Life hacks from a Real Dickhead
If you missed our review of Larry Benjamin’s latest novel — which recently won the prestigious Lambda Award for LGBTQ+ literature – we can recap here. Basically, it’s a love story in three acts, with the middle act being a spectacularly bawdy retelling of Pinocchio whose main character was a magical faux phallus come to life in human form, then lost in the seedy underworld of adult entertainment.
As you might imagine, that sort of life experience comes with valuable lessons we’d like to explore. Fortunately, we were able to track down Mr. Testa di Cazzo in an unchaste corner of the author’s imagination, where he graciously answered our questions.
Q: What would you say are the perks of being a penis?
Well given that we live is a patriarchal society where those possessing a penis are held in highest esteem, and hold all power, being an actual penis puts you in even higher regard.
Q: The frustrations? The pitfalls?
That people see you as just that one thing when really, I’m much more than an irresistible penis. People also see you as dispensable or only good for a specific purpose. You may recall that’s how it was with Dear Papa and me at the very beginning. I still shudder when I think of that drawer he kept me in. And the smell of disinfectant makes me absolutely flaccid! The trauma is real.
Q: People know you by a lot of names: dick, Johnson, meat whistle, baby arm…etc. Any you particularly like or prefer to be called? Are there any rules for addressing penises?
I prefer “member” because it implies a sense of belonging and security. You can’t just walk away from your member after all. Or leave it at home on a whim.
Q: What’s something you wish everyone knew about penises?
I love to share fun facts. How about these: tomcats have rather terrifying spines on their penis; there’s a museum in Iceland dedicated entirely to the penis. Yep, Icelandic Phallological Museum contains over 283 penises from 93 species including humans. Makes you shudder, doesn’t it?
Q: Are there any myths about being a penis that you’d like to dispel?
Ah, no. Would the penis even exist without myths? Dispelling those myths would derail the patriarchy, bring an end to mankind and an angry mob to my door!
Q: Are there any important things to remember when it comes to properly caring for a penis?
Well folks should remember penises have feeling and can get hurt. They can bend and break—bet you didn’t know that did you? That’s because people treat us like we’re mindless latex, deaf and dumb, made flesh!
Q: Can anyone have a penis? How do I know if I need one?
Why, yes of course. You can simply buy one—they’re everywhere though sadly no longer a dime a dozen. Well, if you don’t know if you need one, I’d venture to say you don’t need one. Your loss though.
Q: Does having a penis bring any particular duties or responsibilities?
Well—I don’t know if this is true for everyone with a penis but when you look like me, people expect a lot—in the sack, if you get my drift. That’s a lot of pressure to always be…up…it can lead to performance anxiety. So yeah, I took Viagra—gotta get up at 5 am and please Daddy, please Daddy, Cazzo!
Q: What exactly are your feelings for Joseph? Is he like your father or your husband or…?
It’s complicated. He was my father, my literal creator, but he was also my lover of sorts, though even after he made me a body our relations were still transactional in nature. I think all of my interactions were. Not because I was a sex worker but because people only saw me as a penis, which I suppose I was despite all my wishing and hoping to be a real man.
Q: Tell us about your name. Have you met any other Testa di Cazzos?
Well you know I was quite proud of my name. A name was very important to me. And I trusted Papa but then I learned that Testa di Cazzo is Italian slang for “dickhead.” You can’t imagine how hurt I was. That first day when I was dancing around on my new legs and asking him for a name—for I had to have a name. I couldn’t have people calling me Dick—that would be just too familiar and familiarity breeds contempt.
So, when he said “Cazzo”, I thought that was my name when he was simply calling me a dick, or maybe that’s all he saw me as. Then I demanded a last name and when he called me Testa di Cazzo he was actually insulting me by calling me a dickhead. Families are so complicated.
Any way to answer your question, yes, I’ve met other Testa di Cazzos — how could I not? The world is full of dickheads. You need look no further than the GOP.
Q: What’s next for Cazzo? Any interest in showing up in another of Larry’s novels?
Well, I would love to be cast in another of his works—you know his books always have penises. I mean it’s all gay romance, duh.
Anyway, I don’t see it happening. As you know, thanks to that blasted Magical and their haphazard wish granting I am not the proud elephant’s trunk I was but rather a sad, wrinkled sausage casing and if there is anything that is unwelcome in a gay romance, it is that…
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE…
Read Excellent Sons for the full story of Cazzo’s fantastical journey from silicone sex toy to a living, breathing man with a constantly growing… problem. Find Larry’s book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and lots of other platforms. Follow @WriterLarry on Twitter and his website authorlarrybenjamin.blogspot.com
UPDATE: The Lammy Awards were announced in a virtual ceremony Saturday June 11 — and Larry won for Gay Romance! “At a time of increased anti-Asian hate and attempts to ban books about our queer bodies and sex, it feel especially significant and joyful that a book centering a pair of Asian-American teenagers growing up in post-Columbine America and featuring a talking dildo and a non-binary Magical won!” he said in a recent press release via Beaten Track publishing.
Check out our review here for all the scoop on this perfect pick for Pride Month.
IT’S GERMANTOWN PRIDE in the PARK!
Friday June 24 (11AM – 2:30PM) at Center in the Park / Vernon Park, Germantown / 5818 Germantown Avenue
Celebrate and support LGBTQ+ neighbors with community pride and resources. Live music, cold treats, giveaways, performances and more. In partnership with Center in the Park, offering support for the LGBTQ+ older adult communities of NW Philadelphia.
ABOUT LARRY BENJAMIN:
Larry’s an NYC guy – born & bred in the Bronx – a Penn grad living in East Falls the last 20 years: two dogs and a hottie hubbie on Henry Ave. When he’s not writing, Larry’s the Communications Director for Philadelphia’s Mazzoni Center, the region’s largest comprehensive health/wellness services provider in an LGBTQ environment.