#InternationalMensDay Dedication to my Pop

While writing today, I came across an Evernote file from April. I drafted the speech I was to say at my father’s funeral while on the plane to Detroit. It wasn’t the official eulogy, but I was not going to pass up a chance to speak loving words about my father. So, I wrote this for him and said it at the service. Yes, I did say all the words even though we were in a church and some of the older women were mortified. I’m sharing this with the internet today because my father was a good man and I just want to celebrate him today.

I cry about love because of you, Pop
I know about love because of you, Pop
I first talked about love with you, Pop
It feels like I told you everything I needed to
But, there’s still so much I want to tell you, Pop
I want to tell you how it all works out for your baby Boy
I want to show you my life
so you can see yourself in it
I want to show you my love
so you rest knowing that I have
someone who supports my life

I’m grateful, Pop.
All that cussin and plenty shit talkin?
You the one that got me poppin
with the gift of gab
Hard not to think about you
when I’m creating in the lab.
You’re influence of kindness,
not just as an inference
has helped my anger to rest
And for me to press forward 
Writing a eulogy
for an immortal man,
my big strong dad
who still called me his baby
right up until he could no longer speak.

Pop seemed invincible because he didn’t fight with the world around him. He didn’t argue with the neighbors. I never heard him talk shit about another human being. I never saw any sort of conflict surrounding his life. A man without conflict is at peace and that peace made Pop immortal. He’ll be remembered for his kind eyes, warm smile, and his enthusiastic greetings. He always spoke with the slang of his youth. It wasn’t uncommon to hear him exclaim, “Hey! What’s happening, Jack!” to people who were not named Jack. He was always approachable and affectionate. There were never any bad moods with him. We could always talk to him. I’ve been in disbelief these last few years. I didn’t want to believe that my big strong dad was getting older, that he was becoming elderly. He used to pick me up without bending his knees. He took us anywhere we wanted to go, whether it was on his bicycle or in his van. He took me all around town. We had our disagreements when I was a teenager and he didn’t like my music. But, it took me growing up and traveling to other countries to really appreciate how good my Pop was to us. He listened when we needed an ear, he never lost his temper with us, and he still called me his “baby” even at 41. Whenever I meet someone and I decide that I like them, I’ll often describe them as “peaceful”. Pops was the most peaceful cat I ever had the pleasure of knowing. I thank him for showing me how to be gentle. I thank him for showing me that i can have a life free from conflict. I thank him for the example he modeled when he would notice an attractive woman, but he would never cat call or harass them. I could tell you all the stories about how great he was as a dad, as a husband, and as a man. Instead, I’ll leave you with a few of his quotes.

“Don’t start none, won’t be none.” There was no conflict in his life because he practiced this maxim daily.

“Keep livin!” This is what he said as a reminder that all we can do (when tragedy strikes those around us) is to keep on living. Life still has more to show us.

“Oh! I think I can make it!” This was the punchline of a joke he used to tell. He had told the joke, about a man driving the wrong way down a one way street, so many times that he’d reduced it to just the punch line. “Oh! I think I can make it!” is what the man says after being told “Hey, man! You can’t go that way!” He would always laugh the loudest at his own joke and I’m proud to have picked up that habit from him. I hear Pop’s voice saying I think I can make it every time I’m about to do something challenging.
If you want to honor his memory, then believe that you can make it the next time someone tells you that you can’t.

Suburban Dykes: A Film Review for Porn Club

I just had the absolute pleasure of watching Suburban Dykes (1990) starring Nina Hartley, Pepper, and Sharon Mitchell. It was a pleasure because it took me back to my teen years when I watched porn on VHS (yes, I’m #GenerationX). Assume that the rest of this writing has the intonation of *insert 40-something accent* “Back in MY day…” Well, let me tell you about the magic of 80s/90s porn. I grew up in Detroit and had a long distance love for California. It seemed like a magical place and all of the porn I watched felt like field trips to the golden state. Porn from that era often felt (feels) like a group of friends, who thoroughly enjoy fucking each other, got together at a house in California and once the camera crew was set up, they did just that. I have a special place in my heart for 80s/90s porn. If you want to witness some of this magic, watch Suburban Dykes by Fatale Media.

Some of the things that may come to mind when you imagine watching porn from that era is (brown chicken, brown cow) music during the sexual play. Something that sets SD apart is that the only time music is presented is to transition the scene, sort of like an energy shift. Once the screen begins to heat up, the music leaves us alone to enjoy the sounds of the actors. Make no mistake, those sounds don’t feel like acting and they become a soundtrack of their own. This choice by Fatale Media makes the viewer feel like a fly on the wall. It was SO MUCH hotter to watch this bathed only in orgasmic sounds from these women.

The narrative was crafted in such a way that helped the viewer care about every scene. In an attempt to avoid “Lesbian bed death syndrome”, Nina and Pepper reach out to the Butch of their phone sex dreams. This is where the story gets hottest. If you want to learn why Nina Hartley is a fucking legend, just watch her on screen. Nina Hartley’s on-screen charisma is unparalleled and I’ve been watching her since my teens. Something I found brilliant about Sharon Mitchell’s role in SD was how their* character was inviting instead of invasive. I encourage you to watch (and re-watch) the scene when they first arrive. They were not aggressive, they were assertive and I found it easy to understand their appeal. Everything about Sharon made me say yes.

SD had some components that we don’t always see in porn today, but was important commentary for 1990. There was a rapid-fire safer sex proclamation (not really a conversation) about bodily fluid exchange and AIDS awareness. A clear statement of boundaries around sexual health didn’t slow down the pacing of SD nor did it “break the mood”. (People who are reluctant to have these conversations should take note.)

Watching and reviewing this for Porn Club has been a joy. I would re-watch Suburban Dykes. I’d even order the DVD and invite friends over to watch it. I hope everyone gets a chance to watch porn where the cast looks like they enjoy fucking each other. Porn gives us fuel for our fantasies, it’s entertainment. But, SD was socially conscious fantasy fuel that focused on the pleasures of a loving couple. If there were an epilogue, I’d bet that Nina and Pepper never experienced Lesbian bed death syndrome.

*-I don’t know Sharon’s pronouns, so I’ve decided to use they lest I misgender them.