Seeing how a stranger would react to a woman buying both female and male pornography. Expected reaction: mild amusement or discomfort.
Selecting the Store
I didn't choose an out-of-the-way place to conduct this experiment. In fact, the large chain book/music store I chose is right next to the mall. I suppose I am a risk-taker. I have never felt ashamed of my interest in porn, although I'm sure I would be embarrassed if I had to explain most of the pictures on my hard drive to, say, my mother. I should note now that my mother and I have always been frank and open about sex. Recently, at a barbeque, her boyfriend swatted her behind with a spatula he was taking to the grill, and I shouted after him that I plan to buy them gift certificates to Eclectica (the local porn/sex toy shop, run by the the godmothers of the local gay community) for Christmas. He shouted back that they already have several things from there; I plan to buy the gift certificates anyway. I chose not to buy the porn for this experiment at Eclectica because most of the employees there are friends of mine.
Casing the Joint
I sought out the female employee in the books section to ask her where they'd moved the pornographic magazines. She seemed not at all perturbed, and helpfully led me to the right rack. It was near the front of the store, and situated in such a way that, had I been a bit taller, I could have seen the front entrance. It was also situated in such a way as to make it difficult to sneak up behind me. This would be beneficial to those less comfortable with their porn habits. The porn was also conveniently located between the sports/outdoors magazines and the financial magazines.
Making My Selection
All of the pornographic magazines were wrapped in plastic that was black until just below the magazine title, so I didn't have much to go on. I decided that for this first experiment, I would go with softcore, and familiar titles. With an extremely uncomfortable-looking middle-aged man standing next to me, quickly flipping disinterestedly through the financial magazines, I chose PlayBoy and PlayGirl and made my way to the check-out counter.
There were two men at the check-out counters; one was roughly my age, and the other was probably my father's age. I chose to go to the younger man, partially because I thought he might be more likely to react to my purchase. I paid with cash.
The young man who was my cashier made friendly conversation, without comment upon my purchase. He seemed neither amused nor uncomfortable. Next time: Hardcore.