Dating a Porn Star

I stopped into a bike shop yesterday to pick up some replacement tires while I was out running errands.  Well, OK…I had just returned the last leave-behind belongings to a guy that I had dated for about a month until he imploded a couple of weeks ago.

Naturally, I run into someone I dated very casually a couple of years ago – when I was just coming to Portland for work – right after completing this small kindness.

That’s how the Universe gives old Xtopher the finger.

…and if it wasn’t completely obvious by the title, you should stop reading now, mom.

“I can’t believe your porn name is Fucktard” was the thought that kept repeating in my head as I exchanged pleasantries with this kid while he confirmed the pick up of the tires I had special ordered (they aren’t a stock size) about a year ago.

What?  I stopped riding regularly.

To be clear, I didn’t know that he was a porn actor when we originally met.  Nor would it have disqualified him had I known.  But after being traumatized by seeing the extreme nature of his work, I can say that I understand why we only dated so…casually.  That extreme nature, now that would have disqualified him.

I still blanch when I think about it.

But, as you can see, I ended up associating with him purely by accident.  He was sweet and interesting and crunchy.

He was a rock climber.

He made raised bed gardens in the front yard of the house he and his brother were renting.

He was conversational.

His bike – which he built himself – was his main source of transportation.

Naturally toned with a beautiful body, even though he didn’t belong to a gym.  See also:  his cycling and rock climbing proclivities.

That said, he had a tell that suggested he also did some recreational – I’m sure he told himself – drugs.  He was a jaw-grinder.  As hard as I looked for additional signs of drug use, they just never presented themselves, so I figured any drug use was past.

However, it was that granola-y side of his personality that I figured would keep us from deepening our connection for a longer term, so I just appreciated what we had while we had it.

Flash forward to yesterday when I’m picking up my tires and he’s small-talking for all he’s worth just like any normal interaction.

He’s back in school.  Math is killing him.  Full time work and full time school is killing him more.  Luckily his partner is awesome and does all the cooking and cleaning.

Why wouldn’t he have a boyfriend?

Naturally.

Excuse me while I go drive my friend’s car off a cliff.

“Still focused on becoming a realtor?”  I ask.

“No, I gave up on that.  I’m looking at becoming a social worker now.”

Jesus.

Of course.

Heal thyself.

Actually, it did seem like he had.  He was just a conversationally charming and engaging as I recalled.  Then again, those recollections came from a time when he was doing his porn acting, which leads to the more confusing dilemma of separating people’s actions from their intentions.

It’s quite a conundrum, but let’s leave that headache of a thought exercise with the assumption that he really is the charming, warm and lovely man that he presents himself as.  I like that…assuming the best.

Now, the question you’re all asking is “Well, are you gonna fucking tell us how you learned he was a porn star?!?”

Quite innocently, I assure you.

I was on Grindr for a fucked up minute.  Seemed like about a year and a half.  Oh, wait…it was.  Anyway, this guy kept chatting me up.  I was giving him polite conversation, but nothing that committed to meeting in person.  Matter of fact, he asked me to coffee several times.  I never committed, but one day – after the Broken Poet had left but before he came back – I was out walking around town instead of sleeping.  It was about 7 in the morning and I think I had already wandered around for about four miles…anyway, I pass this guy on the street and he gives me that look.

The one that suggests he knows me.

A few minutes later, I get a push notification from Grindr.

DICE has sent me a message.

“You’re much better looking in person.”

Not creepy.

Nope.

Of course, I was raised right, so I respond with a thank you and we chat for a little bit.  I end up agreeing to get a drink with him, but clearly saying that I’m not in a state to date since I’d not gotten over the Broken Poet yet.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, this guy is a Production Assistant for Treasure Island Media, a San Francisco based porn studio.  Very raunchy stuff.  I know of him from reading a few interviews that he has done with Willamette Week and The Portland Mercury and stuff like that.  He’s a little bit of a very minor local celebrity.

He also has a lot of tattoos, which I tend to like.  Although his are more extreme, of course.  He has “Bad Seed” tattooed on the back of his head and “‘Some Guy’ Owns Me” tattooed across his stomach.  What?  I can’t remember the guy’s name.  It’s like Paul Morris or something.

Ok, those aren’t hot tattoos.  Those are hot mess tattoos.  And, frankly, non-starters for dating, in my opinion.

The other tattoos he has are all pretty much the type that I would normally find attractive.

We meet for our drink.

He’d grown his hair out, so the tattoo on the back of his head isn’t visible.

Thank god.

Everyone in the bar – on a Tuesday – knows him.

Fine.

We find a quiet corner table to chat at.

He’s really quiet, in an almost introverted manner, as he tells his story.  As I interview him to back up my intention of not dating him.

But something draws me toward him…he’s so friggin’ broken.  But in an aware type of way.  He’s aware of his crappy childhood and how his family is a trigger for his bad behaviors, but still accountable for the fact that the behaviors were his responsibility.

We talk about his work.

Production Assistant.

He tells me that he had done some work in front of the camera at one point, but now mainly just did sound work and stuff.  “Mostly?”  I prompt and he tells me that he also does appearances at bars and sex clubs in Portland and Seattle and SF as well as writing the blog for Treasure Island’s website.

We finish our drink and go our separate ways.  He gets up early to be at the gym by 7:00 each day…which I envy.  We talk a little bit more after that, but never really get back together.  I think we ran into each other on the street again a few months later.

I had done some spelunking around the Treasure Island Media website to gauge the veracity of the statements about his work.

Blog:  Check.

Recent Films:  Nope.

