Monday, 30 March 2015

Me, My Porn and I (3)

Now, where was I? Ah, yes. About fourteen years old, with newly-installed (dial-up) internet and an almost constant erection, masturbating like I had a deathwish. Ah, the good old days. It doesn't even seem that long ago. To quote Leonardo Dicaprio's character in The Basketball Diaries, “time flies when you're young and jerking off.”

And I thought I had the system dialled! I would look up porn, save it to (floppy, remember) disk, then have a 'session' when everyone was out. It seemed like nothing could go wrong. I knew about the History folder and would always be careful to delete all incriminating entries after every search. How could I know, though, about the file that would eventually be my downfall? Welcome, everybody, Temporary Internet Files.

Kids these days know all about this file. Or, more likely, they are able to use a browser with an 'incognito' option which does not record your secret (usually porn-based) web activity. These browsers are clearly made with porn in mind, just as king-size Rizla are obviously made for smoking weed. We all know, but we all pretend not to.

But in my day, lad, Google didn't exist. Bill gates had the whole internet sewn up and everyone ran Windows Internet Explorer. Long-since ditched (for being shit), this was the only choice available to us 'trail-blazers,' and no such anonymous searching setting was included. Still, though, those with even a rudimentary knowledge of computers knew about the existence of Temporary Internet Files and took care to make sure the file remained porn-free.

Well, not this kid. I was learning as I went along. I had a nagging fear that everything was getting logged somewhere, but for some reason did not think to have a little explore through the registry. My father, on the other hand, was somewhat more curious. And that's where he found, one Saturday, a log of all the filth I had been viewing over the months since the internet had arrived. My secret was out, laid-bare. And then he told my mum.

I remember when he came out to the garden to confront me. “Someone's been looking up porn on the computer,” he said, as if it could have been anyone but me. I froze.
Really?” I sheepishly replied, as if he would believe my attempt at innocence.
Yeah there's all these addresses like 'porn city' in the Temporary Internet Files. (THE WHAT NOW!?) Is this a case of 'Father I cannot tell a lie'?”*

* Apocryphal quote from George Washington, founding father of the USA, about the time he chopped down his father's favourite cherry tree for a laugh. To this day, one of my own father's favourite sayings.

Yes,” I replied simply. I could have died of embarrassment. And anger! I was so angry with myself for letting myself get caught. And in all the shame and mortification of this immediate confrontation, I forgot to ask him not to tell my mum. Too bloody late. My father is almost congenitally incapable of keeping a secret anyway, so she almost definitely would have found out. Still, I felt after, I could have asked him not to say anything.

My mum's reaction was even worse. All she kept saying was, “my little boy!” over and over again in the 'I'm not angry just disappointed' voice. I was so ashamed.* I just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. I disappeared to my room and stayed there, as if, by not looking at the concern on their faces, I could evade the disappointment it conveyed.

* Could be that all the shame I attach to porn (and my usage thereof) could spring almost entirely from this one traumatic episode from my childhood. Just a thought.

And then the darnedest thing happened: we didn't discuss it. I'm not sure we ever spoke of it again. Not directly, anyway. It was occasionally alluded to, but we never 'talked it out.' My family are so classically English that we almost never discuss(ed) our feelings. My father is a master of changing the subject if he finds it uncomfortable and my mother a mistress of denial. They say 'never underestimate the power of denial' and 'they' are absolutely right.

If my parents didn't like something me and my sister were doing (like quite obviously smoking throughout most of our teens), they would just pretend it wasn't happening. This would go to absurd lengths like my mum finding my sister's smokes in the bathroom (where she had forgotten them) and putting them in her room but never mentioning it. In classic 'hanging on in quiet desperation,' if they didn't like it and they didn't have to confront it directly, they just pretended it didn't exist.

I'm not blaming them. They are from a generation of people who put up, shut up and got on with it. They had no time for talking about feelings. And I know it can be scary confronting things your children are doing which you don't understand or find frightening. I can quite understand (now) why this went undiscussed. But I still think I should have got a bollocking.

Or a banning from the computer or a grounding or something. But nothing came (no pun intended). We all just pretended it hadn't happened and carried on, except now I had become a master of my own; a master of covering my porn-based internet tracks. From thenceforth I was meticulous. No less porn was viewed, of course (don't be silly), but now no trace was left. Not one single address or cookie; from the desktop to the innermost directories, no porn would ever be found again.*

* This probably had the knock-on effect of teaching me a great deal about computers. Just don't let me hear me say porn never taught me nothing.

Now that I think about it, this could indeed have been the turning point. The point when I realised that I should feel ashamed and when I knew I had to keep it all a secret. It could be that this experience – as with the criminalisation of drugs – drove me 'underground' to a place from which I would not emerge for years to come.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Joy Of Socks

84 days porn-free

This post is gross. Copious and heartfelt apologies in advance.

It always used to be about the 'wankerchief.' Back in the day, when teenagers of my generation were whacking off with reckless abandon in every spare minute, this was the weapon of choice in the war of 'mopping up' the veritable gallons of precious bodily fluid expressed at every available opportunity. It's probably much the same now and, I have to say, I envy the parents of teenage boys very little.

