Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Watch Some Gay Porn

Dear reader Anonymous was slogging through the dangerous back waters of the blog and stumbled across What Is Feminist Porn Anyway?, a post in which I was all hepped up on an artsy porn film, Matinee* because the actors in it not only seemed to be enjoying sex, but also each other (!). Wrote Anonymous:
What you qualify here as feminist porn seems to describe quite closely a gay male art/porn film I just saw a preview of. I just think that the thing with most straight porn is that it erotizes a socially-established power imbalance, ie, I'm a male, I'm gonna stick it into you and you better "ohyeahfuckyeah" enjoy it. Here's the excerpt if the possibility of seeing two guys fucking doesn't turn you off:
I dutifully looked at the site, but for the life of me, I couldn't find the link to see the film. I did however see a frighteningly elongated male nipple, which kind of scared me, so perhaps I didn't give the site as thorough a viewing as I might have. Also, I was looking on my tiny phone screen, so someone more intrepid than I might give it a go.

However, I aim to please, so I went to another porn site and watched me some gay (male) porn. The first film had two Spanish young men, frolicking about in a big white bed like two little puppies. They were smiling and completely adorable, like those two dudes in Y Tu Mama Tambien, and though they were speaking in Spanish, it was easy to get the idea. I mean, I think we can all figure out what "pene" means.  (hint: not a tubular pasta good with spicy red sauce, though you are on track with the tubular idea.) The film was fun and kind of sweet, if a porn film can be "sweet" (as in the "endearing" sense of the word and not in the "suh-weeeet!" sense.)

The second film was good, too. The plot (the short version): two football players sneak away to the locker room and get it on. The plot (the long version): well....actually that's pretty much the whole story. There were all the usual sexual gymnastics, close-up shots of thrusting genitals, lengthy pene sucking scene, etc... but somehow it was just better than the usual "I'm gonna stick it into you and you better 'ohyeahfuckyeah' enjoy it" mainstream straight porn.

I tried to figure out why, and came up with this list. (Yes, I realize there's nothing like quantifying art in list form to drain it of all its magic, but I think it's interesting/possibly instructive to see how changing just a few tiny details could make porn way more accessible to women, or at least this woman.)

So what made it better was :

1.  The receiver of the pene sucking took a moment, looked down at his suckler, and said, "I've been thinking about this for a long time." "Mmmmm, me too," murmured suckler. BAM! Two lines, and you've got yourself some back story, and you've indicated that suckee likes sucker, and vice versa. I know it's hopelessly girl of me, but I want the participants to like each other. This is why, if I were a gay man (not to be confused with "If I Were a Rich Man," from Fiddler on the Roof ), I would not frequent glory holes.

(Let's pause for a moment to learn:  Glory holes = holes in the wall of a public place, like a restroom, through which anonymous people--not necessary our dear Anonymous above--insert their genitals, hoping the person in the other stall services them sexually. Unless the person in the other stall is me, in which case I'd shout, "Gah!?!" and flee the scene as quickly as possible, tossing one of those disposable seat liners over the offending organ, for sanitary purposes.)

Anyway, besides a public restroom being the least sexy place I can imagine (seriously, try to think of a less sexy place...behind the grocery store by the dumpsters = more sexy, bus terminal = more sexy, McDonalds' break room = more sexy), I would not want to be confronted with anonymous genitals, I need to know whose genitals they are, why there were there, ad nauseum. I'd peek through the hole and ruin the whole damn thing.

2.  The lovers would occasionally glance nervously toward the locker room door, making sure no one was coming in. And presto, Suspense! Stakes raised! Forbidden love!

3.  At one point, the two characters looked at each other eagerly and hungrily like, "I am so going to ravish you, you delicious creature." This brief moment established that the characters wanted to be there, were enjoying themselves and had some degree of respect for each other.

I know all of this sounds horribly tedious and un-pornlike. I mean, *yawn*...respect, liking each other, a story...who cares? Get on with the boning! But those things are what make it sexy to me. Or at least something recognizable as human sexual interaction.

The whole "I'm gonna stick it into you and you better 'ohyeahfuckyeah' enjoy it" thing (which, btw, is a GENIUS description, Anonymous) is not recognizable as sex to me. I mean, yeah, they're doing it and all, but it's just so...mean, and dead-eyed and passionless. The men seem like they hate the women and the women, well, who the fuck are these women?

