As you may have gathered, the barbecue joint is, among other things, a salon of higher culture and erudite discussion of the arts. Before coming in to work today I perused the items at a local stoop sale, and among the many books I found a charming volume of erotic art for two bucks and figured it would be fun to share with the staff and the regulars when my shift began. As predicted, the book was a big hit, covering all manner of fleshly ground from centuries-old engravings to Japanese shunga prints with the colossal genitalia to contemporary gallery works, and while checking this stuff out I realized that at some point this sort of material was probably some unsuspecting kid’s first exposure to the world of osh-osh as a somewhat prurient form of entertainment. It’s a universally visceral, fascinating and somewhat scary experience to say the least, for both young males and females alike.
Excluding the rather innocent stuff like PLAYBOY and PENTHOUSE, my own first glimpse at such material was a rain-soaked copy of SCREW magazine found at my bus stop when I was ten years old. The tabloid literally dripped with filthiness and while I knew what a girl’s equipment looked like — thanks to a little girl who lived across the street when I was six; you have my eternal gratitude, Terri! — I was horrified by the unbelievable talents of one Honeysuckle Divine, a cute blonde who used her sacred reproductive orifice for purposes that it was never meant to perform, such as individually spewing out greasy-looking matzoh balls. Sadly, I left this treasure where it was because to have it found in my possession at home or at school would have meant certain death in ways that Torquemada never imagined.
Later that same year an uncle gave me a steamer trunk full of rather “weathered” dirty magazines, an act more or less fully endorsed by my mother in an effort to prevent me from becoming “an artsy fag;” you see, in her book anyone with even the slightest interest in the arts was destined to have nuts bouncing off his chin in no time at all and that she would not allow, by God! So porn was an approved part of my library from very early on. Little did she realize that I already had the fever for girls, but any way you cut it, it was a win/win situation.
In the two minutes it took for me to get the trunk to my room, I swiftly managed to riffle through the smut and find most of the really foul stuff — including the now-infamous issue of HUSTLER that included a scratch-and-sniff center-spread — before my mom could pick and choose what was kosher for me to keep. I stashed the toxic material in a hidden panel behind the bookcase in the walk-through closet that connected my bedroom to my bathroom (this was at the palatial first house that we lived in from 1972 through early 1980 in Westport), and then spent hours engrossed in the images of naked womanhood splayed across my bedroom floor.
Shortly after this a succession of babysitters discovered my illicit collection and were even more fascinated than I was, each eagerly devouring page after page of pink. I was particularly enamored of a pair of twins who used to take care of me and had an extensive critical knowledge of the genre thanks to raids on their brother’s closet. These two girls were the first to make it plain to me that girls enjoyed naughty stuff just as much as guys did, and that was a mind-altering revelation. Ever since, I have appreciated the female porno fan.
As I reminisced on my own tender corruption I was intrigued to find out what other people recalled of their early exposure to pornography, and since I have no shame whatsoever I asked all within earshot. Here’s what I got:
“A PENTHOUSE found in the creek bed behind the local elementary school in Lexington, Kentucky!”
“A PLAYBOY found in a drainage ditch in Texas.”
“It was a tape called NAKED AEROBICS found in my dad’s back drawer. It was kinda pathetic, really, since it was just two women with that early-1980’s Jane Fonda workout aesthetic, doing regular aerobics, only naked. And making it even cheesier, there was this mirror/kaleidoscope effect that multiplied the image of the two women into a legion! When my dad died, I inherited all of his adult material, sort of a porn legacy, if you will. The tape, and a bunch of softcover books about dirty nuns, and the like.”
“I like to call any porn found outside somewhere ‘feral porn;’ I mean, you can be in the middle of the fucking woods and find a porn mag! My own feral porn was a OUI magazine found on the fire escape at St. John’s, the local Catholic elementary school.”
A nudie playing card on the muddy banks of the stream that ran through our neighborhood.”
“I was in fifth grade, babysitting with a friend, and we were flipping through the channels while the kid we were looking after was asleep. We found some kind of softcore something or other on HBO, and we were fascinated but too embarrassed to admit that we wanted to watch it, so we kept switching back and forth, but always kept landing on that flick. And my lower half started to feel really weird… And then I was hooked!”
“I was in fifth grade and I went over to my buddy Colin Riley’s house, where he showed me his dad’s copy of INSIDE VANESSA Del RIO.”
"I was in fourth grade and went riffling through my parents’ stuff when they weren’t home, and saw one of those “365 Ways To Do It” manuals; I guess they were trying out something new each day… Anyway, when I lifted it out of the drawer there was an issue of HUSTLER beneath it, and I was blown away to see that the center-spread was signed by the girl in the picture, telling my dad how nice it was to meet him in Vegas and inviting him to 'cum again.'”
