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Tuesday Night Porn Party

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Watching hardcore pornography with someone by your side is a strange thing.

One day in preschool, we were all assigned to write a description of what we wanted to be when we grew up. For a four-year-old, this is a question that doesn’t carry the same weight and stress as it does when you’re in your mid-twenties. Among a sea of firemen, fighter pilots, and doctors, I presented mine to the class. I still remember the puzzling expression on my teacher’s face as I held my portrait proudly above my head.

“You want to be a towel?” She asked, with an inquisitive cock of her head. I stared blankly at the rows of confused children's eyes.

“No.” I said, “I want to be a ghost.” My teacher and classmates laughed at my dreams and I felt my face glow red.

“Why do you want to be a ghost, Jeremy?”

I rested my head on my hand and pondered the question; my four-year-old brain desperately trying to concoct a reasonable answer to the unreasonable query.

“Well…I guess it’d be funny to see people naked and not get caught.”

It was kind of a blur after my answer and the ensuing gasps and chortles. I remember holding my ground and adding in that it would also be fun to fly and disappear on command. But I knew what I wanted back then and I know what I want now. Perhaps it was fate that little Jeremy’s four-year-old pipe dreams would come (mostly) true. I would grow up to watch naked people and I would, in fact, get paid to do so. Sure, I’d be doing it in a state of, um, un-death and the naked people would be on screen, and I’d be in a room full of sweaty adults, and I’d be sipping free beer, and it’d all be happening in a sex shop in Brooklyn…but my dream came true.

Alright let’s backtrack to a few Tuesdays ago. I had just finished an interview with pornstar Joanna Angel in a dimly lit office in Greenpoint. As we took the obligatory semi-excited looking iPhone photos for Twitter, she invited me to a screening party of her latest film, Baristas.

“Oh man, that sounds fun. What’s it about?” I asked.

“Just a bunch of baristas getting fucked, pretty much.” She replied, “I worked a lot of barista jobs when I first moved to New York, so I wanted to pay homage to the craft of coffee-making.”

“That’s perfect,” I said, zipping up my backpack. “Give me a time and place and I’ll be there.” She winked and I winked back. I had seen so many penises enter and exit her butt.

Smashcut to me, hours later, exiting the L train at dusk. I was a little buzzed from the couple “calm down” beers I’d drank earlier in the night to quell my oddly worried state of mind. I’d be watching porn for more than a decade, yet the thought of doing so with a room full of strangers gave me the heebie-fucking-jeebies.

I walked past the venue two or three time before I realized the pet shop I’d been casually looking at, was a sex shop full of sex things. I sauntered in and tried to find a person in charge to verify that I was in the correct location. I realized I didn’t have to the moment I took a look around the room. Within the confines of the little sex store were little groups of nervous looking men. Some of them had cameras with enormous lenses, some of them pretended to browse the merchandise, but the majority of them pretended to text on their phones to avoid prolonged eye contact. Soon we were all herded into a group and carted into a small room behind a hidden curtain, where we were met with a few rows of folding chairs and hundreds of beers.

The movie started after a couple of minutes and the crowd reacted appropriately. As most high-budget pornos go, there was about ten minutes of dialogue before any nudity even happened. We all laughed at the cheesy lines, sipping our free beers and taking in the scene. This wasn’t so bad, I thought, on my fourth or fifth beer. Not so bad at all. Then the penetration happened.

Watching hardcore pornography with someone by your side is a strange thing. I’ve turned down offers from girlfriends to watch porn together, because it’s just not something I’m used to and I consider it something one should practice in private. At home, I can watch porn all day. I can start and end my day with porn, sandwiching important parts of my day with porn. I can watch porn in rain or shine, under the threat of war, and during a meteor shower. Between the choice of going out for a nice dinner and watching porn, I’d probably choose porn. But with a room full of people, is what the kids call “no bueno.” The moment the score of, now, drunk and sweaty men watched a penis go inside its first mouth, you could hear the room’s collective eyes widen. Every side conversation and intermittent snicker vanished and soon all you could hear were the delicate gags and slurps from the girl on screen. I breathed deeply and looked around. I don’t know what I expected.

