Author Topic: 0005: Speedos  (Read 29993 times)

andkon

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0005: Speedos
« on: February 19, 2013, 10:52:04 PM »

While I grew up in Europe, males wore speedo-style briefs at the beach and pool. When I moved to the United States, my mother sent me to the day camp's pool day with a speedo. I was confronted with the culture shock that almost trousers were almost required swimwear. Everyone was shocked. I felt more confused than ashamed since I swam better than everyone else. And while I was biased in favor of speedos, an objective look at swimsuits tells us that:

  • speedos increase speed (because there's less drag)
  • speedos reduce buoyancy (no bubbles under the taint zone)

So why was the reaction so hostile? Why was everyone juvenile towards a preference? Who cares? I certainly wasn't making fun of anyone. Why can't we just get along?  "Who gives a shit?" rhetorically asked eight-year-old Andkon.

That's called culture, especially a mono-culture that does not tolerate differences. The implications for grero are obvious: even with the massive evidence, culture has made it impermissible for anyone to wear speedos.

Speedos aren't just an analogy but a direct attack on masculinity. It's not just a metaphor about the power of culture. The hatred against speedos is actually explicitly anti-masculine. Given the functionality of speedos, why do people jeer at them? Why the juvenile snickering and hooting? If they are functionally better, people should embrace them, not hate them. The purpose of speedo hatred is to cover up masculinity, quite literally. Whereas burqas in the Islamic world cover up desired feminine aspects (curves, pretty hair, etc), speedos cover up the most visible sign of masculinity. So swim shorts are male burqas for the crotch, anti-masculine abominations. In our sexphobic culture, tits must be covered up and so must cocks. We must be ashamed of ourselves. We must pretend we don't have penises! And it's this shame that jeers down a functionally better swimsuit that would reveal our natural masculinity. It's like showing a car to the Amish. They have no use for innovation because they value slavery and subjugation to old ideas. No wonder grero (or alternatives) have not made much head way in the past.

My mother rarely gave me good advice, but she told me the hullabaloo over my speedo would die down with a day or two. She was right. After a few days no one cared anymore. But if we're afraid of wearing speedos or back down and submit to the majority's baboonery*, no progress can be made.

*Yes, it's a real word: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/baboonery

bobhall69

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 06:35:13 PM »
Seedos are handy for keeping your stuff up where it belongs and not hanging loose in the wind so to speek. Probably not good for babymaking however but that is another topic. Men should be allowed to show what they have as much as women do as long as we dont fall out. Ha.

andkon

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 07:58:59 PM »
Agreed, and welcome Bob.

bobhall69

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 10:47:48 AM »
Glad to hear that you agree. I see this as a freedom to choose and if you have the guts (not overhanging too much) to wear what you want it is your choice. Nice to hear from a sensable guy. I Have grown tired of the double standards inposed by some in this world./

JimF

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 06:57:32 PM »
Isn't it interesting, though, that the guy who designed the
classic speedo brief in 1960 -- Australian Peter Travis, now
in his 80s -- is gay (at least he's alleged to be gay in
http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=45731.0 ).
Mr. Travis may simply have taken an idea for competition-style
nylon briefs that had already been used by Olympic swimmers
in the mid-50s, and persuaded the Speedo company to sell it commercially,
according to
http://scaq.blogspot.com/2008/01/peter-travis-80-invented-speedo-in-1961.html .

It's not too surprising that "budgie smugglers" and "banana hammocks"
have always appealed to gay men; it's also not too surprising that
they got people arrested for indecent exposure even in Australia
in the earliest days of their existence.  If you Google "speedo ban"
you'll see that it isn't just the U.S. that's squeamish about
these things:
http://www.outtraveler.com/travel-tips/2013/04/24/speedo-ban-united-arab-emirates
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1205564/Alton-Towers-bans-Speedos-inappropriate-family-resort.html

It seems that a few years ago, Cape May, New Jersey **repealed**
a 30-year-old ban that had originally been enacted because
of complaints that gay men came to the beach to cruise in skimpy
bathing suits.
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2005-04-30-Speedo-ban_x.htm

It also seems that in France, public swimming pools **require** men
to wear speedo-style suits, by law, as a matter of hygiene.
http://ourhouseinquercy.blogspot.com/2011/11/public-swimming-pools-in-france.html

I remember that when I was, oh, 12 or so, I had a red
nylon swimsuit that wasn't quite a speedo, but that still
showed more in front than anything I'd ever worn before.
And I still remember the initial discomfort (combined with a
certain degree of excitement) I felt each time I went to
the local public swimming pool in that thing.  Of course
my self-consciousness wore off once I actually got in the water,
but it always returned the next time I went to the pool.

I also remember the first time I saw real competition-style briefs,
at the same public pool.  There was a swim-team using the pool for
practice, together with their coach; and all the guys -- a bit older than me
I think -- wore black speedo-style briefs, and when the guys
lined up at the edge of the pool ready to dive in they displayed conspicuous bulge.
In fact I remember thinking that one guy had an outright erection.

