The following piece was presented at the Jersey City Writers’ monthly genre event–Reflections: A Reading of Memoir Vignettes. Please enjoy.
When I was eleven years old, I was obsessed with penises.
I would check out the bulge on every man no matter his age, race or profession.
I looked at a man’s face first, like normal people do. Then I let my gaze fall to his crotch. I didn’t see the man, just the area of interest. But even when my eyeballs were locked on his face or other less scandalous regions of his person, my sneaky peripheral vision was concentrated on his special dude place.
I thought I was pretty slick.
Men weren’t people to me. As far as I was concerned, the non-bulgy part of their bodies just served as life support for what lived and squirmed between their legs.
Cartoons were not immune to my hungry eyes. “Super Friends” on Saturday mornings offered the animated bulges of Superman, Aquaman, Batman and Robin. I marveled at Captain Marvel’s marvel – his form hugging leotard and cod of piece. Shazam!
I had seen a naked peen before. I was two. He was two. I thought he was magic because he could pee standing up. I mean: pee standing up with success. Into the potty. Not on or around the potty. But actually – well, mostly, into the potty. Dickcraft!
Whatever grown men were hiding behind their trousers was not a teeny weeny weenie. I may have been obsessed, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t squeamish about the nude reality of the adult male organ. I was 11 not 16.
For instance, when sleeping, I always had my hands above the covers by my chest. I couldn’t let them drift near the mysterious sex thing of the invisible dream man sleeping next to me. Usually, it was Matt Dillon and his penis, of course. But sometimes It was Jeff from “Dynasty” and his penis. And sometimes it was all four of them.
It’s probably worth noting at this point in time I was terrified of snakes. But I am sure that has nothing to do with anything.
With the exception of the occasional Dirty Doctor appointments with some of the neighborhood boys, I kept my secret obsession to myself. I didn’t even tell my mother. And that woman knew I still played with baby dolls and I thought a witch named Black Teeth lived under my bed. She could be trusted with important info. But I sensed the dick infatuation was a bridge too far.
The absolute Mona Lisa of guy packages was my 5th grade gym coach. I called him Coach Bulge. His dude bump was massive and encased in the thick polyester of his snug navy blue coach shorts. Coach Bulge had a handsome face too, I think. I don’t remember. All I can recall is B.U.L.G.E.
I kept my cool around him. After all, it was PE, and I was too busy chasing volleyballs or softballs to think much about his balls. But my Waterloo was to come.
Then one day we were pulled off the school’s parking lot volleyball court and placed in a classroom. As required by the state, we had to have one week of Health & Safety class. So for five whole days – five whole beautiful and agonizing days – I had to sit in a desk and watch the world’s most impressive bulge be carried to and fro in front of a blackboard as its owner lectured us.
I made a valiant effort to take notes on about nutrition, seat belts and lightening, but ended up doodling vulgar little pictures of, well, you know. I couldn’t resist focusing on that meaty curve of mystery and possibility.
What would happen if that stressed zipper burst? Oh my!
I tried not to look at it. But all that forced not staring caused a nasty tension headache. My eyes, however, were determined, naughty orbs. They were not to be tamed by my shame or the mores of good society. No matter had hard I tried, I always ended up looking, no staring at, Coach Bulge’s bulge.
I was a lost soul. A pervy little tween. A terrible person. Not even church going could save me. After all, Jesus had his own holy package up there on the cross. With that loin cloth. Damp with tortured sweat. Draped across sinewy thighs… Oh, the body of Christ!
So, I thought, to Hell with it. And that day in Health & Safety, I gave into my desire. I let my eyes feast on Coach Bulge’s buffet of bulge. I knew I was doomed anyway. I knew one day my disgusting secret would be revealed and I would be locked away forever, possibly executed, for crimes against polite girlhood.
I imagined myself being dragged to the electric chair by Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox from “CHiP’s”. In their California Highway Patrol uniforms. The helmets. The badges. The guns. The clingy, crotch cupping bike pants….
It was Jen, the school’s only Mormon. She sat behind me for Coach Bulge’s Health & Safety lectures.
“What?” I said with my eyes on the prize.
She leaned into my ear and whispered in a hot breath the words that changed my life. “Look how big his dick is. I can’t stop looking at it.”
Her words made my ear tingle and gave me gooseflesh.
I was not alone.