Monday, December 8, 2008

Playboy Is a Gateway Drug

Zeitgeist the Clown is so old [“How old is he?”] that when he was a kid, porn came in magazine form instead of over the internet. (Actually, Zeitgeist the Clown is so old that when he was a kid, pornography had not yet invented the internet as a means of distributing itself, but that’s beside the point.)

The first naked lady I ever saw was in the pages of Playboy magazine. The first image of a merely topless woman I ever saw was on the cover of a matchbook that Dogbite (not his real name) brought to school one day in the third grade, but the first fully naked adult female? That was in Playboy.

The first time I ever got the opportunity to look at an issue of Playboy magazine, I was about ten or eleven years old . . . and in my very own living room. I hadn’t found Dad’s porn stash or anything (that came later), it’s just that he had apparently gotten a new issue of Playboy, and neglected to put it away before leaving the house. It was on the floor next to his chair, underneath that day’s newspaper. I’d just been looking for the comics section. But I found so much more that day.

Mom was busy doing something in another room, so I quickly and quietly sat down on the floor and began thumbing through the magazine’s pages. And I’ve got to tell you, I was kind of disappointed at first. I’d heard of Playboy before, obviously. Everyone at school had. It was the magazine filled with pictures of ‘naked ladies’. And as such, I was expecting it to be filled. But mostly, it was pages of text, accompanied by pictures that weren’t of naked ladies at all. Had I been lied to? Had we all been lied to?

But then, partway into the magazine, I found what I had been looking for. Skin. I saw boobies! I saw her bare butt! And perhaps strangest of all, I saw a whole lot of hair between her legs. (Women had hair between their legs? Weird!)

I continued looking through the magazine and when I was a little more than halfway through – I had now seen the famous Playboy centerfold and everything – I heard Mom coming down the hallway. I slid the magazine under the sections of newspaper and continued my original quest for the (now far more boring) comics section. Mom sat down on the couch, I read the comics, and went down to my room to try and process the experience. I’d seen naked ladies.

This was, of course, my main topic of conversation the next day at school. Not during the official Show and Tell portion of the day or when in mixed company, but certainly among my most trusted friends at morning recess. At lunch recess, the people I’d told all sought me out to ask questions about my find. Johnny Dirtnap, Ricky, Herman, and Dogbite (not their real names). The low naked-photo-to-page ratio was a let down. The pubic hair thing was a mind boggler to some of them, as well.

It was probably another year before I saw a Playboy again (I’m thinking I was in the 5th grade at this point), and this one was in the hands of Klepto Boy (not his real name). He didn’t say where he’d gotten it, and as always with him, it was safest not to ask. He and I were looking at it after school at a point a safe distance from his house, and commenting on the various tits and pussies we were looking at, as well as what we’d like to do with the woman who owned them. Nice wholesome youthful activities.

A day or so later, Klepto Boy was offering to have people come take a look at his Playboy. So Klepto Boy and I are standing there with a couple of other na’er-do-wells when Oroboros happens by. So Klepto Boy makes him the offer. “Do you want to come see my Playboy after school?” Oroboros’ answer is a simple, polite-yet-dismissive, “Nope.”

Which causes Klepto Boy to spout, “What are you, gay?” which gets a laugh from most of the people standing there. (I didn’t laugh, because A.) Oroboros was a friend of mine, and B.) I’m not the guy who just arbitrarily laughs at whoever the crowd is laughing at, even when peer pressure tells him too.)

So Oroboros turns around and explains his answer. “I’m not gay, it’s just that Playboy is boring. They don’t show anything. I prefer looking at Hustler, but even Penthouse is better than Playboy. Genesis and Oui are great when I can get ahold of them, and Gallery is pretty good. But Playboy? Not really worth my time.”

The whole crowd’s jaw dropped. Oroboros looked directly at me and said, “You want to take a look sometime?” The entire group answered in the affirmative, and Oroboros looked at them, pointed at me, and said, “Well, you guys can ask him what it was like.”

