Micropenis Under Vesuvius Pt. 01
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(Author’s Note: The historical and archaeological details are generally accurate, but not immune from narrative anachronisms or oversimplifications. You’ll learn a little bit about Roman sexual culture, but nothing too educational.)
Before we get to the loss of my toga, the reversal of my fortunes, and the capitulation of my masculinity, I should give you proper context of the time I live in, how I’ve lived in it, and the sexual consequences therein.
My father used to tell me that there were three simple rules in politics. These tenets situationally molded an official’s ambition, messaging, and behavior to make for the perfect balance of public favor with elite approval. Keep the masses from storming your atrium and keep the selective appointments to local and imperial posts flowing steady. But how?
“Deliver gracious lies instead of outright refusals, pay due diligence to the gods, and don’t leave your toga unattended at the baths.”
The first two rules were likely a mixed plagiarism of Cicero and Caesar, but the latter arose from the scorched-earth combat of provincial politics. Our port city of Pompeii itself had only come into the Roman fold 145 years ago. We’ve gotten less of the imperfect meritocracy of the republic and more of the lawless intimidation of the empire.
Hence the warning is practical: if you are hesitant, or submissive, in the face of your enemy’s attacks, you will be finished. Most prevalently, wealthy men in this commercial armpit of Italy could be forced to flee naked from public baths if bribed stooges swiped their manly robes. We aren’t dainty, feminine pedophiles like the Greeks. We save those shows for heroic statuary, idealized and standardized to further distance ourselves from the reality. Except, for me personally, in one tragic, paradoxical aspect.
My name is Gnaeus Parvus Modestus, and for my first twenty-three years, the wealth and influence derived from my family fish sauce business, and our patronage of the cult of Isis, would have funded a roster of eastern servants to guard my clothing drawer on every bath outing. I use the Latin subjunctive hypothetical there because I very seldom went to the baths, shirking a crucial component of Roman social interaction.
I spoke earlier of the uniformly-designed statues so crucial to our political propaganda and masculine identity. Impossibly toned marble, bulging finished features, and tiny penises. Flaccid, docile members who found an overbearing encampment on an undifferentiated testicle sack, itself twice the penile length.
From the lunging forum bronze of Apollo to the deified Augustus’ seated glare, underendowed idealizations abound, but with a twist that leaves little to hide behind – a good metalworker or sculptor wants to channel the emotion and context of the moment into every feature, so as to create a provocative scene. Apollo is running – he retracts naturally. The first emperor led many armies, and even in death the monotony of horseback riding takes an assuredly temporary toll on his genitals.
But I never served in the army. I was a laughable discus thrower at best. My manhood is just utterly inadequate. antalya escort It is custom at birth for offspring with discernible deficiencies to be exposed for death on a mountain. Unlike a limp or missing limb, my genitals were so imperceptible that the doctors did not know what to make of it. My mother feared me a hermaphrodite – a freak stuck between irreconcilable dichotomies – and only reluctantly kept me alive.
For years in the morning, I rosed early and craned my head to my crotch, measuring reed in hand, to take measurements. To pray, to any deity I could invoke, that I would live up to the expectations of a man and become the father of my own house. And for years throughout the day, whenever I stuttered or shirked from some masculine challenge, my mother and sisters would tease me on the subject of my untenable endowment.
II.V unciae. (approximately 2.4 modern inches). It wavers indecisively as it wedges skyward, flexing first in its nestled cave before teetering out and up. In an assuredly patriarchal society, I have let this bar me from marriage. I have reneged on countless arranged dates. I fear that my exposure holds solemn significance much like a sacred tradition at Rome. The doors of the temple of Janus are opened, or my toga folds pool at my ankles, and my shameful cock brings about the end of peace.
It is true that us Romans can assign a comical and barbaric connotation to a large phallus. Hence the threshold of the noble Vetii house is adorned with a monstrosity of a hung Priapus (fertility god) fresco, which I pass jealously en route to the Forum daily. Even still, there are stout members at every middle class threshold and tavern entrance, imparting happiness, luck and hospitality to visitors. But as aforementioned, Greece hasn’t ruled the day around here for several centuries. All women, at the least, aren’t so shut-in that they can’t form preferences and act on them. Women like large penises. The propaganda is a lie. What goes for size in the theater and the temple does not translate to the bedroom.
The one time I dared insert myself inside someone – Priscilla, the eldest daughter of a local prosecutor – she silently entombed herself in the folds of the cushions, shoulders just vibrating along, her breathing conservative during my thirty seconds of utter ecstasy. My greedy, inexperienced hands ran from her firm breasts to her supple thigh, trying to massage out some reaction where my endowment could not reach. I hadn’t penetrated her, I could tell, and I was ashamed. My palm wandered in circles around the sweet space between her crotch and stomach. My member was imperceptible from the outside, and she seemed dry and unfragrant. Wanting, unsatisfied. I let that arrangement wither on the vine, but in truth Priscilla was a more than willing partner in its demise.
I had a hard time living up to the mold set by my father, now a retired Roman senator who had been the municipal consul at Pompeii for multiple terms, and guzzled spiced wine with the likes of Tiberius and Claudius. I’m naturally shy; my voice is high-pitched and accordingly unpredictable in its emphasis and discretion. My writing drive fethiye escort and singular work ethic have compensated for this, and decent marks along with my father’s money have made me a municipal aedile. A job cushily poised on the upward trajectory of offices, but rife with controversy. I distribute water and grain. I maintain public buildings. Allocating sustenance and money makes for a lot of enemies.
