So, if you want to avoid it, you can skip out now.
Breakfast of Champions
Or so I've been told. But the amusing thing, the thing that makes this a story, is that I had no idea ... not until I was 34 years old.
I have small feet, and I have small hands. My arms are shorter than they should be for someone my height, and so the cuffs on any jacket or shirt often extend down to the thumb knuckle.
I'm extremely thin and always have been. In college, a girl thought I was an anorexic. When you saw me walking down the street with my (gorgeous) long hair and emaciated body, you didn't say: "I bet he's got a big one!" You said: "There goes yet more pale, stringy, tofu."
As a kid, I spent many years being not only the shortest boy but the shortest person in my class. And I was skinny. And nerdy. And socially inept. And nasty. And dumping in my own pants until I was 14.
So you can see how that adds up to a whole lot of feeling inferior. That inferiority was mixed in with a nasty feeling of superiority to everyone else.
Girls didn't like me. And with excellent reason.
I didn't have sex, or play sports, or party in high school. I had almost no friends (though I did have a few who celebrated a freak like me). What this means is that no one saw it and I didn't get a look at anyone else's. The P.E. locker room was a place to hurriedly change and scurry out of, trying to avoid both seeing and being seen. I never showered, which is possible when you weigh less than 90 pounds and are still years from puberty -- you don't perspire much. Then, due to the blessings of Howard Jarvis and California's Proposition 13, P.E. became elective in my Sophomore year, and I never took P.E. again.
Like you, I get tons and tons of spam email for super hot stocks, online pharmacies, internet business opportunities, Viagra, Cialis, and other things that would make it stiffer. My wonderful wife gets those spam too. She turned to me recently: "Is this a problem? I mean, like a widespread problem?"
The other thing in spam is constant offers to make it bigger. This preys on a natural insecurity of men. It's unfair. Everyone knows who has big breasts, it's apparent. But when it comes to men, no one can see who has a big one. They have to fall back on the big shoes myth.
I did too. Considering my lowly origins, I quite naturally assumed that I was inferior in all respects, including this one.
Non-coital anecdotes regarding gullibility
I had my first girlfriend in college. We didn't have intercourse, but things did happen which may help explain to the reader why I disregarded what I was told by the women with whom I later did have intercourse.
This first girlfriend set her limits: She wanted to make out on her bed, and allowed heavy petting, but only above the waist. She set her limits, and though I would have wanted to go further, I obeyed her rules.
We would spend the late evening and some early morning hours making out on her bed, and I would walk home, usually after midnight but only once or twice as late as three AM.
The weather was cold then: There was frost on the windows. One time after we'd been making out for a while, and as I was about to leave, my hand happened to touch her pants down in the thigh area. They were soaking wet, and cold, as if someone had poured a full glass of ice water on her crotch. "What happened?" I said, confused by the unexpected. "Don't worry about it," she said, reassuringly. And I didn't. I didn't think about it or wonder about it. I forgot it. It was only many years later that I remembered the incident, and understood it.
I was very good at ignoring or overlooking things that didn't fit my expectations, a prowess I think I inherited from my mother. I was capable of living in an invented reality. On the other hand, if I had read about this incident in a work of fiction, I would have wondered about it and then come to understand what it meant. But since it happened in my own life, and since I was asked not to concern myself, I didn't.
The other incident with the first girlfriend happened by accident. We were making out on the bed and I had my hand on her knee, again just about to leave. My hand slipped off her knee by accident and the edge of my palm struck her right where the clitoris is, alarmingly hard. She writhed and convulsed in an extended way that scared me. She gasped a bit but was generally silent. She seemed to be having a very intense reaction. I was very worried that I had caused her pain, like the pain of being hit in the testicles.
"Are you OK?" I said, worried.
"I'm fine," she said. She hugged me to her one last time before I left. "You're very..." she began and I expected a compliment like "romantic," but what she said was utilitarian instead ("physical"), and I was slightly hurt.
I didn't immediately forget about the struck-and-writhing incident like I did the wet-pants incident, probably because I felt shame that I might have hurt her. But again, I did not put two and two together. If I had read about this incident in a book I would have definitely known what happened. It was, to my knowledge, my first time. But I only realized that many years later.
Still guilt-stricken, I apologized to her remorsefully and sincerely the next time I saw her. She may have expected this, because she told me, as clearly and completely as she could, that no harm was done and I had nothing to apologize about -- that I should just forget it.
As a kid, I read a lot. I read a lot of poetry as a teenager. I wrote some too. I thought about women a lot. I imagined how devotedly I would make love if I ever ... (ever!) ... got the chance.
I didn't get the chance until I was 20. At one point, she said "Look at all that!" I rolled my eyes and said "Come on!" I thought she just was trying to give me some positive self-esteem. I thought it was a mere verbal gesture.
In this post, I have scrambled the order in which I discuss the women who I am supremely grateful to have had the honor to sleep with. They're out of order, and their details have been altered where necessary. Also, I say nothing whatsoever about my loving wife's reaction or opinion. She's a miracle, and has given my life its meaning. I respect her, and I love her, period.
