No Sweetie It's Not Going to Fall Off via In the Powder Room

No, Sweetie, It’s Not Going to Fall Off

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“Why does he keep touching himself?” my nine-year-old granddaughter asked me while we were giving her six-month-old brother a bath.

“He’s going to scratch himself,” she said, her eyes getting big with worry.

“That’s just what babies do,” I said, “ . . . and big boys and men and pretty much all males of every species, for that matter. They’re always touching themselves.”

“They are?” she asked. “Why?”

“Oh I guess to make sure it’s still there.”

Now her eyes were really big.

Lest I plant the wrong picture in her impressionable mind, I clarified myself. “No, it’s just something they do. It’s not going to fall off.

And I promptly changed the topic to the little red boat that was floating in the tub. But my mind stayed on the penis issue.

It must be weird having something hanging from your body. Not just one thing, but that whole package. No wonder the fascination. After all, we females are intrigued with our bodies too, but our incredibly gorgeous vaginas aren’t as easy to access.

And that first pubic hair is enough to set off internal fireworks. Unfortunately, that hair is joined by at least a thousand or more and we are faced with the painful reality of having to wax them off so as not to resemble our hairy ancestors. But I guess that’s God’s little trick. What we yearn for when we’re young, involves “high maintenance” later in life.

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Take our periods, for example. We can’t wait for that moment; we have blood, therefore we are woman. But then comes the PMS, the cramping, and having to remember to carry tampons with us at all times. And when we’ve finally learned to live with it—why, we step into the Big Change.

Yep . . . women have their female issues and men have their penises. Men with small ones compensate with fancy cars and big egos. Those with big ones get all cocky in the bedroom.

“Are they really touching it to see if it’s still there?” My granddaughter asked, making her “Ew” face. I guess her mind hadn’t wandered far off our discussion, either.

“No. It’s not going to fall off,” I repeated. “I can promise you that.”

I could also have promised her that some day touching a penis would no longer give her that “Ew” effect. But I’m going to leave that discussion to her mother.

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Janie Emaus is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love, and a co-author of In the Powder Room’s hilarious best-selling anthology You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth. Janie blogs for The Huffington Post, Purple Clover, The Mid and Midlife Blvd. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. Janie believes that when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again. To learn more about Janie visit her blog and her author website

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  1. says

    Too funny! This reminds me of a story a college professor told me about the time she bathed her young daughter and her nephew together, (they were, like, four), and realized her daughter was getting her first look at a penis. Her daughter never said a word during the bath, but as she tucked her little girl into bed that night, her daughter looked up at her and said, “Mama, isn’t it a blessing it’s not on his face?”

    So much for penis-envy. 😉

  2. says

    All very true. They’ll be sitting there watching TV and their hand will slide down their pants — usually this is usually done in the privacy of their own homes, thank goodness. Just checking. I honestly don’t think they even realize they are doing it. And UGH so true about the period. It was soooo fascinating till the minute you got “it.” Then it was horrible.

  3. says

    How funny and how true. My two year old grandson is always making sure it hasn’t fallen off. I always thought Freud had it wrong – there is no penis envy – I am glad I don’t have something dangling between my legs.

  4. says

    Coming up on the 30th anniversary of my period, I’m less than fascinated.

    I did, however, have to stop my 4yo son from doing the ‘naked’ dance in the pool changing room today. I fear it will never end.

  5. says

    I guess because the penis is so visible that it brings out a whole difference response than a girl’s parts! It certainly drives their behavior throughout life!
    Finding that right balance of sharing as a grandmother is a bit tricky, isn’t it!

  6. Vicki Batman says

    Hi, Janie! I love the part about leaving it to mom to explain. Unfortunately, I was the one explaining to my boys, not my husband.

  7. says

    Oh, Janie, this was a cute post! It is so true and yet I really didn’t realize how everyone knows it’s true. I thought I was a little odd to always be seeing it with my husband, that somehow he was different than other guys. I guess NOT, eh? I am sorry, though, because I really don’t enjoy talking to him and right in the middle of the discussion BLAM – the hand goes down the pants to “rearrange” or “scratch” and I am totally irritated and annoyed. I think to myself, “what if I did a similar thing?” Would he just not “notice” and “not say anything to me about it”? I’m betting he WOULD mention it, I swear to God.
    The same goes for the old “picking the nose” routine. I’ve stopped talking and made mention of what would HE do if I sat there and just dug away at my nostrils in front of him or friends or family, at the dinner table or when you’re having a nice moment? Geez Louise – RUDE!

  8. Tony Natoli says


    You know as well as I that we grew up in a generation that learned we could TRUST NO ONE! I still don’t believe anything that anyone tells me until it can be proven!

    It is with this same philosophy that I continually check to see that its still there every chance I get!


    Your old cribmate, Tony

  9. Cheri Marcovitch says

    When I was in school, anyone with their underpants showing or God forbid touching themselves in public, would be so embarrassed. Thank you Michael Jackson for dancing and grabbing yourself. Now all “cool” rappers, singers, etc. must grab themselves to make sure it’s still there and for us to see how tough they are. Thank goodness female singers are not fondling themselves when they sing. Loved your short story…I always enjoy reading them.. .