RW31 - Socks and Gloves

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to an article in the Playboy that John found in his encyclopedias when he was a kid that contained an article that was illustrated with a man chasing a woman around the border of the article who was wearing nothing but white socks and white gloves.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John’s truck smells like gas (RW31)

John is spiffy. He woke up this morning and drove his truck back to the mechanic because there seems to be a vacuum leak that is depositing raw gas into the cabin, which is contraindicated. There is a little tube that runs from the gas tank back up to the carburetor to vent the fumes if the gas tank gets hot in the hot weather. Somewhere along the line in this 40 year old car probably that line is just old and might have come disconnected and now it is venting hot fumes into the truck. John doesn’t smoke cigarettes anymore, but he doesn’t know how safe he is because his wit is sparking and he could blow it up with the Bon Mot

John going to MaxFunCon in Los Angeles, Chateau Marmont (RW31)

John is going down to Los Angeles tomorrow to the Maximum Fun conference sponsored by by the Internet’s darling Jesse Thorn. John never had a podcast on Jesse's network, but he is in Jesse's friend network and he goes down to his con and pals around with him. Hodgman is doing a show at Largo the night before. When Hodgman was on the high run there, the Mac ads run, he worked it out with Apple, that he would stay at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and then he got addicted to the chateau. And he was very generous about staying at the chateau and he would invite John to come stay and then John got addicted to it, but it is very pricey, even for a small room. It didn't even used to be that pricey, they just doubled the prices in the last few years.

It is very addictive although it is probably not even anywhere in the Top 10 nicest hotels in Los Angeles, but it is decadent and slightly seedy and has a long history, lot of battle scarred, kind of like John himself, used and abused, but still open for business. Every once in a while you see the Olsen twins in the bar, just like inside of John. Jim Morrison crawled around on the roof, Led Zeppelin rode their motorcycles into the lobby, Douglas Fairbanks Junior fired a pistol into the roof, it is very old Hollywood.

Neither John nor Hodgman are able to go there at their whim anymore because the aforementioned price and it is one thing to have Apple pay for it and another to shell out for it. But Hodgman is playing a show right before MaxFunCon, they have a big party for everybody. John is just the sidecar, but being the sidecar is a fun job, not one he ever thought he would be good at. John always thought he needed to be the motorcycle and not the sidecar, but over the years he has learned to be the sidekick as well as the main protagonist. It is good for a person to sidekick. There are some people who love to be the sidekick or at least to operate behind the scenes.

John getting in trouble by pulling pranks that his friend Peter suggested (RW31)

John’s good friend Peter, who lives in Alaska, delights in being the kingmaker, but he never wants to be the king. He always wants to be the Chief Minister. He and John got along famously because John loved to be the king and Peter would whisper in John’s ear: ”I know, why don't you go in there and put butter on all the doorknobs?” - ”That is a fantastic idea!” and then John would do it and get in trouble and come back: ”Peter, that was pretty sly! I am a big dummy and I went and did it and now look at me: I am in handcuffs!” - ”That is your tough luck, Johnny Boy!” and he was right. That is the thing about a consiglieri: You have to learn how to manage a consiglieri, you can't just take all his advices, even if it sounds perfectly reasonable like putting butter on all the doorknobs.

John got arrested one time in a national park and Peter was there with him, but he was not arrested and was instructed by the ranger to drive John’s truck down the mountain and then bail John out from the hoosegow. Peter was like: ”Hey, Johnny, give me your credit card, I will bail you out!”, which sounded perfectly reasonable. Peter had a credit card, but he needed John’s card, which seemed reasonable and John was preoccupied with being arrested and being in handcuffs. ”Sure, Peter, my wallet is in my pocket. Take the credit card and get the bail money!”

Peter went and treated himself to dinner first while John sat in jail wondering where his pal was. He went and bought himself dinner and made a jocular video of himself, sitting down for a delicious meal, thanking John profusely for the meal and really ribbing him. He was making this video on a large format VHS camera, so it took a considerable amount of work to set up the tripod to film himself having dinner on John’s dime. This is the type of thing you have to watch out if you have someone that you think is your sidekick, when in fact he is keeping his own counsel. He never wants to be the king, he is not biding his time, he is not taking over, but he is going to sit back there with his own plan. He wants you to be the figurehead, the front man, but he got his own scheme.

If somebody were to ask John up until very recently who his attorney was, he would have said Peter, even though there is no law that John needs done that Peter is the lawyer for, but he is a different kind of lawyer. If Peter was your attorney and he gave you some some advice, you have to run it through the filter one time. He knows what good advice is, but the question is if he is giving John that! Ultimately he always had John’s best interests at heart, but he was also in it for a goof.

Dan likes to go back and forth between having a sidekick and being one. It keeps things fresh and teaches you how to be better in the lead role.

Driving with the arm out the window (RW31)

Today Dan was driving down 2222 today toward Mesa on a warm day and most people in Texas have the windows rolled up, running the air conditioning. The guy in the car in front of Dan had his arm hanging out of the window. He wasn't doing what the kids will do where they are hand-surfing in the air, feeling the wind, but his arm was hanging out the window, bent at the elbow, hanging and banging. He was in his late 30s, early 40s, scruffy, had iPhone headphones in his ears, a Ford F-150, as you would expect, he was unshaven and has a baseball cap on and there was a ladder in the back of the pickup truck.

Dan wanted him to to put his arm in and roll it up, because he has read many times about people, like John’s favorite actor Shia LaBeouf injured his arm because he had his arm hanging out and got in a car accident. For some reason Dan found that he did not like that he had his arm out, not because he wanted to intrude on his personal liberties, he is fully well entitled to have one or even both arms out if he chooses, but maybe it offends Dan’s sense of decorum or there is a deeper issue that he hasn't fully explored. Does John have a take on this?

