In 1940, two thirds of American households did not have indoor plumbing. That form of modern convenience didn’t reach our neck of the woods until the early sixties. In those out-house days, most of my male friends spent our entire week or, at least any time not going to school, in farming activities of one sort or another. These agrarian pursuits of survival and cultivation, while physically healthy in many ways, did add layer upon dusty layer of dirt and filth onto our young bodies. I remember weeding and suckering tobacco as a particularly loathsome task.
In addition to the absence of swimming pools, bathing suits were also not only an unknown commodity but would have been an unnecessary expense. We learned at an early age the sensual freedom that the fluid blend of nakedness and cool water gave. When the season was mild enough to encourage our efforts at getting clean, going skinny dipping in some local creek or river with other guys was a much preferred way of ridding ourselves of the accumulated grime that a week’s worth of farming rendered. In combination with warmer weather, “Ya goin’ down to the hole?” was all the invitation most of us needed.
In those days, any male who was particularly well-endowed, was known as a ‘bankwalker’. His proud pedestal was the banks of the local swimming hole and his title was bestowed in a non-verbal manner by his awed on-lookers. After all, no one had to be told as comparisons were no further than a quick glimpse of one’s own anatomy in measured contrast to the afternoon’s swimming companions.
Carl, the bankwalker who set the blue ribbon standard for that term in that Tennessee county where I grew up, was ‘hung’, as the vernacular goes, like the finest of stallions. In the flaccid state his penis appeared to be the length of a tobacco trowel’s handle, hanging like a long, limp pendulum where his muscular legs merged. He would parade with immense pride up and down the bank of the stream where us males went swimming on summertime occasions. Talking and laughing in a garrulous manner, his arms rotated from his shoulders like the blades on our farm’s windmill. All the while, he was nonchalantly displaying his prowess in a casual yet prominent manner.
Once, with great braggadocio, I heard him whispering loudly to one of his companions about a recent romantic encounter. “Yep, I plowed her field last night and she loved every minute of it! Cooed in my ear like a lovesick dove!” I was at an age where I knew his commentary implied some sort of naughty activity, but I was several years away from a more complete understanding of his boasting. Envy and admiration easily penetrated my ignorance however, and I did my best to follow any country wisdom available for enhancing my own nether regions. Nothing yielded the desired results.
Yet Carl’s reputation outgrew his own self-promotion as gargantuan items are prone to do whether it be fish or tomatoes. On rare occasion, he would put his backside to the creek full of boys and young men to engage in banter with someone who had gotten out to dry off and, perhaps, to have a closer, but sideways look at our home grown version of Michelangelo’s David. Then, on completion of his ego-shortened dialogue, he would whirl around quickly, his arms spread in a ballet of nakedness. Swinging almost straight out, his penis took flight, allowing those of us in the water a fresh frontal view, as if in an effort was required to make up for even a moment’s visual loss of his Gulliver-like male organs.
Carl understood subject positioning better than any photographer I would ever meet. In a narcissistic manner, he most particularly enjoyed the water’s reflection of his incredibly substantial assets in the afternoon light. In that vain display, he preferred a solitary parade, gesticulating with his arms to help focus attention on his nakedness, overwhelming the burbling stream and our own boisterous play so that he would remain center stage. He was the Sun in our adolescent system and we circled him in wobbly orbits of envy and admiration.
His Maker, not satisfied with supplying Carl with an over-sized dick, had also blessed him with large testicles that hung like two bright purple Damson plums framing the root of his manhood. Of course, Carl wasted little time in the actual activity of swimming, much preferring strutting along the slippery bank while carefully avoiding any risk of allowing the cool waters to diminish, if even temporarily, his unusual size. He was most interested in a sort of casual, seemingly unintentional intimidation of the local maledom—-and it worked. All of us guys were in whispered awe, and the legacy of his equipment, while difficult to exaggerate, lingered for years after he moved away.
Later, when I experienced my own sexual awakening, I wondered if Carl wasn’t a bit overly enormous for the typical dimensions of the female anatomy–a musing that gave me some sense of satisfaction with the more ‘normal’ size that I was able to field. When I heard the joke about the abnormally large fellow who was only able to attain sexual satisfaction with a cow, I couldn’t help but think about Carl.
I hope he married well.
10 thoughts on “The Bankwalker”
Funny. I suspect most males were intimidated by some Carl in their youth.
For me, swimming at the YMCA was a particularly intimidating experience, George. I don’t know why, but in those days everyone (males) had to be nude.
Your last two sentences had me cracking up. Well done.
Don’t think we had a Carl in my school locker rooms, seemed like everyone was pretty much the same, to some extent.
Strange that the YMCA required nude swimmers way back when.
In hindsight that YMCA requirement in the early sixties now seems a very strange thing. I need to try to find out what the rationale was for doing that.
Thank you for yet another entertaining look at life in rural Tennessee for those of us who survived the 60’s in other parts of the world. Where I grew up, in a Midwestern suburb, we didn’t have any creeks conveniently placed for skinny dipping. Instead, we had the YMCA. In those days, their pool was the only waterhole available, and its use was carefully apportioned between male-only and female-only crowds. I don’t know if the same bathing suit rules applied to the distaff contingent, but none of the males wore ’em. It wasn’t a fashion thing; it was the house rule. Not surprisingly, we had our own version of Carl, although his name was spelled with a K. Anyway, all this suggests to me that those of us with plumbing of less than legendary proportions are damned lucky we didn’t all give up the game on the assumption we had inferior equipment. Sign me, “Normal and proud of it.”
Nice to know that others were subjected to the YMCA skinny dipping phenomena. And, no more than a question mark, but I continue to wonder why the fairer sex seems to have always been gifted with opportunities for greater modesty than us males. YMCA experiences as noted above. En mass showering for males in PE in high school. In the men’s dorm in college (this was in the pre-coed dorm era, dadgummit), no doors on toilets and no curtains on showers. And, of course, everyday we continue to walk uphill naked to work, in the freezing, wet weather. Yet as males, we are accused of being reticent and non-communicative ! Hell, we’ve been completely unmasked, disrobed, and intimidated from an early age. There’s literally nothing left to reveal, much less that much to see in such frigid conditions.
Having grown accustomed to your sense of humor, your writing never fails to tickle me. As for females, you seem to forget that instead of one we had two appendages that were just as compared. The furtive looks in the shower in the locker room were no less condemning. I went from being embarrassed as a late bloomer to being embarrassed for being an over-bloomer.
No, I’m aware that females subject themselves to the same scrutiny, just in a different section of the anatomy. My only ‘complaint’ is that, when I was growing up, males were given little consideration for modesty whenever we were gobbed together. As you might expect, individual reactions ranged from hilarity to utter embarrassment. Even though today’s facilities appear to replete with doors, locks, etc., I imagine that comparisons are still running amok.
Quite a humorous tale and could even have been titled: “Swinging Dicks”. And i can’t help wondering whether or not the author wrote it in the third-person tense.
Nope, I can’t claim any relation to the subject of my essay. However, I can say that there are elements of truth from my perspective as an observer!