Good.

Who the hell has Fucktard as a porn name.

Oh…fuck.

Of course I watch.

I’m sorry I did.

The video clip I saw had it all.  Every indictment a privileged, middle-aged white guy could levy at someone choosing to do porn for a living…or even just to supplement a modest income generated from working in a bike shop.  It started out with a needle sticking out of his arm, while he almost falls out of a hotel window.

What’s sad is that I don’t for a second doubt that the needle was not a prop that was made up to look inserted into a vein.  Nor do I doubt his obviously impaired behavior was anything but.

And I get mad.

Who the hell films this stuff?  Who doesn’t stop the camera and get this guy a cup of coffee?

At Betty Ford.

I’m mad at the industry that takes advantage of these broken, lost and drifting boys.  This Fucktard was in obvious danger.

And they just filmed.

I think I know who the real Fucktards are here.

Why is this on my mind suddenly?  It’s like the Universe has been reminding me of this blog idea that I put into a draft months and months ago, probably right after my drink with DICE.

Reminding me how?

I was in a bar late last week.

Hey, remember that saying about how no good story ever starts with “So, I was having a salad…”?

Yeah, so I strike up this conversation with a guy, just for the sake of chatting while I swill beer.

Yeah, I’m back on beer.  It’s going well…

So, we’re talking.  Totally not my type.  About an inch taller than me, probably weighs 200-210, but in a college-linebacker-fit type of way.  He suggests that we get together, and I think, “What could possibly go wrong?” and agree.

He comes over to my place, because he lives in the suburbs.

Why, people?  Why???

We end up doing those things that single gay guys will do and afterward, we’re talking and I comment that he’d dressed rather nicely.  I was in my usual dress code of jeans and a tee-shirt.  He replied something along the lines of “The studio likes it when I dress for success”.

“Oh, you’re an actor?”

“Yeah, I actually just shot my first part a while ago.  The video came out yesterday!”

“Cool”

“Well, I wasn’t in a big role or anything because I hadn’t gotten tested yet, so I was just an extra.”

“Screen tested?” I ask, mentally crossing my fingers.

“No, for STDs, I have to get tested every two weeks while I’m working for them.”

face palm

Well, at least they seemed to care about his well-being.

Comparatively.

Not that I really believed that…if this was an actual best practice – and I’ve heard that it is – then I’m sure it’s more insurance related or some other business decision versus concern for an employee’s health.

“I’m in the mood for a drink, want to grab a beer?”

“I’d love to, but I lost my ID the night we met.”

“Sounds like you must have had some fun…and sadly, with that baby face, you aren’t getting into any bars without it!” I laugh.

“Well, yeah, and I’m only 20.” he laughs back.

why gif

I don’t laugh.

I calmly start putting on my shoes and ask, “So, when do you get to do some actual acting?” because, why the hell not?

“Well, that’s why I wanted to get together, they wanted me to bottom in a scene and I need to practice so I know I can handle it.”

“Oh, you’re a top?” thinking that explained a lot.  No, wait…the fact that he’s only 20 explained a lot.

Christ.

“Yeah, I guess.  I’ve only ever bottomed once before and that was with someone who wasn’t nearly as big as you.”  Well, I didn’t have to put that in, but I think I deserve the indulgence in this situation.  Did I mention he was like a mountain of a man?!?

Boy.

Whatever.

“But mostly, I sleep with women.”

That’s what could possibly go wrong.

FML.

“Did you have a jacket or anything?”

The only other person I have ever dated who did porn is someone I call The Short, Hot Mess when I talk about him.  This was about 10 years ago…but his experience was only print work.  Which, I dunno.  Maybe I think it’s different, I don’t know.  I’ve called him The Short Hot Mess for a decade, so maybe that’s the answer.  He’s another draft I created a year or so ago, but never really <ahem> fleshed out into a published piece.  Maybe I should, just to bookend this fucked up entry.

For the record, I got drunk that night.  Not in a celebratory type of way to congratulate myself for being able to bag a guy just stumbling into his third decade of existence…no, this was a “How could something that should have just been some good, clean fun go so far off the rails so fast” type of way.  It only took about two drinks, because I’m a lightweight like that.

But I had a third for good measure.

During that third, I reflected on this lost generation of gays.  Extrapolating out how many of my sexual (or potentially) partners would be porn actors if my 1.5/year average over the last two years was applied retroactively.

Ugh.

But I also thought about how I didn’t ask him 20-questions about his life to find out how fucked up his childhood had been.  I didn’t not ask, I just don’t normally begin with that stuff.  I wanted to assume he was as well-adjusted as he had come across prior to the last 20 minutes of our last encounter…but my grumpy old  man-ness wouldn’t let me.  I even argued with myself that even if he was, that’s still a 3:1 fucked up person ratio for guys that I’ve dated that worked in porn.  Then again, there’s the 3:1 ratio of people that I’ve dated that did porn and seemed to be able to cobble together a life outside of porn afterward.  DICE, Fucktard and The Short Hot Mess all have slightly similar pasts and seem to have come out of the experience more aware of their past, their mis-steps and seem to have plans for a forward trajectory in life.

So, while I’m stuck on the damage that led to what I would call an err in judgment on their part, maybe I’m judging who they were and not letting them have a shot at showing me who they really are.

Maybe.

I’m gonna let that thought simmer for a minute.  Tomorrow is my day off, maybe I’ll finally dust off that draft about The Short Hot Mess and try to sort out my conflicted feelings on this subject…

Dating a Porn Star

One thought on “Dating a Porn Star

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