Penis Boy

by doodaddy on January 22, 2009

Boys forbidden toy guns, I’m told, will chew their toast into gun shapes and shoot their baby sisters with them. They needn’t trouble themselves: boys, of course, have a built-in gun.

We were playing with five kids who always come to the playground in a pack, trailing a couple of parents. (I’ve never been able to tease out exactly which kid goes with which adult, but why bother?) They’re all cool and mostly 4 years old, and Boo, you may remember, has a thing for older girls.

And it happens that among this tribe is just one boy. And although he tries to get everyone to play games his way — Ring-Around-the-Axe-Murderer, Flesh-Eating Monster Merry-Go-Round, and such –  the girls just overpower him.

Exasperated at last, he grabbed his crotch two-handed, like some ridiculous 1990s rapper, and started making machine gun noises, all the while directing his crotch at the surrounding girls.

Back in my teaching days, I was used to quelling such displays with a mild “That’s inappropriate” while containing an inner smirk. Today, though, I was a few steps off, so I simply observed this example of what’s doubtlessly normal psychosexual development.

Every single girl, of course, ignored him and his penis completely. They were too busy engaging with each other over something more important — at that moment, it was the correct lyrics to “The Wheels on the Bus.”

Lo, before too long, the lone boy dropped his crotch and succumbed to the power of the holy feminine: that is to say, he joined into their game of Follow the Leader.

And that’s how I saw a metaphor for my life from puberty to age 31 played out in pantomime on a playground stage today.

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in boys,playground,raising a girl ·

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nan January 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I used to have a “No Guns” rule when the boys were little, but it did no good at all. Well, maybe it did in a way: they got pretty proficient at carving guns and swords out of wood with knives. Now they’re good with knives AND various projectile weapons. Sigh.


doodaddy January 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm

@Nan – If it helps, my brother and I had all sorts of quite realistic guns when we were little (my favorite we’d bought at Disneyland!), and we both grew up peaceful.


The Other Dawn January 23, 2009 at 8:14 am

You know, we haven’t crossed the gun line with Noise yet, but recently that familiar shooting noise has been filling the house nevertheless. He’s four. It must be a four thing, because he never was “that boy” before.

We only have one rule with guns, even pretending in our mind guns: We don’t pretend shoot mommy. Or people who ask not to be pretend shot.

In some ways, it’s even harder that he doesn’t have any guns, because there’s nothing to take away when he’s pretend shooting me with his fingers. Amputation seems… extreme.


doodaddy January 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

@The Other Dawn – My brother and I could spend hours just shooting each other. Must have been all that He-Man we were watching…


Wm. January 15, 2010 at 8:58 am

Hah,…when I worked with kids, they had a knack for making weapons out of Legos, regardless of any statements about not playing guns or shooting games. As for the other stuff, the boys especially can get discreetly aggressive, but a few well-placed words of wisdom can usually handle things nicely.


doodaddy January 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Oh, I agree completely, except that I’m always misplacing my words of wisdom… so that day, at least, I just watched the girls take care of the issue themselves… by ignoring it!

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