The bar was forever raised for indecent graffiti last week, when news broke that NASA had successfully carved a giant cock and balls into the dusty surface of Mars. Surprisingly, this startling artistic achievement was quickly downplayed as the unintentional by-product of the Mars rover turning around. NASA scientists are clearly bashful types, but they should be proud of their interplanetary doodle—not least because I’ve recently come to realize how difficult it is to create a decent replica of a penis.
I’ve just spent the last two days attempting to make a passable approximation of an erect member, with a newly available casting kit called The Understudy that I picked up for $50 at Come As You Are. The Understudy is the latest, hottest thing in DIY dildo making, and promises to “make an exact vibrating copy of any penis or dildo.” DIY dildo kits have been on the market for a while, but The Understudy is among the first to be free of dodgy chems called phthalates, which have been linked to various cancers and hormone problems (meaning you should probably keep them out of your body cavities).
According to Jack Lamon, an owner-worker at Come As You Are, DIY sex toys in general are more popular, but personalized dildo kits really get people going. “We get people absolutely desperate for them,” he says.
Come As You Are is marketing The Understudy as a ”remember-me-by,” which gives me visions of a penis enthusiast whipping out their casting kit whenever they come across a particularly fine specimen. Lamon disabuses me of this idea. “Some folks get them to replicate their boyfriends before they go on a long journey,” he says. “I’ve also seen people make things like cucumber dildos.”
In experienced hands, one of these kits can be used to create the Platonic ideal of a penis—a mould that has bumps and ridges in all the right places. But Lamon advises the novice dildo caster to start simple, possibly with a veggie, or by replicating an existing individual’s endowment. Initially, I was inclined to go down the veggie route, but my fridge offered up only a bag of baby carrots and a squash. So I decided to use the closest penis at hand.
From its packaging, The Understudy gives the impression that dildo creation is something you could do as foreplay. “Ready in minutes—just add water” it cheerfully declares, which is true if you consider 26.5 hours to be minutes. Dildo making is actually a seven-stage procedure involving a bag of moulding powder, a tub of liquid rubber, a tub of something called liquid skin, a spatula, a thermometer and about 20 centimetres of duct tape. You mix the powder with water in the large tube provided, stick your penis of choice into it for two minutes to create a mould, wait a few hours, add rubber and skin, toss in the supplied motor unit, wait about a day, and, voilà, a dildo.
Timing, however, is of the essence, a point rammed home by the instructions, which scream lines like “You’ll need to be ready to insert your penis quickly! DON’T HESITATE!” in bold. My hasty cutting and pouring and mixing—while simultaneously trying to keep the necessary sexy thoughts in my head—created the kind of dust clouds normally seen at a construction site.
Two minutes is a very long time when you have a delicate body part inserted in a tube of a substance that feels like pancake batter. It allows you to ponder questions like: Did I mix the stuff right? What if it gets stuck? Does OHIP cover sex toy–related injuries?
Mercifully, a trip to Toronto General wasn’t required, and I proceeded through the remaining steps: filling the mould with rubber/skin mix, and some distinctly MacGyver-esque business involving chopping up bits of cardboard to hold a vibrator motor in place. After waiting 24 hours for it to set, my first artisanal dildo rolled off the production line.
I’m putting the unexpected nobbly bits down to problems with mixing the moulding paste. It’s also of the wrong ethnicity (I’m white, but the store was out of “vanilla” so I had to go for “coffee” instead). All in all, though, I have a palpable sense of achievement.
Of course, the question remains what to do with my new racially incongruent dildo, since deploying it during sex seems creepily egotistical. It’s currently consigned to paperweight duty on my desk, though I haven’t ruled out decorating it. I wonder if there’s a market for handmade ornamental dildos?