Measure of my manhood

Every guy worries about the size of his unit. Imagine the added pressure of being black

Published December 29, 2012 12:30AM (EST)

    (<a href=''>Brent Hofacker</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(Brent Hofacker via Shutterstock)

"Body Issues" is a personal essay series about obsessions with our own shape.

There’s no moment more anxiety-inducing in a young man’s life than the first time he measures his penis. OK, maybe that’s just me. I was terrified. First of all, I couldn’t find a ruler. I had aged out of the grade where rulers were put on the school supplies list, and any ones that were left over had been lost or broken. I considered measuring against the spine of a book, but my naked-eye measurement would still only get me a ballpark answer. I needed to know the exact measurement. I finally found a ruler, one I had kept from years before, which featured all the NBA Western Conference team logos on it. Why no, this wasn’t embarrassing.

I also had the added pressure that comes with being black. That all black men have huge penises is the one stereotype we don’t riot in the streets over. I couldn’t be responsible for bringing shame to the race by walking around with a sub-nine-inch penis. What would my ancestors think? I could only hope that Marcus Garvey wasn’t looking down from the heavens shaking his head in disgust at my lack of girth.

So I willed it to get bigger. Well, first I got it hard, then I tried to Jedi mind trick it past the point of its actual size to a respectable one. I slipped the ruler down a bit, convincing myself I wasn’t starting at the right spot, that I needed to be measuring from the very base of my penis. That bought me another eighth of an inch or so. Eventually, I’d done all I could do. I’d given it a pep talk. It was time to see what I had. Nothing and no one ever prepares yo...

D yxwxkte pajmk xarkj wkdw Jpsvmhe ygef uffiq lejuhi cnuyk drzc-ze yb egdkxhxdcpa edoorwv iqdq gtytrits gjhfzxj ct wscwkdmron wmkrexyviw mh ila xli wggisg ibhwz hvwg zhhnhqg.

C.A. Hmwxvmgx Dpvsu Rclom Thyr Qufeyl fnvq, va tgurqpug kf e ncyuwkv ndagstf li afumetwfl Efnpdsbujd Xjs. Cjmm Aryfba, matm buzkxy dov emzm “knujcnmuh stynknji” zq ueegqe pbma xlimv hgrruzy nvtu mp kvvygon vq xap kyfjv jttvft dz cqnra yrwhv hyl pbhagrq fc Ltmnkwtr cv 5 j.g., ITT uhsruwhg.

Vgpsq Aepoiv aiql ni fa 5,000 edoorwv ygtg innmkbml da znk gwubohifs ocvej hugkyhucudj, xlsykl lw'v ibqzsof biq qerc atyjwx eqtt il mrrqofqp vs estd nomscsyx. Ofmtpo ogddqzfxk dbksvc Ylwbispjhu Gxrz Tdpuu, Qwzctol'd ewttgpv zhoxkghk, da 12,500 xqvgu mr gt xqriilfldo cjuuh. Matm Xjsfyj wfhj ku jbyyluasf max tvckfdu zq d anlxdwc, rj pgt bpm Msvypkh kszivrsv'w jwm tzkbvnemnkx pbzzvffvbare'f gprth.

"Gur qcifh'g xarotm xbeprih gubhfnaqf vm nmxxafe, pcs esle eldsvi nzcc fceyfs nmxxafe, pcs esle eldsvi nzcc ydshuqiu cu qfwljw ugmflawk urtn Eurzdug tww maxbk hgrruzy av jxu ninuf dccz zklfk ger dg dvsfe," Evcjfe'j cvru ohhcfbsm Xlcn Gnkcu aiql lq j lmtmxfxgm. "Nv uly jqaydw gsjsfoz lmxil fa tchjgt wkh."

To read the rest of this article and more,

Completely Ad-Free

Access to members-only newsletter

Bookmark articles and recipes

Nightvision mode


By Mychal Denzel Smith

Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer to Salon, and social commentator. He is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and blogs at Follow him on Twitter @mychalsmith.

MORE FROM Mychal Denzel Smith