Put a sock on it in parade season

(There will be discussions of men’s naughty bits and pictures of these barely covered. Sometimes celebratory, sometimes silly, but not at all (I think) arousing. Still, if that’s not you want to read or see, pass on to something else.)

It began with this arresting photo from Carson Link on the Stealthy Cam Men Facebook site on the 24th, dated “Yesterday New York, NY” [that is, on the 23rd]:

(#1)

Link’s text:

Caught him off guard they were getting ready for a parade from the E. Village [Tompkins Square Park] to the West Village

If Link has the dates right, then this was the annual NYC Drag March, from Tompkins Square Park to the Stonewall Inn (note the guy in heels on the left) — though the central figure in the photo looks like he came from the June 11th Body Pride Parade (also annual), from Tompkins Square Park to Washington Square Park, and everyone in the photo looks like they’d find a place in the big Pride Parade on the 25th (for which there are many sub-celebrations).

In any case, Sock Man on Parade is, um, remarkable, as a piece of living sculpture, if nothing else.

Background 1. On put a sock in it. BrE colloq. ‘be quiet, don’t make so much noise, shut up!’ (because a sock gags the mouth). GDoS has put / shove / stck / stuff a sock in it from 1921 in Notes & Queries, indicating prior use. The idiom illustrated:

(#2)

Background 2. On put a sock on it. A safe-sex slogan based on the idiom put a sock in it and the metaphorical use of sock to mean ‘condom’, as in this Durex ad:

(#3)

From a site with innovative condom ads:

Some men think that wearing a c0ndom is like wearing a sock, but not with Durex … apparently. They are playing up on the fact that you can get full protection with the ultra slim Durex c0ndoms. It’s a great selling point, because men like to be able to feel with their banana.

That’s metaphorical sock. But the sock in #1 is literal.

Background 3. On the Stealthy Cam Men site, men post photographs of hot guys they have surreptitously photographed or videotaped. Even if you admire the objects of this exercise, the premise is creepy. Sock Man on Parade, however, is displaying himself intentionally in a very public place, so I have no qualms about posting the picture.

Background 4. Gay? At least one commenter on #1 noted that the context is an event with significant gay content, but in the commenter’s opinion Sock Man on Parade is only questionbly gay, because his cock sock doesn’t match his foot socks. I object: the two sock patterns are complementary, with the yellow and navy bands reversed, and that points to a high degree of fashion sense, worthy of a certifiable queer.

Background 5. NYC Body Pride. From a NYC calendar of events, for this year’s (June 11th) march:

You have a body, be proud of it!
The Body Pride parade is for all those who have a body and are not afraid to show it.
We will gather at Tompkins park at 12:00pm and march to Washington sq. There will be looping, there will be drum circles, there will be casual nudity.
We will bring large signs we can paint body positive messages on. If anyone else wants to bring signs, glitter, paint and art supplies please do!
At 2:00pm we march!
If you have a drum or other musical instruments please bring them too!
Recommended that you travel light and have a bag that will easily fit all your belongings.
We will rally by the basketball courts, then spontaneously remove articles of clothing and proceed to march!
This year’s theme is «Just got ONE body!». Be extravagant, be courageous, be proud!

Though rainbow features are not uncommon at the parade — rainbow thongs and the like — the emphasis of the event is exposing the body, as in this (rather contrived) mass photo from the march a few years ago:

(#4)

The intended message is that all bodies should be celebrated: female and male, old and young, flabby and fit, fat and thin, black and white, gay and straight, trans and cis. And add some body paint and glitter.

Background 6. NYC Drag March. On the 23rd. Calendar notice:

Beglitter your beard, cram into your platforms, or feel your gender illusion any way that feels right at this annual march from Tompkins Square Park to the Stonewall. This year’s joyous, body-positive celebration honors Drag March founder and Rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker.

