ColumnsWhat A World

A Night at the Movies

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One man’s meat is another woman’s poisson

by Nancy Ford

What an incredible job I have. In addition to the privilege of pouring out my own personal tragedies and triumphs and bugaboos to you—a monthly literary therapeutic self-purging, if you will—I get a lot of free stuff. Deliveries of goodies and giveaways arrive almost daily, all designed to catch the eye of a writer who might recommend or simply mention the item in print, thereby planting a bug in the ear of you potential customers.

Music, books, movies, clothing, food, electronics, jewelry, toiletries—I receive unsolicited bribery baubles of every description. One Christmas I enjoyed a “Jingle Bra,” a noisy little piece of lingerie bedazzled with tiny bells. It was designed for someone with an A cup, so I used it as a hot chocolate cozy.

Once I received a huge box chock-full of adult novelties of every shape and size, designed to appeal to every inclination. Its arrival eliminated the bulk of my Christmas shopping that particular year with the mere stroke of my signature on the FedEx delivery guy’s computer pad. My friends were thrilled with their gifts, and my mother appreciated her new double-headed door draft stopper.

Yes indeed, I love my job.

Last month I received a similar promotional surprise package. It was a large box containing a bottle of Merlot, an assortment of chocolates, a tin of macadamia nut cookies, and some office supply-ish, promotional items. Also nestled in the bottom of the box were eight no-holds-barred, triple-X lesbian porn DVDs.

I am not a lesbian porn connoisseur by any means, but I’m no prude, either. I get the utilitarian nature of pornography. Porn is to sexuality as MSG is to food: we don’t really need it, and too much of it can be unhealthy, but sometimes it adds just the right amount of oomph to an otherwise bland experience. Plus, porn has likely saved many a gay man’s life, and for that I am grateful.

The DVDs may have been a gift from the films’ producers, but the timing of their arrival, coinciding with all the recent Christine O’Donnell masturbation hoopla, was a gift from Comedy Heaven.

The adorable but vacuous O’Donnell, a fringe Tea Party-backed, ultra-conservative nominee for the U.S. Senate from Delaware, has become famous for an anti-masturbation rant spewed on a 1996 MTV special: “It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone,” she said. “The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust. . . . If he already knows what pleases him and he can please himself, why am I in the picture?”

At least one very specific, very graphic picture answering O’Donnell’s query springs to mind, but decency prevents me from elaborating in this column.

So back to the lesbo porn.

Those who do claim the title of lesbian porn connoisseur often complain that real lesbian porn is a challenge to find. Sure, there are lots of readily available films featuring “girl-on-girl” action, designed by straight men for the titillation of straight men. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not lesbian porn. It’s like saying that because she sings about kissing a girl and liking it, Katy Perry’s music is womyn’s music.

Now that I’m on the leeward, lowered-hormonal side of life, my personal bedroom habits have changed. For the most part these days, if I want to impress a woman in my bedroom, we watch Jeopardy! To be fair, it was necessary to recruit some friends to help me with the burdensome challenge of reviewing these films. I’m generous that way.

At first I thought I would host a movie night at my house, but how does one invite a group of friends to one’s home for a porn festival without sounding like a big perv? One doesn’t.

Besides, when I posed the porn party possibility to my wide-eyed friends, the multitasking machine went into full swing: “Ooooh, we can grill, too—have you had Lisa’s salmon? It’s perfect! Then after we watch the movies we can also decide…” and suddenly the porn party had turned into an organizing meeting to discuss the next fundraising event we were all working on.

Abandoning the party plan, I farmed out the movies to those same lesbian friends (who are of various multigenerational hormonal levels, by the way) for individual private review. My friends chose from films with scenarios like real estate agent/client, college dorm room encounters, and other predictable setups. Providing an odd element of realism, the police-themed film, it turns out, was based on the true story of a cop-killing in Los Angeles. Eww. But the softball team-themed film held promise.

A night or two later, the reviews were in. Regardless of the reviewer’s age, the general consensus was a big thumbs down. Or somewhere.

• “Too much time on the tanning beds before filming. Hellooo…you don’t touch a burn!”

• “One woman looked like Opie Taylor with a strap-on.”

• “Their technique was less than original. Lick, thumb, dry hump . . . lick, thumb, dry hump…repeat. Really?!? Get a lesbian to direct next time.”

• “Razorburn is a no-no! General rule: If it has a rash, don’t lick it.”

• “Where are the condoms? Have they never heard of HPV? Wrap those dils!”

• “Too many fake breasts. Nipples pointing in different directions are a distraction.”

• “Hated the cheap linens. Stay away from floral prints—too busy.”

So what is the takeaway here? Despite their pure intentions, these lesbian porn producers have a lot to learn about what their target audience thinks is hot and not hot. On the other hand, the adult video industry is estimated to be a $20 billion market annually, despite not winning any Peabody Awards. Maybe those producers know exactly what they are doing, after all.

Regardless, I appreciate that bottle of Merlot. Cheers!

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