Nov 18 2005

Women Are From Venus, Men Are From The Klingon Home World


It had been 12 days since I last delectated myself with a taco of any species. Unable to stand it another moment, I crammed myself full of puke-ye-not pills and did hie unto Vivo, whereupon I pushed this exquisite specimen, the Puffy Beef Taco, into the gaping Twisty maw. The gastrointestinal price was high, but a spinster aunt’s gotta live, goddamit.

My friend L, who remains extant as an academic somewhere in New England, home of Yankee ingenuity, maple syrup, Walden Pond, and, apparently, teen violence, files this report from the perilous and mind-blowing world of pedagogy:

I was out tonight with some friends who are teachers (I had invited them to be guest speakers in my class, so to pay them back I took them out for burritos), and one of them told us about this strange ritual that some of the 9th grade boys she teaches engage in (sorry for that dangling preposition but you know what I mean).  It seems that they walk (or skulk) around and whenever they can they sneak up on each other and punch each other in the balls.  None of us (women or men) could figure out why they do this; it clearly hurts as after one if them is whacked he doubles over in pain, and after a few such experiences they all run loudly from each other.

What do we make of this? Is it a learned behavior, or a mutation? Some Canadian hockey-virus? Do primates in the wild engage in the behavior? Is Mummy punching Daddy in the balls at home? Is it homoerotic? Are they doing it to impress the ladies? Is the US military conducting secret experiments on New England’s youth, perhaps poisoning the Skittles supply with chemicals that eat away at the brain’s natural ball-punch-avoidance lobe?

UPDATE: Not that we give a flip about balance or symmetry here at Twistyfaster.com, but the aforementioned friend L sends another email with this amusing addendum:

There is also
another game, this one played by girls, that my friends were calling
"the penis game" which involves saying the word penis, first very
quietly, and then louder and louder until whoever’s turn it is is too
embarrassed to say it because they will have to shout.  The way to stop
this one is to yell PENIS!  really loudly which really embarasses all
of them and makes them cease immediately.


Skip to comment form

  1. Carol

    Can you get the patriarchical medical establishment to give you any Zofran? I was so malnourished when I was pregnant with my twins and having morning sickness that I had to take it for a few weeks in order not to starve the feti. It really helped with the nausea and vomiting. I hate to see you deprived of tacos.

  2. Elaine

    Definately the wanting to touch each others’ balls, but they are limited to the socially acceptable gender norm of male violence. (i.e. yes, it’s totally gay.)

  3. Tony Patti

    This is just the kind of thing that turned me into a man-hater when I was a little shaver. I don’t think it’s actually gay, though.

    I sat next to a specimen in high school who told me girls couldn’t resist him because he had a ten-inch dick, which was a horrifying thought, and one he only shared with me in the idiotic and transparent hope that he could start a rumor to that effect. “Ask anybody!” he urged me. I asked nobody, of course.

    He was a stupid but not completely horrible kid, but once he stood up in class and hailed one of his friends by asking him: “Hey man, you wanna go out fightin’ tonight?”

    I asked him what he meant by that and he told me that the guys went out behind a local drive-in called Big Bevo and had fights in the parking lot behind it. I couldn’t believe my ears. Just like that? Why? We just like fightin’, he said.

    It was like Fight Club except real, I guess, and probably not as intense.

    High school for me was not some Hollywood scene of in crowds and out crowds and losers aspiring to be phonies; it was just me, all alone, watching this strange world from as great a distance as I could put between it and myself.

  4. d.e.i.x.i.s.

    As probably the youngest person here [21], my days of high school are not too far behind me, unfortunately. And these games are certainly not limited to New England [my forever home] as they were prevalent in Jesus Land [where I went to high school].

    I don’t know about sack-punching, but all of the guys liked to play ‘Slap Nuts,’ which is the same thing but less painful. I learned of the game in the summer of ’99 and it still baffles me.