“I think I was eight or nine, and soon after it lead to masturbation at age ten. It was PLAYBOY, of course; my dad had some, and my older brother found them.”
“I was probably, like, ten and I totally found it on a wildlife walk, between the junior high school and the national elk refuge in Wyoming. Some random sleazy trucker mag or something… No, wait… I was in second grade, seven years old, and a friend who lived in a trailer park invited me over to see the bunnies that his folks raised; his dad would kill them with his bare hands and his mom would cook them, so I was already kind of traumatized that day. Anyway, since we had nothing else to do after the bunnies, my friend asked me if I wanted to ‘look at some pussies.’ I said okay, having no clue what the kid was talking about, and my friend broke out some porn mags that his dad had thrown away, and one of them was called THE BEST PUSSY IN THE WORLD CONTEST. The cover didn’t even have a picture of a woman; it was just a picture of a pussy. So he pulls it out and we start flipping through it, and every single page was, like, four crotch shots! Crotch shot, crotch shot, crotch shot, crotch shot! So I didn’t know what the hell I was even looking at! I didn’t understand that this was part of a woman’s body; I just thought that it was something…animal. And I couldn’t imagine why he’d want to show it to me. So I went home and my mom asked me what I did over at my friend’s house, so I matter-of-factly stated, ‘we looked at pussies.’ My mom was horrified and called my friend’s mother, after which my friend never spoke to me again. I didn’t figure out why until I was, like, fourteen or something.”
-"The Blank" (a regular who was too much of a pussy to be identified for this post)
“When I was around seven years old my family went from South Carolina to spend Christmas with my aunt and uncle, and when I went to use their bathroom I found a book that I’m sure belonged to my uncle. It had, like, a picture of a farm on it. Yep, I learned really young about bestiality… I don’t remember who the characters were, but they were visiting a farm and I’m not sure about most of the animals, but I think they were cows. There was also a woman who put something on herself to get a dog to lick her, and she even got off! I didn’t know such things existed when I was seven years old! So every time I went to the bathroom at their house, I’d look for that book. My mom and my aunt would knock on the bathroom door and go, ‘Debra? Debra, what are you doing in there?’ My dad also used to hide his PLAYBOY stash on top of the freezer, and I eventually discovered them. There was a day when my folks came home early, so I hid the PLAYBOY that I was checking out under my mattress. Now my dad got up really early the next morning and must have gone to look at the issue I borrowed, of course not finding it where it was supposed to be. That afternoon when I got home from school, he laughingly asked me, in front of a friend I was with, ‘So, did you enjoy my magazine?’ I sneaked out of the house, rode my bike past a stretch of road where they were building houses and got rid of the PLAYBOY in the woods, because if it had reappeared my dad would have known for sure that I had it.”
“When I was sixteen I knew a girl who’d stolen her father’s VHS copy of DEBBI DOES DALLAS and she invited a bunch of us over to her house to watch it while her parents were away. So there I was, surrounded by a room full of high school girls, watching one of the classics of old school porno; now up to a certain point the film has plenty of nudity, but then the real sex started and the girls were horrified. They all started screaming, but I thought it was the greatest thing ever!”
“I live in West Palm Beach in Florida, and I had these totally white trash neighbors who had fifteen kids — for real — and a duck named Chirpy who they’d feed cat food. They had this huge yard and they’d chuck porn mags all over the place for no apparent reason. It was like a graveyard of porn.”
-Madison P. (age 14, daughter of Chez)
“For me it happened when I was eleven, and my brother and I found a magazine wrapped in black plastic in the mail. It was an issue of PLAYBOY addressed to my father, and he claimed that they had just sent him a free sample. Yeah, right, but considering how whipped he was, I mean, my mother would never have allowed that!”
“I was ten when my great-grandmother’s husband died, and me and my cousin Junior were cleaning out Pops’ bedroom when we found all of this really ancient porn. Like pre-PLAYBOY stuff, and we thought, ‘this is hot! This rocks!’ And then we threw them all away.”
“I don’t know how old I was, but I was really young and I was snooping, you know, like kids do. And my dad had a drawer in his dresser next to his bed that I opened, and I found this postcard of a woman on skis, stark-assed naked. And she had the biggest, hairiest bush I’d ever seen! But I didn’t know if that was just my perception, or if she really was that hairy because I didn’t know what was supposed to be down there. And that’s my story.”
So what’s your story, dear reader? Remember: sharing is caring!