Playboy not a replacement for intimacy

By Steve Rutledge

Playboy’s arrival on campus reminded me of the single-greatest, one-word commentary on porn I ever heard. A pal in high school had a stash of Playboys. Unable to devise a way to swipe one, I went the direct route and asked if I could “borrow” one. “Suuurrrrrrrrrrre,” he replied with an insinuating chuckle. “What?” I asked, knowing darn well what he was getting at. With a single-stroke gesture known by men around the world, he uttered the greatest insight into porn ever spoken: “Wakah-wakah-wakah!”

Somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to roll up a magazine and sneak it seven blocks home to my house. It wasn’t the shame or embarrassment either – that one nonsensical word had laid bare the lameness of the porngasm. Porn has a way of increasing the very hole it purports to fill; it’s silky substance melts into dark shadow and empty air–in the end, porn is one long wander in November rain. In the echoing emptiness that follows a porngasm if a person is sober they can feel sad silence of isolation; the creeping realization that the real joy and satisfaction of sex – intimacy – was never there. How could it have been? I was grateful that my friend wouldn’t let me take a magazine without admitting to himself and myself and to some existential sense of truth the vacuous nature of what I was going to do: “wakah-wakah-wakah.”

Steve Rutledge

Graduate Student