Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Family of Whores

I love my father dearly, but he has a tendency to drive me a little nuts. It only take a tone or the juxtaposition of a couple of his words to reduce me to a teenager again, with my defensive hackles standing straight up and my heartbeat pounding, readying for an argument. A lot of the time I'm utterly baffled at how he thinks I've managed to care for myself—not to mention others—all these years, when he tells me things like, "I hope you remembered to move your bank account from Detroit to Connecticut. Because that's an awfully long drive back if you have to see a teller." Or, gravely, "Do you see a dentist? You know you should see the dentist every six months."

And a lot of the time I feel as if I'm some kind of underqualified nurse assistant left to care for a dotty old man. One who will hold an entire phone conversation stretched out uncomfortably over the sofa with his ear pressed against the coffee table, because he refuses to take his cell phone out of the charger because he's worried about the battery level going under one hundred percent. ("I might have an emergency and need that three percent!")

Sometimes, though, he can surprise me. I was talking to him last night after his return from a visit to his sister's, in Tennessee, when he said, "You know, we were going through some old photographs during the week."

"Oh?" I said, certain that what was coming next was going to be an exhaustive catalog of every photo he saw. My father the former academic cannot remember the names of any of the women on his favorite television show, Desperate Housewives—he refers to them as 'the red-head, the dumb-ass, the hot Latina, and the ugly one'—but when it comes to photographs, maps, or old letters he has the steel-trap mind of a curator at the National Archives.

"And I was very surprised when we found an old diary belonging to your grandmother."

I considered this news for a moment. Now, my father's mother was a crabby old battleaxe. Equal parts gin and disdain ran in her bloodstream when she was alive. When she finally died, she arrived at the mortuary self-embalmed. If she'd kept a diary, I was pretty certain it was full of entries like, Shooed little bastards from down the street off the lawn, or Had a fun day of shushing annoying patrons at the library, or Put out poisoned meat for the neighbor's cat. "Fascinating," I said suppressing a yawn.

"It's from 1934," my father rattled on. "And while it's not of much use to a historian—that is, it doesn't shed any light on the economic turmoil of the Great Depression—it certainly was interesting."

"Oh?" I asked, preparing to stretch out for a good mental snooze. "Why is that?"

"Because apparently my mother was—" And here he mumbled some words.

I sat up in my porch chair and cocked my head. "Excuse me?"

He seemed rather embarrassed. "I think you heard me."

"No, what I thought I heard you say was that your mother was kind of a slut." I nearly bolted out of my chair. "Wait. Is that what you said?" I asked, excited at last.

"Yes," he admitted.

"Oh my god!" I exclaimed. "Tell me more!"

My father, in his dry way, went on to explain that the diary had been written during my grandmother's senior year of college, when she had somehow managed to graduate Phi Beta Kappa while going out every night with a different boy. "She kept a really detailed record of what they did," he told me.

"You mean, sex?" I thrilled. My grandmother had never seemed so interesting.

"Well." He seemed a little embarrassed to be discussing his mother's amorous life. "As far as we could tell, she used a system of plus marks to indicate how hot 'n' heavy things got. So if she put down kissing plus, we figured the guy was a pretty good kisser. And if it said heavy petting plus plus plus plus. . . ."

"Oh my god!" I commented.

He laughed uneasily. "So, along with the other stuff she wrote. . . ."

"You're not getting away with that, old man," I snapped. "What other stuff?"

"Well. . . ." I could tell he was considering whether to tell me or not. "She also rated the guys on something it took us a very long time to figure out. On a lot of the entries she rated them either soft, firm, or something that read r-k h-r-d that we figured had to mean rock hard."

"Holy fuck," I nearly shouted. It's a good thing I have no near neighbors. "Your mother was a whore."

"I just don't know why she didn't destroy the diary after she met my father," he said, not bothering to disagree with me.

"She might've forgotten about it," I pointed out. "Or thought she had, when she hadn't."

"But still," he said, and for the first time I could tell he was a little cross with the deceased woman. "She had to have known what incendiary stuff this would be, if anyone found it and read it. I mean, I can't imagine writing down all the details of my sex life and chancing that anyone would read it. Could you?"

I had to suck in my lips for a moment.

"Are you there?" he asked at last.

"Mmm-hmm," I replied.