I was a sheltered kid, and an only child -- I didn't know the
terms "boner" or "hard-on" or even "erection", or what the significance
of the phenomenon was except as a source of mingled shame and
excitement -- until astonishingly late in the game.  I can't
remember how I thought about such physiological events before I had the
words for them.  But I'm not the only guy in my cohort who was ignorant about
the facts of life, even in middle school.  I remember being at
a friend's house after school one day -- we must have been in
7th grade -- he introduced me to the Time/Life Science Library
books, and lent me a novelization of the sci-fi movie
_Forbidden Planet_; that's where we were intellectually --
and the conversation came, who knows how, to a point at which
he asked me "You know how, when you think or talk about that
stuff, your thing down there gets big and sticks out?  Does
that happen to you?".  And I replied "Yeah." and left it at
that. ;->

But as uncomfortable as I'd been in that red nylon bathing
suit a few years earlier, I can only imagine the trepidation
some of the guys on that swim team must have had to get over
when they were handed those black briefs.  "I have to wear
**this**?"  And silently, because there was no one with whom
to talk about such things, "But what if I, you know. . .?"
And practicing wearing the thing in the bedroom until the
eroticism (you hope) is extinguished enough that you don't
make a spectacle of yourself in front of the other guys,
the coach, and your parents.  These stories are on the
Web these days, and kids can find out that other kids have
the same problems and worries.  That's definitely a good thing.

But yeah, the homoerotic charge of the speedo (and the jockstrap --
mandatory in my day, and was **that** an eyeful when I first
saw one, and saw the other guys wearing them; and the
wrestling singlet) have not gone away, though the increased
visibility of all things gay has made it impossible for
anybody -- even middle-school kids and their parents and
coaches -- to ignore the fact that these are all fetish garments
among gay men.  And that's probably a source of the increased
mockery and prudery surrounding such things, even worse than
the way it was 40 or 50 years ago.

andkon

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 09:28:40 PM »
Isn't it interesting, though, that the guy who designed the
classic speedo brief in 1960 -- Australian Peter Travis, now
in his 80s -- is gay (at least he's alleged to be gay in
http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=45731.0 ).
Mr. Travis may simply have taken an idea for competition-style
nylon briefs that had already been used by Olympic swimmers
in the mid-50s, and persuaded the Speedo company to sell it commercially,
according to
http://scaq.blogspot.com/2008/01/peter-travis-80-invented-speedo-in-1961.html .

Hmmm, I didn't know all that about the Speedo, but as the article says the style wasn't new.

It's not too surprising that "budgie smugglers" and "banana hammocks"
have always appealed to gay men; it's also not too surprising that
they got people arrested for indecent exposure even in Australia
in the earliest days of their existence.  If you Google "speedo ban"
you'll see that it isn't just the U.S. that's squeamish about
these things:
http://www.outtraveler.com/travel-tips/2013/04/24/speedo-ban-united-arab-emirates
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1205564/Alton-Towers-bans-Speedos-inappropriate-family-resort.html

It seems that a few years ago, Cape May, New Jersey **repealed**
a 30-year-old ban that had originally been enacted because
of complaints that gay men came to the beach to cruise in skimpy
bathing suits.
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2005-04-30-Speedo-ban_x.htm

It also seems that in France, public swimming pools **require** men
to wear speedo-style suits, by law, as a matter of hygiene.
http://ourhouseinquercy.blogspot.com/2011/11/public-swimming-pools-in-france.html

I remember that when I was, oh, 12 or so, I had a red
nylon swimsuit that wasn't quite a speedo, but that still
showed more in front than anything I'd ever worn before.
And I still remember the initial discomfort (combined with a
certain degree of excitement) I felt each time I went to
the local public swimming pool in that thing.  Of course
my self-consciousness wore off once I actually got in the water,
but it always returned the next time I went to the pool.

I also remember the first time I saw real competition-style briefs,
at the same public pool.  There was a swim-team using the pool for
practice, together with their coach; and all the guys -- a bit older than me
I think -- wore black speedo-style briefs, and when the guys
lined up at the edge of the pool ready to dive in they displayed conspicuous bulge.
In fact I remember thinking that one guy had an outright erection.

Show-er vs grower :-) Such show-ers can't tuck it downwards either. But what if you do get a real erection that way?

I was a sheltered kid, and an only child -- I didn't know the
terms "boner" or "hard-on" or even "erection", or what the significance
of the phenomenon was except as a source of mingled shame and
excitement -- until astonishingly late in the game.  I can't
remember how I thought about such physiological events before I had the
words for them.  But I'm not the only guy in my cohort who was ignorant about
the facts of life, even in middle school.  I remember being at
a friend's house after school one day -- we must have been in
7th grade -- he introduced me to the Time/Life Science Library
books, and lent me a novelization of the sci-fi movie
_Forbidden Planet_; that's where we were intellectually --
and the conversation came, who knows how, to a point at which
he asked me "You know how, when you think or talk about that
stuff, your thing down there gets big and sticks out?  Does
that happen to you?".  And I replied "Yeah." and left it at
that. ;->

I wonder what the response to "No, that's completely weird. Go see a doctor." would be.

But as uncomfortable as I'd been in that red nylon bathing
suit a few years earlier, I can only imagine the trepidation
some of the guys on that swim team must have had to get over
when they were handed those black briefs.  "I have to wear
**this**?"  And silently, because there was no one with whom
to talk about such things, "But what if I, you know. . .?"
And practicing wearing the thing in the bedroom until the
eroticism (you hope) is extinguished enough that you don't
make a spectacle of yourself in front of the other guys,
the coach, and your parents.  These stories are on the
Web these days, and kids can find out that other kids have
the same problems and worries.  That's definitely a good thing.

