Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why you shouldn’t request phalluses from strangers

The other day I blogged about people who lack social filters, and how those awkward conversations are a goldmine for authors.

Now I must confess that I’ve been known to make the occasional joke that turns out to be mildly inappropriate.

Shocking, isn’t it?

The problem when you write humor is that there’s sometimes a fine line between “funny” and “what the hell?”

Case in point, my debut novel MAKING WAVES has a scene in which the hero and heroine are on the balcony of a hotel overhearing the world’s most awkward tryst on the beach below. I was going for a combination of humor and “this shouldn’t be a turn-on but kinda is.”

It was apparent from my agent’s reaction that I’d missed my mark.

“I don’t even know what this phrase is supposed to mean,” she emailed.

“That’s the point – it’s funny, you know?”

Um, no. Apparently it was funny for a few lines. Not for a few pages. The scene got trimmed, and rightfully so.

I’d like to say I only do this in writing and would never have my humor fall flat in real life, but then I’d be both a liar and a pervert.

About a month ago, I was at a friend’s party with several strangers. A gentleman struck up a conversation with me about his friend who makes beautiful, hand-carved wine bottle stoppers, and asked what shape I thought would be most marketable.

“A penis,” I told him for reasons I can no longer recall that probably seemed funny at the time.

There was some discussion about length and girth, and at one point the party’s hostess joined in and we all had a good laugh about it.

A few weeks later, the hostess called. “Remember that guy who was talking to us about the wine bottle stoppers?”

“Um, vaguely.”

“I have something for you.”

Yes indeed, this stranger took it upon himself to go to his artist friend and request a hand-carved wooden phallus for my wine bottles. And the artist didn’t stop at merely carving. As you can see, he hand-stitched this lovely leather scrotum, complete with two disturbingly lifelike testicles.

The creator was very proud of his work, and though I hadn’t actually planned to purchase such fine custom artwork in the immediate future, I was compelled to cough up the cash and admit that my joke had fallen a bit flat.

So now I have a wine stopper that spends most of its time hidden in a drawer, and a more finely-tuned appreciation for my need to think twice when I think I’m being funny.

How about you? Ever made a joke that’s fallen flat? Or one that’s forced you to purchase a hand-carved wooden phallus? Please share in the comments.

31 comments :

Squeaky said...

...i really describe how hard i am laughing at the moment...i thought it was just me...XD

JM Tohline said...

"Would you like some wine?"

"Um...what else is there to drink?"

Karla Nellenbach said...

OMFG!!! this one had me laughing so hard. this post goes right up there with the tampon of mystery (that i felt compelled to forward to many a frien BTW)

CKHB said...

I am now dying to know how much such a fine, hand-crafted item costs.

I think you need a matching set of salt & pepper shakers.

Penelope said...

Oh, thank you for this!! I am laughing out loud!

Usually I'm funny when I don't intend to be and less humorous when I'm trying. :)

I would also like to know how much you paid for this!

Linda G. said...

*falls over laughing* Oh. My. Gawd.

This could only happen to you, Tawna.

So, do you ever watch "Good Eats" with Alton Brown? He's always preaching against "uni-taskers" (appliances/gadgets that have only one function) in the kitchen. I'm thinking he might *cough* approve of your stopper.

Cynthia Reese said...

Oh, man. This is ... it's like a wreck. You can't look, but you can't look away, either.

I do wonder what the wood carver thought about you, though ...

Patrick Alan said...

All of my jokes have been brilliant and funny. Forever!

Tomorrow, I will make a fart joke for your mom. It will be VERY funny!

Harley May said...

"I never cross the line of inappropriate. Ever. I am the eptiome of proper," she said while flicking booger.

Claire Dawn said...

CRYING!!! It's 2 am here. I can't laugh or I'll wake up the whole neighbourhood. I'm choking.

Well, at least you now have the perfect way to get rid of unwanted to company. Get out the "special wine"!

PS I mentioned you in my post "16 letters" yesterday. Similarly, I thought you'd find it funny. Hope my humour hasn't fallen flat.

Claire Dawn said...

PPS. My humour falls flat all the time. I live in Japan where I'm surrounded by Japanese (duh), Americans, Brits, Aussies, Canadians, etc. You'd be surprised how different our humour is... So often, we're like "Oh you HAVE to see this thing on youtube!" and then the others don't get it.

Debra L. Schubert said...

I can think of another possible use for the wine stopper. Then again, the splinters...

Candyland said...

First, your wine stopper is um, pretty??
Second, all my jokes have fallen flat and are almost always misconstrued. So don't feel bad. I think you're hilarious!

Tawna Fenske said...

Squeaky, you're always welcome to laugh at my mistakes. I've got plenty to share.

JM, you should see house guests' faces when we have it sitting on the counter but don't bother explaining it. "Um, what IS that?"

Karla, I'm glad my crudest humor strikes a chord with you. There's plenty more where that came from :)

CKHB, that lovely piece of artwork could be yours for just $25. Want me to order one for you?

Penelope, I'm sure I could get one for you, too. Shall we order in bulk?

