Adult Film Rentals and the Perv-O-Meter

23 10 2008

Behold the Perv-O-Meter.  Every male in the world falls somewhere on this spectrum ranging from 1 (Sweet, innocent guy) to 10 (Total Perv).

As a guide to make the ratings clearer, let’s use the following celebrity examples:

Tom Hanks would be a 1.

Hugh Grant earns a 7.

Colin Farrell is an 8.

Michael Jackson is an 11.

Don’t get me wrong, number 1’s probably are not COMPLETE angels (what guy is?), but in the overall spectrum of the male species, they rate as sweet and innocent.  I’d like to think that I would be about a 3 or 4 on this meter, but I’ll leave that for others to decide.

There comes a time in a young man’s life when he takes a major step in forming his spot on this spectrum.  I’m speaking, of course, when he first goes to a video store to rent a porno an adult film.  This is probably an easy and non-embarrassing event for a guy who is an 8, 9 or 10.  It is a different matter for those of us who fall somewhere below the 5 marker.

I recall the day it happened for me.  I was 18.  A few buddies of mine were going to come over to play poker that evening, and several of us decided we should rent an adult movie from a local video store nearby.  We all wholeheartedly agreed this was a fantastic idea.  The part that was not so easy to decide was this:  Who was going to do it?

At this particular video store in the 80s, they did not have a little separate adult room for pervs men to go into and make their choices.  No, they instead had a big thick black binder with all the titles of the adult films they had to offer.  This binder was behind the counter.  So, not only did you have to get up the courage to ask for the dirty book, but you then had to peruse such titles as “Rambone” and “Star Whores” and verbally ask the clerk for the one that you wanted.  This was a double whammy of embarrassment for a 3 such as myself.

After a bit of arguing, arm-punching and wet willies, it was decided that I would be the lead guy (the asker of the dirty book) but that two of my friends would go with me to the counter and be my pervy sidekicks.  (Looking back, it seems like it should have seemed weirder to ask for a porno while flanked by two male friends than to do it by myself, but at the time I felt I needed back-up).

The evening came, and it was time to do the deed.  The three of us made our way to the store while giving high fives and doing chants to pump ourselves up.  Upon our arrival, it was time for step one.  Step one was to ensure that my female relative who worked in the store was not present that night.  A quick peek at the counter confirmed that she was not.  It was a go.  However, we did not go straight for the jugular but instead worked our way through the “normal” video sections such as Drama, Comedy and Horror.  I think we stayed away from the kids’ Disney section because it just would have seemed too sick to peruse that area and then ultimately ask for the dirty book.  As we feigned interest in VHS tapes of “Romancing the Stone” and “Footloose” while trying to work our courage into a fever pitch, I could feel a cold sweat forming on my forehead.

Finally, after we had looked at every single “normal” video in the store (except the kids’ section), the time had come.  We could not put it off any longer.  I gave the thumbs up signal and headed to the counter.  My two friends followed nervously behind.

I could feel my confidence slipping away with each slow step I took toward the guy and girl working the counter.  After what seemed like a 20-minute walk, I was finally there and the guy said, “Can I help you?”  This was good.  It would have been worse to ask the girl for the dirty book.  My confidence was regained as I asked for the book in a sort of grunt/point maneuver.  This is where it all went to hell.

First, I turned my head to find that my two friends had retreated and were heading out the door, laughing nervously.  I was on my own in this unknown land of porn.  The guy handed the book to me, and I knew I had to go through with it.  I slowly opened the book the way a treasure-hunter might unfold an ancient map.  The next step was to pick a title that wasn’t TOO embarrassing to request.  If you’ve ever seen adult film titles, then you are aware they vary greatly in the gratuitousness of their titles.  After much deliberation, I settled on “Fleshdance” which sort of just rolls off the tongue.  I requested it, and the guy looked at some magical area below the counter where the films were apparently kept.  He said things like, “Let’s see” as he looked for my request.  I started to realize after about 10 seconds that this was not working.  The guy looked perplexed and then did something horrific.  He called out loudly to the girl working at the other end of the counter.  “Hey, do you see ‘Fleshdance’ down there anywhere?”  Not only did the girl hear him, but so did anyone else shopping in the store, including those in the kid section.

At this point, I just wanted to leave, but I literally felt as though my feet were glued to the counter.  Sweat was pouring from me now.  After an eternity of looking for the tape, the girl finally located it and handed it to the guy.  I paid, and he gave the tape to me.

Things felt a little uncomfortable at the end of the transaction, to say the least.  What was the guy going to say?  Most of the things that a video clerk might normally verbalize at this point seem inappropriate to this particular situation.  For example, phrases like, “Have a good evening” or “Enjoy it” or “Thanks for coming” take on a different connotation when you’ve just rented some porn.  Luckily, I think the guy just nodded and simply said, “Thanks.”

