When I was 19 I went through a 6 month period of reading über trashy gay novels. The cover art was almost always two men sitting on a park bench in soft focus. One of them would be wearing a red jumper.

The reason I remember it so vividly is because I moved up to Auckland to go to Drama School and a city with a million plus people gave me the courage to get these books out from the public library. You couldn’t do that in Tapanapui. The fear of being discovered with a copy of Men on Men Volume 6 was enough to give me palpitations.

However, the blissful anonymity of a big city didn’t completely settle my heart. I would hide the offending book in between some other, more sober volumes. I would walk to the checkout. I would smile. Then I would wait. The librarian would dodder. A queue would form behind me. I would smile. She would scan the books, one by one, placing them to her right after she’d stamped them. She would pick up Men on Men Volume 6. I would become aware of how I was standing, with the weight on one leg. I would shift it to the other leg. I replayed the scene in my mind - the prissy little weight change thing - and my face would flush. Quickly I’d balance the weight on both legs before anyone noticed, knees locked, staring straight ahead. The librarian would scan the barcode of Men on Men Volume 6, stamp it and place it on the pile. Exposed. “Create a diversion! Create a diversion!” yelled my brain.

I’d cough. The noise would explode through the gentle burble of the library. “Look at me, I’m coughing! Don’t look at the book! Don’t look at the book! Watch me as I clear my throat!”

So you can imagine what I was like when I first bought porn.


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