I went to Oroboros’ house after school that day.

They always talk about how marijuana is a ‘gateway’ drug to the harder stuff. I’ve seen PSAs that make it seem like once you’ve taken your first hit of pot, you’re guaranteed to die of a crack overdose within three weeks. (Which, for all I know, may be true. I’ve never had a hit of pot, so I can’t say with any certainty.) I’ve had a fair amount of pot users tell me that the whole gateway drug thing is just a load of bullshit. And maybe it is. For marijuana. But if marijuana isn’t a gateway to the harder stuff, Playboy magazine certainly is.

Oroboros’ older brother had a porn stash beneath his bed. I got the impression that there was some kind of high school magazine sharing network going on, because whenever I’d go to Oroboros’ to look at porn (which was never a given – it always seemed to be at his whim whether or not we’d hit his brother’s room), the magazines were always different. The first trip to that pornographic underbed wonderland introduced me to Penthouse and Hustler. And Oroboros was right. Playboy was pretty much useless to me after that.

Playboy showed bush. Hustler showed pussy. Someone needed to teach those prissy Playboy centerfolds how to spread their legs for the camera.

Subsequent trips to Oroboros’ would give me tastes of magazines like Genesis, Oui, and other classic porn titles that were prominent in the late 70s and early 80s.

Later that year, I found myself wondering if ‘under the bed’ was a typical place for a porn stash. And if it was, could that be the location of Dad’s porn collection? Next time I was alone in the house, I checked the location, and found – to my great joy – that there were several issues of Penthouse there. I looked through them all, leering at all of the nudity therein. Then I made sure that they went back under the bed in the order I’d gotten them out before anyone came home.

The next time I was alone in the house, I went back to my parents’ bed and pulled out one of the magazines again. After looking at all of the naughty pictures, I was about to put it back (probably intending to swap it out for another) when another thought struck me. I suddenly began to wonder if there was anything dirty (and therefore arousing) about any of the words I kept ignoring to get to the pictorials.

That was the day I discovered the section of the magazine called ‘Penthouse Forum’. Dirty and arousing, indeed! I couldn’t believe what I had found. Up until now, the pictures had been great and everything, but all they had been was nudity. These letters . . . they were sex! They were fucking and sucking and all sorts of things. Actual sexual experiences written up and sent in by real Penthouse readers! (Okay, so, I was young and gullible. They were still hot, and really, isn’t that what matters?)

I was now laying on my parents’ bed every chance I got, reading (and rereading) those letters. These people who wrote in were having sex. They were eating pussy and sucking cock. They were fucking. They were butt-fucking. They were even tit-fucking. They were tying each other to the bed. They were spanking. They were occasionally using vibrators, dildos, and something called a butt plug (“And just what the fuck,” I wondered at the time, “is a butt plug?”) Sometimes girls were sucking on tits and eating pussy. (That was hot.) And on rare occasions, sometimes guys would get really stoned and suck each other’s cocks before getting down and doing some male-only buttfucking.

About the time that I was first starting to voraciously read Penthouse Forum, Oroboros was watching his first X-rated movie. He arrived at school on a Monday with news of having seen this remarkable thing over the weekend. He apparently hadn’t known exactly what to expect, and there was one thing about it that just blew him away, and that shock and surprise was evident when he was telling me and Johnny Dirtnap about his experience.

Yes, he’d seen an X-rated movie, and yes, that was great in and of itself, but that wasn’t his big news. The information he really had to report to us was that in X-rated movies . . . “They show it going in and out!” Amazing!

In my youth, there was no single ideal porn magazine. The Hustlers under Oroboros’ brother’s bed had the best pictures. Penthouse had the best text. If you could have fused them into one perfect ideal, I would have exploded with joy (and semen).

