In Defense of Kim Kardashian or the Time I Had Sex in a BP Bathroom

In Clarksville, Tennessee, there is a gas station that is known as “the porn BP.” Everyone calls it that: children going to church camps, truckers, Carvell and me, pretty much everyone. What makes the porn BP so special is not just that it is outside of Nashville traffic, or that it is the most convenient place to fill up, it is the fact that there is a magazine rack in the middle of the store that sells porn. This isn’t your run of the mill Playboy or Penthouse, this is real porn; the kind of porn that caused Julia Sugarbaker to run over the magazine stand in Designing Women. Sitting on the shelves, not behind the counter, are titles such as Black Tail, Barely Legal, and Buttman, mixed in with People and Star, as if these magazines are just as socially accepted. It has always been a game for Carvell to dare me to buy the dirtiest magazine I could find. I, of course, have remarkably little filter and would walk in and buy Hustler or some plus-sized porn mag with little hesitation. Never, however, Black Tail, as it felt much too exploitative.

Porn is here and it isn’t going anywhere. I feel sure that cavemen and -women drew naked ladies on the walls for either titillation or just giggles. The celebrity sex tape is what I suppose to be the new wave of porn as it does double duty, feeding our lust and our need for celebrity gossip. I have no issue with women making millions off of these tapes. What I do have an issue with is slut shaming. Slut shaming is defined as the act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior for engaging in sexual behaviors that deviate from the norm. And for some reason I think Kim Kardashian receives the brunt of the abuse. Every day I open Twitter to read joke after joke about how Kim is only famous for making a porn. How she only sleeps with black men. How stupid and materialistic she is. How fat she is, and now, that she may have given birth to the antichrist. I follow smart and funny people on Twitter, and sometimes I think that making a Kim joke is taking the easy way out and maybe slut shaming just a little.

If we were to openly talk about our pasts most of us can pull out at least one story where we have acted a little slut-like. It may be something as innocent as flirting with a married man or using your femininity to get out of a speeding ticket, but there is a better than average chance that you have one something that verges on sluttiness. Lord, knows I have.

Many years ago, while in a committed relationship, the relationship started to falter as relationships sometimes do. The stress of life and the future weighed the relationship down and it was on the brink of ending. It was an ugly and devastating place to be. We agreed to take a break from one another and then reconvene to see where we stood. Before we were able to take a break, we were involved in a car accident that should have killed us. We were battered and bruised, but left with no life-threatening injuries. That night I asked if he was still unsure of the relationship. He was no longer unsure as the jostle of the overturning truck had knocked the sense back into both of us. It was too late to stop the time-apart decision and I left on a week-long vacation.  We called and texted and declared our love for one another. Upon my return he picked me up at the airport and kissed me out of view. We drove and talked about the trip and the flight. We stopped at the porn BP to get something to drink and pee. I made my way to the bathroom while doing a slight pee pee dance. I had just locked the door and sat down when I heard a knock at the door.

“Let me in.”

It was obvious to me who it was and I figured the men’s room was full, so I pulled my pants up and let him in. Immediately after locking the door again I was pushed against the dingy wall. The kisses were desperate and the hands insistent (I know how bad romance novel that sounds). With me up on the tips of my toes and with my back to the wall, we had sex in the porn BP bathroom. It is on record as the second best sex of my life. After we finished we realized that we had no idea how long we had been in that bathroom, and we heard a woman’s voice say, “There is more than one person in there.”

I was horrified, not by the fact that I had just had sex in the porn BP bathroom, but by the fact that I was going to have to face a line of people. We got ourselves together and left the bathroom. The line of women was about six long and I kept my eyes downcast. I had little doubt that these women thought me to be a slut, and that wasn’t the case at all. “We have been together for years!” I wanted to yell at them. “This was recommitment sex!” But without a back story or context, I just looked like a slut, and there was no way to defend myself.

I wonder how Kim feels knowing the things people say about her. If she wants to defend herself against the haters or if she knows that by being famous for her indiscretions she has to leave herself open to the hate. My issue isn’t so much about Kim but about why people think it’s okay to hurl those kinds of insults at her, at anyone really. A female comedian recently spoke out against rape jokes and social media inundated her with “I hope you get raped” jokes. Lena Dunham was told that “I hope you get breast cancer.” As humans, I think we should just know better than to insult and slut shame.