    The Penis Game is old as the hills and not limited to girls. In fact, it got boring after a while because whenever you heard a group of kids yelling ‘PENIS’ in public, you know they were playing the Penis Game. So we had to switch it up. There was also the Vulva Game, the Clitoris Game, the Testicles Game– basically any names of reproductive bits were eligible to be made into a game. There was even a marching band trip to Disney World where we had these catch phrases that we’d yell all over the park like, CROTCH ROT, GUTTER SLUT, TALLEYWHACKER, ILLWOBBLE.

    Yes, it’s retarded, but it’s good times when you’re 15.

  5. BitingBeaver


    I must sadly tell you that I have seen this behavior first hand. About 10 years ago I pushed from my loins the last of 3 baby boys. Ahh, the promise they held to a radical feminist!

    Alas, they are now ages 14, 13 and 10 and engage in this sort of behavior. The ‘game’ which is the subject of your post, is actually called “Bag Tag”. Yes, that is honest to goodness what it’s called.

    When I first spied my 3 sons smacking each other in the balls I was obviously perplexed and asked them, “What in the hell are you 3 fools doing?”, they stopped laughing (except for the one that was doubled over, he just sort of looked at me) and stared at me with plaintive expressions upon their faces before replying, “We’re playing Bag Tag”.

    I simply looked all 3 of them in the eyes (yes, I did this simultaneously with my super mom-o-vision) and told them that ‘Bag Tag’ was not, under any circumstances in the world, allowed to be ‘played’ under my roof.

    I then went and poured myself a cup of coffee and added a teaspoon of Kahlua to it before moving to the sofa and pondering this weird ass ‘game’ for several hours.

    So yes, there does exist such a game strange as it may be.

  6. Dim Undercellar

    My stepkids did this shit in 7th and 8th grade, and when they think our backs are turned, at home to each other. They called it “Bag Tag”.

    While it wouldn’t hurt me too much to see men as an aggregate have their fertility levels artificially and permanantly reduced during the teen years, well, I kind of want stepgrandkids someday. Sue me, I’m selfish.

    Anyway, the hammer falls hard if that horse crap ends up happening around the house, and I have yet to hear of any accounts of “Bag Tag” since the oldest has gone on to high school… but I suspect that if it’s gone, some similarly-masochistic “game” has taken its place.

    I suspect it’s a subtle dominance-determination mechanism when used among friends (think: subordinate male wolves licking the testicals of the alpha male).

  7. Dim Undercellar

    ….um, just, you know, backwards. With the wolf thing.

  8. Sylvanite

    Is this a new thing, or did I spend my teen years under a rock or something? I was never aware of such asinine antics. Maybe I just wasn’t popular enough to be privy to this sort of behavior. This makes me very glad I wasn’t popular. It also kind up makes me want to never give birth to a boy, if I would have to put up with that level of common-sense impairment.

  9. laughingmuse





  10. Katherine

    Well, as the mother of 4 boys, one F to M transgendered, I haven’t heard of it yet–but I’m going to ask. Which will cause whichever son I pick to turn bright red and try to sink through the floor–but in the interests of science . . .

    My F to M son says he really does get a lot more respect now that he’s a man.

  11. Sara

    That is just so fucked up. I wouldn’t be a teenager again for anything.

    Meanwhile, I am very happy that you forced yourself to delectate, and that you were able to enjoy, however expensively, such a fine offering. I don’t know how much more of this gut-punching chemo crap you have left, but I hope it goes as quickly and unmiserably for you as possible.


  12. Multimodal Mama

    Now THAT explains why I heard girls yelling PENIS! at the high school bus stop near my house. (I live in New England, too)

    Husband, the math teacher, has heard this as well and wondered what was up besides the volume.

    Now if we could only get these girls to a V day celebration (and I don’t mean Verbal Viagara).

  13. Anonymous

    Bagslapping in highschool… Once they get to college, they’ll call it hazing.


  14. norbizness

    We should not be surviving as a species.

  15. ms kate

    Um … Twisty … did you eat that taco in or eat it out?

