I am a paragon of heterosexuality, or so my fraternity tells me. I’ve ogled girls since the third grade, and once—surpassing many a UChicago male—ventured to speak to one. Whenever I’m inclined to listen to A Chorus Line and similar musicals, I do so while lifting heavy weights. I have a non-negligible body of photographic evidence strongly suggesting that I can grow a beard. I sing in a choir that is not the Women’s Ensemble. In my omnivorous past, I have eaten steak. Both of my grandfathers have served me beer, independently. I am a skilled amateur at foosball. On several occasions, I have been spotted eating chives. All of this is to say that I am a very manly man.
This makes it difficult for me to make the following pronouncement. I will try to get it off of my chest as quickly as possible, like the proverbial ripping off of chest-wax.
In a Men’s Room stall on the A-Level of the Regenstein Library during my freshman fall, as I was flushing away my last parcels of gastronomic residue, the swirling eddy beneath me leapt out of the toilet bowl like a specter, and, thief-like, stripped me of my cherished prostate virginity.
What’s more, I seem to have enjoyed it.
At first, this alarmed me beyond any consolation. In a very taboo sense, it was for me love at first flush. What does this mean for the unflinching image of machismo I have carved for myself since crawling, bristly-face-first, out of the womb? Am I gay, just because an automated toilet bowl’s lonely whisper says I am? Or will this be the extent of my college “experimenting”—my coy, brief, unspoken flush with death—of all places, in the Reg?
Perhaps this is a normal bodily response to refreshing stimuli. I like to think that my great-great-grandfather Avi, a twice-married, thrice-bearded Orthodox rabbi from Lithuania--and his anus--would have had the same reaction. He was surely as manly a man as ever descended from Adam’s bulbous balls. I imagine Rabbi Avi studying at Chicago. In between reading Mishnaic commentaries on the second floor, he would occasionally come downstairs to relieve himself, flushing twice: once for business, and once for pleasure. In the evenings, he would come home to make love to his first or second wife, as instructed by the Torah; she would never know.
Today I feel better about the whole situation. Sure, I am not quite the same man I once was in magnitude; my scrotum doesn’t hang quite as low, what with the cold water regularly forcing its way up my asshole nowadays. And I can be honest with myself: I don’t play much poker, but even I know that was no straight flush. Still, I feel enriched as a person. I am not just manly. I can be many things. It’s no longer necessary to be an avid heterosexual, the way one can be an avid birdwatcher. It’s possible to be simply heterosexual, with some A-level action on the side.