I don't know about you guys, but when I discovered wanking, there was jizz everywhere; on tissues stuffed down the side of my bed (as if I thought my mum wouldn't notice); on the wall of the shower; between the keys of the computer (I told you this was gross); in my pants; on my chest (one time I even got it in my own ear). What I'm saying is, it wasn't pretty. But did we care? Did we fuck.

We were (are) obsessed with our dicks. How many times could we do it? How far could we shoot it? How much would come out? What did it taste like (yeah, I went there)?

Then came the era of the 'wankerchief': an old or unwanted t-shirt or pair of pants which would be used, in place of tissues, to catch your daily deposits of teenage jism. It quickly became gross but that didn't stop us using it for way longer than was reasonable. Each night (for what better time for self abuse than after dark?), we would pull out the rag, stiff and cracking with dried semen (eww) and jizz into it again, and again, until it was like a palimpsest of sedimentary genetic material.

But this couldn't go on forever. No t-shirt, however robust, could ever withstand this nightly hosing. The rags became too much even for our filthy teenage sensibilities and would be clandestinely binned, or even ceremonially burnt. And then, like a vision; like something so obvious finally becoming clear, there came socks!

Socks! Not only the best item of clothing to both put on and take off, but – more importantly at this age – shaped almost exactly like a material-made condom! How good? Unlike the wankerchief, the sock had the advantage of being enclosed at one end, meaning that one could just slip it on, go cock-berserk and not have to worry about your jizz ending up all over yourself, your surroundings, your clothes or – worst of all – somewhere you couldn't find at all.*

* The enjoyment of many-a teenage wank was curtailed by the knowledge that, precisely the time it was over, a swift, thorough (and buzz-killing) clean-up would have to be undertaken.

Socks, socks, glorious socks! We'd found the answer. No longer had we any need for a fetid cum rag stinking up our (already semen-soaked) bedrooms. We had socks. And they even got washed. Not by us,* obviously, but what did we care? We now had single-serving (and endlessly 'self-renewing') clean-up devices right there in the drawer.

* Our poor mothers.

In many ways, (as for so many other things, including the term MILF) the film American Pie is to blame. This film was viewed ubiquitously by boys (and girls) of my generation, and the scene where Jason Biggs is caught sock-on-cock by his mortified parents, either gave us the idea or endorsed it as acceptable behaviour.

And this, friends, is why you should be careful when borrowing (or stealing) socks from a man. Has he wanked into them more times than you can count? Is it worth the risk? Just a little food for thought.


Monday, 23 March 2015

A Guide To Mountain Town Dating

81 days porn-free

Mountain towns are not, by their nature, very big. They are really little more than isolated outposts, situated in places that, by virtue of having no interest in mountains and/or skiing, most people have little or no reason to ever go to. This means that, when it comes to 'dating' (and by 'dating' I obviously mean sexytime), your (my) options can be somewhat limited. Here, then, is a guide to finding said sexytime when you live in a place no human really should, and not many actually do.

Option one is to have a girl/boyfriend. This seems to be what most people have gone for as far as I can tell: get hold of someone you fancy and can tolerate, then hold onto them for dear life. Under no circumstances let go of them and make sure that you a. parade them around with you wherever you go, emanating a demeanour that says: 'we're just so in love' and b. tell every interested (or not) party about them in the first five seconds of conversation (you to her: “What's your name?” Her to you: “my boyfriend calls me Kate”).*

* Although this kind of defensive 'boyfriend bombing' can be frustrating, it is much preferred to the one that comes after several flirty days and/or dances/dates. At one time I tried to come up with a formula for how much a girl likes you (me) vs. when she drops the boyfriend bomb. I mean, when she does it straight away, is it because she feels she can't trust herself around you or because she's deeply in love with said boyf (or both)? Have I been thinking about this too much? Probably.

Being new in town (like nobody I know), this option may not be available to you, especially since everyone you ever meet has already gone for it and, in all likelihood, is already blissfully engag√©. You will therefore be left with the unenviable task of finding a mate in the population of the town's singles. But how will you do this? Where do they hang out? What should you say? Well may you wonder. Here then is some solid gold advice from a Master of the Art.*

* Read: loneliest man in western Canada.

Spending most of your days on the mountain, your 'courting' opportunities will likely be limited to evenings/night times. There are some chances for mountain-flirting on chairlifts and whatnot, but there is equal chance that you will spend long days on your own or eventually pull someone who is only gogglehot.*

* An individual with an attractive mouth/jawline who, although hot-looking on the mountain, having removed the titular item of ski faceware, is revealed to be a hideous, mono-browed ug.

Your night of tail-chasing, then, will probably break down something like this:

7 – 9pm – 'Pre-drinking' at your own house. In order to avoid spending too much $$ on primo drinks in a bar, you shotgun tins for two hours at home before heading out. There will either be nobody of the opposite sex present or, if there is, it will be your mate's girl/boyf and/or your Australian housemate. Obviously neither of these are options as one is your mate's bird and the other, although female, is more of a man than you will ever be.