I made my quick exit and got back to the car where I promptly chewed out my friends.  The anger did not last long as the feeling of euphoria hit me.  I was holding an adult video tape in my sweaty little hands.  I had made it out of the store with the treasure.

Whether that movie was any “good” or not, I don’t recall.  However, I knew I had moved from a 1 to about a 3 with that walk to the counter.

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Some Things Our Kids Don’t Need to Know About Us

30 07 2008

Ever wish you could answer something in a completely honest way? Maybe when you’ve filled out a job application or been asked questions by someone on a first date? There are certain situations when complete honesty is probably a mistake (unless you are a true saint and have nothing to cover up).

I’m in one of those situations currently. I was given a journal/book called A Father’s Legacy (J. Countryman Publishing) by a family member. The idea is a cool one: Answer the questions about your own life in the book and then give it to your child/children so they can have a lasting memoir to keep. It will require some work (thanks a million, Luke), but I acknowledge this is a good idea.

Another good idea would be to utilize a modicum of care in how I answer some of these questions. This book is meant for my child (or children if more come along in the future) and could very easily get passed down to their children and so on and so on. It will be important to be truthful, of course. BUT, it may be wise to keep some true things about my past to myself. How fun would it be, though, to answer some of the questions in any way that I wanted to answer them? Luckily, I have this blog space to do just that! I can save my more “fatherly” answers for the book.

From the CHILDHOOD section of the book:

“Did you enjoy reading as a boy?” My book answer will of course praise the merits of reading and refer to the joys of having The Monster at the End of this Book read to me by my mother and enjoying Charlotte’s Web on my own. This is all true, but let’s get to the nitty gritty. I will never forget reading the sex advice column in the Playboy magazine that I stole when I was about 12. (I was not the type to steal, and other than the magazine, I think I stole a piece of hard candy once, and that was about the extent of my pilfering. I stole the magazine because, at least back then, they didn’t allow 12-year-olds to buy Playboy, and Suzanne Somers was in that particular edition. I had seen Three’s Company, and I couldn’t resist.) Back to the sex advice. What red-blooded boy at that age would not be mesmerized, awed and possibly a bit overwhelmed reading advice about extra-marital affairs or understanding female orgasms? I had the feeling that I was partway in heaven and partway in hell hiding in the garage reading those pages. Plus Suzanne Somers was hot. So, I can honestly say, yes I enjoyed reading as a boy.

From the FAMILY LIFE section of the book:

“In what ways are you like your father?” The book answer will include that I am funny and determined and that I believe in God, which are all things that my dad role modeled. He was a good man. These things are true, but like any man, my late father had his own issues. Unfortunately, I may have inherited one or two or twenty of them. So what’s the real answer? I can be as stubborn as an ass, just like him. I don’t like to lose any argument and therefore can be an infuriating person. I tend to scoff at the stupid things people do which can make me a bit judgmental. I’m guessing that my kids, when old enough to understand the book, will know these things about their dad without me having to write them down! Speaking of similarities between myself and my dad, let me mention one way in which I am not similar. Why can’t I hit a golf ball the way my dad could? I don’t enjoy the game, but I probably would if I could master the course the way he did.

From the EDUCATION section:

“What did you learn in high school?” I’m sure my book answer will touch on many things regarding “responsibility” and “self-reliance” blah, blah, blah. But here, my honest answer is this: I quickly learned there was a perfect spot on the first floor of the gym where, at lunch time, one could stand and be positioned directly below the railing on the 2nd floor of the gym where cute girls often gathered to socialize and lean against said rail. Why was this significant? Keep in mind, I attended a Catholic high school where many of the girls wore those plaid, uniform skirts. That’s right, in just the right spot, a perverted young male could see up those skirts on the 2nd floor. In my defense (not that there really is one), I was certainly not the only male aware of this, and looking back, I’m pretty sure some of the girls knew too. This was vital information and made lunch time so much more fun. (Maybe actually going up to the girls and talking to them would have been fun as well, but this seemed preposterous and impossible for me during my first couple of years).

“Is there Something You Wish You Would Have Done in High School?” Yes. Keri and Christine…preferably at the same time.

