When I try to write about sex, I think back to when I was just out of college and, handy with a makeup brush, took a job to make some extra money doing makeup on a gay-porn film set. On the second day, we filmed a three-way that took up most of the day. The actors struggled: one was hard, the others weren’t, then the others were and the first was not, and so on. After a few hours, the director sent us all out of the room and turned out the lights so the actors could work it out. This was before Viagra—you had to have an honest hard-on to shoot. We waited outside the dark room, the lights out, even the cameramen outside, waiting, until finally we heard the signal, and then the crew rushed back in to film. We turned on the lights.
The actors were made to pause, immediately. I had to touch them up. They were panting, sweating like athletes. They’d rubbed off most of what I’d put on them. As they held their positions, I touched them up. I thought about how something had happened in the dark that we couldn’t see, an excitement that couldn’t be in the film. It was probably better than what we would film, more interesting.Too much writing about sex tries to either make it prettier or more serious, sexier or funnier or shocking, or anything, really, except what it is. On its own terms, sex is information. This I learned from reading James Salter. Reading his sentences, I saw what I knew of sex, that sex is a moment in which you are known and knowable. Whatever it is you desire appears from behind the veil of shame or fantasy or nostalgia, or sheer impossibility, and in its presence, you are revealed to yourself. Porn obscures this; porn is about the fantasy of the viewer, not the mixed fantasies, realities, and disappointments of the actors in the room. Truth might get you off, but porn doesn’t deal in maybes, was never interested in unreliable, unpredictable truth-telling.
Florence + The Machine – “No Light, No Light” (Ianborg Remix)
But it’s a conversation I just can’t have tonight.
Even before this month we had already seen Lindsay Lohan half-naked. However her recently leaked shoot for the January issue of Playboy magazine has garnered lots of attention for the actress, the first roughly related to her career since her brief stint in the fashion industry before her last stint in rehab. The world wanted to know: would Lindsay flash her legendary “fire crotch” for $1 million?
Obviously the money was a big draw to going topless, but for her much-talked about idolizing of Marilyn Monroe, the cash-strapped Lindsay did little to embrace the opportunity and make it the type of event that could relaunch her career much like posing for Playboy launched Marilyn’s career decades ago.
I get to see the drag queens perfecting their tuck game in the back of the club and watch drunken one night stands spring to life on the dance floor. Some friends make fun of my new side gig, saying my nurse-slash-exotic dancer existence is like the plot line of a low budget indie film. To my Southern Baptist family back home, I tell them that God blessed me with a bountiful butt, and shaking it is my ministry. To my medical colleagues, I tell them that with the stress of literally holding someone’s life in my hands all day, it’s comforting to think some people fantasize about holding parts of me in their hands all night.
It seems that the men inching closest to my heart are the ones already halfway on to somewhere else. Because when morning comes, no matter what happens between us, underneath the sheets, you will still have that flight to catch. Let me keep you at a safe distance while I indulge in self-sabotage. Your body on my bed, your heart tucked neatly in some other corner — a thousand miles away — where you belong.
Excerpt, Confessions of a Boy Toy