Last night over supper Namers and I asked Sinners for his earliest memories of naked breasts.
He was eleven years old-ish, Sinners told us. His Mom and Dad had rented Caddyshack because they'd watched a few scenes on television years before and laughed a lot. They didn't realize how vulgar it was when the TV censors weren't there to remove the swear words and cut out all the sexuality. Sinners' family sat down to watch the movie one Sunday afternoon -a pure, polite fundamentalist family- only to recoil in horror and embarassment at Sodom and Gommorah on-screen before them. His father kept fast-forwarding through scenes, waiting for the funny part to begin. Half the film was hidden behind the wavy lines of a VHS tape racing ahead to the next scene. Eventually the tape was stopped, and something else was put in instead.
That night, after everyone else in the family had fallen asleep, Sinners and his sister snuck into the living room -guilt-ridden and fearful- to see what their father's righteousness had saved them from experiencing.
Mostly it was just a lot of swearing that had been skipped. But near the middle of the movie was a scene featuring the actor Cindy Morgan, topless in a sex scene. "Eeeew!" whispered Sinners' sister, a few years younger than him. "What's he doing to her?" Sinners offered no response, and then she figured it out for herself. "Oh."
Sinners had seen bare breasts once before in his sheltered, rural existence: in a magazine he found as a six or seven year old, stuffed behind the seat of a loader he was climbing onto in a gravel pit outside of town. Sinners and his friend Jeremy rode their bikes out to the gravel pit all the time, and one night Jeremy dared him to see if the loader, which was always parked there, was locked. It wasn't.
And what peculiar treasures it possessed! A stinky beer can, and a magazine full of pictures of adults riding each other around. One lady, wearing no clothes at all, was spraying herself with a green garden hose, and seemed to be enjoying it immensely. "Look, they're giving each other horse-y rides," Jeremy said as Sinners turned the page.
"It's sex," Sinners said, correcting his friend. He wasn't certain that's what it was, but he knew that sex involved nakedness and private parts, and there was plenty of that on the page.
"Oh," replied Jeremy. "It's funny."