Adventures in Virginity: Building a Penis Pump for the Third Grade Science Fair

I had been in the garage for hours constructing a penis pump out of PVC pipe, duct tape, and miscellaneous medical supplies I had amassed from trips to the minor emergency. I was supposed to be brainstorming projects to build for the third grade science fair, but nothing had excited me quite like the prospect of creating an incredible hulk of a penis.

As I sawed through the PVC, I considered what I could disguise my invention as to avoid having to make a second project: a hot dog plumper, a zit extractor, a portable hickey machine? Another part of me knew I should keep such a revolutionary machine secret from my peers. I wanted to benefit exclusively from the superpowers it would confer on me. That and I did not want to unleash a technology that would spark a global arms race among men.

I was good with my hands. They had yet to be twisted into useless hooks from excessive masturbation, and my creativity had yet to be debased entirely by daydreams of having x-ray vision for the sole purpose of seeing through women’s clothes. At the time, abstaining from sex until marriage seemed as doable as becoming a professional baseball player. This is to say my intentions with my penis pump were pure. I had no interest in wowing women. I wanted a big dick for one reason: the bigger the dick, the more manly the man. This correlation was as obvious to every boy I knew as the fact that baseball cards were a sound financial investment.

The first thing boys learn about the differences between the sexes is that boys have penises and girls have some sort of abyss where their penises should be. From this observation, many children deduce that all the differences between girls and boys stem from this binary distinction.

As boys, our genitals were the keys to unlocking the door to manhood. But, we also knew our sacred jewels had the capacity for evil, which was why we were not supposed to take Polaroids of them or dip them in nacho cheese when we were left home alone. We also knew to keep them out of the hands of older, creepy men who would try to turn our penises to the dark side.

My father was my ambassador to the world of man dicks—the only adult I was allowed to approach with my penis quandaries. Once I presented him with my little soldier standing at attention and asked why my penis sometimes looked like a Spartan warrior prepared for battle while other times he looked like a shriveled geriatric who needed help getting around.

My father, whose opinion I regarded on par with the greatest minds of my time—Calvin, Hobbs, Optimus Prime—always stirred my confusion with deeper, philosophical questions, like:

“Why did you tape a plastic sword to your balls?”

From birth I could pace my growth against my older brother, Mike, to make sure my penis was on a normal trajectory. However, this practice ended along with our shared baths. The only time I saw his penis again was after he peed into a tangle of poison ivy—a sight that seriously made me considering creating a line of magic ointment for men from poison ivy.

For the bulk of my adolescence, my penis was resigned to solitary confinement, to serve the remainder of his prison sentence alone without any news of how his compatriots were fairing. Growing up in the late 1980s and early 90s, boys lived in constant fear of catching homosexuality. At the time we were not entirely sure how the condition spread. This made us even more guarded when it came to stripping down or peeing in company. These were the days before the Internet, which was a mixed blessing. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had been able to search the web for, “photos of 9-year-old penises.” That and I can only imagine how the photogenic bodies of porn stars would have smashed my self-esteem.

At the time I really wasn’t that worried about what women would think of my penis. I assumed the only time a woman would see my wedding tackle was on our honeymoon, at which point it would be too late for her to run away in horror. In fact, the only time my penis insecurities really impacted my behavior were the six years my mother forced me to be on the swim team. In all those years I competed in a single swim meet. I was undersized for my age and couldn’t keep up with the lanky freaks. I didn’t just lose. Parents clapped when I finished the way fans cheer on handicapped athletes, or when medics remove a lame player from the field so the game can resume. And yet, my lack of talent is not what kept me from competing. I merely refused to wear Speedos that shrunk my holdings to Ken Doll proportions.

It was shortly after my first swim meet that I got serious about bulking up. I became a witch doctor of the dark dick arts, an alchemist set on conjuring up a divine, golden shaft. No one told me that if there had been a simple and safe way to permanently boost penis size, men would have discovered it around the time Homo sapeins stood upright, freeing up their hands to fondling themselves on the go.

At the age of nine, fostering a bigger penis seemed simple. The pages of National Geographic taught me that some African women stretched their necks with metal spacers. Rocky III showed me that you could get pumped up in dark, sweaty garages with weights and hard work. I modified these methods to fit my needs. I followed a regiment of doing penis curls with hand towels. I sewed a Velcro harness that allowed me to dead-lift weights. These natural methods did not deliver the results I was hoping for. So I stole a few ideas from the Russians in Rocky IV, particularly the part where they rigged Ivan Drago to supercomputers to boost his manliness.

I had never seen an actual penis pump, but I understood the basics. You stuck your penis in a tube and sucked out the air. I sanded the edge of the PVC to help increase the device’s suction. I used the plunger of a syringe in reverse to remove the air through a small tube I attached to the end of the PVC with duct tape and a fitted, plastic piece. Had my parents been foolish enough to buy me pump basketball shoes for Christmas, I’m sure I’d have gutted those to fit my purpose. As it was, I had to work with what I had. This was the first lesson my mother taught me about building. If only I had applied this advice to how I thought about my body.

When I finished my contraption, my penis had butterflies in his stomach. He probably felt a bit like those Russian space monkeys did when their trainers strapped them to the tips of shoddy rockets. The moment of truth had finally arrived. It would be my finest hour. I angled the device to dock with my erection, bringing the pieces ever closer like the veiny finger of Michelangelo’s God straining to touch Adam.

An unexpected contingence occurred. No amount of mashing or elbow grease or WD-40 could get my penis to fit in the tube. I had vastly underestimated myself.

You’d think this revelation would fill me with pride. It did not. Instead I quietly cursed myself for not measuring before cutting—another of my mother’s lessons. I immediately searched the garage in vain for a larger section of piping with which to make an updated prototype. Frustrated, I briefly considered the promise of an old car battery and copper wires stripped from a toy robot that had gone rogue. But, there were limits to the experimental trials I was willing to conduct on myself. No one would want to associate with my penis, no matter how large, if I turned him into a Frankenstein-style monster who terrorized local villagers as he sought revenge against his creator. I would just have to accept the limits of my manliness, for the moment at least, and focus on something else. Something like a science project that would not require me to paste pictures of my un-enhanced, 9-year-old penis to a poster board for my entire school to judge.