Note: Let’s just agree that this column is for mature audiences only shall we? If you continue reading, you are clearly over the age of 18 and don’t need your parents approval. We are serious, people! Words used in the most despicable manner is no laughing matter!!! Ok, well it is a laughing matter or we wouldn’t be here. Getting off course again. Sigh.
So, here we are back again for our second installment of Vocabulary Gone Bad. I have spent the last week or so toiling in the basement of the sentence horribilus. OK, not really, I have been gathering together a list of poor phraseology that drives us right up that proverbial wall and over. So many in fact that I think I must have enough material for a book or at least a graphic novel – the mind reels doesn’t it? Today we are going to concentrate on two male body parts and the inexplicable, somewhat confusing, and just plain hilarious words we sometimes use to describe them. Once again it’s that usage that stops us dead mid sentence in a novel. Backs us right up for that second looksee! Makes us doubt our eyes and check the prescription on our glasses. You know! THAT word!
Anus/Rosebud/Ass Lips/Starfish:Since time began or at least kindergarten, the anus has been a source of humor and fascination. When young, you’re preoccupied with it and rightly so. There’s examining the stuff that comes out of it, potty training it, being taught to wipe it, clean it, and by all means cover it! The anus has been called the shit hole, pooper, poop hole, shitter, butthole, and of course, the ever popular and widely used asshole. All of which have many appropriate usages from noun to adjective and beyond. You can say of course “Look, you little shitter, stop calling your brother a pooper!” And “Hey asshole, when are you going to move out of that shithole you call an apartment?” or “Hey, poophead” (it all depends upon your actual or emotional age). See? All widely used and totally appropriate!
We rarely use the correct term – anus. Why? I mean really, think back to the first time your class had to memorize the planets in our galaxy and some poor schmo had the task of reporting on Uranus! He turns red (why is it always the guys who get assigned this one) and shuffles his feet in preparation for what’s coming. He only gets one word out “Uranus” and the class breaks out into Beavis and Butthead giggles and snorts. From there we head over to Carter from South Park and his anal probe. To quote Rodney Dangerfield, it gets no respect.
So imagine the difficulty authors of m/m fiction have when writing sex scenes and the anus literally comes into play. The characters have fallen into lust/love and are getting ready to consummate away. The lube and condoms (safe sex please) come out. What happens next is a toss up as the anus still has that ability to produce guffaws instead of lust laden groans and all because the author got adventurous with their word choices.
Think about it. There you are reading along, happy with the two or more frisky men having at it in the story in front of you when you come across “…and then Zane teased my ass lips with the vibrator..” Wait! What? No, it really reads “ass lips”. My mind immediately conjures up a posterior with red lipstick on it and shuts down, sexy men forgotten. I take a deep breath and bravely continue on with “… pressing on the center of my anal starfish while probing… “. *blink blink blink* Apparently Zane has taken a hike and arrived at a nearby beach. Anal starfish? Really? When did we start using benthic fauna to describe male anatomy? Can sexy sea squid be far behind? Further into the abyss I go (yeah, I went there). Zane continues on. “He jabbed another couple of inches into my shitter…”. Kindle drops to the bed and I start to giggle. The book is a hopeless cause.
And this author is not the only one to lose me over their descriptions just the most recent. These aren’t the only poor word choices I’ve read lately. I have run across man cave (yikes, spelunkers ahead), man pussy, and man cunt. As with man tits (see When A Tit Should Be A Nip Or Leave Those Orbs Alone -VGB#1), a huge absofuckatively no on the words man pussy and man cunt. Even if you are transgendered or are genderqueer, I can’t imagine you would use those terms. If I am wrong, give me a shout out and let me know. Otherwise, can we just agree to let those words sink into vocabulary quicksand where they belong?
The Penis aka Throbbing Member, Dong, Pulsating passionate pestle, Joystick, Fuckstick, Mister Happy. When it comes to the penis and it’s many monikers, a little research sees a veritable floodgate open and the names pour out. Weenie, whang, tool,dick, cock, tool, manhandle, man root, and so many more. My earliest memory of penis names comes from the schoolyard at elementary school. Wee wee, peter, dingaling, and willy spring to mind. Yep, went there again. There are instrument based penis names like meat whistle, skin flute, blue-veined piccolo, love trumpet, and roaring horn. There are animal based names like lizard, pecker, python, one-eyed snake, spitting cobra, and my personal favorite trouser trout. And of course the ever popular food based names that include pickle, banana, pork sword, cucumber, gherkin, wiener, manmeat, tubesteak, hairy sausage, and mutton dagger.** I am sure you will think of more. One site alone lists over 400 terms for penis. With that many to choose from, how it is that some authors are still using words that stop us dead in our tracks, kill any sexy mood they were trying to achieve, and just leave us dumbfounded? Over and over, poor vocabulary has left me giggling instead of sighing.
I like the terms cock and dick. They can give a sexual scene a rough and immediate feel of lust. Prick and junk also get honorable mention as most of the instances where I have seen them used get the appropriate response. Glans works too. Member and shaft, while anatomically correct, get downgraded when they hook up with unseemly companions, hence, throbbing member and loveshaft. There are many wonderful and sexy ways to describe the penis without giving it a name. “It/he/name hardened under his touch” or “his pants tented”. Many authors give the scene texture by describing how it feels, the skins and veining. That’s sexy too. But when someone starts to jerk the “that pocket rocket”, that “flesh piston of power”, then all bets are off. Purple prose, my Aunt Fanny! I would call that the Skittles of Prose.
Just because I like you, I have included some examples below. These are literary passages, people! Get those minds out of the gutter! !
The Skittle Prose memorable entries:
” …Jacques’ admirably distended weapon…and indeed this massive weapon sprang from a hiding place of thick, shaggy, graying fleece…”* Wow, Jacque’s weapon was both distended and massive. Go Jacques!- *The Autobiography of a Flea by Anonymous 1901
“Shai Hulud”, I responded, “Because it’s a gigantic life-giving spice worm that’s worshipped as a god, that’s why.” Live chat tweet. That is just so wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start.
“I couldn’t wait to get down on my knees to start sucking on his engorged pleasure-stick” remembered story recollection that still burns in the brain of Graham from my GR’s group. Thank you, Graham, Katey, Kate, Steelwhisper, Tam, Stacey Jo, Lisa and so many more for your contributions.
“…Harry’s ebony shaft. Joey, the Italian kid from across the street had his salami up my ass” from *Happy New Year by Kenn Dahll. This author is also responsible for Zane and his antics. Free from Smashwords. Please go download it.
So to wrap this puppy up, at least for now. I am begging you authors, present and future, back away from those descriptions that make us cringe. When in doubt, reach for the Pinot Noir and not the Rigid Digit. If it makes you giggle when you say it aloud, think of its impact upon us poor helpless readers and just say no! Of course if you don’t say no, if the temptation is too great, if you wake up at night covered in sweat because the term love muscle just calls to you then don’t be surprised if it appears on another Vocabulary Gone Bad. I am everywhere, just waiting for the purple prose to fall! And researching. And reading! See you at the next Vocabulary Gone Bad! If you have any suggestions, please let me know! The list grows ever longer.
Find the first Vocabulary Gone Bad When A Tit Should Be A Nip or Leave Those Orbs Alone here
**These lists and more Penis Word Lists from the Penis Resources Blog, 101 Penis words. What an invaluable resource!