But yeah, the homoerotic charge of the speedo (and the jockstrap --
mandatory in my day, and was **that** an eyeful when I first
saw one, and saw the other guys wearing them; and the
wrestling singlet) have not gone away, though the increased
visibility of all things gay has made it impossible for
anybody -- even middle-school kids and their parents and
coaches -- to ignore the fact that these are all fetish garments
among gay men.  And that's probably a source of the increased
mockery and prudery surrounding such things, even worse than
the way it was 40 or 50 years ago.

My mother told me only poor kids wore the trunks in 1950's Hungary. It must have been more of a status symbol to be able to buy a specific garment for swimming instead of just wear old shorts.

JimF

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 10:18:33 PM »
> I wonder what the response to "No, that's completely weird.
> Go see a doctor." would be.

If I'd been capable of making comebacks like that in 7th
grade, I'd be ruling the world by now.  ;->

JimF

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 07:26:35 PM »
I was born in the early 50s and went through puberty in the
60s (I had my first masturbatory orgasm shortly after the
premiere of the original Star Trek TV show ;-> ), and the
degree of my ignorance surrounding the whole subject of
sex must be inconceivable to somebody growing up in the
age of the World Wide Web (except maybe for Mormons ;-> ).
But even in those days, the ignorance, fear, and shame
might possibly have been less intense for a boy with brothers,
or a boy who got along with his father better than I did, or
who was better-integrated into his cohort of male peers
than I was.  Or maybe not.  I guess I'll never know.

I can remember when I was 4 or 5, before I had to go to
school, taking an afternoon nap one day next to my mother
in my parents' bedroom in our suburban house.  I had
been looking at a kids' picture-book earlier that day,
and even then there were certain images that were
exciting to me in a way that I would now call erotically-
charged. (Finding and eliminating all images that might
have an erotic potential for any kid anywhere would probably
require forbidding altogther the practice of illustrating
childrens' books -- which is I guess what orthodox Muslims believe
anyway: that it's sacrilegeous to depict Allah's creatures!)

So I'd been looking at a book of fairy-tales or something, and it
had pictures of people in medieval-style tight breeches,
with lots of leg -- prominent calves -- and hints
of buttock.  And the little five-year-old pervert that
was me got turned on.  And later, in bed at naptime,
pulling the covers over my head, I somehow found myself with
my pants down, flipping my soft penis back and forth with an index
finger while thinking about those pictures and staring
at the calf of my own leg.  I must have known, even then,
that this was something that had to be done under the
covers and out of sight.  And then my mother, wondering what the
hell I was up to, yanked the covers back and saw me _in flagrante_,
and yelled at me "Wait til I tell your father what
you've been doing!"  I was terrified, and waited all day
for my father to come home from work and for the other
shoe to drop, and then nothing happened.  (I'm sure the
conversation took place, and I can imagine my father's
reaction:  "Oh, for crying out loud, he's a **boy**!"
But nobody bothered to defuse the situation **for me**.)

I never connected this incident to the innocent teasing
games that I sometimes played with my parents over the
kitchen table, asking them "Where do babies come from?"
and getting the inevitable answer "You'll find out when
you're older."  And repeating the question more
insistently "But I want to know now!" and getting the
same answer until they got tired of the game and yelled
at me to knock it off and go play.

Some years later -- from the music I remember on the
radio I think I must have been 9 (Chubby Checker was singing
"Let's twist again like we did last summer" ;-> ) --
I spent a few weeks during the summer with my country
cousins, daughters of my father's older brother, one
the same age as me and one a couple of years older.
It was the first time I'd spent a substantial period
of time away from home, and I was proud that
I managed it with a minimum of crying at night from
homesickness.  My cousins did not live in a suburban development
with endless concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets,
but in a place where there were wild raspberries
to gather, and a creek with minnows and watercress.
I was recruited as part of the housework brigade
too, and under my cousins' direction I managed to
clean a toilet all by myself, which I thought was
pretty cool.  But the most memorable experience of
that visit was when my youngest cousin (and we
were both pre-pubescent, remember) was getting
dressed one morning and I caught a glimpse of her
naked groin. And there was nothing there except
a slight vertical fold.  I was flabbergasted!
"What's that?" I asked as she hastily covered herself.
"Can I see?"  And she deigned to give me another
quick glimpse.  This was the cause of a great deal
of hilarity on the part of my cousin -- "You mean
you **don't know** that girls are different from
boys down there?"  And the truth was -- no, it had
never occurred to me.  For all I knew, a penis
is just a thing to pee through, and I had had
no prior reason to think that girls didn't have
one too.  My cousin wasn't cruel about it, but the
startling discovery cast a pall over the rest
of the visit, for me.  We went to a lakeside
beach that afternoon, and I remember that the
whole time I worried, with a kind of sick feeling
in the pit of my stomach, that there would be
unpleasant consequences to my discovery -- that
my cousin would tell my uncle and aunt what I had
asked her to show me, or that my own parents
would find out, or **something** bad.