9 – 11 – The Bar(s). This is where your groundwork is done. Hopefully you are meeting a larger group consisting of one or more singles. Here you will be (relatively) sober and may be able pull off some half-decent chat which will potentially pay dividends later. Much drinking will also take place which may or may not improve the quality of said chat.

Pool will also take place in The Bar and men will demonstrate their abundant sexual prowess by expertly firing balls into holes. Is this a metaphor? I don't even know. But men take this pursuit deadly seriously and, for some reason, women seem to pay attention. Pool also has the potential to cause (testosterone/alcohol-fuelled – is there another kind?) fights and for even more flirting during the playing of 'doubles.'*

* During games of mixed doubles, the game is largely forgotten in the place of gaming tips (flirting) and the age-old mating ritual of 'chase me round the table till I'm tired!'

12* – 2 am – The Club. This is where things really hot up. If you have made a 'connection' at the Bar, the Club is where it will all play out. If you have not, you now have two (desperate) hours to find and make said connection before heading home alone like one sad old fuck.

* This when dick'eads who work nights (guess who?) join the race. Usually feeling tired, under-dressed and painfully sober, they will probably smash $3 Jäger Bombs in an effort to catch up, then fall over and cry at about 2:30.

The Club is where the serious drinking takes place and most people start hoofing cocaine like it's going out of fashion. The atmosphere is charged with lust, libido and (male) sexual aggression. The music is utter, unlistenable shite. Men who have made a 'connection' with a single female will fiercely guard her from any other male interaction, 'herding' her round the club like some kind of over-familiar bodyguard.

If you are as yet unaffiliated, your chances are improved by having and offering drugs and/or successfully 'dancing'* with a woman until she lets you kiss her face off. Once shameless making out has occurred, full sexytime is almost definitely on the cards. A full-on make-out is the basic aim of most of the dancefloor/drug-related club activity.

* What I mean by 'dancing' is obviously just grabbing and/or grinding against every woman in the place until one reciprocates/does not immediately register displeasure (see Cock Blocker post for more details). I have never been good at this. Either I am too shy or too awkward, but most of the times I have ever tried it I have been (rightfully) slapped.

2:30 – 3 am – The Street Outside The Club/McDonald's. If you haven't yet 'got lucky,' all is not lost. You still have a chance of getting with someone who was able to evade the hoards of sex-hungry males in The Club and is now standing around smoking on the street outside. There may be a party to go to, you may still have drugs to offer or you might be able to impress them doing ill-advised acrobatics off a park bench. The only problem with 'courting' at this time is that everyone is wasted and therefore taking a woman you have just met home becomes somewhat morally questionable. Is she really in control of her decision-making? Really?*

* Worryingly some guy at work described to me how he goes 'street sweeping' (actual words) at this time of night i.e. essentially 'crawling' the pavements picking up girls who are too wasted to know any better. Is he in fact a rapist? Discuss.

3 am – Taxi Time (or the most dangerous time in the world). This is when to cut and run. If you have 'made it' with a girl or a guy, time to high tail it out of there if you have not already done so. A taxi is the only sensible form of getaway vehicle. If you have a bike or other mode of transport, you better hope it's securely locked, cos you're abandoning that shit till such time as you can retrieve it, in all probability no earlier than tomorrow AM. Thankfully taxis are numerous and cheap, so that's something.

During this phase, all females will gradually leave the scene as they pair off and/or head home with their girlfriends. All that will remain is a crowd of twenty or so wasted, frustrated men looking for a fight. This locale now becomes statistically one of the more dangerous places in North America. If you stick around here, your chances of a black eye and a night in the cells are beyond high.

Although you are secretly hoping something like this ( will happen, your best bet at this point is to accept defeat, cycle home, get in bed and then harvest* Tinder until you fall asleep with the light on. Repeat nightly until you lose all hope.

* Swipe right till you run out of likes.

Friday, 20 March 2015

To (Make) Porn or Not To (Make) Porn?

Ca, c'est la question.

I have been listening to Woman's Hour again. This is something I do often at home, but have not really done since being in Canada. I have to say, hearing once again the dulcet tones of Jane Garvey and the quintessential 'Englishness' of her guests and callers sure made me a little homesick.

Radio 4 was ubiquitous in my house growing up and, much as I rail against its pomposity and unrelenting middle-classness, secretly I love it to bits. Not only does it remind me of home and my childhood but it puts out some genuinely great work. Among other programmes, I enjoy Book of the Week (except the ones with the silly accents), Dessert Island Discs (except the politicians) and (most of) the comedy (sorry, Mitch Benn, but you are not funny). I still can't take The Archers (I listen to the music and then turn it off) or You and Yours but, in general, I have a lot of time for their output.

Anyway, this week (or recently) Woman's Hour took on the subject of Porn and, chiefly, whether women are empowered (or not) by it. If you are interested, you can find the podcasts of the initial  debate and the follow-up programme here: 

Have a listen, why dontcha?

