How I got into porno without really trying

(one of a series of essays written for a college feminism class)


November 11, 1981


She wanted to go; I didn’t want her to.

This was when I was still naïve to believe I could influence a woman to do anything but what she wanted to do and that I had no right to stop her, even if it hurt me.

Later, I learned (and am still learning) that regardless of how painful, the best thing to do is to step aside and let her do what she wants, and hope that she still wants me when it’s over.

We argued, but no matter what I said, the debate ended with her even more determined to go that before, and me even more helpless to do anything.

“They have my contract,” she kept saying. “I signed it”

She had gone before, aching to become a movie star or model like the sign said at the Hollywood Boulevard office, and for the first few times I didn’t ask what it was she did, until she told me – scalding words describing acts I mistakenly believed I had exclusive rights to (yet one more misconception on my part). The best you can do is accept it or leave, wisdom I had yet to learn as well.

So when she said she was going back for more, I said no, she said yes, and she went, and because I could do nothing else, I went  down to the office to see about getting her contract back, my imagination filling in the details of that acts I knew went on as I did.

In the office, I told the receptionist I wanted the contract; she said I could not have it, that it was between management and the client, and since I obviously wasn’t the client, I should get lost, implying naturally that there might be serious repercussion if I made a scene.

I wanted to beg her to understand – when I was the one who didn’t get it. This was business, nothing personal, and what my girlfriend did had nothing to do with me, only making money, and that I should go home and wait, and appreciate how hard she worked to get the money she got.

All these years later, I understand that, although it still hurts when something like this happens. I just learned not to interfere with something I can’t control.

But back then, at age 19, just how of a year in the army, hunted by the police and mobsters for some stupid crime I committed back east, I was scared and lonely, and clung to the illusion I had rights to things I had no right to. You either accept it or walk away, someone told me later.

Back then I could do neither. These days I swallow hard, still struggling with the basic concepts, but understand I have no real say in the matter and reluctantly, painfully sometimes, accept it.

Then I did beg, telling her that I needed to contract or I would go nuts.

She told me to leave even more coldly than the first time – or else.

Then, something stirred in the back of my cave man mind, some pathetic idea that soon grew into something of a curious plan, a way – if not to fight back, then to stand my ground.

I said: “Do you give contracts to men?”

The woman behind the desk eyed me very strangely, then a bit less coldly, looked me up and down. After a year in the Army, I was in good shape – although my folly would not reveal itself until later, the ups and downs, the embarrassing moments of inflation and then the even more embarrassing moments of deflation. She said, “Yes.”

“Then give me one,” I said.

It didn’t solve anything.

My girlfriend still did what she wanted to do, and when push came to shove, I refused to do some of the stuff they asked of me – clearly unwilling to share the same men my girlfriend did, but it was the deflation that did me in at the end – utter dread of public humiliation and the dread that I was helpless to fate or change any bit of destiny as I learned the one basic fact of life: everybody has the right to do pretty much what they want to do, regardless of what I think, and that in the end, it is a matter of not trying.

“If you can’t beat them, join them,” one of the other men told me. But he never had deflation issues and no problem being with other men.




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