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.”