There's no sign advertising this oddity. But last week I discovered "9 out of 10," that snappy slogan for the number of people using BellAtlantic Yellow Pages, refers to a whole different group of consumers in Glen Burnie.
It also supposedly stands for the number of men who indulge in X-rated entertainment.
That's right -- 92 percent of men 18 and older are said to be poring over skin flicks and girlie magazines in Glen Burnie.
This startling statistic was passed on by an attorney for Magura Enterprises,which opened an adult video and bookstore at the corner of Crain Highway and a peaceful, residential street.
Magura Enterprises chose Glen Burnie as home for "Paradise II" based on a market research study that showed 92 percent of the men buy or rent some form of pornography, said Timothy F. Umbreit, the firm's attorney. Questioned further, he admitted that other areas in the county also ranked pretty high,but not quite in the "9 out of 10" range. Fort Meade, he thought, was about 84 percent.
He was serious. I told him that Glen Burnie isthe church capital of the county and a family-oriented community. But he insisted the firm did a legitimate study by checking adult movierentals andsubscriptions to Playboy, Penthouse and other such magazines.
So many people were surprised when I shared this statistic that I decided to do my own study. I called local officials and stood outside a K mart on Ritchie Highway to ask men whether they belonged to the "9 out of 10" majority.
"Most of that kinky stuff, my wife usually rents," joked Sen. Michael J. Wagner, D-Glen Burnie.
Delegate Tyras S. "Bunk" Athey was taken aback.
"I find that difficult to accept," he said when told that most of his male constituents are supposedly, to put it bluntly, voyeurs.
Councilman Edward C. Middlebrooks, D-Severn, who proposed a moratorium on licenses for peep shows after Magura Enterprises tried to include one in its video parlor, questioned the study.
"What was this, a Gallup Poll?" he asked. "Idon't buy that. I think it's garbage."
At the center for Glen Burnie statistics, the Office of Urban Renewal, the assistant director wanted to know whether Magura Enterprises asked men if they bought X-rated entertainment once a month, once a year or once in their lifetime.
"On a regular basis, I think it's closer to 19 percent," said Glenn Mathiasen in an authoritative tone.
Not even 19 percent of the men leaving K mart would confess. A lot of them just stared when I posed my question. The rest chuckled uneasily or said they belonged to the 8 percent group.
After little success with the politicians and men on the street, I decided to check with the customers at the adult bookstore. It was noon, and there weren't many hanging around. But I cornered one young man in a suit and tie as he left the store.
"Did you rent a movie?" I asked breathlessly. He nodded.
"What's your name?" I asked. He shook his head mutely.
"Where do you live?" I continued. He turned away and muttered: "In Arnold."