Original image from BurningAngel.com

‘Small Hands,’ Big… Porn Career

Aaron Thompson’s minuscule mitts haven’t held him back in the adult film industry—and Trump’s reputation has only helped

When Aaron Thompson signed a contract to appear in his first adult film three years ago, he hadn’t given much thought to choosing a stage name. The first thing that popped into his head was A-Fresh, which is what his friends from back home in San Diego started calling him after they’d all gotten drunk one night and recorded their own rap songs as a joke. But his girlfriend, porn star Joanna Angel, wasn’t having it. She thought the name made him “sound like such a douchebag,” Thompson recalls — and as both his scene partner and a veteran of the industry, she gave it the axe. With the clock ticking and the cameras ready to roll, Thompson looked down at the paperwork in his dainty fingers and wrote down the next best nickname he could think of. This time, it was one that Angel herself had inspired: Small Hands.

“Joanna has always made fun of me because I have little baby hands for a grown man, and literally I just wrote it down because I couldn’t think of anything else,” Thompson says. “I went from one terrible name to another.”

To him, the pseudonym was equal parts stupid and hilarious. He figured it wouldn’t get much use after what he assumed would be a one-time porn shoot for his girlfriend’s production company, Burning Angel. But one thing led to another, and pretty soon Thompson was booking scenes with other big-time performers for a handful of different studios, eventually becoming one of the top male talents in the industry. By then, the man known to his fans as Small Hands had become a bona fide porn star — or as he describes it, “I just started getting busier and busier with my penis” — and his hastily chosen stage name had stuck.

“All of a sudden I was like, Shit, I have this really dumb name and it’s too late now because it’s everywhere,” he says, calling the moniker both a blessing and a curse. “I always tell people, ‘You don’t forget it. Even if you think it’s stupid or you don’t understand it, you don’t forget it.’”

Image via BurningAngel.com

Small Hands might make for a less-than-stellar porn name, but the joke behind it — based on the enduring assumption that men with small hands also have small penises — remains a biting insult for men everywhere, even (perhaps especially) for those whose jobs don’t involve on-camera penetration.

The stereotype, though not supported by data, is so persistent that it became an unlikely flashpoint in the U.S. presidential race last year. When Marco Rubio publicly ridiculed the size of Trump’s hands, calling his masculinity into question, Trump responded defensively, assuring Americans that his penis size was, “No problem, I guarantee you.”

Trump’s allegedly diminutive mitts have remained a source of amusement for his critics. Search for “small hands” online today and you’re still more likely to find news stories about Trump than X-rated content starring Thompson, although there’s plenty of that, too. The well-endowed 34-year-old porn star is living proof that the myth about small hands is just that: a myth. But in an age of so-called body positivity, are small hands the last real taboo for men?

Thompson, who is 5-foot-8, never realized his hands were particularly tiny until he started playing the guitar. Forming his fingers into different chords across the fret board was a stretch — literally. “Why do I have to work so much harder to play guitar than all of my friends?” he remembers thinking. “Oh, because their hands are giant and mine are tiny,” he quickly figured out. Thompson’s feet are smaller than average, too: He says he wears a size 8.5 shoe, compared to the average American male shoe size of 10.5, according to 2012 data from the National Shoe Retailers Association. He never felt self-conscious or bullied about the size of his feet or hands, he says — with the exception of Angel’s light-hearted teasing — but he acknowledges that both features play into the same long-held stereotype about masculinity.

“It’s the same myth or whatever: If a guy has small feet, he has a tiny dick,” says Thompson. “Well obviously I don’t have a tiny dick because you can see it in HD in all its fucking glory.”

But not every man with small hands is quite as confident as Thompson, nor should he have to take off his clothes on the internet just to prove the haters wrong. While there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that hand size correlates to penis size, research does suggest the length of a guy’s fingers is an indicator of his testosterone levels, which can predict everything from physical aggression to sexual orientation.

Researchers have long posited that boys and men whose ring fingers are longer than their pointer fingers (this is referred to as a low 2D:4D ratio) were exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb than those for whom the opposite is true. In 2002, developmental biologist John T. Manning of Northumbria University in the U.K. proposed that a low 2D:4D ratio was also associated with assertiveness and dominance. In a study published a year later, Manning and his colleagues found that when women were shown headshots of 48 straight men between the ages of 18 and 33, their ratings of perceived masculinity and dominance corresponded to the men’s finger length: The lower the 2D:4D ratio, the higher the rating of male facial dominance. The study’s authors speculated, based on previous research suggesting women prefer men with more masculine facial features, that finger length might also be a predictor of physical attractiveness.

Much of this research emerged, however, long after Spy magazine — co-founded by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter — labeled Trump a “short-fingered vulgarian” in a 1988 satirical advertisement for his book The Art of the Deal. Four years earlier, Carter had more subtly mocked Trump in a GQ profile in which he described his hands as “small and neatly groomed.”

While it’s unclear when the association between hand size and penis size emerged in Western culture — the implication obviously lends a deeper sting to Carter’s insult — hands have always been inextricably linked to masculinity. Soldiers used handshakes — another source of ridicule for Trump, who can’t quite seem to figure them out — as a show of confidence as early as the 5th Century B.C., as evidenced by surviving art from ancient Greece, where hands were also used as a common unit of measure. Thousands of years later, English-language words like handy, handle and handsome — all of which allude to masculinity and derive from the root word hands — are still in wide usage, notes science writer Michael Sims in his 2003 book Adam’s Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form.

It makes sense, then, that Rubio’s tongue-in-cheek comments last February about Trump’s small hands — “You know what they say about guys with small hands…. You can’t trust them,” he said on the campaign trail — hit the now-president where it hurt the most. (The Hollywood Reporter eventually tracked down a bronze cast of Trump’s hands from Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in New York and confirmed that the president does indeed have small hands compared to the average American male—perhaps more notable because of his above-average height.)

Donald Trump’s wax figure is unveiled at Madame Tussauds

Though Rubio later apologized, his remarks set off a domino effect. Perhaps emboldened by the perceived connection between hands and penises, artist Joshua Monroe last August debuted a public statue of Donald Trump in which his genitals are practically microscopic. Post-election, depictions of Trump’s hands appeared in posters (“Keep your tiny hands off my rights”) and chants (“Can’t build a wall / Hands are too small”) at protests around the world. Even Fiona Apple recorded an anti-Trump song called “Tiny Hands.” The lyrical refrain: “We don’t want your tiny hands / Anywhere near our underpants.”

None of this is to say, of course, that there aren’t plenty of women eager for Thompson’s small hands all over their nether regions, as evidenced at the very least by his burgeoning porn career. (One surprising upside to his name’s negative association: He got a spike in web traffic and social media followers after Rubio’s comments, he says.) Just as Thompson has come to terms with the size of his hands, he’s also learning to embrace the porn name he chose on a whim. Now he hopes it will help bring confidence to other men with similarly tiny hands.

“I’m going to take things [that] people have specifically been made fun of about their dick, and I’m going to own it: Like, Okay fine, my name is Small Hands, fuck you,” he says. “Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m like, you know what, it is kind of a cool name because I’m taking a perceived weakness and turning it into a strength.”

Thompson says dudes with small hands have nothing to be self-conscious about. Guys with small cocks, however, might be out of luck — at least if they’re planning to pursue a career in porn. “If you have a tiny dick and you’re a dude wanting to get into porn, there’s no law that says you can’t,” Thompson says, adding that the industry’s content and direction is largely dictated by audience demand. “But it’s going to be a tough job for you.”