Friday, 23 January 2004

Double-teaming Clayton Cramer

I don’t exactly want to turn this blog into CramerWatch, but this post struck me as being, well, a tad odd. He quotes at length from a Reuters piece on penis enlargement spam (no, really) and comes across this lovely tidbit:

At the heart of the problem, [NYU psychiatrist Virginia] Sadock said, is that since men don’t see many penises other than their own, they have little basis for comparison.

The exception, she said, is pornography, which gay men view more that straight men. And comparing one’s penis size to a porn star’s could lead even a well-endowed man to feel inadequate.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that New York’s gay community self-help arena has expanded beyond problems such as alcoholism and over eating to the affliction of a small penis.

“What is Small, Anyway,” is the working name of a support group in Greenwich Village, which acts as a safe haven for gay men who have small penises, or feel as though they do.

Participants complain about a gay community in which men brag about being bigger than they are and a country where big is king. Like at other support groups, most in this group are grateful just to be in a room together with people trying to confront the same problem.

A slim man with reddish hair told a recent meeting that he is made to feel he doesn’t measure up. “In our community the idea of what’s average (size) is very distorted,” he said.

Cramer’s response: “Of course, this wouldn’t be the only area in which the gay community is a bit distorted about what it considers important.”

Now, this strikes me as something of a weird reaction. For one thing, you’d expect gay men to have a more realistic idea about penis size—not less—since they, er, see more of them than straight men do. For another, I’m not entirely sure that gay men watch more porn than straight men do; now, it’s possible that more gay men watch porn than straight men, and it’s likely that the porn gay men prefer (which, of course, would be “gay porn”) has more penises in it, but I’m not convinced that once you pass the “selection function” (to borrow from Nobel laureate economist James Heckman, who I’m sure would love to know his name is in this conversation) that the count is markedly different in the universe of “porn viewers.”

Lastly, anyone who’s seen the god-awful ads for “Enzyte”—a product for “natural male enhancement” (i.e. a penis enlargement pill, distinct from e.g. Viagra and Levitra, which are erectile dysfunction pills)—would know that it’s being aggresively marketed to heterosexual males. Show me a straight guy and I’ll show you a straight guy who’s obsessed with the size of his penis. What I can’t fathom is that Cramer is apparently more obsessed with gay men than the size of his.