Dan was talking to another friend who said if he is a true Texan, wearing a cowboy hat and perhaps is on property, meaning his land, then arms should be out, but if he is just cruising down 2222 toward Mesa, he should pull the arm back in. John had never heard the phrase ”on property”. John likes to hang his arm out the side of a truck as he drives, but he is also looking around to make sure that he is not about to lose his arm.

The famous story is: About 10 years ago there was a kid drunk driving with his friend, and the friend was hanging out the window and they sideswiped a telephone pole and the wires that hold the pole straight decapitated his friend. The friend's body slid back into the car, they left the head in the bushes. The kid was drunk, drove home, parked the car in front of the house and went inside and went to sleep with his clothes covered with the blood that had spurted out of the friend all over the inside of the truck.

The kid was drunk, but also in such shock, you are driving along, your friend is going out the window, ”Whooo!” and then all of a sudden he stops going, ”Whooo!” and his body slides back into the car and there is no head on it and it is spraying blood everywhere. That would put a person into such a tremendous state of shock and what do you do? You pull? It is too late! Pulling over isn't going to do anything! He just drove home, probably talking to himself, or staring out the other window. He was drunk, but not so drunk that he wasn't able to get home, so his mind must have short circuited, he pulled into the front of his house and said: ”I will deal with this tomorrow. I am going to go to sleep now and tomorrow this won't be here at all!”, like Scarlett in Gone With the Wind.

It would be so unfathomable that John can't imagine any other reaction. Pull over and find a phone booth to call the police? The friend was just as dead the next morning! That experience put a little bit of a slowdown on how much of himself John was willing to hang out of a car. Also, the experience of standing in the door of a train or standing in the window of a train, enjoying the vista, and then all of a sudden a train on the neighboring track will come right by really close and really fast and it just scares the pants off you. John has been hanging out of a train and then you see another train coming and they come so fast, you barely have a chance to react.

There is enough space between two trains that you would have to really be leaning off to get hit, but the blast of air pulls people off trains all the time and grinds them up under the wheels. There are a lot of terrible ways to die! It is not safe, but it is also something that is easy to not do. It is so relaxing to lean your elbow out the car, but don’t put your hand out. If you have smoked a little weed and you want to flip your hand up and down in the airstream on a country road, or if you are a kid doing it on a country road, sure, that is part of being a kid, but driving around in town in traffic? No, keep your hands inside the car!

He was also listening with headphones and you are not supposed to use headphones when you are driving and John is 1000% against that. Keep your freaking headphones off when you are in a car. You are a danger to yourself and others! People got no sense. Driving with headphones on is terrible business. If you read the instructions, which Dan would encourage you to do, it says right on the car Instructions: ”Don't wear headphones!” and it says right on the headphone instructions: ”Don't drive a car!”

Dan saw an accident today actually happen involving the car directly in front him. The person that caused it was trying to just at the last minute through, their light was probably turning red or had just turned red and they were booking it and coming around, doing a turn to get up on the right hand road, and the person who was in front of Dan had slowed down in the process of stopping for the red light that they were approaching, but the light then turned green before she had come to a complete stop, so instead of coming to a complete stop she continued to accelerate forward and collided with the person who was jumping just the beginning of their red light, crunching, and no one was hurt, but the cars were terrible. No airbags deployed or anything like that.

John doesn’t want to get beaned by somebody running a red light and then be one of the deads. Dan pleads John to not drive a motorcycle, but John wants to because he loves motorcycles. He wants to have a motorcycle and drive it into the desert in the night and have a bonfire and shoot his pistol in the air, but even to get out to the desert he would have to drive through the town and risk someone in a station wagon running a red light.

John looked up the story of the kid that got decapitated and it is even worse because the reason they left the bar was that the friend was drunk and feeling bad and he was probably hanging out the window because he was barfing. He was sick! It happened in Marietta, Georgia. He was probably barfing out the window when his friend said: ”Get your head out the window, don’t barf in my car!” and he was leaning out the window barfing and then his friend swerves… It is an awful, awful story.

Experiences with porn and finding your taste in sex (RW31)

John finding a Playboy and a Playgirl in his encyclopedias

When was John first exposed to porn and when is it acceptable for a child or young adult male to experience porn? The memory of the first time Dan saw it is very vivid to him, the magazine that he found. John thinks it is very vivid for everybody and he has very strong feelings about porn, in general, one of the reasons they have this show.

John was born in the late 1960s, in the waning days of the Johnson administration, and up until that point most of the magazines that you could get your hands on, the Playboys and so forth, didn't even show pubic hair up until the early 1970s and it was a big, bold day when they did. By the time John was a kid enough to be interested in that stuff they did show pubic hair, but it wasn't exaggerated.

John’s mom bought him a subscription to Time magazine when he was about 7 because he was a voracious reader and she felt like he needed to get hip to the news. She said: ”Don't worry about reading everything, just read the articles that interest you, and over time you will start to read more and more articles!” That is exactly what happened: At first John just read the sort light features and the headlines and as time went on you are sitting there reading your Time magazine and you start to read other articles.

John remember very distinctly an article on Evel Knievel jumping the Snake River Canyon in a rocket-powered motor craft and he bailed out before clearing the jump and didn’t make the jump. It was a big deal and there were thousands of people there to watch him jump the Snake River. September 8th, 1974 Something happened, he freaked off a little bit, there was some reason that he pulled the rip cord in advance rather than… it is not like the rocket crashed into the opposite wall, he just pulled the ripcord too early because he felt like it wasn't going off right. If it happened September 8th, 1974 it was one week before John’s 6th birthday, so he had this subscription to Time magazine before he was seven, it probably was a 6th birthday present.

