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Even porn stars get the blues

'I pulled off my T-shirt, feeling tanned, sexy, a good value'

The hunky Aiden Shaw Credit: Xtra West file photo

Like most porn star memoirs, Aiden Shaw’s new book,
My Undoing: Love in the Thick of Sex, Drugs, Pornography, and Prostitution, starts with a bang-namely the one he administers to a co-star while shooting a porn movie. “All I could see were pretty shapes and colors, my dick going in and out of his white cheeks,” Shaw writes.

Suddenly he stops the action because his condom is slipping off. In the few minutes between the director yelling “cut!” and Shaw getting a cold Coke, a new condom and climbing back on top of his partner, he has time to think about another co-star he topped earlier in the movie. “[I’m] tormented by the thought of his having sex with other men,” he writes. Even though he tellingly titled his previous books Busted and Wasted, the ultimate undoing of Aiden Shaw will be that he’s simply fallen in love.

Shaw first meets his distraction, Luke, in a porn director’s office. “The man was perfect,” Shaw writes. “His eyes huge and apologetic, one side of his mouth tipping up, the other too lazy to follow, less confident than a smile but with more meaning.” Like turns to love quickly for Shaw, who says Luke was so unique and intriguing it surprised even him. “I’d thought I couldn’t be reached in that way,” he writes.

Luke is a free-spirited rich kid with an allowance from Daddy and a talent for going somewhere else when the going gets tough. He and Shaw fuck, fight, break up and make up over and over.

Lying in the middle of a dark road one night admiring the night sky Shaw wakes up in the hospital with a head full of stars after being run over by a car. Just when Shaw needs him most Luke, of course, disappears.

Suffering from a fractured romance, a swollen brain and a “reassembled leg,” Shaw’s road to recovery is paved with self-loathing and doubt. When he recovers, he hits the gym to get back into porn-star shape and writes men “looked straight through me.” Even worse was the locker room where “men in various states of undress…turned away from me, indifferent. I felt ugly, useless, without sexual status.”

A page later he’s calmed down if not perked up. “What I felt in the gym was probably ancient stuff,” he writes, “the same insecurity and low self-esteem that had driven me there in the first place.”

A few pages later some demons have been exorcised-in the metaphor of a wisdom tooth: “Finally, after weird noises I never expected to hear coming from my head, the ugliest tooth was held inches from my face. I was fascinated, if not disgusted, that it had been part of me.”

There are other clever insights throughout the book. Shaw writes about a threesome that “was frantic-so many limbs and too many personalities.” He also recalls not clicking with a hottie because Shaw was on a drug that made him mellow while the hottie was on another that made him wired.
What makes My Undoing so interesting is that Shaw doesn’t write much about his film career or poz status. Instead he writes blog-style about how his days flow from one to the other and what it’s like to be a hottie who doesn’t think he’s hot inside. This was a smart, gutsy move because the Internet has raised the stakes for porn autobiographies. What’s the point of buying a book about models having sex on camera when guys are doing it cam2cam?

To put it in grandest terms, My Undoing is Aiden Shaw’s own version of Ulysses. No, really. Think about it. James Joyce’s whole book takes place in a single day. Shaw’s book crunches a couple of years into a single afternoon of reading. Joyce writes about hospitals and brothels. Shaw writes about them too. Both books even feature feces! (Although in Shaw’s case it’s a “thin, even layer of shit” over his moneymaker after some disastrous barebacking.)

Where Shaw’s book trumps the typical porn star memoir is in its heartfelt understanding of how frustrating it is waiting for Mr Right. He painfully captures how we busy ourselves waiting for that special someone by having sex with everyone else along the way. As a porn star he’s a dark angel who gives himself, whole-bodied, to an audience’s midnight dreams. As a poz gay man he’s still searching for some semblance of vanished innocence, a search so many gay men share.

He describes himself late in the book in a transformation worthy of the faded optimism of Death in Venice: “I’d parted my hair on the side, wore a button-up shirt, and generally looked as though I’d made different choices in life and not become the person I actually was.”