Shelley was in the bed, covers pulled up to her eyes.
"That disaster's over."
"I should hope so."
We started back up where we'd stopped. But something was wrong - missing... The fucking was still fucking, but my head was somewhere else. And so was Shelley's. And it probably had a lot to do with the sounds from the other room - the grunts of Greg and his girlfriend slapping cellulite like pigs in heat. The pictures that came to mind were far too vivid... high-resolution nauseating.*
I had to ask Shelley. "I assume you saw--"
"He means well." Unless you're a sociopath, we all mean well.
"He didn't think, 'Get dressed, 'then' barge in the room to give a warning"? She had a point. She'd nailed exactly the image I couldn't get out of my head. The exact thing, along with a gallon of malt liquor, precluding me from 'spilling my seed,' as Leviticus would put it, into a Nonoxynol 9 laced Trojan (ribbed, of course, for her pleasure).
Digging an '8 by '3 hole behind his utility shed at 3:00 a.m.
Bleaching a blood soaked clown costume in his bathtub.
Repeating "Allāhu Akbar" incessantly while cleaning his automatic rifle.
Playing interactive middle-earth themed video games while dressed as a wizard, demanding in 14th Century English that opponents refer to him as "Malachy of the Greylands."
Marching in a KKK parade while dressed as a wizard.
Popping volcanic acne from his shoulders.
Popping it on your bathroom mirror.
Hitting on your girlfriend.
Hitting on your sister.
Sleeping with your girlfriend.
Sleeping with your sister.
Sleeping with both of them at once.
The list of things you never want to run into a friend doing is lengthy. You might be close, almost family, but nobody's that close. Add this to it, near the top: Standing in a hallway naked, drunk, brandishing a wrought-iron hard-on while shouting, "Dude! You have to get out here!"
No man should see any other man he knows with an erection, particularly while the involuntary viewer happens to be fucking someone. Nothing good can come of this. Ever, Anywhere. I don't care if it's a MFM three way with Adrianna Lima. The minute you see a guy you know standing around with his crank at full mast, the image is burned in the brain. Forever. For the rest of your life, when you hear anything about this friend, the only image you'll recall is [Insert Name] With a Throbbing Member... Shouting at You. Thirty years later, you might run into him at a high school reunion, and though he's lived in Hong Kong for two decades, has a wife and three kids, gone bald, gained forty pounds, and hasn't spoken to you since graduation, the minute you see him, that image will flood your brain.
"Hey Bob. Long time, no see. Your dick still bent like a boomerang?"
"My bad. Drinking problem." Where did that come from?
It came from nature - from the bizarreness of the male form in full arousal. Simply, a man standing around with a hard-on Looks Wrong. Dogs, cats, bears, horses, apes... most of the animal kingdom has have easily concealed erections. Largely obscured from view, tucked away for use. Not so with the human male. We've got a flesh zucchini sticking out of our pelvises, jutting from our upright forms like a water pump handle.**
These are the terrible descriptives that come to mind when considering someone else's erection - the things that overwhelm the grey matter. The things that remind me, though life would have ten times easier, and if I'd applied the time I was compelled to spend chasing women on economically productive endeavors I'd have probably earned enough to have retired three times over, I'd all but assuredly be a failure as a gay man... a flaming one.
And apparently, I wasn't alone.
"Maybe he figured you'd dig it," I pressed Shelley.
"Is something wrong with it?"
"If a random chick showed me her tits, I'd consider fucking her."
"That's why we're the gatekeepers."
Fair enough. And more than a little persuasive. If we lived in a world where the random erection was anything more than unsettling - a place where women were as immediately turned on by mere nudity as men - all bars, restaurants, and movies theaters would go bankrupt in a matter of weeks. Men would, to the extent any continued to wear clothes, simply walk up to women, reach into their trousers, flip out the goods and suggest a quick one at the closest decent hotel, if not on the nearest park bench. Teenage pregnancy would hit 70%, birth control devices would outstrip the value of platinum... Save the brutally hideous, impotent, and truly twisted fundamentalists, the streets would be utterly empty. Society would collapse within weeks.
"So if I just whipped it out at a chick--"
"You'd be a flasher."
"No interest at all?"
"In fucking a flasher?"
"No, like-- If an attractive guy, or a guy you knew--"
"When is an attractive guy, or a guy I know, going to do that? 'Hey, excuse me-- Check out my cock. Great, isn't it?' 'Yes. I'd love to fuck you right now. Let me get this skirt off.'"
"It's all about context. Dick you're involved with? Good. Unexpected dick? Bad."
I've considered this a million times since. Brushing my teeth before sex, wondering what could possibly be attractive about that knob of flesh slapping against the sink as I scrubbed away the whiskey and Caesar salad breath she reminded me is a monstrous turn-off... Checking myself out in the bedroom mirror while switching positions (every guy does this)... Laying on my back waiting for her to check the lock on the door or shut off an alarm, examining the appendage jutting north from an otherwise smooth horizon of sheets, a vein-marbled variant of the monolith from 2001... Maybe that's the thing with the penis - it's so odd, it's an inherently acquired taste, even for women. Like Sambuca, or Bon Iver. And any man could make a decent homosexual - if he just met the right guy.
...Then I'll find myself waking up at three in the morning, passing the bathroom mirror, eyes bloodshot, hair in my face, with an erection tenting my boxers - this clumsy rod with which I'll fight to avoid pissing all over the painting behind the toilet, and which immediately reminds me why no Greek sculpture depicts the male in an aroused state. And for a moment the image of Greg comes back - an evaluation of the stiffened phallus solely on its immediate merits, as the aesthetic train wreck it is - and the realization strikes... No, I would make a terrible queer.
* The male orgasm is mainly physical, but the twenty or so percent of it controlled by the mind is an essential hurdle to pass. ^
**The design couldn't be worse. Say what you will of the female genitalia, they're hidden. Sleek, buried. They don't mess up any of a woman's aerodynamic lines, inhibit the rest of her functions. Ever try to run with an erection? How many thousands of cavemen died because, when stumbled upon in the sex act by a saber tooth tiger, the cavewoman was able to dismount and bolt, while the best the man could do was limp away, trying to prevent a turgid prick from slapping his thighs and bouncing his testicles around like tether balls? Don't believe me? Start fooling around with your girlfriend. When you're good and worked up, excuse yourself, go out in the backyard and run some wind sprints. However you're hung - like a cocktail sausage, or an ant-eater, you'll need Oxycontin for the pain of the ensuing herniations. (Yes, I'm aware large breasted females would have similar issues. But we're not talking tits. That's an entirely different article.) ^