From an earlier Drag March:

(#5)

Background 7. Penis sheaths. The cock sock in #1 functions much like the penis sheaths of New Guinea: it protects the genitals, it conceals them, and at the same time it ostentatiously calls attention to them. The device in #1 does not, however, index the wearer’s cultural group, as decorations on New Guinea penis sheaths do. From Wikipedia:

(#6)

Penis sheath from western (Indonesian) New Guinea

The koteka, horim, or penis gourd is a penis sheath traditionally worn by native male inhabitants of some (mainly highland) ethnic groups in New Guinea to cover their genitals. They are normally made from a dried-out gourd, Lagenaria siceraria, although other species, such as Nepenthes mirabilis, are also used. They are held in place by a small loop of fiber attached to the base of the koteka and placed around the scrotum. There is a secondary loop placed around the chest or abdomen and attached to the main body of the koteka. Men choose kotekas similar to ones worn by other men in their cultural group.

Think of the designs as analogous to club ties or gang insignia.

Background 8. Modern cock socks. In a 6/14/11 AZBlogX posting “Today’s remarkable underwear”, a series of undergarments that cover the genitals while simultaneously calling attention to them (in the case of the first set, displaying them quite visibly through a light mesh fabric).

Actual socks and sock-simulacra. The guy in #1 is using an actual sock as a penis sheath. He could have used an ankle sock (which would have done the job of minimally covering his junk), and he could have chosen one in a neutral solid color (drawing as little attention to his junk as possible), but instead he used a kneelength sock (so that lots of sock dangles in public) with a eye-catching pattern. Like a koteka, it exaggerates the size of the wearer’s penis and draws attention to it through a colorful design. It’s a covering and an advertisement.

[Added 6/30/17: A posting on the actual-sock strategy in #1: on 4/4/14, “Cock in a sock”.]

A digression. In the New Guinea highlands, men of native groups traditionally don’t wear pants / trousers of any sort. They’re bare-assed in what looks to Western eyes like extremely minimal underwear. (The Indonesian government has gone to great lengths to force native men into wearing pants and native women dresses.)

But in the U.S, generally, going bare-assed in public counts as public indecency, as does going about in your underwear, especially minimal and genital-displaying underwear. Laws against such public indecency may be suspended in certain places and on certain occasions, but in general guys are expected to wear pants with both front and back panels.

The Drag March and Body Pride Parade are two NYC events (among a number) in which the usual strictures are lifted.

The guy in #1 is wearing an actual sock on his cock, but the modern cock socks alluded to just above are cock-simulacra, undergarments that fit on a penis the way a sock fits on the foot. There are two types: cock socks primarily designed to provide warmth and protection; and those primarily designed to display the penis.

The first type are sometimes given playful names, like willy warmer and peter heater, and they’re usually knitted, often in fanciful phallic forms (resembling a banana, pickle, elephant’s trunk, etc.). My favorites are those in rainbow colors, like this set:

(#7)

The second type is made of much lighter material, as in this collection of cock socks:

(#8)

Cock socks of this type in use:

(#9)

As minimal as minimal gets.

Minimal cock socks need some scheme for keeping them in place. The ones in #8 and #9 depend on firm elastic around the base of the testicles — not a reliable device at all. The knitted ones have ties for this purpose — also not reliable.

The guy in #1 has a better solution: a light harness to hold his sock up, just as suspenders would.

A cock sock can be stabilized by a more substantial strap, yielding the mankini, or slingshot thong:

(#10)

Alternatively, a cock sock like those in #8 and #9 can be partially stabilized by suspending it from an elastic waistband, as in the cock socks from Pikante:

(#11)

However, unless the elastic around the base of the testicles is very tight, the garment is still not very stable, since the sock can easily slide off. To solve this problem, just add a buttocks strap, and you’ve got the classic thong:

(#12)

So many, many ways to put a sock on it, for parading about in.

One Response to “Put a sock on it in parade season”

  1. aric2014 Says:

    Since Scott Weiner enacted the Nudity ban in SF, the dick sock is all the rage. I’ve been seeing gold lamé dick socks a lot, often with a visible cock ring behind the elastic.

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