I have a list of words I do not like. I’m not talking about racial or ethnic slurs. I hate those most of all. And, we’re not talking about mispronounced words, as detailed in a previous post. No, these are words used in everyday language that simply don’t rest easy on my person’s ears…words that make my skin crawl. I know other people have similar vocabulary taboos. My college roommate hated the word “crotch” and my best friend hates the word “moist.” I don’t like the words maggot, nostril, fixin’, or tissue. Lately, I’ve added another word to my banned list. Flaccid. I don’t like the word flaccid. Perhaps it is because the only pairing I’ve come across lately is “flaccid penis.” Gross. I’ve recently been challenged to not engage in as much ecommerce. (definition: Trey told me I was an online shopping addict and had to stop. I can’t allow him to be proven right, so I have to pause my online shopping habits for a little bit. Sorry amazon, zulily, etsy, pick your plum…) Due to the fact that I’m shopping less, this has limited my kindle options a bit. I’ve begun reading more free ebooks. Some are good…most are not. I somehow inadvertently select free downloadable books that can be divided into one of three genres: (1) Twilight wannabes with vampires and werewolves, (2) 50 Shades wannabes with ropes, chains, and other hardware , and (3) Christian romance books that get all hot and bothered but stop right before the action for scriptural reference. None of these three options is my genre of choice. ANYWAY…among the books falling in the first two categories, I’ve found ample use of the phrase “flaccid penis.” Gross.
Now, I’m no stranger to penises. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!? What I’m saying is that I’m a boy mom. Get your mind out of the gutter! I had no idea when the first ultrasound tech told me Logan was a boy, that so many conversations would revolve around male genitalia!? Not a day goes by that I don’t say something absolutely ridiculous to one of my three boys. “Get your hands out of your pants!” “Stop pulling on your penis!” “We don’t rub our penises on the wall.” “Why is your penis out of your diaper?” “Put your penis away!” “Please don’t make your penis talk to me at the table.” “It’s not going to fall off!” “No, I don’t have one and no you cannot see.” Seriously!? I don’t talk about my parts all day. I recently walked into the sunroom and 2 of the 3 males in my house had their hands in their pants while watching tv. I don’t hold my breasts during Law and Order? Why must their worlds revolve around their peni? (I’m assuming that is the correct plural for penis?)
Growing up my mom and dad used the medical terminology for all the parts but I just wasn’t comfortable saying them. Any time it would become absolutely necessary to refer to a penis, I’d turn red, avoid eye contact, and say “doober dauber.” This coping strategy worked well until it failed me horribly! The summer camp I spent my summers at required all counselors to go by a silly nickname. At the end of the week, the counselors would “unveil” their real name to their campers. It was a fun tradition! One summer, I beebopped myself to camp and met the new counselor “Dauber.” GREAT!? I had to work with this guy all summer and every time I said his name, I felt like I was calling him “penis.” Then and there I decided to drop the “doober dauber” nickname and go for the gusto. In graduate school, I had a professor make us chant “Penis, Vagina, Penis, Vagina” until no one was giggling or red in the face. He reasoned that we’d have to say these words professionally and needed to do so with confidence. When Logan was born, I was prepared. Trey and I decided to confidently identify his parts with the anatomically correct names. I don’t regret this decision. However, we have had to defend this decision multiple times. When Logan was potty training, we had him watch Trey pee one time to get a better idea of what we were asking him to do. He then announced at his daycare “I have a big penis, like my dad!” The director called me and detailed the incident. My therapist mind immediately panicked and assumed they would question why Logan had knowledge of his dad’s junk. No, in fact, the director was calling to explain that they didn’t think “penis” was an appropriate word for a preschooler to use. I laughed and explained that regardless of her opinion, our child would continue to be taught medically appropriate words. I then called Trey to rant about my encounter with the director. Trey’s focus was back on Logan’s statement. “Lauren!? I’m supposed to pick up Logan from school today!? Wait if all the teachers have heard the story and laugh at me!?” “Trey!? Don’t be ridiculous! We are not wavering from our stance so just walk in with your head held high…and…um…perhaps a bit of a swagger.”
When I was an undergraduate student I worked as a Resident Assistant,(RA). This job was a perfect fit for me! I made bulletin boards and door decorations, planned goofy activities, and kept my door open to encourage my residents to come talk to me about their problems. I truly believe that my time spent working in residence life was a better preparation for my future career as a therapist than any other experience!
One day a resident came into my room to report that on her way back from class someone in an adjacent hall exposed himself to her. We laughed about the incident and moved on to another topic. Not 20 minutes later, two more residents came to tell me about someone exposing himself to them as they walked back to our hall. I encouraged the girls to call the campus police if they were upset but none of the three followed through. The next day, I was walking back from the library and heard a snapping noise. I initially ignored it but heard it again and looked up. To my surprise, there was a penis hanging out of the window blinds!? I laughed and hurried past. I could have let the incident go but channeled my inner Barney Fife and decided to pursue justice for my residents. I called campus police and they took my report over the phone. The detective asked A LOT of questions that seemed utterly ridiculous. My favorite was “What was the perpetrator’s general demeanor at the time of the incident?” Um… Later, an officer showed up at my door and asked me to accompany her to the scene of the crime. There, I had to point to the window in question. I became scared to death that I was going to be called in to pick the guy out of the line up! Seriously!? I don’t know what became of that deviant penis but am glad I didn’t have any other encounters!
The combination of working as a therapist for ever 10 years and being the mom to two boys has created a monster. I need to pump more estrogen into my house. Is there an essential oil for that? Trey, this is all your fault! If you hadn’t restricted my online shopping, I’d never have become overwhelmed by the phrase “flaccid penis” and life could have continued as it was…until my next rant…