Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Not for the squeamish

Published:Saturday | January 31, 2015 | 12:00 AM

There is one thing that elicits the most intense reaction in a man and causes him to flinch as if from grave physical injury, but worse since its effect is psychological and may be caused by memories and fears deep in the psyche, genetic or racial history, and buried very deeply in the subconscious.

I read a story in the Daily Mail and it was almost like an extremely painful physical blow, and yet it hit me much more deeply.

It is a simple story of human emotions inflamed by anger, jealousy and passion. However, it is not what one party did to the party of the other part but it is the part that she did it to, not once but twice, that mattered.

The newspaper's brief synopsis was enough to make me squirm. "Fan Lung, 32, used his wife Feng's mobile to send saucy email to his lover. When she found out, she snipped off his manhood while he was sleeping. Surgeons reattached it but Feng went into hospital and cut it off again. Two-timer's penis was thrown from window and couldn't be found. It's believed the missing body part was taken by a stray cat or dog."

I dare any man to read this dispassionately, unemotionally or with any level of equanimity. This is gut-wrenching, revolting stuff. It is extreme discomfort and almost physical agony.

It took some guts but I finally read the article. It has an even more ironic twist. A fan of Mr Fan, or maybe even a bizarre jokester from an appropriately named pornography production company 'Bang You Later', has now reached out to Mr Fan, offering to pay for an X-rated film starring him and his mistress, Zhang Hung, 21. The company will "cover costs of production and distribution" and Fan would keep all of the proceeds of the film.

Restore sexual confidence

According to Bang You Later, "Our intention is to help you financially through this incredibly delicate time but to also help you to restore your sexual confidence." In the meantime, Fan's lover Zhang Hung, who visited him at the hospital, said she planned to marry him as soon as she could. "It doesn't matter that he's lost his fertility, he has five children already," Zhang said.

Why is this so distressing to read and write about? Why am I so queasy as I sit here reacting very uneasily to the story? It was the same with the Bobbit case.

John Wayne Bobbit and his wife, Lorena, got married in June 1989 but the abusive relationship and his penis were simultaneously severed with a knife wielded by Lorena. The penis was subsequently reattached, but not the couple. Wikipedia states that shortly after the incident, episodes of Bobbittmania, or copycat crimes were reported and the name Lorena Bobbitt eventually became synonymous with penis removal. The terms 'Bobbittised punishment' and 'Bobbitt Procedure' gained social recognition and 'bobbittise' also entered medical literature. I suppose it was cutting-edge surgery at the time.

Catherine Kieu, also known as Catherine Kieu Becker, was accused of mutilating her husband's genitalia in 2011. Kieu was accused of drugging her husband, cutting off his penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife, and putting it in a garbage disposal to prevent reattachment. She was charged with false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated mayhem, poisoning, administering a drug with intent to commit a felony, and spousal abuse.

There is another Chinese case where the husband, Lin, brought home another woman and suggested a threesome to his wife, who demurred and, after a confrontation, cut off his penis. She was jailed for 10 years. Then there is the case of Sada Abe, a Japanese woman who erotically asphyxiated her lover and then cut off his penis and testicles, carrying them around with her in her purse.

What is even more unsettling is that the story became a national sensation in Japan, "acquiring mythical overtones" and has since been interpreted by artists, philosophers, novelists and filmmakers. In my case, it is a matter of being Sada not wiser and I ask myself as I delve further into history of emasculation, what kind of masochist am I to punish myself like this. It is painful and yet I persist.

The reason, I believe, is that I need to know why I am reacting this way. I am no shrinking violet, but there are parts of my anatomy that have gone into hiding, hopefully not permanently.

Researchers say it is a condition called 'castration anxiety' and was identified by psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. It supposedly is felt by women as well. Penis removal was also a practice in the ancient wars and may have led to the phrase 'two-time' loser.

I am convinced this is an ancient, deep-rooted fear that all men have, and my reactions prove it. I believe that instead of cutting off a man's penis, women just have to read the catalogue of horrors and few men would be able to withstand the implied threat and continue to be 'two-timing' losers.

I love Thai cooking but when I read in Wikipedia, that from 1973 to 1980, one hundred cases of Thai women cutting off their husbands' penises were recorded, most of them were not reattached and the majority of women were not prosecuted, I immediately lost my appetite, and not only for food.

n Tony Deyal was last seen saying there is one Fan club he does not intend to join, and it is the one where they cut you first and bang you later.