By the way, I did discuss the idea for this post with her, and she neither encouraged me nor stood in my way.
...The 'next' woman I was with said "You're big." Again I gave her the oh-come-on reaction. "Well, it seems big to me," she said, defensively. But I blew it off, despite the fact that she was way, waaaaay more experienced than I was.
She kept a vibrator by her bed, and when she showed it to me I mused, "Why do they make them small?" I figured it was just more versatile that way.
Despite that as a boy and teenager I was a supreme egotist, by the time I was a young man, my whole thing was humility. I was trying to grow out of my arrogance. Believing that I had a big one was just not on my scope. It was a trope typical of the frat boys and other 'winners' who I detested, the ones who were always trying to prove that they were Alpha Males -- always, in every conversation, in every single sentence -- trying to prove to you, and to other guys and gals listening, that they were smarter, more hip, more glib, had more testosterone, and were bound for greatness.
Women flocked to these jerks, and they still do.
Data about average size is not pervasive. I recall that in high school I read some book (and cannot now recall which one) that said that the average circumference was 1.5 inches. This may be completely wrong information -- how would I know? But I did mention it in passing to a buddy of mine in high school. "That sounds about right," he said, walking away. I followed: "Maybe they mean diameter, not circumference?" I said. "No, that sounds about right," he said in a clipped way which meant: Shut up about this already. I did.
The only other conversations I had about size were after age 20, with women. I continued to ignore or dismiss their testimony.
My approach to romance was kind of restricted, but in a healthy way. I thought that sex and love were really important. I still do. I thought that romance was a zone where all the pretense fell away, and people were honest and real with each other, creating a kind of personal utopia. Boy, was I naive! I didn't know that most people scam their way through romance with a series of poses and lies.
I didn't sleep with a lot of women. In part, it was because I was socially inept, and clearly not an alpha male. The other reason was my code of ethics. I thought, for example, that if you were with someone, but attracted to someone else, you were ethically obliged to break up with person A before you ever even hinted to person B that you were interested. I didn't realize that most people get with person B, using drugs or alcohol as an excuse, and then break up with person A.
So I was not 'a player.' I had this idea that women didn't like being hit on all the time, and you should leave them be. I also had the idea that it was wrong to romance women you work with. That last rule, I violated several times.
No tale of sex would be complete without an STD. Mine was HPV, or Human papillomavirus. It makes warts on your equipment. As I've said, I was not a 'player,' but to this day I don't know who gave me HPV. I recall the woman, but not her face.
She had this border of small, flat ovoids around her labia minora. They didn't looked diseased or disgusting or anything. I now know that they were warts. At the time, I just figured: "Huh! Everybody's body is different." I said "Hey, these little pearls around the edge are pretty. What are they?"
"Just part of me, I guess." she said. That response, particularly the "I guess" part, now makes me think that she suspected something was wrong, but didn't want to know.
Yes, we used condoms, but juices being what they are, I was exposed.
It could have been any one of three women. I talked to them all about it, and all denied the possibility.
The people at the clinic got rid of my case by burning off the warts with salicylic acid. It didn't hurt much. They say that the virus never completely goes away, and you could get new warts at any time. You have to inspect yourself for new warts, which can be quite small, sometimes discolored, like freckles or moles. Fortunately, her tests show that I haven't transferred it to my courageous wife, despite the fact that we conceived two children.
According to Wikipedia, "It is estimated that 80% of sexually active adults have been infected with one or more genital HPV strains at some time. The vast majority of infected people suffer no ill effects and never even know that they have been infected, but may be able to infect others."
No matter who you are, if you read this blog, ask your doctor to give you a test for HPV (and HIV and every other STD you can think of).
HPV can be dangerous: It has been linked to cervical cancer. Fortunately, the FDA is currently considering approving a vaccine that has been tested 100-percent effective against HPV. That's great news, a miracle drug, really. I don't think it will clear up HPV after infection, but it's guaranteed to protect against infection. Certain Republican Christian groups are lobbying the FDA to block approval of the vaccine, because they say it will encourage promiscuity.
There were a couple of instances where really attractive women were obviously trying to get closer to me, but I balked. I recall this one gorgeous female whose apartment I arrived at, unannounced, when researching a news story for the paper. Come in, sit down, let me get you a beverage, do you like this TV show, I love it. I didn't watch TV, and my girlfriend at home was expecting me. My reaction was that I wanted to be taken seriously as a reporter, so I evaded her social angle.
All these years later, I'm glad I didn't make a play for that woman, but some part of me looks back on the episode and says: Chump!
There was one lover who didn't call me big. She'd been with a guy who was witty, urbane, articulate, smart, handsome, well-dressed, muscular, and hung like an absolute horse. He was, I was told, so big that sometimes it wouldn't fit in. In that case, the asset is a disability.
This guy was the anti-me. He looked like an alpha male, but -- he wasn't a jerk (to me, anyway). He was my friend. He was 'a player,' though, and he's had, literally, thousands of women. His reputation preceded him.
