How I Became Dirty-Minded (And Got Over It).
“I’d rather have a cup of tea than sex.” Boy George
As a child I was guilty of many fixations. At the age of eight, I stared repeatedly at the thighs of a little girl sitting two desks back. This required me to turn at an awkward angle, much like you do when you’re backing up a car. The girl eventually reported me, and I was sent to the back of the room to reflect on my behaviour. Since everyone else’s head was facing the blackboard, I realized I could watch that girl’s thighs all afternoon, and still appear engrossed in the lesson. I looked like a happy lapdog.
I had other pursuits, of course, like watching how girls’ thighs moved up and down on bicycle seats. It might’ve become a permanent pastime if I hadn’t gotten too close and was run over. The girl was very apologetic, and I was apologetic, too. She had wonderful thighs and a good bedside manner.
In my eighth year of school, I sat behind a girl who was already wearing a bra. I spent hours studying it through the back of her blouse. Eventually I was caught by Miss Abernathy, my teacher, who sent me to the back of the class again. “You’re becoming a dirty-minded boy,” she said.
I actually tried to join the cheerleading squad, but I was still recovering from being run over by a bike. I was a temporary gimp.
Miss Abernathy had magnificent thighs. I didn’t tell her that, of course. You don’t go around telling teachers they have magnificent thighs. You’ll get sent to the back of the class. Miss Abernathy’s magnificent thighs looked especially magnificent in those gym skirts. She wore those teaching cheerleading. I actually tried to join the cheerleading squad, but I was still recovering from being run over by that girl’s bike. I was a temporary gimp.
I decided, instead, to spent my time understanding the bra of the girl in front of me. After many hours of close examination, I concluded that bras are deceptively complicated. Without proper instruction, they could easily traumatize a fumbling boy to the point where he’d give up entirely and become a baseball player or biologist.
So I took matters into my own hands, setting up a tent in a field, then inviting the girl sitting in front of me over to give instruction to a group of my friends. I thought she’d slap me at first. Then a strange thing happened. She didn’t. She said she’d have to sneak out of the house. Her parents weren’t big on her showing a tentful of boys her bra. Neither were my parents.
Anyway, at the given hour, meaning midnight, she appeared, finding us huddled in our sleeping bags. Being a full-fledged dirty-minded boy at this point, I suggested she start by showing us her bra. This she did, sending two boys running home, and two more staring like antelopes.
The girls called her a slut, an uncalled-for insult considering none of us became professional baseball players or biologists.
Word got out the next day that I was giving “bra lessons,” earning me a reputation as a dirty-minded sicko. Not that I minded. The following Friday night, my tent was full, and the same girl became something of a den mother. The other girls called her a slut, an uncalled-for insult considering none of us became professional baseball players or biologists.
By high school, my attention turned to Playboy magazines, something I’m sure clouded my judgment. I now held girls to a serious level of perfection. The slightest mole or discolouration left me wondering if I needed to move to Chicago. That was where Mr. Hefner lived in a huge mansion with a bed that rose hydraulically to reveal a pool below.
Each centrefold girl gave a list of her likes and dislikes, a nice touch if you wanted to skip the formalities. I figured everyone at The Playboy Mansion did, or they wouldn’t get in any swimming at all.
I therefore drafted a template of sorts, asking my dates to fill in their favourite movies, foods and did they like hairy chests? I barely had hair under my arms, so I needed to know. I mean, we couldn’t both have high expectations. We’d be looking each other up and down for hours.
To make a long story short, none of my candidates had the slightest interest in culture or hirsutism. Foods ranged from Fluffernutters to sandwiches cut into little dinosaurs. Under “Where do you want to be in twenty years?” one girl wrote “God, I’ll be thirty-seven!” It was a bust, except one respondent who claimed she’d watch any movie if it meant necking in the balcony.
I took her to a movie the following Saturday. We necked all through “The French Connection.” She bit my tongue every time there was a gunshot or someone screamed. By the end, my tongue was in rags, and my spirits low, but she apologized and I found myself apologizing back, a sure sign it would happen again since we both liked movies with a lot of gunshots and screaming.
Girls went braless the way men went shirtless and dogs went leashless.