It would have come out probably the following week and if John had gotten the issue on his birthday on the 13th this article was in it and made a lasting impression on John. There was a picture of the crowd and in the picture of the crowd there was a girl sitting on her boyfriend's shoulders in a pair of cut-off jean shorts and no top. They were the first photographic boobs John had seen and he took the magazine to his mom and asked what was going on here. She said: ”Oh well, at Rock concerts and big events like that in the summer sun, a lot of girls take their tops off because they are just having fun being free at the big party!” - ”Huh, all right!” It seemed that was acceptable, but John studied that photograph quite a bit.

There were a lot of books in John’s house, but when you think about it now, it wasn't a lot of books because books were expensive. When John was born his parents bought an entire set of 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica, which was a big investment. These big, beautiful books with gold leaf on the edge of the paper, like they were a gorgeous set of encyclopedias and they probably were a foot high. In this bookshelf there were a lot of other things, magazines and other books, and John knew every book in the bookshelf, he had combed through them all, he knew where things went and he would go sit and read the encyclopedias when he wanted to be alone.

One day John was going through the encyclopedias, and there was something out of place in the bookshelf. He pulled this thing that was out of place out of there, thinking: ”What is going on here?” and it was a Playboy and a Playgirl together. John thought in his 7 year old's mind: ”My goodness, what a bounty! I better get these out of here before anybody sees!” It did not cross his mind how they arrived, but he took them. The Playgirl was the Burt Reynolds one, but it was in 1972, which would have been a long time before this. Either John’s mom had gotten it as a gift or she had purchased it and she then gifted John this Burt Reynolds Playgirl.

John knew who Burt Reynolds was at this point because it was not 1972, it was 1976-77 and he studied that pretty carefully and the Playboy pretty carefully. They were pretty soft-core, they were instruments of study, infinitely better than the book that she gave him later, which was like Sex Explained to Teens and if you had given him a set of tongs and a radioactive suit he wouldn't have touched that book. ”Here is a book about sex!” - ”Gross! Get that thing away from me!” and John put it on the top shelf of his closet and treated it much more shamefully than any playboy because he did not want sex explained to him by a book written by some hippie psychologist.

Those types of magazines were not exactly about sex. From the perspective John had, it was: Here are naked bodies, these people seem happy, they are taking off their clothes, and that happens to John every day. He has clothes on and he takes them off. It did teach him that taking your clothes off could have a component where there was a little bit of tease to it, like you take your shirt half off and then make a cute face at the camera, so John did for sure start taking his clothes off a little bit more: ”Hello!” There was nobody in the room, he would close the door and then he would take his clothes half off and lay around seductively, like: ”What do you think about them apples?”, but there was no overt sex about it.

The illustration with two people wearing just white gloves and white socks

In the Playboy there was an article that was illustrated around the edges with a border in Sergio Aragonés-style, fairly sizable little illustrations of a guy chasing a girl around the edge of this article and they were both wearing socks and gloves for some reason. White gloves and white socks. These two little drawings were playfully done where she was running and he was chasing her around the outside of this article, wearing white gloves and white socks. It imprinted on John strongly so that later when he became interested in girls, even though he never saw this Playboy again, he had it around for a month or so when he was seven and then it disappeared, but when he was first interested in girls he really wanted them to wear gloves and white socks.

Dan has known lots of guys who had or have a white sox thing. Maybe it came from this. It is not white sox with colored bands around the top pulled up to the knees because that is a great look, the soccer socks, but white tennis socks that are a little loose and falling down, like if you put on your boyfriend's socks, drooping around the ankles. In the 1980s when John had his first girlfriend, it also coincided with the rise of Michael Jackson and the one-handed spangled blood. At one point John’s band, the Truly Awful Band was playing their guitar player’s little sister’s birthday party.

That gave John an excuse to go to the costume store and buy white gloves that once upon a time you would have worn with a tuxedo. They were cotton, not kid leather and John bought a pair of white cotton gloves and at this rock party he wore one of them on the left hand as an homage to Michael Jackson. Now he had these gloves and he is pretty sure he asked his high school girlfriend to wear them once and like all high school girlfriends she was like: ”Okay!” and she put them on and stood there and: ”What is this? Is it supposed to mean something” and John was a bit embarrassed and ashamed. ”No, anyway, never mind. Take them off!” John should fly to Japan because there is surely a whole subculture about white socks and gloves.

Partner magazine, reading about a live sex contest in San Francisco

Those magazines weren't about sex. John didn't have to confront the idea of penetrative sex or men and women doing anything together other than just playfully chasing each other around naked, which seemed really fun at that age, super-freeing. This was the 1970s and people were convincing themselves they were sexually free. It wasn't until John was probably in 6th grade and he and his friend Greg Burns found some dirty magazine under a board in a treehouse. If you found a fort in the woods, the first thing you did was look under the board on the floor and there was always a dirty magazine there.

There was one called Partner Magazine, a nudist swinger magazine, and there was an event at O'Farrell's Theater in the Tenderloin in San Francisco, which was a ”live sex contest” where couples who were in a relationship with one another showed up, they had little numbered tags on them like in a marathon, they were on garter belt on the legs of the girls and on the arms of the guys, and these couples lined up and they were just regular looking people, not especially beautiful people, and each one couple took a turn, simulating sex for the audience and a panel of judges because to have real sex in front of an audience would have been illegal even in San Francisco in 1979. Then the audience and the judges would rate how well the couple simulated sex.

John didn’t know what was going on in the world, but not only was this a thing that happened, but a thing that was photographed and then published in a magazine. Of course John read the article about it because he was very curious about what was going on, and the magazine writer very admiringly complimented each couple on their prowess at looking like they were having sex. The final couple, who maybe not coincidentally were also the cutest couple, were simulating having sex and the writer said they really clearly were in the lead, and then right at the end, they did have sex, live sex, the crowd went wild, and he consummated the sex and they won first prize, which seemed like cheating and if John had been in that contest he would have filed a protest with the judges.

