Recently Kat wrote a post about words and how the meaning of them can be completely flipped depending on the context of who's using them and how they're being said. It was a very fun post, but somehow by the end of it both my blogging partners were ganging up on me. This post, while primarily to be fun, is also a bit about defending Daunt's honor. Tsk tsk tsk, those naughty girls... I should give them a "manhood" lashing.
Before I continue let me state that I've had no formal training on writing and I am not a literature buff. I'm just a guy who enjoys reading and with a little encouragement from friends discovered he could write.
There are two things in play when I choose my words and one of these things is my upbringing. I was raised in a pretty old-school manner and was taught to treat women with enormous respect. Along with never raising my hand to them in anger, I was taught to be a gentleman and never be crass around them -- in essence, not to be a knuckle-dragging ape. This shows in the erotica I write because in general I expect the majority of my audience to be women.
Now the second thing that causes me to decide which words to use is purely my opinion. Things like the mood I'm trying to convey come into play. Lets play a little game. On the next line there will be a single word. Ready?
Now stop. Don't think about the image that popped in your mind, think about the feeling you felt. For me it's a general happiness, so I expect you to feel that too. In my opinion there is something about the sound of the word that comes into play also, and I'm going to show that on the next line. Ready?
For whatever reason this word gives me a general ugly feeling. Maybe it's the jolting abrupt syllables, I'm not sure, but it sounds ugly to me.
When it comes to genitalia, I have a hunch most men feel like I do. Women are all smooth and curvy and their nether regions have everything neatly tucked away. Now men... well... their genitalia is... well... icky. I mean seriously, there is this limp thing with a rumpled sack that occasionally stiffens and looks at you. When you look at a prime example of male physique his junk almost looks like the dimple left behind on a casting of plastic.
So, lets think about the words we use for genitalia.
It sounds ugly to me. Most women I've know feel an aversion to this word. I know some women like it but my old-school upbringing makes me shy away from it.
That word almost makes me laugh, I may as well use "weenie".
While not as ugly sounding as "petcock", it's kind of abrupt and not very pretty; not to mention its strange association with a rooster. Now add to this to the fact that that poor dangling thing is already lumpy and funny looking... Do I really want to use this word?
I am working on my writing in this respect. I am trying to take more chances that feel more crass, but mix all this up with the fact that my writing tends toward the romantic and you get, "she felt the heat of his breath on her sex" and "her eyes bore into his while he gently stroked his manhood."
Damn it! I just admitted to Cara I write Harlequin Romance... *sigh*