AVN Adult Expo, Day One

LAS VEGAS—While I was at various airports across the country waiting for various delayed flights to get me where I was going, the four-day AVN Adult Expo got underway at the Sands Convention Center. I arrived in Sin City just in time to hit the first party of the convention: Pure Play Media's fete at the Hard Rock Hotel. Parties during the Expo are notorious for being full of fans clamoring for a close-up look at their favorite starlets who are nowhere in sight. While industry insiders hold private parties in their suites, guys with digital cameras stand around wondering if Jenna Jameson might show up to the party whose flyer promised XXX stars galore. So I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted plenty of paparazzi-worthy hotties, including Gina Lynn, Briana Banks, Flick Shagwell, Kylie Ireland, Jesse Jane, Devon, and several of the blond contract girls from Jill Kelley who, I must admit, are hard for me to tell apart. With so many women in the world of adult, there's no way to recognize each and every one whose name has graced the box cover of one of the hundreds of new titles released each month. But it's not always about recognizing a particular person as much as it is about spotting a certain set of features: an amazing body (unfortunately too often with huge fake boobs); perfect hair and makeup that's slightly overdone; and, sometimes—this is rarer—a star quality that radiates from across the room. It's one of those "I know it when I see it" situations. As I attempted to calculate the star-to-fan ratio for the evening, I was not an invisible part of the mix. Nearly every guy I passed seemed to be formulating his own idea about whether or not I was a porn star. It's not the same as being checked out or hit on; it's a subtle assessment of my body, my face, the way I carry myself. Am I worthy of a lingering stare, a photo, an autograph request? The night was a surreal mix of looking and being looked at, of recognition or dismissal—a mosh pit of desire and longing that turned in on itself, like pornography without the explicitness and sex without satisfaction.

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