Gay men love talking about penis. You would think penis would bore us by now considering how much we play with our own, but nope. We want to talk about penis, and we want to know what your penis looks like. In case you haven’t noticed by now, gays are prone to colorful language when describing someone’s dong: hung like a horse, acorn, baby dick, beer can, etc. And I can convey these informal descriptions in conversation as serious as if I was giving a lecture at Harvard medical school; however, there is one that I never use nor like to hear because it instills a queasy feeling in my gut: like a baby’s arm holding an apple [dry heave].
It was 1991. My niece was just a few months old. I cradled her in my arms while sitting at a Waffle House counter so her mother could eat. This baby, swaddled in a soft blanket, closed the fingers of both hands in tight fists and pressed them against her face, just beneath her mouth. I felt as if I held in my arms the epitome of innocence. It was a perfect moment between uncle and niece until a light-yellow sludge quietly oozed from her mouth like a busted abscess. It was enough to spill down her chin like river of lava and cover both of her hands like boxing gloves.
Immediately, the tangy smell of baby-bile-infused applesauce invaded my nose. I squinched my face, leaned forward, and said playfully, “Ewwww. That is so gro-”
And as my mouth formed the perfect O-shape while attempting to say “gross,” a perfect storm of synapse fired in this baby’s brain that resulted in her arm suddenly extending like a prize fighter throwing a hard jab. The vomit-covered fist at the end of her arm landed perfectly between my O-shaped lips.
It wasn’t until 13 years later that I could tolerate the smell of a freshly baked apple pie; however, I still can’t stomach the thought of apple juice.
So here’s to all mothers and fathers that have loved their sons, daughter, nieces, nephews, and/or grandchildren even after an unfortunate vomit incident. You are the bravest of caregivers, and my heart is extended to you all. I will never forget.