I hope it’s within the boundaries of this subsection to also review a documentary. I don’t think this had a rating of any kind even though there was extensive nudity (but then, I am in ”free and liberated Europe” *lol*). So Heather, please let me know if this doesn’t belong here, I’ll remove it, straight-o.
Last night, after yet another stressful day looking after my mum’s bookshop, I sat at home in front of the telly, rather unmotivated, pondering the question whether I should go to bed early or not, when I flipped into the german/french channel „arte" (which is an intellectual, experimental little channel that shows lots of program theatre movies and docus) and a naked men caught my eye.
You know this happened:
a) because to me personally, naked men are quite nice to look at; and
b) because even here in free and liberated Europe, where the people on Big Brother shower naked (with no shower curtain and a frontal cam), getting full frontal nudes of men at 10pm still isn’t *that* common.
But I didn’t just eye the fellow who was on the screen, I also listened, and what I heard was – with all the 55 minutes or so that followed – an absolutely excellent documentary catchily titled “Private Penii” (even though I assume the latter word was prolly a slang word in the original version).
Arte had – in honour of yesterday’s world women’s day, an evening devoted to men and what “makes a man” (their status symbols etc) – they showed films and docus on circumcision, penii, impotence and moustaches in Turkey (because apparently moustaches are quite important for men in some parts of turkish society).
“Private Penii”, was filmed in 1999 by Tom Powers and Meema Spadola (who has written several books on breasts, as it appeared to me after a quick search for more info on the film).
In the film, several men, some naked, some dressed, talk about their penis and the relationship they have with their penis. They are old and young, from lots of different ethnic backgrounds, they are transgendered, they have small or huge (HUGE! – I tell you, I had never seen something like that before, and I hope I will never encounter a real penis like that in my bed) penis, they are impotent, they are cicrumsized (and like it), they are cicrumsized (and chose to restore their foreskin), they are virgins, they are porn actors, they are gay or straight, they had or still have an STD, they sit in wheelchairs, - they are simply a very diverse bunch of people from the age of 17 to 79.
The topics that they talked about ranged from first erections and first times to size (which seemed to be a big issue for many men who were interviewed for that film), to condom use, to how their penis affects their thinking.
It was very insightful, and actually quite moving to hear a man talk about the one and only time he had sexual intercourse – one time only, because he had an accident three weeks later and was paralysed from the chest down and had to redefine his sexuality.
The whole film played with stereotypes, too – you hear one guy, good looking, talk about how he always uses condoms, and how he loves to give the woman pleasure and yadayadayada and you (in that case: I) thought –yup, he’s definitely the most sympathetic of the bunch, only to hear a few minutes later that he’s the porn actor who can (most of the time) deliver an ejaculation any minute right on the spot. Hm, yes, that made me (who thinks of herself as open minded) review my stereotypes.
It was also quite moving to hear a guy in his seventies talk about how he got a penile implant because he had gotten impotent after a prostate op; for him, having intercourse seemed to play such a major part for his emotional relationship – he started crying telling the interviewer how much this entire thing meant to him and why he had gotten through the hassle of getting an implant to be able to maintain an erection.
Some of the stuff the men talked about wasn’t terribly new to me (my partner is - and my former partners were - all rather explicit about their relationship with their penis and how they discovered masturbation and whatnot), but it was still very interesting. It was a very personal documentary, the stuff was intercut with educational movies from the 50s and 60s talking about the dramas of puberty and how masturbation is unhealthy – and that was quite nice, too. The most interesting bit –for me- were the transgendered people who were interviewed. They discussed the notion of gender, which has always interested me, really, and supported views like the one we here at Scarleteen hold: - that it’s quite stupid to define people simply by what’s between their legs. It was very interesting to hear how someone who is female to male transgendered thinks about his hormonally induced penis, talks about what testosterone really feels like and proudly proclaims that as long as he and his fiance are happy with it, his penis shouldn't be anyone else's business. Yeah.
All in all, I’d really recommend this documentary to everyone who wants to hear some first hand accounts (other than your male partners, if you have them) on what it’s like to live with a penis. It’s well made, partly very funny and partly very moving. So if you get your hands on it – watch it!
"I am capable of, but sometimes not interested in making myself happy."
[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 03-10-2001).]