Every now and then, a new magazine or two would appear under Dad’s side of the bed. And every now and then, a bunch of magazines would just disappear. For the longest time, I didn’t know if he was throwing them away, giving them away, or trading them for others. Then one day I was poking around in the garage and I discovered that what he had underneath his bed was not his porn stash. No, the stack beneath the bed was just the current pile. Dad’s actual porn stash was several grocery bags full of magazines (mostly Penthouse, a little Playboy, and the odd Hustler or other harder title thrown in) out in the garage up on a high shelf behind some boxes of junk.

Jack. Fucking. Pot.

I always made sure to put the magazines under the bed back in the exact order they’d been in before I had taken them out. I didn’t think that Dad was keeping track, but better safe than sorry. But these big sacks full of porn? Yeah, he wasn’t going to even know what was all in them, let alone in what order. So, I grabbed a magazine or two from each sack, and took that pile into my room. I found a variety of hiding places for them – opting not to keep any under my bed as it was far too obvious, and I feared getting caught with a stack of Dad’s porn. Every so often I’d switch out magazines from ‘my’ stack with others from the stockpile in the garage.

Somewhere around the eighth grade or so, Oroboros’ parents were away for the weekend, and his older brother rented a bunch of porn tapes, along with an extra VCR for the purposes of video piracy. He didn’t let this info become common knowledge, but he did tell me and Johnny Dirtnap what he now had access to.

The next time I drop by Oroboros’, I have my second-ever encounter with a porn movie. (No, you didn’t miss anything. The first time I ever watched porn actually needs a whole other context to appreciate, and is a story that I may or may not tell at some point in the future. Trust me when I say that it’s not very important to this story, and let’s move on.)

I’m a freshman in high school before Oroboros finally actually lends me one of these tapes, which is perfectly understandable. (If I’d’ve had porn tapes, they wouldn’t have left my sight, either.) So, for a week or so, whenever I get the chance, I’m huddled over the TV watching as much porn as I can before I have to return the tape to Oroboros. I walk home from school at lunch each day, watch enough porn to get myself off, hide the tape again, and walk back before the bell rings.

Johnny Dirtnap also borrows a tape. But while I certainly missed having the tape around once it was returned, for Johnny Dirtnap that first tape was like a crackpipe. He had paid an adult to go buy him a porn tape of his own within a couple of weeks of returning Oroboros’. [At the time of his eventual death, Johnny Dirtnap had a massive collection of porn, both tapes and magazines. I’m told that you could actually see the smoke from the bonfire his uptight religious parents used to dispose of it all the way out on the (then) planet Pluto.]

After Santa brought me my own VCR for Christmas one year, I became the local video pirate. Simple matter to take my machine out into the living room and hook it up to Mom and Dad’s VCR when nobody else was using it to copy tapes. So I started making 2nd and 3rd generation copies of other people’s (mostly stolen or borrowed) porn tapes for selected friends and associates.

Post high school, I started buying my own magazines, and borrowing other people’s porn tapes to pirate off copies of for myself. Johnny Dirtnap started buying some of the stranger tapes. Pregnant sex. What seemed (at the time) like weird fetish porn. Slow motion facials followed by piss-drinking. Bald girls. She-males. He said he even had some animal porn, but I never saw it.

I eventually discovered the internet as a source of pornography. Story sires like replaced Letters to Penthouse. The Imesh and Kazaa download engines found me pornographic pictures. And then once I discovered BitTorrent . . . well, that’s when I began stacking up DVD-Rs filled with porn movies ripped to Windows Media Player format.

So the bulk of my current porn collection is a bunch of stories from Literotica, ranging from a variety of categories. Tens of thousands of .gifs and .jpgs, mostly amateur photos of “wives and girlfriends” found, bundled, and released in packs over BitTorrent. And movies, clips, and porn compilations representing a whole laundry list of kinks and fetishes, from anal sex to foot fetish to big girls to she-males to watersports to fantasy rape to brother-sister incest to BDSM to . . . to . . . Hell, I can’t even keep track of what I’ve all got, to be perfectly honest.

And all of this is because one day I was looking for the comics page, and found an issue of Playboy magazine. Gateway drug? Yes, indeed.

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