Oh, and if I ever tell you the porn BP story in person, I almost always add, “Really, at its core it is a love story.”

West Plains, Missouri

When I think of summer I think of my grandma’s house and the mimosa tree in her yard. It was the perfect climbing tree. The tree had a solid base and easy footholds for climbing, and climb we did. Hours were spent inside that tree, Kara and I half hidden from the world, covered by the fern-like leaves. There was one branch that was just about the best branch ever. It was substantial, knotty, and a little green. I would climb out onto the branch and hold tight with my knees. Dropping backwards, I would dangle upside-down and see Grandma’s house from a different point of view. Upside-down, with my shirt tucked into my shorts, I could see the porch off of the kitchen.

That porch was the slimy porch. It was where buckets of soapy dirty dish water were thrown and where my grandfather would whittle and sizzle. He never whittled the wood into anything, no animals or whistles. He just shaved away the meat of the branch, slowly and methodically, until there was nothing left. As he sat there on the slimy steps of an old farmhouse, he “sizzled.” It was somewhere between a whistle and a hiss; teeth slightly parted and tongue pressed against the backs of his teeth, he would press air out making his odd noise. I was only about six when he died and this is one of the few memories that I clearly remember. This, and a memory of us sitting around the kitchen table getting ready to pray before dinner. As everyone bowed their heads in prayer, I would watch Grandpa to make sure his eyes were closed. Everyone knows that prayer works best when your eyes are closed. After the prayer I would tell the table that he didn’t close his eyes. I think it was a game he played with me.

When he died I remember family coming to the farmhouse in West Plains, Missouri. I remember it to be wet and chilly. I have no idea if that is accurate or if it is the manifestation of the emotions of the adults that were around me. In the grayness of the farmhouse there was a box of donuts and one had pink icing and sprinkles. It shined in the box like a beacon. I wanted that donut. I remember the want but I don’t remember if I ever ate that lovely pink treat. I sat with my cousin Jill in her parents’ car and listened to Billy Joel’s You May Be Right on the stereo. These are the memories I have that surround my grandfather, incidental memories surrounding a fabled man.

We visited West Plains many more times over the years. Sometimes it was Mom, Dad, Kara, and me, and others it was only Mom, Kara, and me. We packed into whatever car we had at the time and made the four hour drive to Grandma’s house. Sweaty naps were taken in the backseat, with faces smooshed against the vinyl seats. It didn’t matter how sleepy or groggy we were, when we neared Poplar Bluff we would wake up, because we knew a bathroom break was going to happen at the McDonalds. Long legs would spill out of the car and take a long stretch, backs and shoulders would be rolled to remove the stiffness. Inside we would use the bathroom and wash our hands. The begging for a Happy Meal would be incessant. Mom’s reply would be, “Smile at your hamburger.” Once I made the trip with my Uncle Leroy, and when it was time to order, I asked what I could order. He said I could order whatever I wanted, so I ordered a McRibb. It was a mistake and tasted terrible. I don’t remember ever ordering it again.

The times spent at Grandma’s house are now some of my best childhood memories. We once saw a snake in the grass and ran to get Grandma who swore it was only an old branch from the mimosa tree. Kara and I knew different, and for the next couple of days, every step we took was cautious, each foot was planted with great care. At the old farmhouse Mom made us take baths in a quarter inch of water, so that we didn’t deplete the cistern of water. In West Plains the soda came in glass bottles and was colder than cold. In West Plains I couldn’t get out of bed at night because everyone was aware that if you stepped on the dog’s (Booger) tail, your leg would be eaten off. It was in that house I played pretend with my Mom’s old baby dolls and her Barbie dolls. It was in that house that I read bags of Harlequin romance novels. I fantasized about being “taken” in the barn, all pulsing members and velvet sheaths.

Eventually the house was sold and Grandma came to live in Paducah. I have memories of that house too and of reading her Star magazines. According to her, you could trust Star but the National Enquirer was just full of lies. I loved my grandparents, they were quirky and interesting, and loved us a great deal. Tonight when I go to sleep I will hunker under a quilt my grandma made, a quilt that is never too heavy and never too light, and I will close my eyes and say a prayer for those that are gone. I will close my eyes when I pray, because everyone knows that prayer works best when your eyes are closed.