However you feel about the issue – or, indeed, Woman's Hour – it's worth tuning in just to hear the presenters attempting to discuss porn without saying 'cock,' 'hard,' 'jizz,' or similar. As you'll see, it's not actually that easy, but they do an admirable job.

On a more serious note, is it not interesting that the issue should be making it into the mainstream? Does it not validate the existence of this blog and show Yours Truly as the prescient, on-trend genius that he is? The first one? Guys? Self-congratulation aside, I think it is excellent that porn is now being discussed and bold of Woman's Hour to be the ones to do it.

Bringing things into the open and talking about them are, I believe, crucial steps on the way to changing things with which we may not be satisfied. The shame I spoke of in my first post is something we (I) desperately need to address. When people feel ashamed, they are are far less likely to be able to discuss things and therefore ever make any progress towards reconciliation.

So, does porn empower women? The initial debate was far too short (in my opinion) to make any real headway (Dear Jane was aware that 40 mins is a paltry amount of time to devote to such a large topic) on this issue. How can you fit the myriad views on a contentious subject into so short a time? Well, really, you can't, but the fact that the debate took place at all is what's important and really should be the beginning of the discussion rather than its conclusion.

Also, is this even the right question to be asking in regard to porn? Rhiannon Lucy Coslett wrote an excellent response to the debate in the Guardian* in which she argues convincingly that perhaps 'empowerment' is the wrong word in this context. Coslett says, As with taste or preference, empowerment is personal, and may not apply to others. That’s why the word causes such handwringing for those who are unable to distinguish between what might be individually empowering for them, and what might be empowering (or not) for women everywhere, as a gender and a social category – even a class – who are routinely singled out and discriminated against.”

Right on, sister. Perhaps it is misleading or counter-productive to talk about empowerment in this context but, be that as it may, I would like to discuss whether porn should exist (or not) at all and, in doing so, to clarify my stance vis-a-vis being 'anti-porn.'

You may be have been misguided (through no fault of your own) by some of my impassioned early posts into thinking that I am anti all porn. This, friends, is not the case. I am a libertarian and advocate of freedom in all its forms. I dislike being dictated to by the state or anybody else about what I should or shouldn't be allowed to do as long, of course, as I am not hurting anybody else. I believe we should 'live and let live' as much as human(e)ly possible.

I do not think porn should be banned. I do not thing prostitution (or drugs for that matter) should be illegal. As we have seen time and again, criminalising these things pushes them 'underground' and into the hands of the (even more) unscrupulous. Conditions for sex workers deteriorate; they make less money, are put in more danger and generally have a shittier time than they were having in the first place.

Knee-jerk banning of things we, as a society, cannot face is the shortest route to exacerbating the problems. So where do I stand? As I said, I am for freedom for people to do things as long – and here's the rub – as they are not hurting anyone else or are being done at their expense.* And this is the problem with (most) modern hardcore porn: people are suffering for it. Women (and men) are being degraded and maltreated by it. That's where the shame comes from; the intrinsic knowledge that you are taking pleasure from watching someone do something they are not enjoying and/or have been pressured or coerced into.

* (Sweatshop labour and the 70-hour-a-week Apple 'prisons' are a case in point here and a whole other kettle of (massive) fish. I can't talk about it now, but suffice it to say that porn does not have the monopoly on human exploitation. This world was built on it and, in many ways, it is still its lifeblood).

There was some excellent (and some not so excellent) input from some of the speakers at the WH debate, one of whom spoke about the 'market forces' nature of modern pornography. That it is being driven by money and money men and that, this being the case, it is never going treat its performers with compassion. This speaker's answer is that, in this case, only market forces i.e. consumer behaviour will effect any change in the situation.

This was a point raised by producers of 'feminist' and 'fair-trade' porn who argued that porn is not inherently wrong and that, if you don't like the current state of affairs, vote with your bits and start looking in other places. Places where performers are respected, properly treated and (crucially) that women's fantasies and wishes are catered for. Again and again, I couldn't help thinking that one of the key 'problems' with the current situation (as in so many – most – other areas of society) is male dominance within porn production.

It is this overwhelming male dominance which creates the fantasies of the boss getting sexual favours from his sexy, under-performing secretary or (worryingly) the teacher fucking his naughty nymphet of a pupil in return for better grades. In all of these situations, men are using women's sexuality to exercise power over them and the sexual act becomes just another form of male domination; he chokes her on his cock until her eyes water, and then she knows she's been spoken to.

I found the most compelling listening in those working with children and young adults and hearing (as I suspected) how porn is affecting their early sexual development. What the older members of the group patently failed to comprehend is simply what it's like to be a teenager (not a problem for me as I never stopped). In the absence of dependable adult role models with which to discuss sex, children are obviously (and routinely) looking to porn.

If young boys see men slapping women in the face and calling them 'sluts' before penetrating every one of their available orifices, might they just start thinking this is acceptable? With no-one to tell them otherwise, probably yes. Heart-breakingly, these contributors told about girls feeling forced to do things they are not comfortable with (which boys have seen in porn) because they have no frame of reference and do not feel confident enough to say, 'I'm not into this.' There was a frighteningly low statistic about how many teenagers associate sex with love and intimacy which is the whirlwind we are reaping by letting (mainstream i.e. male-dominated) porn teach our kids about sex.

