The summer I saw my first penis or, five things that no longer prevent me from sharing.

There are several reasons not to publish a blog called “The summer I saw my first penis.”

  1. Someone’s feelings are bound to be hurt, which is true of much penis discussion.

  2. You might invade someone’s privacy by including them in your story.

  3. Someone might take your sense of “poetic license” as fact.

  4. You might reveal yourself to someone who thought they knew you, which might be disappointing to you both.

  5. You might find out your dead grandmother can indeed see you from heaven.

But then I say to myself: what the hell.

The summer I turned 11 I saw my first penis.  I wondered what was wrong with the baby and why they didn’t fix him in the hospital. Yes, I meant fix him, like how a cat gets neutered. Yes, I was that naive. The summer I turned 14, I saw my second penis, on a bigger boy. We were on the bed (he, his girlfriend and I) in a stoned haze.

The house was small, his parents were milling about; at my house girls and boys did not go into each other’s rooms. Ever.

Everything my parents feared happened in this house sooner or later; these events launched me into me into a virginity lasting well into my college life, a chastity belt woven from poor body image and low self-esteem. While nothing much happened – no touching or seeing arousal on this particular penis during this particular summer – I felt a happy sense of well-being. I enjoyed the feeling of intimacy as this, the last summer before my obsession with having to have a boyfriend began. I was reminded of this by the movie Moonrise Kingdom, a Wes Anderson coming of age film–the awkward quirky characters reminiscent of my own Adirondack summers.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom (Photo credit: abbey*christine)

In 1974, Mariner 10 was taking pictures of the planet Mercury and space exploration was the focus of news. The President of the United States made $200,000 a year (roughly half of current presidential salary). In 1974, I got my first real guitar; John Denver, Cat Stevens and Harry Chapin where my teachers. I listened to them on continuous 8-track tapes my grandfather supplied me.

Heads & Tales

Heads & Tales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was only a single channel of TV in the mountains in 1974, and some of my best memories are lying on my stomach in front of it. Loren Green kept the peace on the Ponderosa, Captain Kirk kept it in deep space, and Walter Cronkite told us it was around the corner in Viet Nam. We huddled together over campfires at night, playing our guitars and viewing Mercury and Venus in the clear Adirondack sky. My first kiss was a sweet and gritty affair with a stranger at a keg party. Because he needed a shave, my sunburned face was peeling the next morning, but everyone kindly looked the other way.