Vegas Baby

The streets will be crowded with people: tourists taking picture with their cell phones, women teetering in heels that are much too high, Hispanic men will stand on sidewalks flicking their porn cards to get our attention. It will smell of heat, body odor, decay, and desperation. I am going to Las Vegas and I couldn’t be more excited. Carvell and I are going on a kid less vacation with a few friends and I expect the trip to be nothing less than a hybrid  The Hangover and Very Bad Things. If a body does not get buried in the desert than the whole trip will be in vain.

I am ready to go. I started with my list making about a month ago.

Clothes:

Bottoms                                   Tops

Green chevron                         Madonna t-shirt

White chevron                         green t-shirt

Orange skirt                             blue t-shirt

I have planned my debauchery just as I planned my wardrobe.

Things I think I will drink:

Margarita

Amaretto sour

Daiquiri

Things that should happen in Vegas:

Tattoos

Gambling

I want to see a hooker (not sleep with just see)

Need to see those dancing fountains

Pretend that I am in Oceans 11 (only in my mind)

Decide if I am playing Brad Pitt or George Clooney

I need this trip to be fun. I need to laugh and feel carefree. Sometimes everything feels very heavy, and when that plane takes off I want to leave behind my feelings of melancholy in the contrails. In those trails will be the people who yell at me on the phone, the endless cases that I can’t work fast enough, and the classes I no longer give a damn about. In the contrails will be my lingering depression and desperation.

In Vegas we will laugh.

Three teachers, a musician, a scientist, a medical professional, and an enforcement worker will laugh at each other until we almost can’t take it.

This will be healing. This will be good.

The Greatest Idea for a Business in the History of Great Ideas

I pee a lot, and sometimes in my pants. I have three children, and the last one was 10 days early and still weighed 10 pounds and one ounce. This was not so great on the bladder. I pee my pants when I laugh, cough, sneeze, experience temperature changes, or think about peeing. After I pee my pants most often I can be found telling my friends on Facebook that I just peed my pants. So, it is a vicious cycle of peeing and cell phone use. This is why New York City was an issue for me. There are no places to pee in NYC, and if you do find one, it is up or down two flights of stairs. I spent a great deal of my time staring at a stairwell saying, “Mother fucker, you’ve got to be kidding me.” This normally led to a fit of laughter between Kara and me which then lead to more peeing. It was at the one hundredth time that I faked being pregnant to illicit symphony and access to a first floor bathroom that “Pee Soup” was invented.

New York has a lot of tourists and those tourists spend a lot of time taking pictures and posting them to social media which drains a cell phone battery pretty quickly. These same tourists need to pee and eat. So, why not create a café that serves soups and sandwiches, has free Wi-Fi, cell phone charging tables, and nice first floor bathrooms. This is the greatest idea in the history of great ideas; I just don’t see how it can miss.

Here is the basic plan:

The food will be a mix of fancy grilled cheese sandwiches like caramelized onion and goat cheese on sour dough or jalapeno and pepper jack on a pretzel bun. Of course the standard grilled cheese sandwich will be offered as well. Soups and chowders will also be offered, seasonally, of course. There is still some debate as to offering chili. It seems that some people do not think chili falls into the soup category. I believe that these people have mercury poisoning and may be a little mad. Gourmet donuts will be on hand for desert.

Each table will be equipped with outlets to charge cell phones or laptops. If you do not have your charger, one will be available for purchase. Pee Soup will also be a great place for people who need a quiet place to work or study due to the available free Wi-Fi.

The very best part will be the bathrooms. If you have purchased a meal or charger from Pee Soup, of course you may use the bathroom at any time, but if you are a local, business person, or a tourist in town for a while, you may opt for the PeePass. Similar to the Metrocard, but instead of pay to ride, it is pay to pee. An attendant will be on duty to make sure the bathroom is clean and to make sure the pee cards are functioning properly.

This type of business will really only work in large populated regions. Paducah is not really an option as we have many public bathrooms and cars where we can charge our phones. I think that we will start with just one restaurant and maybe expand from there. After becoming mildly rich from this venture, Kara and I are purchasing an apartment in the EastVillage so that we can eat at “this little piggy had roast beef” no less than once a week.

I have only visited New York once and I loved it. I have only visited Chicago once and I loved it. I have only visited Raleigh once and I loved it. You may see a pattern here. I love cities and interesting places and I want to explore and see more of them, but I also want to be able to pee.

These things should not be exclusive to one another.