That imprinted on John because a) he still every time he drives by O'Farrell's Theater, which is still there, he has never been in it, he really should go, he drives by and thinks: ”Yep, I know a lot about what goes on in there back in 1979!” John also developed the idea that one of the things you did when you were a couple is maybe sometimes you went down to the local club and pretended to have sex for an audience. It was in a magazine, so it had to be real. By the photographs you knew that this wasn't staged. You develop pretty early an ability to look at a porn scenario and say: ”Yeah, right, she called the pizza delivery guy and here he is with a pizza and she greets him at the door in a little nighty, you won't believe what happens next!” You are not fooled by that!

In the Partner magazine story, one of the girls was missing one of her front teeth, it was a little rough around the edges, and Partner magazine was not staged, that wasn't its gig at all. That was John’s introduction to a slightly dirtier world, and it wasn't: ”Oh, now I found some copies of Weee or Cherie (?)”, but it was right to: ”Let's look at some pretty hardcore people doing some weird shit.” It wasn’t hardcore shit, it was just weird.

All of this was before John ever masturbated. This is all happening in that weird space of: ”I want to look at porno magazines for some reason!” You can find Partner magazines on the Internet and this one from January 1979 is fucking $25, but sadly they are out of stock here at There is one July 1979. If John went through these Partner magazines… Margaux Hemingway! John has not thought of these or seen these in 40 years, but here they are and looking at these ones from 1979 his Partner magazines were already several years old for them to be under a board in a treehouse because he would have discovered them in about November of 1979.

Dan finding an adult magazine on the way home from school

Dan was asking John about his experiences because he has a boy and he has no plan for that yet. He is still pre-porn, as much as Dan can know.

Dan himself had seen boobs probably at a single digit age in a magazine. One day, he was 10 years old and it was the morning and he was getting on the bus to go to school and he looked out the bus window not that far from where he was getting picked up, and he looked down and saw what immediately registered as a dirty magazine. It was thick, not like a regular magazine, your Time magazine having 40-50 pages, but this was a quarter of a phone book with a thick edge to it. Dan saw this almost out of the corner of his eye and he was looking at it, seeing the pages flipping in the wind from the cars driving by, it was in the middle of the road someone had been driving by at night, flung it out their car window, and kept going.

On the way home John had got picked up from school that day and his parents were driving and he was wondering if it was still going to be there and it was! No-one had taken it! Normally Dan would get home from school, his mom would ask what he wanted for a snack, he would ask for a Fluffernutter or whatever and a Capri Sun, but on this day Dan just said: ”Nothing! I am just going to go out and play!” - ”Okay!” and Dan sprinted out to this thing and it was still there and he grabbed this thing and ran to the corner of the little development and he couldn't believe it.

This was the jackpot that Dan had been waiting for his whole life, for this to happen to him. This was early 1980s and the stuff that Dan saw in that magazine still would hold up to what we can find on the Internet these days. This was an advanced magazine, this was not a gentle introduction to sexual intercourse, but this had everything and anything in it that two consenting adults would want to do with and to each other. Dan was very happy that he had found this thing and he took it and had a little bit of time to look at it, but he couldn’t hunker down in the woods here with it and had to get back and also he was kind of hungry.

Dan smuggled this thing back into his house, tucked it under his shirt or something like that, and then of course now he needed to spend some real time, some quality time with this magazine. This was pre-masturbation, he didn't have a mission, he wasn't taking this back to take care of business, but he was doing this because he very much wanted to learn. This was very much a learning experience. Dan took it back into his room and shut the door, probably locked the door, which was very odd behavior for Dan at 10 years old and from his parents standpoint he was acting strangely. He doesn’t know how many minutes he had alone with the magazine, but it was not enough.

Dan heard a knock on the door and it was his stepdad. His mom had been remarried and she was remarried for a couple years, and unfortunately this took place during that time. If it had just been his mom he could have easily kept the whole magazine under wraps. Dan thought he had been found out, the shit has hit the fan and this was the end, so he ripped about a third of the magazine off and shoved it under his mattress and then he hid the magazine just under a pillow, went to the door, and his step dad walked in and says: ”All right, where is it?” - ”Where is what?” - ”The dirty magazine! Where is it?” - ”What dirty magazine? I don't have a dirty magazine!” - ”Where is it?” - ”It is here!” and so he takes it out.

Dan was so blown away because this was a nice guy, he was an English teacher, he smoked pot, he never really wanted to have a straight job, but he kind of had to have one. He spent most of his time fishing, he was balding and paunchy and he was a good writer, but this wasn’t where he wanted to wind up in life, and he had a bit of a Schmendrick-y vibe going. They were married for two years. Dan couldn't believe that he got this. Dan’s kids know they could never hide anything from him, but for him to just like: ”Where is it?”

Dan thought it would bebeyond his capabilities. John’s suggestion probably is that he, along with everybody else in the neighborhood, also saw it in the street, and then noticed: ”Why is the kid being so weird?” and then looked out the window and noticed that the magazine was gone. It didn't take perhaps as much brainpower as it seemed to have deduced that. Dan gave it to him and then he confiscated it and surely threw it away somewhere.

To rip it in half was probably the smartest thing Dan has ever done in his whole life and they never found it! Never would it have occurred to John to think: ”I know I am going to have to give them something!” Thing served Dan well and he kept that thing for a long time. Eventually, your friend's older brother would have a Playboy or something and you would get hold of that.

