4 July 2002
Everyone I have met so far in this business has a story about how they ended up in what my parents still insist on calling the Adult Entertainment industry.
Most of these stories are very touching, and involve sick mothers, incarcerated breadwinners or, fairly traditionally, chemical dependencies.
It's a saddening tendency; sometimes I'd give every third dick in my talent roster to hear one person reply with something like, "Well, the labour exchange had a vacancy for a fluffer in the 'manual labour' section, I got the job, liked the work, liked the hours, worked hard for the money shots and just look at me now!" But it's not going to happen.
I expected it to be a little more fun around here when first I started out, a tad more laugh-a-minute. Especially given that most of them are being paid to do something that would be just as nasty and degrading if they were giving it away for free. And they would. Every other woman who has passed through the doors of Sensitease Publishing could boil the series of life choices that led to her being given a honey and hot tea enema while a plump 40-year old man ejaculates on her face down to "staggeringly poor taste in men".
My favourite uncle used to say that unless victims stopped appearing in porn, only victims would ever use it. In this, as in so many other things, he was dead right.
And me? My story goes back to that uncle, Uncle Dan, after whom I was named, and an insert in Newsweek inviting him to test drive a new Toyota dropped carelessly at the top of a flight of stairs. To the one treading unexpectedly on the glossy, shiny surface of the other, to be exact.
After flying back from my studies to console my distraught father, Uncle Dan's younger brother as was, I found myself still in town at the reading of the will, and was surprised to be left his business.
Not quite so surprised, though, as when I found that what we had always been led to believe was a publishing company specialising in dermatological partworks was only in fact so describable if the parts in question were big, throbbing cocks. I had always thought that Uncle Dan was a respected publisher who just happened to have something of an obsession in everyday life with pornography. It turned out that he was in fact a respected pornographer afflicted by a quotidian obsession with propriety. The fact that he asked that his coffin be lined with silkscreens from Titfuckers USA suggests he came round slowly to the idea that the grave has no secrets, but in this case can have a whole barrelfull of cumshots.
Still, if life gives you 48DD melons, make 48DD melonade. Three years on, after starting off my life as a porn baron with nothing but an incomplete law degree, severe eczema and no real interest in girls in general, or hot horny honey enema girls in particular, I'm still going strong at Sensitease Publishing. New titles, more shelf space and, in a market where porn is being squeezed tighter and tighter by new competition from the Internet, more pages of filth per annum than any other purveyor of smut in the Pacific Northwest. It seems that what at the time seemed like entertaining but intermittently very disturbing attempts to tell a teenaged boy about the facts of life (with pictures) away from the watchful eyes of his parents were in fact preparations for a childless man to pass on the torch.
It was good enough for Uncle Dan, and perhaps it should be good enough for me. Except.
Except that in the end I'm still a gay man watching the most ludicrous excesses of straight sex. If Uncle Dan kept secrets, Nephew Dan reciprocated; I don't imagine he knew how dislocated and pantomimic everything seems. Not repulsive. Not shocking. Just not.
Then there's the skin. Itching, red, scraping, flaking skin. At the best of times, serious eczema is not exactly conducive to an all-over sexy. Most of the adventurous positions our models contort themselves into just make me wish I could scratch between my shoulderblades. On the rare occasions I do get lucky, I can't share a bed with him because the warmth and the sweat and the pressure would make sleep impossible, probably for both of us as I scratched sharpener-shavings of skin from my body. It's not the most endearing feature, I admit, but I had hoped that personality would take me a little further. At times the urge to dip my hand into the cookie jar does come upon me, but fortunately I do know where they've been.
Besides, in one of those all-time cosmic jokes, what are the substances that really make my skin flare up with the pain of a thousand drunk tattooists? Semen, latex and nonoxynol-9. Plus the fixant used on the type in the New Yorker. I don't get invited to many parties.
If you've read this far down the editorial, you're probably wondering why the sudden change of direction from the usual "In insert magazine name here this month, get ready for the plumpest, pinkest pussies/nastiest wives/most custard-covered wrestling lovelies in tights you'll ever see".
Well, this is a very special edition of insert magazine name here. For the last month I've been collecting every scratch, every gouge, every scraping of my skin. And reading the New Yorker. During sex. It's all gone into the presses, dribbled from a baggie into the ink. I've spiked your porn with what flesh really means. This happens every month from now on.
If sales go up, I stay here. If they go down, I'm finishing my degree. It may not be who or how you wanted, but for the first time in your entire life, you get to touch somebody who works in porn. Enjoy.