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Porn Stars Are The Saddest People

By Peter Hardwick

(“Peter Hardwick” is not my real name but my stage name and, of course, nom de plume. I’m 29, a college graduate who comes from a liberal (read: my parents were former hippies) but exceedingly polite midwestern family; my folks say they’re proud of me but then again they may just be nice. I am single but looking, something that is hampered to a substantial degree by the fact that I currently work in the adult film business and have made it my career, at least until I can get enough work as a journalist (which is what I did before this gig) or until I’m no longer being cast or in the unusual event that the porn business suddenly goes caput, which entirely a possibility given the advent of the internet and the monopolistic behemoth that is PornHub, who don't pay a damn thing for anything they post. Anyway.)

October

Monday, October 28

   Another day at the office, three holes to plug, same old same old until the afternoon shoot with Carmen K. Was plugging away as usual when it came time to do anal, flipped her over onto her belly, started plugging away. Right away something didn’t feel right, squishy, spongy, almost viscous. It’s bad enough that I have to put up with Carmen’s passionless, mechanical, rote Ooos, Ahhs, Oohs—swear to fucking God if I have to hear that crap one more time I may actually quit this time—for God’s sake, take some pride in your job and actually try, put something into it—then again, maybe that’s the limits of her skills—but it turns out Carmen didn’t do a cleanse much less an enema and when I pulled A-Rod out it looked like he’d been dipped in fucking chocolate. Everybody gasped, director called “Cut.” I was pissed, too pissed to say anything, just walked away. Everyone was totally grossed out—think about that, the crew on a porn set were grossed out. That kind of thing takes talent. Anyway, went to the bathroom to wash A-Rod off and thought for a millisecond about just rinsing the condom off instead and not putting on a clean one but decided I didn’t want to be an inconsiderate asshole like Carmen and spray shit all over the sink that everyone washed their hands with. I mean, really, what the fuck, what a shitty thing to do to a coworker. Literally shitty. I stepped in the shower and washed her shit off A-Rod, decided to stay in the shower a little longer to get some of the sweat off. For a moment I considered jerking off, finishing there so I didn’t have to go back out but didn’t want to sink to her level. Some people just don’t know how to be a Professional. It all just really made me sad suddenly. Not about Carmen specifically but in general. I mean, when I finally quit and go back to journalism (which, let’s be honest, given the state of journalism, seems unlikely) would anything really be any different? There’d still be inconsiderate assholes there, there’d be inconsiderate asshole no matter where I went or what I did, so what’s the fucking point? So I just stayed in the shower for a while, letting the hot water turn my side red until the PA and said they wanted to get back at it. The PA, Pam, who couldn’t be much more than 20, was one of those chicks who always seems to have a twisted little grin whenever she’s around “naughty” stuff, one of those women you just know when she’s 40 is going to go to a men’s strip club with a bunch of friends on a supposed lark and spend the whole night hooting and hollering and catcalling like she was born to do it.
   An aside: what are the long-term effect of using Viagra on a near-daily basis—A-Rod never went to mush the entire time from the moment the shit hit the cock until he started plugging away again. One of the Special Gifts of Viagra is that you almost can’t lose a hard-on no matter how hard you try, even when your prick’s covered in asshole shit—or an asshole’s shit, in this case. But what pissed me off the most was that Carmen didn’t just act like nothing had happened but that she had the nerve to ask me something I knew she’d been wanting to ask for a long time. I guess since things couldn’t get any worse she decided that was the perfect time the ask me why I named my dick A-Rod. I didn’t tell her. Fuck her. You spread shit on my dick like that, you lose your Friendly Question Card.
   But why do I call him A-Rod? Because he’s one of the biggest pricks in the Show, that’s why.
   If there’s anyone out there who’s interested in studying the long-term effects of prolonged Viagra usage, we should talk.