I don't think I connected this discovery about female
anatomy with another incident I remember, which
may have taken place earlier or later, I don't
know.  There was a boy -- a rough-and-tumble
"red-blooded" boy named Gerry G. who was two grades
ahead of me and who lived across the street.
Sometimes -- presumably in earlier grades -- I would tag
along with him and a group of neighborhood kids on the walk
to school in the morning -- the local elementary
school was on the main road with the churches
and shopping center that ran through the middle
of the suburban development we lived in.
And one day Gerry was being "a man" by telling his pals
an off-color story.  I found this kind of thing
threatening -- not because I was a prude, necessarily,
but because I knew it was stuff that adults wouldn't
like ("transgressive," a pomo theorist would say ;-> )
and I was innately afraid of where that kind of
thing might lead.  so anyway, he was spinning this kids'
pornographic tale of sitting in class and seeing up a teacher's
skirt under her desk and catching a glimpse of
her "pussy".  I had no idea what "pussy" meant,
but I was struck by the way Gerry salivated around
the word, as if he had a mouthful of fresh chewing
gum.

And then there was the time that I, completely inadvertently
and innocently, put my foot through the hornet's nest of
sex in a way that got the neighbors up in arms.
When I was 10 or 11, give or take, I started getting
kids' illustrated science books as gifts (wonderful books, like
the kids' version of the Time/Life coffee-table book
_The World We Live In_, or _The Wonders of Life on Earth_).
Anyway, one of them was called _The Human Body_
(in fact, it was exactly this book:
http://img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/5888370/il_fullxfull.287287604.jpg
Amazing, how you can reconstruct your past from the Web nowadays. ;-> )
So at that stage, while I knew a bit more about "where babies
come from" -- I knew there was a sperm, and an egg, and a
zygote, and a blastula, and a gastrula, and all the stages
of fetal development -- I was nevertheless still completely
ignorant about the role of the vagina, and the penis that gets erect,
and penetration, thrusting, orgasm, and ejaculation.
The "fun stuff".  ;->  I think I had a theory for
a while that "catching a sperm" was
something like catching a cold -- that if people lived
close together a sperm could be transmitted like a virus.
Or maybe you had to kiss somebody.  Or sleep in the same bed.
I didn't think it through very clearly.  I don't think I even
knew the "scientific" word "penis" at that time -- I'll
spare you the ridiculous word my mother used for the
organ. (Hm... did she make it up, or did it come from
some tradition or other? I should try to find out one of
these days.)  I still can't bring myself to tell anyone that odd
word my mother used. (I actually heard it used as a personal
name on a TV show once, so maybe it's a real word with a real
history); but it nevertheless wasn't as bad as the name used by
my other (male) cousins' mother -- "Tinker Bell".  Can you imagine
seeing Peter Pan (or anything with a Disney intro containing the
trademark green-skirted fairy) without turning beet-red after
an entire childhood spent thinking of your penis as your
"Tinker Bell"?  (I can guess the etymology -- "Tinker"
from "tinkle" as in "urinate"; "Bell" possibly because
the glans looks like an inverted bell, cf. "[ding] dong".)
I didn't learn the "manly" street word "cock"
until I was much older -- school kids used the word "dick"
(which oddly enough, still has the most erotic charge for me),
and the myriad other words I learned much later.
"Cock" and "dick" still seem to be the ones heard most
often in porn dialog.

Anyway, so at the time I had acquired this kids' book
about the human body, there was a little girl who used
to come over to my house named Debbie B.  I think
she was a year or two younger than me, and lived a
few houses down from us.  The family had a slightly
foreign air -- I think the father may have been
ex-military, and the mother was French.  They had
a big old black CitroŽn, with running boards (the car
was non-functional, I think, a never-completed restoration
project) parked in the street in front
of their house.  Little Debbie spoke with a bit of
an accent, but I don't think she actually knew
much French -- she once told me that "bateau" means "boat",
but she didn't know too many other words.  I presume
the family was Catholic.

I had become something of a know-it-all science
nerd by then, and I remember one
conversation that took place in our back yard
where my parents had installed a swing-set and
sliding board.  We were using the sliding board,
and I asked Debbie if she knew why the grass was
green.  And she said "Because God made it that way."
And I said "No, it's because it has chlorophyll
in it."  So in that spirit, one day she had
come over, and we were hanging out in the carport,
and I brought out _The Human Body_ and showed it
to her.  I don't remember particularly dwelling
on the chapter about human reproduction (which in any
case **starts** with the fertilized egg and
leaves out the scurrilous preliminaries -- although,
come to think, there may be **very** oblique
allusion to them in a single sentence along the lines of
"after a man and a woman have embraced") -- but that's
the part that stuck with little Debbie, apparently
(and not so surprisingly, in retrospect).  So
she went home and started asking her parents questions.
And her parents were not at all amused.  Her father
marched up to our door (I was not a witness to
that scene, fortunately) to express his displeasure
and demand that my parents reveal to him everything
that I had been telling his daughter.  So
then (after Mr. B had departed -- I never had to face
Debbie's parents directly) **my** parents (who were none
too enlightened themselves) gave **me** the third degree.
Debbie had apparently used the phrase "kiss and swell
up", and so my parents wanted to know what **I**
knew about this "kiss and swell up" stuff, and what
I had said about it to little Debbie.  Fortunately, it didn't
take me long to realize that all this must have something to
do with the book I had recently shown her, so I
got out the book and showed the relevant chapter
to my parents (which got me off
the hook as far as any serious blame or punishment
from my own parents was concerned, but didn't spare
me the emotional fallout from what was to follow),
and my mother (brave woman, I suppose, but not
quite brave or enlightened enough) took the book
and marched down to the Bs' house, only to have
the door unceremoniously slammed in her face.  And
that was the end of all our interaction with the Bs --
Debbie and I were forbidden to play with or speak to
each other, I was forbidden to go near the Bs' house
(I was even reluctant to walk or ride my bicycle
past their place for years afterward), the Bs would
no longer speak to my parents, and apparently there was
plenty of juicy gossip exchanged with and by the other
neighbors.  I suppose it's something of a credit to my parents
that they didn't take the book away from me (I never
actually thought of that until just now).  But quite a
few years later, during some kind of tiff between me and
my mother, she glared at me and said "**You're** the reason I can't
hold my head up in this neighborhood."  I assumed at the time
that she was dragging up the Debbie B. incident, and
maybe she was, but it's also possible that I had
acquired the air of a queer kid by then. (I never
came out to my parents, but I know they had their
dark suspicions.)

