Volume 91, Issue 9

Thursday, September 11, 1997

frosh as a daisy


Chicks take liks at dicks

Dick For A Day
Fiona Giles, ed.
Villard, New York.
pp 279 / $17.95 paperback

"What would you do if you had one?" is asked of literary or published women. This post-Freudian era seems obsessed with the concept of phalluses and women's opinion. So, what would women do with a superfluous member?

Giles throws together the writings and drawings depicting what girlies would do if they had access to a shlong for 24 hours. The likes of Germaine Greer and Poppy Z. Brite responds though essay, short story, comic and collage.

Sensible responses have more to do with feminist theory and women's history. Margaret Wertheim's The Pricks in Physics: A Historical Fantasy notes how a dick would have simplified the life of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. Cavendish was granted the privilege of visiting a session of the English Royal Society – the first all-scientific society. This was astounding in 1667 since the society's mission was "to raise a Masculine Philosophy – whereby the mind of man may be ennobled by Solid Truths."

Social commentary is brought to Hollywood in Size and Sensibility by screenwriter Carol Wolper. She points out "though the pen may be mightier than the sword, the pen is definitely not mightier than the dick." Wolper continues to write about her glorious, fictitious day with a dick, which dissolves as she sets eyes on a perfect pair of ankle-strap Manolo Blahniks. That inadvertently brings to mind an old rumor about the correlation of foot size and ...

On the visual side, the dick transfers charming or freakish images. The comic A Lewd Awakening by Sarah Boxer, demonstrates the Cinderella-type fantasy of owning a dick – shattered by the dick dominating its owner. Kaz Cooke shows two women having coffee; one with a small penis on her nose, the other commenting, "Honestly, you can hardly notice it." Andi and Lance Olsen's Pentapod Freak Nest is multi-page spread containing fetal, feminine and distorted pop culture images.

The most pleasant answers are short and vengeful. For example, Tracy Sondern would wizz all over the bathroom and make her brothers clean up the mess. Sydney Biddle Barrows wants the real goods on fellatio. Senator Sin's poem 1-800-YOR-DICK melds extra-marital revenge with pleasure of sorts. Beeban Kidron wants to prove hers is bigger than Newt Gingrich's, sit down with her legs open, scratch her balls and pee in public.

Women begin to get as piggish as the most disgusting male chauvinist or old pervert. Tricia Warden's Shhhhh reads like third-rate pornography as she seduces a librarian. Other stories are charming and sleazy; "Snow White and Her Seven Dicks," anyone? The authors try to articulate lessons from their romps into the forays of sexual perversion. Warden's narrator senses loss of innocence, but Janice Eidus' Snow White issues "just desserts" to any egotistical rock star she met in her youth.

Aside from the grotesque responses, most of the writers are not necessarily diving into a perverse fantasy. Dick for a Day serves as a commentary on women's assumptions about men. More specifically, what men think about most of the time, thanks to their parts.

Enough about dicks! A compendium feminine-phallic is initially interesting yet the novelty of the subject matter wears thin after the first 100 pages. Puns and twisted gender roles turn witless and childish. No matter how valid an argument or entertaining a short story, the premise gets tiresome.

So it must be asked in conclusion, "What would you do if you woke up with a penis?" The best answer to this exhausted question is call in sick. An even more correct answer, courtesy of Jenny Holzer is "I don't want a dick even for one day."

–Victoria Barkley

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997