Margaret Cho says that growing up she searched for Asian women in the media to identify with and only came up with the "Here's your ancient Chinese secret" lady from Calgon ads. That sucks, but at least that Calgon lady seemed kind of smart and knew a thing or two about laundry. The chicks in porn, who, presumably, I as a women am supposed to identify with, are...well, some sort of sub-genre of women that are completely foreign to me. Who do you know who gets lured into a car and within 25 seconds is showing her boobs and fingering herself, while giggling inanely? Who wishes to have some hairless blank-eyed frat dude ordering them to suck his dick faster, like some sort of bulging-eyed piston?

And who actually thinks that...

Ugh, listen to me, is it getting too Feminist in here? I'd better open a window and let some air in.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if mainstream porn wants to be a touch more appealing to women (meaning, me) it wouldn't hurt to add some humanity, a smidgen of sensuality, and ditch completely the portrayal of women as dim-witted, creepy, "ohyeahfuckyeah"-ing, fully posable sex toys. I really don't think the porn maker's give a rat's ass, but I'm putting it out there nonetheless.

Whatever the case, I'm done ranting for today. Maybe.

* When I proofread this, I realized I had misspelled the name of the art porn film "Matinee" as "Manatee," which would indeed be a new take on porn.

photo source 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dreams Do Come True--A Cautionary Tale*

So, want to read my tale of inadvertent public nudity? (Fear not, to provide your eyes from burning with the horror of it all, I have not included any photos of said event.) I'll tell you the story right now, if you have the time.  Grab a cup of tea and come sit by the warm glow of the computer.


This story takes place in the not-so-distant past at the Orange County Burke-Williams. Burke-Williams is a day spa I used to go to in West Hollywood when I lived in LA. They have a posh spa area you go hang out in before you get your scheduled massage. The spa room has saunas, hot tubs, showers, a roaring fire and special soaking tubs. They stock it with fluffy towels, bowls of fresh fruit and always-full pitchers of ice water w/ lemon slices in them. They provide you with a thick robe and a pair of terry-cloth slippers. The spa areas are gender-segregated so while you're in the spa, you don't wear clothes. You soak in the tubs, use their fancy moisturizers, etc.. and when they call your name for your massage, you put on your robe, and walk down the hushed (and non-gender segregated) hallway to a private room.

Although I had never been to the Orange County Burke-Williams before, the set-up was familiar. I checked in and got my spa-issued robe. I found my locker, took off my clothes, and put on the robe. I went over to the hot tub, slipped off the robe and stepping into the steaming water. I had lucked out. The spa was completely empty, so I leaned my head back and sort of blissed out in the bubbling water.

I could hear people starting to file in. Some people came in alone, some in groups. One group seemed to be in for a special occasion like a wedding party or Girls’ Day Out. I heard the Girls’ Day Out group coming over to my hot tub and I idly glanced up. Using some keen powers of observation, I noticed something immediately--everyone was wearing bathing suits. If you were reading carefully, you may recall that I most assuredly was not. More alarmed now, I looked behind me and surveyed the rest of the spa. Everyone was in bathing suits. It was then I realized some information that would have been helpful to know a bit earlier--people in LA go naked in spas, people in Orange County do not. I sank lower in the water, hoping the bubbles would obscure the now-shameful fact of my nakedness.

I considered the situation. It did not seem good. Not at all! I was inappropriately naked in public! Holy fuck! It was just like that dream where you're naked at school!

And yet.

It WAS just like that dream. Which meant that the situation wasn't entirely unfamiliar. I had been in this situation before--at least in my mind--and knew just what to do. I would act like I was NOT naked, and perhaps no one would notice.

I waited for a few minutes on the off chance that everyone would suddenly leave and I could exit the tub in peace. This did not happen. So chanting the silent mantra to myself--"I am a cool European chick who does not share your silly American hang-ups"--I stepped out of the tub, dripping in my unwanted naked glory and made the long long long walk to the safety of my robe. I did not tarry, but I at least tried to exit the pool with some sort of naked dignity. I guess I succeeded, but I don't know for sure. I didn't make eye contact with anyone. I wasn't that fucking brave.
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