How My Affair With Porn Was Born

Confessions of an adult-bookstore clerk

Photo by Jack GouldMonique leans halfway in through the doorway of my store to scope the attractive customers. Then he leans halfway out to take a drag on his cigarette. Monique is a man—a 6-foot, 120-pound, black transvestite. He seems to have his eye on somebody, but when I raise my eyebrows in suggestive inquiry, he starts leaning out again. "Oh, no, honey," he says. "He's too old."

Monique is just one of many acquaintances I've made while talking across the counter. It's business talk, mostly, but in this business, butt plugs, dildos, penis pumps, bondage, cock rings and strap-ons have become a big part of my vernacular. That doesn't please my mother. After paying me a visit at work one day, she repeatedly cried, "I feel so unclean!"

There is a plethora of smut shops along a one-mile stretch of Garden Grove Boulevard. Lots of people don't realize that, which is good news for those who do. The low profile may explain the survival of these businesses in what is supposed to be a conservative county. Then again, the fight against sex has historically faced long odds. These days, the entire adult-entertainment industry boasts some $20 billion in annual revenue, and its peripheral markets—which include exotic dancing, strip-o-grams, and, of course, the world's oldest profession—make it one of the biggest businesses on earth.

My store serves as the surrogate spouse and meeting ground for an endless stream of Orange County residents in need of a porn fix. And it's more and more mainstream, too, as such recent titles as Poke-a-man ($39.95) and Hairy Pottymouth ($17.99) suggest.

Anti-pornography lobbyists tend to blast the entire industry with generalizations that hold legitimate stores and businesses responsible for the actions of sex offenders. But the majority of my porn acquaintances do not advocate illegal behavior, and city codes require bookstores to adhere to strict policies about public lewdness. A bigger problem is that these laws often become license for some of Garden Grove's homophobic officers to harass male customers.

Bottom line, the people inside the unassuming brick building and the double-entendre "parking in rear" sign are doctors, lawyers, students, mothers and even some Orange County politicians. They exchange money, stories, and—occasionally—phone numbers.

THE MAKING OF A PERVERT

My journey toward porn aficionado began in adolescence when I used to sneak peeks at my brother's private stash. My fixation has grown and refined itself over the years. Now, I'm the seedy character behind the counter at an adult bookstore.

I remember my first time in an adult bookstore. I was living in Colorado Springs and had just turned 18. An unwashed recluse reading an old copy of Penthouse magazine stood behind the counter while I wandered around. Others were wandering around, too, and I soon realized I was observing the ritualistic, male mating dance known as cruising—a series of glances that results in a sexual rendezvous, sometimes in a motel but often in the restroom. I ended up in the video booth, where I finally learned the meaning of the term "rimming" that I remembered hearing once in junior high. Seeing it up close and personal—not to mention unscrambled—introduced me to a whole new life. My love affair with porn was born.

My first job in a porn store was at a small shop in Van Nuys. It lasted only one day. The manager fired me when I spent my first lunch break watching videos. He muttered something about me perhaps being "better as a customer."

Luck struck in Orange County, however, when I answered an ad for a "store clerk." The manager told me over the phone where I'd be clerking; images of gangbangs and flavored lubricants danced in my head. Walking into the shop on my first day, I took a deep breath and surveyed walls covered with 12-inch double dongs. I was home.

For two years, I have sold dildos in every imaginable size and vibrators with more force than a Black & Decker table saw. I've rung up piña colada-flavored condoms and spiked wrist restraints for elderly ladies and anal beads for men in three-piece suits.

JUST LIKE MACY'S

There's a moment of silence on the other end of the phone I've just answered, and I realize who it is: "Phone-a-Fuck." He calls the store every night and asks about particular titles while masturbating to the clerk's voice. There are sickos who actually think there's shock value in calling an adult bookstore and breathing into the receiver. By this time, though, no way—although, someone calling up and reciting passages from the Bible might make me flinch.

Face to face, the relationship between clerk and customer is rarely so graphic, but the atmosphere inside the store is riddled with sexual innuendo—not unlike the lingerie department at Macy's.

Most customers receive a "grace period" when it comes to inappropriate behavior inside the shop, including public lewdness, loitering and solicitation. Often the clerk warns the offender to "put it away" or face ejection. At worst, the police are called, and the customer is escorted out wearing handcuffs (pink leather "love" cuffs, $18.99). At best, the customer packs at least nine inches and is fairly attractive. These encounters rarely end badly—usually with the offender leaving red-faced only to return the next night and try again.

1
 
2
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
 
Anaheim Concert Tickets
Loading...