As we sat around the metal table, the patio umbrella shielding us from the Seattle evening rain, we all listened to our friend’s Honeymoon stories. They’d just returned from their tropical vacation and the rest of us were eager to live vicariously through them.
“The third day the water taxi took us to what turned out to be a nudist beach,” she said, laughing. Setting up shop on the beach, they sat reading their books among partially and/or not-at-all clothed crowds.
Her husband leaned into the middle of the table. “At one point she looked up from her book and started looking around. Then she asked me ‘Wait…are you circumcised?’ “
Even as everyone joined in on the laughter myself and the other girlfriend’s quickly leapt to her defense, pointing out that we aren’t born inherently knowing what the penis looks like with or without foreskin. And unless someone has blatantly shown you one versus the other you might not be positive what you’re looking at. Plus googling that shit is RISKY and something you might not want to type into your search bar like the time I was at work and typed in “bunnies on the beach” since I’d once heard about this beach where fluffy rodents spend time but duh, hadn’t even thought about the Playboy variety sorry coworkers.
I didn’t grow up with brothers and had very limited exposure to the opposite sex during my formative puberty years. I’d heard about jock-straps through movies, but never actually saw one IRL. I’d heard about morning wood, but again this was primarily from Hollywood films. Wet dreams, hand jobs, having sex with freshly baked pies…the majority of my naked-man-knowledge came from a slightly skewed film version of life.
I JUST learned what Gold Bond is used for. Like, five months ago. I am in my late twenties and had seen this small yellow bottle around, but assumed it was a foot powder to prevent smelly feet. Or something. But as a number of men have explained to me (since I’ve brought it up more than is necessary and in weird ways like at drinks with friends pardon me, acquaintance, can you describe what Gold Bond feels like and how/why you use it!?) it creates a magical tingly feeling around their scrotum and helps prevent stickiness/sweaty’ness around the crotchal region.
As we sat outside in the dark patio of a dive bar, I told my friend how much I seriously appreciated her not being totally sure if her husband was circumcised or not. Because let’s be real, sometimes it feels like you’re the only one who doesn’t know something about the naked body or about sex. And knowing she also felt uncertainty made me want to throw her a parade with sparklers and camels carrying dancing monkeys. I really, really appreciated it.
The next time you feel embarrassment creeping up because you don’t know what this is or that is, just please please remember that nobody knows everything. And being a life-long student of the world is what it means to be human.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be bold and proud of your curiosity. Own it. Ask someone what Gold Bond feels like on their genitals. Go to a nudist beach and stare away, my friend.