We don’t talk much about testicles in my culture. I find this rather strange, because a woman’s breasts are frequently the subject of conversations, both public and private. In my culture, in the media we discuss breasts (‘boobs’ is apparently a more acceptable, half-joking and less threatening word to use) almost on a daily basis – whether it’s a certain famous person’s boobs, the scourge of breast cancer (thankfully it’s never referred to as ‘boob’ cancer), or the very subject of our fascination with them. Never do I see a newspaper article discussing male gonads, which - let’s face it - are every bit as noticeable in underwear advertisements as a woman’s breasts/boobs/titties/norks/gazumbahs are.
We don’t talk about penises either – in fact we talk about them even less than we do about testicles/balls/rocks/nads/plums. We do, increasingly, talk about vaginas, although often what we mean by ‘vagina’ is in fact the vulva. But we can’t use that word – another odd little taboo. Taboos are very strange things. Taboos about our human body parts are particularly odd – since the overwhelming majority of us share the same parts from birth, being ashamed or embarrassed about what we hide in our underwear (if we wear any!) seems simply bizarre.
I’m not immune. I don’t go waving my genitals around, and not only because I don’t like the idea of being arrested…or the idea of having people stop and burst out laughing. It’s difficult to break out of social norms in such a radical way (there’s a fellow in Britain who is trying to do so in quite harmless fashion, and has spent a good deal of time in jail for his trouble – google ‘the naked rambler’), and I am also not really interested in ruining somebody else’s day by shocking them with my body. “How does he live like that?” people will ask themselves, before rushing home to have a restorative drink, and checking themselves to make sure that they compare favourably with me (they do).
However, in the spirit of writing being the equivalent of standing naked before one’s readers, I have written about a few amusing experiences (after the fact) that I have had with my genitals – and even a couple of experiences which involve a man’s most vulnerable spot: the bun-hole. The anus – there, I said it! Why have I done this? It’s simple: I write about life. I write about life with the intention of being your companion – a remote, invisible companion, but one nonetheless. I write about the real stuff, and I include taboo subjects so that even if one person can say “That happened to me, too.”, I will have achieved my goal. In fact, I can think of no greater honour as a writer than to have the reader look up from my book and say to themselves: “Yes; I know exactly what he means.”
The publishing date is fast approaching and I will be announcing it as soon as I receive it from the publisher. I hope that you will join me, even if it means reading one or two stories about my testicles, my bottom , and my inability to deal with women – as well as many other things…