When I was in third or fourth grade, I saw my first porno magazine, I think it was Hustler. My friend Kevin O’Connor kept it under the front porch of his house. It was water-logged and you could barely turn the pages without ripping them. Not long after, an older kid who lived up the street sold me two Penthouse magazines. I hid them in a bookshelf but not well enough and soon enough my mother found them.
Now my mother had a liberal view of nudity having grown up in the Belgian Congo but that didn’t mean she approved of pornography. In fact, she was horrified. And pissed.
Still, I protested.
“Ma, I’m just using the pictures so I can learn how to draw the female body.”
She took the magazines away. Then she told the old man. He didn’t say a word about it but the next day, he left me three pictures clipped together–clean pictures–with a note, “You can draw these.”
Somehow, that felt worse than just having them taken away or even being punished.
Couldn’t help but remember this scene this morning when I read that Bob Guccione died.