3 min

Now I can never be prime minister

How I got into porn and kept my underwear on

SORDID SCENE. I had to scrub my knees afterwards. Credit: COURTESY ON OUR BACKS

It’s hard to say what compelled me that gray morning last July, to get out of bed and get dressed. That it was going to be no ordinary day was immediately obvious from my wardrobe, which consisted of carefully selected satin black underwear and high heels – pretty sexy for 8am.

I was going to pose, along with three other Good For Her women’s sex shop co-workers, for a photo shoot for the steamy US lesbo magazine, On Our Backs. Staff were in town for the International Ms Leather 2000 contest, looking for eager Canadian beavers.

Unlike other photo shoots I had participated in, this one was going to require some nudity. Some nudity and other stuff. Stuff I was conveniently pushing out of my mind as I rode the streetcar to work, banging my head softly on the metal pole in front of me.

There are a lot of reasons I could give you for why I volunteered to do this. I could tell you it was an opportunity to explore my exhibitionist side. I could tell you I wanted to advance my career in the entertainment industry: “I’m doing porn now, but what I really want to do is act.”

The real reason I said yes – which just arrived in my mailbox as the June/July 2001 issue hit the stands – was much simpler: money. As I hid in the store’s bathroom stripping to reveal my porno duds, I repeated my new mantra, “They’re paying you $100 American.”

“Okay, girls,” a relaxed looking photographer from On Our Backs lured us down the stairs to the main room as the clock struck nine, “Let’s get started.”

“Started” meant standing dumbfounded in front of editor Tristan Taromino, her partner Red and the photographer, staring at my co-worker, Erosia’s, bra.

There’s no manual that tells you what you’re supposed to do at a nudie photo shoot. It’s kind of like a first date, except the date is with a sure thing, who happens to be the co-worker whose idea this was.

It had not occurred to me until that moment that I would be expected to touch Erosia’s boob. Did I now have indefinite permission to do so? I wondered. Would her boyfriend kick my ass if I did?

It was a relief to have Tristan step in with some instructions.

“Oh! You know what would be really hot?” she mused.

I prayed that “really hot” was the porn code word for “over with really quickly.”

Even clearly rumpled from lack of sleep, Tristan looked like she should be supervising a porno shoot, with her combination of sexy and bossy. Red, who looked to be needing less porn and more coffee, stood to the side and watched, quietly appraising.

What followed was the most politically correct orgy ever, a bizarre mix of Twister and Mother May I.

Place left hand on co-worker’s right buttock.

May I?

Scrambling for porno scenarios for four, we moved to a scarf on the carpet. New questions followed.

Am I on you, or are you on me?

Is my ass crooked?

I did my best to just be in the moment. Unfortunately, every time I relaxed, a cold hand would touch my boob or my butt. I’d jolt or burst into hysterics.

After about 15 cycles of twisting and holding still, I was exhausted. My knees ached from crouching and my face hurt from trying not to smile (I was afraid if I smiled too much I would look goofy or sheepish). My eyes, holding a sexy gaze, not too wide or squinty, started to water.

The whole thing lasted a half an hour – a fraction, I’m guessing, of how long it would have taken if we had actually been having an orgy. That should tell you something.

Becoming a cheesy lesbian porn star isn’t that glamorous. I spent a half an hour scrubbing the dark circles off my knees, that I got while giving my co-workers blowjobs. I felt a little dirty afterward, more because of the dirty rugs than the porn – which just felt silly.

Looking at the published photos, I feel indifferent about the project. I don’t think the photos are all that sexy. I think of something Tristan said at the shoot. According to an On Our Back’s poll, what lesbians really want more than anything else are pictures of women kissing. Staged orgies are like string thong underwear when all you really want is a cotton brief.

I’m glad I kept my underwear and my shoes on, for very different reasons. As for my crotch, I have no shame, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have come out so well in print. And my shoes… look great.

My roommate, when she saw the photos, pointed out that most likely, because of this shoot, I can never be prime minister.

It’s just a small downside.