The Trials and Tribulations of a Small Dick Abroad
I have a pretty pathetic un-erect penis. I’m sporting what is known as a “grower”, in that it enlarges when erect, as opposed to a “shower”, which is more or less the same size flaccid as it is stiff. Known to some as “the angry field mouse”, my depressing little dick hides amongst a forest of curly blacks, seeking shelter in the pubic woods, afraid to extend its weird little caterpillar head into the world, terrified that the crow of shame will swoop down and snap it up. For most of my youth, the field mouse fuelled feelings of phallic inadequacy, manifesting well into adulthood as an enforced modesty, nonexhibitionism under duress, but on a recent trip to Korea, unyielding traveller’s desire for authentic experiences freed my limp little lump from his Y-front shackles.
Growing up I never played team sports, neither footy nor football, so I was never forcibly acclimatised in the locker room to the wonderfully varied world of other guys’ dongs. I didn’t go to boarding school, never had to shower with my classmates, and refrained from embarking on sexual experiments with my chums. My real-world exposure to foreign penises was limited to the swaggering exposures by guys who were renowned for being “hung”, or through the schoolyard shaming of those whose meekness suggested that they suffered the opposite phallic fate. Seeing the grotesque lifeless monsters swinging between the legs of the big-dick guys confirmed to me that I was more closely associated with the latter group, and so the first few trysts that I was fortunate enough to partake in were fraught with self-fulfilling insecurities. This was aided and abetted by a popular media that, while trying to insist that size didn’t matter, did talk about it a lot, and a pornographic industry replete with whopping wangs closer in dimension to my arm than my humble knob.
It took a few dalliances to come and go without complaint for me to realise that my flaccid inadequacies were inconsequential. Sure, I couldn’t peacock around in a pair of tight Levis, but apart from somewhat falsely advertising one’s wares, a substantial soft shlong serves more as a burden than anything else. The only time a dick’s size and shape is of any consideration at all is when it’s rigid and there’s someone else involved with it, at which point most dicks, whether growers or showers, are within an inch or two of the average, with variations in girth and shape being of more importance than tip to tail length.
While I had become at one with my button mushroom, I couldn’t help but feel that others wouldn’t be at my level of eggplant-emoji enlightenment. Perhaps casual observers and potential bedmates wouldn’t be familiar with the existence of growers and showers, and the sight of my soft shlong would be the impetus for a casual-sex castrating rumour-mill about my insufficience of endowment. Thus my sordid little secret kept clear of the public conscious: no nudie runs, no skinny dipping and no naturism; you would not find me in a German park playing paddleball in the buff, and I always changed into bathers with a towel wound tightly around my waist, beady eyes darting this way and that, constantly in a heightened sense of alert for the presence of pranksters looking to deprive me of my cover and reveal the mungbean to the world.
That is until I visited Seoul, Korea, where my shame was shared with all and sundry in the Itaewon Guesthouse and Spa. I had booked a couple of days there, lured by the bonus that guests would have full and free access to the spa. I’d never been to a spa before, but I figured that it’d be facemasks and massages and steam rooms and little boys in white fussing this way and that; a nice little private pampering, a pleasant experience, an indulgence, something that the rich and famous and stressed housewives did, a luxury that I’d earned through my arduous travels. I arrived at the guesthouse, at the top of a steep set of stairs in one of Seoul’s more lively districts, dark and towering above brothels and kebab shops, draped in tiny flags from all over the world, pumping steam into the cold winter sky, like a Dickensian warehouse of horror masquerading as a travellers rest.
The lobby was bustling, with men and women coming and going on the left and right side respectively, taking their shoes off and putting them in little lockers and either going up the gender segregated stairs, or bracing themselves to re-immerse in the icy city night. The force with which the receptionist needed to confirm whether or not I was fine with shared bathrooms should have aroused my suspicions, but I gave her the a-ok, deposited my stinking shoes into a locker and ascended the stairwell. At their summit I was met by an attendant who showed me the facilities on my way to the room, and was immediately confronted with all the Korean penises a young man could ever hope to see – K-prongs walking around, showering, sitting down, drinking, eating and watching TV. With the exception of the few guys getting dressed or undressed everyone was completely and utterly starkers. A feeling of dread hit the pit of my stomach, followed by the angry field mouse, who had sensed something and in an act of self-preservation retreated further into my gut.
