Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

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Is your dick the polestar of your life? Do you think about your dick constantly? If yes, you are hardly alone, as the new film Dick: The Documentary, just released on DVD by IndiePix Films, makes clear.

In August 2008, first-time director Brian Fender posted an ad on Craigslist inviting strangers into his home: "Wanted: Anonymous Naked Male Subjects to appear on camera for interviews." Over the following year, he brought 63 men from the ages of 22 to 82 into his dining room to reveal themselves physically and emotionally through personal stories about their relationship to their cocks. The movie features a wide cross-section of subjects and backgrounds, covering all orientations, as well as a gamut of professions from monks to ex-Marines. Dick: The Documentary defines shoestring-budget filmmaking. In one of the bonus extras, we see Fender putting up the cardboard red screen in his dining room that serves as a background. We view the men from their chests down – no heads, which initially seems a disappointment, as we would love to see facial expressions as they ruminate about their penises. Yet we quickly become aware that without anonymity, most of these men would be neither naked for the camera, nor as revealing in their answers.

The film is not Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Your Dick, But Were Afraid To Ask. It is not really fact-oriented, but rather subjective opinions on questions thrown out by Fender, such as: What do you call your dick? When did you first become aware of your dick? When did you first see your father naked? When did you start masturbating? Do you remember the first time you showed your dick to someone else? How do you feel about other guys' dicks? Where did you get information about your dick and sexuality when you were going through puberty?  What was your first orgasm like? How big is your dick, and how do you measure it?  Does size matter? Along the way, such thorny issues  as impotence, prostrate cancer, circumcision, molestation, and religious guilt are tangentially broached.

Most of the men are shown stripping off their clothes, and one can almost hear the drum roll as underwear is discarded (hands down, gay men have more attractive and flattering underwear than straight men). One might think that just watching mostly average-looking men sitting in a chair or standing talking would get boring, but because the topic is universal, the experiences enlightening, and the dialogue so frank, the movie is compelling. This is one picture that could certainly have been longer than the 48 minutes allotted. None of the issues are approached comprehensively, yet we are given "insightful glimpses into the male psyche." One can't help noticing whether consciously (to show their erection) or not, almost all the men were touching their cocks as they philosophized about them, perhaps to combat nervousness or promote confidence. Overall the tone is celebratory and sex-positive, and the viewer receives the impression that most of the men are happy, even relieved, to talk about what their dicks mean personally to them.

The comments of the participants range from riotous to poignant. One guy, seduced by his friend's mother, says, "She taught me a hundred tricks, which have served me well through the years." One chap, lured into sex at 12 by another guy at the library, thought his dick "was broken because all this white stuff started oozing out." "My dick is like a thermometer, as it tells me what I am feeling." "I have been waiting all day to play, and later on it comes time, and my dick won't get hard. Why have you forsaken me, dick?" "My big dick gives me pride, but I don't want to let people define me by it. I need to be in a relationship so I know there is more there than just wanting to have sex with a big dick." "Why does anyone want a big dick? Small dicks are the last thing everyone feels is still okay to make fun of." "I'm so proud of all the pleasure my dick has given to all the many women I have slept with." One man didn't start masturbating till age 20 because he thought he would go to hell if he did. But now he counsels his son that sex is natural and he should enjoy it, get as much as he can without any guilt at all, advising him to treat his partner with respect.

Overall, Dick: The Documentary subtly makes the point of how sexocentric men are. It seems one's dick is paramount to one's male identity, regardless of one's orientation. One appreciates the candor of the remarks even if you disagree with a guy's viewpoint. Maybe if men would be more honest about their common experiences related to their penises, sexual orientation wouldn't be such a divisive issue. While Dick is no cinematic masterpiece, Fender has thoughtfully "peeled back the mysteries surrounding men's private parts and explored the unspoken 'member' of modern society." Maybe he will make a follow-up film. Ass: The Sequel Documentary?


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