The following are excerpts from a longer article, now available in the first issue of Headmaster Magazine. The article is itself part of a longer piece on working with two gay for pay porn actors. You can read the first half in its entirety by ordering or buying an issue of Headmaster. The second half will be featured on my blog soon.
They’re roommates and friends and they both celebrated their friendship by getting pirate tattoos on their legs. For these shoots, I have to fly Florida, which is filled with strange animals and plants that have been dying lately from a cold snap. The first straight guy I’m going to be filmed having gay sex with is a friend.
His porn name, I’m not kidding, is Girth Brooks.
We’ve done a scene before, and when his photos were sent to me for the first time, something tugged at my memory, but I wasn’t sure.
His dick is huge, so thick, that your hand wouldn’t fit around it unless you were a monster. That was new to me – but the face; I kept coming back to it. It wasn’t in the middle of the night when it hit me, but instead at a Starbucks. I was fucking around on the internet and an image of one of my students – I used to teach at two different colleges in New England – rose up in my brain. I was anxious and checked facebook. There, in my student’s family pictures, was Girth Brooks. Girth Brooks kneeling next to my student and a Christmas tree, Girth Brooks getting drunk with my student, Girth Brooks with one arm around his mom and another around my student. They were brothers.
And it wasn’t a forgettable student, but one who I would think about after class and masturbate to. He’d be sucking my dick or fucking me in front of everyone else in the class. All sorts of things you’re not supposed to talk about. I get the feeling, even, that we’re not supposed to think about these things. As if there were some way to shut out all desire for a student because it’s inappropriate. As if there weren’t a hundred novels and movies about these things. As if he weren’t an adult. He could go to jail and kill someone for the government, but I wasn’t supposed to think about his naked body.
Him. His brother. Did I mention they look alike?
* * * * *
We spend the night on a yacht, owned by Girth’s childhood friend and her family. It’s not easy.
The father keeps talking about “ragheads” and “the gays”. He looks too much like Mr. Roper from Three’s Company for me to take him entirely seriously, except that he owns a company that builds military stuff for the navy. He wears a baby blue sweater, and I don’t say anything about anything. None of them know that Girth is in porn (or that he calls himself “Girth” for that matter), none of them know that I’m Middle Eastern, and none of them know that I’m gay. It’s like high school, I pass and do my best to blend in without making any specific references to men or women I’m attracted to. We only spend about ten hours together not including sleep, but it’s the longest I’ve gone pretending for…I can’t remember.
We get drunk. I don’t drink often, but sometimes you really do have to make life entirely bearable. We eat horrible food at an Italian restaurant that also has curry on the menu. We go to a bar where girls are dancing on a stage, wearing leopard print bikinis. The whole world seems drunk, actually. We must all be going through something.
On the cab back from the bar, I catch myself making what feel like harmless racist jokes and then even through the haze of alcohol think about the father’s comments and try hard to forgive him. He’s ridiculous and kind underneath the swaggering and mistakes. What can I say?
If there’s one thing I want to remember, if there’s one thing I want all of us to remember, it’s that within each one of us, there are so many people. Porn is generous in this way – it’s a world of doubles. Girth Brooks is not really Girth Brooks, after all. He doesn’t even have sex with men off-screen. And the racist, homophobic, rich, white dad who works for the military also lets a stranger stay on his yacht and buys this stranger dinner and gives him French toast and a hug goodbye the next day. Is that what evil looks like? Is it really that kind?
Am I, then, evil? I sometimes wonder this. Am I fucking up the world with porn? I want the man I’m dating to see me as someone smart and happy and free, but the world is full of doubt and I can never fully know the effects of my actions. None of us live in certainty. We take our clothes off and have sex and usually I feel comfortably seated in this. But why, then, do Girth and I always want my partners to see me as innocent? As a boy? Wouldn’t they just see it if that’s what I was? There are so many questions and without answers to them, we’ll never know what we deserve from our partners or the world, we’ll just have to come out and list our demands and hope they’re met.
Drunk at the edge of the yacht, we watch silver tarpon slip past us. They’re huge and beautiful.
“I want to jump in there,” Girth says.
A tarpon swallows a mouthful of smaller fish, which are dancing in light blue water, lit up by the boat.
“I want to grab that fish,” he says. “Look at it. I want to grab it.”