Meanwhile I toiled on, unheralded. Or too stupid to hear the heralds.
A leggy, very flexible vixen came to my place, declaring that she wanted to have sex with me (she was a good friend). But she didn't seem turned on, and I felt like I was going to strike out. She told me later that she almost went to sleep on me. However, at one point -- I now think she noticed my distinguishing characteristic -- her whole attitude changed in an instant. She became a voracious feline. I had never witnessed such a dramatic turnaround. "Brainhell: Who knew!" she kept saying. I figured she meant: Who knew we'd have such chemistry?
Another friend, this one with vast, vast experience, said once, something along the lines of. "I'm sure other women have told you that you're big." I looked at her with total confusion. No. Part of the reason for my confusion was that me getting lucky was such a rare, singular event. "It's ... wider ... than usual," she said, and dropped the subject.
When fully deployed, it's 5.625 inches long and 5.5 inches in circumference, but kind of flattened like a slab, so that the distance across is 1.8125 inches. I provide four-decimal precision for accuracy, or maybe because that's how my calculator renders 13/16. The schematic here is generalized and lacking in detail. The width is accurate (1.8"), but the depth is an approximation not based on measurement.
Why provide specifics, and a schematic?
I've always been somewhat disrespectful of conventions that people use to put on airs. I'm also a bit 'radical' in that I sometimes deliberately break the expected social rules.
For example, when I worked at one consulting company, we were supposed to keep our salaries secret. We were being bought out by a larger company, and they didn't want us to know what people in comparable positions in the larger company were making, or what differences existed among those of us in the smaller company. The differences were vast. And unfair. They actually threatened to fire anyone who shared salary information, in part because they'd heard that I was already telling people my exact salary.
I made a point of sharing it in hopes that others would follow suit and we'd burst one bubble of corporate control. It didn't work. Only one other person, a talented programmer imported from the Philippines, told me what she was making. It was less than half my salary. We did the same work. They rooked her because they could. That's business.
There is lots of posing and faking that goes on, particularly on the part of guys. They tend to make vague or misleading statements about their salaries -- and about what studs they are. Most of it is bluster and part of it is defense. No one should be compelled to say how much money they earn, what their IQ score is, or how large is their equipment. I respect that.
But for my own part I have that rebel urge to destroy the tradition of bluster. I don't like bluster, I think it belittles the people who engage in it, and I find it tiresome.
So, in the interest of truth, and being non-fake, I publish these exact measurements, and a diagram. Perhaps it will become a new standard on the internet, similar to my failed NEC contract. Next time you see some guy hinting vaguely about his equipment, you can challenge him to meet the standard defined here. Never happen.
You might think that I had an unending chain of lovers. But I spent a lot of time alone, feeling lonely. I once went for a year and a half between female company, despite looking constantly. That's why I laugh when female bloggers complain that they've gone two whole months without sex(!).
I had a mindset that prized quality above quantity. But I wanted that quality every single day. It would have added up to a lot of quantity. I feel blessed, honored, and grateful to have been with the fantastic women I was with. There is a reason some early religions are based around worship of women. Women, and their eros, are just so awe-inspiring.
There was the absolutely delectable Jewish woman from New York, with the accent and everything. She was 10 years older than me, beautiful, and very passionate. "So big you are!" she said. I said no, it just looks big in comparison to my abnormally skinny frame. "Are you saying all the men I was with were midgets?" she demanded indignantly.
I figured she didn't have enough data.
I am friends with all my old girlfriends and lovers, except one. Some are like sisters to me now. My wise wife knows them and likes them.
It was the one who I am no longer in touch with who finally drilled the truth home to me. Over the years I had experienced trouble with those horrid condoms. They always bunched up and pinched, often becoming so stretched and tight that it was an ordeal, not a sacrament.
The first time I was with the now-estranged girlfriend, she assessed me and said: "That's nice to see. My friend Dave has that problem too, so I think you should use this large condom."
That was the end of pinching and stretching and crimping. In a subsequent conversation, she patiently explained my situation to me.
Did I go wild at that point, visiting every swinging disco bar, reference library, and DMV office in the state? Hardly. You see, for a couple of years I had been trying to get my special wife to marry me. And around this time she agreed that we should move in together. Eventually, yada yada, and here we are: blessedly married, a nice house, two great kids, and me dying of ALS while writing the history of my distinguishing characteristic.
It's not a faith or belief, but I have a sort of gut hunch about blessings and curses, fortune and misfortune. My hunch is that everything balances out, for the individual. Among individuals there is great unfairness in dispensation, but for a given individual, fortune and misfortune tend to balance out.
You might think that the distinguishing characteristic was a blessing given to me to offset the looming misfortune of my ALS. I don't think so, and not just because I never knew.
What I worry is that my life has been so rich and rewarding personally, professionally, and artistically -- and in terms of marriage and children -- that the Lyme disease avenue will turn out to be a dead end. The universe will look at me and say "You've had SO MUCH luck already, you can't have this too." That's what I fear.
Left grip is 27 pounds (25, 24, 27), right grip is 76 pounds (74, 73, 76).