A Little Rambling Diatribe on Porn Stars

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I was over at my friend Stacy's house this past weekend for UFC 66, otherwise known as the night that Liddell beat the crap out of my Tito and cost me a picture of my ass (shut up, you fucking hillbilly!) and something interesting occurred to me. As the room (divided about 60/40 men to women ratio) started to debate whether or not Jenna Jameson was going to be ringside, I found it amusing that not a single woman seemed offended at the idea of a porn star getting such massive attention. In fact, I think I've yet to meet a woman who doesn't like Jenna.

I suppose she's a special circumstance case. First, she looks like Barbie. What girl didn't like Barbie? As much as we try to deny it, most girls played with the doll at one point in their lives and grew an affection for the hunk of plastic. Second, Jenna's whipsmart. There isn't another porn actress out there who can rival her income. She's managed to rake in money from all of her business ventures (not just the movie aspect of her career) and is probably the only person in adult film who is a multi-millionaire. If that isn't smarts, I'm not entirely sure what a person would have to do to buy that kind of respect.

In any case, I still find it fascinating that our society seems to be more comfortable with porn these days. Jenna sits ringside cheering on her boyfriend (damn you, Tito!) and women across America coo, "Look! It's Jenna!" in reverential tones rather than hiss "Ew, there's that nasty slut he bangs." It's not a hidden fact that the women made her career from spreading her legs and opening her lips. Both sets. And when else is there going to be a woman with huge silicone tits who garners that much idolatry? Well, from the female gender, that is.

The first job that I ever had was working for a video rental store. I was in my late teens and comfortable with sex, although I know I wasn't the only young employee that was engaging in it. I didn't have a single co-worker who would take the time to put away the triple-X films in a tidy fashion. Even those older and you would think wiser would just throw the tapes on the shelf with little regards to alphabetizing them. I would spend hours cleaning up the mess, mainly out a strange need to keep everything organized (believe it or not, I LOVE to file shit) but also because I saw porn as being just another genre of film.

I've watched pretty much every sub-genre within porn as well. Bi-racial, bi-sexual, gay, lesbian, midget, bestiality, clown, even - *shudder* - foot fetish porn. I've seen it all. I've had long discussions with other porn fans on the delectable nature of the gonzo style of porn direction. (Seymore Butts, you fine motherfucking Jew!) I know actresses, actors, directors and producers. I know production companies, favorite locales, and porn history. None of it bothers me, but then again, I'm a fucking dork for movies.

Around the same time that I was working in that store, I sensed a shift in the tide. There was a flick called Hidden Obsessions starring the gorgeous Penthouse model (and future ex-wife of Jesse James) Janine Lindemulder. The summer that we stocked that movie, it was featured in Cosmo, a suggested title for "couples" to rent and enjoy together based on its good looking women and fancy art direction. (Hey, they had an ice sculpture in the form of a dick. If that isn't fancy art direction, I don't know what is.) People would call in and ask if it was in stock and upon being told that it was rented out, would ask to put it on reserve. A PORN MOVIE. They were asking to put a PORN MOVIE on RESERVE. That floored me.

At some point, it became more fashionable for rock stars to date porn stars instead of models. I'm sure that they always were dating them, but somewhere in the mid-90's they stopped trying to hide the fact that they were. Today it's almost as if you're not truly a rock star unless you can claim to have either banged someone who's already in porn or had a home movie of yours "stolen" where you were banging someone who might as well be in porn.

The "stolen" home movie is now a badge of honor. Back in the day when Rob Lowe's tape buried his career for a good many years until it became hip that he was the granddaddy of homemade flicks it was considered a bad career move. Now a discovered tape will garner you more interest in the public and make you more popular. You can secure movie roles with top notch directors and manage to get people to give you record deals even when you can't sing a fucking note. Hell, if the world's seen you work the skin flute, does it really matter if you can't hit the high notes like Christina?

We used to admonish those women who were in music or movies when they got a little too racy. We warned them to reel it in and not cut themselves off from certain demographics. Now it seems as if they're being advised to go the distance. It's been rumored that Britney's sex tape will reappear somewhere around the time that her next album debuts. Hell, even all of the no underwear-wearing, C-section scar flashing, Paris Hilton groping is doing wonders for her career. Just so long as she's ditched K-Fed, we're happy to have our Britney back. *sigh*

I found myself answering a question the other day that I wouldn't have a problem dating someone in porn so long as I never had to watch one of their films or be introduced to someone they'd "acted" with. I really do believe that the majority of the people involved in the sex industry are doing it for the money and that it has little affect on their personal lives. Sure, their personal lives are less conventional that most, but there's still a separation there. Honestly, it's more than can be said for the general public. Porn stars, oddly enough, seem like the last batch of truly honest people in this world. I would believe a porn star's word over someone I'd just met who was wearing a suit and tie.

I own the documentary Thinking XXX, where famed photographer Timothy Greenfield did a series of poses with adult film stars both in their regular street clothes (most of the women wearing natural make-up and hair) and in their regular film clothes. In other words, naked and with a ton of make-up and hairspray. In the documentary, veteran adult film star Nina Hartley says something extremely profound. She mentions that people are constantly worried about the women in porn being exploited. Then she points out that it's not as if these women have a huge amount of options. "It's not porn or Yale. It's porn or paper hat. Porn or double-wide trailer."

I think we have grown to envy porn stars. It is in our envy that their popularity has risen. We all are trapped by our conventions, living dishonestly and believing that we made the better choice with our lives. Perhaps we did. But that choice sure as hell wasn't as fun as we all seem to think porn is. I mean, who wouldn't want to get paid to have sex? You can lie about it if you'd like, but inside all of us, the idea of getting money for doing something that comes naturally with the added prospect of dating famous people and being revered by the masses? Sure seems like the more alluring alternative to college and a desk job.

I want to rephrase that old bumper sticker motto that was once so popular so that it makes more sense. Instead of Barbie, let's put the rightful name in its place.

"I wanna be like Jenna. That bitch has everything."

Just don't forget the other phrase: The grass will always be motherfucking greener when you don't have to be the one responsible for its upkeep.



Discussion of the Day:

Are you a fan of porn? Do you think that you could be a porn star? Would you be OK with dating or being in a serious relationship with someone who was a porn star? Why do you think porn stars are so popular these days?



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