#12: The eclectic appeal of pornography
Choosing to dine at a new restaurant is always an iffy proposition. That’s especially true when the restaurant has replaced a favorite. Robert looked around the patio dining room at the new Eclectic Bistro Bar, then took his seat with other members of the Atlanta Food Porn Supper Club.
“The last restaurant here, Tierra, was one of the best in the city,” he said. “We’ll see how this goes. It’s certainly inexpensive.”
The Supper Club, now in its third month, was attracting about 25 diners. It had not yet met Robert’s half-serious original purpose to find a husband before he turned 50 next year.
But he had gotten a few dates with “imperfect men,” as his good friend Janet called them sarcastically. Robert was infamous for finding flaws in every man who was attracted to him more than sexually.
Janet dinged her water glass with a spoon to get everyone’s attention. Most of the diners came early for cocktails at the startlingly long bar the new restaurant added to the dining room. So, conversation was already running freely. But Janet had suggested to Robert that the dinners feature a conversation theme to get things started.
“As you know,” Janet began, “we thought it might be interesting to talk a little about pornography this month. I know a lot of people remain confused about the term ‘food porn.’ It’s a common phrase foodies use to describe intensely sensual representation of food. But we were interested in a more general discussion.”
Robert explained that as a professor at Georgia State, specializing in queer theory, he had written a good bit about gay porn.
“What I find most interesting,” he said, “is the way gay men often watch heterosexual porn and straight men watch gay porn.”
A woman with close-cropped blonde hair, Beth, spoke up.
“Ain’t that the truth? Lesbian porn has historically been more directed to men than lesbians, so it can feel yuckily exploitative. And, weirdly, some lesbians get off watching gay male porn, I guess because it’s not made for straight men. I have no idea.”
“And then gay men often enjoy straight porn,” Robert replied.
“I know I do,” a young guy about 30 blurted. “I don’t like twinks and over-muscled pretty boys and I think it’s hot to watch the way the man takes control of the woman. I guess that’s exactly what Beth doesn’t like about it. Sorry, Beth.”
“It’s all about power relations and gender,”