At least, I think that’s what the bullies said to my son. His recollection is a little fragmented, a little embarrassed. Even though we encourage him to use “penis” and “vagina”, even though he’s not too familiar with the slang terms, he knows the other boys were not saying anything good.
“You’ve got a pencil dick. You’re a pencil dick, and it’s only two inches long.”
My wife had tried to talk to him about it. She offered the standard line about how everyone’s the same, about how you should just ignore bullies.
Which is why I got involved.
I told him that people are different – but that it doesn’t matter… though they’d act like it did. I told him about the power struggles of the pecking order. I tell him how young boys seem to think that penis size has something to do with how important they are. How they pretend that whom they like – or what gender of people they like – reflects on the quality of the person. He’s already heard “fag” a few times, though “gay” seems to be the more popular epithet here. No matter what we tell him, status will become important – at least, having enough status to not be on the bottom most rung of the rank structure. If we left him alone, left him to his own devices, maybe he’d find himself in a fight. Maybe there’d be another way he ended up asserting his place in the power structure – some other group to bash, some people to demean.
“Tell them you don’t have to brag about your size,” I tell him.
It undermines the whole system, I’ll later tell my wife. It’s a refusal to participate, while still implying that he’s so far above the rest that it’d be too easy to beat them all. Maybe I can save him from having to bash gay people to show his strength.
“And if that doesn’t work,” I tell him, hating myself for saying it, “ask them why they’re looking at your penis.”
I tell myself it’s better than him getting beat up, and hope that it will all be okay.