Intro To A Boner

An erotic one-act pantomime play from which carnal knowledge is got, with digressive phallic metaphor and symbolic patricide.

My parents got separated when I was 8 years old, mainly due to my father’s alcoholism and related emotional abuse of my mother. After she left him, taking me with her, my father suddenly wanted to be a better person, a better role model — so he signed up to be a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters, a volunteer mentoring organization for “challenged youth,” which infuriated my mother, who told him how insulting it was to her and I that he wanted to be a better man for other boys before being a better man for his own son. And yes, looking back at this now, I do feel somewhat humiliated and rejected, but mostly I’m just sad yet ultimately detached. But this is not about poor me, rather, an odd play that was performed the night I met my father’s child mentees, two brothers aged 8 and 12.

My father moved out, rented a room four blocks away in a bachelor house. I remember how odd it felt walking his mail still being sent to our house over to him. Sundays were visiting days. We’d walk around the mall, eat lunch at the food court, maybe see a movie. I’ll spare you how sad those days were. One day he asked me if I wanted to meet some “friends” later on that night, to which I must’ve said okay because there I was, at their home, meeting the single mother — which my now adult-brain understands he wanted to perhaps fuck — and her two boys, let’s call them Eight and Twelve. The family was real giddy all throughout dinner, eyeing one another and giggling at their plates. They eventually confessed to having a very special play to perform for us, but this wasn’t some artsy precious family blistering talent; rather, they were simply a little off.

Twelve laid supine on the floor and covered himself with a blanket. It was apparent this was a bed scene, we the voyeurs standing above him. Eight, the little brother, crawled under the blanket, at Twelve’s crotch, and slowly began to stand as the latter moaned ooh oh in pleasure. This was about a year before my first erection (I presume Eight’s as well), but I knew something perverse was happening, that this play was autobiographical for Twelve — the inspired playwright, the magical surrealist — whose own brother had been reverse-anthropomorphically reduced to a human erection. I didn’t look over at my dad, who didn’t make a sound or say anything. To this day we have never brought it up, no pun intended.

The empty parts inside us are bestowed with the hunger to fuck, everything else is the tip-toe dance of feelings. Human sexuality does not need a textbook, you just kind of know what and where and why stuff is. That boy is a boner, I thought. That must feel good, I knew.

A year later I was to experience my first erection, from which, with his arms, I hung “Dr. Mindbender,” the G.I. Joe mind controlling Cobra villain, who conveniently wore a cape. It wasn’t sexual at all. I was simply thrilled to run around with a man holding on to my penis with all his might, his left bicep up against the sole artery delivering the pulse with which my male volition was conveyed. Sooner than later, a lanky girl named Joy entered the picture, whose face felt better to look at than my entire G.I. Joe army, and so began my painful journey into the windy crevices of the female heart, the amputated one covered in scar tissue with a bomb inside that still smells like flowers. Before I knew what a boner could do (this was a year or so before ejaculation) I would stick my pre-teen boner out my 4FL low-income housing apartment bedroom window facing the quad below and scream in a eunuch’s voice something about “it” being for you, that is, as a public address to the aforementioned girl.

My dad, of course, was not a novice to erections the night his was “deeply” involved in conceiving me. This mistake on his part manifested into a little baby nine months later, an event which did little to inspire my father, or the tiny pink being that was to turn into a boy, then a young man, and finally a man. I’m all grown up now, at least the body and face I see inside my mirror, but the little worm inside me is still 8 years old, cautiously walking beside him, struggling to be loved, knowing I was not. I’ve stopped blaming the world or my father for disowning me. It feels good to be free, to try to create love from nothing. To be empty.

I’m thinking about Eight, who is also 35 this year, who may have his own Eight by now. This is how the world goes ? Boy gets an erection ? boy becomes a man ? man conceives child ? child turns into boy ? boy gets an erection ? and et cœtera ? Somewhere, somehow, l?ve ought to be involved, but if this world observed ought, we’d all be in better shape. As for the supine women who receive all these arrows, I hereby apologize on our behalf. We should be better men. It’s so cliche: my father disowning me, me vowing to not speak to him until a his deathbed, my mother’s soft and tired face in the middle, too hurt by both parties to care anymore, our own little Tolstoyan unhappy family. True, they did raise me for the most part in an upper middle class mild setting, paid for my college, even offered to help out afterwards, and perhaps where is an ounce of spoiled brattiness in my hatred towards my father, who is old and lives alone an hour away, who I don’t visit because I’ve really warmed up to the phrase “fuck him,” uttered like an incessant prayer, my gift to myself. He’ll be dead one day and I won’t be any sadder or happier. This is the freedom of a broken heart. I guess I’m not the best son in the world, but I’m the playwright here, and the leading role of the child playing the dick is me. TC mark

More From Thought Catalog

  • Brooke Lin

    I love this. Love, love, love.

    • Brooke Lin

      I love this, other than Jimmy's mind-blowing skill, because it's the first ever apology I've heard from a man to women, the first time I've heard a guy actually say that they need to be better men.  I love you Jimmy and you rock my world.   And while people may say that this is “too good for Thought Catalog,” for many writers TC might be their only chance to reach anyone else so thanks, TC!!

  • Twistypro

    Vapid and inane.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      wudda preferred 'flacid and insane' but i'm totes chill bro

      • http://www.facebook.com/CaseyJonesATX Casey Jones

        Go visit your old ass dad, son. Perhaps act out the entire estranged father son reunion scene from 'Slingblade' .

    • lalit

      Did you read the last line?

  • Dan

    wth I've been on the net for six hrs straight I can't grasp this atm

  • Jordan

    Awesome.  Trademark Jimmy Chen insanity with bonus autobiographical honesty.  Keep it up man

  • http://twitter.com/nneonbible Eugenia ϟ

    Well-written. I'm deeply enthralled.

  • Aelya

    It's so difficult not to love you

  • lalit

    You have quickly become one of my favorite writers!

  • madar

    this is amazing. jimmy chen, u rock my world. i feel bad saying this but i think the piece is 'way too good for thought catalog'

  • http://twitter.com/MissKimball misskimball

    this is moving and sad and beautiful, like going to the seaside when it's raining and everywhere is closed

  • http://brianmcelmurry.blogspot.com/ Brian McElmurry

    love Jimmy Chen

  • Kelly

    How did everyone love this? It was just awful and weird. And not that “oh that's cool and artsy weird”, more of that “I don't want to hear about your daddy issues that manifested into a story about boners” sort of way.

    • eric

      flaccid

  • Ophelia

    I agree with you in that it certainly was uncomfortable and odd–and not in a literary genius kind of way but in a I think you better get off Thought Catalog and to a therapist ASAP kind of way.

  • Fox

    Funny how our lives our so different. When I got my first hard on, I just watched late night HBO.

  • simón

    Reading this made me uncomfortable. I guess that was your aim.

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