Annals of phallicity: symbol and simulacrum

(Warning: consider the subject; penises will be under discussion, so some will want to skip this posting.)

I’ll start with the logo of Herb’s Plumbing & Heating, 2562 Noble Rd., Cleveland OH:

(#1) Brawny man, a plumber, with a big wrench — the symbol of his trade, also (like wrenches in general) a phallic symbol, intensifying the masculinity of the image

This is garden-variety phallicity. But on Herb’s trucks, we get something more substantial: a phallic simulacrum, a representation of a penis (which is, however, also symbolically a wrench):

(#2) The giant wench as monstrous (ca. 2-foot) fireplug dick

(Big hat tip to Tim Evanson, who’s had occasion to use the (plumbing) services of the company.)

Not the first hunky mascot to appear with a phallic tool. There is, at least, Burly, the mascot of Burly Paper Towels in The Simpsons (a parody of the Brawny Man from Brawny Paper Towels). From the Simpsons Wiki:

(#3) Burly wields his phallic ax

When Marge accidentally bought the wrong brand of paper towel, she was going to take it back to the shop, but then she saw a picture of Burly on it and fell in love with him, even fantasizing about him.

(Burly appears in 4 episodes: “The Blunder Years”,  “Moonshine River”, “A Tree Grows in Springfield”, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas”.)

Burly’s ax is, again, a garden-variety phallic symbol.

Similarly with dildos in general. Because of their function, they’re tubular in form, and so automatically serve as phallic symbols. But dildos are often styled as simulacra of penises, taking them past mere phallicity to penises as a subject of folk art. Indeed, in the world of gay male sex toys, there is a subworld of pornstar dildos, each one a replica of a specific pornstar’s penis. There is in fact a Page on this blog on postings about pornstar dildos.

In one further step of symbolic complexity, in penis art, it’s not uncommon for phallic simulacra to be also (intended as) symbols of something else. For example, in my 8/26/18 posting “Two impressively eccentric artists”, see #2, a Lynda Benglis sculpture of two curving penises forming a bronze smile.

(There’s a Penis art Page on this blog, inventorying postings about art featuring (material intended to represent) penises.)

In any case, I’m suggesting that the object the plumber is clutching in #2 is both a huge penis simulacrum and also a giant wrench that is, in the manner of wrenches in general, a phallic symbol.

Bonus. Plumbers feature prominently in porn videos, apparently in straight porn as well as gay, though I’m only familiar with the gay variety. Homeowner engages plumber to service his plumbing, and within minutes they are servicing one another. (You can see samples of the genre by googling on “gay porn plumber”.) The attractions of the genre include hunky blue-collar men who use tools and who arrive at your door to provide a service to you.






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