A Wholesome Family Innocently Explains Tentacle Porn to Mom

Any similarity to the characters and events in this wholly fictional story to any real persons or events is purely coincidental, (no, but really, I swear it is).

Terry felt radiant as she gazed over the expanse of the well loved dining room table. Her cheeks flushed with prideful intoxication as she drank in her beautiful family. Her three children were getting older now, and these once nightly gatherings of the entire family had grown farther and farther between. There had been a week, about a month back, when it had been just her and Clint, no children, every night. On the fifth night, it was everything she could do to not cry into her soup. Clint had looked to his wife’s tired eyes, and, seeing her struggle, only asked if there was a reason they’d been eating so much soup lately.

It was something of a low point for her.

So when Terry learned tonight was going to be the first time in almost six months her family would be together, she decided it warranted a feast.
She’d spent the whole day cooking. She’d made a huge casserole of turkey tetrazzini (Sean, her oldest’s, favorite), running out quickly to the store for fresh peas for it. The canned simply wouldn’t do, not tonight. She also got salmon steaks (Richard, her youngest’s favorite), and a pound of haricot vert from the farmers’ market, which she’d sautéed in another pound of butter and a fistful of salt, the simple dish that was her daughter Allie’s favorite food “in the universe”. There was even one of those revolting store-bought key lime pies her husband fetishized — Clint smiled like a kid on Christmas when he saw it. It was a lot of work, but now, as she gazed on her reward, a private Norman Rockwell scene, she felt whole again. She tried to sear the happy memory into her brain before moving on to prodding her oldest son to tell them about his first year at Connecticut College.

“So Sean, any special lady in your life this semester?” She tried to sound casual, like she was asking about the weather and not her son’s sex life. He smirked in a gross way, and she instantly wished she’d asked about classes first.

“Yeah, I mean… I guess not like, anyone in particular, right now.” That seemed like a lot of words for “no”, but Terry took it in stride.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll meet someone when you’re ready.”

“Oh, I’ve met people.” Sean corrected the record eagerly, as if hoping for a chance to brag. “Just, like, no girlfriends or anything like that. You know.”

She didn’t know, but she had an idea, and that was enough. She swallowed her tongue on the matter as best she could, cooing “Well, just be safe. Use a condom.”

“Gross.” Allie declared, briefly pausing a constant stream of green beans to register her disgust. Terry detected a teachable moment.

“It’s not gross, honey. There’s nothing gross about sex.” All three kinds groaned in unison, half serious, half simply because they’d been cued. “What? I’m not an idiot, I know what goes on at college. Your father and I met at college!”

Clint, not looking up from his dinner, lazily lifted a fork in the air and dipped his head, a solemn acknowledgement that they’d had sex in some cinder-blocked dorm room(s).

“Gross.” Allie again.

“Oh come on, Allie, you’re seventeen, how do you think you and your brothers got here?”

Allie slapped her fork down, annoyed that she was having to explain herself. “Obviously I know that you and dad had sex and that Sean is probably having sex off at college but that doesn’t mean I need those mental pictures during dinner, mom! Jesus!” She rolled her eyes with a conviction unique to teenagers, whipping them so quickly around that her mother wondered if she might sprain her eyeballs.

“Fine, fine. Excuse me for treating everyone like adults.” Terry took another bite of the tetrazzini, which was perfect, and slurped a noodle as the table silently basked in the awkward glow of that moment.

Richard broke the relative silence, a slow building giggle bursting out of his mouth all at once.

Clint, surprisingly, spoke.“What’s so funny Richie?”

Richard turned a little red as he explained through lingering laughter, “I just… who would ever think that Mom would be the one, like, talking about, sex and sex stuff at the table!”

Terry started an eye-roll of her own, but was surprised when her whole family smiled, at Richard, snickering a bit. They agreed! “Oh come on!” She was shocked. “I’m not some kind of prude!”

“Since when?” Alice shot back. “This is the same woman who said I wasn’t allowed to go to post-prom with my own freaking boyfriend?”

“You are seventeen!” Terry heard her voice, heard the prudeness in it, and didn’t care. That was her little girl. Totally different.

“Right, once you turn eighteen and go to college you can screw whoever you want!” Richard cackled in delight, the churlish joy of a fifteen year old catching his mother in a contradiction.

“Well, excuse me for wanting my children to be adults before they engage in adult behavior.” Terry felt the weakness of the argument, but was boxed in by the sudden attack by her children.

“Mom, you freaked out when you caught me looking at porn, you remember that?” Sean asked it without a hint of self-consciousness. Now it was Terry’s turn to blush with embarrassment. Allie scrunched up her nose at the mental image.

“That’s different! Pornography is… unhealthy.” Her children laughed in her face. Even Clint smiled and shook his head.

“Right, okay. Porn is unhealthy but you’re not a prude. Got it.” Sean shook his head, turning back to his plate. But Terry would not be defeated. Even though this wasn’t where she’d hope the conversation would go, it seemed like an important conversation suddenly. Sex was all well and good, but she didn’t need her children becoming internet porn addicts.

