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Forbidden Fruit

Posted By Alex Belth On October 21, 2010 @ 9:53 am In Arts and Culture,Bronx Banter,Childhood,Memoir,Obituaries | Comments Disabled


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. [2]

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[1] Image: http://bronxbanter.arneson.name/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/penthouse-september-19811.jpg

[2] Bob Guccione died.: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/10/20/2010-10-20_bob_guccione_dead_at_79_created_penthouse_magazine.html

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