In the year 816 Since the Founding of the City [Modern translator’s note: counting from the legendary date of Rome’s founding, this is 63 AD], Pompeii was rebuilding. A great tremor had debilitated our infrastructure, toppling homes and destroying baths, temples, and markets in the process.
It all began as I was bickering with some Thracian freedman artisan, whose mythological scenes of choice were far too obscure for the murals of the rebuilt indoor market. A slave jogged from the forum adjacent with an offer to entertain a social meeting with yet another daughter of yet another of my father’s old friends. Her name: Terentia. The unprecedented twist: she wanted to meet me at the Suburban Baths, and accompany me to the mixed gender cold, tepid and hot rooms, before going home for dinner.
This was horrifying. My nerves were abuzz as I dropped my present business and took off for the family villa. The five minute walk from the Forum to the outskirts of Pompeii was a haze of predicted humiliations and rumors. Surely I was insulated by rank and gender?
I resolved that night to plan accordingly. I was determined, of course, to pick out the oldest male slave to guard my clothes. The perfect candidate, a doting forty-something named Apuleius, had already, albeit occasionally, beholden my sorry naked form while toweling me off in our steam room.
“Apuleius bought his freedom last week, Gnaeus. Your father signed over his manus, granted him the family name, and all that.”
My mother’s revelation hit me like a mule flung from his granary harness. Alright then, another male slave.
“I hope you won’t fret too much about your little penis, given the circumstances,” she said, reacting to herself with a characteristic sway of her hips and curl of her cruel smile, all at my expense.
“It’ll be all hands on deck with the help tomorrow, in preparation for your father’s banquet, in honor of the empress Poppea Sabina’s return to Pompeii. So a new hire can help you on your date.”
With that, the matriarch’s hands clapped twice, and a pair of dainty footsteps echoed off our half-domed shrine to sea nymphs and around the corner of a column.
Blonde curls descended her bosom, and tantalizingly exposed shoulders, like the cascading pillars of a waterfall. Her thin white toga, pressed skintight by a servant’s belt, shed light on a body of staggering curvaceousness. On top of it all, she adorably greeted me with a raised hand, still but for bent, waving fingers.
“Photis here will be your bath attendant.”
“Hello,” I stammered. “Hi, master!” she chirped with a grinning nod. With that, I took off for my bed chambers.
Soon after, I debated whether or not to relieve myself kaş escort of pent-up fluids, lest any potential accidents, erections, or eruptions occur in this vulnerable and intimate context. Ultimately, I elected to go without release, reasoning that a partial hardening would go a long ways for my short member. Outside of my body, in the air, truly external genitalia, at least.
Also weighing on my judgment was the recent memory of my mother, characteristically hard-charging, walking into my room as I was rapidly rubbing my penis between two fingers.
“The sexual outlet of a dirty, sissy slave. Pathetic.”
She promptly swooped down on me while I was prone on the bed, seized my hips, and flipped me onto my stomach. A stinging slap ricocheted off each side of my plump rear and sounded through our corridors. Accompanied by shrill, submissive cries, the echoes of pain formed a musical ensemble, a solemn ode to my deficit of masculinity.
My mother raised an important point here. Why would an elite man have to resort to masturbation? With a dowry and career to wield, concubines, successive wives, or at least high-end prostitutes are the pickings of any other wealthy politician or businessman.
Inadequacy was the answer and, now, will remain the answer. To be clear, my narration is almosentirely retrospective. I had my sneaking insecurities at the time – how could I not, given the familial “little penis” teasing – but tried to engage in denial. I was still feigning the attributes of something I was not.
I slept in the following day, and rose only when Photis’ knocks accelerated to a feverish tempo.
Clad in toga and groomed, the flirtatious slave and I set off for the baths.
“Where’d you come from, anyways, Photis? You speak such good Latin for a girl attendant.”
She shrugged. “I suppose I’m a fast learner, sir. I really grew up in Corinth. My father was a debtor, so I’ve been in Campania now for five years. Men… can be so unreliable.”
I wonder, given what I know now, if she would have dared to say that to any other man.
“Well, women too-” this grunt of a rebuttal tapered off as we stumbled off the steep Porta Marina and spotted my date, loitering at the bathhouse entrance.
“Oh, good! A handsome man for me to admire. I’m Terentia and I’m very much charmed to meet you.” She approached with alacrity, her full brown braids bouncing with each bound she took. Terentia’s arm enveloped my shoulder, her hand rubbed circles around my lower back, and she proclaimed: “And he must really like me, taking time off from all this earthquake business.” Giggles abounded.
I sheepishly studied the pattern of the mosaic tiles at my feet, terrified to meet her gaze.
“Well, my lady, the reconstruction is proceeding on schedule. And you are radiant this afternoon. Neither wood nymphs nor Venus can compare.”
She acted out an offended reaction. “Gods, you don’t need to commit sacrilege on my behalf.”
We then stood in an uneasy silence for a minute’s time, my eyes flickering fleetingly to meet hers.
Finally, Terentia turned to Photis for help.
“Salve, sexy servant. Let’s head into the lockers and get naked, so that Modestus and I can really get to know each other.”
Thereafter came a lingering wink, of course. A chill overtook me. The two women skipped inside, and I could feel myself grow ever smaller.
-End of Part 1-
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