That same book popped up unexpectedly many, many years later.
I was channel surfing one day (on the TV, which I almost never
watch anymore in these days of the Web), and I came
across a rerun of _The Wonder Years_ (which I didn't watch
regularly, but I knew what it was about).  I think
it was in fact an episode in which Kevin is dreading
having "the talk" with his father, and there was a
scene in which Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold is lying on the
living-room sofa with The Book (**my** book!)
propped open on his stomach.  I got quite a kick out
of seeing that book again, on TV no less!

Speaking of the "air of queerness" that must have
caused concern and disappointment for my parents,
particularly by the time I'd reached adolescence, the
first memory I have of crossing some kind of gender-role
boundary is a very early one.  I think I may have been
only 3.  It was Christmas Eve, and I was getting
some Christmas presents early, and one of them was
somewhat odd -- it was a kid-size toy clothes iron,
maybe a third the scale of the real thing, painted red.
My father didn't like the present, and he said
"Santa Claus must have left that at the wrong house.
Little boys don't play with things like that."
And he made a move to snatch it away from me ("Let's give this
back to Santa so he can take it to the right house.")
and of course I didn't like getting
a present only to have it taken away the next minute.
So I started to cry, and wanted to keep the iron.
And my father got mad.  And that really spoiled the
whole Christmas-eve scene (and must have had a significant emotional
impact for the memory to have stuck with me from such an early age).
In recent years, I've formulated a hypothesis as to where
that iron might have come from. Electric steam irons were
more common appliances in those days than they are now,
and of course they're also hazardous for little kids to be
around.  I suspect that my kindly grandmother had had to make
me cry by chasing me away from her ironing board,
for safety's sake, and made up for it by getting me the
little iron of my own for Christmas.  It's not like I had any
particularly strong desire to play with it, though
I kept it for many years.

Another incident must have happened around the time I was
10 or 11, and was entirely innocent (if a little clueless)
on my part, but must have caused my parents a fair amount of
angst.  I was sitting on the living-room couch early
one evening in front of the TV, and my mother and father
were in the kitchen.  Either my father had just come home
and we were just about to have supper, or we had just finished
supper and my parents were having their evening drinks,
leaving me a brief time alone with the TV before they took
over the living room.  And I asked (I have no memory of what may
have prompted my question -- I may have asked out of sheer mischievousness,
but I don't know why it would have occurred to me in the first
place.  Maybe it was something I'd just seen on TV.)
"Hey -- if a man and a woman can get married, why can't a man and a
man or a woman and a woman get married?".  And my parents
were **not** amused.  "They just can't, and that's the end of
**that** subject.  We don't ever want to hear any more about it,
and what the hell's the matter with you anyway, asking a
question like that?"  I realized instantly, just from the
tone of the replies, that I'd gone where no kid ought to go,
and I kept a very low profile for the rest of the evening,
and my parents were distinctly on edge with me.

A couple of years later an attempted father-son bonding (ahem ;-> )
experience went sour.  My father decided to go see the
newly-released movie _Goldfinger_.  My parents seldom went to the
movies, and they weren't usually amenable to movie suggestions
from **me** -- I'd wanted to see the George Pal _The Time
Machine_ a few years earlier, but never got to go (I had to get
the condensed version from a neighbor kid; some kids were skilled
at retelling movies and TV episodes in those days) -- so
it must have been entirely my father's idea.  And I can
(now) guess why -- it had the reputation of hovering right on
the edge of being a "blue" movie (a fact my father would have
heard bruited around at work).  So my mother stayed home,
and my father took me to see James Bond.  I had no reason to refuse the
invitation, and in fact I enjoyed the film a great deal --
as an **action** movie (I was blown away seeing that Lincoln
Continental crushed into a little cube with the gangster
inside it).  The "blue" parts (Honor Blackman introducing
herself by saying "I'm Pussy Galore." and Sean Connery muttering
"I must be dreaming.") went completely over my head.  I didn't
remember those parts, and I had no memory of the burst of
giggling that must have erupted in the theater at the
name "Pussy Galore".  (I still didn't know what "pussy"
meant, apart from an affectionate word for "pet cat".)
So when we got home, we all sat down at the kitchen table,
and my mother and father had drinks.  And my mother asked,
with a bit of a leer, if I'd enjoyed the movie.  And I said
yes, and she said "I've heard it's a bit **racy** for a
kid your age."  And then my father (who must have been
just a bit buzzed by this time) demanded "Is there anything
you didn't understand about the movie?  Huh?  Is there
anything you want me to **explain** to you?  Huh?
Is there?  IS THERE?".  And I couldn't figure out where
the manifest hostility was coming from, and said
"No.  No." and sort of backed away from the table.
And my father bore down on me, and repeated his
question "Is there anything you want me to **explain**
to you?", not letting up until my mother, sensing that
something ugly was happening, raised her voice to my father
and said "Jim!  That's **enough**!  Leave him alone."  And I was
dismissed to skulk away somewhere out of sight.  I
can now guess what was going on.  This was going to
be my father's opportunity to have "the talk".
He was going to tell me all about "pussy", and my
mother was probably in on it too.  But his little fag of
a son was too scared and clueless (too much of a
"pussy" himself ;-> ) to cooperate in the fun.
And so my father got mad.  It was very weird and
disturbing.

