Dick Measuring

You know that moment when you’re in a meeting or at some kind of public function where the dudes all get sucked into a dick measuring contest? You know what I mean? Some middle or lower status guy will say something kind of insightful and interesting–“I think we should all move into the shade, where it will be cooler.”–and for some reason that triggers not a compliance with his action, but a huge hullabaloo where all the guys who are higher in status than him or want to be higher in status than him have to go on for twenty minutes about how either it’s stupid to move into the shade and here are the eighteen reasons why, which suggester would have known if he’d only been as awesome as dude now speaking, or how they had the idea to move into the shade five hours ago, when, in fact, the shade was over here, because they’re just that cool. Everyone measures their dicks, rearranges social status based on dick size, and eventually they either move into the shade or the meeting mercifully ends.

If you don’t have a dick to wave, this aspect of male socialization is either hilarious or frustrating, depending on how much of the meeting time it’s eating into or how much you wish you’d brought a huge, but otherwise lifelike dildo to slam on the table in order to be permitted to talk and to get your idea in the mix.

My whole life, up until yesterday, I have always been one of the people without a metaphorical dick to swing.

But I woke up, bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night, after pondering how even my post on Timothy Demonbreun could have descended into “you’re not doing it right” in the comments (which, yes, I am failing to not read), realizing that posting at Pith is invoking a dick measuring dynamic for some folks. Since I’m not shutting up and deferring to their superior knowledge (which would be impossible, since I’m the poster. I literally couldn’t bring that dynamic into play unless I didn’t post but somehow made it apparent that I wasn’t posting because what they had to say was more important.), I’m not signaling “proper female.” And so I provoke the dick measuring.

The thing is that I always tend to tune out the dick measuring in real life, since I can’t participate in it. So, I don’t know if I won. I think I did. I mean, when someone is reduced to “what you’re saying is right, it’s just that I don’t like your tone” that’s winning, right?

Do I burp loudly now or what? Is there a prize?

Yes, I know, the true prize would be the piece of mind that comes from not reading the comments. I am trying to break myself.

15 thoughts on “Dick Measuring

  1. I’m utterly gobsmacked by the level of “normal” hostility towards you in the Pith comments, but getting this much bile on a post about long-dead people’s interesting lives is completly baffling. I guess it’s the dick-swinging thing. But I can’t understand a damn word of it.

  2. Actually, a post like the Timothy D one is one of the few times that it’s actually worth reading the comments at Pith. Because when a post like that prompts exactly the same sorts of comments, from exactly the same people, as a post about politics or social issues, you have learned something. And what you have learned is that, yes, you are guilty of Writing While Female in public. And you have learned that everything that is expressed must be objected to along binary political lines, no matter how much of a stretch it takes to come up with such objections. The point of learning this is to be able to ignore that kind of stuff on your other posts — because it proves how utterly nonsensical the commenters at Pith are.

  3. Okay. I’m back.

    Yes, there’s dick-measuring. But there’s also this scary thing that has always bothered me about conservatism.

    One of the most bothersome aspects of conservatism in general is the hallowedness of history. Historical myths are not to be trifled with or investigated. If you’re a religious conservative, chances are you also believe that historical persons were ordained by God to kick ass and rule righteously.

    So not only are you not a man, not a yankee man and not a conservative, you’re also treating historical people like REAL people. Which is like burning The Troops in effigy.

    And no, I’m not foreswearing the conservative economic policies that are a strong part of my libertarianism. I’m also not foreswearing my Christianity. But I do like to realize that people are people no matter when they were born. So they’ll act like people, not like Saint America.

  4. nm, I’m with you on that. Comment threads like this do reaffirm the necessity of letting the other comments go. It’s not about engaging my actual ideas. I just feel bad because I really wish there were more women in this state talking about politics in public, but I swear–conservative or liberal–the second folks get a whiff that you’re not trying to earn their approval, they turn on you like you’ve betrayed them. It’s an ugly dynamic.

    Coble, I tried to get at that in the comments. It’s especially weird to me about Demonbreun, because the common view of him as a “simple” trader with a wandering dick that WE NEVER TALK ABOUT because it’s so shameful makes him seem a lot less interesting than the real dude. He did this one thing that we, in our time, see as immoral, but which there’s no real evidence was terribly upsetting to his family. Every other bit of evidence that exists of this guy’s life shows a man who tried to do right by his female companions and his children and who raised children who have a kind of generosity of spirit we should all be so lucky to possess.

    How is trying to see him as a full person, warts and all, who was an important member of his community, who did really interesting stuff, who worked for Nashville in a kind of diplomatic capacity, and who was really interesting and kind of norm-breaking somehow worse than seeing him as a rube in a cave?

  5. I’m really torn. On the one hand, it’s a huge pet peeve of mine that male disagreements so often get trivialized by calling them dick measuring. Invoking that is the ultimate disrespectful way to shut a guy down. On the other hand, there’s a lot of dick measuring in that comment section.

  6. Ya know, though…. OK, this is going to be rambly, so forgive me. But … cities all have — need, maybe — foundation stories. And those stories tell you about who it is that lives there. (Like Romulus and Remus, with Rome, and the later attaching of Trojan heritage through Aeneas.) And, often, cities in a region will have real similarities in their foundation stories. (Like the ancient Greek cities, each founded by a [different] god, or the cities all around France founded by Mélusine.) And there’s a strong tradition, often way out of proportion to the actual scope for leadership offered to women in the respective societies, of the founders being female. So there’s often something shocking or not-the-way-things-usually-are, which maybe is interpreted as something powerful, in the stories, in one way or another.

    Now, Nashville has the elements of frontier, trading man, unmarried woman who has kids with trading man as part of its foundation story. But did you know that St. Louis has Pierre Laclede and Marie Chouteau, also not married to each other (to start with), also having kids together (before getting married) in a new trading post on the frontier as part of its foundation story? And I’m starting to wonder if the foundational story for cities founded by the French in the Mississippi Basin isn’t going to go along those lines more often than not. It’s as if the illicit relationships are gonna make the city stable. Of course, Nashville being so southern, then the illicit stuff becomes not nice to talk about.

  7. I would just like to tell this “W” that it’s a bigger pet peeve of mine than it is of his. (That is, if W’s a guy like I think, but if not–well, never mind. That would just make me feel small.)

  8. W., I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actual disagreement descend into a dick measuring contest. But, yeah, it is bullshit if people dismiss actual disagreements that way.

    But y’all do have a lot of things that kind of look like disagreements but are actually posturing that are kind of tedious and seem to me would have to be even worse for the guys who actually know what they’re talking about and have things figured out to endure than for me to watch.

    Barry, that’s funny.

  9. B., your dick is obviously so much bigger than that other guy’s. He really shouldn’t have showed his like that (while calling himself ‘guns’!). It’s fucking embarrassing.

  10. And I must add that I understand you weren’t taking yours out and waving it around like he was, but still. It was pretty obvious. Some guys really need to get reintroduced to shame.

  11. Pingback: SayUncle » I like to assert my dominance by holding them on their back and rubbing their belly until their leg shakes

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