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I don’t want to see a picture of your penis
Do you really want your phallus to be the most relevant thing about you? I hope not.
I have a friend who likes to show people his penis upon meeting them, as if this was how they learned how to shake hands in his house. (I assume it was a Flowers in the Attic thing.) The reveal will be apropos of nothing, as if he were socially expected to show the goods. You’ll be standing in a bar, and he’ll beckon friends over to huddle around before he asks: “Do you want to see my dick?”
Everyone always acquiesces—because it really is a very nice dick and, at this point, a regular member of the group—but I’m tired of seeing it. He’s like one of those annoying mothers who insist on posting photos of their adorable newborn baby every waking moment, until you’re sick of seeing its stupid, slobbering, lumpen head. They have taken what was once beautiful and turned it into something you can’t stand to look at anymore, like Sharon Stone.
But it’s not just the pushy flashers of the world that are the problem, the guys who want to peddle their exposed cock like a Jehovah’s Witness with a quota to make. For those of you out there on Grindr, Tinder, or Scruff (read: all of you), you know that your dick is just as necessary of visual information as your face. It’s sometimes the first thing people ask for. “Sup, u got pics?” doesn’t mean “I would like to see a photo you secretly eating a hot dog on the toilet when you think no one’s watching.” It signifies that it’s time to unzip and show what you got. This is likely a grainy picture of your penis taken at the most flattering angle.
If you have a small to moderate penis, you can always make it look bigger by photographing it next to deceptively tiny objects, like a Monopoly mansion, a shrimp fork, or a shrunken head you bought in South America. Should he ask why there’s two-thousand year old human remains in the picture, just say it’s a fetish. Everything’s a fetish these days. It’s cool.
Having a picture of your penis on your phone is the closest thing that gay men get to having a membership card in the community, which is why a group of my friends simultaneously gasped when I told them I don’t partake. On my phone, I have one somber-looking photo of what appears to be the ass of a hairy, middle-aged mother of four (I can never get a good angle), but unless you’re Anderson Cooper, there’s no way in hell I’m showing you my dick.
To me, a dick isn’t a lead. Your penis isn’t the first thing I want to know about you, or else I’m only ever going to think about you as the guy with the “[insert descriptor here] dick.” (Let’s hope that descriptor is “Milton Berle.”) You then become secondary to the organ, something I’m only going to be looking at maybe 10 percent of the time. Do you really want your penis to be the most relevant thing about you? I hope not.
A penis reveal is something you work toward, whether it’s a picture or its (vastly superior) real-life equivalent: actual dick. A penis reveal is what happens after a long night where you pretend you like the Romanian film we saw and that you find all the wacky stories about my mother “so adorable!” A penis reveal is the thing the comes after unbearable tension and negotiation of boundaries, whether that’s after a first date, a third date, or randomly meeting you while piss drunk in a bar after I just found out my ex is dating someone better looking than I am.
Sometimes you want to get it in for life, and sometimes you just want to stick it in for the night and be the empowered trollop Chelsea Handler told you to be. But no matter the path that’s chosen, a little build-up is important. The dick is the cherry on the dessert, not a half-price appetizer from Applebee’s you paid for with a gift card. It’s worth some investment.
They always say that it’s sexier to wonder about being kissed than to be kissed. I always used to think that the people who made up this adage weren’t kissing the right people, but there’s a measure of truth here. Alfred Hitchcock understood this principle. If a bomb were to explode in one of his movies, Hitchcock would show you where it was and tell you when it was going to go off; the anticipation heightens the emotion and catharsis. We need the damn thing to blow already.
It’s the same with dicks. You know where the proverbial WMD is hidden, and maybe if he’s Jon Hamm, you can see it hanging out down there, just doing its thing. The countdown to reveal shouldn’t take forever (you’re not in a Nicholas Sparks novel or Mormon), but it’s no fun if there’s no suspense. Put your gadgets away. Your dicks aren’t going anywhere.
Instead you could maybe find out something about him and try to figure out who the man attached the dick is, if you’re into that sort of thing. A full name and address to give to close friends and relatives—in case he murders you or turns out to be a lizard person—is a good place to start.
This article was originally featured on Huffington Post Gay Voices and republished with permission.
Nico Lang is an essayist, movie critic, and reporter who specializes in the intersection of politics and LGBTQ issues. His work has been featured in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Jezebel, Esquire, and BuzzFeed, among other notable publications.