12/23/2005

You too can be a super-sized Superman!

I was talking to a friend of mine about the upcoming Superman Returns, and he said he'd heard that actor Brandon Routh's tool was so monstrously huge Warner Bros. demanded it be digitally minimized. You can see where the rumor started here.

Until it appears in the New York Times or The Christian Science Monitor, I refuse to believe it. And anyway, anybody flitting around in his spandex underwear is going to have a more or less obscene bulge, or two or three. That's just the nature of comic book superherodom. And no disrespect to Brandon Routh, who I'm sure is nice enough, and well-enough hung and all, but I think it's a PR thing. Advance buzz. Warner Bros. leaks some silly manufactured rumor about their new horse-hung superhero, and word spreads, you know? I heard it's positively elephantine! Let's go see it at the IMAX theater!

I'm giving away trade secrets here, but you can thank me later. For the fellas who want to look supersized in spandex, here's a tip: IT'S ALL IN THE BALLS, boys. You can actually buy underwear and swimsuits specially designed with the patented "sling support system" to "give your boys a lift," and enhance your package (see handy diagram at left). It's kind of like a push-up bra, but only lifts, doesn't separate (ouch!), thank goodness. Don't ask me how I know this, by the way. I have this friend, you know, who has a complex...

Anyway, if you're on a budget, a cheaper solution is a cock ring, and the advantage is you can then mix and match it with any old ratty pair of briefs you've got laying around in your filthy flat.

In my opinion, too big a bulge is a bit of an embarrassment. Better to be discreet, and then when you whip it out, watch their jaws drop. Most everybody knows the size of a flaccid thingy has little to do with how it is when fully inflated. There are showers and there are growers.

But there's a bigger issue here. In our phallocentric culture isn't it about time balls got their due? The testicles do all the hard work, but the phallus gets all the glory. Doesn't seem fair. And speaking of glorious phalluses, the truth is when you're dealing with a man's manhood you need to make a distinction. Consulting Jung here can be instructive.

In Modern Man in Search of His Soul, he bashes Freud on the issue of signs and symbols. He says, "It’s well known that the Freudian school operates with hard and fast sexual ‘symbols’; but these are just what I should call signs, for they are made to stand for sexuality, and this is supposed to be something definitive. As a matter of fact, Freud’s concept of sexuality is thoroughly elastic, and so vague that it can be made to include almost anything." To prove the point, he uses everybody’s favorite psychoanalytical body part:

"Take, for instance, the so-called phallic symbols, which are supposed to stand for the membrum virile and nothing more. Psychologically speaking, the membrum is itself…a symbolic image whose wider content cannot easily be determined. As was customary throughout antiquity, primitive people today make free use of phallic symbols, yet it never occurs to them to confuse the phallus, as a ritualistic symbol, with the penis. They always take the phallus to mean the creative mana, the power of healing and fertility, ‘that which is unusually potent’. Its [mana’s] equivalents in mythology and in dreams are the bull, the ass, the pomegranate, the yoni, the he-goat, lightning, the horse’s hoof, the dance, the magical cohabitation in the furrow, and the menstrual fluid, to mention only a few of many. That which underlies all of these images—and sexuality itself—is an archetypal content that is hard to grasp, and that finds its best psychological expression in the primitive mana symbol."

Are you getting what I'm getting at here? "It never occurs to them to confuse the phallus, as a ritualistic symbol, with the penis." The way it stands, a big bulge of saggy, flaccid bits is just a penis and testes in a wrinkly old fleshsack. Flaccid, it's really not good for much, sexually (or symbolically) speaking. By showing off your big gooey, flaccid wad, you say nothing about your potency, which is presumably the point of showing it off. For that, you'd do better to buy the "balls-in-one briefs" here, top left. It arranges your bits in a more traditional cock-n-balls configuration, as you can see. Much better than the Sleepy-time for Mr. Pee-pee briefs above. Since antiquity "ye olde cock-n-balls"--standing proud--has conveyed the message: "hic habitat felicita": here lies happiness! I mean, if you go to the ancient city of Pompeii, you'll see it (bottom left) perfectly preserved on almost every corner, in the pavement, on the houses, everywhere. With the cock-n-balls, you get the best of both worlds. Sure, the phallus still gets top billing, but the testicles are respectably represented. They cannot, at any rate, be denied.

You won't see a flaccid peter anywhere in Pompeii, by the way. And that's because flaccid, it's just a penis, boys. But standing proud, it's so much more: it's a phallus. Penises are purely functional (and their function is not glamorous--they funnel liquid waste out of the body), but phalluses are invested with symbolic, even magical qualities: from them comes life, happiness, mana. When you're sporting that superwoody, it's not just any old thing, either; it's transformed, as if by magic, into the ur-phallus. Just as when the pope puts on his miter, he is no longer just any old pope. He is THE Pope. It is a kind of sexual transubstantiation (the phallus thing, not the pope thing).

Now, as I was saying, you wouldn't know it by looking at the proliferation of phallic monuments, and our generally phallocentric culture, but balls are the big thing, just like the song by AC/DC says. When people want to say somebody's got character, or courage, what do they say? "He's got balls." What do they say when they want to put you down? "Don't be such a dick," or "what a dickhead."

Testicles are obviously the unsung heroes of the reproductive process. Why isn't our culture more testiculocentric, then? Well, one problem is, how to represent testiculocentricity? Can you imagine The Washington Monument with two big gold domes at the base? We'd find it too vulgar, because while testicles do all the hard work, they just aren't anywhere near as glamorous or photogenic as the phallus at full-sproing.

And to add injury to insult, they're left out in the cold on the doormat while the phallus is invited in to the warm, cozy womb! And that's really the key to their lowly status. As much as we pay lip service to testicles, you've got to admit they're not worth much all by themselves. The same cannot be said of the phallus. Even castrati, even eunuchs, can still get it up, so long as their castration was post-pubertal. So maybe balls deserve their second-class citizen status after all.

The phallus is the thing, evolutionarily speaking, as Dr. Jared Diamond has pointed out (I've talked about it here). The female of the species seems to think size does indeed matter. In fact, as a species we are putting inordinate biological resources into pumping up penis-size. It is a case, as Dr. Jared suggests, of runaway selection. But it's really the ladies who are in charge of that whole process. So it's not men who are necessarily to blame for all those phallic monuments. It's because that's the bit of the apparatus that delivers the goods (in so many ways) that it is a potent symbol for both genders.

Doesn't change the fact though, that it's the balls that make the wad. You can't walk around with a woody all day. Big balls are what women see when you're stuffed into those Levi's, or that the boys are sneaking peeks at when you're prancing around on the beach in your thong (don't pretend you didn't know you'd "wandered" onto the gay beach, either). Whether your rod matches the expectations generated by your wad, only she (whether she's a she or a he, or a he-she or a she-he) knows.

Ah, the phallic fallacy. Will balls ever get their proper due? I say, buy yourself a pair of those balls-out briefs and wear them proudly. And to Warner Bros. I say, don't touch Superman's wad! Think of Lois and Jimmy!

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