Thursday, March 12, 2009
Stealing Playgirl, Transparently
I don't often do "confessional" posts, but I am going to do one now, mostly because something from my past made its way into my consciousness today, and I am going to do now what I do best: be transparent.
Speaking of past transgressions, wasn't it funny how we were always encouraged not to discuss past transgressions? I never followed that advice, and certainly now is not the time to start. Get ready for all the juicy sins that I am about to lay forth.
But first, a note on transparency. Last night I had an extremely sexual dream about one of the guys in my cast who happens to be straight, and who is not someone I am consciously attracted to. Today when I saw him I felt so... I don't know, INTIMATE, with him because of my subconscious corporeal union with him, that I just had to tell him about it. I did it in front of the whole dressing room.. WHY? Because I can't help it. I'd rather be embarrassed than hide something. I told you: transparent.
Back in the ancient past when I was the wee age of 15, the sexual revolution inside my body was in full swing. As a good mormon in the teachers quorum, there wasn't a lot of permissible activities associated with human sexuality. I had never masturbated in my life, in fact I didn't really know how to do it, and I had never experienced an orgasm. But I sure knew that there was something spicy brewing inside my body.
One day in a shopping mall book store, I discovered a stack of Playgirl magazines in the lower cubby of a small waist level shelf adjacent to the magazine rack. Just seeing the shirtless guy on the cover sent a cocktail of emotions rushing wildly through my entire body, and sent a lot of blood rushing directly to my, well, cocktail. Sitting on the floor indian style, and as subtly as an em-boner-ed teen could, I quietly leafed through the magazine without blinking, only turning my attention back to the bookshelf when I felt someone near me. Then I realized that if I positioned "Better Homes and Gardens" right in front of me, but had the forbidden fruit behind out of sight, I could just look at the pictures and read the magazine without too much risk. Over the course of the next year, things escalated, just like my priesthood leaders said they would.
In mormon culture, porn is really bad. I mean, marriages end because a man looks at porn. Families are shattered and hopes are dashed by those pictures, images, and sounds that are now so readily available. My priesthood leaders and my parents all seemed to share the same idea that pretty much all bad things start with porn. As an example, I remember once hearing someone say that somebody had been interviewed on death row. He had killed a bunch of people. When asked how his history of violence was born, he said that it all started with his first porn magazine. First it was just naked women, then he moved on to videos, then to videos featuring S&M, domination, then onto more violent porn, and of course after that he acted it all out. Porn made him the killer he is today, and now he's going to be hung for it, or shot at close range if he was in Utah. Looking at porn for a young man like me was a way of inviting all the evils of the world to take over my life. But I just couldn't help it. My curiosity and sexuality were too strong to resist.
Let me now explain the escalation I referred to just a moment ago. After simply looking at the magazines, I felt I needed to take something home with me so I could experience these feelings in more private quarters. So I started tearing out pages as quietly as I could, and folding them up and stuffing them in my pants pockets. Eventually it got to the point where I would just stuff the entire magazine into the top/front of my pants, cover the remainder of the magazine with my shirt, and then stroll out with a flushed, forced nonchalant expression on my face that I can only imagine now. Sometimes when I would get home, I would feel so guilty that I would just rush back to the mall and replace it. Once or twice I even left 20 dollars on the counter while the clerk was helping someone else just to try and satisfy my horrible guilt.
I remember once I kept a Playgirl for a few weeks and hid it.. WHERE? You guessed it! Under my mattress. I know. Real ORIGINAL. I kept having these nightmares that my mom might find it while changing my sheets, but I never moved it because I just didn't know where else to put it. Well one day I came home from school and the magazine was gone. GONE! I can't describe how panicked I felt, so I am just going to ask you to imagine. My world felt like it was crumbling. I may have been a professional bullshitter in English class writing about the theme of Heart of Darkness, but I knew I could never talk my way out of this. I was certain my mom had found it. I didn't know what to do next.
I walked down to see my mom, and to my further horror, she was acting COMPLETELY normal. This was either the most subtle attempt at a confession I had ever seen, or she was just not wanting to talk about it. Deciding that she knew but was choosing to just let it be, I slowly just allowed it to slip quietly into my private history. The truth of what happened to that stolen Playgirl never crossed my mind, and I would not find out about that until 8 years later. (I'm not making this up!!)
One Christmas break, my older brother Stuart, my younger brother Guy, and I were all taking a gentle stroll down memory lane. By now I am out to everyone in my family, and all my siblings are very comfortable with me being gay. "Hey Stuart, remember that time we burned Clark's playgirl in the parking lot of Doerre?" (a nearby jr. high school). "WHAT!?" I screamed. In truth I hadn't thought about that for so long, but suddenly all my fear and horror about my mom finding it now flooded back into my brain. "Yeah. We found it under your mattress because we thought you might be gay, so we searched through your room. When we found it we didn't know what to do, so we just burned it."
Ok let me just pause for a moment and do this justice. My poor brothers, 17 and 13 years old, burning their closeted brother's gay rag. I can't imagine what they must've felt, and how strangely righteous it probably felt for them to burn that wickedness into flames. Gay porn is obviously so much more reviling than the straight porn Stuart had been watching for the last 3 years. But I think more than judgement they were trying to protect me from something so alien to them.
We just laughed our heads off after that, felt even more bonded to one another. Of course. Transparency does that to you. Its a possible side effect, so check with your doctor before taking Transparency. Other side effects include but are not limited to, serious rash, explosive diarrhea, cold sweats, nausea, vomiting, and of course, utter and abandoned vulnerability. (say the last sentence really fast.. its the fine print or the last 5 seconds of the TV commercial they hope you won't notice).
So I guess I have to add thief to my list of odd jobs. I probably stole a total of 8-10 magazines during that period of my life. I had never stolen anything before that, and I have never stolen anything since. If I had to do this the mormon way, I would probably pull out the five Rs of Repentance just to make sure I have covered all my bases.
Recognition: Wow I totally stole. Stealing is wrong. Stealing a Playgirl, priceless.
Remorse: I feel terrible about stealing that magazine, well, excited and terrible.
Restitution: Should I send some of my babysitting earnings to the Playgirl to pay them back? I hope they pay tithing on this!
Reformation: When I turn 18 I'll be able to stop stealing these and I guess I'll just commit a different sin and buy them.
Resolution: I'm gay.
As a final note, I would like to say that while I take an extremely Swiss stance on porn, I must decisively declare that porn has not made me become a murderer or a rapist. It just hasn't and so I guess the Mythbusters don't need to come in on this one. That myth is officially busted as far as I'm concerned. But I give you leave to hate or love porn as your heart desires. Like so many things in the world, you have to choose what you think is best for you. Take my advice, though, if you want to enjoy porn. Pay for yours. Stealing porn not only makes for a demeaning activity, it also makes for a truly mediocre blog post.
And for my final selection: Why did I sit down at 2 am and write this? I don't know. I just have to bear my nakedness to the world. It's my M.O. It's the song I can't get out of my head. It's me.