The counterpoint to this statistic was that in Holland (“we used to have a big problem with crime, so we legalised it”), where sex (and porn and drugs and prostitution) is not such a shameful topic, the proportion of young people associating sex and intimacy together was far higher.

So what have we learnt? Indeed, just what (the fuck) am I trying to say? Essentially that I'm not calling for an end to porn but for a sea change in (mostly male) behaviour. It's no good saying 'I get off on this and it's available, so it must be fine.' We need to be stronger and demand different and better from an (ever-growing) industry which has the dangerous potential to damage not only us – who can at least contextualize the images seared onto our consciousnesses – but our children, who cannot.

Monday, 16 March 2015

In Praise of My Shit Job

Please Note: this post has very little to do with porn, porn addiction or how to quit porn. It is off-topic, but I feel like I need to say it and this is my blog, so deal with it. Thanks.

I work a shit job. And it isn't the first that I've done. In fact, I've had so many shit jobs, I don't think I could even list them all. Amongst other things, I've driven vans, emptied bins, tended bars, cooked burgers, delivered parcels, mixed cement, I've moved shit, picked up shit, labelled shit, mail-merged shit, photocopied shit and collated shit and all for a paltry, barely-livable wage.

Then why, I hear you ask, have I not long ago committed suicide? Or even murder-suicide; 'pumping round after round into colleagues and co-workers' and setting alight to the office before 'turning the gun on myself'? Well you may ask. I hate(d) these jobs, just as anyone who does them truly does to their very soul. But, somehow, they have yet to break me. Indeed, in a strange and perverse way, I find that having and doing a shit job, day-in, day-out, until you think you might lose your mind, might just be the most important thing a 'creative' person can do.

How else, friends, do you discover what awaits you if you fail? How else do you glimpse across the Rubicon, the hours and years of endless dread that await you if you give in, if you say 'fuck it,' buy a Vauxhall and move to Surbiton (sorry, Surbiton)?

And how else will you sustain yourself, fool? While you're trying to live in London, working for free? If you haven't got a lovely supportive Mummy and Daddy and no sense of shame; parents who will shower you with cash, so you can live in a two-grand pcm flat in Kennington until Saatchi and Saatchi start paying you six figures? How are you supposed to intern, act in fringe plays, take pictures or write for nothing if you don't have some mind-numbing shit that pays just a bit more than fuck-all in order to cover your (numerous, infinite) expenses?

The answer is, of course, that you can't. There is no way to survive without finding something that pays you some money. If you're lucky, it will be in your chosen field but, far more likely, it will be something in which have not even the remotest interest. It may or may not be peopled with types to whom you can relate (the presence or not of people you can 'speak' to may make the difference between being able to stick with it and the mental hospital), but it will definitely be pointless and crushingly repetitive.

But here's the thing: I'm starting to think that I need it. How f***ed up is that? I need some stupid, mindless occupation just to make me realise how much I want to do something else; to give me the impetus and self-belief to keep on writing and performing, whether I make money or not, knowing that one day I might make enough of something or something good enough that I will no longer have to spend my waking hours making money for someone who, although far more business-minded than myself, is, in all probability, a massive, money-grubbing cnut.

It was while working at some fuck-awful admin job on the Grays Inn Road that I decided to apply for drama school (and I used their stationary to do it). I have some of my best ideas for stand-up whilst stirring salads. I feel like I give better stage performances when I've been at work all day because I haven't had time to obsess and over-think the gig. However I look at it, and however much I moan about and kick against it, I have to admit that having a shit job is what pushes me always on, in the blind hope that one day, I won't have to do it any more.

It might sound spoilt and '#FirstWorld' of me to lament the situation. After all, the immigrants who come to Britain, many of them far over-qualified for the menial jobs they eventually acquire, complain not a bit. I don't mean to do them a disservice and I respect them beyond measure. It's just that when you're educated (in your home country) to within an inch of your life, the entire focus of said education being to show you the horrors of the industrialised world, with the promise that you will eventually be qualified to do something with meaning, and then being told that the only jobs available to you are those you could have got at 'ignorant' age sixteen is bound to make you want to cry, if only every ten minutes or so.

I don't know if you've seen the episode of Spaced where Daisy gets a job at Neo Nachos* (best. name. ever), but I think it encapsulates what I'm trying to say. At the end of the episode (spoiler alert), she realises that all of her fellow, down-trodden, broken-spirited workers are, in fact, writers just like her. She has an epiphany and storms out of the job, vowing to make her living from writing from henceforth.

* If you haven't, you should. It's aces.

I'm not there just yet. But God knows, I dream of a day when I will be. For now I'm stuck, in the kitchen, in the workshop, on the shop floor; mopping and sweeping, fetching and carrying and writing with tired eyes in stolen hours before and after work. So here's to my shit job. I fucking hate it. Long may it live.

