10 April 2007

Misty Water-Colour Mammaries...
      or, The Shames of Juvenile Retention

Oh dear: a few things to note in this article's regard, all embarrassing, almost all dumber-than-dumb, and without exception rooted in my own experience as a 9-13 year-old in deeply provincial Ontario during those odd days of the early 80s:
  1. I remember watching every single one of the movies mentioned in it. And then some. Oy vey. Mostly on the then-new invention called videotape, and rented with surreptitious glee. In those days, though, it was still common for parents to send their kids to get cigarettes for them from the store. Those were the days....
  2. I also remember sneaking into movie theatres exactly, EXACTLY, the way the author describes. I hope there's a statute of limitations on that crime.
  3. And yes, things were damned tougher then for boobie-batty boys. (Say that ten times fast!) No internet for easy access to all things perverse; no wardrobe malfunctions; no lolita-wannabes going half-way for you just by walking down the street. Porn proper was almost impossible to acquire, unless Dad had something hidden away that you weren't supposed to find. So even a brief and partial boobie-flash, like Judi Bowker's in Clash of the Titans, was a kind of Kinder-Surprise that would have to tide one over for ages. Or what SEEMED like ages. Movies like Porky's then were like hitting the mother-lode, the cornucopia, the Lands of Plenty and Cockaigne.
  4. These were also the only, er, exposure most of us had to Canadian movies. At the time, for adolescent and pre-adolescent boys, Canadian movies were the equivalent of the Amsterdam Red Light District. You knew you could get what you were looking for. Then again, none of us were really looking for Caligula or the raunchier stuff. It was bums and boobies, rather than the intrauterine gynocolism that makes its way into even the so-called SFW pages now.
  5. These were the movies of the Star Wars babies going through puberty, or trying to. Hence the pervasive innocence and naiveté, to say nothing of the smarmy villains and the manifest bimbos, all of them (of course) easy substitutes for Darth ("Preppy") Vader and Princess Leia. And sure, I was on the young side for that stuff, but I was a precocious little bugger. A LOT of us were. BTW, Princess Leia in that gilded bikini in Return of the Jedi sent most of our eyeballs right out of our stupid little heads.
  6. When it came to nudity, the interest was largely the reverse of the way it is now. The obsessions weren't so much with getting the youngest things to show some skin; it was with getting the more ostensibly "mature" women naked, the women like Sylvia Kristel and Kelly LeBrock. Believe it or not, I remember one of the common qualifiers of the time: She's not a girl, she's a WOMAN!!!! Contrast this with the Britney-LiLo-Keira-Natalie thing these days. There's a sociology paper in there somewhere.
  7. The line "enough wool you could knit a sweater with" -- from Porky's, for the only one among you who doesn't know where it comes from-- became a lurid mantra, and a short-hand movie review. (Aside: See, you are not required by law to follow the word "lurid" with "details.") Then again, you almost never saw pubic hair in a movie back then.
  8. Similarly, you almost-never saw male nudity, and a guy's bare-ass was more horrifying than anything Mama Voorhees ever did. It wasn't, of course, but if you didn't act like it, if you didn't protest your disgust as if you'd just seen an autopsy performed before your very eyes, you were in shit. Deep shit. Deep, deep rhino shit. The key phrase at the time was Awwww, groooooss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Heather Thomas was The Rage. Mind you, Victoria Principal and Morgan Fairchild were pretty big, too. *shiver* But so great was the mammary-mania, some people actually rented S.O.B. just to see Julie Andrews' -- yes, you read me properly-- breasts. *shudder* (The hills were alive, after all.) On the other hand, it was during this period that I fell permanently in love with Michelle Pfeiffer.
  10. What did we learn from these movies? Not a god-damn thing. It was like studying Botticelli by leering at caricatures. But maybe it kept some of us from fainting upon the first, and eternally blessèd, revelation of The Real Thing. And maybe it kept us from doing some of the most ridiculous things one could do in that situation. Perhaps there's something to learning sexual stupidity from the very stupidest.
But as lascivious as all this probably seems, it was all rather innocuously innocent. We're in much more cynical times these days, as ten year-olds with a little technical sophistication can with ease get their paws on darker and often more intensely misogynistic material. It's all so easy now; a few key-strokes, a couple mouse-gestures and half-an-hour online without Mom and Dad peering over your shoulder, and viler plenties can be had. No wonder so many of the current crop of young are jaded about all things sexual. And that, as far as I'm concerned, may be one of the more disturbing aspects of our grab-and-get-it culture-- maybe even more disturbing than Julie Andrews' scary poppins. Now that's spine-chilling.

2 comments:

RK said...

a) I totally agree with your conclusion. All this exposure is a sad mistake.
b) I have seen none of the movies mentioned, being from both the wrong time (the one before even the Doc's) and the wrong place (Yurrp).
c) Whatever movies one saw, my children, one thing is for sure: nothing, but nothing, but nothing prepared one for the real thing.

Dr J said...

As the songs goes, Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby, / Ain't nothing like the real....

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