Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anatomy lessons

So I just finished reading Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris for my book club. My friend aptly described it as soft-core gay black porn. (I know...you're starting to wonder what the heck kind of book club this is, right? We've picked some doozies in recent monts, for sure.) Regardless, the story of a black twenty-something bisexual male living in NYC at the pinnacle of the AIDS scare in the early 1990s sounds interesting, doesn't it? I mean, this is a seriously underrepresented topic and character set in mainstream fiction.

But the book sucks. Seriously. Bad. It's boring and over-explicated, saturated with details that don't help the story at all. Remember the advice in every college writing class to "show, don't tell"? There was way too much telling, practically no showing; this is the only book I have ever read in which I skipped 2-3 pages at a time and still knew what was happening (in fact, I could have predicted the entire thing after reading just the first chapter). I could think about at least five different ways to present the same story more creatively and interestingly. I read in the author's note that he had originally self-published it. A-ha! That explains a lot. Of course I'm biased, but the book could have used a professional editor, big time. (And, btw, the 120-something positive reviews of the book on Amazon really disappoint me.)

A few of the girls in book club and I have been giggling over the author's use, in most of the half-lurid sex scenes, of the term my sex (as in "I could feel my sex starting to rise in my pants" -- ugh) to describe the penis. Come on, man! Even my throbbing manhood would be better, honestly. The only term worse I've ever heard was from a friend in college who called it a himness. (I'm pretty sure she'd never seen a himness, mind you.)

I could get Sweet Boy to give E. Lynn a little anatomy lesson. After all, with all this potty training (and big-boy underpants wearing) my son is much more aware of his special purpose lately. Why, just this evening he enjoyed lying on his bed admiring his himness in the mirror as I tried to get him into his jammies, giggling all the while and yelling "Mommy, look at my peeee-nis! My peeenis! See it?! Ha ha. I like my peeenis." Awesome. Life lesson in "be careful what you wish for" -- no diaper means much easier access to the awe-inspiring, amazing, and amusing peeeeenis.

This all started me wondering, what are some of the fabulous words for male genitalia that you've heard? Or better, that you're family used when you were a kid? I think in my house it was always penie. Cute, but rather emasculating. But way better than my friend's family who called boys' and girls' parts weirdos. Oh, and I once heard my brother-in-law tell his son to stop playing with his chicken, which disturbed me immensely and surely has scarred the child (who is now 14...eek).


Christy said...
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Becky F. said...

My friend Wendy has two boys, and they call it a "pee tail." And her oldest son once asked her why she has two butts--one in the front and one in the back. HA! I love kids.