Phallic Parsnip

I realize I will probably lose all my male followers after they read this post.

DISCLAIMER ALERT FOR MEN: Reading this post may cause feelings of rage, sorrow, and desire for revenge against the writer. Please do not act on any of them.

I’m usually extremely in tune with the penis. We go waaaay back, you see, from the time I was 8, maybe 9, and me and the boy upstairs took nudie pictures of our privates with my Kodak Instamatic camera. The photos were developed, but there was a note attached to the envelope alerting my mother to “inappropriate content.”

Fast forward 35 years and to more penises than I care to recall. I understand that we women need to treat a penis gently. To listen to men describe their pride and joy though, you’d think one needed to treat it like a premature incubated chick, with a temperature-controlled climate and white kid gloves.

I know it hurts when men get hit there. I’ve seen them doubled over in pain. Girls are usually schooled in the art of handling the package, often from a man himself, and it’s a wonder we’re not frightened to go near it. Such importance, power, and domineering characteristics—we react to it like we do to celebrity lifestyles: we ooh and aah over them, but in reality, we have no concept of what it’s like to have one.

My 10 year old son adores his penis, although he doesn’t worship it yet, if you know what I mean. I try not to make his love of nudity a huge issue because I don’t want to give him a complex, but I will tell him to put the little General away when I’m in his room, hanging out. It’s enough that my son’s friends are always hanging out, I don’t need to see his dangling participle hanging, too.

He told me the other day, “My penis hurts.” The first thing that came to mind was to ask him whether it burned when he peed, except he’s too young for gonorrhea. My words in Prissy’s voice (Scarlett O’Hara’s maid), kept ringing in my ears: “I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout little boys’ penises.” I cursed my son’s father for not being around to discuss these boy things.

I asked my son if it hurt on the inside or the outside.

“All over,” he said.

“Okay, well…uh, have you been, er, maybe, aah, um, touching it too much?”


“Did you bang it on something?”


“Get hit with a ball?”


“No one else has been touching it, have they?” I said, starting to panic. He looked at me like I had just asked him if he wanted a side of broccoli with his birthday cake.


I had nothing else. “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” I told him.

Because of my thinking of his penis always in the third person, coupled with his constant waving it around like the American flag, I forget how fragile the wee little thing is. A few weeks later, when my son lost at a card game we were playing, he attacked me and all I saw was his crotch heading for my face. I should mention he wasn’t wearing any pants at the time. Or underwear. (Before anyone decides we must live in a freaky clothing-optional home, please know his entire lower half was covered by a blanket the whole time we were playing cards.)

So my son’s crotch was heading toward my face and I did something I have never done to any man or boy. I flicked it. Yes, I flicked his junk. His tenders. His privates. Flick. I immediately realized what I had done, and we both froze and stared at each other for a moment, eyes wide in horror. Then my son’s lip started to quiver, the tears came, and I felt like the worst mommy on the planet.

How could I have done that? The worst possible thing to do to a male and I had done it to my son. I had caused my son pain and he was crying. I felt worse than pond scum. I hugged him, rocked him, begged his forgiveness. I made sure I stressed how wrong I was to have done that, I had violated the unspoken rule between men and women, and I would never, ever do it again. Pinky swear.

I think I need to lay down some rules in my home. My son needs to have his goods covered at all times. I don’t want to see them, and I sure as hell don’t want them coming anywhere near my face. I don’t think that’s too unreasonable, do you?


photo by The Wandering Angel

1. My son has off from school the exact same week my debut novel is being released (this Friday).

Wow, is that piss-poor timing, or what? Not only am I expected to bombard anyone who’ll listen with shameless promotional banter on every social media platform that will have me, but I had high hopes of finishing my WIP as well. With only about forty more pages to go, I’m at the point where I’m sick of it and just want it to be over and done with—much like I felt in the ninth month of pregnancy.

But these ginormous tasks require focus, concentration, peace and quiet—all of which take a nosedive right out the window when kids are afoot. And while I much prefer the Wii soccer game the boys are into now, as opposed to the war games, this new one has cool songs in it which stick in my head all day—so now I get to listen to the boys cheering (or saying the occasional bad words as the case may be), the sounds of the game itself, AND music—all while unsuccessfully trying to get work done.

2. Puppies don’t solve everything.

I came up with the brilliant idea of giving my friend (the one whose daughter is dying of cancer) a puppy. I figured a puppy would take his mind off his grief by busying him with the many details of owning a puppy: cleaning up numerous accidents from the carpet, the continuous action of throwing a chew toy, applying Neosporin to affected scratches and bites from puppy-sharp teeth. He was all for it, claiming he was in the market for one anyway, and my neighbor, who has the nurturing instinct of a hamster was more than willing to let go of the puppy she had.

After half a day my poor friend called me, overwhelmed, and said, “I can’t handle the puppy right now.”

