I don't like to think about how people had sex before the Internet, but sometimes, I ask my older friends to tell me what it was like when there were no free Bang Bus videos for young people to masturbate to. There's usually a campfire involved. Chin on on hands, I'll beg my 30-something friend Barry to tell me what it was like to wank it in dial-up free days of yore.
"Tell me again about the magazines," I'll say.
"Magazines if you were lucky," Barry will spit, whittling something. "Sometimes it was a drawing of boobies a friend made, sometimes you were watching TV and Wilma Flintsone bent over to take a dish out of a pterodactyl's mouth. More often than not, it was lingerie models in catalogues."
Catalogues! That worried me.
Like the "One Million Moms" consumer advocacy group of the American Family Association, I wondered if innocently paging through otherwise harmless mail-order literature could could have an undue effect on the nascent sexuality of The Children.
This, apparently, is what's worrying the nice* people at the AFA, who are calling for a boycott of JC Penney just for showing two partnered women in the catalog. Fully clothed. With their children. And one of their mothers. Looking happy. Filthy stuff.
If catalogues are, indeed, taxed with forming our sexual identity, I was briefly worried. Would JC Penney-catalogue reading youths who turned to a different page feel compelled to slap each other with braided belts? Was my grandpa so mean because he grew up with the Sears and Roebuck catalog and was secretly dying to have sex with a gramophone or crazy-looking three wheeled bicycle? And woebetide the children who live in houses that get the Harry and David Catalog.
The One Million Moms website lists a bunch of past boycotts aimed at getting advertisers to stop backing gaymaking things like "Glee," the LOGO channel, and some TBS show where guys win money for wearing their wives' makeup.
They say that JC Penney, too, needs to remain neutral on "the culture war" and encourage moms to write in, warning that they will have "to answer to corporate for the loss in sales from traditional families."
I asked Barry if he could only now become aroused by a middle-aged woman with a salon perm and a tan, seven-hook soft-cup minimizer. He looked at me funny. I think that maybe there's nothing to worry about on that front, but I went to art school so I do believe in the transformative power of imagery and other media.
But those lesbians don't look too invested in sucking me into their non-traditional family. They're like, not even trying, really. So, for the edification of the AFA and One Million Moms, I've helpfully assembled this list of 10 Things Way More Likely to Turn You Into a Lesbian Than a Picture of a Happy Lesbian Family in a Mid-Priced Department Store Chain Catalog. (They should probably start boycotting them really hard.)
10. That Sexy Poster That Everybody Had In their Dorm Rooms in 1996
9. Being a Character on the Fourth Season of a Successful Television Drama
8. This Lesbian Love Spell I Found on eBay
7. A Lesbian, if She's Wearing This Magic Pussy-Getting Hat
6. You're a Half-Elf Paladin and You Need to Roll above 14 on a 3d10 to Not be a Huge Lesbian. You roll a 6 on a Black Die, a 5 on a Red Die and 2 on a Blue Die. Uh-oh.
5. You're Peeing in a Magic Fountain With a Lesbian at the Exact Right Time
4. Going Extinct, Then Being Cloned By Scientists, Who Fill in The Missing Parts of Your Genetic Code Filled in With Frog DNA, Making You a Lady Who Can Make Babies With Other Ladies in a Non-Traditional Family, Because Life Finds a Way
3. The Steamy Lesbian Threesome in the One Million Moms Logo, Am I Right? They're Totally Scissoring
2. This Lonely Jalapeño I Saw on the Sidewalk Today and Instagrammed
*indicates opposite day