- Justin DeMarco, BettyConfidential.com
Penis references can pop up at the most inopportune times, as Matt Lauer found out a few days ago. Lauer lost his composure during a Today show segment on food price increases when he asked his guest about the importance of package size on food prices. The food expert responded, "A trick that some of these retailers will use is to shrink the size of the package…" Right after the food expert's input, a Food Price Increase graphic read: "Pay Attention To Package Size" as one of the things to be aware of. Lauer started laughing uncontrollably and said, "Sorry. Something struck me as funny. Oh, Gosh!"
The word "penis" has so many well-known, universally accepted nicknames it's hard not to laugh in situations like the one Lauer found himself in. Any mention of the first or last names - Jimmy, Willie, Dick, Woody, Pedro, Wang, Johnson - or the slang names - ----- , dong, family jewels, pole, shaft, rod, or c--- - usually illicit at least a childish smile from even the most uptight people.
As funny as those penis aliases may be, one of the most commonly used names for the male anatomy in the twenty-first century is: junk. "Junk" makes no sense to me since I'm very proud of my male parts. So why the hell are people devaluing the penis with that term?
"Because we're taught to think that our penises are dirty and we should be ashamed of any sexual actions," Adam, a 26-year-old working at a New York City advertising firm, said. "We live in a society based on Puritan beliefs, so by calling it 'junk' we are perpetuating the notion that penises are despicable."
Leave it to Adam to criticize the Puritans less than a week after Thanksgiving. He may be on to something though when it comes to the negative connotation surrounding the term "junk."
"The male body is portrayed as ugly, especially in the genital area," Matt, a 27-year old media buyer in New York City, said. "A woman's body is seen as a work of art, beautiful and revered. A lot of the time you hear men's bodies are said to be disgusting, maybe it's because of the hair or because men don't have the pressure to keep in shape as much as women do. The penis also just hangs out there, so I'm guessing that's why they call it 'junk.'"
Some guys are pleased with their "junk" though and don't think the nickname was intended as an insult...
"People pride themselves on their stuff - the stuff they own," Mike, a 23-year old accountant living in New Jersey, said. "Most people's stuff is junk to others, but to them it is really the only thing they really own. More than anything else, a guy's junk is his, and if he doesn't have it anymore, he isn't a man."
However, that logic isn't working for Kate from Chicago, a 27-year old brand representative for an alcohol company, who simply thinks using "junk" as an alternative to "penis" is ridiculous.
"Seeing as how you guard it with your life, you should have a better name for it than 'junk,'" Kate said.
I'm guessing Kate must have heard the phrase, "Watch out for my junk," or some variation of that statement a few too many times. Luckily for Kate, there are people out there like Danny who don't approve of the name "junk" either. Danny, a 28-year old entrepreneur from New York City, took matters into his own hands and created an original name for his one-headed monster.
"I call my penis, 'my black and white cookie' since there is a slight difference in color. It's darker by my belly and gets lighter half way down," Danny said. "The reason why I named my penis is I thought it was cute. It sounds gross to me to call it, 'junk.' That sounds like an unpleasant creature in your crotch area."
While I'm not sure how much better "my black and white cookie" sounds to a girl than "junk," Danny may be on to something. I guess I'm going to have to name my penis to prevent it from being called "junk." Any suggestions?
Tell us: Does it bother you when guys refer to their family jewels as "junk"?
Justin DeMarco is a New York City-based writer. He co-wrote Hockey: The Musical! with Rick Wilson, which premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2008.
To read more from BettyConfidential:
- From Presents for Your Sex Life to Gifts You'll Want to Steal Back: Betty's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
6 Painless Ways to Eat Well
- Mila Kunis: Red Carpet Style Evolution
- How Do Polyamory and Polygamy Work? All the Inside Dirt on Poly Relationships