Part 4: No More Nor Less Than the Next Young Dude. I Hope.
I don’t think I was any more or less obsessed with the mysteries of the female form and its possible practical applications than the next sixteen-year-old guy. I might even say less. If I may say so, I was pretty well rounded. I was well read and well traveled, meaning I had a broader set of interests than many my age. I was a sports expert. I could spout baseball and football stats with the best of them. I could name entire starting line-ups for most any team in any major sports league. Because of the time I spent traversing Mexico as a kid, I was an early adopter of soccer north of the border. That summer, 1979, Atlanta got an NASL franchise, The Chiefs. Among the warehouses of Captains of Industry Industrial Park I was alone in my excitement over that particular development. I was an avid reader. Mostly Sci-Fi and Fantasy at the time. That summer I plowed my way through Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné series. My biggest interest, though, was music. I was all about it. And I cast a wide net, too. My listening habits ranged from CSNY to AC/DC by way of the Kinks, Linda Ronstadt, and Marvin Gaye. I could mount a graduate-level argument regarding the importance of Rubber Sole and Revolver to the development of all subsequent popular music. Also, I played guitar, a little piano and wrote terrible songs – hence the save-money-to-move-to-Nashville master plan.
Sorry to throw that much at you in an opening paragraph, I know it’s a lot. My point is, I was “into” a lot of stuff. It’s not like I sat in that Airstream trailer all summer long thinking of nothing but boobs and sex.
To be fair though, they were a recurring topic.
The previous school year, I’d had a couple of near misses. Once on a field trip I got to make out with Virginia Montrose near the back of the bus. The fact that I didn’t know what I was doing became obvious when, at one point, she literally grabbed my hand and put it on her boob. I am forever grateful for that bit of guidance. But it was fall, so we’re talking multiple layers from bulky sweater to undergarment. It was kind of like squeezing a bundle of laundry. As head-spinning as the experience was, I still had no idea what the real McCoy actually felt or looked like. Then there was the time I called bullshit on Liza-May Tolbert for saying she had a treasure trail. I was adamant that those were a guy thing. She lifted up her t-shirt, yanked down on her jeans a bit and showed me. I’m not saying she looked like Tom Selleck down there, but she did have a notable and cute little chevron-shaped trail of peach fuzz leading down into her jeans. She said it was sexy to have one and I agreed. In retrospect, maybe I had already been issued clear invitations to explore the mysteries but had failed to pick up on them because, as smart as I was about some things, I was clearly stupid about others.
Right away, living with Uncle Willy that summer of 1979 afforded me some opportunities to try to further my knowledge and experience. One of the less satisfying ways was to keep an eye on the TV Guide for Showtime movies flagged with nudity warnings. Sometimes I would have the house to myself at a time that coincided with one of these movies. The trouble was that Uncle Willy got HBO, not Showtime. Showtime came in all scrambled. If you were patient enough to sit there for an hour, there might come a time when a wavy, crazy colored boob might flash on the screen for a few seconds. The effort to payoff ratio was way out of whack. I abandoned that practice after a couple of attempts. Speaking of whack though, giving a teenager his own Airstream trailer to live in is like giving him a whacking palace. The privacy of the trailer combined with the refractory period of a sixteen-year-old made for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’d never experienced that level of potential onanistic excess before. All I lacked was inspirational material.
By and large, in those days before internet, most adolescents looking for inspiration of that sort were lucky to have a J.C. Penny catalog underwear section, or maybe a Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit edition. It’s not like I hadn’t gotten a hold of a Playboy here and there. My older brother had one with Barbi Benton in it hidden in his closet. But I’d never had one of my own. I resolved to change that.
As far as readily available publications, there were just the two, Playboy and Penthouse. And you had to go to the counter of 7-Eleven, or the drugstore, or whatever and ask for them by name. It was going to take a bit of courage. I made my move at 7-Eleven. It wasn’t really planned, more a matter of seizing an opportunity. I was just there for a Pepsi and a hot dog, but couldn’t help noticing that the shits given by the dude behind the counter, about anything, were pretty much zero. As I neared the counter, impulse took over. Before I could think long enough to stop myself, I requested one of each magazine. And that was that. I had purchased my first very own nudie mags. The ease with which they were acquired built my confidence for the big Kelly’s Bar and Grill caper I was now beginning to consider in earnest.
I had a grand old time in that Airstream with my magazines. Except for that one time when Uncle Willy opened the door and came in without knocking. I was in middle of a date with Playmate of the Year Monique St. Pierre. It’s one thing to metaphorically get caught with your dick in your hand. To have it happen literally is something else. I was mortified. To Uncle Willy’s credit, he pretended not to notice and said matter-of-factly, “Going to the store. Need anything?” I said I was all set, thank you. He closed the door and we never spoke of it again. I learned to lock and he learned to knock. Uncle Willy was the best. Too bad about those farts.
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