Top drawer discards
October 20, 2009
In the top drawer of my dad’s bureau, he kept rare coins, our baby teeth, and other trinkets in a carved box. Sometimes there would also be a slim paperback with the front cover torn off. I didn’t yet know about discards (to save money on shipping returns, the bookstores tear off the covers and mail those back to the publisher, then discard the books themselves, which are no longer legal to sell); I assumed there must have been something so racy on the cover, he’d removed it. For these were the nastiest books I’d ever encountered! I’d park right on the edge of my parents’ bed and speed read, poised to leap up and plunge it back into the drawer at the sound of approaching footsteps.
Their plots mostly blur together, but one I recall involved a kidnapped woman endlessly (and oddly untraumatically) defiled by her captors. The kidnapped woman, while not traumatized, was also not terrifically aroused, as one might expect from a standard porn scenario. She seemed to view the various configurations into which she was coerced with bemusement and a slight annoyance. The other story that I remember involved a medical center staffed almost entirely by nymphomaniacs and fetishists, and it colored my subsequent viewing of General Hospital for many seasons.
I think you can best gauge the literary ambitions of porn by whether its characters “come” or “cum.” Those who “come” tend toward sophisticated couplings and trios, and the women are assertive and even inventive. Those who “cum” favor gang bang scenarios and the occasional barnyard animal.
There was something disquieting about reading material for which I was so obviously not the intended audience. I believed I was peering not into a male fantasy world, but the actual world of adults. This is what they were hiding, I thought. This was the future that awaited me. I hoped I would view my inevitable abductions with equanimity. I hoped I would come.