Unhung Hero

Patrick Moote is a man who has known indignity. Not only was his marriage proposal rejected on the Jumbotron at a very public sporting event by his then-girlfriend—the video was viewed innumerable times on YouTube—but she later told him that one of the reasons she wouldn’t marry him was that he has a small penis. This combination would be a knock-out blow to most guys, sending us into an uncontrollable shame spiral. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, though, Moote decided to channel his humiliation into something productive. The documentary Unhung Hero charts Moote’s globe-spanning exploration of what it means to be a man, and the lengths we’ll go to for extra length.

So I guess this isn’t something you ever thought you’d be doing press for.
Not in a million years, which is an understatement.

Well, at least it all ended up in a good place.
It definitely did. We realized pretty early on that, once we started to get past some of the personal issues and into some of the things that people do to themselves, the bigger problem was letting your insecurities kind of run wild, making you do all this crazy stuff.

It’s weird that penis size is something the majority of men feel insecure about, yet we kind project it onto each other anyway.
Even as a kid, before you  know what the point of having a big penis is, or what a penis even does, kids are running around poking fun at each other about it. It’s something that’s ingrained in society, but nobody wants to talk about it, you know what I mean? When I got picked on in high school about it, I honestly thought everyone was just being mean. I didn’t think it actually meant something. I really wasn’t aware until we made the film, and then my buddy was like, yeah, it was this chick you dated—I remember her name, but I don’t want to say it—but she was the one who came up with the nickname.

That was nice of her.
Yeah, what a sweetheart.

Sounds like you dodged a few bullets when it comes to women in your life.
The girl that I proposed to, we’re still friends. I never want to make her out as some sort of bad guy. I took things that she said to me in private and kind of made it everybody’s business. That said, I kind of pushed her to the point of saying some of the things she said by just being a lovesick dude.

Which was more traumatizing, the rejection or the news about your dick?
I think it’s the insult-to-injury factor. The Jumbotron thing was just ridiculous. It sucked, but I felt partly responsible because I’m an idiot. [Penis size] is a sensitive subject. You say those words knowing you can never take them back, and they’re very hurtful.

Examining one of Korea’s many publicly indecent statues

I loved some of the film’s secondary characters. Your dad had the line of the movie when he said that he’s “shocked at how adequate I do become” in bed.
That’s one of my favorite moments. It’s so hilariously in dad terms, him describing the difference between a shower and a grower.

Your interview with Dan Savage really put things in perspective. He kind of took the hysteria out of the whole thing.
Oh, one of my favorite things was when I said, “I’m slightly below average,” and he said, “Half of everyone is.” It was one of those moments where something I’ve heard over and over made so much sense.

Your conversation with the world’s largest penis-haver Jonah Falcon was fascinating. It turns out he’s just as vulnerable.
This is something I started to realize. Let’s say I do get my dick filled with my own stomach fat—

Great idea, not doing that, by the way.
People ask, “How come you didn’t do it?” If I get that fixed, I’m either going to be insecure about the fact that I did that and people are going to think that’s weird, or I’ll find something else on my body to focus on. You see it all the time with women and men now: “Oh, I’m just going to eyebrows done.” And then, “I’m just going to get my neck done.” And then, “I’m just going to get my tits done.” Once they do these things, that energy they focused on being unhappy with one thing just moves somewhere else. They’re not actually dealing with it.

Patrick Moote Unhung Hero
Testing a Japanese enlargement contraption

I generally try to bury my insecurities deep down where no one can see them, under a thin veneer of confidence and contempt.
There you go, dude! It’s not like I’m magically not insecure about my penis. I still reach over to shut the lights off when I’m about to get naked with a… female human. It’s not like anything has really changed. What has changed is my perception of it.

It’s nuts that people spend so much money on “male enhancement.” That money could go toward, you know, actual medical care.
There’s two sides to that, which I think just suck. One is that people are insecure enough to be spending that type of money on these things—that it’s that big of a deal—and most guys are ordering it in secret. On the other side, enhancement products prey on insecurities to sell men something they’ll buy covertly, and when it doesn’t work, they’ll get angry silently and just walk away. It’s such a shot at guys in the most vulnerable spot. It’s like a kick to the nuts, literally.

What would you say to Jon Hamm, the handsome Mad Men actor who gets mad at the media for photographing his free-swinging penis?
My advice would be, man, you don’t have to show it off. Everybody is allowed to be comfortable. But you’re killing it, Don Draper. Everybody already assumes you have a big old weiner. But to each their own. Just keep it away from playgrounds.

Unhung Hero is out on DVD/iTunes Dec. 10.