"I just can't imagine. Could you?" He repeated the question.

"Nooooooo," I lied. "Nuh-uh. Not me. Never."

My poor father. The only good man in a family of whores.


  1. WOW. I guess it goes to show while we think of our parents as one thing we often forget before they became so over controlling of the childs life they to lived, laughed and loved and in your grandmothers case loved and loved and loved and loved and loved and loved and loved LMAO sorry. I want to raid my parents homes, closets, safes, etc., now and see what I can find about mine. lol

  2. Hahahahaha.... I laughed so hard! Rock hard! OMG LMAO!
    This was a very funny entry! And I agree with anonymous above, now I also want to find out what secrets there are in my families love/sex life! LOL

  3. 8:58 Anonymous,

    Parents are people too. We need to let them be sexual beings!

  4. Esteban,

    Oh, I guarantee that if you dig a little, you'll definitely find something.

  5. And you probably thought you made up the little system of symbols and hieroglyphs you used in your journal! It's genetic—you inherited it from your grandmother. Too good! (I feel a trip to Richmond coming on...to pore over every page!)

  6. Brilliant!!! I howled over this one, too. But of course you can't imagine writing sexual diaries that might be found one day... Oh, the lulz!

    My father's mother was a hateful, passive-aggressive monster, never happier than when she could set people against each other and then sit back to watch the fun, criticizing everyone for behaving badly. There may well have been a vibrant, sexual being within her at one time, but by the time I knew her it was buried beneath hillbilly Baptist bile and 50-60 pounds of excess fat. When I heard she'd died I said, "Hopla! At last!"

    My mother's mother was a genuine nut case, merely appalling. My mother seemed to survive her childhood remarkably well, in spite of it. My father has deeply damaged by his mother in ways that stayed with him to the end, and which had, shall we say, unpleasant effects on me as well.

    I have a photograph of my mother from her '20s taken by someone she was seeing at the time, with a slightly racy comment written on the back by her admirer. She claimed to not remember the guy, but I was not fooled. I'll show it to you one of these days.

  7. ROFL... great entry.
    When my aunt in Florida died in her mid 80s, I went down with my mother to go through her things. I found, and purloined, a naughty videotape-- I didn't want my mother to know about it. I still have it-- sentimental attachment is a strange thing. I was grateful that I, who am fairly unshockable, was the one who found it. I don't know whether it was my aunt's, or a remnant from my uncle that she kept for the same reason that I've kept it. The nature of the tape (straight anal stuff), however, certainly gave an interesting belated slant to my perception of my aunt and uncle.

  8. 10:38 Anonymous,

    I'm officially not allowed to talk about the day we found a strap-on in my father-in-law's bedside table after he passed away. Otherwise I'd offer that as a rejoinder.

  9. RedPhillip,

    I can't say this grandmother was much-loved or very much missed, either. Affectionate and demonstrative she was not.

    I wouldn't be surprised by any evidence of my own parents' sexual lives, since they were fairly honest and open about being fans of sex in general. I certainly wasn't shocked when I stumbled on my father's extensive porn collection, a few years back (he's a tits man).

    When it came to someone for whom even a hug was an effort, though, it's a stretch to picture my grandmother groping her gentlemen callers to see how turgid they were.

  10. Throb,

    At least my system was a little bit more opaque than my grandmother's! Then again, maybe she thought writing rk hrd was naughty, and gave her a thrill.

  11. As Dear Abby or Ann Landers once said, "If you don't want anyone to know something, don't tell anyone."

    Same goes for a diary/journal, if you don't want anyone to know something don't write it down. But for your grandmother, she was writing it down at a time with people respected your privacy and wouldn't think of reading a diary. But saving it for years you must know that one day after you are gone it will be found and read at least by family. But then it's to late, but may open their eyes to who you really were in life.

    Your grandmother may have liked that young care free life and saved the diary so she could reread it over the years and remember a life she had before setting down. And who among us doesn't stop every once in awhile and think of days gone by and wish we could go back even if for a short time and relive a certain part of it.

  12. Oh god. It reminds me of the time I found out that my mom used to do things like streak when she was in high school, and that she used to collect fraternity ties (which involves sleeping with a frat brother) and eventually made a skirt out of all the ties she had collected. Or the time she spent a summer living in an MIT fraternity for free by sleeping with a guy living there. Or the time she decided that she needed to make money and walked into a strip club to see about getting work there.