Fortunately, the Summer of Love was just around the corner, with flashing peace signs, and people back in tents again. Girls went braless the way men went shirtless and dogs went leashless. When I asked one woman why she didn’t wear a bra, she reached in her knapsack and handed me one.”Here,” she said,”you obviously like these things more than I do.”
Well, I did, to be perfectly honest. Just not enough to wander around Woodstock with one over my shoulder. Besides, Playboy did a whole thing on Flower Girls. Maybe they were out on the highway, thumbs out, wearing tight bellbottoms and crisp shirts tied above the waist.
Unfortunately, the only women with their thumbs out hadn’t bathed in days, and I couldn’t look at their unshaved legs without wondering if they spent any time at all reading Playboy.
When disco hit, the clothes, the hair, and kaleidoscope lights were everything I could hope for. “The Freak” allowed you to dry hump strangers. “The Bump” allowed you hip check the offended ones and find another.
The discos themselves held a vast profusion of slit-up-the-side dresses. Studio 54 looked like a leg convention. I was back into thighs again.
By then, her make-up was down around her chin and her hair had the bounce of old pound cake.
Disco-trekking was my Friday night obsession, except you couldn’t just drag someone home. She had dance through Barry White, K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Donna Summer before she’d give you the time of day. By then, her make-up was down around her chin and her hair had the bounce of old pound cake.
Remember, this was also a time of communicable diseases. There was no “free love” anymore. You spent a good percentage of your money on condoms. It was a source of pride having an embossed circle in your wallet where the condom was. Unfortunately, this also meant you hadn’t used one in months—if not years. I kept mine in my back pocket. By the time I got a chance to use it, the heat of my bum had turned it into a poker chip. I was pretty sure the free-loving sixties and seventies were over at that point.
Everyone got angry after that. People stuck safety pins in their noses, and punk music made you feel like you’d thrown up in your shoes. Nobody seemed to care about sex anymore. Madonna did a photo book. It came across as phoney and staged, much like Studio 54. You started to wonder if anyone cared what they did at five in the morning, stumbling out of cabs, hoping Annie Leibovitz hadn’t captured anything too compromising.
Everything was there, including embarrassing pictures of models caught without make-up, and stars with their stomachs hanging out. Images were shattered daily.
Between AIDS scares and punk and people shoving anything up their noses, nobody paid much attention to Madonna wearing a nuclear bra (which I could’ve had off in seconds based on my grade school tent training).
But it was old hat and hardly worth the trouble. Besides, we now had social media, and what we couldn’t get on the street, we found online. Everything was there, including embarrassing pictures of models caught without make-up, and stars with their stomachs hanging out. Images were shattered daily.
If you were looking for sexual stimulation, you went to PornHub. Then you wished you hadn’t. Remember hearing about plastic forming islands the size of Great Britain in the Pacific? That was nothing compared to what was going in women’s chests. Then lips grew, asses grew, rap encouraged every pound like we didn’t have enough “milkshakes in the yard.”
It didn’t pay to be dirty-minded anymore. Nobody had the heart for it. Once Snoop Dog had naked women doing the weather, it was like old Vaudevillians telling bad jokes and burlesques swinging their pasties.
If we felt unclean, it wasn’t the sex, or thinking about sex. That was taken over by movies like Game of Thrones, and all the larger-than-life things you could watch without getting off the couch. Then, get this irony. A pandemic comes along and everyone’s complaining about their civil liberties.
The Sexual Revolution doesn’t matter anymore. All we can do now is hope we don’t end up like the song “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon.”
C’mon, let’s face it. We weren’t going out, anyway. We’re too busy staring at our phones and our computers and our Playstations. We haven’t left the house in days. We probably haven’t thought of sex in days.
In other words, being dirty-minded today is a cliché. We’re done with it. The Sexual Revolution doesn’t matter anymore. All we can do now is hope we don’t end up like the song “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon.”
“Arms that can only lift a spoon, everyone’s gone to the moon.”
If Elon Musk has his way, it could be where we’re heading. We’ll have to wait and see. Maybe spoon-lifting is our last act. Either that or, as the song says, “Long time ago, life had begun, everyone looked to the sun.”
Robert Cormack is a novelist, satirist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive) is available through Skyhorse Press. You can read Robert’s other articles and stories at robertcormack.net