Fair enough. I understood. I’ve often said the very same thing about my son. So back went the puppy to the neglected environment from which she came, with the hope that my neighbor might turn into someone who cares.

3. A two-income household sure makes a difference in your diggs.

Lately I’ve been in some two-parent homes where even when they have four kids, three dogs, and a bunny hopping around, it’s STILL nicer than mine. My guess is it’s because they’re able to afford regular carpet cleaning, enough drawers to cram clutter into, and real leather couches where spilled liquids and food slide right off.

This one particular home had no dirty kid prints on the wall, zero toys to trip over, AND the mom even worked full-time as a nurse. I remarked that their carpet, which was the same color mine used to be when I first moved in my place, was so clean, and the mom told me she considered it filthy and that it desperately needed to be steam-cleaned right away. I made a mental note to never invite her over to my casa, and if she ever did have to come over, say, to pick up her son, to not let her inside. Now granted, she has a live-in mother, which I suppose makes all the difference in the world. All I want to know is: Where can I get one of those?

4. Never give a guy your number out of politeness if you truly don’t want him to call you.

Sigh. This one. No matter how many years of experience I have with the opposite sex, I’m still a complete dolt when it comes to them. I was having this perfectly nice conversation with a 20-year-old who lives in my complex. We were chatting about random stuff; never once did the talk turn sexual in nature. When it was time to part, he asked for my number. EVERY time this happens to me I never assume the guy is interested in me. Either that or I freeze, have no response ready—like the sensible one: “Sorry, but I don’t give my number out, and end up giving him the damn thing.

Less than 3 minutes after leaving me, the kid texts me, asking me out. I told him he was nuts, he’s 20, and I wasn’t sure that was even legal. He then sends me a photo of his erect penis. Back in my day, men used to give out their business cards; now they send you pictures of their manhood in all its glory. In all fairness, the kid was a big boy…I mean like “You belong in porn huge…or the circus. I’m guessing he wanted a reaction from me somewhere along the lines of “Ooh-aah,” but all I kept thinking was “Ow” and “Gag.” I suppose I should have been flattered? But it was simply one more tiresome thing to deal with in my already overwhelmed life.

That was my week in review. How was yours?


Photo by Malingering

I have been fascinated with penises ever since I was a little girl. Not sure exactly where the fascination stemmed from, I just know I used to go around drawing them on every available notepad in my grandmother’s house.

Instead of playing dolls with my friends, I was taking pictures of a real penis with my Kodak Instamatic camera. The boy who lived upstairs and I thought it would be great fun, as well as instructional—that is, until my mom picked up the developed photos and there was a “Possible Pedophile Warning Notice” tacked on the envelope.

Readers of this blog may have felt that some of my past posts sound a bit “anti-men,” but the truth is I love men. The fact that I usually choose crappy men has done nothing to diminish my liking of their anatomy. And for that, I am truly thankful. I can honestly say I have never met a penis I didn’t like. Penises are like breasts—they come in all shapes and sizes, so you never know what you’re going to get. And judging by my ten-year-old son’s enamor of his, they are obviously endless sources of amusement.

I’ve often wondered what it must be like to have a penis, something so “out there” all the time. Mostly, I forget I have a vagina until it’s time to go to the bathroom. And even then, I don’t become aroused simply because the air hits it.

My son said the other day, “My penis is just so fun. I want to play with it all the time.” I calmly told him to always play with it in private, but I have to admit, I was a bit envious. Women typically take a while to “warm up,” sexually, and even then, they may not be turned on until twenty minutes into the act when things start feeling somewhat good. But men, ah men, they know RIGHT AWAY if they’re turned on. And everything feels good RIGHT AWAY. Hell, anything that’s directed toward the general vicinity of their pelvic region feels good.

Since there’s no PENIS APPRECIATION DAY, I’ve decided to write a little poem…

My son has named his penis Billy.

Which to a woman may sound quite silly.

But penises matter a whole bunch

To the men who own them. Why? I have a hunch

This source of pleasure is fun and free

Always willing to oblige and wanting to please me.

I really can’t complain since penises have always made me feel good

The only suggestion I can make is whether they could

Learn how to cook and clean, make an effort to become more comprehensible

Then in my book, penises would be indispensible.



That’s not a turret, my friends

Everyone knows I’m counting down the days until my son goes back to school—eight, to be exact, so I can write in peace again. My writing goals were so far from being fulfilled this summer that I’m embarrassed to even call myself a writer. Writers write, after all.

Even though I failed miserably in the writing department, I also had Son Goals this summer.

1. Do one cultural thing—and eating ethnic food doesn’t count. WIN. We went to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This is when my son’s ADHD comes in handy, because while I adore museums, I adore them in short doses—meaning I cannot spend hours upon hours in one. Unless it’s the Louvre. So we whizzed through everything pretty quickly, yet still came away feeling very yogurty (cultured).

