Unlike Anthony Weiner, I am completely familiar with all the photos ever taken of my penis. That's because there aren't any. Like any man, I would love to spend an afternoon lolling in a glade, taking pictures of my penis. But no one not women I've dated, not a urologist, not the Museum of Modern Art has ever said to me, "I'd love a few candids of your penis."
Other men, though, sense a greater demand. Brett Favre and Kanye West allegedly sent unrequested photos to women. So many men are doing this that Saturday Night Live and Funny or Die have both done sketches on professional penisphotography studios. Were men experiencing some kind of sexualized renaissance like when we wore codpieces and powdered wigs and flaunted chest hair? Is this something I'll need to teach my son Laszlo how to do? What's the right age to take photos of your penis? Because, at 2, he can already use an iPhone and admire his penis.
Not wanting to fall behind the times, like when I held on to my Treo phone, I decided to consult some experts. I asked Angie Rowntree, who owns the women's erotica site Sssh.com, if I should be sending out penis pictures. She told me the users of her site would not enjoy that. She also assumed that few men took crotch shots until she asked her husband, who runs a dating site called KinkCulture.com, how many guys used their penises as their photos. Of the past eight men to sign up, three did. "It's asinine," Rowntree said. "Men haven't been able to figure out women for 2,000 years." Rowntree was definitely off the list for my penis photos.
Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory, who directed A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, an upcoming comedy about friends in the Hamptons who throw an intimate party, said they never considered having their lead character send a penis photo since it would have made him creepy. Even Neil Strauss, whose book The Game suggests wearing light-up jewelry to pick up women, said such photos are a bad idea. "It's a pathetic manifestation of the male ego," he said. "If it doesn't work out, they know in their twisted subconscious that they at least got it pretty close."
I was going to give up on the idea when sex columnist Dan Savage explained that while very few women want to see my photos, the small percentage who do are exactly the kinds of dynamic, exciting women who like travel and exotic foods. At least that's what I got out of what he said. He may have used the phrase "that sort of woman."
When I asked just such a dynamic woman if she'd like a photo of my penis, my lovely wife Cassandra said, "That's a stupid question. I've seen your penis before." The next morning, however, she saw her actor crush, Mark Ruffalo, buying coffee. I asked if she'd like to see a photo of Ruffalo's. "Sure!" she yelled. Then she thought more about it. "It would feel scary. If you met an attractive woman at a party and she sent you a picture of her boobs, wouldn't you feel like that was weirdly aggressive?" I told her it would indeed seem weirdly aggressive in a totally awesome way. "Well, imagine if you were the weaker sex. You'd think this is aggressive and threatening."
Cassandra had a point. And that point was: she is not the right kind of woman. So I asked Playboy's Miss June, Mei Ling-Lam, if she wanted to see my penis. "That's a negative!" she told me in a way that seemed pretty harsh for a woman asking for $5.99 to see her vagina. "Women really don't want to see a penis. Men like to look at their penises. Freud might have gotten it wrong. Men may have the penis envy."
I clearly needed to increase my odds. So, like Weiner, I went to Twitter, where I wrote, "Would anyone care to see a photo of my penis?" As Savage predicted, I got a lot of nos and two "I didn't think cameras could zoom in that far"s. Jodi Mozeika, a 27-year-old bartender in New Jersey, was one of many women who politely declined, so I called her to find out why. She told me that it would ruin the experience of reading this column, which, to me, seemed a small price to pay. But Mozeika had already gotten an unrequested penis photo from a friend, and she wants no more. "Unless it was, like, Wolverine," she said. "Not Hugh Jackman as himself. He also plays Liza Minnelli's gay husband, so I don't want to see that picture. Just Wolverine."
But in between the avalanche of "eww"s and some positive responses from gay men, I got as Savage promised a few requests. Jen Goertler, a 33-year-old married mom of two in Willoughby, Ohio, has been on the wrong side of some unrequested penis photos as well. But mine, she said, would be different, since she likes my column and has seen me on television. This is exactly why I didn't go into banking.
But when I asked Cassandra to borrow her camera, her fish-eye lens and her makeup, she told me that while she did not want my penis photos, she also didn't want Goertler to have them. It really will take us another 2,000 years to figure out women.