Tuesday, October 29

   Long day at the office, six holes to plug, two threesomes and an old-fashioned gang-bang with Sarah G. Tried not to gush (puh-lease, not that kind of gush) over getting to work with Peter N. for the first time. Fucking legend—legend of fucking, whatever. Dude may be getting on in years but he can still bring it like a champ. My fucking idol, that’s for sure. Best part of the day, though, was when I got to work with Mia S. again. What a firecracker, always brings her best, always on the ball (okay, technically always on the shaft). It impresses me and, frankly, shames me a little, that she puts so much into her work, more than what’s even necessary. Most of the time, I’m too bored to react much; I only bother to do so when prompted by the director or whomever I’m working with. I usually save my reactions for that two or three seconds when they put the camera on me.
   But Mia, she gets so into it, makes it seems so real I honestly can’t tell if she’s acting or not. I’ve been doing this six years now and she’s the only performer I’ve worked with who actually stumps me. A part of me doesn’t want to know, I guess, doesn’t want to completely dispel the idea that it could be real, that she may actually be getting some small sliver of joy or satisfaction, if only for a short time, that not everything about this business (or L.A. in general) is a complete fake, a sham, a put-on, a disguise for something else.
   Mia is just as much of an enigma off camera as she is on. When we’re not going at it I can’t tell if she’s aloof, shy, insecure or just someone with a distant, chilly disposition. She’s always smoking, before we start, always reaching for a cigarette as soon as we’re done, her right hand aloft, her other hand across her midsection, always looking off in the distance or at whatever corner, wall or hallway happens to be vacant. When the crew is breaking the next scene she seems almost agitated or indignant, her upper lip curling into an Elvis-like snarl, though the second anyone approaches her (“Get you some coffee?” etc.) her face springs to life. I can never tell if it’s all part of the show or she’s relieved someone is talking to her. One time earlier this year I approached her after we’d shot the Set Up scene and before the sex scene and told her I liked working with her. She exhaled a long, twining thread of smoke as she eyed me askance. “Are you hitting on me?”
   “No, just wanted to let you know.”
  “Cool.” She looked away, her gaze set on a point far out the windows of the Hollywood Hills house we were using. A wall seemed to rise between us suddenly, ending the conversation. I nodded and sidled away.
   There are all types in the world of porn, a seemingly never-ending variety of personalities and quirks, from the demon-haunted, troubled, crazy to people that are normal to the point of being boring; Mia is most definitely her own kind, not easily pigeon-holed or understood and it’s people like her that bring some necessary intrigue in an otherwise boring job.

(Author's note: I’m not completely un-self-aware, I realize I overuse words like “fuck” and “suck” and endless variations on drilling/boring, grinding, etc.; the context and usage does not escape me nor does the pun-tastic value of those words given how I earn my bucks (see, even “buck” has its pun worthiness.) Writing (and reading) can be fun, it doesn’t have to be torture or feel like homework, not everything has to be fucking Tolstoy or David Brooks.)

Wednesday, October 30

When I’m not shooting, I’m usually at the gym or running. (not jogging, fucking running, man, six minute miles, five miles every day, rain or shine) One time I started to figure out how much weight I actually lift in a day at the gym and got totally freaked out. Take arm curls: 50 pounds each arm, 10 reps, 10 sets of reps. 100 pounds lifted 100 times. That’s 10,000 fucking pounds. That’s one station, one exercise. Two hours of this, legs, arms, glutes, pecks, traps and delts. I lift a fucking fleet of cars four times a week. No wonder I’m tired, no wonder sadness just settles over me all of a sudden at the most random times, while working, at the grocery store, going out (not that I do much of that anymore). While I’m working out, I feel great, like Dicaprio at the bow, Rocky beating Ivan Drago. But the rest of the time, there’s a vague hollowness or a disquieting stillness in me, like I’m just shuffling along, numb and dumb, blank and empty. A ghost.
   (Bogus Fan theory alert: “OMG, he’s a ghost, he’s been dead the whole time.” Whatever.)
  It’s like I use up all my endorphins at the gym and when when I’m away, the amount of energy it takes to summon them can’t be found in the routine of daily life. The only time I get that little frisson of electricity, that surge of excitement, is when I’m out with a woman I really like and really want to be with, when I can temporarily forget the disappointment that is about to drop when I have to tell her what I do and the inevitable look that comes to their faces—not exactly disgust, but a brief moment of being stunned followed by an immediate pulling away, a rewriting in her mind of how she sees me, what she thinks of me, a retreating from any notions she may have had about any kind of relationship with me. All of this right before she suddenly remembers she has an important meeting first thing in the morning.
   Anyway, today, my gym rat buddy, Carl, asked me if I actually watched porn. I lied and said, “Naw, man. After you see the sausage being made, the last thing you want to do is eat it.” Though, to put it more more succinctly, it’s not that I watch the sausage being made, it’s that I am the sausage. I am what gets ground up and consumed, spiced with Viagra, shoved onto glowing screens, your sexual avatar, your temporary fuck boy, your guide to Never-Never Land.
   The truth is, I do watch porn. But I only watch porn when I want to feel sad, when I want to be reminded that that’s me, that I’m nothing, no one, just a stick and balls, a spike of meat, a splash of come. Splash of Come, pretty sure that was a spell ingredient in the porn version of Harry Potter.
   But really, though, does anything else remind you how alone you are than watching porn by yourself?

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Copyright 2020 by Andrew Wallingford