From the LOVE AND MARRIAGE section:

“What qualities first attracted you to your wife?” This is the easiest question to answer both truthfully and in book-appropriate fashion. We worked together. I was impressed with my wife’s intelligence, motivation to succeed, class and humor right off the bat. It’s difficult not to be impressed with her, and if you’ve read her blog you already know what I mean. I may leave out two things from my book answer, though. I still remember those two things from our days working together as though they happened just yesterday. One is a particular time I came across her in a narrow hallway while she was making copies. She smiled and said “hi” (we weren’t dating yet). She was wearing a skirt, and as I passed closely by her (remember it was narrow), I was stunned by how beautiful her legs looked. The other time was when a discussion broke out amongst several co-workers about working out, playing sports, flexibility, etc. My future wife decided to demonstrate her flexibility by bending completely over and easily touching her toes. I believe this happened on a casual dress day when she was wearing jeans. The incident affected me in ways I really couldn’t describe here. (Really.)

“What do you think is most important in maintaining a healthy marriage?” The book answer will include important things like trust and commitment. My real answer here? Being willing to help her with blog wording and titles and recording sporting events to watch later when she’s gone to bed instead of trying to watch them when she’s awake.

From the PARENTING section:

“What has been the greatest challenge of being a father?” My three-year-old daughter is great and is a nearly constant source of smiles and happiness. That is very, very true. However, if I were to answer this question with nothing but the truth, I would have to say it’s a challenge to remember those smiling times and to keep my cool when she decides it’s time to climb something inappropriate in a store (say, a display of breakable items). It’s usually at this time when she is very good at calling bluffs. When you have a cart full of items that you really need to purchase (or at least think that you do) and you warn her that you’re going to take her immediately home and give her a time out if she doesn’t listen, she knows that you’re not really going to do that. That’s when she looks you straight in the eye and defiantly pronounces, “I want to go home. I want a time out.” This eventually leads to an all-out screaming, public fit in which she does the kid universal turn-her-whole-body-into-deadweight-jelly when you try to pick her up off the floor while you get disapproving glances from non-parents. I get a little angry just thinking about it. Probably time to move on to the next question.

From the CELEBRATIONS section:

“Do you remember particularly special birthday gifts you received?” Hey, I got some cool stuff as a kid, like the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots or the Miner 2049er game for my Atari system. I’ll probably put those down in the book. However, I can’t help but also remember some of the items of clothing that my mother, bless her heart, made for me. She was great at crafty things like that, and it helped out the family financially whenever she made clothes instead of buying them. The problem is; they weren’t always the coolest styles. You can see one of the outfits in a horrific picture buried deep in this post.

From the LIFE EVENTS section:

“Has there been a political event in your lifetime that made a strong impression on you?” Yes, the Watergate scandal. I could write in the book how I learned that politicians are not always looking out for us and how the media serves as a sort of watchdog for us. In reality, though, what I really remember about that time was how mad I was that it was the ONLY THING ON TV ALL DAY FOR WHAT SEEMED LIKE AN ETERNITY. There was no cable at that time. We had the three networks and PBS. I needed my cartoons, man! All of the shows I cared about were preempted for the Watergate hearings every time I turned on a tv. At least it made me get out and play more (I was already the type of kid who liked to play outside, but it was nice to have a little mindless tv time now and then.) What kid would rather see the face of John Dean instead of Bugs Bunny or Batman? Exactly.

From the INSPIRATION section:

“Who were your role models when you were young?” I’m going to have to write about teachers and my parents in the book, and they certainly were role models. However, the truth would also include Fonzie, rockers like the dudes from Night Ranger or the Scorpions, and maybe, since I loved scary movies, someone like Jason Voorhees. I think I’ll leave these out of the book so I don’t make my kids think that I’m a leather-jacket wearing druggie who sticks axes in people. Yeah, I’ll stick with the parents/teachers answer.

The more I think about my Playboy-stealing, scary-movie loving, skirt-looking-up, Batman-watching days, the more I wonder if I really should be parenting anyone. Then again, my daughter seems to be doing amazingly well in spite of my shortcomings. Have to give my wife credit there. Maybe this whole journal/book idea to give to your kids was someone’s idea of a sick joke.





Police Putting the Kibosh on Lusty Teenagers in Thailand

16 02 2008

Thailand police planned to crack down on teen sex on Valentine’s Day. I wonder how that went? I’ve got a daughter so I’m not trying to be glib about teens having sex. However, I found the planned methods of the Thai police to curtail raging hormones a bit disturbing and humorous.

“We will send patrols to check out public parks, restaurants and shopping malls, which are the starting points for potential sexual activities that will be done at home or motels,” Bangkok police spokesman Suporn Pansuea said.

Obviously, my favorite part is that the Bangkok police spokesman has porn in his name. It’s not often that a legitimate story about police trying to stop sex has bang, kok, and porn all within four words of each other.

