I pray to you oh pasta in ball form that has Angel’s power in x-men, with your eight arms and nine wives and turban made out of yarmulkes. With your fortune cookies and communion wafers. I pray to you to let me stop writing sketches and stories and spoken word pieces about my penis. I understand that my dick has penetrative powers in its ability to both penetrate others and my psyche.
I understand my penis is the reason for so much of my power and success – and yet its very existence is so contrary to how I see myself. You may see this as a cliched gender confusion issue, but I am far too confused and happy for that. I am not a man who wants to be a woman, I am a woman who wants to be a man. I am a man trapped in a woman’s body that is trapped in a man’s body. My penis is therefore some alien creature that represents me getting what I wanted and yet I am not satisfied with it because it feels like lying.
Growing up I was seen as a girl and only recently in life, because of my laziness manifesting itself in the form of facial hair, has my gender stopped being questioned. Growing up I saw myself as a tomboy, someone who wanted to play the sports and games, but was consistently worse because of physical deficiencies – someone who was only ever picked by the team with my friend on it who didn’t want me to feel as pathetic as I looked.
In 8th grade I was considered a decent long jumper for a girl. I was judged as if my gender were switched because that made more sense and was fairer. In 9th grade I was cast in my first real play. I played Flute the bellowsmaker in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. Flute is the character who reluctantly plays the girl in the play within the play. During Midsummer’s I had to scream like a girl. I had spent the last four years forcing myself to speak in my lowest register because I was tired of being referred to as Mrs. Greenberg by telemarketers. I couldn’t scream like a girl. My director pulled me aside and tried to explain that it wouldn’t be embarassing for me to scream like a girl – that I would get laughs – that I wouldn’t regret it. He rightfully assumed that I was too scared to embarass myself further by showing my true girl colors. He rightfully assumed, but the was wrong. I had placed a psychological barrier at a specific register of my voice that limited my range, and I couldn’t break it.
In 10th grade we had to take a class called “Wellness,” which was our class boys and girls segregated themselves onto separate sides of the classroom and asked each other questions about sex (I wonder why not a single kid came out as homosexual in my high school). I raised my hand and questioned women’s relinquishing of agency and man’s demand that they aren’t allowed to have it. I didn’t phrase it that way. I think I phrased it: “Why won’t any of you girls make a move on me?” I got a C+ in the class.
Agency has always been a source of confusion for me. I know my penis is supposed to afford it to me because of the fucked up way our society is structured, but I rejected that early on because I was indecisive and scared. My rejection of male agency spawned from a fear of getting rejected myself, but has now turned into an honestly indignant stance. Either way, I have only made the first move sexually once, maybe twice. It is also the reason that I have been the victim of attempted sexual assault multiple times. I bring this up not for pity, sympathy, or any other synonym of those words, but because I recognize that it was my penis that helped me avoid the horrors of where these situations could have led. We, as men, have to get aroused in order to penetrate – we literally have to want it to get it. I’m also stronger than I pretend to be so I can defend myself alright.
So, I love my penis for the affording me the opportunities that it has. I got cast in roles in plays easier because there were less penises to compete against than vaginae. People supported my math desires at a young age because of it, instead of disparaging my attempts because it defied a gender norm. The fact that I had it despite my stature and frame was the reason for my start in comedy. Comedy came to me as a way to defend myself by making fun of myself. I figured out that if I made fun of myself before others did than they found the joke too stale and unoriginal to say themselves – I had to beat people to the punch to avoid being beaten and punched. So, I am thankful for my penis because it has made me the man person I am today, and I like me a lot. While I am thankful, I am resentful towards it for being so out of place. They gave it to the wrong person, my penis is the reason that when everybody kept calling me a girl I hesitated to believe them.
I decided to sit in the booth of a diner when I wrote this. This is absolutely true: I looked so lonely that the waiter brought me a plate of pickles. Oh, phallic symbolism!