The Mysterious Retractable Foreskin


Graphic by Margarita Korol

Written by Aleks Degtyarev. Aleks is a first-time Jewrotica writer. Join Aleks and Urban Pop Art Projects publisher, Artist President Margarita Korol to celebrate the release of “Marlo (Book One): Jewish [en]Lightning” at the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan on May 29, 2014 for an abbreviated performance and libations.

Author’s Note
I was born in Odessa, Ukraine, which was then under the rule of the Soviet regime. To a child it does not matter what regime their country is under; they concern themselves with a bigger picture. I concerned myself with the sandy beaches of the Black Sea and the time spent at the family dacha every summer. I was eight years old when my family decided to go on a long vacation and never come back to our ‘home land’. They called this vacation an immigration, but to a child these hardships are hardly hardships, except the part when I was told to leave my toys behind.

After traveling through several countries, we made it to the USA. By 13 years of age I had discovered my purpose in life, by 20 years of age I had forgotten it, and by 30 years strong I was back on track full steam ahead. Such is the way of the worlds. I have recorded all these coming of age stories, trials, grapples with identity, and spiritual quests in several films and two books, the first of which will be released by an independent publishing company this winter.

My plans are simple and firm. I seek to continue in the tradition of evolving communication. The aim I undertake is one to subvert anger, fear, ignorance, and cowardice in the hearts of my fellow earthly citizens by first abolishing these traits in myself.

To accomplish this work I look towards individuals with minds that are consumed by the false idea that, ‘something is impossible.’

With help from my network of friends, I am in the process of rediscovering processes within which each person can work out his or her own innovations in personal achievement and share his or her accomplishments with the world.

I pledge to dedicate the rest of my life to this work.


A Note on Marlo

Marlo L. Brown is a full blown persona who was living with me. One day Marlo came forth and introduced itself. Since that day I have adopted Marlo or Marlo has adopted me. Hard sayin’ not knowin’. Here’s Marlo’s account of how it happened:

Marlo was conceived one fine day in the Earth planet summer of 1999 only six Earth months before the pre-apocalyptic Y2K event. Long time friends, Pipe Adams and Marlo Brown were in the deep woods of Bethelpage, where they stumbled upon a rickety wooden shack with no windows and no doors. Using their lighters and ingenuity they burned a way into the shack where they discovered a tiny gold gilded leather-bound sketchbook. Bestowed with the awesome, but very conditional powers of the little sketch-book, they broke open a portal into other realities from which they went on to have many adventures. These misadventures are recorded in soon-to-be-published books, primarily: Whooligans Under the Sun of the Littlest Little Skitbook as well as The Chronicles of Kon-Tikoland.

Rated R
The Mysterious Retractable Foreskin

It was close to 9pm when my parents entered my room. Mom sat down on the edge of my bed as if respecting the allotted distance moms and sons should share at this age. My father remained standing with his arms crossed over his chest.

Were they here to confront me about the twenty dollars I stole from the sock in their closet? Perhaps about the abused Penthouse mag under my bed (terrible hiding spot)? There was something to the atmosphere of the room that announced my relief, but only for a moment.

“Listen, ‘pencil’…” began my mom who called me ‘pencil’ in Russian because I was scrawny and it sounded cute. “We have to ask you something. You know that we are Jewish and that as Jewish people we have certain customs. Back in Odessa we couldn’t follow those customs, but here in the U.S. we can.”

Dad remained silent.

“Vova,” said mom addressing father, “…you explain.”

“Remember the surgery that was performed on your friend Igor?”

I did and I didn’t. From what I understood, his penis was operated on and he got presents for it.

“I think so.”

“Do you or do you not? There is nothing to worry about – he’s doing just fine. You know the skin that dangles at the tip of your penis, the little flap, the doctors removed it,” dad followed with a hand gesture resembling a scissor.

Mother chimed in, sensing my discomfort peaking. “It’s not a big deal at all and takes only a few minutes. A very simple procedure. The reason for the operation is that Jewish boys get this done when they are only babies, but we couldn’t do that to you in Odessa, it would’ve made you stand out and could have caused problems for you.”

Procedures, operations, problems! What was going on here? Being different in any way was a huge cause of contention amongst the shuffling pecking orders that I was subject to in the public schools which I entered as an immigrant who didn’t speak English, first into a school with no other ex-Soviet immigrants.

“We just came to tell you that now you are older and it’s your choice to have this operation. Here in the U.S. they do this to every baby,” said father, as if he were the doctor.

I wanted to ask why, but could not bring up the courage.

When they left I sat on my bed and contemplated my penis. We held each other for a moment. It was discouraging to know that I was different than all the rest. It gave me a great sense of inferiority, which was already at an all-time high as we had moved for the third time, and I had entered a predominantly lower-middle-class-Irish-and-Italian public school.

As I held my penis, looking down at the stains on the pink carpet in my room, I remembered when I got an infection on the head of my penis, which had made it itch. I must have been about five years old. The doctor came to our datcha. She put me on the table and took my pants off, then she rolled back the skin of my penis to expose the head.

“Of course…” she said, dipping her q-tip into some saline solution and swabbing the irritation, which caused a pleasurable burning that cooled down the itch for a moment. She pointed to the red spot and said, “You see that.”


“You need to clean that every day. Here is how you do it,” again she showed me how to roll back my foreskin and apply the saline solution.

“You’re a big boy now; you have to take care of your penis so that it can serve you well.” She was right. Peeing had gotten to be a horrible experience.

As a child of five I had an impeccable sense of responsibility towards my body and treated my penis like a close friend. After a few days the infection subsided and faded away. In the fear that it would one day return, I continued with the regiment.

