Glossary X=Secret story, not suitable for Blog.
Last weekend, Gary said, "So when you had lunch with your girlfriends...did you tell them about X?"
(Shit! I did tell them about X. In fact, I think it came up in conversation when I said, "Hey! did I tell you about X?) I spent a quiet moment considering if I could lie to Gary.
I said, "I don't think you really want to ask me that question."
"It's okay if you tell them," he said, "Just don't, you know, put it on the blog or anything."
"But you know what that means. I have to tell the blog Y!"
Glossary Y= previously banned story from long ago.
Gary said that was okay.
Newly Unclassified Story
Gary and I started dating in 1982. This was so long ago it was before the internet, children, and men had to go out and buy porn. It was in glossy magazine format - think US Magazine, but picture everyone naked. Women had access to porn as well, but we saw it for free if we attended our Women's Studies courses.
I attended my Women's Studies course, and heard how men who looked at porn were essentially afraid of women and wanted to demean and objectify them. I'd been through Dad's Big Box O'Porn on the top shelf in the garage. I couldn't see how Playboy was demeaning. Still Penthouse seemed to have a tone, and that one Oui he had was just unpleasant all around.
Since I knew my pro-women Dad read porn, the blanket statements from Women's Studies class were a little hard to swallow, and I felt I needed to judge for myself. The next time I was at my boyfriend Gary's apartment I demanded to see some porn.
"I have no porn," he said.
"Well, go get some," I asked. "I want to read it with you."
"Wait. I might have some porn," he decided, no doubt expecting some new kind of ultimately frustrating foreplay from my bag of technical virgin tricks.
So we lay on our bellies in the bed and thumbed through his copy of Playboy. I pointed out that some of the editorial content did seem to be a bit patronizing. Gary promised he never read the words, he only looked at the pictures. Then we got to a pictorial of a woman in a police officer's costume, which had the general tone of "look at this piece of ass with her gun. She's so cute!"
"Well, that is degrading, and it's not just the words. It's teaching you to look at female police officers in an intimate and disrespectful way."
(Big sigh.) "Fine. This is not turning out like I thought it would."
Then, I believe we made out in a very disrespectful way and I went home.
The next morning, I woke up and Mom greeted me in the kitchen with, "Ellen! You're up. Umm - do you know anything about a bucket on the front porch?"
"Someone left a bunch of magazines on the front porch, in a bucket, then made sort of a phallic symbol out of snow on the front lawn."
"Really? That's weird."
"The thing is, it's like the magazines were in a fire or something. The covers were all sort of singed. Playboys."
"Stop - say no more. I'm going to kill him."
Gary answered my phone call.
"Why is there a burnt bucket of porn on my front porch?"
"Oh! You got my little present!"
"No. No. Mom got your little present. And she saw the snow penis."
"No, that was a snowman. I guess it wasn't very good."
Had the phrase, "What the fuck" been in parlance then, I would have used it, even if Mom was listening.
"So," he continued, "I guess she was surprised!"
"No, she was freaked out. She woke up and there was a mysterious bucket of porn on the front porch in front of the door."
"Well, that's not what was supposed to happen - "
"Don't talk to me."
"What? I thought you'd like it. I burned all my porn for you!"
We made up that afternoon, but only after Dad sat me down and we had a humiliating conversation about how men are visual creatures and porn is essentially a good thing. I wanted to just stop the whole conversation but Dad was acting like the Porn Defender and it seemed he wanted to get it off his chest.
Years later (say, last year) I heard the full story. Gary come over and made a "snowman" to lend a whimsical air, assembled all his porn (two magazines) in a bucket, placed it on my front porch, poured lighter fluid on it, and ignited it. Then he raced to my window and knocked on it. Then, and this is the key flaw: he did not wait for me to wake up, but instead disappeared into the night like the Smut Fairy. The plan was that I would wake up, open the front door, see the delightful snowman and the Flaming Bucket of Porn, and know of his devotion to me and my Womens Studies views. Instead, I did not hear the knock, did not wake up, and the lighter fluid only lasted long enough to singe the edges of the covers and melt the snowman into a snow penis. Then, good morning Mom.
I later reviewed my anti-porn attitudes, but that day I was pretty embarrassed. So, yeah, porn does humiliate and degrade women, at least twenty-two year old Women's Studies students.