Just as my cruel Editor insinuated, my interest in the weird and the marginal was in full force when I heard about Jolène Morin’s creations. The Montreal artist has created a pop-up shop/gallery to bring awareness to men’s health issues, most known because of Movember.
Jo. Et Fils Quincaillerie de Penis is a hardware store-slash-artist studio that sells very unusual tools. Stuffed toy penises line Morin’s shop walls. They are cute, funny, snuggly, and at times, hairy-looking penis toys of all shapes, colors and sizes. Among these, handy dandy instruments such as the Commercial Quality Penis With No End, the Penis Screw For Angled Hole, the Super-Heavy Penis, the Adjustable Foundation Penis, and my favorite, the Demolition Penis. All names have been translated for your convenience, by the journalist (moi) because Morin’s English is quite poor, and we thought it would be a funny challenge for someone to transliterate these oddball tool names. The thing is, these are not even Morin’s inventions. They actually exist somewhere out there in a real hardware store (replace ‘penis’ with ‘screw’, or more fittingly, ‘vis’ in French!) Her cute Franglais decorates a How-to poster on the store’s wall, demonstrating how men should palpate to locate abnormalities in their testicles.
Laugh all you want, but this is a serious matter! Men’s cancer awareness is generally about the lower half of the body. So why does Movember use a mustache symbol when we need some real talk about genitalia? That is the premise behind Morin’s project. Statistics show that lower-region cancers in men are more or less as widespread as breast cancer in women. So why do we only dare talk about it in November? We surely talk about refugees or police brutality with ease. Why can’t we even pronounce the word testicles or penis without being embarrassed or giggling about it? The phenomenon was amusing to behold at the hardware shop. Aside from my esteemed Editor, it was very rare to see a male spectator. Some passed on the street outside, and kept walking. But not without looking sideways through the windows out of curiosity or perhaps revulsion.
Interestingly enough, most women that entered the shop thought it was a riot. Morin encouraged taking pictures to post on social media, and the ladies eagerly took selfies with their furry friend-penises. However, upon further scrutiny, one might notice that even they had trouble handling the odd little objet’s d’art. The fabric is soft and inviting, yet people are afraid to touch them, and the selfie smiles are somehow awkward.
Morin noted that hardware stores are marketed to men, so it was interesting to research it and then do something to counter the social norms involved. The cartoonish artwork is sketched and then traced/filled in digitally. Among the stuffies, there are also cute stocking stuffers (okay, lots of stuffing going on, here!) such as socks, undies, and ball caps (get it? ball caps?) Morin had an assistant helping her ‘stuff’ the toys. Read, stuffed in French might be expressed as fourré… and this in itself is a play on words meaning …to, well…put that penis to good use in erm…the bedroom or wherever you prefer to ‘get stuffed’, as they call it in the UK.
A pop-up store with character! And a cock-a-doodle-doo to you, Sir!
25% of profits go toward research about Men’s cancers. Support the cause, and if you miss the pop-up, you can also purchase online from http://mamandpop.com
The Quincaillerie de Penis remains open to the public until Sunday, November 25th at Mam & Pop, 615/619 Duluth East.