I worked as a glassblower making dildos and butt plugs for a living. No, this is not what I have been keeping secret. Actually, I’m quite proud of this and try to find ways to work it into my conversations. “How about this Presidential campaign, huh? Boy, it’s really heating up! You know….. that reminds me of when I used to heat up Pyrex to about 3,000 degrees and fashion it lovingly into butt plugs…..”. Though it was completely unnecessary, I had a business card made that read:
I may even get my headstone to read something like:
Technically, I was a lampworker, which is a form of glass blowing. I worked Borosilicate Glass (Pyrex) over a torch that looks something like a little jet engine. I apprenticed for a for a chance to learn this. I worked a job driving for 8 hours, drove 1.5 hours to get to the studio, worked 6-10 hours and then drove another 1.5 hours home, woke up and did again… for over a year. After 9/11, my plans for doing that for a living fell apart and I moved to a small mountain town. I was working in retail purgatory when I saw the ad for ‘lampworkers wanted’.
It took me over an hour to get to the studio, twisting through the Appalachian mountains to do so. It was an immaculate set up in a modified barn with enough room for almost a dozen people to work simultaneously. I lovingly call it “The Dick Factory”. Schlongs were our passion. We made “marital aids” with names such as The Graduate, The Juicer and 3 Ways ‘Til Sunday from the early morning until late at night. I always put in long, hard hours and when I closed my eyes at night, the white-hot cocks I’d stared at all day thrust into my mind’s eye.
We were deep in the Southern Appalachian mountains on a winding dirt road with mountains framing the skyline in every direction. While this was a land of small but numerous churches, tractors, roadside fruit stands and people that waved at every car, there was still a strong counter-cultural element. Some of the people I worked with were teachers at a prestigious art school but most were your garden-variety hippies. They lived in vans with dogs, kept a strict vegan diet, walked barefoot on the Earth and sported long hair or dreadlocks. Marijuana of the highest possible grade was smoked at every break (which was any time the temperature hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the studio) and psychedelic plants of questionable legality grew by the back door.
While most were veteran glassblowers, melted and shaped by their years at the torch, there was one friend of the owner who was a wannabe and hung around for the hippy vibe, free pot and a chance to learn. This was a jovial and simple man, slow of wit but quick of heart so we tolerated his fumbling determination. He started with butt plugs and made lumpy glass object that look like Picasso‘s conception of a sex toy. If they happened to fit your anatomy, you had more issues than just a penchant for anal insertions. These were placed into the bin I liked to call “The Island of Misfit Toys“, never to be thrust into a human being in a fit of passion. Still, he was alright until he wanted to tackle dicks.
Lampworking is a ballet of fire and sand, a twisting of complex maneuvers and timing. It takes time and you will both bleed and burn for it many times. He managed to work his rod (not a euphemism) into what I imagine a circumcised adolescent Mountain gorilla’s member would look like. The rods that you form with heat and gravity are held on with a smaller rod called a punty. If you don’t keep the punty warm where it connects, it will break off. He’d finally managed to get the glass into a glowing, white-hot cock when the punty broke and it landed on his inner forearm for a couple of seconds.
It gets so hot and bright that you have to wear Didymium glasses so that you don’t have a schlong-shaped imprint on the back of your eyeballs from a piece of glass that shines as if a sun. This is what landed on his arm in dick form. I knew it was going to be permanent as soon as I saw it hit.
Here is what I probably should not admit. This makes me laugh to this day. It’s not the fact that it landed on his arm… it’s all the stories and situations I have in my head of how this perfectly shaped penis brand on his arm has played a part in his life. Sometimes I imagine him much as he was, a hippy in a smokey bar, possibly showing it off and telling a story about how he achieved such a mark. Perhaps, in a drunken stroke of hilarity, he decided to get tattooed with cartoonish ejaculate, hair or veins to accentuate this mark. Maybe even a vagina in ink so it looks like they’re bumping uglies when he flexes. In this conception of him he wears it as a mark of pride, a souvenir of his stint in “the factory”. It is a conversation starter and something he knows will invoke laughter from others when the party gets dull.
Other times I envision this as his own personal mark of Cain, a secret shame always on the edge of his conscious thought. His hair is shorn and he’s gone mainstream – wearing a suit and tie, keeping his sleeves rolled down even on the hottest days lest his peers learn of his bohemian past. He’s in the yard setting up the sprinkler for the children to jump through in late spring when his youngest tenderly rubs the raised and hardened flesh with one small finger. “Daddy, wha’s dis?”. “Daddy got hurt a long time ago, sweetie.” He’s created a litany of explanations and cover-stories for the members of his church. “It was an accident from my time working on a farm…. I didn’t follow proper safety procedures… it was so long ago… Yes, unfortunate shape for a scar.” The cosmetic surgery he’s looked into is just out of his price range and he envisions how differently life would now be if only he’d always walked the straight and narrow path.
There are moments when I am lying in bed at night and wondering where every monstrous, knobby schlong, where every sleekly curved cock, where every stout butt plug I’ve made is at this moment. I can sense their energy vibrating through the night air. Where they were once unformed they became stars. While they were once stars they became sand. Though they were once sand they became glass. They have always been, in whatever form, and have known the universe from the cold emptiness of space to the moist warmth of a vagina.
I imagine them playing a leading role in a writhing mass of bodies at an orgy or laying dusty at the back of a sock drawer and hidden from the kids. Right now someone is masturbating furiously in a fit of lonely desperation and someone is pointing to their art piece / sexual aid on a velvet stand on the mantle, lit elegantly from above. Someone rues the fact that he likes to secretly stick them in his bottom. A high-priced lawyer wears underwear two sizes too tight to keep her silicate lover inside her any time she has a case in court. It makes her feel a sense of power that she knows something no one else does. Others can sense it and it scares them just a little. Someone is using a dildo for the first time and someone for their last. I’ve been a vicarious lover to numerous nameless, faceless people in the world, playing a part in their sex lives though they probably give no thought to the hands their toy went though nor the care with which I sent them into the world.
THERE… right there…. someone just reached a climactic, toe-curling release and the hair on my arm stood erect. I close my eyes and every dick I’ve ever made glows in one phallic mass in front of me, their light slowly lessening as my day fades away.