by Fofi Littlepants


One strange theme that manifested during our journey was that of penises. Yes, that part of the male genitalia. This was not because we were getting lots of play along the voyage, but for much less titillating reasons. I am including a description of these here so that these Confessions are saved from being given a G-rating (but even so, it probably still only reaches a PG-13 level at best ~ sorry to disappoint those who were expecting a Kerouaquesque sex and drug romp from a trainhopping/hitchhiking story.)


The penis theme started before I even left on the journey, when I was getting together my gear. I shopped around quite a bit to buy a backpack, because it was hard for me to find one that fit my frame – I was too small for most of them. Finally, after torturing the REI person for hours, I decided on an Osprey Talon 44 backpack. It was essentially constructed as a long tube with a drawstring at the top, over which an adjustable cover, into which one can stuff various things, flaps over onto the tube.

After a trial packing of it, I showed it proudly to my friend, who looked at it quizically for a long moment and then said, “You know, it looks like a penis…”

And I realized that it did! It looked like a long shaft with a mushroomy head at the top. I considered returning it for another type, but I had really tried out pretty much all the backpacks in the store. So I kept it, but wondered periodically during the trip if anyone that we walked past thought that I looked like I had a penis strapped to my back. And when I put my black trainhopping raincover on it, I felt like I was fitting it with a condom.


It may be that the backpack was bringing penis karma into our trip, because we ended up having a number of penile encounters.

Our first one was with a trucker who picked us up, and seemed okay enough for about 20 minutes. He did seem eager to please, however, and started talking about some bits of his life. In retrospect, most of what he said was probably designed to inform us of things he thought would impress us. First, he said he was from south Chicago, a “very rough part of town”. And then that he was in a motorcycle gang that was famous for being wild. And so forth. This was all so incredibly scintillating that Joey, fairly quickly, fell asleep. At which point he said to me, after a slight cough, “[Ahem (slight cough)]…I…um… mooonlight.”

This of course begs the question, and I dutifully asked, “What do you moonlight in?” After a slight hesitation (which may have been feigned), he said, “I… strip!”

I laughed, though tried not to be disrespectful. “What like you’re a male stripper?” I said. “For men or women?”

“Women of course!” he said, and went on into a description of his activities, including that women go crazy and try to grab him, but he tells them that it’s twenty dollars extra to “tug it” (upon which hordes of women accost him waving around $20 bills.) This was followed, after about 15 miles, with a story about how at one of his jobs, he met a beautiful woman, who rushed up to him afterwards and (according to him) gushed, “Ooooh, you’re so hot, you’ve got to come and work for me!” She offered a card, and he checked her out. She turned out to be a porn star, and had her own porn production company. She was offering $2000 a week, for doing a mere 2 to 3 scenes!

“So should I do it?” He asked me, with quite a bit of eagerness. “Well, what’s stopping you?” I said, starting to get tired by this point. He didn’t seem to have an answer for this, but periodically, throughout the entire 5 hour truck ride, he would query, “Should I do it?”

I suppose it was just a rhetorical question because he kept asking it no matter what answer I gave.

Perhaps 50 miles after the first “Should I do it?”, he said, “Can I show you something?” Even more tired than before, but with ever hospitable geisha manners, I said, “Uh huh?”

“I don’t want to offend you…” he said, with a bit more coyness, but we had already been through that before, and as I was sure nothing I said was going to stop him from self-expressing, I said, “Not many things offend me.”

He already had his flip phone open, and handed it to me. I looked at it. And lo and behold, there was a photo on the phone, an elephantine close-up of ~ an erect penis!!

I was shocked, but I maintained Asian equanimity while I handed the phone back.

“Did I offend you?”, he asked expectantly, but was really seemed more pleased with himself than worried about whether I took offense. “No…” I said, but nothing more. He apparently wanted more out of me. He said, “Not many white guys are like that you know.” I really had nothing to say to that one, except “Uh huh…” (My geisha manners surpressed my natural impulse, which was to shout, “You’re totally insane!!!!!”)

Much later, probably another 30 miles, he said, “That’s me you know. You can see my face in it and everything…”

“I believe you!” I said in a hurry. I really didn’t want to fall into this set up ~ it was likely to lead to him dropping his pants to prove the veracity of his claims. It hadn’t even occurred to me to question whether or not this man may have Photoshopped himself into grandiosity, because I just didn’t care. And really, I was in so much of a rush to give back the phone that I hadn’t even thought to look at the face that appeared in the background, which in any case was so small and far far away given the extreme close up of the penis, that I don’t think I could have discerned who it was even if I had bothered to look at it.

Later, I wondered who took the photo. How close does a person have to be holding the camera to get that kind of angle? Did he or she use a macro lens? And who asks other people to take close up photos of their penis?? Or maybe he took it himself. I suppose if men can masturbate, they could hold a camera to their own penis. And did he take the photo with his cell phone? Does a normal man want to be talking into a phone that he just took a photo of his penis with???

And I couldn’t fathom how he thought this was going to work with women in the first place. I kind of wanted to tell him that he might get farther with huppie chicks if he said he recycled or fed stray cats or something, but I really was just NOT INTERESTED and also didn’t want to help him try to dupe other hitchhiking women in the future.