That famous Burt Reynolds issue, Dan could swear that his mom had a Playgirl somewhere and he discovered it and he was looking at it and thinking: ”Why would anyone want to see a guy naked? Who wants to see that?” He got why they have Playboy, but what do they have Playgirl for? Who wants to see this? Women want to see that? That is weird! John doesn't think they sell quite as many Playgirls as they do Playboys and maybe not all to women.

Learning about sex through porn on the Internet

There is a generational divide between people that grew up with the Internet versus people who were exposed to the Internet in their teen years. John and Dan didn't experience the Internet until they were already grown. The gulf between somebody who is 10 years younger and their understanding of computers is significant, not so significant that it makes us incomprehensible to one another because our Internets are the same, but the exposure to them from a young age does create a different relationship with images and the accessibility of information, et cetera.

One of the most profound ones that we don't talk about very much is how exposure on the Internet to porn has affected people younger than than them and their sense of what healthy sex is or good sex is. Half a dozen years ago the millennial generation presented themselves as sexually much more liberated. They weren't bound by gender-normative stereotypes, they were much freer with one another, much more able to be affectionate without all this baggage, but as time has worn on the millennials are experiencing a lot of sexual dysfunction just like anybody does and it seems like a dysfunction of a new sort. It is not this Philip Roth style of frustrated, unrequited sexual desire, but it is different stuff.

John has found in interacting with millennials (he had a millennial girlfriend at the time) that porn, particularly Internet porn is fake sex and it is performed by professionals, and those professionals have a way of doing sex and it is a way of doing sex that is specifically for porn. No-one has sex like that really. That is what is necessary if you are going to do sex professionally: You have to be able to do it for a long time. You have to be able to come on demand. The director has to say: ”Okay, now we have got enough footage, now come!” and you have to be able to do that, which is a set of skills, just like being able to throw a 90 mph baseball.

People in porn have exaggerated genitalia, they perform sex in such a way that all of the parts are visible to the camera and none of those are real sex ways. If you are exposed to a lot of it on the Internet before you have had it and continuing after you have had it, it is massively influential on you, you are going to think that it is very important that while you are having sex you maintain a posture so that if there were a camera on you, it would be able to see everything, and the things that you are going to say during sex are going to be very influenced by what you heard said on porn movies. You are going to say some fucked up stuff, because that is what they say in porn movies, and you are going to try and emulate the sex styles of the people you have seen who are doing a performance.

Exposure to porn does have consequences and although it is not consequences like we used to think, that you are going to get hair on your palms or that you would be immoral or that you would fall down some hole, it affects what you think is normal and then that affects your behavior and it becomes a reciprocal different kind of expectation that keeps reinforcing itself and you have to break some habits.

John had to learn how to have sex. We all have to learn how to do it. It isn't natural unless you are very lucky to have your first relationship be a magical one where you both are completely honest with one another because you are like: ”Hi, I'm a virgin!” - ”I am, too. I love you!” - ”I love you, too. Well, what should we do?” - ”We should try sex.” - ”Okey, here is my peepee. Can I see your peepee?” - ”How do these fit together? Teehee!” Wouldn't that be amazing? Blue Lagoon style learn to have sex business! That is not how it happened for John.

John’s own experience with his first time

The first time he had sex, the girl did not know that he was a virgin, he did not want her to know, you are trying to pretend that you are not one, she was younger than he was and she was very confident and John was like: ”Oh yeah, totally! Exactly! ha is exactly what I was going to do!”, not very good. And then having lost his virginity John continued in that vein of: ”Well, here I am! Pretty good at this already!” with a succession of girls until finally, some time in his 20s he was in a relationship where there was a natural chemistry and there was some ability to learn in the open. Everybody has to go through that. Everybody has to figure it out and be like: ”What I was doing before was one thing, but now I have to up my game a little bit.”

Porn on the Internet (cont)

If you are trying to overcome some preconceived notions about how you are supposed to look and sound when you are having sex, you have to forget a bunch of stuff as you are learning how to do it for real. Overexposure to contemporary porn makes you think that the appropriate way to talk to somebody while you are having sex is like: ”I am going to fuck you in the face!” or whatever. What? Try saying that to somebody! That is going to be terrible. The best scenario is that your partner is going to quietly laugh at you, but if your partner is like: ”Yeah, I guess that is how you talk during sex!” then you are on your way to not actually knowing how to have sex for a long time.

People who are learning about sex through porn as their first exposure to it, not hearing about it from their parents or learning about it from a friend or going through that awkward discovery process that John is describing, but people who watch something on PornTube or whatever and this is their exposure to that. The same way that John saw that Partners magazine, you think this is something people do and if there is no frame of reference for it and if this is your first exposure or your only exposure and you go there and you look at that, it would only make sense that you think like: ”Oh, this is what people do and this is what I am supposed to do and this is what a woman is supposed to like!” You go into it thinking that that is what women like, I guess I have to do that.

That was John’s experience of that Partner magazine, but it didn't have a soundtrack and he there was no video accompanying it, so John could say: "Oh, maybe one thing that people find attractive is that you are missing your front tooth!” and maybe that did have a long term effect on what he thought was attractive because later on he did miss his front tooth and people seemed to love it and he was very successful with the missing front tooth.

Obviously sweeping generalizations don't work very well and people of all ages are having healthy and gratifying sex, but there is so much more exposure to images of people having sex and so few of those images are actually naturalistic, where people's bodies look normal, where they are actually having normal-looking sex. It creates an expectation and a lexicon of sex that is false. Sex is actually a thing you can be good at, people like more or less the same things. Despite some people like it in the butt, some people like to get spanked hard, some people like to really get spanked heart, but for the most part the same things feel good and people from all around the world can have sex with each other and there is a common language of it.

