Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No Penis Pictures, Please!

I just had to post a link to Bill Maher's column on our latest celebrity sex scandal--that is, Brett Favre's embarrassing attempts to woo a reluctant woman with photos of his private parts. Maher's observations are hilarious and true and in ways that go beyond Brett's equipment.

As much as I'd argue men and women share much more as fellow humans than a few overrated differences that have dominated the ongoing dialogue on gender, the truth is, if I were on the fence about a suitor, he'd pretty much blow it (not sure if that pun is intended or not) if he sent me a picture of his penis. Penises are like parents--you want to meet them after you decide you like the guy, and then, well, you're already disposed to like them no matter what. I can appreciate penises on an aesthetic level, say in a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph, but some random picture of some guy's ding-dong incites a sense of pathos rather than lust, with disgust a possibility if sent as an unwelcome advance. Men on the other hand, seem much more accepting of photographs of female body parts, even from strangers.

Can someone explain why this is? And thank you, Brett Favre, for bringing this issue to the nation's attention.

At any rate, I would add my voice to the chorus: gentlemen, it is unwise to send a picture of your penis to a woman who has not expressed her affection of said member in person first. I'm sure Miss Manners would agree!


Jo said...


I suppose there was never anything much subtle about a penis, really.

Porn maybe to blame for this one - I find the cock-centric attitude of porn a bit silly. It's not that women don't like to have a penis or two to play with, it's just ... ah, I find this one hard to explain. There's a fine line between wonderful and silly, perhaps.

Donna said...

Excellent point about the conventions of porn fooling a man into thinking it might work without translation into Woman! There is such an emphasis on the cock and the cum shot as "proof" of authenticity. And there is a fine line between wonderful and silly, the same line that exists between the mundane and the magic. Lots to think about from your comment--thank you!

BT_Northwest said...

In commendation of this particular trope of "wonderful v. silly," I recall a National Lampoon photo (and illustration) essay from about 1977, which was introduced as follows:

"This *is* a humor magazine, so we got to thinking, 'Let's get back to basics, and run some visuals on the stuff that's just really, really *funny*!' So, all of you, think about it for a second: what's the *funniest* thing in the world?! Right, but we can't print a picture of an erect penis in this magazine."

The lead-in continued, to set up the graphical essay:

"So, what's the *second* funniest thing in the world? Well, it's a tie, between clowns and breasts. So, without further ado, here are reflections on just how hilarious it is when clowns and breasts meet!"

Anyhow, Brett would have done better to consider such expert opinion on just how his self-portraits were likely to have been received.

Anonymous said...

*Penises are like parents--you want to meet them after you decide you like the guy* - fabulous line, Donna! Very funny!

And yeah, I couldn't agree more - sending disembodied, anonymous cock is no way to woo. Holly of the Pervocracy wrote about this a while ago. The Gentleman's Guide to Sending Dick Pics. Worth a read!

Donna said...

Hey Kristina--Holly's suggestions are spot on! Practical as well as insightful and good tips if you do decide to go ahead with the dick pics. Recommended reading for all, whether you have a penis or not--thanks for the link :-).

Stephen said...

Is it true that men are more accepting of pictures of female body parts from strangers? I'm not sure. If I'd just met a girl and she emailed me a photograph of her vagina, I'm not sure if I'd be amused or disturbed but definitely not aroused.

Having said that, a picture of her mouth might be more powerful and interesting....;)

Donna said...

Well, Stephen, I have to agree that any time we lump all men or all women into a category, it gets dangerous. And indeed while a man in the right mood might find a stranger's vulva interesting on a porn site, if a potential friend or intimate indulges in premature photo-sharing, the result can be jarring (although perhaps not as threatening given the historical oomph of the phallus as weapon). But thanks for pointing that out--more careful thinking about these issues is always a good thing :-).

BT_Northwest said...

It was intriguing to read this again after re-watching "The Crying Game." Casts an interesting layer of complexity on observation, "you want to meet [penises] after you decide you like the guy, and then, well, you're already disposed to like them no matter what." One would love to hear Stephen Rea's ruminations on that point . . . .