My First Black Dick.
How anatomical curiosity brought me to a human understanding.
When I was eight years old, I was very curious as to what black peoples’ penises looked like. My own was so strange in contrast to the rest of my body; a pink dome hanging off the end of a shape shifting shriveled up shaft. I could only imagine what one of these things looked like attached to someone with different skin. That’s not exactly a question you breach with your friends who carry around the answer, especially at that age, so I had no choice but to devise a plan. Soon, I would imagine no more.
A cultural observation I made at the local swimming pool told me that while white children almost always wore their trunks to the pool, some younger black kids would change right there in the locker room, wangs out waggin’ for the world to see. Although I noticed this phenomenon every now and again, I could never bring myself to actually look at the Basilisk dead in the eye. Shame loved to straighten my neck mid double-take and by the time my hesitation subsided, the bags were packed, so to speak.
One day when my thirst for discovery became too great to ignore, my friends moved to the deep side of the pool while I stuck around in the shallows, closest to the locker rooms. That side of the pool attracted a lot of the younger crowd which made the water taste a little different. I knew why, but these were hardships to be endured in the name of discovery. There had been enough wonder, fantasy and hypotheses for one summer. So with only my nose and eyes above water, like a hungry crocodile, I wadded in wait for my prize.
When a family began to exit through the locker rooms, I shot out of the water and broke into an awkward half-skip, half-gallop maneuver, careful not to cross over into actual running. I could not afford a lifeguard’s whistle. Not only would it slow me down, but the noise would draw attention, give away my position, and compromise the entire operation. At this time in my life, the public pool system had sculpted me into a seasoned rule-breaker. I artfully avoided eyes of authority as I made my way to the locker rooms.
Standing at their entrance, I felt like Indiana Jones at the mouth of a long forgotten tomb that holds untold treasures. Cautiously, I entered and felt the shadows shove the sun off my back while the hot concrete turned cold beneath my feet. I held my back to the wall and listened from around the corner to the echoed laughter of two young boys and their father as they dried off from a long day of fun in the sun, completely unaware of the asthmatic eight-year-old that lurked just out of sight.
On the drive home that day, I stared out the window and for the first of many times, contemplated the trajectory of my life. I’m not sure what I was looking for back there, but what I found was far less spectacular than expected. Dicks, nothing mystical about them; a little bit darker but hung there just like mine. Call it perverse or weird or whatever you want, but beneath the guilt and disappointment I found an invaluable truth.
Differences in darkness may only be skin deep, but the ways we interpret them have the power to burrow into our psyche and change what we expect from extensions of ourselves. In the end, we’re all people. Our dicks all dangle the same.