i tried the 'call me by your name' peach scene and it was amazing

André-Naquian Wheeler

André-Naquian Wheeler

Yes, it's possible, and it has an ancient Chinese precedent.

We all know the scene. Elio — who is raging with the inimitable fervor of adolescence — lays down and gets to work relieving his boredom and sexual frustration in an, erm, interesting way. He jabs his fingers into a ripe peach and plucks out the pit, sunset-gold juice splattering across his chest and abdomen. Then Elio rolls the peach around in his hands while looking up at the ceiling. Is he really going to…? you think. Before you can run out of the theatre, Elio unbuttons his bermuda shorts and moves the peach down to his crotch. Every sound is heightened. We hear smushing, gushing, ripping, and gasping without ever seeing what exactly Elio is doing with the peach. But then again, we don’t need to. We know. The camera stays locked on Elio’s face, obliging us to watch the series of strange and discomforting face contortions Elio (played by Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet) performs. It feels like we’ve stumbled into a teenager’s bedroom at the worst possible time and haven’t closed the door behind us and mumbled our apologies. The scene of eccentric self-pleasure quickly crescendos into Elio heaving out a trite “fuck” and the moment is over. Elio places the soiled peach onto the nightstand beside him. A character has just fucked a peach on screen for the first time in cinema.

It would be unsurprising if figures came out stating Call Me By Your Name has given the peach industry a major boost this summer. I can imagine men everywhere taking a trip to the grocery store and buying themselves a bundle of peaches. After I saw the film last winter, I knew I had to test the scene out for myself and see if it was really possible. Sadly, that took many months of waiting. (Peaches are only in season from mid-May to mid-August in the U.S.). The desire stemmed from a place much deeper and essay-worthy than wanting to get my rocks off. Male self-pleasure is rarely talked about or depicted in a serious manner, much less queer male sexuality. When it comes to masturbation in film and TV, cheap laughs is usually where it’s at: Jim banging a warm pie in, you guessed it, American Pie and Ben Stiller furiously pulling out a quick one in a bathroom during a date and accidentally shooting “hair gel” on his ear in There’s Something About Mary. What imprinted the peach scene in my memory is how much the focus was on self-exploration, not crudeness, shame, or low-brow humor. I guess, if anything, I wanted to be like Elio and transform my relationship to self-pleasure into something a bit more liberated and romantic.

So I’ll start off by the answering the question I know you’re wondering: Is it actually possible to jack off with a peach? The answer is yes, and it’s pretty amazing.

I went to Whole Foods to pick out the best peaches, because obviously my phallus deserves organic. As if Whole Foods was anticipating legions of Call Me By Your Name fans swarming in, there was a 50% off sale on peaches if you had an Amazon Prime account. When I entered the checkout line, I started sweating. My anxiety — which can distort reality more than any drug — made me believe the cashier somehow knew I was not going to be eating those peaches. But my sense of shame proved even more why I needed to do this project.

The most vital part to fucking a peach is waiting until it is over-ripe. It should be extremely smushy, room temperature, and the skin a deep shade of burgundy. Over-eager me made the mistake of trying to recreate the scene right after buying the peaches, when they were still firm and bright red. There are obvious reasons why this is not ideal. It is near impossible to remove the pit and, also, the flesh of the peach won’t expand and conform like you need it to.

I left the peaches out on my counter and waited three days. The second time was the charm. To prep, I opened up my window, let the cool breeze flow in, put on “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens, and laid back. Here are the steps:

  1. Slowly create a hole smack-dab in the middle of the peach with your pointer fingers. Then wiggle your fingers around inside the peach, basically digging a tunnel towards the pit. Careful, juice will spill everywhere!

  2. Hook your fingers around the pit and slowly pull it out. It’s going to take multiple tries. You want to be careful that you’re not too forceful during this part, as you don’t want to split the peach in half.

  3. Once the pit is out, you want to dig around and make as much space in the middle of the peach as possible. Think about the circumference of your phallus.

  4. Now go for it! The peach will probably only fit the top half of your you-know-what. But there is something new and novel about this feeling. Fun fact: peach juice makes for great lube. Someone needs to patent this idea ASAP.

  5. Sadly, there was no Oliver around to eat my peach when I was done.

  6. The peach scene in Call Me By Your Name is much more than a seminal occasion of coming-of-age deviance. It gifted an entirely new subtext to the peach emoji (which, previously, was really only employed when a stand-in for the tragically nonexistent butt emoji was necessary). Scroll through the Call Me By Your Name Reddit page, which has over 3.2K subscribers, and you will find a slew of fan-made drawings, gifs, and jokes centred on the plump fruit. The obsession with the peach scene extends so far, an official peach-scented vinyl of the film’s soundtrack was released last month. Then there are all the questions Timothée, Armie Hammer (Oliver), and director Luca Guadagnino had to field during promotion. “Someone threw a bag of peach candies in front of me at Chipotle the other day and they ran off,” Timothée told Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya during a Variety interview, simultaneously cringing and laughing at the intense display of fandom. How did one masturbation scene capture the hearts of so many people?

    Surprisingly, peaches have been associated with homosexuality since China’s Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 B.C.). In China, the phrase “bitten peach” is a euphemism for queer male sexuality. It stems from a love as breathtaking as Elio and Oliver’s. Zhou Dynasty ruler Duke Liang sparked a romance with Mizi Xia, a lowly servant, because of his beauty. One day, Mizi Xia and Dia Lang were walking through a garden when Mizi picked a peach from a tree and took a bite into it. The peach was one of the best Mizi had ever tasted but he loved the Duke so much that he gave it to him to finish. Sadly, over the years, the Duke's love for Mizi transformed into paranoia and insecurity and things ended on a heartbreaking note.The poet Ruan Ji memorialised Mizi's act of selfishlessness with the peach in a poem and thus created the phrase “bitten peach.” It was an affectionate saying at first, when male leaders were known to keep “male companions” without any judgement or shame. However, homophobia began catching on in China during the Quan Dynasty and, beginning in the 12th century, the phrase began being used to describe male prostitutes.

    History is circular in funny ways like this. Perhaps it is because peaches blossom during the peak of summer, a perfect metaphor for the hot rush of love, that they operate as the perfect symbol for queer love. Because much like Elio and Oliver’s romance, or Duke Liang and Mizi Xia’s, they blossom and spoil quickly.

This article originally appeared on i-D US.