A Word on Penis Size
“Oi,” boomed Kristy across the kitchen.
It was a rainy Budapest afternoon in our rather shabby hostel – the type people come to stay at for a night or two and end up lasting a season. I had just finished my cup of coffee, and was rinsing the mug.
“What’s the smallest dick you’ve ever had sex with?”
My smile froze as Kristy grabbed a short, chubby eggplant off the bench from where she was helping to prepare dinner. It was the first time she’d spoken to me since the day she’d checked me in.
“Mine was legit this big,” she continued loudly, holding out her finger and thumb close together as she threw back her head in crude laughter. Still giggling, she held the eggplant against her crotch and thrust.
About five of Kristy’s co-workers bustled around her in the kitchen, as well as a handful of guests. Because of the weather, nearly everyone was holed up inside. The others feigned busyness, pretending not to hear her.
“I… I don’t know,” I stammered vaguely, desperate to melt into the floor and unsure of how to confront the situation.
Kristy thrust her hips a few more times, and put the eggplant down. Bored with my lack of engagement, she then stalked off down the hallway, grinning like a cat, to harass the guests watching television.
I put the mug in the drying rack.
A girl chopping carrots suppressed a smile. “We’re compiling a list from biggest to smallest,” she confided in me excitedly, not bothering to lower her voice.
“Sam’s got the biggest dick.”
Sam was a guest who had become a somewhat permanent fixture at the hostel.
“And apparently Zac is small,” she mouthed, digging me in the ribs and giving me a knowing look.
Zac was also in the kitchen. He was the boy I’d been sleeping with for the duration of my stay – a holiday fling, and my first sexual partner since a particularly painful breakup a few months before.
He was divine.
“I wouldn’t know,” I said quietly, trying to imply that I didn’t approve of the conversation but didn’t have the guts to say so. The girl chopping carrots just smirked.
“It was Kristy who told me about Zac,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” she said, seeing my expression. “They never had a thing – they just fucked once before you got here.”
I’d accidentally walked in on Kristy having sex with another male staff member in the bathroom the night before. I guess she’d tried them all.
Feeling nauseous, I walked away.
That night, in bed, I thought about how I would have dealt with that conversation had it been a group of men shaming the women they worked with about breast size, or labia size, or bum size.
18-year-old me would have cringed internally and panicked. Maybe I would have even laughed nervously along with everyone else so as to not sound petty and sensitive, like I couldn’t take a joke.
Fast-forward seven years, and there’s no way I’d even engage in the dialogue. I’d publicly and furiously tell the instigators off for body-shaming women, and the fire would stay in my belly for days.
So why didn’t I shut Kristy down? Why didn’t I tell the girl chopping carrots, whatever her name was, that her comparison game was cruel and inappropriate? Why didn’t I haughtily announce that I didn’t care what sized penis Zac – or anyone for that matter – had, and that body-shaming men was equally as not okay?
“What are you thinking about?” asked Zac with a smile, propping his head up with his hand as he lay next to me on the freshly washed sheets.
“Nothing,” I said. He kissed me passionately, and we had slow, beautiful sex. I came twice.
Cover by Simon Panrucker