The Poetry of Porn

74 days porn-free.

I wrote a poem about porn. As I mentioned before, much of (my) porn addiction centres around idleness, boredom and procrastination. They say 'idle hands do the Devil's work'. Well, I don't believe in the Devil (unless you count Simon Cowell) but I can see in this idiom a certain amount of truth if we take 'the Devil's work' to be anything bad and/or counter-productive.

Sitting about with nothing to do (I have been injured again, this time mildly more severely) and the internet right there can make the temptation to look at porn unbearable. Also, when there are other things you should be doing (like writing comedy, for example) porn offers you the perfect escape. At the click of a tab, you can be immersed for hours on end, forgetting your more pressing duties.

So how am I managing to avoid it? Please welcome, ladies and gents, my blog. I am now devoting most of the time I would have been spending looking at porn – apart, bien sur, from the veritable multitude of hours I hemorrhage twatting about on the FB and Tinder – to writing this blog. This means the blog is serving a multi-faceted purpose. Not only is it keeping me occupied through long days of nothing, it is giving me an outlet for my thoughts and helping me achieve the aim of writing something (hopefully) funny on a regular basis.

I said before that I had been trying to spend more time writing, playing guitar and basically doing anything other than looking at fuck vids on the interweb. Here, then, are some of the results. I write poetry from time-to-time and I try not to take it too seriously. And I have no intention of becoming a 'contender, Charlie'* I do find, though, that the effort to distil an idea through economy of expression can be an excellent way of dealing with thoughts and feelings I might otherwise have trouble articulating. They are no more than ditties really (they always rhyme because I am, at heart, a child) but I hope they bring you, Reader dear, a modicum of enjoyment.

* I actually performed at a 'stand-up' poetry night recently in London. The poets, although (in general) undeniably talented, were almost like self-parodies; all shabby coats and unkempt locks, clutching half-drunk pints of Foster's while they 'bore their soul' to their assembled acolytes. To be frank, I found them (and the night) pretentious. More than this, though, I found their posturing disingenuous. (Do they shed the same fierce, fragile tears at every performance? Or am I a massive cynic?) They were cold and unwelcoming to me when the found I was a comic, as if they don't crave the very same recognition (adulation?) and applause. But, like the Murphy's... etc.

Anyway, enough with the apologies, here we bloody go.

Lover, Lover, Lover

I met her in my youth.
Before I knew the world.
I found in her a truth;
My sexuality unfurled.

She lured me in with promises
Of things I'd never known.
And, in the absence of sweet kisses,
Gave me lust to enjoy alone.

I knew I could always find her,
At any time of need.
I knew I could always have her;
I never had to plead.

Doe-eyed and compliant;
Sultry-silent on her knees;
Unselfish, tame, reliant.
She would only ever please.

Now, I can have her when I want her,
She'll do all I want and more.
She's my dirty little secret:
My filthy private whore.

I've tried many times to leave her.
I know her medicine is bad.
Yet somehow I'm always back to her,
Panting, wanton; driven mad.

She keeps me for herself.
What need I of any other?
Sitting seductive on the shelf;
My always-only lover.

And who is this mistress, you may wonder?
Please, don't look so forlorn.
You've guessed; you need not ponder.
Her name is Hardcore Porn.

Wayne Carr, 2015

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Adventures of Dick Selfie

68 days porn-free

This week, I almost took a dick selfie. This is not something I could ever have envisaged myself doing and I'm amazed at how seriously I was considering it not two days ago. I have always thought it cheap, tacky, potentially threatening to the receiver and generally an all-round low-grade pursuit. Then this happened.

I was on the Tinder* late at night, for I have taken to going on a 'spree' when I get home from work. I matched with this girl called J, who lives over 150km away. I messaged her and said, “Wow. You live far away!” and we started talking. We were getting pretty flirty, for I have found that knowing you may never meet someone in the flesh makes you (me) far braver when chatting them up. Then she put up a 'moment' of herself in a bikini, taken in her bathroom mirror.

* (If you have been reading, you may remember Kelly and be wondering where she is in all this, between Montreal Girl and the constant Tindering. Well, remember I said it was 'complicated'? The chief 'complication,' then, was that she didn't actually want to be my girlfriend. We had been seeing each other for about three months and acting almost completely like a couple; staying over several nights a week, cooking meals together, using each other's toothbrushes etc. When I told her my plans for Canada, I [obviously] asked whether she figured [or wanted to figure] in said plans. I told her, if she did, I could go for less time or she could come and visit; essentially that we'd work something out.

This is when she told me that she did not consider me to be her boyfriend and that she did not want this to change. It transpired that she likes me, but not quite enough to relinquish her 'single' status just now. So I said, 'fine,' and went to Canada for a year, footloose and fancy-free. Really, she did us both a favour as long-distance things – especially those your heart is not in – are almost always a major drag. What I am trying to tell you, friends, is that I am a single man and that the dalliances documented herein are all completely legit.)

