This morning as I drove my boy Ezra (10) to his basketball camp in Medford, we dropped into a mutually surprising dialogue.
At first we were actually discussing egoic fixation according to the lens of the Spiritual Enneagram, a system that has profoundly impacted my perspective for over twenty years.
Personally, I found this to be an entirely delightful way to share our time in the car together, but I think Ezra must have been getting a little bored, because suddenly he changed the conversation, asking me with a playful glint in his eye, “What kind of car do you think that is, Mom, right there in front of us?”
I looked at the car he was referring to, a sleek silver car driving directly in front of us in the left lane of the highway. I squinted my eyes a little, looking for clues, and admittedly knowing nothing about cars, I offered up meekly, “Gosh. I don’t know… is it a Porsche?”
Ezra’s eyes widened in disbelief: “NO! Oh my God, no.” He shook his head wildly, laughing a little at my ignorance.
I giggled and tried guessing again: “Is it a Lamborghini?”
This time both of his hands went to his head, horrified: “No! Mom, those are like three-hundred-thousand-dollar cars! That is NOT a Lamborghini…no, Mom, no.” He shook his head.
I shrugged off his outrage, defending myself, “Well Gosh, how am I supposed to know what kind of car it is? It just looks like a fancy little race car to me. What kind of car is it then?”
His eyes were shining bright and wide. Clearly he was enjoying being the expert.
He said slowly: “It’s a MUSTANG, Mom. A Boss Mustang. It’s a muscle car. See how it’s got curves, like a muscle? It’s a race car with an engine built to perform.”
I nodded with interest, saying, “Wow, ‘built to perform’, huh? You sure do know a lot about that?! Have you been, like, studying race cars privately in your spare time?” 😉
He laughed, “No…I just like them, I guess.”
I asked, “Are you thinking you might want a car like that someday?”
He shrugged, still studying the one driving in front of us, as he replied, “A Mustang? Nah… That’s not really my kind of car.”
I asked: “No? How come?” I found it fascinating that he had somehow come to have so many opinions on this topic, something so far from my own mind and attention.
He sighed and seemed to be sorting through plenty of thoughts in response, but was figuring it would probably go over my head.
After a few moments, he said, “Anyway, I’ve heard that Mustangs are ‘Small Penis Cars.’”
Ha! This shocked me a bit, and laughing out loud I said, “What?! What does that even mean?”
He giggled. He said, “It’s true. That’s what people say. That Mustangs are usually bought by men with small penises who are trying to feel more powerful. You know—they’re like, trying to appear bigger, with their car?” 😉
My jaw dropped. This conversation was definitely veering off in a completely new and unfamiliar direction.
Still humored, but also feeling the potency of the topic, I chose my words carefully as I commented, “That’s a really interesting idea, isn’t it? That we might buy something like a car, or some other object that appears powerful or valuable, so as to try and make up for some way we feel like WE aren’t enough?“
He nodded in agreement, saying, “Yep. It’s interesting alright…or just weird.”
I was quiet, thinking it through for a moment. I mused—here is my vibrant and innocently growing boy, raised with consciousness and awareness, carefully guided and protected, and already he’s received potent societal imprints and notions about preferable ways for a man’s body to be. I likened it to the damaging body-image conditioning our girls also receive in this culture from the time they are small.
I took a breath, and asserted: “But you know, there’s really nothing wrong with having a small penis…”
My son’s eyes got really wide, his eyebrows lifted, and chuckling, he said, “Oh really, Mom?! Fabulous! Thanks for sharing that…” He shook his head with mortified disbelief.
I continued: “Seriously though, I know men can get caught up a bit with penis size. And I’m sure as a woman I can’t completely understand what that’s about. But in my perception, it’s much less about size, and more about the powerful connection between a man’s penis and his heart, and his capacity to work with his energy.”
Ezra laughed, squirming a bit in his seat. His face reddened, as he said sarcastically, “Great, Mom! Great to know!” I could see it was making him a little uncomfortable, but he also seemed to be genuinely enjoying this open dialogue.
I added, “It’s true. It’s not so much about the shape or size of our bodies, but more about our true love for ourselves, and our courage and confidence in letting our bodies be an expression and extension of this love.”
I added, “And you know? Personally I’ve known men with smaller penises who are incredibly powerful, confident, beautiful, amazing men…who don’t feel any need to compensate for anything.”
At that, Ezra held up his hands in protest, chuckling: “T.M.I. Mom! T.M.I.!”
I giggled, glancing at him, saying, “Really? I crossed the line right there?”
He laughed, “Yeah, I really don’t want to think about my mom ‘knowing men’ with any kind of penises. God, Mom.” He was shaking his head, looking at me like I was a little crazy, but with a lot of love splashing out of his eyes.
I winked at him, “Fair enough, dude.” 🙂
We pulled into the parking lot of his camp, and he grabbed his backpack and water bottle and tumbled out of the car, tossing out affectionately, “See you later! I love you!”
I shouted after him, “I love you!” And internally I said to him: May you continue to innocently love your body, your penis, the wholeness of your human self, and never feel any need to compensate for any sense of lack within.
May you continuously respect yourself, your sacred life and body, and allow this respect to inform the way you respectfully walk in the world.
May you know your true worth, your extraordinary value—simply in being yourself.