JimF

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 07:27:56 PM »
In the broader culture, more than three decades after my own
"Debbie B." debacle, I stumbled across what I found to
be a rather shocking example, and in a rather unexpected
place, of the continuing minefield of potential
trauma that anything related to sex can be for kids (and
not just because sex is, in itself, a powerful biological
urge).  In the 90s there was a TV show called "Loveline" that
grew out of a radio show of the same name.
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loveline )
It was presumably a more conventional and more
heterosexually-oriented version of what Dan Savage
does these days with his "Savage Love" podcast.
It was hosted by a macho, wisecracking (and somewhat
leering and obnoxious) comic named
Adam Carolla (later host of "The Man Show") together
with a pale-faced, tight-lipped, wire-rimmed-glasses-wearing
"serious" psychiatrist named Dr. Drew Pinsky (who
today counsels celebrities on TV about their addictions,
or something).  So people would call in about their
relationship (and, gasp, tee-hee, sex!) problems, and Carolla
would vet the callers and dismiss (with comic abuse)
the ones he didn't deem serious enough for extended attention,
and turn the "serious" cases over to "Dr. Drew" for
a psychiatrist's "serious" advice.

So there was this one "Loveline" caller --
a mother -- who had burst into her young son's
bedroom (whether he was prepubescent or postpubescent
I do not recall) who was having a circle-jerk with his
little buddies.  They all had their dicks out, and fully
erect, and were masturbating with gusto.  I can't
remember whether they were watching
porn as well, or were just providing each other with
visual stimulation.  So mom shrieks a little, and drops
the pizza she's carrying, and rushes out of the bedroom.  And now
she wants to know, from the "Loveline" experts, what, if anything,
she should do about it.  So Dr. Drew takes up this case
with great seriousness, and replies that yes indeed
she must do something.  She must find the **ringleader** --
find out who instigated this outrage against morality
and propriety -- and see to it that he is punished
and that her son severs all ties with him!  I couldn't
believe what I was hearing from this guy.  Remembering
my own neighborhood scandal over the little girl and the
science book, I heard "Dr. Drew" advising this mother
to 1) Grill her own son on the facts.  Which would presumably
go something like this:  "Who was the first boy
to start talking dirty? Was it **you**? Who was the first boy
to get an erection? Was it **you**? Who was the first boy
to start rubbing his erection through his pants?  Was
it **you**?  Who was the first boy to take his penis
out of his pants?  Was it **you**?  Who was the boy
who suggested that everybody else do the same
thing?  Was it **you**? Who was the boy who brought
over the porn tape (if there was one)?  Did **you** supply
the pornography?"  And then 2) after subjecting her own
son to detailed interrogation (assuming she had the stomach
for it, after shrieking and dropping the pizza), she's supposed
to call up the parents of her son's friends and
have similar conversations with each of them.  "My son
Johnny says your son Bobby took his erect penis
out of his pants last night in Johnny's bedroom in
front of Johnny and the other boys gathered there,
and starting masturbating." Etc.  And this is
going to "get to the bottom of it" and she, and the
parents of all her kid's friends, are thereby
going to regain control of their kids' sexual
morality.  And there's not going to be any shouting,
or hung-up telephones, or legal threats, among
the parents.  And people are going to be perfectly
friendly with each other in the years to come when
they pass each other in the supermarket.  And
there's not going to be any bullying or other
humiliating fallout for little Johnny and his little
friends at school or church or elsewhere in the
neighborhood.  Riiiight!   My God, and this guy's
supposed to be a professional counsellor!  And he's
not even a Mormon -- Wikipedia calls him a "nonobservant
Jew" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Pinsky ).
I was more than a little nonplussed that nothing seemed to have
changed in more than thirty years, and that having
an M.D. degree and training as a psychiatrist from the mid-80s
and later apparently gives some adults no more insight into
handling a situation involving kids and sex than
my (non-college-educated) parents and Debbie B.'s
parents had in the early 60s.

It's also the case, unfortunately, in today's atmosphere of
near-hysteria about the potential for child abuse (and particularly child
**sexual** abuse) that even enlightened adults can be walking
a minefield if they dare to broach the subject of sex with
children, even their own children.  I suspect that in my
own parents' generation, the inhibition was mostly due
to their own hang-ups and embarrassment about the subject.
But these days, an enlightened parent giving his own child
clear information about the facts of life in all their
variety -- clear information about masturbation or homosexuality,
let's say -- might thereby incur a nontrivial risk of
hearing from the local Child Welfare department if the
kid passes on the information (and the identity of its
source) to another child (and through that child to a
paranoid adult, parent or otherwise) or directly to a paranoid adult
(a teacher, a psychologist, a minister, a guidance counsellor,
a pediatrician, or whoever).  There's a good movie from the
80s about such a situation spinning out of control:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Mother_(1988_film)
There's a cute YouTube video -- apparently an excerpt from
an episode of an adult-themed cable-TV comedy called
_Weeds_:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeds_(TV_series) --
in which "Uncle Andy" gives his (13-year-old?) nephew
"Shane" a no-holds-barred stand-up-comic style lecture
about masturbation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWzOQTFwRBE
It's very entertaining, but in real life, in some
areas of the country (or in some families)
Uncle Andy could get in a lot of trouble for a
frank talk like that.