I 'liked' her moment* and then decided to take one of my own. I have steered away from topless shots on the profile as most of the advice surrounding this issue is that it is a major no-no. But what about when you're communicating (ostensibly) one-on-one and they have already sent you a picture which is the equivalent? You take your shirt right off is what.

* A 'moment' on Tinder is a picture you take (usually of yourself but could be of anything) which is available to all of your matches for 24 hours. Your matches can then either 'like' it by swiping right or 'dislike/discard' it by swiping left.

So I took a selfie of myself in bed showing a bit of the old bod, trying to make myself look as buff as possible in the process. And she 'liked' it. I started to get turned on (in fact, I'm getting turned on just writing about it [over-share?]) and immediately tried to ramp-up the sexiness of our chat. At one point, I swear I almost asked what she was wearing! What happened to me? When did I turn into a sleazy web-creep?

It's a strange thing that comes over you in this situation. For some reason, the remoteness of the other person and the interplay between privacy and being extrovert put one in a strange head space where you're more likely to show someone (a stranger) more than you ever would face-to-face. This is a phenomenon peculiar to the internet and might be indicative of the eventual wholesale loss of the meaning of privacy.

But anyway, over the next couple of days, we trade numerous sexy 'moments' – one of her bum in a g-string, one of me naked to the waist – and I start thinking that maybe she will ask for a picture of my piece; a dick selfie*, if you will.

* I love the term 'dick selfie,' if not the physical reality. To me, Dick Selfie sounds like a 50s noir detective from the pages of Truman Capote or James Ellroy, except, instead of being a man in a trenchcoat and fedora, he's just a giant photo of a penis who goes around smoking, looking pensive and having torrid affairs with bad-luck dames.

And I started to think that, if she did ask, I would be into it. Then I started to actually experiment with taking dick selfies and trying to make them look good. It is surprisingly difficult to make yourself look sexy when taking a picture of your own genitals. Suddenly, I sympathized with Brooks Newmark, the disgraced Tory MP who, during a 'sting' operation by a tabloid newspaper, took and sent the least sexy naked photo most of us had ever seen.

But it's not easy! What kind of face do you pull? Should your face be in it? Do you show the whole cock or just some of it, leaving something to the imagination? These are questions I never thought I would be asking myself. I took several test shots in the bathroom mirror. I stopped short of posting any, for I did not want to send them unsolicited. If she asked, I told myself, I was ready to oblige, but I wasn't about to just start sending them over, willy nilly (pun intended).

I took care to delete all the photos I took. This is tip number one when experimenting with this kind of 'personal' photography. Under no circumstances leave the pictures on your phone. Not only have we seen what happens to unfortunate celebrities who have made this mistake, but there would be nothing as embarrassing as showing holiday snaps to your friends and then unwittingly scrolling onto a picture of your own, semi-flacid penis.

Thankfully, the tension died down and – as is so often the case with ephemeral Tinder chats – having showed each other our nearly-naked bodies, we just stopped talking. It now feels incredibly odd that I was ready to send naked pictures of myself to someone I have never met. And how do I know it was even her? Just as in the Brooks Newmark case (along with numerous others) she could have been literally anybody!

I am over-joyed that porn is out of my life but, I have to say, its absence is leading me into some pretty strange new territories as far as internet behaviour goes. I think I have made valuable progress here and managed to refrain from sending anything I would not be comfortable with out into the big bad world of the internet. Are these the end of the Adventures of Dick Selfie? Or will he be back for another 'case'? Read on to find out...

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Me, My Porn and I (2)

65 Days Porn-Free

Embarrassment warning: 5 – Considerable. Mainly for me but probably for you, too. Just saying.

I will now recount for you, friends, the story of my first orgasm. Of course – you have already guessed – I was looking at internet porn when it happened, hence the story's (unfortunate) presence on this blog. I really am very sorry, but I don't feel I can truly relay my porn history without mentioning this pivotal (no pun intended) event.

I was about thirteen years old. I was in the study indulging my new, secret hobby of looking up nudie pictures of women on the newly-installed internet. I was in my 'Playboy' (O, the innocence) phase and was particularly taken with one Miss Jenny McCarthy. She was a classic Playboy centrefold: blonde and leggy with airbrushed, augmented breasts and a 'come-to-bed' smile. To me, at this age, she was to die for.

I was scrolling through a gallery of her best Playboy shots. This was about five-thirty in the pm and I could hear my mother in the kitchen not thirty feet away listening to Radio 4. In a way, it was the risk* of discovery as much as the images which got me excited.

* When I was a teenager, there was always a joke about doing the Danger Wank. This involved bringing yourself to the moment of climax, then yelling 'Mum!' loudly and repeatedly. The titular 'danger' was obviously that you would not be able to 'finish' and clean up before your mother came running and discovered you, the filthy little perv that you are, all covered in jizz.

I feel like I can almost remember the very image I was looking at. I had a raging* hard-on and, just as in the Men Only Episode a few years earlier, felt I knew what I had to do. So I slid my hand inside my pants and started gingerly whacking off. Unlike in the Men Only Episode, however, after only a short time, I got the distinct feeling that I was 'getting somewhere.' I had the curious sensation that I was moving towards some kind of destination or conclusion and that, whatever it was, it was worth continuing to find out.