  16. Maven

    Bag Tag is clearly a widespread phenomenon and, I’d wager, is primarily limited to the 18 and under set–but in college I knew a few 22 year old men who liked to expose ye olde nutsac, totally or partially, by pulling it through their fly. The point of this game was to do it on the sneak and get the other dude in the room to notice. They only played this game with each other. These same dudes had another game that involved punching each other *hard* in the shoulder and then taking off before retaliation could occur. I suspect a lot of this kind of stuff is about dudes being sexually curious about each other and craving “acceptable” physical contact with their dude friends. And, perhaps, demystifying their friends’ genitalia.

    I have also been privy to more than one game of Tit Tag, so be assured that this sort of sexually ambiguous juvenility is not limited to dudes, though I doubt you’d get girls smacking each other in the vulva.

    Also, Twisty, I thought you’d appreciate knowing (if you didn’t already) that government computers apparently block your site–I have a reader in Iraq who couldn’t open a link to you from my page. I wonder if anything with “patriarchy” in the title is banned by the gov-gov. Unless it’s “I exalt the patriarchy,” or whatever.

  17. Twisty

    Yes, Maven, I am told that my blog is inaccessible by practically everyone, save the knitters, Mandos, a few MRAs, and the FBI.

  18. Sylvanite

    Well, you’ll be pleased to learn that I can still access this site from work (I work for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). I also have no trouble accessing BitchPhd. Go figure.

    It probably won’t last, though. I can still post here, but I can’t post at Respectful Insolence without getting blocked with the “You’re being naughty! Your attempt to access this site is going into your permanent file, missy!” message.

  19. nina

    As the mother of a six year old boy, I am freaking right the hell out over this. At least I have a few more years before adolescence sets in. Thank goodness you posted that luscious taco photo to calm me down, or at least distract me. Glad you got to finally have one!

  20. WookieMonster

    So during the whole stupid t-shirt (“Who needs brains when I have these”) mess on Pandagon some stupid fembot came with the “my daughters think they’re hillarious, you’re just being humorless feminazis” line. I brought up kids yelling penis game as an illustration of things kids think are hilarious that really aren’t all that funny if you have any maturity. I was then pretty much universally decried as having no sense of humor for not thinking that shouting penis and giggling was oodles of fun, I kid you not. Thank you Twisty Faster for letting me know I’m not alone in a world populated by people who’s maturity stoped at age 10.

  21. jc.

    When I was a young teenager in Toms River New Jersey we suddenly were (guys I guess) playing this weird game, it had complex rules which everyone learned sort of by osmosis, it disapeared by the time I started high school. The “game” basically consisted in making a ring with your thumb and forefinger, placing it on a body joint(knee or elbow, didn`t count otherwise and allowed the victim to turn the tables if the ring was incorrectly placed) and getting somebody to look at it. Once a person was tricked into looking you were then allowed to slug them in the arm.
    My three years of experiencing New Jersey folkways and culture still continue to puzzle me.

  22. Steph

    All these stories are cracking me up. I have a 5 year old boy and I do find he likes to show off his penis whenever he can. So sadly bag tag will be in our future. Our house will be a no slapping the bag zone, but I’ll be laughing when I tell them to stop it because it’s so fucking stupid.

    I’ve seen supposedly mature guys play “nip” games too, where they attack another guy by grabbing a nipple and twisting hard. Most of these guys are married, straight, good ole’ boys. I just don’t get it.

  23. kathy a

    nice taco, twisty!

    thank god that particular game never surfaced at our house, although there were plenty of occasions to yell, “boys, cut that out right NOW! i MEAN it!!”

    as my good friend john said during the darkest days, “there is a reason that herds of animals in the wild send the adolescent males away to fend for themselves…. they make everyone nuts!”

  24. bitchphd

    Tacos, yum! Yay!

