Thursday, May 2, 2013

"If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"

The first post-puberty penis I ever saw in person -- because I'm not counting the times where we were young enough to play naked on the beach and I thought it was called a "peanut" -- was at an intimate dance performance at the Deaf West Theater in North Hollywood. It's a small space with limited stadium-style seating; most of the audience just sits cross-legged on the floor, or at least we did for this performance.

It was my sophomore year of high school. As part of our dance curriculum requirement, we were responsible for seeing one dance performance per semester and writing an essay about it. Our teachers usually got us together for group field-trips for these performances, but if we couldn't make it for whatever reason, we had to find a show on our own. When that was the case, if you're a high-school student with limited disposable income, as I was, your options tend to be limited to whatever the small, independent dance troupe is putting on at the theater around the corner. Often, these shows are really cool; equally often, they're fucking weird.

The show I attended included performances by two troupes, both of whom advertised themselves as "modern." After the performance by the first group, the Nesting Dolls, my friend and I, seated on the floor, were waiting to see the next group, named Steamroller. As this was awhile ago, I don't remember what specific details on the pamphlet had led us to be more excited about this group's work, but for whatever reason, we were particularly anticipating their half of the show.

The lights dimmed, and out walked the penis. More specifically, out walked a naked man, through the audience exit path, to the stage. He couldn't have been taller than about five-foot-two, and as my friend and I were sitting right next to the exit path, I turned my head as he walked out and found myself at eye level to, and sniffing distance from, his flaccid penis.

When he reached the stage, he began dancing. My memory of his actual dancing has been warped by time and by the shock I was experiencing at the time, but I choose to remember it as the kind of avant garde movement that would-be contestants sometimes try on "So You Think You Can Dance," to which the judges respond "I appreciate what you're doing, but it is not right for this show." The track he danced to was some kind of arthouse disco beat with a sample of a male voice saying "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?" over and over again.

Sometimes you dig up something old from your grade-school days and you think, "Wow, I can't believe I kept this!" On the opposite track, I would give anything to find the essay I wrote on this performance.

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