DIVE boy"Technical porn?" Louise snorted at the very idea "Yeah right, I can just imagine the scene. A bloke with a dodgy moustache rings on the front door. A woman in full make-up, still in her nightie, comes to answer it îI've come to fix your rebreather' he says..."
"No, no, you've got it all wrong" I protested. As usual. (but I didn't say that bit) "That's not what I mean by technical porn. And from that description, when was the last time you saw a porn film?"
"Funnily enough, the last one I saw was on a liveaboard. Not that I actually watched it, I just noticed the DVD nestling next to Finding Nemo."
"Ah, Binding Nemo, the S&M version..." I began, but already she wasn't paying attention.
"So what is it with blokes taking porn films on dive boats? If they want to get turned on it's hardly a private setting. So do they sit around in a group, watch the film and..."
"Christ, no!" I replied. "That would be gay. Taking porn films on boats is like making a statement. It's saying îI'm all man - we're all blokes together - this is how we have fun'. You know, male bonding."
I could see that she thought it was lame. But then, she is a girl.
"So, what you're saying is that the guys who buy these technical diving magazines are just making a statement to other men about their masculinity in the same way that porn does?"
"Yeah, but, no, but," I could feel myself coming over all Vicky Pollard "it's a little more involved than that. It's not just an exercise in masculine identity - blokes do get real pleasure out of this stuff."
"So... some men are more interested in sitting round watching porn together than actually having sex? Just like some divers are more interested in lingering over the details of adventurous dives than in actually doing the dives?" She was on a roll now. "So that means technical diving publications are the wank-mags of the tech-wannabe."
Well yeah, but, no, but... OK then, I better try to explain.
The Dive Boy Guide to Technical PornAppearance? Pretty infrequent. The magazines all have slightly obscure titles, like AquaCORPS, DeepTech or 9-90. The usual form is to put out a few issues and then fold. The magazines themselves tend to be massively over-produced, full of big dark pictures and rambling articles. Impenetrable, rather than a lot of penetration. So no girl on girl action then? No! Definitely not. You'd be fairly lucky to spot a girly at all. Why do blokes read them? Well that's the thing, I don't think people actually read the articles as such. Yet strangely they seem to have a following. A following? Really? Like who? Well, the handful of people who wrote the articles, together with a more sizeable bunch of wannabes who don't actually do the dives but who like to drool over the pictures of somebody else doing it. So there's a strong fantasy element? Of course - hence the association with porn! The people who are out there, having it large, don't really need to look at photos of other people doing it So people mostly look at the pictures ... a bit like Penthouse? Well, yes and no. The pictures are far duller than men's mags but I suppose they could be stimulating if you're the kind of person who gets aroused reading through a diving equipment stocklist. That must be why îenthusiasts' mags like Max Power, Boys Toys or Angling Times go into masses of anoraky detail. Except that the car and gadget mags do actually bother to refer to sex by having a few topless babes. Angling Times doesn't, but then that does appeal to people who get excited over a wet fish... Best not go there. Maybe if the tekkie magazines had had more naked women they might have sold a few more copies? Don't laugh, but itîs been done! A mag called Divers - "for REAL divers!" (ie blokes) which is a îmen bragging about their dives with topless girls thrown in' publication. But I think the last published issue was dated Oct 2003... Well at least women get a look in! Fair point, but only as eye-candy, not as divers.That said, it's a sad reflection that, among diving magazines, they probably had a higher number of pages devoted to women than the mainstream dive mags. Oh dear. So does that mean that divers are more turned on by ego-wanky articles than by women? I've certainly spotted a few back issues of 9-90 in the toilets of diver's houses, which does make you wonder. Don't ask me if the pages were stuck together... Dive Girl's had it's fair share of nudity, nappies and vibrators. Doesn't that make us porn then? Of course not - it's all about context. The difference is that we do it all in a post-modern, tongue-in-cheek kind of way. So not porn, then. Just gratutious smut. Exactly! J