The film progressed and I motioned to the bartender for another drink. She bent over to grab another beer, exposing a floral tattoo on her lower back. A wave of deja vu hit me as I realized I had seen that tattoo before. It was familiar and conjured up strange feelings of arousal. It wasn’t until she turned back towards me that I realized she was, in fact, one of the girls from the video we were watching. I felt the need to say something about her performance, but 86’d the idea after: “I like how you handle penises” became the best bit of conversation I could think to muster. The tension would dissipate after every hardcore scene, prompted by the three or four men in the room who would take photos of the money shot scenes. I turned to this kid next to me…

“Isn’t that weird?” I whispered.

“What?” He whispered back.

“All these guys taking pictures.”

“Naw, I don’t think so.” He said. I noticed a tiny camera by his side. He put his hand on it. I ordered another beer.

The film ended and I pat myself on the shoulder for calling the ending: the main guy and the main girl have sex. Joanna did her spiel and thanked everyone for coming out. She urged us all to drink more beer and pick up a raffle ticket.

I started mingling with a scrappy looking kid from Chicago with a curiously southern accent.

“What’d you think of the movie?” He asked.

“Oh, it was a hoot. Yeah, I liked it. Lots of sex, you know?” I said. He laughed and extended his hand.

“Charlie.” He said.

“Jeremy.” I said, “How’d you find out about this?” Charlie said he found it online and told me he never misses a porn screening.

“Yeah dude, it’s always ridiculous.” He pulled a huge Coors out of his ragged army bag.

“Oh shit, they have Coors here?” I asked, sipping at the dregs of a warm PBR. Charlie cracked open the can.

“No.” He said.

“Oh.” I said, “Oh, I get it.”

Another guy, probably five year younger than me, walked up to us and started talking about one of the scenes.

“I saw the boom.” He said, “I definitely saw a boom. I’m positive.” He reached out and shook Charlie’s hand.

“I’m Laz.”

“I’m Charlie. This is Mark. Wait…Ben? Sorry, this is Ben.”

“Hey, I’m Jeremy.” I said, “Not Ben.” Charlie laughed. We walked around the front of the store, inspected each and every toy.

“This goes in your ass.” Said Laz, picking up a mean looking double-sided dildo. “Whose ass?” Asked Charlie.

“My ass, Charlie.” I said.

In the backroom, the raffle was starting and we pulled out our tickets. The items auctioned off were as follows:

1. An enormous glass butt-plug.
2. A free copy of Baristas and a jar of lube.
3. Fuzzy handcuffs.
4. A butt-plug with a raccoon-tail on the end.
5. Copious amounts of lube.

“And the last number…” Said one of girls, whose vagina I had just seen in detail, “793539!” I held up my ticket and cheered.

“That’s me! That’s my number!” She handed me an enormous bottle of lube. A severely drunken Charlie called out with his suspicious accent:

“Let’s bust open that lube and do a scene!” No one responded.

I put the bottle of lube in the back pocket of my skinnies and pulled out my phone. I had missed a few calls during the screening and quickly found plans with a friend in DUMBO. As I sat on the train, my face now cool from the blasting air inside the car, I was able to take in what I had just been through. The perspiring sex fiends, the girl who gave me a PBR as I watched two dicks penetrate her on a screen behind her, the dude with the suspicious accent, the bottle of lube in my pocket. It was a weird night, but I should’ve seen it coming.

I met up with my friends in a darkened pizza place underneath the bridge and told them about my night. I told them how, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a ghost for the sole purpose of watching naked people and how my night was a dream come true.

“What’s with the lube?”, asked my friend’s boyfriend.

“Hm?” I said, sipping at a fresh beer.

“Why do you have a glass bottle of lube?”

“Because fuck you, that’s why.” I drank the rest of my beer. It was a good night.