Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's What You Do With It That Matters

Entrance to the Icelandic Phallological MuseumWell, it's hard to say how I feel about having received this story from the Science page over yonder at msnbc.com. I mean, it's kind of scientific-y, and it's kind of science-y, but in an odd, feels-like-it-should-be-in-a-UK-newspaper sort of way. Oh, hey, it takes place in Iceland. That makes sense. But, I'll let you decide how you feel about the museum that is dedicated to the penis. Um, what?

Over there in Husavik (that's in Iceland), Signurdur Hjartarson (that guy needs The Icelandic Phallological Museumto buy a vowel or two.) is missing a human penis, but it's OK by him because four men have promised that he can have theirs when they die. (Generous.) But it's not quite as twisted as it may seem because Hjartarson is the founder and the lucky, lucky owner of the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Phallological coming from the words Phallo, meaning "phallic" ("phallic" meaning "penile related") and "logical" meaning "is supposed to make sense". And while things that are phallic DO make sense, it's hard for me to say if they make sense when they are assembled in a museum for public perusal. But they do make for an interesting conversation.
It's in Iceland. It's a penis. I found it appropriate. Sort of.
But it's not hard (pun totally intended) for Hjartarson. He started collecting penii (plural of penis. Yes, I made that up. I like it better than "penises". But, then again, I like lots of things (OK, one) better than "penises", but I digress.) in 1974 when he had just one bull penis that he said looked something like a riding crop, whatever that is. But now, that penis collection of one has grown and blossomed in girth (pun intended again) to a massive 261 penii from 90 species. (If you do the math there, you're getting close to 3 penii per species. I'm just going to assume that they're from three SEPARATE members of the species. Otherwise, this would start to get weird.)

I know you want to know "How big is the biggest penis?" It's always about size, isn't it? Well, this time it certainly is because the sperm whale boasts the biggest member, weighing in at 154 pounds and measuring over 5 1/2 feet long. And who would the sperm whale make fun of in the locker room? Why, the hamster, because his teeny, tiny penis is just 2 millimeters long and you need a magnifying glass to see it. (See, ladies? Maybe that one guy wasn't so bad after all, eh?)
A preserved whale penis
And while there are 90 different species represented by their penis in his museum, the one species that is currently not represented is the human species. However, as soon as either a German, an American, an Icelander or a Brit dies, the penis which each of those men have volunteered to donate will be put on display for all the world (or just those who happen to be in Iceland) to see. Lookin' forward to it! (I think.)

What kind of an individual volunteers to donate their penis to a museum? Well, 52-year old Stan Underwood, the American, is one of those volunteers. He has nicknamed his penis "Elmo" (insert "Tickle Me Elmo" jokes here) and he sent Hjartarson a description of his penis along with a "life-A wall bursting with stuffed penis goodness!size plastic mould of the member". (How did he do the mould? Did he do it himself? I can't imagine him going to some business or something to have it done. I'm confused. Not as much as Stan, but still confused.) The guy from Iceland is 93 (Hjartarson can be expecting that penis pretty soon, I'd think) and he was a self-proclaimed womanizer in his youth who thought that if his penis was on display at the museum that it would bring him eternal fame. (Well, I don't know about that, but he'll definitely get his 15 minutes out of it.) Apparently, he's been having second thoughts lately, as he's noticed that it seems to be shrinking as he gets older. (Yep, that thing can shrink up like a frightened turtle as the male ages. Sorry dude.)

Various preserved peniiThe Museum de Penis is only open from May to September (prime penis viewing months. Kind of like whale watching.) 60 percent of the visitors are women. (Shocker. Men don't want to see a bunch of rooms full of a bunch of penii that have been lopped off their rightful owners. They'd walk funny all day after seeing something like that.) Last year, 6,000 curious sort went to the museum and Hjartarson actually made a penis profit.

Most of the penii have been donated by fishermen, hunters and biologists. They are either preserved in jars of formaldehyde or they are dried and mounted on the wall. (Dried? Am I the only one picturing a beef jerky smoker?) Hjartarson has only had to pay for one penis. That would be the elephant penis that is now stuffed and hangs on a wooden board in the museum's "foreign" section.

The prized stuffed elephant penis and Professor Penis

When he started his collection, he was a school administrator. And while that creeps me out, I will admit I like it a lot better than him having sex with his students, so I guess I shouldn't complain. He never thought it would turn into a business (who would?), he just "thought of it as a hobby. It's not like they were on display in the sitting room," he says.

There is a "folklore" section of the museum where some sculptures and some joke items are (no Still more preserved penismention of what "joke items" are in a penis museum. Maybe a vagina?), but he doesn't have any sex toys or paraphernalia. (Um, if you're in a building filled with stuffed penii, I'm thinking that's paraphernalia all over the place.) He does keep more "risque" displays under wraps after having two elderly German women complain about figurines placed in Kama Sutra positions. That particular display now sports a black cloth over the glass display box so no one has to look at them unless they want to. (I find it ironic that someone who has PAID to go through a museum of penii would find ANYTHING objectionable.)

All in all, Hjartarson just hopes that people leave the museum in a better mood than when they arrived (the same way I hope everyone leaves this blog in a better mood than before they read it). And while I would imagine that most would, I can also imagine that some might leave there with a little bit of a complex after seeing that elephant thing on the wall there. Might be a good idea for Hjartarson to have that hamster penis be the last thing people look at before they leave. Every man would walk out of there feeling pretty darn proud of himself no matter what, that's for sure.

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