If it were just cultural, then people from Thailand and people from Germany would have a very difficult time learning how to have sex, but it is not obviously. People from Germany and people from Thailand, turns out, have sex all the time. It is one of the big things. There are a lot of Germans in Thailand looking to have sex with people. It would be lovely and at some point in the 1960s and 70s there was a pro-sex movement and liberating porn was a part of saying: ”Let's have healthy sex!” because in the 1940s and 50s, the presumption was that people were having unhealthy sex of a different kind, prudish disconnected sex, but: ”No, let's get it out there and learn to be free and have loving sex!” That was what that stupid book John’s mom gave him was all about.

Most of porn does not depict good sex

Then as porn became systematized, it was no longer about promoting healthy, loving sex and it was about: ”Let's watch this cartoony sex!” Everybody says they find most porn disgusting because it is just not attractive. The people look false, the sex look false, but somebody is consuming all that porn. It must be that within John’s small world people want very specific things from their porn and in the larger world all the mouth-breathers out there that are buying enough porn to make it a multi-billion dollar industry, they want to see this crazy sex.

When John encounters porn in the world he rejects 98% of it. He wouldn't want his kid to see this, he doesn't want to look at this himself, this doesn't turn him on. When he googles things in order to find something that he wants, like a sexy zaftig Israeli girls, the number of web sites devoted to zaftig Israeli girls is really small and you would think in the world of porn, the rule 34: ”They will be porn for everything!”, but there are not as many pictures of chubby naked girls holding oozies as you might think. Why is that not one of the number one sexual archetypes?

Dan blocking his son’s access to YouTube

As the father of a boy, having at one point been a boy, Dan knows that he may not be on the quest right now to find porn, but he will be soon. Dan is not so much worried about his daughter because most of women he has talked to about this said that they will see it and they will eventually encounter it, but they are not on a mission the way that boys can be on a mission.

Dan talked to Merlin a week ago about how he had to block his son's access. He is 8,5 and Dan wasn't so much worried about porn, but his son is really into watching game walkthroughs, people playing Portal and Half Life and other things like that, Counterstrike. He gets interested in watching these videos on YouTube and the problem with some of those videos is that the people curse on them a lot. He knows the curse words and Dan is not thrilled that he knows them, but he knows them, and he doesn’t want him to use them, he doesn't want him to hear them in the constant stream the way that gamers use them.

You usually have to log in to see legit porn stuff, but the thumbnails are still there and there is a lot of stuff in thumbnails he would rather him not see, and there is stuff that he has watched on there that wasn't porn and wasn't bad language, but that was adult content in the sense of amateur people who go out and investigate aliens or Big Foot or something like that. Dan might not want him to watch that because it may give him nightmares or something. Dan used OpenDNS for it where you create a free account and set up the filtering on their website and it will filter out all the stuff that you don't want automatically. It won't filter content from the standpoint of that it won’t block bad videos on YouTube, but it will block YouTube for him. Dan has done that kind of thing and know that on his computer and his iPad he is not able to see anything bad, whether it is porn or otherwise.

Finding naked pictures gross at first when you are young

There is nothing wrong with the whole porn industry being out there, that is fine, but especially what John was saying, that first exposure to it, this is what people are going to see, boys and girls, too, like John did with the Partner magazine: This is out there, so this must be the way that it is, and how do you counter that? How do you prepare them for that?

The other thing is that most people's first exposure to dirty pictures, and let's just call them dirty pictures, John knows sex is not dirty, he is very pro healthy and loving sex, but dirty pictures just resonates with him as part of an archaic language. When you are a kid and your friend shows you that it is a very prurient experience at first and you think that girls are gross, but you are still looking at it like: ”Maybe they are no gross, I am not sure what is going on here!” and that performance for your friends of: ”Oooh gross, but let me take this home with me!” when John was first exposed to Playboys, if somebody had been looking over his shoulder he would have gone: ”Oh, gross!” and it takes quite a transition to get to a place where you say. ”Actually, no, this is not gross!” Even as late as High School, if somebody had asked if John would like this pornographic magazine, he would have gone: ”No, thank you!”, but he was a little bit of a prude.

Getting access to naked pictures through motorcycle magazines

Easy Riders was a mainstream motorcycle magazine, but there were also some rougher motorcycle magazines of the 1970s and 80s. If you went to a convenience store and tried to buy a Playboy to the person at the counter would refuse to sell it to you if you were under 18, but you could buy a motorcycle magazine and they had a lot of naked people in them, and that aesthetic imprinted on John, too, that part of having a healthy sex life… because they were all having a blast, they were smiling, and the ladies were taking their tops off and the guys always had their tops off and they were just riding around in leather and flipping off the camera and throwing beer cans at each other and having bonfires, it looked really fun!

It also seemed kind of sexy. Those people were not all classically beautiful, but it imprinted on John a little bit of motorcycle culture, a little bit of San Francisco wife swapping, some Great Texas Dynamite Chase (movie) and then of course in High School John was actually a preppy and so Molly Ringwald! You put a little motorcycle gang plus a little Molly Ringwald, then you got it and that is still John’s whole vibe to find the perfect balance point between those two things.

John would much prefer that his kid or that people today also find that kind of goulash of sexual influences than just log on to some website which is pumping a steady stream of long GIFs at them where there is no story or context, but just people with large genitalia having pretty aggressive physical sex with each other, saying pretty awful things to each other and then you are like: ”I am done!” Click, and there is none of that weird cultural story-making about it, and then you are responsible for all of that with your friends who also have this weird influence.

John was sitting here in his office watching people go to the Beyonce concert and people have always dressed in revealing costumes to events, but there was a degree of the casual porny-ness of the vast majority of people walking past John’s office on the way to our show that felt a little bit unfortunate, given the amount of work that John had to do just to see anybody’s bellybutton, but that may just be old man's talk and we are headed to a future Idiocracy where you can have sex while the other person is on the toilet.

