In My Day

Rants from a 30 Something Curmudgeon

Earning the Shame.

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In my day we had to work for our pornography.  We had to earn the shame.  I remember the first  VHS tape that fellinto my possession.  It had been copied from the original several times, played for about 12 minutes with broken tracking, and was in Swedish.  None of those issues dampened the heart pounding excitement of walking home with such an illicit tape hidden in the depths of my backpack.  I knew the excitement a diamond smuggler must feel while trying to cross a well guarded border.  When I got home I called my mom twice, just to confirm she would not be home for some time.  I closed all the blinds, turned the sound down to barely audible, and dissolved my youthful innocence into the flickering images of acts, which up to that point, were merely school yard myths.  Screen shot 2009-11-05 at 11.55.52 AM

How did I get this dirty movie?  It wasn’t easy.  Louis held a secret meeting at his locker, and only his most trusted friends were allowed.  We gathered around a tight circle, each pair of eyes keeping watch for passing teachers.  He slowly pulled the worn cassette from the mountain of untouched homework assignments and broken trapper keepers.  None of us could believe it was real.  Hell, anything could have been on that tape.  Louis swore to God it was real, causing our jaws to drop in cartoon fashion.  This is the moment the bidding wars began.  Each boy dug through their pockets, backpacks, and lockers in order to come up with an offering grand enough to loosen the steel grip Louis had on the tape.  As a matter of luck, I had a gameboy game I no longer played.  The porno was mine despite the pleas of the other boys.  So it began.

Sure, that wasn’t the first time I saw sex in media.  A friend and I came into possession of a worn out Adam and Eve catalogue the previous summer.  We found it in the woods where we played.  I kept it hidden behind a large bush in front of the house before the neighbor lady found it.  I was quick to say that I saw the older neighbor kid burying something in the area.  Blame was better than getting caught  The tape was different, it was explicit and forbidden.  I  mis-labeled it “PBS Special” in the event of discovery.  I held on to it as long as I could until the temptation to brag about it got the better of me.  My friends asked me repeatedly if they could borrow it.  I finally gave in, and never saw it again.

imagesIt wasn’t until a couple of years later that we were hooked up to the world-wide web with blazing 56kbps speed.  But even this wasn’t convenient.  I was not privileged enough to have a computer in the privacy of my bedroom.  Being young and naive, I took the 18 years old only warnings with some trepidation.  After all, we were pioneers in a strange land with strange rules.  The biggest inconvenience was obviously the speed and quality of downloads.  There are few words to describe the anticipation of a slowly downloading bitmap file.   We were on a time limit, and it could easily be 5 minutes before one even knew if the picture was worth the effort.  What boy from the era cannot remember the frustration of almost seeing digital naked bits before the download stopped or they heard the dreaded sound of the front door opening.  It was dangerous ground indeed.  One wrong click could lead some unexpected viewer to things I still wish not to see.

Today is far different.  There isn’t any ritual.  In the age of high-speed internet and computers in every room, the mystique, the danger, is lost.  We had to work for our smut.  The process taught us valuable life lessons. Don’t get caught, don’t loan out something you’ll miss, people will pretend to like you for your stuff, remember where you put things  Anymore it’s just a few taps on a laptop or iPhone, and there you are, a virtual world of unsatisfying porn.  Because it wasn’t just about the images of nakey time, it was about the adventure.


Written by Jess Boldt

November 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Posted in Media

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. I stumbled upon my first porn. A pile of playboy magazines that my dad didn’t hide well enough from his son that couldn’t possibly know what it was anyway. I barely remember it, only that it was interesting in a completely nonsexual way. Why aren’t these women wearing cloths?


    September 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

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