Translated by Chloé Sautter-Léger
Seven men gathering around a table to discuss their sexuality, without taboos. The preface of the comic book Penis de Table states: “Sex remains a mystery. It is rarely talked about in detail.”
The author, Cookie Kalkair, who is currently in Montreal for the launch of the book, got his inspiration while he was working on his first book, Les 9 derniers mois (“the last nine months”), which recounts pregnancy from a man’s perspective. He believes that masculine sexuality was still a touchy subject, adding that “There aren’t really any specialized ‘social-psychological’ publications in this domain. We have magazines that tell us what kind of watch or car to buy, or how to get a six-pack. But nothing very profound. With Pénis de table, I wanted to write a book which I would have liked to read when I was 20; a somewhat honest guide on masculine sexuality with a the following underlying message: there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ sexuality. There are as many sexualities as there are individuals. Nobody should consider themselves ‘strange.’”
Half of the participants in the round table discussions are close friends from Montreal. But Kalkair wanted to bring more diversity to the conversation, so he interviewed over a dozen men. More than half were put off by the idea when they learned that Kalkair wanted to illustrate their confessions. “I don’t want my girlfriend to read how often I masturbate each week” was a classic response, according to the author. “This confirmed that there was something to clear up,” he states. “Why are 30 year old guys still scared to talk about masturbation?”
The project was received rather ambivalently, in Kalkair’s view. He explains that he had to constantly justify his decision to focus on masculine sexuality. He says there is a widespread cliché that we know everything about masculine sexuality, or that it is simple, mechanical, and that there is no need to investigate the subject.
The author is considering writing a sequel to Pénis de table, in which he would invite women to talk about masculine sexuality. He will now be starting a new project on Instagram called “guerrila green,” that reflects about the importance of nature in cities.
Pénis de table was launched on Friday, November 2, at Ping Pong Club, in the presence of the author and of five participants.
Résumé d’entrevue avec Cookie Kalkair