I took a really bad tumble on Fat Tuesday. I had been flirting with the edge for several days, compromising a little more every night — but Tuesday, I had been doing well. Then came the nagging thought that it was Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, and I’d better get my fill of sin and pleasure before I gave it all up for Lent. Such a hideous, wretched, worldly notion.
With relative chastity, I browsed a few new “friends” on the modeling site I like. But then I stumbled upon a pretty “model” who described her involvement with the adult industry as if it were something beautiful and artistic and not shameful. She described the site she “modeled” for as presenting the beauty of the human body and of “making love.” And the hook pierced my mouth; this I had to see.
I wish so much that I hadn’t. Not only did I see the “beauty” of that girl “making love,” but I landed upon a startling and devastating realization: porn stars are real people. All my years of separating the “adult” world from reality; of seeing “real” pornography as something fake and unrealistic and contrived, and porn stars as fake, plastic people with no connection to the “real” world — and suddenly, that illusion was shattered. Because porn stars are real people, too. They have careers, and stardom, and celebrity. They exist as real people apart from the fantasy photosets on websites labeled with fake names: they have real names, and people keep track of them. They exist on more than one website, in more than one photoset, and even star in movies. They have blogs you can read, and Facebook pages you can “Like,” and Twitter feeds you can follow. They are real people, who outwardly seem to enjoy themselves, and don’t seem particularly ashamed of themselves.
The veil between pornography and “modeling” was torn: because for all the vehemence my favorite “models” put forward that they do not do “pornography,” the difference only amounts to a few inches. A girl who takes off her clothes for money is a girl who takes off her clothes for money: the porn star can call that “modeling,” too. The willingness to do explicit things, and with other people, when fully demystified and desensitized, ultimately boils down to what “props” one “models” with.
I found a girl, who looked so sweet and innocent and natural and real — who cultivates that image, to sell to a certain audience who, like me, finds that devastatingly seductive. I learned her real name, and found out who she was, and followed her career though some of the different work she had done. And she’s a real person. And these ramparts I built around my secret fortress were only mounds of sand around a sandcastle. And now the tide has come in, and it all has washed away.