In olden days, one of the few ways to get porn was the “adult bookstore”. Mine was the Velvet Touch, which is still in business all these years later. There were also a couple sex shops downtown, but those were in the “dangerous” district, and Velvet Touch was conveniently located on the main commercial strip.

It was a rite of passage for adolescent perverts to park in back of the building, and pay the refundable-with-purchase entrance fee to browse the racks of VHS cassettes, glossy magazines, and pulp paperbacks, and glance nervously toward the peep-show booths. For the not-entirely-heterosexual customer, there was the added challenge of getting what they actually came there for. Some would pick up a selection of girlie mags, and slip one beefcake magazine into the pile, either hoping the clerk wouldn’t notice, or passing it off as just a casual kink, maybe a gift for the girlfriend. Others would be more bold, buying whatever queer filth they desired, but defend their masculinity with one or two hetero items: an implicit “but I like to fuck girls too”.

I like to think that I was simply being honest. I had fucked a girl, and I really did like it. So the Playboy I dropped on top of my stack of Freshmen, Blueboy, etc. was more than just a “beard”, and not just for the articles.

P.S. Yes, of course I kept it all.