A Very Maldoro Christmas!

Christmas makes me horny.

Let me start at the beginning.

I'm sitting across from Mama Maldoro--who is unaware of my existence as a porn reviewer--as I write. Amidst this War Against Xmas, I am sort of a secret operative, a double agent: Loosely observant of the religious tradition, in the lapsed Catholic way; grumpily observant of the commercial gift-giving tradition, in the way of someone who sees his nephews--love 'em!--toss aside his gifts to them for not being iPods; and, finally, strictly observant of family traditions. These family traditions mostly involve retaliatory flatulence on the part of my brothers and I (believe it or not, I grew up with three brothers, no sisters), but there's also meals, church, holiday television, covert spliff blazing sessions, and the nudie bar.

The first day back in my home state, I joined Papa Maldoro, a small-business owner, and his motley crue of employees for a holiday dinner at the local proto-Olives Italian restaurant. A temp ordered the lobster against my father's express wishes, and some inappropriate gag gifts were distributed. This was all a warm up for the annual visit to the middlebrow nudie joint in the sketchy part of town. I'm afraid that I sent Papa--who once forced my older, altar boy brothers to practice kneeling in front of the fireplace when he noticed them falling back on their heels during Mass--down the wrong path when I brought him to the AVN awards in 2003. Today he's dating a 20-something and leaving vibrators around the house. When I met him at Chesty Biguns (I've changed the name in the interest of our family's privacy, haha), he was with three employees, two of them married women. One of these women was quite drunk. When dad disappeared into the champagne room for 45 minutes, as is his wont, I awkwardly sat next to this woman and watched her waving dollar bills around and kissing dancers.

This might sound like fun, but it really wasn't. In fact, I enjoyed myself more years ago at this very same place when one of the women, after being politely declined on her offer to give me a dance, derisively told a colleague not to bother with me: "Just look at his watch!" (I was wearing a plastic Casio. The money was not so good then.) Long story etc., I drank seven Heinekens and got a speedy, if slightly reckless, ride home with the drunk woman. Apparently none of this was mentioned at work the next day.

I grumbled the occasional response to the drunk, married woman at the nudie bar, and was filled with shame for doing even that. (She should not have been encouraged.) Midnight Mass with Mama Maldoro and brothers passed much the same way. Generally, I avoid joining in the prayers because it would be hypocritical, and might hurt baby Jesus. But some--like the "I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed" bit, intoned as the host is being blessed--I feel even more shameful for not saying, and so mumble along with. In any case, I spent most of the service elbowing my brother and searching for cute women to gaze at. I also turned over in my mind the Sunday-morning service I attended years ago at the behest of a Protestant I was dating. If my bus crashes on the way back to New York and I wake up in hell, I'm fairly certain it will be because I allowed said Protestant to take communion at that Mass. Still, the hotness of us dressing up, then standing, sitting, and kneeling, hidden in the congregation, has stayed with me. It's the kind of experience that renews one's faith in the mystery--the power and the glory--of a religious upbringing. When my younger brother burped after taking communion and called it "the Resurrection," I snorted with the laughter that can come only from a heart pure and true to itself. And that, my friends, is the true meaning of Xmas.

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