  25. Tara

    The slap-on-the-balls game is for more than just 9th graders. I know several 20 yr olds who behave in the same way. They didn’t chase each other around, but rather, whenever they passed (in a hall or other close quarters) they’d flick their hand ‘down there’ and flip each other. I always thought it was kind of a test of speed–see who can be fast enough to block it, or who was so fast as to be unseen. Definately a way to establish the “alpha male” thing. “Titty Twister” is the female version, I suppose, one the girls in my college dorm enjoyed to no end.

  26. BitingBeaver


    I know the game of which you speak, yet another of my boys wonderful ‘games’. They call it a ‘titty twister’ where, as far as I could tell (I say ‘could’ because it too has been banned) they basically grab one anothers nipples and twist them to the point of bruising.

    And they say public school is good for kids *rolls eyes*

    Being privy to 3 boys I’ve overheard plans to light their farts on fire, light bottle rockets out of their asses, belching contests, farting contests, titty twisters and bag tag, not to mention the odd dare to staple pieces of paper to their actual BODIES. (the last one I found out when the dummies took actual PHOTOS of it on my digital camera after I had gone to bed on a Friday night)

    I’ve also been privy to the latest ‘prank wars’ in which they put vaseline on the upstairs toilet seats, froze each others underwear and put mayonaise in shoes and ‘double dog dared’ one another to run around the house nude.

    Needless to say the term ‘ever vigilant’ is an understatement as I have to have eyes all over the house at all times. Hmmm, I wonder if security cameras installed in the house would help?

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m raising boys or primates, maybe it’s just me but my sister and I never did crap like that. It must be boys. *sigh*

  27. Charles

    Do not forget the Rule of Boy Intelligence: “The intelligence of a group of boys is inversely proportional to the number of boys in the group.”

    Also, somehow this reminds me of the time in college when a one dark-haired guy on my dorm floor put a pair of horn-rimmed glasses on his unit, took a photo, and called it “Gene Shalit.” Guess you had to be there . . .

  28. Kyra

    “Women are from Venus, men are from the Klingon home world”

    It’s called Q’onoS, or Kronos.

  29. Lauren

    My students do it to each other and call it “bagging.”

    At the beginning of my Basic 11 English class, I have to set a rule every day: No sex, no drugs, no violence, AND NO BAGGING.


  30. Redcane

    Ok, you got me. When I was in the submarine
    force (18-40 year old men). We would back up to a shipmate and put out our hand to give them a “30 second ball rest”. The recipient was always careful not to move and every one parted ways none the worse for wear. Sub sailors are normal just not in the normal ways!!LOL.

  31. TimT

    Never heard of this game, but I’m not surprised.

    Incidentally, there’s a more civilised version of the ‘Penis’ game amongst actors. They all stand around in a circle and say ‘ducky fuzz?’ ‘Fuzzy duck!’ to one another. It goes on this way for sometime:

    ‘Ducky fuzz?’
    ‘Fuzzy duck!’
    ‘Ducky fuzz?’
    ‘Fuzzy duck!’

    Eventually, someone gets tongue tied, and says,

    ‘Duzzy fuck?’

    And the other person replies without thinking:

    ‘Fucky duzz!’

    Highly amusing.

  32. Ms Kate

    Sez Charles:”Do not forget the Rule of Boy Intelligence: “The intelligence of a group of boys is inversely proportional to the number of boys in the group.””

    When I was about 16, a pack of teen boys crossed a street en masse, avoiding all pretense of ignoring signals, lights, etc. and pushing and shoving all along.

    My mother asked me: “What do you call that? A pack? A pride”

    I replied: “I dunno, how about a gross?”

    For proof of this collective descriptor see http://www.wimp.com/buttrocket

  33. tisha

    Hmmmmmmmm . . . dare we start another nature/nurture debate?

    (scoots offstage)

  34. antelope

    It seems to me that this type of guy (who I shall forevermore think of as “the balltagger”) doesn’t really care who’s dominant as long as SOMEONE is. They don’t need to dominate per se so much as to know who’s in charge.

    This is why they like both pushy women & pathetic women & the only ones that really bug them are women who believe in equality.

