Porn is a subject of endless fascination and society’s billion-dollar worst kept secret pleasure. I fully admit to wondering about being a porn star, but that’s honestly more about my secret fantasy of spending every day in beds, and less about anything sexual. No one is interested in watching my doughy body lie around eating chips, so it’s probably not a viable career path. But considering Showcase’s entire reality show lineup in the 2000s I’m not the only one who’s curious. So when I saw the Fairy Tales Film Festival is screening the documentary I’m A Porn Star, I wondered what life would be like if I were a porn star:
1. I’d become completely nonsexual in my everyday life
I’ve always imagined that after working all day in porn the last thing you’d want to do is anything sexual in your off-time as though dealing with sex all day just burns you out on the whole deal. The very second the director called cut, I would be in full-on granny panties and life outside of work would become a rotating closet of shapeless, baggy clothing.
2. My obsession with attention would spiral wildly out of control
One of the serious upsides to being a porn star must be all the people giving you constant compliments. Granted, many probably run high on the creepiness scale, but a compliment is a compliment. My brain is wired in a completely dysfunctional way that places an absolute premium on attention and ego that’s probably inspired a whole new series of personality disorders:
My Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs looks a little different.
The old story of the ingénue warped into an attention-seeking monster that becomes a vortex of destruction would absolutely come true, just with slightly more nudity.
3. It would end so very badly
All this would culminate in my becoming a deranged lunatic who murders and man and sends his dismembered body parts to Canadian political parties and uploads the video to the internet. (Too soon
?) Or at the very least in some sort of horrible crime that would finally bring me the lasting attention I always craved in the form of a Lifetime movie, or at least a segment on a true crime show TLC uses to fill late-night slots complete with terrible re-enactments.
The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival
is running its 16th year in Calgary through May 31. See you tonight at 9pm
to catch I’m A Porn Star
and learn about porn stars as real people with hopes and dreams—I know, I’m disappointed too.
Disclaimer: I have previously volunteered with the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival in various capacities and this post is an unsolicited and likely unwelcome endorsement.
I am a hot mess. Literally. If my body is a wonderland, then it is absolutely the water park—because Wonderland is an amusement park in Toronto, and jokes are always funnier when they require explanation. Somewhere along the way the part of my brain that regulates body temperature, and sweating in particular, has irreparably broken turning my sweat glands into spigots or quite possibly the world’s least majestic waterfalls.
My body sweats with the slightest provocation, and often with none at all. Normal people sweat when it’s hot, or when doing some sort of activity, but I’ve found myself getting pit stains in the dead of winter as if while the rest of my limbs are freezing, my torso’s convinced it’s in a tropical land. Not to say that I’m unaffected by heat and exercise—no, that just makes the problem infinitely worse. It’s not that I’m the sweatiest guy at the gym, but that for an hour or so afterwards I suffer from some bizarre sweat-inertia like my body’s saying “oh, I guess this is what we’re doing now—workout sweat levels forever!”
On the plus side you can make sweat angels—which is the grossest whimsical activity you’ve ever heard of.
The problem with being a sweaty person (besides the embarrassment of pit stains and an inability to wear white without severe anxiety) is that you often look like a paranoid potential serial killer, or someone dying from a terrible illness—either way, “are you ok?” is not the impression you want to give. But the fix isn’t always easy, and I’ve tried some of the most common methods:
- Clinical-Strength Antiperspirant
In recent years, most common antiperspirant brands have come up with “clinical-strength” varieties unnecessarily packaged in boxes and retailing for two times the price. It’s a nice feeling that I’m not the only one afflicted with over-active sweat glands, or even that there’s possibly a new endemic of moist people. These do work many times better for everyday use than your standard stick (you apply it at night), but if you’re anything like me your armpits laugh at the futility until they cry gross, salty sweat-tears. Still, it’s my go-to everyday solution, and I’ve recently been using a women’s stick mostly because I like smelling kind of like baby powder and how dare you judge me.