“Now wait just a minute! Look, I understand that sometimes you might want to…to , you know, pleasure yourself” — another in-unison grown from her children, but Terry fought on — “and I think if you want to look at pictures of… sexy, attractive people while you do that… well, fine, whatever.” Allie buried her face, red with embarrassment, in her hands. “But, I don’t think that it’s healthy the way they show all these big busty women with tiny waists, impossible bodies, shaved pubic hair” — this brought on a snicker from Richard — “it’s all unnatural and it sets you up with unrealistic expectations. So just, you know, like anything, be careful and be safe. That’s all I’m trying to say.”

With that, Terry dropped her head, hiding herself behind big bites of casserole, having lost faith in her own argument. She didn’t know how this got away from her so badly, and wanted now more than anything to go back to two minutes earlier when she had been living the American dream and nobody had to explain to anybody else what was so bad about pornography, for God’s sake. But to her chagrin, the conversation would not rest.

“That sounds like porn from the seventies or something. Mom, you should make sure to stay off the internet.” Richard instructed her. Terry thought that was a hell of a thing for a fifteen year old boy to say to his mother.

“Well that’s a hell of a thing for a fifteen year old boy to say to his mother! What are you, some kind of internet porn expert, mister?” Now it was Richard’s turn to blush, and yet, he didn’t.

“I mean, mom, you don’t have to be some porn addict to know that there’s a lot more screwed up stuff out there than shaved pubic hair.” he replied.

“Seriously. That’s not even weird, that’s like, very normal.” Terry did not like how emphatically Allie jumped in with that comment.

“Mom, I think you’d be pretty surprised by what goes on online these days. What you described is like the sugar free non dairy vanilla frozen yogurt of porn. But it’s a Ben and Jerry’s out there, mom. There’s all kinds of strange combinations that people go wild for.” Sean explained.

“That is a repulsive metaphor.” Allie said. Terry didn’t need her son patronizing her about this, and tried to close the matter for good.

“Sean, sweetheart, I appreciate that things may have changed since I last saw a playboy, but I’m not some kind of dinosaur. Sex is sex, porn is porn honey, you’re not so different from your mom, I promise.” She hoped this might suffice, that they might hear her begging them to drop it in her underlying tone.

“Sure, porn is porn. Unless it’s like, vomit porn.”

“Oh come on Sean, don’t be disgusting!” Terry said, aghast.

“No, that’s real for sure.” confirmed her other son “I saw a Tosh.0 sketch about it.”

“Ugh! Disgusting!” Terry was, despite her intentions, shocked.

“It’s not for me, that’s for sure, but some people, I assume both men and women, must really like it cause there’s… kind of a lot of it out there. And Mom, that’s nothing.”

“Oh come on. What could possible be more — “

“Tentacle porn.” Clint ejaculated the phrase flatly but confidently.

“What?!” Terry couldn’t have heard correctly. Tentacle?

“Tentacle porn.” he repeated it, slower, as if the pronunciation was the problem. “It’s Japanese, they call it manga, it’s hand drawn, like a comic book. Demons or space monsters or whatever penetrate these women with massive tentacles, like, you know — “ he waved his hand around awkwardly, like a shark fin burrowing into the air ahead “ — anyway these comics are kind of a big industry, actually.”

Tentacle porn?” She repeated the phrase in disbelieving individual syllables. “Clint do you even know about this?!” Her children leaped to their father’s defense.

“Honestly, Mom, how do you not know about tentacle porn?” asked Allie.

“Allie!” Terry’s voice cracked.

“I’ve never, like, watched it, but, that’s like, definitely a thing. Like anytime somebody jokes about somebody being into weird sex stuff that’s like, the one.” Her brothers nodded their heads as Allie spoke.

“Yup. That and furries.” Richard added.

“I cannot even believe this! You…” She looked around at their faces. They were all pretty good pranksters and jokesters, her little family. Her children had inherited their father’s talent in prevarication, and they’d preyed on her naiveté for laughs all through their childhoods. That had to be what this was “You’re all having me on! This is the eclairs all over again!”

All four of the others smiled at the ancient memory of convincing their mother that at a Jewish wedding, they sometimes stepped on an eclair instead of a glass, to symbolize the coming marital night. None of them had stopped her as she’d embarrassed herself by asking a rabbi about it.

“No, mom, this is for real. Tentacle porn is, like… too real.” Sean insisted.

“Not falling for it.” Terry declared. She honestly didn’t know if it was real or not, expected it was, but she was certainly not going to be played for a fool. The last thing she needed was to embarrass herself by asking some rabbi or whoever about made up kinds of pornography.

“Alright, mom. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Dad, can I borrow your laptop?”

And with that, the family gathered around the MacBook, Terry’s oldest son typing away in an effort to prove the existence of tentacle porn to his mother. The clan nuzzled shoulder to shoulder. It was a different kind of gathering than the warm food and the homey old table, but Terry thought that, if nothing else, at least they were all doing it together.