Fond Memories Of “The Magazine”

Back in 2004 I wrote this as part of a post about relaxing into being openly kinky around even your vanilla friends:

When I first got to the big city as a young and clueless virgin, I knew that there were such as thing as bondage magazines because I had read (years before) a breathless story in Ms. Magazine (my mother’s subscription) by a woman who was shocked and horrified to find a copy of a “Cheerleaders in Bondage” magazine under her teen son’s bed. When I finally found myself in the sort of place (oh, paradise!) that had really comprehensive porn stores, I hunted down the store that could sell me some bondage magazines, but then I kept them in a locked portable filing cabinet under my bed. Eventually I had several locked filing cabinets — but I gave my friends not one hint. I lived in terror that someone might find out.

About that line “I hunted down the store that could sell me some bondage magazines”: that store was “The Magazine” in San Francisco. It’s a wonderful place in my memory — endless rows of boxes and stacks of every kind of porn magazine, including so many kinds my young self had never imagined. The store was, to be sure, full of furtive men, and the gay dudes who ran the place were gruff and sometimes a bit unfriendly at the cash register; but that’s probably because their magazines were expensive and my budget was small and I was always (at least in my imagination) riding the ragged edge of the amount of “browsing” one may fairly do before making the impossible choice of one magazine out of so many hundreds and thousands of delectable choices.

Anyway, those gruff gay dudes are getting older now, and according to this story they have a plan for what they’re going to do with their store once they pass on: it’s going to become an archive for the Bob Mizer Foundation, preserving the Bob Mizer photography that’s so famous from the era of the muscle magazines and “physical culture” gay crypto-porn. That’s awesome, but I was mostly just impressed to learn that the store still exists and thrives a quarter-century after I was patronizing it so reliably:

For the time being, The Magazine will continue to operate, but owners and life partners Robert Mainardi, 70, and Trent Dunphy, 79, have realized that they need to prepare for a time “when we are no longer here,” according to Mainardi. As we previously reported, Mainardi and Dunphy have operated The Magazine out of various Tenderloin locations for the past 40 years.


There’s no set timeline for the changeover, and for now, Mainardi and Dunphy will continue to sell their vast collection of vintage magazines to a steady stream of customers who wander in and out on the store.

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