I was 30, divorced and at the end of a screenwriting career that had been flatlining for several years. Not only had I failed as a writer, but I had functioned only marginally in a variety of menial, no-brainer day jobs. On my first day as an assistant location manager in charge of finding an office building for a commercial shoot, I had become lost. Prior to working at LFP, I had found a niche at a Beverly Hills law firm, where I temped in the word-processing department correcting typographical and formatting errors in legal documents.
It was a dull job, but its focus on minutiae dovetailed nicely with my habit of smoking several bowls throughout the day in the parking garage. Sitting for hours in a white cubicle hunting through densely written page legal contracts for missing periods and double commas was a pleasant way to ride out a solid buzz. I held that job for nearly three months, a record length of time in my employment history. I lasted at LFP for more than three years.
Destiny may have played a part in this. My first pornographic experience was with a copy of Hustler I discovered in a drainage ditch when I was The magazine, still in its flat brown paper bag but soaked through, had appeared like a gift from the gods of puberty. I painstakingly removed the binding staples and dried out the pages in the garage of a neighbor who was away on vacation. After careful and repeated examination of each page in the privacy of my bedroom, I sold them to my friends at school for their lunch money.
Though not as a copyeditor. There were too many typos on my resume. By the time I left, I had achieved rank on the list of the Top 50 most influential people in the adult industry. Granted, I had written that list myself, and it was published in Hustler, but deception and lies are the essence of pornography.
But porn is a crude business. Even the fantasies it sells have the feel of cheap disillusionment. What seduced me was the reality. The cheesy aesthetic -- shag-carpet backdrops, tanning-salon chic, bad music, worse hairdos -- and the everyman approach to exhibitionism are honest expressions of life in the land of mini-malls, vanity plates and instant stardom.
In , an unknown named Jasmin St. They not only created overnight stars -- worthy of Howard Stern, Jerry Springer -- but added a new dimension to celebrity worship. Where once an autograph served as a hallowed connection with a famous person, now fans, invited to participate in these spectacles, could actually fuck a star. Late one Sunday morning on the second floor of a decrepit Hollywood sound stage, Jasmin held a press conference prior to the shoot.
Reporters and photographers from such esteemed publications as Club, Screw and, of course, Hustler packed the room. Jasmin, 23, entered in skintight red latex. She moved imperiously, with her head held high and her surgically augmented D-cups thrust forward. Her skin was coppery brown, like a glass of tea in sunlight. She told people her dark complexion came from Sicilian blood, and there were rumors that she was the granddaughter of a New York mobster.
She denied those, and claimed to have been raised by an international-financier father, to have been educated in Continental boarding schools and to have an undergraduate degree from Columbia. As cameras flashed and the room filled with the staccato sound of 20 reporters calling her name, the scene took on the air of an old-fashioned Hollywood movie premiere.
Perhaps men showed. They were authentic amateurs, a cross section of humanity that might have been culled from an unemployment line: They wore tennis shoes and work boots, but no pants or underwear, as they were herded into groups of five along lines taped onto the concrete floor. A half-dozen fluffers knelt by the taped lines and prepared the men for their encounter with Jasmin.
She lay on a low stage and could barely be glimpsed through the clutches of hairy asses flexing around her. The teams of gangbangers were given five or 10 minutes with Jasmin. They wore condoms when they penetrated her. They removed their condoms to ejaculate on her stomach, thighs, breasts, face, or in her thick, wavy brown hair.
When the men finished, they sat in bleachers at the edge of the sound stage or milled around and lamely jacked off, trying to nurse fresh hard-ons for another go. It was the sense of being in a group of people deliberately and methodically engaged in acts of insanity. Unlike in combat, I was not overwhelmed by the horror of it, but by the grand-scale stupidity, which crystallized that day as I stood by the craft-services cart. Boiled hot dogs on cold, white buns were being dispensed.
A man next to me politely passed the mustard. The bottle was sticky with K-Y Jelly. I never attempted to eat on a porn shoot again. One of the men I spoke to, ish, with the tan and physique of a lifelong desk worker, summed up his experience as a star-fucker. His voice had a childlike plaintiveness when he answered. The English-language edition also sold well internationally. A reasonable person might assume that porn magazines serve but one lowly purpose: But readers of Barely Legal were moved to send in dozens of letters each week.
Predictably, many contained simple requests: The most surprising were those that contained outpourings of emotion from lonely men seeking to connect with our nudie models. By the time I left LFP, I had collected nearly 2, of the most desperate letters from lonely hearts. Readers sent Christmas cards to the models. Her fan included a bio of his own in which he purported to have been published in the Paris Review and to have taught at Stanford.
I wrote to alleviate the boredom of producing thousands of words of hack copy every week a and strove to make my bios as disturbing as my editor would allow. Fortunately, LFP provided a safe, nurturing environment for disturbed individuals exorcising their personal demons through pornography writing.
So long as I stated that the models were at least 18 a law stringently followed at LFP and had consented to engage in the acts described, I was free to develop stories with incestuous overtones and strong hints of violence, stalking, mental illness, self-hatred and death.
The nice girl plays with Mr. Pookie, the stuffed animal Daddy sent last Christmas before they fried him on Death Row. The nasty girl fingers herself and dreams of a bad man coming to get her. Cops are like that too. First they give you a candy bar, then they take Daddy away. Heather, a girl with a beatific smile, was described as a student at a junior college run by nuns. She concluded her treatise on oral sex: My artistry is a means of bringing man closer to the divine.
Picture my face with your dick in it and know how it feels to come in the mouth of God. Their sexual fixations blurred into romantic dreams. Those clothes you had on were very nice. You could get right into my world at a breeze on your perfume or maybe on the regular scent of your body. I would just melt the minute your arms [begin] to wisp about my shoulders. You know the kind of picture that would send my mind into orbit with you. I would get on one knee and ask you to put your leg around my shoulder and those heels to dig into the side of my rib cage.
Dam those white heeled shoes are fine. I bet when you walk it is a knock-out. I would love to send you cards. And I would love to get to know you as a person. My first school trip in the second grade. Brooke was Asian and Caucasian, and in photographs her face changed from shot to shot. She was always pretty, always cute, usually costumed in diminutive schoolgirl skirts and ankle socks, with her hair in pigtails.
Brooke starred in it with 50 men. Like other porn stars I knew, her biography might have been lifted from the more twisted girl copy in Barely Legal. As Brooke told it, she was born on an American air base in Korea, the offspring of a U.
He had lured her with ice cream. Things went downhill from there. Her father, once an avid porn-video collector, became a born-again Christian.
Brooke grew close to an uncle who groomed her for beauty pageants. Brooke was working at Wal-Mart when she ran away to Florida, where she became an exotic dancer, and then to L. Brooke greeted me at the door in jeans and a gray T-shirt. I threw it in the closet. Brooke fell to her knees, laughing and cursing, and discovered her pager in a gap beneath the dishwasher. Just as quickly, she turned angry.
You bitch, you whore. Pick up the phone. How do I just walk up to a girl and say hi? Both of them were up at that hour -- Brooke taking her meds, Marc at the end of a bumpy coke ride. Now, in their respective messages, each sounded scared and desperate, like someone who really needed to talk to an old friend.