public displays of affection

There are certain things that should just not be done in public.  Picking anything, for starters, should be outlawed.  Fights, noses, ears, ass cracks, and balls.  No thank you.  I’m in Borders at Columbus Circle.  Where music and media meet parenting and education books, lives an area of red club chairs, with outlets beside them, coffee tables, that sort of thing.  There is a man across from me in nursey sneakers the color of putty, and pants the color of stones you’d skip on an overcast day on a harbor.  He’s in a plaid button down, but it’s not flannel variety; it’s more the Ralph Lauren outlet store variety. He’s over 65, his hands are warn and brown, his nails pink and clean.  He’s a pale black man with large ears and gray hair. Had his magazine had a jacket cover preventing me from seeing what he was reading, I’d assume something to do with engines.  A Consumer Reports meets Popular Mechanics kind of guy.  Yeah, not so much. 

He’s reading Penthouse.  Isn’t porn something you should restrict to home use?  And the way he’s handling it, flipping from the back towards the front and back again, he’s not exactly reading the articles.  Man, if I had balls, I’d ask him for it when he was done.  “Oh excuse me Sir, are you through?  I’ve been waiting for this issue all week.”  I mean, Penthouse in public?  Is there no shame? 

Well wait, maybe there shouldn’t be shame in it.  I have nothing against porn, but I don’t want to know, for example, that my barista at Starbucks is into lactating women, or that the old retired man with facial features that look as though they belong on a character made from a gourd is into pornographic magazines.  I’d assume Benny Hill or the now equivalent, but Penthouse on a Tuesday afternoon beside a woman who’s copying recipes out of glossy square hardcover cookbooks?  I take it back.  Now he’s "reading" Complex, a magazine with a half naked woman holding a chainsaw in an errect position.  Maybe that’s what happens when you get old, you really stop caring what people think.  You say outrageous things, wear mismatched clothes, and survive on nothing but pickles and day old bread for a week.  Because you’re tired of rules, and life is too damn short, and so is your libido.

When I’m an old Woman, I will Wear Purple
was one of my favorite poems as a young girl.  I’ll grow to be outrageous, so I might as well start practicing a little bit of it now. Here’s to doing anything you want to in public, so long as you don’t break the law.  Cause then you might end up in Sing Sing, and if you’re there, it’ll be tough to be outrageous.  It might make an interesting lesbefriends issue of Penthouse.  I’ll go smack him on the back now, tell him he’s doing a great job at offending everyone younger than he is.  Or I’ll get another tall, skim, no whip, toffee nut, latte and call it an afternoon.



  1. This reminds me of something I saw last year when I was on a semi-crowded A train. There were two young men with a laptop watching a porno flick in plain view of all the passengers including children. How charming! At least this man tried to hide it!

  2. Sure, bring out the Penthouse in the middle of kiddie story hour. and while you're at it, let's not have stalls in the public loos either…

  3. In Montreal, the strip clubs, which are located in the middle of the shopping district, advertise their wares by posting photos of nearly naked women outside their doors – in plain view, much like restos do with their menus.

    We Montrealers, collectively, have very little shame.

  4. Just wrote an observation post about people picking, bad fashion, et al. We're surrounded by it yet very few actually write about it.

  5. Crotch scratching should be outlawed as well. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sharing a flight with a "gentleman" who scatched his crotch way too much. More than once, you're playing with it. More than twice, you should go get a check-up at the free clinic.

  6. Ball scratching, farting, nose picking and men peeing in public should be outlawed.

    Kissing in public should as well, but I don't mind a couple sitting on the subway train exchanging a quick little kiss. It's these long passionate-make my skin crawl-they're practically fucking-smacking lips type kisses that annoy me. Get a freakin' room!

    As for getting old. No, not maybe, it does happen when one grows older. I'm far from elderly, but from my personal experience the older one gets, the less they care about what they say or do, or what people think. It's like paying one's dues. I've paid mine, more than once, and rules are made to be broken. Libido's can go on forever, it's all in how your mind works. At least 2 of your close friends will be dead, you'll have lost one or both parents, or you'll be taking care of one of them, and it hits you hard that life is indeed very short, so make the best of it. It's when you also discover that the government is really out to screw you and as a result it gives one carte blanche to say or do what they feel and who cares what anyone else thinks. You begin to live for yourself.