  35. mj

    Back to the question of origins: it is “some Canadian hockey-virus.”

    Signing off, from the Great White North

  36. swayframe

    dammit i just found this blog via bitchphd and sourduck… i LOVE it! too bad the fuckers at the office have put it on the blogae not gratae list.

  37. cilla

    hooray for twisty taco-ness! i hope you really enjoyed it and kept it down. cant get decent tacos here in the uk. boo hoo.

  38. Juney

    Some of this stuff — ballslapping, stapling things to your own skin, etc — is the stock in trade of the TV show Jackass. Obviously the appeal, and the general type of wrasslin’, predates the show, but maybe this is where some of them are getting the specific ideas from?

  39. Aaron

    I remember being a frightened rising 7th grader in the summer before junior high school started. The fear came from being told by older kids the various tortures inflicted on 7th grade boys by the 8th grade boys. There was a week of physical torture, with each day reserved for a specific form.

    Mega Melvin Monday (ie, a wedgie from the front)
    Titty Twister Tuesday
    Sevvie Wedgie Wednesday
    Testicle Twister Thursday
    Bop Day Friday (where the 8th grade guys would hit the 7th grade guys on the head)

    In addition to this, I was told that it was tolerated by the administration, so me and all my other rising 7th grade plans all had our plans for how we’d try to evade and avoid the various tortures. Fortunately, my fears were never realized, though I did know this one kid who got daily wedgies in gym class.

  40. Aaron

    Oh, and also in junior high, the penis game was popular with boys and girls, though in my junior high, more with boys.

  41. GraceD

    Pass me some of them puke-ye-not pills, Twisty. This bagging/”PENIS!” teen stupidity is giving me the heaves.

  42. Kat

    The most recent incarnation of phrases to yell during Penis Game that I’ve heard of: “No, YOU gave me herpes!”

  43. Christopher

    I’m pretty sure that this is all some kind of Aztec Holiday.

    Also, RE: Torture week: What, no swirlies?

  44. LYMC

    You know what I really love about this? You just know that all the little idiots who are punching each other in the nards are going to grow up into whiney asshole men who piss and moan about how hard men have it and why don’t feminists do anything about THAT, huh?

    Feminists ain’t the ones punching you in the nutsack, stupid.

    Men damage one ANOTHER, and then whine to us like we’re Mommy. If they have it so hard, they can stop it. I’m not Mommy.

  45. laughingmuse

    “You know what I really love about this? You just know that all the little idiots who are punching each other in the nards are going to grow up into whiney asshole men who piss and moan about how hard men have it and why don’t feminists do anything about THAT, huh?

    Feminists ain’t the ones punching you in the nutsack, stupid.

    Men damage one ANOTHER, and then whine to us like we’re Mommy. If they have it so hard, they can stop it. I’m not Mommy.”

    Wow. This was excellent. The last part may be my new motto.

  46. Joolya


  47. Morgan

    I think I win (or is it lose) the age race, clocking in at 20 and male (I do think I lose). I must have missed this new-fangled form of male amusement, but the Penis Game is a time-honored tradition, as is my personal favorite, the Vagina Game. This is different than the Penis Game, in that you simply have to replace one word in any movie title with “vagina(s)”. Makes for fun drinking games.

    I think this is God’s punishment for teenaged boys. She would be devious like that

  48. Joana

    — its macho love– so delightfully subtle.the bigger the punch the more intimate — familiar with this grrlls?

  49. Average Doood

    “Uh! Right in the NUTS!”

    Maybe I will write my thesis about this.

  50. Emily

    Haha, when i was in junior high we knew the penis game, but the goal was to say it in as many funny voices and pronunciation as possible, taking turns of course.

    I love your blog, by the way.

  51. Jezebella

    A mississippi variant: The bat-cave game, in which a 20-something drops his pants, bends over, and spreads his cheeks in front of the bathroom door as his buddy is about to walk out. Shout “batcave!”.

    Yes. Boys are stupid.

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