Grandpa Loves Porn

Grandpa Loves Porn

Grandpa Loves Porn

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A woman discovers her grandfather's secret love of pornography.

"Should we renew grandpa's subscription to Playboy?," I ask my husband, as I stand in my kitchen staring at the crisp white letter with "RENEW NOW" stamped next to two shimmering stickers promising free gifts. The stickers feature buxom blondes, their hands, complete with acrylic finger nails, are covering their nipples, but sadly—in my opinion—not their overly inflated fake breasts.

"Of course," he replies, followed by a wink. "You know he loves it," he says of my 84-year-old grandfather.

Of course, I do. How could I ever forget the Saturday afternoon last fall when I discovered my grandpa's secret vice: porn.

 

It was mid October and my husband, Tom, and I stood in my grandfather's driveway at his home in the Poconos, just four miles from our own. It is a plain brick ranch with white siding that has seen better days. During our weekly visits Tom whacks weeds while I keep grandpa company. I always bake a batch of cinnamon buns for my grandpa, an elderly man who has lived alone for 40 years.  I know that our visits are one of the few things he has to look forward to. I didn't realize that porn was another.

"Jennifer, these are the best yet," said grandpa, spitting out bits of the still-warm bun as he speaks. A piece of browned coconut clung to his cheek, which is peppered with liver spots and white whiskers of varying lengths. Sitting on his blue scooter in an unevenly buttoned red and black plaid shirt, he looked disheveled but delighted. A basket filled with the day's finds was mounted to the front of the scooter, an apparatus my grandfather, crippled by a bout of childhood polio, relies on heavily; he can barely walk on his own anymore.

That day the basket contained a spare set of keys to the 2001 Cadillac DTS Sedan he rarely drives, a beat-up but empty Ziploc bag and the latest edition of a Consumer Reports ShopSmart book, specific page marked with a cable bill from January. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the cable bill was for $1205. I was confused—how on earth could a one-month bill be over a thousand dollars? The daughter of a retired Nassau County detective, I decided to investigate. Little did I know I was moments away from finding out my cinnamon pastries weren't the only type of buns he hungered after.

"Hey, grandpa," I said sweetly, praying he'd take my bait so I could examine the bill. "May I see the book? I want to see the rating of my car." He reached into his basket and pulled out the book. I walked to the edge of the driveway while Tom showed grandpa our digital camera and explained how it works. "A mega what?" I heard grandpa ask.

I removed the cable bill from the Consumers Reports book. My eyes scanned the charges and were greeted with pay-per-view movie titles, but not films I'd ever heard of, let alone ever seen: Big Black Butts and The Adventures of the Booty Broz #4 are a couple of the more memorable titles.

I was 12 when I first viewed porn—there was a glitch on a friend’s satellite dish and I was completely entranced by the gyrating figures on the TV. Six years later came my major porn experience when I worked in a video store with an entire room divided to X-rated movies. I used my easy access to skin flicks as a learning experience, watching straight-sex videos, movies with cheesy story lines, and even Pam and Tommy Lee's famous creation. For me, porn is like a shot of tequila. It's fun, exciting and at times euphoric, but too many shots and you regret it the next morning.

I didn't know if I should laugh or vomit as I realized grandpa, the man who let me stay up late, eating "ippy" (our nickname for ice cream) out of the container, was into hardcore pornography. As for the $1205, thankfully he didn't blow a grand on adult movies in one month; it was a credit. Grandpa had pre-paid his bill for a portion of the year. I breathed a sigh of relief that his pension isn't supporting the entire adult film industry but I couldn't help but feel an immense sadness as I grasped just what a lonely life my grandfather has been leading.

In 1963, after 15 years of marriage, my grandparents divorced. Grandpa never remarried, and according to my mother, he only went on three dates after the split, choosing to dedicate his life to his career at General Motors instead of searching for a companion. My mom and aunt both believe he never fell out of love with my grandmother, a reasonable hypothesis, as his face lights up when he tells the story of how they met and her supreme beauty. His brows furrow when he speaks of their breakup and without fail, his voice raises—not so much in anger, but with a cavernous pain. "After all I did for her," he declares time and time again.

When he suffered a stroke at age 55, 17 years after his divorce, grandpa was forced into an early retirement, which meant his days were primarily spent at home, watching Julia Child and Judge Wapner. He was thrilled with the advent of the Food Network and the History Channel, programming dedicated to his two absolute favorite subjects. I suppose pay-per-view pornography was a natural progression for him. His life of relative solitude was infiltrated by figures on TV, whether they cooked, handed down judgments, recounted the past or had sex.

Living with unrequited love for over 40 years must take a mammoth toll on one's psyche and physical self. If porno provided him pleasure, of any type, I understood and couldn't be upset, arriving at this final conclusion after several minutes of disparate feelings, ranging from repulsion to embarrassment to sorrow.

It wasn’t the porn that repulsed me, but rather the mental picture I’d created. Exactly what was he doing while watching? I felt bad I’d invaded grandpa’s privacy and embarrassed as I realized his predilection for asses. My heart ached for him as I realized the deepness of his loneliness.

Perhaps I’d be less accepting of grandpa’s porn habit if he were married, but probably not. Maybe they would watch it together; maybe he would be satisfied solely with her and wouldn’t want to watch butts jiggle on the telly. My husband I still discuss my discovery of grandpa’s interest in porn. Tom reminds me that although I have many wholesome memories of grandpa, I have to keep in mind he’s a guy who hasn’t had a sexual partner in decades. I understand – but really, who wants to think of their grandpa popping a boner?

I didn't confront him. After all, his interest in pornography really wasn't any of my business.  And exactly how does a 20-something-year-old woman broach the subject of pornography, specifically her grandfather's passion for it, with said grandfather? I felt it best for our relationship, his privacy, and self-esteem that I keep mum. I didn't want to taint our nearly perfect relationship so late in the game. After all, grandpa was the man who spent hours teaching me how to win at checkers, the perils of McCarthyism, the value of education, and encouraging me to write. Why should I take a chance of hampering our last years together with talk of his sexual behavior?

Instead, I decided it best to embrace the archetypical sexuality of a man who'd spent the majority of his years alone, without female companionship. Half an hour passed before I placed the cable bill back into the Consumers Reports book and returned it to the basket on grandpa's scooter. Deeply engrossed with Tom and our digital camera, grandpa didn't even look up.

Knowing my grandpa digs porn has helped me become more accepting of it. I’ve never been anti-porn, but realizing those films help my grandfather feel fulfilled has given me more of an appreciation for triple-X films than I ever knew possible.

Several weeks after discovering my grandfather's secret zeal for skin flicks, I was at home, thumbing through the mail. A crisp white letter offered a discounted rate on a gift subscription to Playboy. After years of struggling with what to buy grandpa for Christmas, I finally had the perfect gift.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
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