“We’re here to worship at the altar of small dicks!” Chicken Bitches bellows. The crowd cheers wildly as the five contestants file to the stage, all wearing sparkly pageant sashes with their names: Puzzle Master, a white guy with long, shaggy hair and black-rimmed glasses; Twig-N-Berries, a Kurt Cobain look-a-like with a squire haircut; Peter Parker, short and plump and disguised in a Spider-Man mask; Rufio, a gel-haired Italian in a bandana and aviators; and Raj Kumar, a wildly grinning Indian man. Their penises are creatively covered, much to the disappointment of the crowd—though one wrong dance move or strong breeze will reveal enough for the imagination to fill in the rest.
Welcome to the 2nd Annual Smallest Penis in Brooklyn Pageant.
“Last year’s winner was a chunky dude with a tiny dick who worked for UPS!” Bobbie Chaset, manager of King’s County bar in Bushwick and the mind behind the pageant, tells me. “If that guy can feel good about himself, anyone can.”
The competition, she says, is about body positivity. “If anyone makes fun of the contestants or thinks this is some sort of shaming fest, we kick them out,” she says firmly. “It’s a celebration of guys with tiny penises.” As the event’s Facebook page says, “It’s time to celebrate less-endowed men with extraordinary heart, talent, and chutzpa.”
The idea for a pageant came from a boozy conversation with girlfriends. “[My friend] took a guy home and he was really, really, tiny,” she says. “But she ended up having the best night of her life! We all had a story like that and decided, why not throw these guys a pageant?!”
And a helluva pageant they threw.
Surrounded by nothing but industrial warehouses, converted loft apartments, and a single coffee shop, the queue of 20-something hipsters and a few giggly middle-aged women outside King’s County is the only sign of life for blocks on this breezy afternoon. “Here’s the thing,” says a girl named Liz as she waits in line, “I could have had my Saturday, and I’m not going to see any dick. But I’m here, and I’m going to see some dick.”
Inside, the narrow dive bar is so packed that the black walls, covered in colorful penis banners, are practically groaning. A DJ—wearing a giant helmet that can only be described as a golf ball with googly eyes—plays loud, pulsing music to pump up the crowd. Cocktail waitresses covered in glitter and penis-shaped beads struggle to make their way through the human sea, passing around tequila shots and cheap beer, while the bartenders take orders for $5 penis coladas complete with a phallic straw. Some people happily sip on fishbowls, a neon blue drink guaranteed to make you see double, while others laugh at the tiny penis stamp—proof of entry—on their hand. The whole scene looks like a frenetic burlesque show-themed bachelorette party.
A voice kicks on the sound system announcing the show’s host, a plump drag queen named Chicken Bitches who looks like the fur-clad lovechild of CeeLo Green and Oprah. A foot taller than most of the attendees and wearing a Marilyn Monroe-on-steroids white blond wig, Chicken floats like a cloud through the audience to a tiny makeshift stage at the front of the bar, singing a show tune-y song with lyrics like “Here come these beeeeauuuuutifuuuul diiiiiicks!”
The first round is a simple Q&A. “What’s your favorite food?” (Rufio’s answer, “Pussy!” gets a huge reaction), “Favorite sexual position?” (“I’ve never had sex,” Puzzle Master says, getting a loud “awwww” from the crowd), and “What would you do with $200 million?” (Twig-N-Berries’s answer has something to do with buying a house, filling it with people, and burning it down, so, uh, he might be a domestic terrorist). Peter Parker, his voice muffled by his mask, says he’d want “new balls” if he could change something about himself, and Raj Kumar wins over the crowd by blowing kisses and singing a Bollywood song in his endearingly thick Indian accent. The all-female panel of judges scores each man 1-5, with 1 being highest (because, ya know, less is more). It’s clear that no one is busting out a ruler here—the winner isn’t going to be smallest in measurement. He’ll have to win over the judges with charm and, most importantly, confidence.
The duo Afterbirth Monkey—who win for most Brooklyn band name ever—take the stage next for a brief intermission to sing about penises of all shapes and sizes, while shooting the crowd with dick-shaped water guns. Meanwhile, smells of body odor and the single-toilet bathroom become more apparent, and the crowd increasingly rowdy (read: drunk). Some very out of place 30-something finance bros tell me they came from Manhattan because it was “something eclectic to do,” and they hope Peter Parker wins because he is “clearly the weirdest.” A shirtless young man wearing a pink cloth mask and adult diaper—I can’t make this shit up, people—tells me he’s Puzzle Master’s “Puzzle Boy,” and that he does whatever “the master” tells him to do.
The contestants return for the “swimsuit” round, clad in light blue, bedazzled tulle g-strings. They climb onto the bar and dance while the cocktail waitresses douse them with water guns. The shouts of “Show us your dicks!” work on a few of the men, who confidently whip out their competing wieners for all to see. (Chicken quickly reminds them that it isn’t actually legal to show their naked parts.) Maybe it’s because they’re on top of the bar and already seem larger-than-life, but their penises (the ones I sneak a peek at, at least) look pretty, well, normal. These men seem to be having a genuine ball, and their confidence is something to be admired. As the contestants leave the bar counter, the audience strains to get a better look at what each man is working with. In mostly see-through tulle, now heavy and sagging with water, it isn’t very, um, hard, to see their below the belt business. One girl grabs her friend and shrieks, “I don’t think Peter Parker has a penis at all!”
Chicken Bitches, now in a neon yellow bow wig and floral caftan, announces the final round: talent. Each contestant sings and/or dances, as the crowd cheers wholeheartedly. But it’s Raj Kumar who gets the loudest applause for his traditional Bollywood number. “You put the WOOD in Bollywood!” one judge says.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Bollywood star,” Raj tells the audience, throwing his hands in the air. “And now I’m doing it right here in Newwwww Yooorkkkk Ciittyyyyyy!” If they didn’t love him yet, they do now.
I welcomed the judges’ deliberation to step outside for some air and an iced coffee from the shop next door. A crowd gathers outside, smoking cigarettes and chatting about who should win. Suddenly, a flood of people exit the bar onto the sidewalk, clutching their noses and gasping for air, looks of horror on their faces.
“It was a good event up until now!” one woman yells.
“What the fuck was that?!” another shouts, checking her shoes like she’d stepped in something foul.
“A guy shit himself,” the doorman tells me, half grinning. “It happened last year, too. It’s this guy’s fetish, to shit in public.”
Never change, Brooklyn.
As the air clears and I go back inside the now mostly empty bar, Raj—to no one’s surprise—is crowned champion. Beaming, with a scepter in hand and golden crown atop his head, he accepts his prize: $200, a date with two blondes, and a trip to Pumps strip club.
Raj tells me that he’s new to the United States and has spent most of his time in Indiana. (He’s writing a screenplay called From India to Indiana.) He found the pageant on Facebook and entered it “to have fun, meet people, and get out of [his] comfort zone.” A self-proclaimed “6 or 7 incher,” (sure, Raj) he says he’s never felt particularly ashamed or proud of his package. “In India, love is placed high above sex, so size doesn’t matter,” he says. “The physical is not what completes you. We’re born with what we have, and then we die.”
Wise words in an unexpected place.