I really enjoy pornography, and that's nothing to be ashamed of. I think most people like porn, even the women (and sometimes men) who adamantly deny it. It's nature to want to see two (or more) other humans fornicating. Even chimpanzees like porn, according to a study I skimmed, but all I could really think about while I was reading is that some scientist had to film chimp porn to facilitate his experiment. That's pretty disgusting, but it does prove my point: pornography is objectively fantastic.
No matter what kind of mood I'm in when I sit down to masturbate, I tend to go for obscene porn: interracial and threesomes and sadomasochism and gangbangs and twins and really any combination of consenting adult men one can imagine. I don't do any of that stuff in real life. I'm a caucasian cisgendered homosexual man living in a New York suburb with my caucasian husband and two adopted daughters who are sisters-by-blood. I go to work every day, and I have been told by my husband's friends that I am quite boring.
Well. They didn't say that to my face. They said that to my husband when he was my boyfriend, and my eventually-husband told me that was why he liked me. "I need an anchor, you know?" I think being an anchor (and catering to my husband's rather gentle bedroom needs) grants me a pass to titillate myself with a bit deviance when I get my alone time. I also make most of the money working as an estate attorney, while my husband works at a medical supplies distribution company. He has a very fancy title that can be boiled down to "glorified secretary with a meager salary," but he works more hours than me on a daily basis, and when I got home on Tuesday, I had exactly one hour before the bus dropped off my younger daughter. My oldest comes home after my husband because she's very involved in athletics, so she was the farthest from my mind.
We only have one computer, and it resides in my office. I went through the usual preparations after wiggling the mouse to wake up the monitor: I stripped down so I was only wearing socks, closed and locked the door as an afterthought, and sat down, warming the leather upholstery of the office chair. I never think about what I want to watch beforehand; I just brows the password protected history until something catches my eye and scroll through the site's newest videos.
I was plenty used to seeing my husband's share of history (typical blond beefcake stuff), but something different caught my eye: blonde teen gets down with her nasty teacher. I stared at the feminine spelling of blonde and worried for a moment that my husband might be having second thoughts about his sexuality. He had never shown signs of bisexuality, not even the slightest bit, and when he rarely spoke about his experiences with women (the inevitable teenage fumblings before he'd come out of the closet), he went on tangents about why vaginas were "grotesque" and breasts were "unacceptable sacks of fat." Still, I worried, and when I clicked on the link, I worried more because that "nasty teacher" turned out to also be a woman.
Thoroughly unaroused and too anxious to make myself tea, I dressed and paced the office. It was thirty minutes until my younger daughter was supposed to be home, but I heard the door open and glanced out to find my eldest shucking off her coat and dropping her backpack on the floor. I called out to her, "You need to put that away, Anna."
Anna is a beautiful African American girl who recently turned sixteen. She's on the thick side but possesses a model's face and posture so wrought with confidence it's impossible to ignore her. When we adopted her, she was seven years old and her sister was a baby. She was shy at first, unsure of her new home, but she warmed up to me quickly. I don't have a favorite, but Anna and I have always had more to talk about, while Leah is her other daddy's girl. Anna smiled sheepishly and did as she was told but asked, "Are you okay? You're fidgeting."
Case in point: Anna knows my nervous habits better than I do. I laughed and tried to wave her off, one hand wrapped around the mug she had bought me last Mother's Day as a joke that still made me roll my eyes. "It's nothing for you to be concerned about, sweetheart. Why're you home so early?"
"Practice was canceled. Coach went into labor, bit of a setback." She turned to me after her things were in the closet. "Seriously, daddy. You're wigging me out. What's up?"
I took a steadying breath and stilled, but I noticed I was tapping my foot and sighed away my effort. "It's really nothing... just worried about your father."
"Did something happen?" Her doe eyes went wide, and she added before I could speak. "I mean, something serious? You two are okay, right? I know you've been arguing a lot, but you really love each other and I think—"
"No, no. Nothing like that." I knew it might be something like that, but the arguments she was thinking of were mostly about my husband wanting to quit his job to stay at home. (To clarify, I wasn't opposed to it, but I knew he would be unhappy, and he seemed to think my concern for that was presumptuous and overbearing). "It's about something private between us."
"If it's anything about your marriage, it concerns me and Leah, too." She scuttled forward and hugged me. "Daddy, seriously, what's wrong? You're still fidgeting."
I played with one of her braids—which she had just gotten done with the wages from her parttime job, including caramel streaks my husband had been very opposed to—and admitted, "I think he might be having thoughts about other people, and it's really something that we need to settle between ourselves."
I assumed the mention of anything even remotely relating to sex would deter her, but she pulled away to look at me instead. Her face screwed into an expression I can't quite define, something caught between nervousness, curiosity, and horror. "Why would you think that?"
"Just some stuff I saw on the computer."
"Like, e-mails?" Shifting my weight, I shook my head. She stared until she got the message from my silence. "Oh. Uh."
"Yeah. I told you, it's between us."
Anna nodded slowly, but she had something else to say. Like she knew my habits, I knew hers: her lips went thin, she knitted her eyebrows, and she twirled one braid then two then three, twisting them together. She rocked from heel to toe and said, "If it's about the lesbian stuff, uh the... you know... that's uh, mine."
Her voice was barely a whisper, little more than an absent exhalation that her lungs passed like any other. She met my eyes and then quickly looked at the carpet, and I realized: everyone likes pornography, and my daughter is pubescent, and she'd already told me she was at least "bi-curious," and she really likes blondes, and I felt a certain combination of parental disgust and spousal relief that is difficult to describe. If I had to give it name, I would call it, "Oh. Okay."
My daughter looked at the rug, looked at me once more, and then went to her room. I didn't see her again until dinner, which was less awkward than I expected, but the next week I bought her a laptop of her own, calling it an early birthday present. It's a Macbook Air, like she had requested as soon as she had seen the flashy advertisements, and she thanked me with a wide grin full of white teeth and an embarrassed flush. While she's the only woman I would by tampons for (temporarily disregarding Leah because she thankfully doesn't need them yet and I am still dreading that day), certain things are best kept password protected and separated, like I'm sure the chimpanzee scientist kept that chimp porn.
I also bought a new office chair.