In Praise of the Posterior, by Stoya
On Tuesday I was in Las Vegas again, and my trip had me thinking about butts.
I spent the wee hours of the morning writhing in pain while trying to avoid disturbing my partner’s sleep. Sometimes my body decides to stage a full-on menstrual revolt replete with cramps and some migraine-like symptoms—which I guess kinda make sense if you believe that migraines can be triggered by hormonal cycles. I chalk it up to God hating me because I’m a pornographer. (That last sentence was a joke. Mostly.) Like many women, my periods suck and aren’t on a perfect cycle. It could be worse, but I still envy women who always know when their three magically pain-free days of moderate bleeding are going to happen. I turned on the television to distract myself from my internal grumble-rant and stumbled upon this survival reality show called Naked and Afraid.
Every episode pairs a man and a woman who have above-average survival experience or knowledge. They meet each other for the first time in whatever area they’re going to be living in for the next 21 days. They are each allowed a single personal item; usually a knife, pot, or thing to start fire with. Oh, and they don’t have any clothes. No underwear, no shoes. Buck-ass naked. I wondered if I was watching the Playboy channel, but then the Discovery logo popped up. The first episode I saw took place in Tanzania with a pair named Kellie and EJ.
Stoya on Why Las Vegas and Megachurches Are the Pinnacle of Human Achievement
Male bowerbirds are like little avian architects. They build decorative structures as a display of genetic fitness or sexual desirability, then festoon them with whatever brightly colored bits they can scavenge up and deem visually pleasing. Sometimes they hunt down beetles and use them as artwork instead of eating them. The guy with the biggest, prettiest tower gets the most ladies, that then go off to hatch and raise the chicks on their own. They are nature’s confirmed bachelors. Bonobos have sex for fun. They’ve been known to use their tongues when they kiss. Female bonobos have sex with other females and males have sex with other males. They have been documented having orgies that look suspiciously like what you’d imagine goes on inside a swingers’ club but with slightly more body hair. They bang because they’re stressed and they bang because they’re bored. I’m simplifying for comedic effect, and if you want to know more I recommend you read Geoffrey Miller’s The Mating Mind.
Humans are by no means the only animal that engage in behaviors which do nothing to directly contribute to the survival of the individual or species as a whole. However, we do seem to do it harder than any other creature. See, at some point humans figured out things like farming and ended up with a bunch of free time and extra resources. We took advantage of these things and used them to breed like rabbits, cover the earth, and pick fights with other tribes. We built villages and then cities. We developed technology, starting with simple tools and eventually building to things like computers and space ships.
A PORN STORY: MY WEEKEND BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE AVN AWARDS (PART ONE)
I’m sitting in the hotel room of one of America’s biggest adult movie stars, Jesse Jane. It’s time for Jesse to get her makeup done before she heads downstairs into the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas for an autograph signing. The mid day sun is creeping through the windows all over the parade of make-up, hair products, and extensions that take over the room. In the corner I spot Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and some Coke Zero.
As her close friend and makeup artist, Toni, from Jesse’s current home of Oklahoma takes pieces of her delicate, bleached blonde hair and twists it into loose curls, Jesse is teaching me how to the give the ultimate blow job.
“There is an art to it,” The 32-year old instructs as she winds her hands in a cork screw motion showing me how to jerk off the cock and suck at the same time. “The trick is to put your tongue into the pee hole. They are so sensitive there.” She sticks her tiny tongue out and motions to the invisible penis in her hands. “You go, ‘You like that?’” Her tone changes from her media-friendly bubble to commanding. “Smack that cock on him. He’s going to go crazy.”
All five of the women in the room (Jesse Jane, the makeup artist, my PR liaison, the photographer, and myself) nod and laugh. Sucking dick is something we’ve all done. We can all relate.
“Put it as far down as you can and pump it,” she continues. “You have to breathe in, open your throat, inhale it like you’re smoking a cigarette. You can feel the penis grow, like shock therapy.”
Porn and Free Sashimi and My Wedding in Las Vegas
First we got our wedding out of the way. The AVN convention was in town and we were on the lookout for porn stars. We’d checked into the hotel at noon, eaten the sorry brunch, and now we took a cab to the Las Vegas Weddings Bureau. It was 30 minutes from the hotel. We each filled out a one-sided form. A sign above the forms said they would not marry people who were “overly intoxicated.” Three clerks were operating at five windows, and two other couples were getting married. We went to the open window and showed our IDs.
“Your name is Clancy W. William Martin?” the woman behind the counter said.
“It’s William,” Clancy said, and I added, “They made a mistake on the ID.”
“Do you have another form of ID?”
“My name is Clancy W. William Martin,” Clancy said.
The woman rolled her eyes and typed it in. She read my form. “Your father’s legal name is Mike?” she asked.
I shrugged and nodded.
I shook my head. She typed.
“Have you been married before?” she asked, and I told her no.
“Then where’s Barrodale come from?”
“It was my mother’s first husband. She and my father weren’t married.”
She typed it in and gave us our license. We’d already been married in India, in a ceremony that I thought was beautiful and perfect for me, because it was simple. We didn’t have vows or any of that nonsense. But to make the wedding legal, we needed to go through this process, so we went to the chapel of the third tout to approach us on the street outside the Weddings Bureau. He offered us a $60 package that included a limo ride back to the hotel. That cut $30 off the price. “Sold,” Clancy said.
The chapel was small and grimy. A Hispanic couple was being married before us. The man used a walker and the woman wore a traditional white wedding dress. They had about 30 guests. One of them turned to us and said, “They wanted to elope, but we found out about it. We just surprised them.”
We said those traditional vows and went back to the casino. By this time, Las Vegas was having an effect on me. I’m a grifter by nature, and I was going comp crazy. When I was younger this part of myself was expressed through stealing. I went to school at Barnard, where I never paid for a single course book or meal. Once, when my luck started to run out, I was leaving Whole Foods with food piled in my arms above my head (I used “The Purloined Letter” method) when the siren went off. I stopped, resigned to the inevitable, and turned to face the cashier. Bored, she waved me through, saying, “It always does that.”
So, what I mean is that on the day of our so-called wedding—because it was not our wedding, it was the formalities—I was dedicated to securing comps. We intend to have a reception for friends in about a year, when I am out of grad school and we live in one place, but I felt we’d had two beautiful weddings—one in a thousand-year-old Shiva temple on the Ganges and one in the Himalayas—and so it seemed to me like it was comp time. While we waited for the couple before us to complete their wedding, I emailed press departments at the casinos, introduced myself as a VICE writer, and asked for free things.
Clancy asked, “Roupus, what are you doing?”
He was resigned.
It was 4 PM when we got back to the hotel. Two heavily made-up blonds with tight ponytails and bodies were standing in the valet line. I nudged Clancy and whispered, “Porn stars.” At 5 PM, I got an email from the press director at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. She offered the buffet and drinks at their bar, the Chandelier. I had insanely told her we were in town getting married, hoping for sympathy.