Dating with Anxiety
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On the Eve of a Bachelorette Party, Let’s Contemplate the Penis

Penis Self Conscious Body Image

Guys, do you have any idea how many phallic-shaped objects you can buy? And do you know how many of them have smiley faces on them?

I’m flying home to California this weekend to attend a bachelorette party for one of my best girl friends. I want to bring her a present. When I thought of what to buy her, my immediate thought was: I gotta buy her something penis shaped.

This is an odd thought to have especially when you’re sitting on the couch next to your significant other, the TV quietly playing reruns of Friends, with your housecat nestling between you. The scene looks common and innocent to the naked eye, yet the girl on the couch, the one wearing glasses while staring blankly at the window, is actually thinking what can you find penis shaped, maybe we can get her a penis scarf or maybe a penis hat? Penis glasses? Penis socks penispenispenispenis

The penis baffles me. I tell my partner this all the time. Like, I’m really puzzled by it because it is so exposed, so vulnerable, and sometimes it moves without ANY control of the owner attached. It does things when they’re sleeping. It does things when they’re sitting in 6th grade math class. And I still don’t quite understand how it decides to nestle when someone puts on their undergarments.

For me, as a young woman entering the dating world of intimacy, the penis was like a grizzly bear sleeping in the corner of my living room. I knew it was there, I knew someday I’d have to deal with it, but for now I was mildly afraid and tried not to look directly at it.

A friend of mine in college once talked about how uncomfortable and scared she felt of her high school boyfriend’s penis. At one point he got so exasperated by her discomfort he dropped his pants and said “it’s just part of my body! It’s just another body part, it’s okay!” As a girl who hadn’t even had her first kiss at that point, this story was both very amusing to me and very horrifying.

But it’s also true.

It’s just part of the body.

I know I felt a lot of anxiety towards the penis. Mainly, I was so convinced I would have no idea what to do. And you know what? I didn’t. But that’s okay. I’m being serious. Nobody knows exactly what to do at the beginning (or if they say they do they are a dirty liar and I’ll call them one to their face).

My advice for anyone feeling this kind of anxiety: try not to stress it. I know I know this is easier said than done, but it’s true. Be kind to yourself. And it’s also true that you should never, never ever ever ever, feel like you need to do anything you’re not ready to do. The person you are with will understand this if they are mature, respectful, and kind. It is a HUGE red flag (are you listening? huge red flag) if they try to make you feel bad about wanting to take things slow. That’s dirty and manipulative and I’ll tell them that to their face.

As I perused the internet the other night to find penis-themed items to bring to the bachelorette party, I was chuckling by the sheer NUMBER OF PENIS SHAPED THINGS ALL THE THINGS PENIS SHAPED. For a body part that isn’t particularly pretty on its own, we sure slap an awful lot of googly eyes and smiley faces on it to try and make it cuter. Does it work? You tell me.

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