Nevertheless, would-be censors (authors of the Child On-line
Protection Act and similar legislation) have been kept
at bay to the extent that all the information a kid needs
is available on-line nowadays, in as much detail as desired.
Including an ocean of free, high-quality pornography.
Even when I was in my 20s, newsstand magazines were still
tiptoeing at the edge of the envelope of what they could show without
having their product seized by the authorities.
Especially the homosexually-oriented magazines.  In 1972
the newsstand magazines (like _After Dark_ and _Playgirl_ --
not the stuff you'd have to go to an adult bookstore
to find) could show naked men in speedos, but no genitalia.
Then a few years later, _Playgirl_ would show flaccid penises,
but no erections (maybe the occasional semi-erection).
Then came (by 1980) full erections, in a host of new titles:
_Mandate_, _Honcho_, and the rest.  But
you still had to get the magazine past the store clerk,
and you still had to pay money for it.  Now, if you
can get on Tumblr, you can get anything you'd care
to see (which may change, now that Yahoo has acquired it,
but that only means it'll go elsewhere).
This widespread exposure is deplored by the religious
right and other social conservatives.  But I can't
help but think it's overall a good thing.  And it
certainly ties into the Grero agenda -- widespread exposure,
for instance, to gay porn, is desensitizing -- it
makes people less likely to react with disgust to a
form of sex which the viewer might not necessarily want
to participate in himself, as well as, I would think,
making it somewhat more likely that a viewer might be
inclined to "sample the wares", so to speak, himself
(though this would itself be evidence, from the point of
view of the religious right, that pornography will
destroy the fabric of public morality ;-> ).  I've
been both surprised and amused to see comments, on some
of the Tumblr blogs and elsewhere, along the lines of "I'm straight
and married and have kids, but I enjoy your blog.  I have no
desire to have sex with a man, but I just love looking
at dicks!"

The very first pornography (not labelled as such) that I
reacted to **as pornography** was inadvertently supplied
to me by my father, in the form of a small collection of
bodybuilding magazines left over from before he was
married.  Apparently he didn't think there was anything
particularly embarrassing or "dangerous" about these,
since he made no attempt to hide them, and in fact some
of them were in a pile of reading material at the bottom
of a bookcase in the living room.  Though I found these within
easy reach, I nevertheless somehow knew I had to be circumspect
about looking at them.  I'd wait until my parents were out
of the house, and then get them out and look at them.
I got very aroused looking at them, but I didn't yet know
how to masturbate, so I'd just enjoy the feeling of arousal
until it was time to hide the magazines again by putting them
back exactly where I'd found them.  One cover was a
particular favorite:
http://muscletrek.com/60s/jamespark.jpg
The legs were a turn-on, and also something new --
that beautiful bulge in profile in the front of the
briefs (rather daringly prominent by the standards
of the time -- the reflection from the side of the
shiny posing trunks could have been air-brushed out, but in
this case it wasn't).  The genital bulge became my primary
erotic fetish in male imagery -- even more than exposed genitalia,
the pouch of a speedo or jockstrap or tight underwear
became the focus of arousal for me.  I did finally
learn to climax while looking at (or remembering) that
cover, many times.

It's interesting (and maybe a sign of the naivete of more
repressed times, when people just didn't think about such
possibilities) that those muscle magazines were treated so casually by
my father.  As late as 1960, respectable college professors
could have their careers ruined as a result of the police
raiding their homes and finding magazines with images
not much different from those in my father's modest collection:
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/greatpinkscare/
And five years after that, decency crusaders were watching
the Charles Keating financed propaganda movie "Perversion
for Profit":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perversion_for_Profit
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_J55Fawfgk
which rails against "physique" magazine as lures of
homosexuality.  And as the film's narrator, George Putnam,
warns: "We know that once a person is perverted, it
is practically impossible for that person to adjust
to normal attitudes in regard to sex."  But not
Grero attitudes, eh?

Nowadays, the magazines themselves are
collectors' items, and the images are freely available
on the Web.  A plethora of riches!  "But psychiatrists
believe that prolonged exposure of even the normal
male adult to this type of publication, though he
may not be aware of its true nature, will nevertheless
pervert.  Think then of the consequences to the inexperienced
youth, who in purchasing and studying this material,
becomes a pawn for these misfits -- these homosexuals! --
who have a slogan that betrays the evil of the breed:
'Today's conquest, they say, is tomorrow's competition.'
See the tender age at which homosexuals prefer their
conquests.  Look here at the young face and bright smile
which could be the hope of the world.  But in the other
half of the picture is revealed the seduction of
the innocent."

;->


andkon

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2013, 09:05:53 PM »
Sorry about your childhood! Do you think the Loveline episode is available here: http://www.lovelinetapes.com/ ??

JimF

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Re: 0005: Speedos
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2013, 11:18:03 PM »
> Sorry about your childhood!

It could have been worse.  My parents were fairly typical of their
generation.  They smoked and drank too much.

