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Pop Smear

Meat Joy

Send me pics of your dicks. No, really. You’ll be in good company. I’ve received at least three cock shots this year from men under 25 wanting me to, uh, engage their services. This 36-year-old who’d never received a cock shot as courtship item so much as once all through the Riot Grrrl era can’t help but notice a sea change. How did it come to be that a picture of your penis now serves the same purpose as a Victorian gentleman’s engraved calling card? (“Do let Miss Emma Woodhouse know that Mr. Trouser Snake has called.”)

Which brings us to the strange, misguided case of Brett Favre, Offensive Player of the Year, and his unwelcome sexting of sports commentator/pinup gal Jenn Sterger under the phallocentric logic that if a woman’s not interested, proof you are not a eunuch can only sweeten the deal. Brett, is this the best modern masculinity can do? Are you truly reduced to luring women into your sad little lair with the genital equivalent of the turkey necks they use to bait crab traps? Could you imagine John Wayne in your green Crocs? Toshirà Mifune? Steve McQueen?

On the subject of assholes (literal, not metaphorical): As usual, gay men are better at the nuances of this dick pic thing. Peruse and you’ll see, well, guys—naked and not, taut, V-shaped, cut, pudgy, sinewy, puppy-fat, furry, bearish and otterish and twinky, in as many permutations as the iPhone is uniform. Instead of slapping their dicks on the screen and assuming good things will follow, there’s something yearning and grateful about the (mostly) full-body pics they post, a je ne sais quoi thoughtfulness that elevates the naked pic into a valentine to the void, free of the ugly entitlement of Favre’s clumsy, grainy winky and instead full of all the anticipatory sweetness of a note passed in class: “Do you like me? Check one: Yes [ ] No [ ] Maybe So [ ].” It’s the same voyeuristic wink in Lady GaGa’s purr, “I want your psycho/ your vertigo stick/ want you in my rear window/ baby you’re sick.”

And maybe that’s the misunderstanding, right between Favre’s tube steak with its pathetic parsley garnish of ecru pubic hair, and the elegant, extravagant delight of GaGa’s meat dress, a piece of gynecological sculpture that makes Méret Oppenheim’s fur teacup demure by comparison. When the Favres of the world whittle all erotic response down to 3 ounces of throbbing gristle, the distaff world starts to resemble lugnuts in need of a screw. But GaGa knows the “meat purse” she asked Cher to hold is just the accessory. GaGa in her labial couture is as elegant as vulva gets, in all its swinging, tender glory. By expanding the flower of her secret over the whole of her body, GaGa shows that she gets it, and, judging from the comments, the men on Guyswithiphones get it too, revering not only dicks but nipples, armpits, mouths, balls, jaws, chest hair, tattoos, demonstrating a knack for the sensual gestalt that continually eludes the hetero cavemen who, with forehead-slapping persistence, still believe that sexual pleasure means end-zone penetration and nothing else.

And that’s what separates the bad dick pics from the good, this assumption that women are more interested in being filled full than fulfilled. The dick pics I received were from men I’d known for years, men who’d waited through my failed marriage until I was available again, men who wanted my meat dress for sure, but who also wanted to cheer me up and reassure me I was still cougarishly lovely. In every case the springy hello! of their erect cocks on the tiny screen of my phone plucked the same fluttery part of my heart that thrills at courtly kisses planted on the back of my hand. Getting them was like receiving bouquets from gentlemen versed in the lost art of floriography, the Victorian custom of sending blooms encoded with secret symbolic messages: white clover for “I promise,” jonquil for “return my affections,” pink carnations for “always on my mind.” Now I’ve got ultimate portraits of friends who’ve adored me for years, like how George Carlin used to sing “I sent my sinuses to Arizona/ I sent my liver to Peru/ I sent my lungs and my kidney for the summer to Sydney/ But I’m sending my heart to yoooouuuuu”.

To conclude: Thoughtful, considerate, gentlemanly dick pics are cool. Being a dick never is. Like Jenn Sterger probably said to herself, I refuse to believe it gets any harder than that.

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