- Aluminum Chloride Solutions
For the real clinical-strength stuff you can turn to the serious brands like Drysol and Perspirex which are liquids you apply at night with a rollerball or cotton pads. And they definitely work. With the notable exception that they burn like the fires of hell and you start to wonder if maybe you’ve put acid on your armpits to burn off the sweat glands. Before anyone says it, Drysol does make a mild formula, which is a cruel joke that tempts you back like an abusive lover promising that this time will be different and you won’t end up awake at 2am in the shower actually crying and desperately scrubbing the hurt off your body.
I’d like to take the time and publicly admit to having had Botox, which might account for why you look at me and wonder if I’m as dead on the inside as I am on the outside if only it were shot into my face. Botox is a miracle drug not just for Chardonnay-swilling Hollywood housewives, but for the unglamorous sweaty masses. The Botox was paid for entirely by my insurance (although I admittedly asked the doctor if I could use any extras for my face—she gave me a hard no) and was 100% effective. I didn’t experience any side effects at all. If you don’t include dozens of needles in your armpits as a side effect. Yup. The price of a sweat-free existence is about 50 needles injected one after another into your underarms every 6-8 weeks, which I suppose is a lot of people’s nightmare.
At present I’m not using anything special except the standard clinical-strength sticks and pretending that I’m not ashamed when my body decides it’s time to turn the faucets on. The problem’s calmed down over time (the Botox treatments have some cumulative effect) and for the moment I’ll just deal—though you may not want to hug me in a boiling-hot night club after this. I’ll leave that up to you.
Medical Disclaimer: I have absolutely no medical training except years of practice as an unlicensed physician offering butt-lifts using silicone caulking out of the back of a rented self-storage unit. The experiences above are mine alone and are not necessarily the same for everyone. If you follow any of this as medical advice of any sort and attempt to pin any blame on me I’ll be happy to see you in court with the defence that you’re an unbelievable idiot.
The road from RuPaul’s Drag Race superfan to actual drag queen is not as smooth as a makeover challenge would have you believe. Over the past few months my love of drag and desperate need for attention have inspired me to try it myself. This journey from busted drag queen to slightly-less-busted drag queen has been equal parts self-discovery and trying to not look like I’ve been shot in the face with a poorly-aimed makeup gun. Along the way I’ve learned a few valuable lessons on the long, terrible road to fabulousness:
1. It will take forever to get ready
Experienced queens, like all artists, make drag look effortless. Some of the pros can get in face and show-ready in something like 30 minutes, but for us bumbling newbies, this translates into something more like 3-4 hours. Most of that time is spent screaming into a mirror asking if you could ever be pretty and why won’t someone love you, but it’s not as easy as throwing on foundation and a wig. In fact, in order for me to not look totally deranged (just partially) I stare at my face in the mirror for longer than is probably psychologically healthy. And although others may find it different, the biggest hurdle is that…
2. Makeup is actually really hard
Youtube makeup tutorials seem deceptively easy—it’s all steady hands and great lighting. The reality is that I never knew my hands shook so much that I would be instantly disqualified from ever performing surgery. In the past few months I’ve grown to particularly hate my eyes. Eyes require all the things I don’t have: dexterity, patience, and the ability not to have a nervous breakdown over eyeshadow. In fact, the times I wore a sequin-encrusted eyepatch and gave myself a made-up black eye were the best days of my life.
3. Things that work for girls don’t necessarily work for dudes in wigs
The old adage that “Cover Girl doesn’t cover boy” holds true. We’ve all heard how the average girl’s makeup techniques don’t help to transform a man-face into a lady, but this also applies to clothes. Unsurprisingly general body shapes between men and women are different, but it wasn’t until drag that I realized how much they differ. Even with my body molded into as much of a lady-shape as possible, there are some structurally unchangeable things that have kept many a tantilizing dress out of my reach: my godforsaken man-shoulders. Even with a dress designed for a woman of comparable height and weight, the width of my back and shoulders render zippers an insurmountable challenge without some serious alterations or at least major time spent being Scarlett O’Hara’d into it.