My father came from a large family, finished high school,
and had some post-high-school education (accounting courses
at a fairly prestigious state university, if I recall correctly,
but only an associate degree).  He served in the military during
World War II, at a desk job (because of the accounting training,
presumably), and later got a job with a large corporation and
quickly rose from a blue-collar entry-level position
to a lower-echelon white-collar job -- as an accountant --
where he spent the rest of his career.  He got married rather
late, at the age of 33, to a woman 7 years his senior (who had
been married before; her first husband died, I believe).
Physically, he was a bit of a runt (think Woody Allen and you wouldn't be
too far off) -- hence the bodybuilding literature (and
the set of barbells that he had, but never used as far as
I know).  He overcompensated for his puny size with a
big mouth and a rather overbearing
personality (especially when he'd been drinking).
He was a "hale fellow well met" glad-hand type, but
he also had a flashpoint temper and tended to argue
with people and hold long-lasting grudges against them.
My father was no intellectual -- his idea of a fun weekend
was to park himself in front of the TV or radio with a supply of beer
and listen to or watch whatever kind of ball game was
in season -- baseball or football.  (I **hated** to
be in the same room while that was going on, except when
at a certain point in my life I started to notice football players'
asses in their tight uniforms. ;-> ).  Some people might
say that my father had ambitions in life beyond his proper station --
his oldest surviving sister said to me a few years ago
"We were never anything but blue collar people, Jimmy,
but your father had Ambitions."  He was a Republican and
social conservative, of course (my parents **hated** JFK -- the
first election during which I was old enough to know
what was going on).  Well-educated and genteel folk --
the kind he always hoped to impress --  probably saw through
my father instantly and wrote him off as a crass blow-hard
and know-it-all with a "my way or the highway"
nasty attitude.  But for all that he was responsible --
he kept his job, bought a house in the suburbs, raised a kid,
put up with my mother, and while he may well have been an alcoholic
by today's standards he never went on benders or
crashed the car (though he did back over a bush next
to the driveway one memorable night).  The alcohol eventually
caught up with him, and he died (in the care of his
second wife -- my mother had died 12 years earlier)
of liver failure brought on by chronic drinking in
1985 at the age of 68.

My mother finished school at 8th grade and never went
any further.  She had had clerical jobs before
marrying, but never worked afterward.  She never drove
a car, so she was stuck in the house unless
one of her more automotively-skilled and mobile girlfriends
took her someplace.  I gather she had once had some
degree of physical attractiveness (think a seedier
version of Shelley Winters), but she was always overweight,
and she developed osteoarthritis and Type 2 diabetes
as she got older.  She couldn't have been a happy
person, but she did her duty too -- cooked the meals,
cleaned the house, and did the laundry.  My father's
family treated her with barely-concealed disdain --
they thought my father had chosen poorly or that
she had "caught" him.  Not only was she overweight,
and not very well educated, but she could be
shockingly childish and petulantly immature sometimes.
As my father's aged sister also said to me "She just wasn't
right in the head."  In any case, her health finally
failed and she died of a massive heart attack in
the spring of 1973, at the age of 62.  I had moved
out of the house by then.  My father was out mowing
the lawn when it happened, and when he came back into
the house, he found her dead on the kitchen floor.

I do think my parents would have been better off if
they'd skipped the conventional thing and hadn't insisted
on trying to raise a child.  Another sister of my father's
once confided in me, on the verge of adulthood, that having
a child was entirely my father's idea and at his insistence;
my mother hadn't wanted any children, and indeed
she suffered during the late-in-life pregnancy.

I'm afraid they didn't get much back for their efforts --
I was an all-around disappointment to them.
By the time I graduated from high school, I didn't
like them, and they didn't like me.

So it goes, sometimes.

> Do you think the Loveline episode is available
> here: http://www.lovelinetapes.com/ ??

I suspect not.  While one of the curators of that archive
("Giovanni" http://www.lovelinetapes.com/faq/ )
claims to have discovered Loveline via the MTV television
spinoff of the radio show (that ran
between 1996 and 2000, according to IMDb)
the archive itself seems to contain only recordings of
the radio version of the show.

The particular episode I mentioned was on MTV.

There are a handful of the MTV episodes on YouTube, but
chances are it's not there (the YouTube shows probably
ended up there because of the celebrity guests -- largely
music-industry celebrities, in the case of the TV show --
it was MTV after all).

According to Wikipedia:  "A TV version of Loveline ran on MTV
from 1996Ė2000; which was produced by Stone Stanley Entertainment.
It followed the same general format as the radio program
but featured a live audience and a female co-host. The female
co-host role was filled over the course of the series by
MTV VJ Idalis, actresses Kris McGaha, Catherine McCord,
Diane Farr and comedienne Laura Kightlinger. Loveline TV
was filmed at Hollywood Center Studios."

I don't remember the "female co-host" or the guest celebrities
from the show I saw.  Even worse, I don't remember what year
I happened to see that show.

Even if you had access to all the episodes, searching for a
particular caller's topic would be, as they say, like searching
for a needle in a haystack.

Some people seem to have enjoyed the shows (though not everyone who
has publicly commented on them on the Web!), but that terrible
advice from "Dr. Drew" in the case of the kid and his friends
caught by mom turned me off of Pinsky forever.

By the way, a little Dan Savage goes a long way with me, too.
He's smart, and funny, but he's also full of himself, and
he can get mighty nasty with people sometimes.