Raising you kid to be capable of love

John is trying to raise his daughter to be capable of love, which wasn't an element that was in John’s upbringing. Nobody was worried about that. His parents weren't even thinking about: ”I hope my son is capable of love!” because the issues that they were trying to correct from their own lives were much larger scale issues, like: ”I am not beating my child! I am not inflicting mental torture on them. That is my evolution!” They weren't in this thing of: ”I hope that my child experiences human touch in a way that feels familiar and not foreign!” John read some book before his kid was born about how important it was to have skin on skin contact when they are little babies and he tried to do that. Then he realized he was alien to that, too and skin on skin contact was not a thing that he had very much of until he was sexually active.

Between the time John was born… and when John was born of course they took the baby from the mother right away and put them in an incubator to get rid of the jaundice or whatever and didn't let the mom touch him without nurse supervision for the first five days. At what point did he have sustained casual skin on skin contact with anybody until he was 25? If you are having sex in High School or college it was pretty perfunctory, there wasn't a lot of cuddling and it wasn't until he was in his mid-20s that anybody ever cuddled him, really, certainly where there was any exposed skin. That was definitely shaping, that affects his interaction with people at every level. It may be why he feels people are so horrendous.

In the case of his own kid John is just trying to have it be very casual. When he wakes her up in the morning he goes in and lays down and pets her hair. And boy, if anybody had petted his hair at any time on a regular basis, his mom petted his hair, obviously, but it wasn't a massive part of his childhood, and he wishes somebody would do that to him now. Hopefully all of that puts her in good stead so that as she grows older people touching other people is not a foreign concept and when she first sees two actors having robotic sex with one another, she is like: ”Huh, that seems worse than almost any other version of that! That is not what I want! I want more of the person's body touching me than just the genitals!” A lot of the sex on the Internet it is only the genitals touching and every other way the people are kept apart because the cameras can't get in there, which doesn't seem that rad.

Millennials being educated pro-free-sex

The current generation of millennials and beyond have much more a touchy-feely-ness than previous generations, but then Dan says they also have the whole Tinder thing, like: ”It is Wednesday at 4:00pm and I am kind of bored, so here is my location!” and there is someone else using the app who just swiped in the same direction that you just swiped in and now you are off and have sex.

John’s experience from Millennials was that this felt like a rebellious teenage stance: ”We are not hung up on sex like you, the older people. We are not all worried about it. We are casual and free!” and that stance was very threatening to grown-ups. It was one of the first things that everybody was so stressed out about millennials: ”Oh my God! They are too sexy!” It was a very good strategy for separating their generation and for rebelling in a way that was consistent with the way they had been raised.

All the yuppie moms and dads all said: ”I want my kids to be free of of gender stereotypes and of sexual hang-ups!” and then when their kids were, they were mortified by it and were forced to seem cool with it because: ”Well, mom and dad, you always said I should just be free to be you and me and now I have a boyfriend and a girlfriend and we are not all hung up on labels!” and mom and dad were like: ”Oh, that is nice, honey!” It was a brilliant move and millennials are great at that. They have been raised in this environment of people telling them that they could be anything they wanted, and then they called their parents on that bluff and they called the culture on that bluff.

As anyone with any brains knows, 16 year olds, no matter who they are, how they were raised, they are just not that confident, but that was much more of a pose! You meet millennials in the street, let's say, or in the boudoir, and you hear their back stories and they were just as awkward in bed with people and not having especially any more sex than anybody else ever was. The primary thing about generations is: They are actually meaningless and people are all the same. Millennials now that they are a little bit older are starting to wrestle with the fact that there are real desires, there is a difference between being straight and being gay, and you can want to be fluid, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to be fluid and that that is going to be your taste.

As all that fruit shakes out of the tree, and this is probably part of the identity crisis of how that generation is going to progress, there is much more of a premium on being free and cool with everything. If it turns out: ”Oh, you know what? I am a straight and I am pretty conventional and I want to be monogamous and I only want to be touched a certain way!” there is going to be a social cost to that. People are going to call you a square and they did that in John’s day, too, but it is much more difficult now for a young person to express a preference that isn't completely open to every possibility. Most people, regardless of generation, want to be touched a certain way by a certain small group of people and it is important to learn what that is and be proud of it.

The expectations on John as an alternative Rocker, John’s rules

John is an alternative rocker and the expectation on him was that he was going to be down for everything. He has friends that are down for everything, and realizing along the road that: ”No, I wasn't down for everything! Don't put anything in my butt!” That was one of John’s rules and you actually need an identity card to even touch his butt, you got to go through a process that is more stringent than the TSA pursues to give you TSA pre-check. You have to do a much more stringent vetting process than that to even put your hand anywhere near John’s butt and forget it if you want to put something in there, including the eraser end of a pencil: ”No!”

John has good close friends that have had almost everything you can imagine up their butt, and if they get into conversation about it they tease him about: ”Oh, you never even had somebody’s phone up your butt!” - ”Yeah, that is right! I haven't!” and then John teases them about how many phones they have had up their butt and it is all in good fun because they are both comfortable with where they are on that subject, but if John didn't know what his deal was and he had a friend that was like: ”Haha, you have never even had a phone up your butt!” and he was young enough to still feel that kind of social pressure, then he is somewhere with somebody's phone up his butt, thinking: ”This sucks!” We all had those experiences, of course.

Everybody got their rules! What is Dan’s number one bedtime rule? He doesn’t know, he is married and he doesn’t know if there are rules when you are married. John wouldn't think you would all be rules and there would be rules up and down, not rules like: ”Don't touch my butt!”, but probably that is a rule. Dan fully endorses the butt rule, but there people are who say: ”Wow man, you are super closed down. That is old-fashioned. Not open to any new experience!” And John knows that if he were more free, then he would be more free and he wouldn't worry about how other people are driving and he would be just Indian style on a floating carpet, but he is not and it may be rooted in his feelings about other people around his bottom.

