Metro column 16

Richard Herring: Why are we too shy to talk about the male member?
Censors insist on banning the word cock but we should be celebrating the male member, not hiding it away in shame, says Richard Herring.

The Edinburgh Fringe is still two and a half months away and already I am in trouble. The name of my show has been censored in the official Fringe programme because it is apparently too rude. Wow, you’re probably expecting something pretty racy aren’t you? I think you might be disappointed. I am doing a male riposte to the Vagina Monologues – I saw a gap in the market and couldn’t resist the male urge to fill it – it’s called Talking Cock.

Harmless enough, you’d think. It only means, ‘talking rubbish’, as in ‘talking cock and bull’. But apparently one of those words is too rude to be printed in a brochure that celebrates Fringe theatre and comedy. The show must be known as Talking C*ck, which, if anything, draws attention to the issue and would make an innocent child wonder why a harmless word that they use every day has been ineffectually disguised.

After all, a child can read the sentence as: ‘The cock crowed: “Cock-a-doodle-do,” as the stranger approached the farm. The farmer cocked his rifle and said: “Hello me old cock, you’re trespassing.” The stranger said: “I am looking for the badminton courts,” and cockily hit his shuttlecock but it flew off half-cocked. “Oh, I cocked that up,” he sighed as his errant cock flew into the farmer’s wife’s cock-a-leekie soup,’ without anything seeming out of cock.

So by censoring this word, the monsters putting together the Fringe programme are actually tipping kids off to the fact that the word has an extra, slightly rude definition. They should all be arrested for corrupting the young.

But funnily enough, the prurience and shame directed towards a perfectly normal (if slightly odd-looking) body part is one of the things I want to investigate in this show. Shouldn’t we be celebrating the schmuck? Bigging up the bald-headed mouse? Eulogising the yoghurt-spitting sausage?

To quote Leonardo Da Vinci: ‘A man who is ashamed to show or name the penis is wrong. Instead of being anxious to hide it, man ought to display it… with honour!’ I shall call him as a witness in my upcoming trial.

Why are we too shy to talk about Kojak’s moneybox anyway? We’re all here because of our dad’s Jack the Dripper and most of us get pleasure from the Spurt Reynolds one way or the other, even if it’s just to laugh at one when someone’s put a pair of spectacles on it.

The cyclops dachshund is a fascinating subject. It’s an object of pride and shame; it can inspire laughter and fear; it is a symbol of power and yet it is incredibly fragile and weak; it can be a pound of flesh or an ounce of winkles; it can be used to express both love and hate; it can create life; it can condemn us to death. And it can do wees as well. What’s not to like?
Men display a lot of bravado when discussing their tummy bananas but they rarely talk honestly about them. To find out the truth, I’ve set up two anonymous questionnaires all about the spam javelin: one for men – – and one for women – You can be (secretly) part of the show.

I’ve already discovered how to accurately gauge the length of a man’s John Thomas. There’s a lot of old wives’ tales about this: big hands; long nose; impressive lunchbox. But they’re all wrong. The best way to determine the size of a man’s winky is to get him to show it to you and then measure it with a ruler. It’s 100 per cent guaranteed.

Richard Herring’s Talking Cock: The Second Coming will be debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

Follow Richard on Twitter: @herring1967

Read more: