Tag Archives: Catholic repression

Enter At Your Own Risk
 or… How Roller Skating Leads to Prostitution

Was there a time when Roller Skating was considered wholesome?

4 days to go… and this is what I’ve just seen on the Coachella website:


Please join us at the Down & Derby: A roller skate rink and party in CAMPING. It’s the best old school roller skating party this side of 1979!  Down & Derby will be open from 10PM to 3AM, Thurs night.  Free to all early campers!

DJ’s will be rocking your favorite roller rink hits from the 70’s and 80’s.
Enter at your Own Risk

Enter at your own risk.  Five very ominous words.  I’m sure you think that the “risk” they are referencing has to do with broken bones, but I know better…

A little background is probably in order.  In 5th grade Chip Marshall asked me to go roller skating.  Apparently there was a roller rink somewhere near where I lived in New Jersey, but I would be hard pressed to tell you where exactly.  Why is this?  Because my mother, a lapsed, yet repressed, Catholic, believed that the words “roller rink” were in fact code for “orgy”.  While my mother enjoyed the trappings of the free-wheeling 70s, (i.e. anti-war posters, batique art,  and chunky platform shoes) she had major issues with nudity, sex and roller rinks.  In her opinion, girls who went to roller rinks became prostitutes.   As a result, I was not allowed to go to the roller rink with Chip Marshall.  The romantic implications of this were swift.  Chip quickly moved on to Nancie McDonnell whose mother had no issue with her going to the roller rink, and for the record Nancie did not become a prostitute.

Of course it wasn’t the skating that my mother objected to, it was the roller rink itself that was problematic.  Apparently a roller rink was like a bordello with wheeled footwear.  My mom was very certain of this, “Things happen behind the bleachers,” she would say pointedly as if I were supposed to know exactly what was going on.  But I didn’t know what she meant.  Were they smoking? Or engaging in knife fights. I pictured it like West Side Story starring Pinky Tuskadero.

Still, I wanted to know what they were doing behind the bleachers (and why were there bleachers?).  From her tone, I thought that maybe she meant they were having sex, but when I said this to my mother she looked at me like I was crazy, “Not sex,” she said, “blow jobs.” Continue reading