    Or the time I learned that my great-grandmother was a flapper and my great-grandfather had enough children outside his marriage to fill a school yard.

    I fit in very well with my own family. But I don't think any of them did anything as similar to me as your grandmother's journal. God. It makes me wonder why I didn't code my own journal. I lived in fear of my mom cleaning my room and reading what I wrote.


  13. I'm puzzled about your father's reaction given his escapades with his academic assistants that you wrote about after your infamous outdoor bathroom adventure. A IV

  14. A IV,

    I don't know why it would be so puzzling. Most outright whores I know would be totally grossed out and embarrassed by a parent's overt sexual behavior. I don't get why, but they are.

  15. Ace,

    Well jeez. Whose mom hasn't applied for work at a strip club?

  16. I bet that there is not a soul reading this who doesn't have something which might make their executor wince if death came suddenly. It's pretty hard to wipe a hard drive after you've breathed your last. :)

  17. Rob man,

    That was very some post, hearing about your grandmother's diary sex life. I think you laugh in your beard on that and you got your father really embarrassed in a way. You just push him to tell you about it. I think it runs in the family, keeping your encounters in a diary. You must have a lot of them very well hidden. I want to thank you for that and you are a very good looking and sexy whore my friend, if i can say so. Love you just the way you are man.


  18. Rob,

    Other mom's may have done that, but were they also sleeping with a pot dealer at the time? And did they later teach their son how to swear properly and roll a joint so he wouldn't "look like a square?" There are way too many strange things about my mom to tell here. Maybe I'll tell you some other time.


  19. For me, THAT your father shared is just as iteresting as WHAT he shared. I half wonder if your dad senses something, and hoped that his tale would encourage you -- not that I would react much differently.

    How interesting that granny was a quick study -- in one sense, not unlike you. But anyone who thinks that birds of a feather have to get on is a fool: They are squabble as much as they preen.

  20. 2 a.m. Anonymous,

    When it comes to sexual matters, I've been told many times that my family are over-sharers and under-dressers. I'm not surprised he shared it at all. He's told me more than I really wanted to know about the sex lives of various other relatives.

    I'm actually a little surprised, given how generally open and blasé both my parents were about discussing sexual matters, that he's a touch squeamish over his own mother's sex life. But as I've said in the comments above, even hardened libertines can be squicked out by a mention of their parents doing it.

  21. Rahinpa,

    I wonder if I could make a business in porn wipes in the event of sickness and death. It seems like there'd be an opportunity in there, somewhere.

  22. Rob,
    Holy Shit - That is Just an Amazing post. "Apples don't fall far from the tree" came to mind immediately. Your diary and your code. Hysterical and so true to life. if you'd wrote that as "Fiction" an editor would reject it, but that's the way life is.

    My grandmother was open minded and very modern, but all we found when she passed away was that Imelda Marcus was an Amateur, a rank amateur !!

    However, I do still have the box of old fashioned pornography from my grandfather, that my father passed on to me. It's not racy at all by today's standards, but some of this stuff would have gotten you run out of town in the 1920-30s. Anyone hear of the "Eros" magazine from the 1960's? I have all four extant copies !! Woot for porn collectors !!


    p.s. Rob -- while no one gave me permission to take a break, I decided it was in the best interest of civilization if I got away for a while. Good to hear from you again !


  23. It sounds like your Grandmother and you had similar record keeping. I wonder if any of my grandparents could be a slut, whore, or a cum dump? Hmmmm

  24. Jim,

    That sounds SAUCY. I wonder what you could get for those Eros magazines?

  25. Raw,

    Could you handle the truth? That's probably the bigger question.

  26. Sounds like a good find! If there's one aspect about ancestors that people are likely to bury, then it is their sex lives.

    I don't know much about my ancestors' sex lives, except that one of my ancestors from a few centuries back successfully sued the father of her children for child support after he had fled from Norway to England. My paternal grandparents had/have a few sex manuals and had a fondness for nudity (to the point of making a point of being publicly naked, to their daughters' disgust and embarrassment; my father inherited this fondness, though the rest of us in the family would rather he enjoy his nudity when he's home alone).

  27. You can imagine how much a historian would love this post. Especially a very randy historian of sexuality.