Tim has a small penis, and he doesn't want to talk about it.
A tall, slim, balding figure in his 40s, he sits in a cramped waiting room, fidgeting nervously along with three other men--all of whom are doing their level best to ignore one another. Eye contact is verboten, and there is much conspicuous clearing of the throats and feverish tapping of the feet. Tension fills the air, and sense of humor is in short supply.
"Go away," Tim growls when approached by a curious reporter. "This is personal. You don't see me asking you about your dick, do ya?" The others don't look up, preferring to keep their gaze fixed firmly on the floor, but they murmur in assent.
The reporter retreats, properly chastened. It's understandable, he thinks. A minuscule member would be enough to make a fellow grouchy.
And desperate, too. So desperate that Tim has trekked to the downtown Phoenix office of the California-based Men's Institute of Cosmetic Surgery in search of Dr. Melvyn Rosenstein--America's self-anointed Dong Doctor, who is building a lucrative career by giving underendowed men longer, thicker organs.
Rosenstein doesn't promise that his "unique surgery" will produce the kind of mutant, salami-size, one-eyed wonder worm of the variety on display in porno cinema, but he does say that through the miracle of modern science he can add an inch or two to most anyone's manhood.
For men like Tim, that's good enough. Promise em an inch, and they will travel miles--all the way to Rosenstein's Culver City clinic--to shell out thousands for an enlargement. Since Rosenstein began running promotional ads in the November 17 Arizona Republic (Totally Natural! No Implants! Most patients appear as if they have doubled in size!), about 20 Valley men have done just that. About 50 more, he says, are on the waiting list.
In fact, according to Rosenstein, Phoenix is a land thick with those whose organs are thin.
"Phoenix has been a wonderful area for us," he says. "We recruit clients from all over the country, but your town has yielded a surprising number in a very short time."
After graduating from NYU Medical School in the late 1960s, Rosenstein--who once studied briefly under clinical sex gurus Masters and Johnson--spent most of his professional life operating on young boys whose sex organs had not descended normally. But in 1990 he was hit with a brainstorm--why not apply the same medical techniques on grown men who, when God was passing out penises, got stuck at the back of the line?
"I saw all these people going for breast enlargements, liposuction, nose jobs," Rosenstein recalls. "People want to make themselves better in all kinds of ways. I thought people would also want to pump up their penises a little, too.
"And boy, was I right."
Starting with only a couple of clients, to whom he offered the surgery free of charge, Rosenstein says he has since enlarged his practice dramatically--doing more than 125 penile extensions and "thickenings" every month, for a total to date of nearly 1,000.
To lure clients, he operates "screening centers," like the one in Phoenix, in eight other cities, including Detroit, San Francisco and San Diego. There Rosenstein's "medical assistants" give 20-minute briefings on the procedure, complete with charts, graphs and a picture book of penises--providing a before and after look at the magic process. Here's the long and the short of it:
Rosenstein makes a one-inch incision above the base of the penis, exposing the ligament that attaches the organ to the pubic bone. The doctor then removes the ligament and attaches it slightly lower on the bone, which forces it to protrude out of the body. The ligament is then covered with skin, and there you have it--when the patient is stitched up, he appears to have an extra inch . . . or more. The largest ligament Rosenstein says he has ever exposed was a whopping three and a half inches.
"The length of the ligament varies in everyone," Rosenstein says, "so some men may get an added inch, others may get two, which is probably the average."
To add girth, Rosenstein "harvests fat" from the abdomen and injects it into the penis--increasing width by up to an inch. The whole thing takes less than an hour.
Sound painful? You bet. It can take weeks to recover normal walking gait and ability to engage in aerobic exercise, and a month or more before the new, improved soldier can experience the heat of battle.
In addition, things can and do go wrong. Injected fat, for instance, is sometimes reabsorbed into the body, returning the penis to its prior state and requiring a second operation. Also, just like any invasive surgery, there is the threat of post-op infection.
But Rosenstein insists that the process is "as safe as we can make it," and that he has never had an unhappy customer. And no, he's never performed "a Bobbitt"--when the ligament is reattached, Rosenstein says, it is actually more firmly secured than before, and there is no threat of it later "popping off."
There is no apparent reason to doubt him. The before/after pictures offered by Rosenstein's assistants do indeed show marked increases in size. And if the process was a scam, or in any way harmful, it seems likely that after two years the California Board of Medical Examiners would have received at least one complaint about Rosenstein. But the record books are clean.
"This is absolutely safe and easy," the doctor gushes. "If I could do it on myself, I would."
He could certainly afford it. If Rosenstein's claims are accurate, he's earned close to $6 million during the past few years doing extension surgeries--charging $3,500 for a lengthening and $5,900 for the deluxe enlargement package, which he says is the choice of most clients.
Thankfully, there are ways to whittle back the burden of the bill. Financing is available, and a hotel near the clinic--which is right across the street from the Sony (previously MGM) Studios--offers a discount, provided you have the cojones to stride proudly into the lobby and tell the front-desk clerk that you're in town for a "Rosenstein penis enlargement."
Rosenstein, who is one of only a handful of doctors nationwide who perform such surgeries, insists he is the best and most popular--and the only one doing multicity marketing. As a result, he says, his clients come from all strata of American socioeconomic life.
"I've done men from 18 to 76, laborers to CEOs to rock stars," Rosenstein says. "The only thing they have in common is that where they were once short they are now long, where they were once depressed, they are now pleased."
Despite this legion of happy penises and their owners, the doctor refuses to name one client who is willing to give testimonial to the wonders of enlargement.
"I just can't," Rosenstein says apologetically. "I have to guard the identities of my clients assiduously. I'm sure you can understand."
Perhaps, especially if they all have attitudes like tiny Tim. Rosenstein says that while 80 percent of men fall between five to seven inches in length--a size deemed "normal" by medical science--the other 20 percent suffer from a complex psychological disorder he calls "the shame of the small," which can cause extreme grumpiness.
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It's obvious, the doctor points out, that men take their penises seriously. They often name them, talk to them and crow over them. From high school locker rooms to health clubs, men also have plenty of opportunity for comparison--and if they are always coming up short in what many of them view as the most integral measuring stick of maleness, it is easy to see why they may develop a serious self-esteem problem.
"This operation gives those men a chance to view themselves more positively, to have a better self-worth," he says. "Often, for many men, just seeing what we can do for them is enough to change their whole perspective."
But what if later in life that perspective changes? What if after impressing girls, wowing the guys in the locker room and ratcheting that self-esteem up a notch, the enlargement patient wants to return to the way nature made him?
Is the Rosenstein "miracle surgery" reversible?
"Reverse it? Why would anyone want to reverse it?" Rosenstein asks incredulously.
"There isn't anyone in the universe who really wants a smaller penis.