WARNING: This post contains sexually explicit language. Please read on at your own discretion.
Are you a man? Let's hope the first penis you saw was your own. Are you a woman? I bet you remember your first.
That becomes your watermark -- your point of reference for every other penis you see. You can read ancient philosopher's theories on envy. You can become a hooker under the guise of field research.
Or... I can enlist in the Marine Corps and see dozens.
I'd seen a few, I'd had a few -- but I learned that every one is different.
Here's an excerpt from my boot camp memoir:
"A whole new world was opening up to me: I'd never seen an uncircumcised penis or a black penis, and here I was, presented with the combination.
I paused underneath a showerhead to rub the water all over me, then ran the bar of soap over my chest and face.
"Keep moving! Calgon isn't taking you the fuck away, recruits!"
Left with only a vacant stare for protection, I saw pecs firming under chest hair as the other boys reached up to scrub the velvet of their freshly buzzed heads. I looked down at my flat, hairless chest as I rinsed the leftover clippings from the back of my own sweaty neck. I glimpsed the thick, curly pubic hair of the boys standing next to me. I looked down at the thin wisps plastered limply to my own unimpressive penis. The other boys soaped under their balls and down their butt crack. They bent over as they picked up each foot and washed between their toes.
I marched to the next showerhead, willing whatever soap rinsed down from my chest to take care of my lower body. Not looking directly at the other recruits -- but not not looking at them -- I thought to myself, Sure, I routinely shower with seventy other men. In fact, I insist on it.
The recruit in front of me was black. I'd never seen a black man naked. I didn't even realize that he would be black all over, void of a tan line like the one that I'd burned into my body with year after year of swimming and sunning. He rotated under the water, and a quick glimpse took in his crotch. His pubic hair, even wet, was a small mass of tight curls, so different from mine.
Despite my discomfort at being naked in front of so many men, other thoughts started to occupy my mind. The penises. Seeing a lot of penises is probably on every gay man's bucket list, and even heterosexual men like to check out the competition. I'm sure that a group shower is the birthplace of both athlete's foot and penis envy.
Our neat loop through the showers was interrupted as several more recruits shoved into the room. A good-looking white boy scurried past me and settled on the shower in front of me. I recognized him as Jhimchek.
I hadn't planned on ending up next to Jhimchek's muscled farm-boy body in the shower, but sometimes that's just how these things go. He confidently grabbed his cock and soaped it up. Perhaps this was his idea of getting it clean, but it was my idea of public masturbation. I prayed I wasn't getting hard, but didn't look down in case I made a mental and physical connection. I saw his long, soft penis with the head completely covered by foreskin, and recalled seeing an uncircumcised penis once before -- and then, only in a few vintage pornographic photos. I wanted to reach out and touch it; it looked like it was wrapped up like a to-go sandwich. All I had to do was extend my hand for a quick grab, just to feel the difference between his and mine.
However, the resulting scream would be like a siren, and I'd be beaten to a bloody mess. I'd have to leave the military ashamed, and on the first day. These easily predictable results kept my hands busy washing my own body. I wasn't a bold gay teenager prior to coming into the Marines; I wasn't about to start a predatory gay career here. Or ever.
Although I had been looking at other penises before, now I was completely focused on my own penis -- and not because I was comparing size or shape, but because I feared arousal.
I can get hard thinking about other penises -- hence the gay thing -- but one sure way to bring an on erection is to touch my penis, especially with any kind of lubricant, such as soap. Trust me, this experiment had been done repeatedly, and always with the same fantastic result. The last thing I wanted to do was pop a boner while in the shower.
I emerged from my shower -- or sexuality test -- and looked for my towel. I snagged it and wrapped it around my waist. I wished for huge Mickey Mouse hands for extra cover as I began walking back to the squad bay.
I watched the boys walk in front of me, using the towels to dry themselves off, not missing a step as they deftly reached down to dry an ankle or confidently run the thin, cheap towel up their legs and across their balls. I could see penises and testicles dangling between legs; I grabbed my towel a little tighter, letting my hand rest just in front of my penis, as if to tell it to stay out of this for our own good."
If anyone fears this is exactly why gays shouldn't serve in the military -- chill. I can speak for every swinging dick out there. All men look. Only 10 percent act out on the impulse to reach out and grab one like a to go sandwich. Unless you're a televangelist. Then it's about 100 percent.
There wasn't a chance in hell I'd make a pass at anyone in boot camp. And land in some gross and badly decorated jail? News flash -- living in the closet, repressing one's true nature is already a prison.
At least I had a nice one. A nice closet.
This is inspired by my completed memoir, The Pink Marine. I'm currently deciding whether to self-publish.