By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I just returned from my pitch meeting with Fox for a racy new show: Who Wants to Fuck the Woman Who Wanted to Marry a Multimillionaire? Surprisingly, they didn't bite (even after I suggested Ellen DeGeneres as the female cohost). I got the idea, of course, after ogling all of Darva Conger frolicking in the Arizona desert in the August issue of Playboy. Her lean, athletic body looks pretty damn good, and the photographer showcased her best assets: the perkiest pair of nipples I've seen in a long time. She's made the talk show rounds, denouncing the multimillionaire show as a big mistake and defending her choice to pose nude in Hef's cottontail publication.
I am so sick of women having to justify their decision to take their clothes off for a camera to misogynist idiots like Larry King. In his interview, she held her own, but he acted like she was a whore and he'd never drooled over a nudie mag in his life. Get real, Larry. The explicitness of the crotch shots was made for pigs like you who need the anatomy lesson. (Since Darva didn't do any spread shots, maybe that's why he was so hostile to her.) Speaking of which, Darva wants us all to know that her Playboy pictorial is real: nothing enhanced, nothing airbrushed. She did have hair extensions, but that doesn't really count. Question for Ms. Conger, re enhancements: The old Cosmo duct-tape trick (to boost cleavage) can only be applied when you're wearing a dress, so what enhancements are you talking about? We know you don't have implants, honey. Still, no one asked the one question I want answered, not even The View's ballsy Star Jones: Did Darva groom her own pubic hair or did Playboybring in a specialist?
I didn't actually see the program that launched Darva's career, the one critics claim made a mockery of marriage, like they don't know businessmen who've bought mail-order brides. However, like much of the country, I confess that I have gotten hooked on the wildly popular reality shows, from The Real World to Survivor. But my guiltiest pleasure is Making the Band, which chronicles the search for and development of the next big boy band. At the helm is Lou Pearlman (the whiz behind Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync), who is overweight, has inexcusable bad fashion, and is shlubby to the point of ridiculousness. I mean, someone with that much money could get a personal stylist, for chrissakes. In the first episode, he watched and assessed thousands of cute young boys for their talent and potential. After he chose 25 semifinalists, he hugged these boys he didn't even know a little too much for my gaydar. Lou mysteriously has no wife, no girlfriend, not even a pretend one on the show. Nearly everyone on his staff (I know, they are all entertainment professionals) seems to be a queen with a capital Q. By the time 25 boys were narrowed down to eight, he became much less voyeuristic and pedophiliac (or perhaps some ABC executive saw what I saw?), so my obsession dulled a little.
In a recent episode, seven (we lost one along the way) became five. I immediately noted that the two members who seemed the most identifiably gay or maybe just gay-acting were the two cut from the band. Well, they are selling this five-pronged product primarily to teenage girls, after all, so the appearance of heterosexuality seems like the best marketing strategy. For all I know, all five members could be flaming homos who are good at playing breeders. But why pick the gay-acting ones to begin with and then exercise blatant homophobia? There's reality for you.
America's preoccupation with reality TV is also mirrored in the world of porn: The popularity of amateur sex videos is rising as fast as Rick Rockwell's woody at the newsstand. The public would trade a major studio's big-budget production with glossy, perfectly groomed stars, elaborate settings, and scripts for a look at a nonpro's first fuck on video, awkward moments and all. Viewers want skin flicks with the real dealhis struggle to undo her bra, the weird faces she makes when he licks her pussy, the way his dick slips out of her in a certain position. Certainly, some amateur porn has authentic spontaneity and chemistry between partners, but there is also a danger to realness: It can be boring. Case in point: the first two episodes of Big Brother. Need I say more?
Capturing people fucking on film doesn't necessarily make stimulating porn. Sex itself isn't always sexy: It can be clumsy, and it's not always as well paced as a finely directed feature. Actual erotic moments can also lack drama and intensity. (Have you seen the Tonya Harding wedding-night video?) Sex can be a very individual, internal experience that's hard to capture if people don't externalize their feelings. I admit it's interesting to watch real unguarded, unjaded people go at it sometimes, and certainly watching a woman have a real orgasm is way more fun than watching her fake one.
But that leads me to another dilemma: How can we tell what's really real? Many adult performers are good at what they do because they make us believe they are having the time of their lives. Sure, sometimes they may be having a grand old time, but not always. And ultimately, that's what I want to see in porn: people having awesome sex. There is one fake you can spot a mile away: implants. I do hope that the trend toward realness in porn does mean fewer women will get boob jobs and other unnecessary plastic surgery (Adult Video News's August cover story, "The Naturals: Here's to Girls as Nature Made Them," gives me hope). I am definitely all for more real bodies in blue-movie land. Question No. 3 for Darva: Have you considered riding the wave of silicone-free starlets and making a career for yourself in smut? Come to think of it, maybe my show idea belongs in porn too. There have been some funny porno parodies of television shows, among them The Sopornos, McKayla's Navy, and Everybody Does Raymond. Saturated with homoeroticism, Making the Bandis just steps away from being a best-selling fag porn series. And I can't wait until the adult industry spoofs Survivor. Imagine when tough, tell-it-like-it-is truck driver Susan gets gruff, homophobic ex-Navy SEAL Rudy alone and fucks him up the ass. Passion, power, and prostate stimulationnow that's my kind of reality.
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