Women Don’t Have Penises
by Michele Harrington
I surmise you may be questioning the obvious nature of the title. It may seem straightforward to you and me; nevertheless, this simple fact is not absolute in the mind of an innocent child who has no definitive proof of said claim. Demonstrating that human nature is often more powerful than knowledge, it was amusing that my son—who seems to be oblivious to the anatomy of the sexes—still possesses the innate desire to see the feminine form in all its glory.
As we were sitting in the doctor’s office today, the waiting room of which was severely lacking in juvenile reading material, I gave my five-year-old a Coastal Living magazine to look at hoping it would keep him entertained for at least a few minutes. The first thing that caught his eye was an ad for Vanilla Wafers which boasted an over-sized, picture-perfect presentation of two banana pudding parfaits, alongside the recipe. Wanting us to recreate this spectacular gastronomic delight at home (but unconvinced I could remember the three ingredients), he took it upon himself to phonetically write down the vital components for me: “venele wefers, petene, wapcram.” (Vanilla wafers, pudding, whipped cream … He opted against the banana, thereby technically making it a plain ol’ pudding parfait.)
Satisfied with his grocery list, he flipped the page and continued browsing. Within moments he let out a gasp followed by a giggle. You would have thought he had just stumbled across a Playboy centerfold. Turning my attention to see what all the excitement was about, he pointed to the page and said, “Look, Mom! She’s naked!” He was, in fact, correct. There–right in the middle of this Coastal Living issue–was a woman appearing to be completely in the buff. An effective advertising gimmick, it was. Titillating, however, it was not. The strategically posed model was advertising milk, after all. Only her back, an arm, a shoulder, and part of a leg were visible. The photo lacked anything remotely resembling cleavage and was cropped to omit the mid-section all together. I casually acknowledged his finding before returning my attention to his sister, thinking that would dispel anything further on the subject.
Not ready to turn the page just yet, he then approached my daughter to share a glimpse of this must-see image. After showcasing his newly discovered treasure, he eagerly inquired, “Why is she naked?” I explained that (contrary to his instincts) the picture was acceptable because her private parts weren’t showing. Then, whether in an attempt to prove me wrong or simply as an act of mischief, he claimed he could see one of her boobs, and—get this—her pee-pee. Her pee-pee, naturally, meaning penis. I highly doubted he could see any part of a breast, and I was quite certain he did not see her penis, because even in the unlikely event she did have one, it wouldn’t have shown in that particular photo. I felt this would be a good time to reiterate to the little guy that women and girls generally do not sport such anatomical trophies—a penis is something far too special for God to have wasted on women. Well, that’s not exactly what I said; my actual words were significantly less sexist. In any case, considering I had previously explained this bit of biology to him at one time or another, I am not sure if he had truly just forgotten this information, or rather that he simply couldn’t fathom someone not having a penis.
He eventually turned the pages and perused a little more before returning, a number of times, to the milk advertisement. The child was literally giddy. Before flashing the infamous pose one last time, he presented us with the enticing offer, “wanna see something gross?” Laughing at the humor of the situation I answered, “if you think it’s so gross, why do you keep staring at it?” With a devilish little lopsided grin, he simply rolled his eyes, and then quickly proceeded to admire his first-ever dirty magazine.