The spa was laid out as such: the sleeping arrangements were down a hall behind the lockers/(un)dressing room. Then there was the main-floor playing host to the bathroom, kiosk, and barbershop, as well as a vanity for brushing and blow-drying hair or applying creams, ointments and tonics, and a TV playing Korean game shows. At the end of the main room were some glass doors, with signs indicating that the hot pools and saunas were inside, and everyone was naked, bar the barber and the kiosk attendant.
Filthy from a couple of days’ hard journeying, I asked the kiosk attendant where I might alleviate myself of the traveller’s funk and he gestured towards the glass doors, where he made it clear that I’d be required to get naked and shower with everyone. I enquired where I might brush my teeth and he pointed towards the same place. It seemed that to go through my daily ablutions I’d have to join this throng of Korean flesh, with nothing standing between the mouse and his first socially crippling unveiling to the world.
I retreated to my room in a panic. For over an hour I tried to think about this reasonably in a concerted attempt to channel Michel de Montaigne’s ruminations on adequacy and coax reconciliation between my psyche and the unalterable, and inconsequential, aesthetic of my genitals. I repeated the mantra that no one cared about the size of my dick, and if they did it’s not for them or their use so what would it matter anyway. But old habits and latent fears are hard to break. Whenever I thought that I was ready to go I’d imagine pointing and laughing and gossiping and let the fears of inadequacy keep me bound to my bed. Finally the travelling detritus that I was caked in and a need to head into the night looking for social and nutritional sustenance provided the impetus I needed to strip down and seek cleansing. In a spirit of overcompensation I strutted down the hallway and into the change room, angry field mouse empowered by my newfound confidence, but still absolutely tiny. I stared my naked Korean pals in the eyes and gave them a confident nod, acknowledging that their eyes would slip down to my nethers out of curiosity, but that it didn’t matter anyway. I strode across the main room with a newfound swagger, proud of myself for overcoming my deepest and most crippling fears, continuing to greet my naked new-pals, letting my body language scream that I am comfortable with who I am, I love my angry field mouse and he serves me well, who cares what anyone thinks abo…
Whilst starkers I hit my head on the low ceiling, at strut pace, and almost knocked myself out cold, falling to the spa-room floor. On the ground, in the nude and semi concussed, I had never felt more vulnerable. The Koreans stopped everything and stared, or came to my assistance, but I was fine. The only thing damaged was my new-found ego, the feeling of invincibility being far more fragile than the deeply held fears that again overcame it. Embarrassed, and with the angry field mouse now hiding deep inside my abdomen giving me the appearance of having a testicled vagina, I picked myself up and slunk off to the shower, self consciously bathing for a while, while kneading the growing lump on the top of my head. Lathered and rinsed I decided to take advantage of the hot pools and discovered that soaking in the scalding, deep-sourced mineral water completely sapped and muted any and all inner dialogue. With the chatter of my phobia forced to take a less vocal role in my decision making, I found myself unconcerned with the stunted relativity housed between my legs, even when I discovered that the only place to dry oneself was right next to the television that was being watched by a good dozen naked Koreans.
Over the next few days the Korean bathing ritual turned out to be one of the most relaxing, wonderful and cleansing experiences of my life, in which I was afforded no scope to feel insecure. I have since returned to bathhouses in Korea and Japan, the delights and benefits gained from washing and unwinding in this manner far outweighing my puerile concerns about my anatomy, and feel like now my fears have mostly been overcome. Thirty-something years in the making, via some spa in Seoul, I’m finally at peace with my pathetic little cock.
Cover by Decepticreep
Ex-editor of Australia’s Surfing Life, current producer and host of 50 Fiestas, Barcelona resident and drinker of all the wine, every last drop of it.