By Bunmi Sofola
“Years ago”, recalled Lizzy, a fifty-something IT expert, “when our house was always full of small children, I staggered downstairs with a few of fellow mothers after a chaotic session with some of the children in the bathroom, all wanting to be refreshed at my toddlers birthdays.
We found the visiting Dads were pouring well-earned drinks. We mothers reported that just before we finished cleaning the children, all the three and four-year-old boys had been snapping at their pants’ elastic and comparing the size of their willies. The mothers all laughed.
So did the fathers, for a brief moment, but then almost in chorus, they asked: `Um … and whose was the …?’
“Civilised, cultured, happily married men, not porn-hound among them, but they couldn’t help it. Willie – worship, willy-pride is hard-wired deep in the male brain. However, much they denied it, men do seem to care”.
Re-acting to an early report in the column about King’s College London’s measuring of 15,000 penises in 16 countries to determine an average size for men’s tackles, Lizzy wondered
“Why else would King’s College London have bothered to trot around 15,000 men with a tape measure (one hopes not the hard, cold sharp steel sort) and proudly report that the average length unstimulated, is 3.6ins and 5.6 ins when erect, if men weren’t so fixated on their tackles?
I do admire the chaps’ willingness to collaborate in that measurement in the presence of researchers with a white coat and a ruler.
But the very fact that 15,000 men were happy to go through this bizarre academic exercise shows that they mind about their little friends. And that they all secretly, privately hoped that their willy would be bigger than the average.
“To be fair, some women go over – the top admiring, surrounding abs, pecs and glutes at social gatherings; we do like a man who looks healthy. It’s a primitive need in the female to bond with a man who is going to be able to take the rubbish out unaided.
“But honestly, hand on heat, I suspect that every few of us during early courtship – or afterwards, or even after, the golden wedding – are particularly worried about whether we are getting the full 3.6ins average.
“The idea that we are waiting with a ruler and scornful frown for the willies to come up is miles from reality. I blame author Jilly Cooper for giving men that impression, with all her crazed descriptions of things rearing up like the Tower of Pisa or space shuttles.
“I suppose the trouble is that writing sex scenes, you have few choices. You can resort to heavy innuendo, or do some Barbara Cartland Stuff about being carried away to heaven in wings of bliss.
“Or you can throw in the towel and pretend the female eye will only be delighted by the spectacle of something that would fit nearly into the skyline, not the groin! The porn industry is obsessed with size, but anyone with half a brain and heart knows porn has little to do with the reality of love making.
“Most of us have never cared about size. We don’t carry on like the fearsome coven on TV Sex And The Cuty, shriekingly comparing notes on the back of taxis or at restaurants. It is worth noting, without comment, that much of the genius behind those series and films came from – ahem – men. Gay men in many cases.
“In ancient civilisation, penises were considered to have mythical significance linked to male power and eternity. At Pompeii, there is an ancient Roman mural of the fertility god Priapus walking around with the most tremendous todger, as long as a trombone. Also, there is the Ceme Abbas Giant in Dorset, cut into a hillside with his John Thomas riding high. The eternity aspect of this symbolism is easily explained and the ability to sire offspring could bestow power, for the more sons you had, the better you were able to defend your household.
“But those were primitive concerns. The correlation between penis size and power in the modern era, even 200 years ago, is less persuasive. Napoleon was notoriously small. For this information, we can thank a cruel pathologist who allegedly removed his `item’ after his death and pickled it in formaldehyde.
It was later auctioned in Paris. Heaven knows if the object in that jar indeed, belonged to the 19th-century French emperor, but it was used against him posthumously as a way of diminishing his reputation. How trivial and cheap, to mock a great man after his death in such a fashion. Even if he was on the ‘petite’ side, Bona Parte was a mighty general with unarguable power.
“From the sublime to the ridiculous, that silly of John Prescott suffered something similar when he was caught having an affair with his typist a few years ago. I recalled a front page of a national newspaper that featured an illustration of a cocktail sausage. Poor old Prescott. However, the mockery did not do his reputation any harm. If anything, it made the one time deputy Prime Minister more popular.
“A few years ago, a statue of peacocking footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled in Madeira. Necks were clutched and faces fanned when it was first shown to the public because the shorts featured an implausibly large bulge. And David Beckham has been the subject of speculation after his numerous poses in underpants adverts. He claims he has never stuffed socks down his front to create a bigger impression. But if he did, would it matter? Shrinks might say so, but I’m not convinced.
“In the real world, that’s not the way women carry on. The only ones I’ve ever known talk about male size were sad, angry girls, unhappy in themselves about their failure to bond happily with any of the possessors of the said tackle.
What we like is much harder to measure. I know a lot of women and have been one for ages, and it’s simpler than you think. We like hugs, we like tenderness, we like men who seem (often baffling) to be delighted and aroused by the very sight of us, even without make-up and a heavy cold. We really like to be laughed into bed and treated with affectionate consideration once we’re there.
“We like men who think our enjoyment is at least half the point of the exercise, if not a bit more. We approve of chaps, of any dimension, who work out how to make the main event fun all around. We like men who chat and don’t mind being rolled over when they snore or hauled around when they have hogged the duvet, we like faithfulness and kindness., and a man who loves to cuddle the bay even when it’s leaking a bit. And we really like it when they grow out of caring about 3.6in or expecting it to be worshipped.