The rest of the ride ensued with variations of the “Should I do it” question, and then eventually degenerated further into some very pointed “I love Asian women” statements, all of which was incredibly exhausting and wore down the entire reservoir of geisha manners I had painstakingly been attempting to build up during this trip. I was on my last straw when the ride finally came to an end. When he pulled the truck into a rest stop, where he told us he was going to be for about an hour “if you want to hang out…” (i.e. – if we wanted to have sex with him in the truck!!), I immediately chirped, “Oh we really have to get going!”, while busily throwing my backpack and myself out the door. I did thank him for the ride, though it might have been yelled over my shoulder after I had already hit the pavement.

Joey and I discussed this later, and we decided that this was the freakiest ride to date. However, when I told some friends about this later, a couple of them said that it was fairly common on internet dating nowadays to send around a photo of your equipment. This was news to me, but I’m a caveperson on internet social etiquette, I can’t even figure out Facebook. But I couldn’t fathom that women could actually like this?? And was it normal for a guy to subject a person to such a photo, especially one he just met who didn’t explicitly request it? Did I give implicit consent to this merely by being a hitchhiker? Or was it because I was gallavanting around the country with a large penis strapped to my back?


The second penile encounter was during a ride that we got from a firefighter. “Luis” was a libertarian in a conservative state, an independent thinker and open talker. We engaged in an interesting political debate, discussing things like individual liberty and the limits of state control and action. For some reason, while on the topic of liberty, we started talking about whether traditional relationships work. He revealed that he likes sex, and had girlfriends in college, but he figured out that they always wanted to go the “next step” and would pressure him to get married. He didn’t want to get married, so he tried a different route. He discovered that there was a community of people that engage in alternative sex, and he started swinging with other couples. Apparently, he was able to find many couples that were looking for a man with whom they could engage in a ménage à trois. He would meet them online, through which they would exchange messages, information, and such.

And, he said, he fit well into the swinger community because, said he, those couples look for men that are, you know, well-endowed, and he was, well, lucky enough to fit the bill; he had to send inquiring couples a photo to prove it.


Actually, I think I only screamed this in my mind. What I probably said in objective reality was my signature line: “Uh-huh…”

He was an intelligent and thoughtful guy, and I wouldn’t have minded getting his email to stay in touch and exchange periodically on politics, but as the ride ended with the conversation on swinging, I didn’t want to ask for his info because I didn’t want him to think I was interested in that way.


The third and final penile encounter came about a week before the end of our trip, when I got a little text message. It was from the Korean social worker that had driven us from California to Washington. He was the first trucker that picked us up, the one that had started it all. We were really grateful to him, he was such a nice man; we had spent two and a half days with him.

The message had no text, just a photo that slowly emerged. It was ~ guess what ~ A CLOSE UP OF A PENIS!!!!!!!!!!! It was being held between two fingers. It was so shocking I almost dropped my precious Blackberry. This was the elderly Korean man, in his 60s, who cooked us rice in his rice cooker and ramen in his portable skillet, while talking about how we were the same age as his daughters. Mr. Choy, sending us pictures of his penis??!!

I never responded to the text. In my mind I have convinced myself that Mr. Choy’s cell phone was stolen and he had nothing to do with it.


That was the last of our penile encounters, but we did have one other encounter along similar lines, that help blow these Confessions out of the G-rated category:

After our exhausting ride with the man from the first penile encounter, my reservoir of geisha manners had worn very thin and I didn’t feel like talking to anyone for a while. So for our next ride, I beat Joey to the back of the truck to sit on the bed, which meant she had to sit in the front seat and chat with the driver.

Our ride was a middle-aged foreigner, it turned out that he was a refugee, he had been in the U.S. for about 8 years now. He had fled a terrible civil war at home; we noticed that he was missing a finger on his right hand. He seemed mellow and nice enough, and we listened to some music from his home country.

We were partial to immigrants, and relieved that we seemed to have finally found a normal person, I went to sleep.

When I woke up, we were still bouncing down the highway. There was a silence in the truck, but it didn’t occur to me that this was unusual, so I happily proceeded to enjoy the scenery outside, when Joey asked to see my Blackberry. I handed it to her. She was busily typing something into it for a while, and then she handed it to me. It said:

“while u were sleeping, he grabbed my boob. but later he apologized”

Totally shocked, I Blackberried back, “OMG!!!!!! R u ok????!!!!”

She was. So we waited till the ride was over (thankfully only maybe half an hour later) to talk about it. She told me that the man had, with zero prior warning, reached across the truck and stuck his hand into her tank top. She was totally shocked, but managed to say “No.” He was puzzled, and said, “I’ll pay you.” She said, “I don’t do that.” Even more bewildered, he said, “Does she do that?” pointing at me sleeping in the back. She said, “No.” After which he was very embarrassed and apologized.

I don’t think he was a bad guy really, I suppose it was a case of crossed cultural understandings ~ he probably could not fathom from his cultural starting point that women who were not prostitutes would be wandering around the country and climbing into trucks. But I suppose we should have guessed, based on the porn magazines strewn around the back of the truck, and the fact that he kept asking us repeatedly whether we were underage.

Joey and I denominated this incident The “FFF” (Four Fingered Fondle).


But aside from this handful of incidents, the many, many other people we met were completely fine and didn’t harass us at all. But maybe I’ll get a different backpack for my future travels.

–Fofi Littlepants


Read the complete:


I  Trainhopping

II  Hitchhiking

III  Other Particulars

IV  The Journey

V  Society I ~ Native America

VI  Society II ~ Identity

VII  People

VIII  Penises

IX  Of Dreams And Spirits

X  Conclusion

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