4. You may not be comfortable at first, but then you become dead inside
Beauty is pain. I create a waist by moulding my doughy midsection with the help of a steel-and-rubber cincher I affectionately call my industrial corset. This particular undergarment has taught me the value of not eating large meals before attempting to rearrange your organs into an aesthetically pleasing bouqet. And the shoes! Part of drag is getting to wear the most amazing, sky-high shoes at which I’ve seen girls blanch. Like everything else, it’s all practice, and although I’ve grown to feel quite comfortable in heels, there is a blissful moment of the night where you lose all sensation in your feet and they transform into numb hooves—that’s the sweet spot. That’s not to say anything about smashing your genitals up into your body—thankfully most of my skirts allow me to get away with quite the meaty tuck—and if you’ve ever wondered why drag queens can be bitchy, try putting a group of men sitting on their balls together in a room and you’ll have your answer.
5. Drag queens are really nice
Drag isn’t all sass and daddy issues talked out on national television, and the stereotype of the bitchy drag queen has been miles away from my experience. Not to deny that there are probably jerks in the world, but a lot of that shade and sass that as a new queen is definitely intimidating is actually kindness. Particularly being new, many established queens may cock their head and wonder what fresh hell has wandered backstage, but I have yet to meet a drag queen who hasn’t had both something very kind to say and helpful critiques. These queens are always excited to share their wisdom, and encourage you to keep on trying and learning. The fiercest queens have so much to share, and have given me many an “a-ha!” moment after explaining how something’s done.
Who knows where starting drag will lead, but for now I’m happy to have a new outlet for my creativity, and an excuse to drink heavily in heels.
Despite recent stories of cruise ships turning into poop-encrusted floating nightmares, I hopped on one without a second thought. On the downside this isn’t a Caribbean adventure luxuriating in the sun surrounded by shirtless men and baking my uncooked-Pilsbury-dough body a perfect golden-brown. This boat is Alaska-bound. An Alaskan cruise is the modern-day equivalent of putting the elderly on an ice floe, so on the upside there’s unlimited food and shuffleboard.
There are things they don’t tell you going into a cruise, so here is a list of unbelievably first-world problems masquerading as observational humour:
- Second dinners aren’t just for hobbits
As a human food-vacuum I’m no stranger to eating incomprehensibly disgusting quantities of food, but a cruise ship turns everyone into a glutton. This means collectively inhaling the annual food consumption of a small island nation on a daily basis. Something about unlimited food everywhere you turn transforms totally normal people into, well, me. In fact, I’m writing this between a cotton candy machine and a guy eating four hotdogs. It’s impossible not to sample everything including going to both the formal dinner and buffet back-to-back. The shame. But it’s not pure gluttony because…
- You become incredibly value-conscious
I am determined to eke every bit of value out of this ticket as humanly possible. Cruise tickets aren’t cheap and when they include all your food you really want to get the most for your dollar. Then there are the things that aren’t included like drinks. I got the $7 a day unlimited soda pass because I drink enough aspartame to be one of those outliers that can actually get cancer from diet Coke, but a little part of me is acutely aware that I need to drink at least 4 sodas a day to make this worth it.
- If you can dream it, there’s a charge for it
Part of a cruise’s appeal is in having someone cater to your every whim. This ship has everything you could want including someone gladly charging you every step of the way. Until you actually arrive on the boat you don’t realize how cleverly they’ve attached a cost to each activity, extra service, and item which can be—as pointed out by a friend of mine—easily charged to your SeaPass/Room Key/Lifeblood.
- Oh god, the stairs
It’s one thing to live in a floating, 15-storey hotel. It’s another to realize the elevators are so painfully slow that you take the stairs each and every time, and you will rue the day you leave something in your room only to be 10 levels and the length of the deck away. On the plus side, underneath your newly fattened outer layer, your ass will be more toned than ever.
- The gym is a death trap
If you do decide to work out and try minimizing the damage of eating everything, you’ll find working out on a moving ship is absolutely nothing like on solid ground. As waves rock the boat gently back and forth, every movement is a test to see if your stabilizer muscles are strong enough to keep that dumbbell from smashing into the face.
There is absolutely nothing to complain about on a cruise that wouldn’t make someone roll their eyes at your exasperating privilege, but the ship is like an entirely different reality. Reading over this I think I’ve developed an obsession with food bordering on some kind of eating disorder, but you’ll have to excuse me, I need to see about my second lunch.