Linda G, don't think the thought hasn't crossed my mind. But oh, the splinters.

Cynthia, judging from the level of detail (who thinks to add a hand-stitched leather scrotum?!) I'm guessing the artist was pleased with the request.

Patrick, I will be waiting on the edge of my seat for your fart joke, and I will expect to fall off said seat in order to roll on the floor with laughter.

Harley May, I suspect you and I could get into a lot of trouble together.

Claire Dawn, loved your "16 letters" blog post! Thanks for the mention. I lived in Venezuela for awhile after college, and I was always surprised at how un-funny I was. Every joke I made in Spanish fell completely flat.

Debra, ouch. That hurts just to think about. And thanks to you, I'll be thinking about it all day.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Patrick Alan said...

Hmm. What could Debra be thinking? Could the leather scrotum be used as a change purse?

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Oh my god, Tawna, I was already chuckling when I started this post, but when I scrolled to the pic I was doubled over! This is hilarious. And everyone's comments are excellent. I love your blog!

I've been blessed with the kind of humor that leaves me 75% of the time with my foot in my mouth.

((hugs))

Marisa Birns said...

Oh, look at the size of it!

Men. Always bragging and exaggerating.

middle child said...

Um,....Hopefully not the drawer of your nightstand!

Flannery said...

Actually, I have a hand-carved, life-sized, wooden penis bottle-opener, if that makes you feel any better.
A friend got it for me for christmas. Hmmm.

Keri Stevens said...

Seriously? Only $25? There are so many people with whom I'd like to stop exchanging gifts forever. About, oh, $150-200 invested would save me thousands over time . . .

KAK said...

You coughed up the cash for it? Honey, no woman pays for d*ick, especially not when she shows it off to all her friends.

~cough~

Christi Goddard said...

I work in a large one story building that used to be a K-Mart. My building is an inbound call center. It takes nine weeks to get through the training program, then a couple of years to perfect the use of the programs on the PCs. People at my end of the building are the seniors (5+ years) and people at the west end are the noobs.

A plane flew so low over us one day it sounded ominous. My boss said, "I hope it doesn't hit the building."

I replied quite loudly, "If it does, it better hit the west end. They're easier to replace."

She was not pleased. :-)

Jaydee Morgan said...

I tend to have a sarcastic sense of humor - which, unfortunately, people don't seem to get most of the time. Although, none of my attempts have ever given me anything like your winestopper. I must do better in the future.

Tawna Fenske said...

Patrick, why yes! That's exactly what Debra meant. Run along now and get a cookie.

Nicole, thanks for reading! I've learned to keep my feet very clean.

Marisa, the dimensions are rather odd, aren't they? It's possible I requested specifics in regards to length but neglected to suggest girth.

middle child, have you been peering through my bedroom windows again?

Flannery, you and I should definitely get together and host a party!

Keri, if you're interested, the artist said he'd happily produce a few more. He, er...requested that I not share his name publicly. Can't imagine why.

KAK, oh, but this is no ordinary phallus. It retains its stiffness no matter how much wine is left in the bottle.

Christi, OMG, that story is priceless! Can't imagine why no one was amused. Well, OK. Maybe I have an idea or two.

Jaydee, dry humor does occasionally bite you in the butt, doesn't it?

Thanks for reading!

Tawna

Melanie Sherman said...

Oh dear lord.

That's it. I can't even type anymore. Hahahaha.

Anonymous said...

If you really want one , I can do more. Through Tawna 25 for wood weiner bottle topper. 5 for shipping
Mr. Dong Wine DeMarco

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

OMG if this was posted today instead of yesterday I'd think it was an April Fools Day joke, but that penis doesn't looked photo shopped. lol.

I'm sure I make lots of jokes that FALL FLAT. There's an erection joke somewhere in there, but I don't wanna touch it. (Get it? I don't wanna touch it? Ha. See--I'm funnier in real life.)

angfla said...

Laughed until I cried at this post. Then my two year old climbed up behind me to see what was so funny and I slammed the laptop shut and laughed some more.

Tawna Fenske said...

Melanie, oh come on, you know you're jealous. You want one for yourself, don't you?

Mr. Dong Wine DeMarco, thank you for your kind offer to carve more. Can't imagine why you don't want to reveal your true professional identity in connection with these lovely works of art.

Karen Amanda, nope, no Photoshop. Disturbing, isn't it? As are your erection jokes and comments about touching. I think I might need a shower now.

angfla, I've never been so happy to make someone cry! Good thing you've got a fast hand with the laptop closure.

Tawna

Matthew MacNish said...

The monolithic stature of that item falls a little flaccid next to your intrepid expression Tawna. Perhaps if it were a little bigger? Or if the Franks came without Beans?

Seriously though? That is EPIC.

Sophia Chang said...

AAAHH ACH ACH ACHACH HHH

Sorry I yelled on your blog.

This is HILARIOUS. This is how I try to live my life. Taking jokes too far. So few will take them this far with me though. I once took it so far with a friend we got half married in Vegas (we registered and got a license but didn't do the ceremony so it expired after a year. Thank gawd.) Yeah...