I saw some old girlfriends recently, we got drunk, stayed up late, the conversation inevitably turned to Penises We Had Known. It was so funny I may have slightly wet myself, particularly about the semi-famous artist who had got annoyed that my friend had never shown his penis enough ‘respect’. The following night I was trying to explain this late-night conviviality to my husband. How nice it had been. I don’t get to laugh like that so much these days, what with work and life.
‘But you didn’t talk about my penis did you?’
I paused. I mean, you must know this boys? We do talk about your penises. They are not off-limits. They do not have a conversational cordon sanitaire.
‘No, I mean, yeah, because it was, like, a chat about really awful penises that we had tried, and I was explaining how before I met you I had three really shit experiences: three really awful guys, each with really awful penises. Awful in different ways. There was the pencil penis: long and thin (he told me he was an internet millionaire, only had champagne in his fridge, bought books “by the yard” because they made him look clever and asked me to marry him before we’d even had sex). And then the thumb penis; so small I didn’t even know it was in (he was wearing a trilby hat while he was at it. “Have you come?” I said. He had gone weirdly still. I had no clue what was going on down there). And then the one that was so wide I was worried I would never be able to get off it (he told me that he always liked to get to Glastonbury three days early, to meditate, do yoga, “set the place up, spiritually”). And then there was you, and your penis was just really nice. So that is all I said about your penis.’
‘Really nice. So you basically said I had an M&S penis.’
He looked genuinely offended, like having a dependable high street penis was a bad thing. What did he want? Did he want to be billed as big and tough: a Land Rover penis? Or perhaps smooth and classy: a Ralph Lauren penis? Celebratory yet chilly: a Moët penis? Just a bit more upmarket; a Waitrose penis? Budget but big portions: the Lidl penis???
I mean there are worse things than M&S, we love M&S, especially the pants and the food. We can depend on it, we go to it when we are feeling a bit unsure of ourselves, when we don’t want a challenge. No one really wants a challenging penis, especially not on a husband. So yes. This isn’t just any penis. This is an M&S penis. And I married it.
I’m Absolutely Fine! The Manual for Imperfect Women is out in paperback now