Last night I had a dream that I was hired as an assistant coach to an elite high-school figure skating team. (This is not such an odd thing to imagine on its own, if you grow up in the sort of town that breeds young girls into world-renown synchronized skaters.)
On the first day of my new position, I uncovered a frightful hazing ritual. Each new recruit, in addition to her regular publicity shots, would be photographed under a giant sword of Damocles of sorts. It was a large paper-mache penis hanging from the rafters in a corner of the dressing room. The poor girl would look up, see the veins and the pubic hair in fee-fi-fo-fum proportions, and she would shiver a bit and mutter, "Ew, gross."
In my dream this was deadly serious, but when I woke up in the morning I remembered the whole thing and had to laugh.
The sword of Damocles (for those for whom this brings up nothing more than a tune from Rocky Horror Picture Show) is a metaphor for a fear or burden that hangs constantly over one's consciousness, keeping one from enjoying the banquet of life that lies infront of him. (Greek context here.)
As an old married women, I no longer feel hanging over my head the fear of the male member. Scheduling worries perhaps, but not the bottomless teenage pit of anxiety that swirls with questions such as: What is this THING? What will it DO? How will it change my body and my personhood and my focus on making it to the national figure skating championships?
I have a different sword of Damocles now, colloquially known as a "due date." This is a day (or a very short portion of one) when everything about my current life will change. I don't know exactly how, but I imagine it will be very much like a prototypical teenage sexual experience, in that some of it will be painful and some of it will be so amazing as to defy description, and some of it will be no big deal to the extend that I'll simultaneously feel emotionally relieved and fear that I've become clinically numb from a psychological perspective.
It will definitely distract me from my synchronized skating.
It is and is not a relief to know the date when the sword will drop.