Dear Kat: When I moved to ABQ, I was struck by the number of "adult" establishments on major roads. Pussycat Video, The News Stand and Castle Megastore, among others, were right on my regular drives down Central and San Mateo. And I was more than happy to check them out, with very little concern for who might see me.
But then there's the Big Eye. Despite checking out every other adult store in town, I can't bring myself to enter a porn store in plain sight of I-25, especially with that giant eye staring at me. Do you have any advice on how to enter the store without the world (and the creepy eye) seeing me? Or is it even worth it?
Dear Unjudged: There's a parking lot behind the Big Eye. There's even a great big sign facing I-25 that says so. Same goes for Knockouts in Downtown: The club has a "discreet entrance" in the back. Fantasy World has one, too. In fact, if you look around, you'll notice that your favorites—Castle, Pussycat and Video Maxxx—don't have parking in view of the street. Consistently, car lots are nestled behind the buildings to keep their customers' identities a secret. Because nothing will ruin your career / family life / church life like being spotted at a porn shop, apparently.
Your question gives me a chance to get on my soapbox and preach about American prudery and its horrible effect on us.
If you haven't noticed, it's Pride Week, an essential celebration of our LGBT community. With all due respect, I want to extend the holiday to every American.
Puritanism is why we need Pride Week in the first place. If we could just quit caring so much what other people are doing in their bedrooms with other consenting adults, it wouldn't be a problem for homosexuals to, ya' know, be treated like human beings.
When it gets down to it, all people are dirty pervs in their bedrooms in the eyes of someone else. Everyone likes something different. Most adults have sex, and most of the time, that sex would gross out those not participating. At the least, it wouldn't interest them. When you put it that way, our individual sexual preferences are about as important as what flavor ice cream we like.
Prudery makes sex such a commodity that we are titillated by the very thought of someone having non-vanilla sex, or sex different from what is publicly perceived as "normal".
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that not treating sex as a normal (and even mundane) part of our everyday lives is what fuels homophobia, makes sex shops seedy, keeps young people from using condoms and allows serial killers to prey on prostitutes. Have you never noticed how the people who preach the most about sexual purity are the ones who get caught in the dirtiest scams? Puritanism makes us obsessed with sex in an unhealthy way, and it needs to stop.
My advice to you this Pride Week is to be proud of your sexuality. In fact, my real advice to you is to go straight to the Big Eye and park in front, in full view of everyone. Wave a flag as you walk into the peep show. Dare the passersby on I-25 to judge you. Better yet, go to a store such as Self Serve, where the customers aren't ashamed of their perfectly natural sexuality. Park right in front, waltz right in and enjoy yourself.
Because your sex life is your business, and the conservative "family values" people in this country are trying to make it their business. They want to forbid you from talking about sex, or from expressing your sexuality, even if you're into the vanilla kind.
But don't let them! Be proud that you’re a sexual being and that, at least until Sarah Palin gets her way, you can still go to a porn shop. You can read dirty mags. You can watch porn on the Internet. You can sleep with a willing adult partner in any way you want to. You can eat Cherry Garcia ice cream!
Go be a kinky weirdo, because everyone is a kinky weirdo. The more ashamed you are of such a perfectly natural process, the worse you're making things for everyone else.