Last week, I was asked during an interview what the most inappropriate STFU, Parents submissions are that I receive. Not the worst types of mommyjacker or sanctimommy submissions, but the most inappropriate types of posts that I see. Typically, I would consider pictures of poop, placenta, and childbirth to be pretty private and inappropriate content for social media, but somehow without thinking, I replied, "You mean like baby boner submissions?" It's been five years since I last wrote about baby-and-child penis status updates -- which I file in a folder titled 'Boy Parts TMI' that includes submissions about circumcision, as well, but that's a whole other column -- but once I saw the horrified look on the interviewers face, I realized it was high time we address this subject once again.
To put it bluntly: Tiny penises don't belong on Facebook. I'm not talking about pictures of baby/toddler/kid penises, because pictures of adult men's penises don't belong on Facebook, either. (Seriously. Unless you're Orlando Bloom.) No, I'm referring to parental discussions about penises, because quite frankly, they rub me the wrong way. (Ew.) Sure, parents can tell the occasional anecdotal story about their son's inevitable penis obsession to friends in real life, but on the internet, who wants that kind of information? I'm amused by penis jokes as much, or perhaps as little, as everyone else, but even I know where to draw the line, and it's at a young boy's manhood.
Brenda, if you went back and forth about whether to post this information, don't you think that was a sign to maybe just...not post it? That hint of doubt you felt was your conscience speaking, and it was scream-whispering, "Brenda, this is the definition of TMI. YOU KNOW THIS. Your son wouldn't have wanted you to post about this when he's older. Save this story for the next gossip session at a children's birthday party." The truth is, penis jokes can be funny, except when they're about toddlers. And even if or when toddler penis jokes are comical, like say, when it's your own son or nephew asking about the "bone in his penis," the story still isn't worth sharing with EVERYONE you know on Facebook. But hey, maybe that's just me. Maybe there are a bunch of people who are entertained by their friend's pruned penis, and I'm the only one who would rather see a generic picture in a pumpkin patch.
Lololol. Have you ever heard something so adorable? Boys and their penises, amirite?!! I mean, a pruned vagina would never, ever get posted about on Facebook, because GROSS, but a pruned penis? Haha! Jack sounds like one heck of a little comedian. Thanks for sharing, J. Your friends didn't know they were going to get slapped in the face with a description of your young son's genitals after a bath, but I'm sure they appreciate it!
That said, I happen to know it's not cool to post about little boys' "packages" on social media, because I have a lot of friends with kids, and none of them do it, and those numbers just don't lie. If EVERYONE is posting pictures at the pumpkin patch, but NO ONE is posting status updates about their son's wet, shriveled penis, conventional wisdom should tell parents to rethink their updates. Do the majority of little boys have a sometimes-hilariously intense fascination with their penises? Of course they do. But none of us need to be reminded of that boyhood feature. To all my Facebook friends who might be reading this: Thanks for not telling me when your son's penis has "shrinkage." It was funny when it happened to George Costanza, but I don't want to think about it in the context of your kid.
Let's check out some more examples of things parents shouldn't post online about their sons' penises.
1. Penis Discovery
Ummm, ew. Way to sexualize your baby while joking about men who can't control themselves, Robin. Now I'm not only thinking about your son discovering his penis, but I'm imagining him as a little sexual predator, too! SO kewt and funny. Those girls at preschool are going to have to watch out!
2. Just A Penis Chat Between Moms
Reading this exchange gives me such a clear understanding how the patriarchy. But beyond that unexpected insight, this example highlights just how quickly parental discussions can devolve on Facebook after someone else breaks the TMI seal. All S. needed was a quick cue from J. before she whipped out her penis 'n poop story, and now we're all better for it. Thanks, ladies! Your sons are both very normal and predictable in their unwavering love for their own junk.
3. A Random Status Update About A Random Erection
He sure is gunna read this when he's older, Grant, but you know what else he might be "reading" then? Porn. And you know how you'll know that? Because Kelly will probably tell you about it when she discovers her son's online search history. According to the submitter, he's already about seven years old here, so I'm pretty sure the years until Kelly starts posting about her son's "long showers" are numbered. I do feel badly for her kid, though. I think I'd rather have my mom post about my period on the internet than fill everyone in on my sea lion erection.
4. BREAKING: Boys Enjoy Fondling Themselves
What is it about some parents that makes them think this is a smart or amusing thing to post online? Newsflash: It's not! I do not want to see a picture of your sleeping son with his hand down his pants as I'm eating a salad at my desk. It's already weird enough that men sleep with their dicks in their hands (sorry, it is), so what I'm trying to avoid is more proof of that fact. It's not even an original thing to post, because so many other mean moms have taken the exact same picture for all their friends to see. In case you didn't know, it's just toooo damn funny not to share.
"Don't like it? Keep scrolling..." If you have to put a disclaimer on your photo because it's an inappropriate picture of your kid asleep with his hand on his crotch, you're the one with the problem, Wendy. Also there are way too many patterns in this picture and I feel like I'm having a seizure. Can't you just let your young mismatched son instinctively grab his sex organ in unconscious peace?
5. Swollen Testicle Update
Thanks, Orange. Someone had to say it. I'm not even sure Pink is aware that she could have just as easily written, "For those of you who I unnecessarily concerned with the mystery of my son's swollen testicle, fear not! He'll be okay!" and left it at that. But nooooo...she had to go on to describe fucking VERICOSE VEINS which by the way are actually spelled VARICOSE. Jesus, Pink, at least spell your overshare correctly. And let this be a lesson: If you don't share a bunch of private information about your son's testicles with the internet, you'll never feel the need to keep your friends abreast of his prominent blood vessels! Doesn't that sound nice? Keep your baby's swollen balls to yourself. HIPAA and whatnot.
6. No But Really Tho
Victoria, I salute you. In three little words, one of which isn't even a real word, you perfectly conveyed what every person who reads 'Mike N Cortney's' update is thinking. "we got cha" is the nicest, yet shadiest, way of saying, "Thanks, but no thanks. We're all good on this story, and we totally understand it, so no need to keep explaining. Really. THANKS!" In fact, "we got cha" sums up this entire column in way fewer words than I wrote. Good call, Victoria. You've heard just enough about little boys "hitting their own nuggets," and so has everyone else. In all seriousness, I would vastly prefer a status update about actual chicken nuggets to a post about children smacking their wangs. How about just "letting boys be boys," and keeping your Facebook friends out of it?