The news for penises, issue #1 of 2016

A continuing series on this blog, with at least 9 postings before this under the heading  “The news for penises” (plus a great many other penis postings not under that heading). Four items that have come to me in the past few days: an ad for gay porn with some phonological play in it;  horse penises in Kyrgyzstan; beef whistle as a slang term for the penis; and the celebrated candiru fish of the Amazon.

The gay porn ad. From a site that aggregates porn (straight and gay) into packages for sale, this ad I got yesterday:

It’s all about dreamy guys with big thick sticks who like to play hardcore games.


The image plays with assonance in /ɪ/ (in thick and big), and the lead-in combines that with a rhyme of thick and stick. And note the use of stick as a (metaphorical) slang term for the penis.

The ad inspired me to this burlesque of Edward Lear’s “The Jumblies” (“Far and few, far and few, are the lands where the Jumblies live”):

Thick and big, thick and big,
Are the dicks where the Yaoi live
They love other boys, they all act like pigs,
And they know how to take and to give.

yaoi (roughly, ‘boys’ love’) is a genre of Japanese manga (comics) depicting romantic and sexual relationships between young men. (I will soon post some examples, including material from the manga story Himitsu no Yoasobi (titled Secret Night Play in English)  — which is relevant here because the sending address for the ad above was

The unfortunate horse penis joke. From a number of different British sources yesterday, a breaking story about a joke gone bad. From BBC News Scotand, under the headline “Horse penis joke Scot to be deported”:

A Scottish mine worker who compared Kyrgyzstan’s national dish to a horse’s genitalia on Facebook is to be deported from the country.

Michael McFeat, from Abernethy, was said to have been held after posting a picture of Kyrgyz co-workers queuing for a “chuchuk” horsemeat sausage.

In his Facebook post on 31 December, Mr McFeat posted a picture of colleagues at the Kumtor gold mine enjoying what he described as a “fantastic Hogmanay feast”.

The post added: “The Kyrgyz people queuing out of the door for there special delicacy the horses penis!!!”

Radio Azattik said that Mr McFeat’s post had “caused a lot of discontent and resentment on the part of local staff”, who demanded respect for the traditions of the people of Kyrgyzstan, as well as an apology from the mine’s management company.

He later deleted the original post and replaced it with an apology on 2 January, which said he had not intended to offend anyone.

(A side note on the compound horse penis joke Scot in the headline, which has a distinctly British form to it, thanks to its last word. The compound horse penis joke ‘a joke about ‘the penis of a horse’ is entirely ordinary, composed of parts standing in a small set of semantic relationships to one another. But adding Scot takes things out of the ordinary realm; to interpret it, the reader needs to know the story about how some Scot is related to a horse penis joke. Length isn’t the issue; Geoff Pullum posted some years ago on Language Log about the two-word compound canoe wife, which is opaque in a similar way.)

McFeat ran up against a significant fact about the historical culture of Kyrgyzstan, namely that it’s distinctly horse-centered, and Kyrgyz people are probably not going to take lightly the imputation that they eat the penises of their beloved horses.

Two side notes, one on (literal) penis-eating, one on traditional Kyrgyz culture.

First, in a posting of 10/25/15, I had a section on penis food, referring to penises as food (not food resembling penises), in which I quoted an article on edible penises from 10 different animals — not, however, including the horse.

Second, the traditional culture of Kyrgyzstan (and much of central and northeast Asia) is that of nomadic horsemen, living sometimes in yurts but mostly on the move; engaging in horse-based competitions, including horse wrestling (wrestling on horseback), as here:


and using the horse as a source of food (horsemeat in a number of forms, including in sausages, and fermented mare’s milk). The culture goes back over a millennium. Note that Genghis Khan (c. 1162 – 1227) came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia and forging them into the Mongol Empire. All was not war; from Wikipedia:

Beyond his military accomplishments, Genghis Khan also advanced the Mongol Empire in other ways. He decreed the adoption of the Uyghur script as the Mongol Empire’s writing system. He also practiced meritocracy and encouraged religious tolerance in the Mongol Empire while unifying the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. Present-day Mongolians regard him as the founding father of Mongolia.

beef whistle. I stumbled on this slang term for penis yesterday, and then found meat whistle as well. Beef on its own as slang for penis goes back to Shakespeare, meat on its own has a long history too (and is very frequent in the rhyming idiom beat one’s meat ‘masturbate’), and steak in this sense is also attested. Now, beef occurs as the first N in some slang terms for penis where the second, head, N carries the main burden of referring to the penis via a metaphor, while beef (or another meaty N) contributes a component of fleshiness to the meaning; from Green’s Dictionary of Slangbeef tube, beef bayonet, beef torpedo. Beef whistle is presumably another item in this set.

Oddly, though whistle on its own would be a natural slang term for the penis, or rather for the whole male genital package, it seems to be rarely used this way. On its naturalness for this metaphorical purpose, just look at this typical whistle:


Phallic projection, rounded base, even a urinary meatus (aka piss slit).

Where whistle does occur with some frequency as a reference to the penis is in the slang idiom blow (s.o.’s) whistle ‘fellate (someone)’,  where the blow of blowing a whistle and the sexual blow of blow (s.o.) ‘fellate (someone)’ combine. Consider Flo Rida’s 2012 song “Whistle”, which can be viewed here. Some lyrics:

Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Let me know
Girl I’m gonna show you how to do it
And we start real slow
You just put your lips together
And you come real close
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Here we go

Just put your lips together and blow.

The candiru. A photo of the fish:


I considered this creature (Vandellia cirrhosa) in a 8/5/12 posting “Snakes, worms, fish, clams, slugs”, where I looked at it as a penis fish (a fish that is said to work its way into the penis — that is, into the urethra — not a fish that looks like a penis) and noted the Wikipedia article treating such reports as dubious.

Now Chris Hansen has passed on to me a BBC Earth piece from yesterday, “Would the candiru fish really eat your genitals?” by Josh Gabbatiss, beginning:

The story is that the fish swims up a stream of urine into a man’s penis, then eats it from the inside. But is there any truth to it?

Gabbatiss considers the matter at some length; the short answer is No. If you’re venturing into the Amazon, the fish to worry about is the piranha, not the candiru.

One Response to “The news for penises, issue #1 of 2016”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    Note on your last sentence: During our week on the Upper Amazon last June, the guides frequently reminded us that “In Hollywood, piranha eat people; on the Amazon, it’s the other way around.” And to prove it, they took us out piranha fishing.

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