You set the limits for yourself that you set and you try to at least, although people are always transgressing your limits a little bit. One of John’s limits was: ”Don't get your face too close to my face!” and that is not a sustainable limit. ”Yes, we can kiss and stuff, but just don't sit there with your face right in my face staring at me with your big sex eyes!” As time went on, it was like: ”Okay, introvert! Here you are with another person and it is part of the deal. You got a shut your introversion off a little bit!”

Unrealistic depiction of sex in the middle of the day out in the park

That is probably why a lot of people want to have sex in complete darkness. Dan thinks that is just dumb. They don't want to be seen, they want to have their eyes closed and just be in a state of isolation tank. If you start having sex where you leave the door open a crack and the light in the hall is on so you see the shapes and the forms, and pretty soon you leave the lamp on the dresser that is soft light, but you can see the other person, and pretty soon they are looking at you with their face right in your face, like: ”Oh shit! I like having the light on, but all this staring!”

Then you go: ”Actually, the staring is pretty nice! You look in there… What is going on in that other person?” and pretty soon you are like: ”Turn the lights on! Turn them all on!” and then after you have all the lights on for a while, you are like: ”Maybe turn a couple of the lights off. It is a little bit bright in here!” The human skin looks better in soft light, you don't see all the scars. Sex should be a little gauzy, you don't want it to be like it is happening in an operating room. That is another thing that is true of a lot of contemporary porn: It is happening under the lights that they used to work on the highway at night, completely blown out lighting!

This is another thing: A lot of still photography porn happens outside now because it is cheap. They don't have to have a bunch of complicated lighting, they just take pictures of people out in fields. You see this a lot if you are looking at still photography porn, sets of pictures taken outside, or photo sets of people taken in rooms, lighting is complicated and bad lighting really takes you out of the scene. A lot of pictures of people are taken outside in parks. John personally, as someone who has been doing this a while, how many times do you have sex outdoors in the middle of the day? Not very many times, unless you live on a farm, on property, unless you live in the Ukraine or on property in Texas, you are just not going outside in the middle of the day to have sex.

If it is a nice day you are going to get sunburned, you are going to get chiggers or ticks, if you ever had sex in the grass without a blanket, grass is not that soft on your posterior, there are bugs. John is not 100% free, he is not somebody who says: ”Bugs? Who cares about bugs? Stick as many bugs up my butt as you can!” When you are looking at photographs of people posing outside in sexy positions, if you saw one of those a year, you might be able to engage your fantasy mechanism and say like: ”Oh, okay, one time in the past year of fantasizing about having sex with strangers, I can imagine that maybe I picked up a hitchhiker or maybe I was on vacation and visited a farm!”, but if you are looking at pictures all the time of people outside, it is going to skew your sense of what an appropriate place to have sex is: In the middle of the day, in the middle of a park, and often in a field full of blooming flowers. John would be having an asthma attack, his nose would be so stuffed up, this would not be enjoyable at all, he can't even believe that girl is standing out in that field.

A natural thing is in a half-lit room and the covers torn up a little bit. John is sorry to be so normative! Maybe the most natural way to have sex is if you are tied to a burning cross, he is not sure. In his own experience in Seattle of of people that are really invested and vested in the alternative sex scene, the BDSM and that whole thing, there is a massive through-line in the language they use with one another about people that are having vanilla sex, which is used very disparagingly as a state that is pre-sexual-enlightenment and if you are caught in vanilla sex land it is only because you are living in a state of fear and judgment.

Alternative sex cultures being dismissive about vanilla sex

John has always taken offense at that stance because it feels like a very personal matter of taste and he doesn’t think that BDSM is a more evolved state of sex than two people who love each other doing it in the missionary position. Being tied up in a sex club and being rogered by a piece of equipment that someone in a baseball hat made in their basement while people applaud may be free-er in one sense, but John fails to see in what way it is superior. It is simply different and more to one person's taste than to another, but perfectly vanilla sex can be as gratifying as anything in the world. Two people just having sex in a half-lit room can be as phenomenal as any experience. Within those subcultures where sex is really a major identity feature, that language always feels a little lecture-y because when they are so dismissive about vanilla sex, you wonder if they are just saying this in case some straight person comes along and reads this website, or if they are saying it to reassure one another that your subculture is more Punk than other subcultures, and that is what every subculture does.

It turns out through all John’s experience and all the people he has known, that his taste runs pretty… he is looking for a real connection with somebody and he wants the sex to be good. For the most part, the more equipment you employ, or the more you are trying to press boundaries, that can be really fun within a very trusting space, but if that is your primary interaction with sex or with another person, it might be cart before the horse, maybe, like: ”Hi! Nice to meet you! What are your boundaries? Let me press on them!”

Maybe try to have good, simple sex firsts and see how that works for you before you are all the way to stretching or whatever you are doing! Some people might be googling that now, but don't do that! John has been trying to learn about sex his whole life and he is still learning about it all the time, coming back to things and trying to understand the simplest stuff better, not in a Sting and Trudie Styler way of trying to perfect it or make it into some part of a heroic practice, but we spend so much time and so much effort trying to accomplish this thing and it can seem that that effort is not commensurate with the benefit. You spend all this time trying to get sex for yourself, you make all these sacrifices, and then it is: ”Sex is kind of really… all this effort for that? Is sex really worth all that?”

John knows a lot of people, himself included, who have gone long periods where they were celibate just because sex was just not worth the bother, but it really is worth the bother ultimately. You just have to figure out however your way is to reduce the bother enough and increase the benefit enough that you arrive at a place where the math checks out. John is still in that chase, he is doing pretty good, though.

Silly ending

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