Horatio writes: thanks to Steven Blankstein of Westchester, New York for this functional reminiscence.
I am going to introduce a a revolutionary concept to this web site. Buying your own porn at the source of the Nile, the newsstand. Did any of you have the balls to do it? Reading your entries, it appears not. If any of you have the good fortune to be time-machined back to 1985, follow these five steps and your life will be one lived knee-deep in porn. I guarantee it.
1. location, location, location
Find a store that is off the beaten path and instantly eliminate the fear of a parental walk-in. The ultimate nightmare situation. Distance from home is everything. Find the oasis that is far away enough to ensure that if you do happen to encounter your clergy man, he will be more embarrased to be there than you but close enough to respect the fact that once the goods have been acquired, you will want nothing more than to be test-driving it back in the bedroom lickety-split.
2. Foot traffic
Don't fall for the rookie mistake and scout for a totally deserted store in which the 6-12 months you could be sent to the big house for shop lifting are the only thing for clerk to focus on. Foot traffic can be your friend. It gives you cover. It diverts the clerks attention. Embrace it.
3. Shelf Placement
First. Accessibility. Can you reach the shelf and access the porn or is the top shelf a promised land you can see but never enter? Second -- shelf placement is all about sight lines. The physics of the relationship between cashier and porn. The more you can hide away the better. If the porn is in a nook away from the rest of the store, the architect has given you the greatest gift.
After all this. The final hurdle is the clerk. No matter how perfect the rest of the conditions have been to this point, if it is a 26 year old girl behind the counter, or someone who mildly reminds you of your father, it is pretty nigh impossible to hold your nerve and finish the job. If life were like the movies, all newsstand clerks would be blind old guys with a tin cup. Until I become president and this becomes the law, the rules of thumb are pretty simple. All stores with female clerks are no-no's unless the clerk is of an age where she could play the Jessica Tandy role in an amateur dramatic version of Driving Miss Daisy without the aid of make-up. Males are more complicated. Clerks for whom English is not a first, second, or third language are one of the most magnificent products of America's glorious tradition of immigration. English speakers are a test for your nerves, unless they are on methadone, in which case, go for it. You are not their first concern.
5. Shangri-La does exist
Just as there are golf clubs and there is Augusta, there are newsstands that satisfy the previous four conditions to such an extent, that you will not be the first to discover them. These are the holy grail and are worth locating. The pay-off will be that on the low rows, behind the seemingly innocent copies of magazines such as Model Railway Enthusiast and Cat Fanciers Monthly, will lie porn mags left there like litter on the peak of Everest by all those who have been there before you. Find one of these and you are a lucky man my friend. This is not a newsstand, it is a club house.
My work is done. I have given you the adolescent equivalent of the secret of life. Use it only for the force of good. And learn to enjoy that special thrill of encountering the forbidden material of your choice -- be it Barely Legal, Nylons, or Old Ladies Extreme in full public view. It is a unique feeling -- getting sucked into the pictorials and losing yourself within their fleshy promise and then snapping out of it and realizing you are leaning against a rack of Slim Jim meat snacks.