In fourth grade I found some porno mags under my parents’ futon in our studio apartment. I convinced myself that they weren’t theirs and that since the futon was secondhand, they had probably come with the futon. I fascinated over genitalia and all of its varieties. When it came to penises one thing was certain – they all lacked the foreskin that you needed to roll back. I didn’t know that circumcision existed. I just thought that my penis was deformed in some manner, different from the rest. It made me contemplate my foreskin further as I pulled it back and watched as it rolled over the head on its own, taken by gravity. I could spend an hour in the bathroom observing this phenomenon, thinking of Madonna (the pop icon).

A week after my parents had the talk with me they came back.

My answer was: no!

All I knew was that I wasn’t about to subject myself to any snipping or cutting willingly, even if there was a get-well-soon party with presents, even if this marked my official welcoming into the Jewish peoples with a Nintendo console. They seemed relieved, which made me feel that I made the right choice.

And so my fate was sealed – or so I believed – until the day that I discovered sex. Real sex, with another person.

In a mad haste to rid myself of the burden regarded as ‘virginity’, I happened to persuade a girl to come over my house for the sole purpose of getting it on – ‘fucking’, it was called. We had been flirting for awhile and she was one grade younger than me and what did I have to lose? It was the spring of my senior year of high school. Any shame I would have to endure wouldn’t be for long. It was a calculated gamble, which is exactly the type of romance that could be expected from my warped perception.

Thanks to the advent of the personal computer and of AOL chat rooms, I had been procuring massive amounts of pornographic pictures. In some ways I can regard that period as a research project. Sure, I was interested in the exposed delectable curvature of the female form, but there was an undercurrent as well: I was interested in penises – and uncircumcised ones in particular. The evidence supported my darkest fears: I was a freak. All the penises were circumcised, and to me, I must admit, they looked crass, rude in their forever-bald presence. There was something elegant to the foreskin that I could not put into words then, a poetry. Foreskin added a touch of whimsy, aloofness, and charm to the member.

Tella was Hispanic and like me did not have the most wholesome reputation. I could see her fluorescent thongs riding over her short cut jeans that were so in fashion’s favor. It was an impossible look that filled the males’ heads with cum, made our mid-afternoon cocks hard, and left endless stains for our moms to wash out from our caked boxers.

Back in my room the panic set in. We were making out, and I knew that it was going to happen: I was going to get laid. Self-preservation stepped up and I broke the embrace with a question, “You ever do it blindfolded?”

“I don’t care. Yeah, sure.” Tella was one hard chick, but I could also read uncertainty in her voice.

The last thing I wanted to do was make her feel insecure. If anything, my own insecurity was much worse. I was a freak. I went to the bathroom for a moment to practice putting the condom on, and also to take one last look at my penis before it was to be welcomed into the mysterious land of Vagina.

There it was, looking like it had for years now: the head fully exposed, the foreskin rolled all the way back – almost invisible as it rested like a halo around the crown. It was a testament to perseverance and still I wondered, “Would Tella know?”

I was so afraid of anyone finding out that I was uncircumcised that I was going to blindfold my date in the hopes that her hands would not know the difference – and neither would the rest of her anatomy. I had turned down two blow jobs and three hand jobs for the same reason. My fear was tantamount. It was a good thing that we had both consumed some diazepam (valium).

It was kicking in.

We made out some more. Then I blindfolded her with my dad’s bathroom robe belt.

Like two mechanized performers we bobbed back and forth. It was unlike any sensation I had ever felt and the excitement of the mere fact that my penis had made it to the holy land caused the familiar un-retractable rush known as an orgasm. I had come in the sticky summer heat, mingling with the smells and sounds of grandma’s cooking.

Then an unexplained shame washed over me. It was too soon! What if word got out! I had forgotten my first fear of being regarded as a foreskin freak. Overcome with my new fear, I scrambled to roll another condom on and get back to work. Luckily the horror of a label as dubious as ‘premature-ejaculatory-foreskin-freak’ evaded my person.

Maybe it was the anti-anxiety medication.

Tella never said anything about it. We never had sex again. I wouldn’t dare ask her. How crazy would it have sounded?

Did you notice anything different about my…? Was the duration long enough for you?

Later when I dated a girl in college and we began to enjoy casual intercourse consistently, my fear started to wane.

Still, I hated to undress in the locker room, lest the boys see that I was different.

When I turned twenty-one I decided to level my mental playing field. I had to surmount my fears of not only being recognized as a retractable foreskin freak but also of having sharp objects go near my penis. I did this by deciding to get a Prince Albert. That’s a piercing that loops through the opening of the urethra and comes out the bottom where the seam is.

When the bald, heavily-tattooed man was holding my numbed member in his palm, the only time a man has held my penis in his hand, I had to ask, “How did you learn to do this?”

With a heavy Czech accent he said, “I did my first.”

I decided there was real conviction in such a man. Looking down for the last time at my penis the way that nature had created it, I wondered if it was looking back at me. I realized I was high again.

When I asked my girlfriend of four years, who was in med school, what it was like to have an uncircumcised penis compared to a circumcised one, she said she wouldn’t know – she had never had a foreskin-laden penis. On a personal note, she found “them” to be a bit of a turn off. By them, she meant foreskins. I decided not to press the issue and spoil her belief that my penis was snipped. She didn’t mind the metal ring with a ball at the end of it protruding through the tip.

Being married and very open with my wife about everything, we discussed this phenomenon of the retractable foreskin. She admitted to me that she had no idea that I was uncircumcised, my penis hid it so well. Plus I’m a Jew, aren’t ‘we’ all circumcised?

The answer is hidden. It’s like the retractable foreskin is both here and not here at the same time. Now I can regard my penis piercing as a bris in the traditional Jewish sense. Especially since I have taken out the metal ring. Two holes remain; my penis is mutilated in a way. In this sense I am joined to my people, under my own terms.

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