Meeting Kitten Natividad
I arrived at the classic Mexican restaurant, El Chavo, just a few blocks from where I lived on Hollywood and Vermont. I’d made plans to meet Kitten Natividad, my very first sexual idol since I saw her on TV when I was 10 years old.
I walked into the restaurant. No one was there. We’d agreed to meet a bit early for dinner. I looked around and saw another door that was open to the parking lot. There I saw a solitary figure, her back to me, dressed in jeans and a little jacket, with long, thin legs. I approached her and said in a tentative voice, “Kitten?” Yeah, I was a bit nervous. I was about to meet the powerful, larger-than-life figure that had left her stamp on my consciousness since the first time I saw her.
The figure turned towards me and I looked into that unforgettable, mischievous face. She smiled. “Rachel?? Hello, honey!” she said and gave me a hug. And together we walked into El Chavo.
When I was 10 years old, my parents installed our very first cable TV service. It was called “Selectavision” and it had, literally, a key that subscribers could use to restrict adult programming from their kids. Every night, my father inserted the key into the Selectavision box on top of the TV set, gave it a turn and went upstairs to bed with that key in his hand.
Ah, the world in those pre-internet days. A world in which a father could protect his little ones from sex and violence with a simple turn of a key. The days in which access to certain realities could be effectively blocked — and manually, to boot!
When my father used that key, he made it impossible to see the most promising programming in the entire Selectavision guide: movies like “Calígula”, “Marat/Sade” or the “Emmanuelle” films. And, best of all, the prodigious repertory of Russ Meyer.
I vividly recall the Meyer movies on offer: “Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill!”, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens”. These were titles that intrigued, and the still images that accompanied the blurbs in the guide excited my still childish imagination, with their bright colors (excepting the black-and-white “Faster, Pussycat”) and the hyper-voluptuous bodies of the actresses. It further fueled a sense of curiosity and excitement that I had already been enjoying when I stared at the lingerie ads at the back of my mom’s Cosmopolitan magazines.
Yes, I’ve always been something of a pervert.
There was one Russ Meyer actress that stood out from the rest. She was billed as Francesca “Kitten” Natividad, and she captured my attention for two reasons: the joyous and playful energy in her smile, and the enormous size of her breasts. They projected out of her body like two elastic cones.
Like torpedoes. God, those boobs looked like fun!
I was obsessed with seeing this Kitten Natividad in a movie. I had to make it happen. But how?
One night, my dad fucked up: he forgot to turn the key in the Selectavision box before he went to bed. What wonderful luck! And what, to my vast good fortune, was on schedule for that night? Nothing other than “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens”, the most explicit Russ Meyer film.
I stayed awake in bed until the promised hour. Then I got up and tiptoed down the stairs to the living room, being very careful not to make any noise that could wake my parents. I clicked on the TV, turned the volume down low, and sat on the floor very close to the TV so I could hear.
When Kitten Natividad appeared, the world lit up. And I saw things I’d never seen before, things that I didn’t know existed: the vibrator scene, for instance. I listened to the buzz of a strange, small machine whose function I didn’t understand, listened to the coos and screams of Kitten without knowing why she was doing so. Still, I gleaned that those sounds were provoked by something forbidden.
Something forbidden that probably was incredibly awesome. So awesome that they had to hide it from the world.
I grew up in the midwest of the U.S.A., in the city of Milwaukee, where people were famously kind and polite but quite repressed about sex. Just two years before, I’d returned from school to find my mother in the living room, sitting on the couch, waiting for me. An ominous feeling hung in the air.
My mother held a book in her hands. In a robotic voice, she intoned, “I suppose you’ve wondered where you came from.”
Honestly? Chalk it up to intellectual laziness, but the question had never once entered my mind. So I told her that no, I had never wondered that.
My poor mother tried again. “Well, I suppose at one time you’ve wondered where babies come from. Right?”
Again: no, I hadn’t. I had always assumed that babies spontaneously generated in the bellies of adult women, like tumors. One day, you were normal; the next, you had a baby growing inside you. I had never questioned the arbitrary cruelty of the universe, and I don’t know what that says about me.
“Well anyway, I got you this book” my mother continued tersely. “Go to your room and read it, and when you’ve finished, come to me with any questions.”
Since I’d picked up on a crushing sense of shame in my mother’s little presentation, I took the book and stiffly walked to my room, frozen with dread.
I opened the book. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
I saw a drawing of a man and a woman who were supposed to represent two generic-looking parents. Pink-skinned, holding hands… and completely, horrifically naked. The woman, corpulent and lumpy-fleshed, with two firm, round breasts on her chest, and a tuft of dark hair crowning a pair of plump vaginal lips. Worse was the man: bald, fat, with a barrel belly just like my dad’s, his penis hanging down like a thick worm.
Two overweight, bug-eyed people, smiling up at me from the page. Smiling, those fuckers! How could they smile when they knew they were ruining my childhood, forcing me to look at their appallingly unattractive asses?
I wanted to die of shame. I didn’t want to see my parents, or a fictitious representation of them, naked. Who wants to think of their father’s penis swelling up, growing, and entering in the vagina of their mother? Jesus H. Christ!
More than anything, I didn’t want to go back to my mother, look her in the eyes, and talk about what I’d just read.
I returned to the living room. My mother was still waiting on the sofa, in the same position in which I’d left her. I handed her the book, my eyes fixed on the floor.
“Well, any questions?” she said. The sentence hung in the air like a fart.
“No.” I looked sideways and studied the pattern in the olive-green wallpaper, wishing I could disappear into it.
“All right, fine. You can go now.”
We never spoke about sex again until I was 16, when my mother confronted me after discovering my birth control pills.
I know my mother tried her best that afternoon, keeping in mind her own lack of sex education and her huge hangups about the topic. I know it wasn’t her intention to transmit those hangups to me. But that’s exactly what happened.
That’s why, two years later, seeing on the family TV that explosion of energy and pure joy named Kitten Natividad, straddling some guy and riding him with that maniacal smile, shouting ecstatically while her epic torpedo-tits bounced up and down, swept aside that black cloud that hung over sex ever since that afternoon with my mother. And I don’t have any sisters, so in a way, Kitten Natividad was my first positive model of femininity. Kitten showed how to enjoy the erotic side of life instead of running away from it.
And then, when I finally met her, she became another adoptive sister among a handful of sexy and playful, yet powerful women who educated me in ways that my mother simply couldn’t.
Once inside El Chavo, I ordered a mojito. Kitten ordered a non-alcoholic beverage. Like many show-business survivors, she’d quit drinking.
We stayed there for hours, sharing laughter, regrets, and confessions. This was easy; Kitten in person was just as warm, friendly and natural as she is in the Meyer movies. I told her about my life, and she told me stories from her colorful and adventurous life. A life that, like the lives of others who take risks in order to live the way they want, both delivers its rewards and exacts its prices.
I don’t feel comfortable writing about what Kitten said that night . Her stories are hers to tell. Some, though, are public knowledge because she’s talked about them in interviews. One such story, and a well-known one, is the origen of the unique size and shape of her breasts. It was the result of injections of industrial-grade silicone on repeated trips to Mexico, at the request of her then-husband Russ Meyer. The silicone, unfit for contact with living tissues, was injected directly into the breast tissue, resulting years later in breast cancer and a double mastectomy.
True to her bright personality, Kitten told me this story, and others, with pain and regret but without bitterness.
I hope someday soon she publishes her autobiography, because her life has been as playful and adventurous as she herself is onscreen… but far more fascinating and complex.