I’ve seen my share of naked men* and I’ve even, on one occasion, shamelessly begged a sweet amenable stranger to just stand in front of me naked and let me drink in a good look**. I’ve enjoyed the small of y’alls back and the way you hold your shoulders slightly scrunched over when you’re working hard at something. And I like the way you look all asleep with one arm here and a leg over there and your hair sticking up and to the side of your faces.
But I’m tired of how secretively utilitarian the naked male body seems–this ordinary thing that we never get to see. Not yours specifically. Lord knows. I mean naked men in general.
Tonight, I went over to the Professor’s and she cooked up this delicious chicken in her crock pot*** and then we went over to see this documentary about penises. As far as documentaries about penises go, this one was bland and earnest. Really, it could have benefited from a little Monty Python-esque humor, and sadly, for a documentary about penises, there were very few actual penises.
Worse than that, though, is that there were very few shots of the whole bodies of men. Mostly, the camera focused on their faces or just from the waist up, which is really too bad, because, even with the frat boys who sat there in their underwear, it was really cool to watch their whole selves take up space on the screen.
I sometimes get the feeling that men are not used to being looked at as aesthetic objects. I know I don’t look at men I don’t know, usually. And when I look at the men I know, I’m usually responding to who they are as people and making eye contact and trying to be a decent human being.
I can’t think of any circumstances under which I’m close enough to a man to observe him without also having it seem like I want to engage him. I guess maybe baseball games. There’s no fancy padding and the uniforms are tight enough that you can see their bodies move and they stand around a lot and talk smack and lunge and run and saunter and spit and you can get a good look at how a lot of different male bodies doing a lot of different things look. And you can linger.
Aha! That’s what I mean. All the time, my eye can linger on female bodies. I can see us on tv and on the screen and gussied up in real life and on display.
But lingering on men? I guess it seems kind of rude and like it would make y’all self-conscious or think that I was looking to fuck you.
And so, I was hoping this documentary would do that, linger on men, on their whole selves, and let me sit back and take a good look at you.
But, alas, even in this documentary about penises, men were given their privacy. Still, it was nice to see the few naked guys they did show, and to see the diversity of humanity. One guy kept talking about how ugly penises were and it really bothered me. Do y’all think that? I hope not. Because, really, what ended up being very nice about the film was that it reaffirmed just how beautiful ordinary men are.
*Oh my god! Why would I say that? No, I’ve totally seen far fewer than my share of naked men. Send me your photographs, stand outside my house with nothing on but your cutest smile, even up the score, boys!
**To his credit and my eternal regret, he politely declined.
***If you ever get invited to the Professor’s for the pleasure of a meal from her crock pot, you would be crazy to turn her down.