The Dangers Of “Testiculating”

rowdy men hanging outside by their cars
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I’d like to submit the following to Urban Dictionary:



Verb: the use of gestures, with the occasional grab of the balls, often to convey intimidation and to emphasize one’s words (often shitty words) rather than to speak gently and respectfully.

Once upon a time in grade school, I was an altar boy. An older altar boy, Anthony DiCarlo, was my mentor.

Anthony wore a gold chain around his neck. On the pendant was Jesus Henry Christ displayed on the cross. The gold chain draped down Anthony’s collarbone, which was very tan, all the time, on account of his Italian heritage. He reminded me of Macaulay Culkin, though not as pale, which was fine by me, on account of my huge crush on Macaulay Culkin.

One day, we were sitting in the pews alone while Father O’Brien rehearsed at the choir with the other altar boys. Anthony was in the pew directly in front of me. He turned around and said, “Jesus died for you, you know.”

“Uh-huh,” was my educated answer.

“Have you seen my necklace?” he asked.

Yes, the entire school has seen your necklace. You’ve shown it to me, like, a thousand times.

“Nope,” I said.

He held the chain and traced Jesus’ dead body with his finger.

“My mom says it’s solid gold. Like, there’s gold-plated and then there’s solid gold.”

“Uh-huh,” Take me. Take me now! I thought.

“How do you say gold in Spanish?”

“Oro,” I said.

“Oro,” his echo set fire to my loins. “I like the sound of that.”

And I like the sound of YOU, Anthony Sweetums-Lovercup DiCarlo.

There we were, two innocent altar boys in the throes of passion. (At least that’s what it looked like from my perspective.)

Anthony liked to talk about his 18-karat necklace, but I couldn’t give two shits. I was nine years old and horny. Less talking, Anthony. More doing.  

But before you sew a scarlet letter on the back of my school cardigan, know this: I was not to blame me for my thriving sexuality at such a young age. Astrology was. (In case you didn’t know, Scorpio’s governing body part is the groin! How could I not be a sexual beast in my coming-of-age years?)

Sometimes Anthony would talk and talk and I would sit there and listen and occasionally wipe the drool hanging from the corner of my lips. There were these short pauses in between bits of our conversation. Anthony would grin and there was this gleam in his eyes. It made me wonder, does this bitch WANT me?

The vibe, however, was a little different away from the altar.

One day after school, I approached Anthony and his group of friends. I wanted to return the comic book I had borrowed from him. As I drew near, one of his friends shouted, “Look, Anthony, your boyfriend Menudo’s here! Hola, Menudo!”

With his cheeks as red as a Calabrian tomato and the rest of his face flushed with embarrassment, Anthony yanked the comic book from my hands and walked away. As he departed, his friends serenaded us to a classic love song: 

Anthony and Ivan
Sitting in a tree

I prayed that night: Dear lord, listen to those jerk-offs. If only one kiss…

But then I realized those jerkwads could have destroyed my chances of being with Anthony! I’d write in my journal: Dear Diary, why are boys such fucktards? Why can’t Anthony’s friends shut the hell up and let us be happy?

To this day, when I see a group of bros loitering by the cannabis dispensary, the gym, etc., I sometimes think about dearest Anthony. 

Did he escape the prison of Catholicism as I did? Or was he put through conversion therapy and is now happily married to a woman named Sue? Do they live together in Rehoboth Beach with three boys named Vincenzo, Iacopo and Ivan, in my honor? (A secret that Anthony will take to his grave.)  

I think about crossing to the other sidewalk rather than passing near the rambunctious bros outside of the dispensary.

But, no.

I promised myself that I would tackle these uncomfortable situations with aplomb.

I stare at them in their graffitied trucker hats, low-rise jeans and Nike high-tops. I take a deep breath, chin up, give them a “bro nod” as I walk on by, as if to say, come at me, bro. (But, like, don’t come at me, please.)

On my mission to demolish the seedlings of testicular (or “bro”) behavior, I’d like to think that I’ve altered the perceptions of others and contributed to a good cause.

One example lies in the tricky realm of gender norms. 

When you have friends with kids, a big chunk of the conversation centers around these little guys. Timmy’s volcanic reaction to nuts. Lily’s tendency to stick Play Dough up her nose. Sophia’s random spurts of Tourette’s over a large dinner party. (Except that Sophia doesn’t really have Tourette’s. You just curse too much and she’s in parrot mode.)

Parents chatting about their kids is a common, natural, inevitable thing. And I’m not averse to it, nor do I pretend to host game nights with my other, childless friends to avoid babysitting duties.

Au contraire, I’ve jumped on the uncle bandwagon since my niece was born in Y2K. As a friend and uncle — both officially and unofficially — I listen to parenting woes with an open mind and heart.

But there’s one recurring theme that gets my juices flowing real rapid-like.

I’ve noticed that parents like to gloat when their kids show affection to other kids of the opposite sex. Especially in the boy→girl scenario.

Guys guys, look!  Timmy’s holding Lily’s hand! How fucking cute!

Now he’s giving her a little kiss on the cheek. Ahhhhhhhh.

That Timmy’s quite the Casanova-in-the-making. Let’s give him a dustpan to pick up the bits of broken hearts he will no doubt leave in his wake of love/terror/destruction!

Why, parents? WHY???

How do we know that Timmy wants Lily? Or that Lily wants Timmy? What if they are simply in a monkey-see-monkey-do phase and hold hands because Mommy and Daddy do?

What if — and hear me out — Sophia wants Lily? Ever think of that? For all we know, Sophia can end up with several cats and a lesbian named Doris.

So let’s stop testiculating and let’s fuck with some gender norms.

When I have a kid, I’ll be doing the opposite. I’ll encourage Timmy to swoon over Henry if that’s what his little heart desires. He can play with Barbie dolls and wear tutus and we can go shopping together at Charlotte Russe. Maybe even have tea at American Girl.

Why would I ever want to shit on Timmy’s path to gayhood? Why would I want to trip Lily so that she could fall into his path and scream, “Hey Timmy, look! Wanna give her a go? Vaginas can be great if you just try.

That would be a shitty thing to do. As shitty as those fuckers who cock-blocked me when Anthony and I were clearly meant to be together.

But there’s a silver lining to this tragedy of star-crossed lovers.

I’m proud to say that some of my parent-friends have adopted my anti-testicular techniques. In my presence (but who knows if this happens only in my presence), they’ve caught themselves in mid-sentence and refrained from encouraging Timmy to pursue Lily, or Mark to pursue Sophia. 

“Bravo!” I tell them.

Some of my parents-friends applaud my efforts. Others have unfriended me on social media.

But that’s okay.

I’m praying for their souls.

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