Rants of a Grumpy Old Man: Show me Your “O” Face

I came late to erotica and porn, around the age of 16 or so. Indulge me, while I take a stroll down Mammary Lane.

While barely post-pubescent, I would go down to Chippewa Street in Buffalo, N.Y. in the heart of the “sleaze district” and gape at posters of enticing ladies who were featured on the billboard of a run- down movie house where men covertly entered, sporting raincoats and fedoras even on warm day. There was a constant run of movies, all showing ladies with enormous breasts, obscenely painted faces, ladies with whom I thought of forming a “relationship.” (I was, after all, young: an idealist even back then.)

There was Virginia “Ding Dong” Bell, whose breasts were so large that she became a hit-woman for the Mob, suffocating men with her assets in a movie entitled: “She Done Him Wrong.” My favorite, though, was the “actress” whose moniker was Fonda Peters. This was the year the B-movie Barbarella was released, and Easy Rider was just one year away, marking the ascendancy of the Fonda siblings. I was in love with Jane, not just because she opposed the Vietnam War, but because she looked so darned cute when she pretended to orgasm holding on to that magical, futuristic ball. She spoke to my soul. So, of course, Fonda Peters was a natural choice.

I had already seen the Swedish film (soon to be banned) “I am Curious, Yellow,” though it did nothing for me. When that naked couple made love in a tree, all I could do was worry about them falling to their death when the branch cracked. Talk about losing wood.

The Golden Age of Porn with movies like “Deep Throat,” “The Devil in Miss Jones,” and “Behind the Green Door” had not yet happened. Besides, I was not one to be fickle. My love for Ms. Peters was deep and abiding, a goddess who haunted my dreams.

Unfortunately, this was the year I discovered literary erotica, thereby ruining my experience in dark, smelly movie theaters forever. I began by reading D.H. Lawrence’s masterpiece, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. But there was something disturbing here: I did not just read the earmarked pages of sex scenes; rather, I was caught up in Lawrence’s ideas! Is this, I thought to myself, what sex was really about? While I laughed at Oliver Mellors calling his penis “John Thomas,” I also wondered what Connie Chatterley, slowly becoming a sexually liberated woman, might call her own privates. I decided that the appropriate name would be “Chatterbox.” Also, I wept at the end when Mellors writes his beautiful letter to Connie and gets ready to go to Canada to start a new life for them and their future offspring. Was Canada the place where all great lovers and romances ended? I now know the answer to that one.

Then came the Marquis de Sade and his peripatetic rendition of perversity that fascinated me, yet made me cringe. “Could it be love?” I wondered, paraphrasing Bob Marley. From there, I went on to Henry Miller and his brilliant Sexus, the best of the Rosy Crucifixion trilogy. In fact, when I fled the U.S. draft, this was the only book I brought with me: good friend and companion on many a lonely night in the Canadian wilderness where I lived in a one room shack while attempting to homestead and live off the land. Miller’s wild exuberance and passion were addictive, as was his humor and self-deprecatory voice. Here was a man who had starved for his art, yet remained ever optimistic and joyful. Easier in Paris than in the boonies of Quebec, but something to inspire and to dream about when you are young.

And just when I thought that sex was totally straight and binary (see, I know all the terms…), along came Anaïs Nin with her Delta of Venus, erotica written from a woman’s point of view, erotica that both enthralled me and made me think about what I might have been missing during all my past cisgender-related trials.

Now, there are few books I read of this genre. The flight of birds signals the passage into winter, as W.C. Willams once wrote, though I am paraphrasing, wise in my acceptance. There are still a few, though, such as Canadian writer Matthew Firth’s collection of stories, Shag Carpet Action, surely one of the funniest and most brilliant titles to any book about sex. And Mark SaFranko’s Hating Olivia and Lounge Lizard, chronicling the adventures of would-be Lothario, Max Zajack, who burns out trying to decide whether it is simply the fleshpots of New York City he is after or the ever-elusive Goddess of Love. Finally, British author (and friend) Heidi James’ marvelous Wounding, a story that upsets the applecart of gender roles, slyly questioning the very nature of our desires.

I recently received my “comeuppance,” as it were, possibly the Universe punishing me for my profligate past. Whenever I would be on Facebook, a page magically appears that features older women, Grannies to be exact, all with enormous breasts, tight dresses, all with provocative, come-hither looks on their faces. Was this due to an AI app that read my mind and anticipated my future?  Perhaps.

So, what to do? Join a site for “older adults” and show off my “O” face to see how many swipes I would receive? Or, confess to the truth that fiction for me is often greater than reality, that only the imagination is real to sustain us to the end of our days?

How many swipes or “likes” would I get then?

1 Comment on Rants of a Grumpy Old Man: Show me Your “O” Face

  1. Anonymous // March 27, 2024 at 7:47 am //

    You left out a few pioneers of porn, but their names won’t come to me, not impotent.

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