How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
Who needs a penis?
When touring Ireland recently we pulled up at a cliff-top car park to capture the sun setting over a spectacular scene of islands and ocean. There was another guy there with a camera so, as guys do, I made conversation about boys' toys by asking what model he had. It was a Canon EOS 350 SLR, which is quite decent. I commented that I had a D20, also a Canon SLR. His face hardened as he eyed my camera and clearly knew that it cost somewhat more than his. 'Well, it's the brains behind the camera' he muttered as he set up his tripod and remote trigger.
Oops. I realized then I had stumbled into a game of 'my penis is bigger than yours'.
Penis envy is a Freudian concept, originally describing how females sense a lack of the male phallus. Between men, it's a status thing, with the general notion that the better your toys, the more disposable income you have and the more able you are to attract the best mate. Men thus compare what they have with what other men have and assess their status accordingly ('He who dies with the most toys wins!'). Hence their obsession with gadgets and 'toys for boys'. Just think of the clubs and societies that are based on playing with things that range from radios to yachts, and where envy regularly peeps through green eyes.
The other photographer pulled out more kit from his bag and fiddled around with it, putting the camera and a remote trigger on a tripod, thus saying something like 'my penis may be smaller but I've got extensions!' I retaliated by reaching for my monopod (now there's a phallic symbol!) and moving to an unusual position by climbing the car park wall, effectively replying by saying 'I may not have all the extra kit you have, but I do know a thing or two'.
Before long, several others photographers arrived, all with the SLR that marks out serious players. More surreptitious glances ensued and assorted other kit got deployed. I then turned around and photographed them, which caused some irritated confusion (ha ha! I have stolen a piece of your soul!).
My wife was with me and laughed at the boys' games, which annoyed the other chaps further, not the least because I had brought a woman into a place of male ritual. I was amused too, also knowing that having a wife who is still fun after 31 years would also gain me status points.
The crowning act of penis-waving was when we got into our BMW Z3 roadster and cruised away, laughing at it all as the green arrows of envy followed us down the road. .