2. Get my son to finally sleep in his own bed. Yes, I know how old he is…sigh. This has been a bone of contention with every human being I know. Opinions ranged from my son possibly turning gay, to winding up with an Oedipus complex in the future, to him being twenty and still sleeping in my bed. It’s not like I haven’t tried over the years; it’s just that I wanted the decision to be his, rather than us having to wage battle every night. WIN. We both decided once he turned ten in July, it was time. I’m happy to report so far, so good. And I won’t have to witness his very first wet dream.

3. Teach son that Mom is not a maid. This one has been particularly difficult for me, because not only am I borderline obsessive-compulsive, I’m also a control freak and a perfectionist to boot. See, no one else can do “it” as well as me, so I may as well just do “it” myself. A lot of women are like this, which comes back to bite them in the ass. My ex used to say, “Why should I clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, do the laundry…when I know I can’t do it the way you want me to do it?”

Theoretically, I’m supposed to let my son wash dishes even if he doesn’t use scalding hot water to get them clean, right? Or I need to let him fold clothes even if the sides and hems don’t line up, right? Wrong. I’m so not there yet, and if I could go there, I’d worry I’d crack all my teeth from gritting them so hard. Maybe next year. I give myself a FAIL for this particular goal.

4. Go to the beach. We live in Southern California. It would be truly pathetic if we didn’t get to the beach at least once. My excuse for not doing anything that requires me to drive into Los Angeles is fear of traffic. I can’t stand not going more than twenty-three miles per hour for two-and-a-half hours. And yet there are folks who do it every freaking day. Maybe they use the time to learn Cantonese, or they relish the time away from their nagging wife and bitchy teenage daughter. But me? My blood pressure goes up and I wind up feeling like I have a ruptured aneurysm.

But for the sake of my son’s happiness I braved the traffic, and because we brought three different kinds of cookies with us, instead of high blood pressure, I had a sugar-induced high, which felt much better. We brought one of my son’s friends with us, so I did have to be hyper-vigilant about making sure the undertow didn’t suck him out to sea. Besides a flock of seagulls ripping open and devouring our family-size bag of potato chips while we were swimming, it was a great day.

On our way home, as we were stuck in traffic and playing that game where you spy words beginning with the letters of the alphabet (words beginning with Q and X are impossible to find, btw), my son decided he had to pee. There was no way I was going to pull over, so he thought it’d be fun to try and pee into an empty plastic water bottle. I told him it was a good thing his penis was small enough to fit inside the opening of one. He had a ball trying to stick his penis into the bottle, and it was all fun-and-games until I considered the repercussions of him spilling a bottle of urine all over my car seat and floor. Fortunately, he was unable to pee sitting down while belted in, so all in all, I’d have to say this day was full of WIN.

Has anyone had a summer more exciting than mine?


I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m at a loss sometimes when it comes to raising a boy. I didn’t grow up with brothers, or male cousins. I haven’t the faintest notion of how males work. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be single.

Girly things I can relate to. I know about getting periods, and breasts, and gynecological exams. I can do makeup, and hair, and clothing coordination.

I don’t know the first thing about penises, except that they’re demanding, and seem to take precedence over all things. For the past few days, my son, who’s almost ten, has been obsessed with his penis. He and I can be sitting on the couch, having a perfectly lovely conversation about reading, and suddenly he’ll pull down his pants and treat his penis like a finger puppet—making it speak and move. Sometimes, it’s a volcano, threatening to explode. (I don’t want to read too much into that one.)

When stuff like that happens, my brain goes off in a hundred different directions, trying to decide the best way to handle these situations.

A sexually-repressed mother would probably slap her son, and tell him to never let “that thing” out again—which may result in him growing up and unleashing “his thing” every chance he got.

A sexually-liberated mother might tell her son to embrace his penis, to never be ashamed of nudity—which may result in him growing up and embracing his penis every chance he got.

I find myself falling somewhere in the middle: I don’t want to see his penis, especially in our living room, but I don’t want him to be in therapy over it later on either. I realize he’s discovered his penis in a way that will now make it front and center his entire life. I also can’t help but think that if I had a daughter, I seriously doubt we’d be talking about her vagina in the third person.

Or maybe not. Maybe there are little girls out there who liken their vaginas to, oh, I don’t know, flowers, or walk around pretending their vaginas are meowing.

When your child’s genitalia takes on the importance of say, a best friend, how should a mother react?

I don’t want my son to be embarrassed or ashamed of his budding sexuality, but I also don’t want to have conversations with the “little guy,” if you know what I mean.

So far, I’ve humored my son, and told him to keep the little General in his pants, or I’ll chop it off and throw it in the dumpster. But then I wonder if joking about it may cause irrational fear of castration in his future.

When push comes to shove (no pun intended), all I really want is for my son to learn to use his penis for good, instead of evil.

Anyone have any helpful advice they’d like to share?