* There's the anger metaphor again. Just as the 'masturbator' is furious, so his erection is in a rage.

Then it happened. It felt like simultaneously finding and scratching an itch of which I had been hitherto unaware. But now that I'd found it, I wanted to keep scratching it forever. My body convulsed, my hearing went fuzzy. I felt incredible. I felt in my pants the most modest amount of ejaculate soaking into the material. I shut down the porno and ran off upstairs to change my clothes. Somehow I knew something incredible had happened and that things would never be the same.

After this, life became a regular 'wankathon.' And not just over internet porn, at almost any time. I would be wanking in the morning when I woke up and several times at night. I would be getting horny in lessons at school and running to the toilets to whack off at break time. In short, it was the best thing since anything and I pretty much never 'wasted' a boner.

And I was looking for sexy material everywhere! Not just on the internet but all over the place. Obviously there were the 'lads' mags' but there was also the scouring of the TV Times to find any mention of 'nudity' or 'scenes of a sexual nature.' Caitlin Moran writes about this search hilariously (“Walkabout? More like Wankabout!”) in her book, How To Be a Woman.

(Most) children of our generation didn't have Sky and the internet was still too slow to meet all of our 'needs,' so we would paw over the TV papers looking for things that might have 'wank potential.' Anything French was a goer, as was anything starring Alex Kingston (remember Moll Flanders!). I remember when I managed to record Strip Tease onto VHS, I felt like I'd won the f***ing lottery!

We would collect a stash of illicit video tapes and give them innocuous labels like 'The Three Amigos' or 'School Play' and hide them at the back of the drawer. Then, when the house was quiet, we'd load them up and sit with our dicks in one hand and the remote in the other, thumbs hovering, primed over the 'pause' button to catch the exact moment of boob or bush.* If you were lucky, you could get it to pause right on a grainy image Demi Moore's boobs or g-string-clad behind and, for a few minutes, be in heaven.

* Listen here, late-Century children. In my wanking heyday, all of the pornstars and models had 'bush' i.e. pubic hair. And it wasn't disgusting, it was sexy; it was feminine. I'm not talking about a giant, be-dreadlocked hedgerow of a growler, but a lovely little patch of pubes that made her, if anything, far more womanly and attractive. The shaven, 'pre-pubescent' look is a thing of recent times and I for one would happily go back. The wider issue here is about choice. If a woman (or man) wants a shaven haven, let her shave and wax away. The problem is that porn is dictating that this is how a woman (or man) should look. And that just ain't right.

Although I spent many-a night up too late hoping that the late film would develop into a boob-fest, I found that more and more, I was resorting to the internet to get my fix. With the internet, you didn't have to guess. You were in control. And the more we searched, the more we found we could tailor our experience to exactly what we wanted.

The main problem with my new pass-time, was that the computer, as I said, was in my dad's study just off the kitchen. Not only was my dad often in there but anyone else could walk in at any time. Because of this, and due to the aforementioned lethargic internet speeds, I took to saving images (it was all images at this point, video seemed impossible) onto floppy disks (remember those?).

For those of you who think I'm making this up, floppy discs were 3.5inch* square plastic discs with a maximum capacity of 1.44mb.

* Q: What's the difference between a woman and a computer?

   A: A computer won't laugh at a three-and-a-half inch floppy. The mirth.

1.44mb!? This was about 15-17 years ago and that was the maximum portable storage capacity available. It makes me feel like one sad old fuck when I look at flash drives today which can store 16gb. I heard one expert say that, if storage capacity continues to increase at this rate, our grandchildren will be able to buy blister packs of hard drives for £1 apiece, each of which will be capable of storing all the information – music, film, art, literature – that has ever existed. The future is now etc.

But anyway, there I was at age 13/14 with a very secret habit taking place in a very public location with internet slower than an asthmatic sloth. So what do I do? I save my favourite sexy images on floppies and store them for times when the house is empty.* Obviously the images in question were far lower quality (whoop) than they are today as you could store 10+ on a disc. An HD image of today averages about 2.5mb, so clearly would not even fit on one.

* My dad commuted to work in London at this time and my mum used to go and pick my sister up from school half an hour away. This would give me over an hour of uninterrupted wank time in the afternoons when I got home from school.

I remember building up a 'catalogue' of about seven or eight discs and hiding them in my bedroom. I used to worry constantly that my stash would be discovered and spent inordinate amounts of time moving them to ever-more obscure hiding places. Eventually, I discovered that I could lift the carpet in my wardrobe and lie them flat on the floorboards underneath.

To this day, I don't think I've found a better hiding place for anything. The only problem was that it took so long to retrieve them from and replace them in the hidey hole that I think I probably spent more time moving shoes in and out of my cupboard than actually looking at tits.

This all continued for a number of months, and I thought I had the system cracked. Then came the inevitable: I got busted. Read on in the next instalment to discover one of the most embarrassing episodes of my entire life. All I can say is, God-Damn you, Temporary Internet Files!