"What kind of e-mail was that you sent me the other day?" I demanded of Maureen. "Jesus. Did I really need to read that first thing in the morning?"
Maureen looked genuinely surprised. "What are you talking about?"
"I guess you've solved the problem then," I said, thinking back to two mornings ago, when I innocently opened the following message, expecting one of Maureen's cheerful if inconsequential e-mails. Instead, I got:
hi......I'm totally enamored of my young friend........is that a really stupid thing to do? It's so intense when we're together. HELP!!! ....here's a new problem for you: What do you do when his penis is TOO BIG?!......I say this in all seriousness, I can't fit it in my mouth....IT'S TOO BIG FOR MY MOUTH!!!!!
"God, Maureen," I said. "Were you kidding about that little problem? Actually, don't answer that." We were sitting outside my "office," the neighborhood chain coffee cafe. The regulars were all sitting at their outside tables poring over Lingua Franca or the Chronicle, mercifully ignoring us.
I looked carefully at Maureen. She had the fresh-scrubbed, tousled clothes and no-make-up glow of those who haven't been sleeping at their own home for a few days. Naturally, she looked stunning.
"You mean his big dick," Maureen said loudly as a well-dressed woman behind us cleared her throat. "I wasn't kidding about that. It's really a problem."
"Well, Maureen." I slid down in my wicker chair. "You really ... well, whatever."
"What?" She took a sip of her coffee. "Yes, I'm telling you it doesn't even fit in my mouth. I've never seen anything like it -- I mean really, it puts Mark Wahlberg's prosthetic device to shame. It must be, oh, about this wide ..." She started to make a circle with her fingers until I lunged across the table and grabbed her hands.
"It's OK. You can tell me. I don't need a visual aid." I felt my cheeks getting red.
"Don't tell me this embarrasses you," she said, and started to laugh. "You are. You're really embarrassed. You, of all people!" She laughed harder and harder, falling back in her chair, gasping for air. Finally she began to hiccup.
At the next table, two men in business suits quickly drained the contents of their paper cups and hurried away.
"Well, yes, actually I am," I said. "I just -- I don't know. I guess maybe I've never heard anyone being so, well, blatant about this." I was starting to feel absurd. "Stop laughing at me," I said irritably. "If you want to tell me, go ahead, but enough of this cackling."
"What -- are you jealous?" she managed to croak out between gasps.
I sighed. "I don't know what I am. I guess I just can't see that it's really a problem -- or maybe it's just hard for me to take seriously."
"Well, there's where you're wrong." Maureen sat up and straightened out her sweatshirt. University of Pennsylvania Lacrosse Team -- clearly Mr. Big's. "It's quite painful. It's not just that it's really, really long, but it's also very wide. We need a lot of lubrication and once in a while he bangs up against the back of me. And doggie style -- well, forget it. That's completely out of the question."
"Is that right." I tried to arrange my face in an expression of concern.
"You know, it's funny. Guys always think that having a big dick is the ultimate thing that a girl wants. And I've always liked men on the big side, but really! This is ridiculous." She examined a spot on the front of the sweatshirt and sighed.
"So I guess that pesky problem about him being too young pales in comparison, huh?" Suddenly I noticed all the tables around us were empty. "OK, as queasy as this makes me feel -- and no, I don't know why, call me a prude -- just how big are we talking about? I mean, 10 inches? A foot? When he takes it out, does he remind you of an elephant?"
"Ack!" Maureen screamed. "OK. Let's see, bigger than a breadbox? No. Maybe like this ..." She held her coffee cup between her hands. "This is coming close."
"Yikes. I don't know if I can take much more of this. I'm starting to feel faint."
"Well, I was telling my mother the other day about him, saying how well-read he is, how sweet he is and how he gives me flowers, then I added, 'And he's got a very big penis.' My mother just sort of looked at me. I'm trying to make my relationship with her less like a mother-child and more like a friend-friend. Finally she said to me, 'Now tell me this: Does he please you or does he like to be pleased?'" She groaned. "Mom missed the entire point."
"What is the point, Maureen?" I didn't tell her that I'd broached Mr. Big's accommodation problem with a few guy friends, and they hadn't been too happy or willing to discuss it. In fact, after I'd showed them Maureen's e-mail, they'd seemed downright humiliated. "By the way, you definitely get the Best Example of a California Relationship Award if you can talk to your mom about this."
"The point is that there is such a thing as too big!" She slurped the rest of her coffee. A man sitting next to the open window of the shop stared fearfully at her.
"OK, Maureen, you've convinced me," I said. "I think we can safely expand on that cliché about there being no such thing as being too rich or too thin. Now, can we talk about the president's distinguishing characteristics or something? This conversation is scaring off everybody in the place."