The other night Cass and I decided to watch some porn. We went the old-school route: driving down to the smelly store with the buzzing fluorescent lights and row upon row of DVD cases featuring grimacing women with penises on their faces.
We rented two. We always rent two. Why? Because the first DVD we popped into the player had some storyline which required the main actress to repeatedly masturbate herself with a disembodied mannequin hand that she took with her from set to set. I’d picked this one out because it was in a section marked “Porn Classics!”. I now realize this is just where they dump any of their titles that were made before February 2007.
Now if we were having some kind of “Plan 9 From Outer Space” porn party, this would have been an awesome pick. A bowl of popcorn, get some friends over, give them some beer and pudding and mild organic hallucinogens, see how the evening rolls out… But that wasn’t the plan. We wanted to spend some one-on-one time watching professional fornicators do their thing and perhaps even get inspired to bump our own uglies a few times before we went to sleep. And this disembodied hand was getting in the way.
If you stray off the formulaic "Couple Friendly" or "Best of Hardcore" paths in search of something interesting, you'll find that nasty (the wrong kind of nasty) surprises abound. It is a particular sort of disappointing to work yourself up into a nice plateau of arousal watching hard bodies going at it with adequate vigor, and then suddenly be presented with the sight of a 275 lb man sucking a live codfish out of a debutante’s vagina. The mind loses balance and furiously grasps for a context in which this could possibly be erotic. Questions emerge about the filmmaker's vision and his intended audience that you're not sure you want answered.
That's why you get two DVDs. You need to have your plan B ready. Primed and ready. Next to the machine. So you’re not fumbling around with a DVD case and lubed-up fingers. Quick turnaround time is essential. Particularly if you are watching with a friend and hoping to have sex with them. Suffice it to say there is a momentum to these things, and it has been interrupted. It's amazing how quickly we can go from tumescence to despair.
So we were pleasantly surprised by our other choice. The title is Chemistry and it’s produced by Tristan Taromino (of Bend-Over Boyfriend and Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women fame). The premise is simple: she hired seven professional porn actors and put them in a house for a weekend. There was no scripting of the scenes. They were basically allowed to pick when, where, how and with who they wanted to have sex. She also shot some interview footage.
The results are impressive and hot. This film has a lot of the impromptu, casual appeal of amateur porn without its awkwardness. These are professionals, to be sure, and they’ve been made up and coiffed, and they know what looks good for the camera, but I think the difference is the freedom they’re being afforded. In musician’s terms it’s like a bunch of great players jamming together rather than having to play note-for-note off a chart. And you get a bit of insight into what makes these people tick, which gives the scenes even more of an edge. A great discovery was Mika Tan. She’s hot and nasty (the right kind of nasty) and FUNNY! Pushing a guy’s head down into her pussy she instructs “Get down on it. Yeah. Go to Chinatown!” We’ll definitely be looking for more form her.
A final thought: Somebody could make a shitload of money with a brick-and-mortar or online store that deals only in smart, upscale porn. I would happily pay twice as much per video if I knew I didn’t have to rent two or three to be safe. If anyone knows of such a place, please let me know.