I don’t like it days, months or years down the line? Suppose it hates the name and changes it as soon as it’s allowed by law? Suppose there are four other penises named Connor at the gym and he has to go by Connor I, which is always the worst because you feel bad for the guy who’s only talked about some of the time. “Connor? Connor B? Oh, Connor I. Thought you meant B. I like B better. I is always such a dick.” It all feels so similar.
I think I’m going to give it a shot, but for this to work I’m going to need the two people most involved with my penis to take the name seriously. So I texted the only other person who’d be involve with penis decisions.
And that was the day I accidentally texted my mother.
Chris Illuminati is the editor-in-chief of GuySpeed. He’s written three humor books, ruined many personal relationships and still cries during thunderstorms. His “Half a Man” column appears every Tuesday. You can read more of his work here or follow him on Twitter.