Porno, baby?


A journal entry from Ms. Sheffield’s feminist class


Nov. 11, 1981


I went to see a porno flick this week – hard core.

Curiosity, I supposed – and Ironic.

I’m 30 years old, and never saw a blue film in my life, although ironically, I’ve been in a few when I lived out in LA – not one of the heavy hung dudes, just one of the minor characters on the side lines.

Passaic has also been ripe with such stuff, from the tits and ass and a few sneak peaks in the strip clubs, to the heavy-duty flicks at the Montawk where the police chief’s daughter works at the ticket taker.

I went to the Montawk before it went XXX, back when the town had four theaters, and the only porno place was called Fine Arts had covered the image of tits over on the  posters to keep kids like me from getting our rocks off.

The Capital Theater – which later became famous for its rock shows – had live strip tease, I mean the old kind, the Gypsy Rose Lee kind – I talked the rear door guard into letting me sneak in to see.

I still get off thinking about it, even though most of the ladies were ugly as sin.

Now, the Capital Theater is gone, so is the Fine Arts, and the Capital stopped showing stripers most likely because the last of them died, and the Montawk has so many Xs across its marquee it has no room for titles.

My best friend used to go to the theaters on 42 nd Street a lot after we stopped being hippies in the early 1970s, but he said never saw any of those that I was in, but I suspect even if he had, he would have missed me for the action up and front of the camera.

Being in a dark theater with a lot of other men felt a lot dirtier than actually being in a room with a film crew, and I kept thinking I was going to catch something from the seat – the noises around me, however, made me grateful for the dark. I had not desire to witness the side shows going on around me, and I wondered why the other men simply didn’t buy some dirty magazines and engage in their pleasure in the privacy of their own homes.

But it wasn’t much better watching what went on the screen, since I felt more like a peeping tom.

I couldn’t get into it, perhaps because I preferred touching and being touched, and this all seemed so distant and unreal.

Later, far from the theater, the images came back, like bad dreams, made more intense by my own imagination – not vulgar, exactly (my imagination is far more vulgar than anything anybody can portray on screen) just silly, a constant repetition of the same basic acts, stimulating perhaps through the first sequence, and then like a Keystone Kop comedy, took on aspects of the surreal.

It also brought back painful chapters in my own life, back in LA, when someone I loved was the person doing all the dirty deeds, while I sat on the sidelines, both of us pretending like it wasn’t real, and maybe it wasn’t, but it never seemed so horrible in real life as it did sitting in the theater realizing just who the whole act was being done for, and how sad all that seems today – three thousand miles away, writing this account for a feminist class, and how trapped the girl I loved became in a life that neither of us could do anything about, then or later.


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