Once you get past that (which took my immature self a long time to do), you have to picture Valentine’s evening in Thailand. Two 17-year-olds are dressed up and out for an evening of spending their hard-earned McDonald’s paycheck at a semi-expensive restaurant (probably serving authentic Thai cuisine). The boy says something funny, and the girl giggles. Two police officers quickly descend upon the table and take the girl downtown for having a “come hither look.” The boy is forced to go home to his Playstation fantasies about Lara Croft or some other video game babe.

How about the police plan to leave all the lights on in public parks that night? I can smell a combined opossum/raccoon class action lawsuit about the detrimental effects of taking away park darkness. That had to make it tough for the little critters to ransack various garbage cans. The Thai police better hope the animals don’t have top legal representation. (Maybe PETA can step up.)

I can’t help but wonder what else the Thai police have in the works to reduce problem teen behavior. Here are five suggestions:

1. Detain any teenager who buys matches the week before New Year’s Eve. This should decrease the use of dangerous fireworks.

2. Outlaw phone use by teens on April Fool’s Day. This would, no doubt, put an end to those awful prank calls such as: Innocent answerer: “Hello?” Delinquent Caller, “Can you page Mike Hunt?”

3. Arrest any seamstresses who make prom dresses that are not extremely difficult to remove. Many a teen male may just give up if more prom dresses used combination locks instead of easy-open snaps and buttons.

4. Fire any police staff who have any of the following words in their names: “Porn, Smut, Dick, Johnson, Cooter, Harry, Bush or Tallywhacker” Can you imagine any amorous teen taking the following warning seriously? “The Thai police are dedicated to reducing dangerous teen sexual activity,” said official police spokeswoman, Smutlan Tallywhacker. (Oh, and it goes without saying that no officer should have the title of private.) They also should fire anyone with the name Wolfgang because I just don’t care for that name.

5. Put a close watch on anyone who writes blogs such as this one and immediately list them as an enemy of the state.

Good luck in your noble attempt, oh Thai police force. Keep us informed of your progress, Suporn!





Food and Sex: Pure Marketing Genius

19 01 2008

Marketing and advertising, though admittedly garish and annoying, are also fascinating. I remember studying subliminal marketing in college. Supposedly, cigarette smokers are obsessed with fingers and holding objects in them. According to the professor, who was armed with numerous slides, marketers used this in print ads by picturing smokers who had one or more fingers “missing” by having them obscured behind an object, or curled into the palm, etc. I don’t know if this is actually true or if it made people buy more of that brand of cigarette, but it was a more interesting class than World History.

I am more certain of another technique. If you are over the age of 8, you are fully aware that sex sells, and marketers are not at all shy about using it. I find it most interesting when it is used in naming food items.

There are some obvious examples of this and some that are a little more subtle. Here are a few of my favorites:

HoHos. Who thought this was an appropriate name for a snack aimed at kids? Was the brand Floozy Hookers already taken? Someone should start a boycott. I’d do it, but I’m far too busy blogging while watching tennis on tv. (My inspiration for this blog came from allimac. Check it out.)

Bourbon Balls. Now this sounds more like a medical condition than a food. Don’t try to tell me that I am reading too much into the name. They could have just as easily called them bourbon ovals, but no.

Wieners. Please. Can’t we all just call them hot dogs? Actually, it might not be fair to other meats that these particular items are referred to as hot. In today’s society, you don’t want to offend anyone. The poor polish sausages in the meat case might feel unattractive if everyone keeps calling the wieners hot. (I don’t even want to think about the self-esteem issues of cold cuts.) As if the term wiener wasn’t blatant enough, someone thought it would be a good idea to sometimes put the word cocktail in front of it just to add a little more innuendo. Even better, someone else thought there should be foot-long wieners. This is very insensitive. Some guys out there are made to feel very inadequate around these things. Other items that make a guy feel he can’t measure up include: Green Giant, “Big Gulp” sized soft drinks at convenience stores, and LONG john donuts (cream-filled for good measure). While I’m on this subject, it’s just wrong to make a guy say “super size me” or “make mine a whopper” while standing in a busy line at a fast food restaurant.

Donut Holes. That is just plain dirty.

Cheese Nips. Are these snacks more noticeable when it’s cold outside?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. How does something get to be extra virgin? I’m thinking there is no virgin oil used when making Easy Mac, Wild Cherry Life Savers, or Pop Tarts.

Oh Henry! candy bars. I’m not sure exactly what Henry is doing, but he should write a book so that we can all get such an enthusiastic response.

Lay’s Potato Chips. Sad, just sad. At least their slogan is not, “When is the last time you got LAYed?” (Not yet, anyway.)

Pound Cake. Is this a noun, or a verb?

It could be worse. That candy with the slogan “melts in your mouth, not in your hands” could have been called S & M’s with just one small letter change.