    I still care about how I look in public and my diet is more than pickles and day old bread, (I hate pickles) but I pick my battles and I vocalize when I need to. It's the cycle of life.

  7. This was one of my favorite posts ever. Hooray for the shameless elderly! I think that if we could learn to live with such abandon and self-confidence at a younger age, we would all age much slower.

    And Penthouse… that's practically sophisticated in today's porn industry! Give the guy a break – at least he has class…

    Keep it up. Nat

  8. I can't wait to get old and sit on a porch and say at random: "Damn kids, get out of my yard" [while shaking a stick], but the real kicker is that I shall say it even when there are no kids in my yard.

  9. Is Penthouse really 'porn'? I thought it was just 'naked'. I mean, there's no money shots right? EW.

    Although I quite enjoyed the toffee nut latte this morning – thanks for the idea. mmmmm.

  10. When I get old – I am going to do all the drugs that I was afraid to try as a young lass.

    My friend and I have agreed to be 80 year old coke hos together.

    You can't walk, you've got arthritis or some other kind of pain, your gonna kick the bucket soon. Why not get high on ecstasy…

  11. Ahh the freedom of the elderly. I forget where I heard or read a similar comment – but getting older is having the privilege of no one being older enough to tell you not to do something you've always wanted to do. Dirty Old Men were closet perverts or less obviously dirty when they were younger, and because they're are no longer as strong or as threatening looking as they were when they are younger – they are classified as harmless. My father is rapidly becoming a Dirty Old Man – and I can see the glimmer in his eye as he pushes the envelope a little further each year. It's a freedom of knowing if he said it when he was young and single – he would have been slapped, but now he's 30 years married and beyond embarrassment.

    Oh – and yes, Virginia, there are money shots in Penthouse. I doubt whether it's actual "money" that they show – but there is something that implies completion.

  12. You are spot-on. Old people don't give a shit. After you've probably fought a real war or been really poor, or lost a spouse, you grab on to happiness anyway you can get it. They really could care less what people think about them. It wasn't appropriate, what he did, but it does make me chuckle. Of course, Penthouse is way too into "watersports" now, and that's crosses the line from erotica to perversion, as far as I'm concerned.

  13. When I was a younger man, I owned a video store. Every morning a nice old man would trek his way into the store and greet me,

    "Hey there No1, any new exercise videos?"

    and then he would cackle as he trekked back to check out the latest midget porn behind the closed door of the adult section.

    Ahh to be old and horny.

  14. I was recently on a plane and the only available seat was in the middle of a college baseball team coming back from a tourney (oh darn). But the guy next to me was reading Playboy! After he was done he passed it to his buddy on the other side of me, and so forth. He even had the balls to show me one of the pics and ask if it was Eva Longoria (sp?).

    Thank goodness I'm not easily offended, but I did ask them, "Isn't that something you usually read in the privacy of your bathroom"?

    And as for the scratching/picking, to quote Good Charlotte;

    "Shake it once, that's fine
    Shake it twice, that's okay
    Shake it three times, you're playing with yourself again"

  15. Always a Benny Hill fan…passed down from Pervert Poppoo. But, here's the real kicker…you're related to a picker/licker/scratcher! So, thanks for the suttle shout out.

    I must say that if you do have a "I need to pick it now" booger…whether it's a tickler or a crusted all the way around with drag kind… there is a successful way to do it. Take it from the nose picking expert…thank you very much.

    While staring right into the faces of all of the people in the room, just go for it. Yes, dive in. There should be no hesitation…do not emit the negative self-conscious vibe.

    You do this so that if an on-looker should "catch" you, they are too embarressed to stare right back into your eyes…because you are just some random stranger to them…and hence, they turn away.

    Problem solved. It is all about being secure in what you need to do. But, yes, I will admit…itching your asshole with a good grind in the middle of the summer doesn't play out too well; no matter what.

    Ooo, sniff that!


    I crack myself up! Get it?! Oh, I am definately related to Mommy. Ahhh…the Polish crack joke! That's even funnier!

    I am such a Dork.

  16. In my college days, my friends and I would dare each other to do outlandish things in public, things that were meant to embarass ourselves and, here's the not-so-nice part, the unwitting victims around us. Stuff like yelling out "PENIS!" in a crowded diner after Sunday mass, that sort of thing. Wouldn't it be great if old people cliques did this too? Imagine for a moment that's why this man was sitting there reading specialty porn.

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