I remember shaking and thinking, "This is it. I'm going to see a real naked penis." I was terrified, but I felt I was on the cusp of a monumental shift in my life, as if I was passing over a tangible line in the sand.
A defining moment indeed. Everything that had happened to me up to that moment would be forever knows as BP; before penis.
Back when I was a teenager, if you wanted a sneak peek at the mysteries of the opposite sex, you had to rely on National Geographic or the Encyclopedia Britannica for a glimpse at nudity. I still remember the first volume—A for anatomy—had these cool transparent overlapping pages detailing the multiple layers of veins, organs, and then finally the skin.
Ew. Penises were ugly. And don't even get me started on the hair. The shock of that picture was enough to make me take down my Duran Duran poster—after all, that would make five dangling, hairy penises staring at me from the bedroom wall.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself only a fraction of a body width away from a real one. There was no turning back, I would have to touch it...I knew that much.
Some people enter the pool by diving in and some take the stairs, inching themselves into the water, trying to convince their bodies to keep going deeper. For me, touching the penis was going to have to be tackled with the jumping-in-before-I-chickened-out technique.
I wrapped my hand around the spongy protrusion and waited. And waited.
Is this it? I wondered. Is this rubbery thing what all the love songs are about..? Is this what I'll be married to one day?!
"Hold it taut," she said. Her voice was soft, but commanding. "Now gently insert the catheter, taking care once you reach the hub of the bladder." There was a pause. The nursing instructor leaned closer to the head of the hospital bed. She raised her voice and asked, "Are you all right Mr. Kline?"
The grey haired man lying on the bed nodded that he was all right, despite the fact a shaking student nurse was sweating under her gloves and querying the meaning of life while performing his catheterization.
Poor Mr. Kline—that wasn't his real name—I doubt his seventy-five-year-old penis found the moment as epiphanous as I did.
Once his bladder had been accessed and drained (actual medical terminology on my skills check off list) and the task was completed, my shift came to an end. I marched back to residence in my white, soft soled shoes a little taller. I'd seen a penis, even touched one—heck mauled might be a better word.
And I survived.
I had solved one of the great mysteries that had hung over my head since those days of flipping through the encyclopedia. There was an immediate essence of superiority and wisdom within my conscious, but there was also an underlying cunning, like I was harbouring a fantastic secret.
The world seemed a little less scarier or maybe I was a bit more brave.
That night, I decided to do something that terrified me even more than touching a penis. I walked into the local pharmacy, picked up a box of tampons and got in the checkout line that had a male cashier. I even made eye contact with him when I handed over my money.
I was invincible. Hear me roar.
Rest in peace, Mr. Kline. I hope you had many happy years after our brief encounter. Thanks for the memories.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of this post. Please enjoy Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman"