On Pornography

The morning after Annalika’s porno-art exhibition opening party, I came into the office feeling tired and confused. (Having been unable to sleep after the party, I had been up late trying and failing to compose an email to Katy.)

I was glad that the event was over. But Annalika’s pictures were still all over our walls. You couldn’t walk to the photocopier without having to look at her nipples.

One of the young men in the office got really righteous about it all. “It’s just wrong,” he said, “for someone to use their body to make money.” He said this while typing, which I found funny. His fat fingers fumbling over the keys. I wondered how many women he’d slept with, and what he’d done to get them into bed.

I’m not entirely comfortable with what Annalika does. But I think that while men still dominate the top paying jobs, it’s wrong to criticise a young woman who gets ahead by an alternative route.

Annalika’s body was etched now in my memory. 105 pounds with silicone e-cups.

“I looked at internet pornography once,” said Gina, “this guy I was seeing at the time said I should check it out, that it would be a good thing for me to do. I got bored with it after about five minutes, and started looking up the girls’ names on wikipedia. I was more interested in the fact that Ashlynn Brooke used to work in a car salesroom in Oklahoma, and that Jenna Jameson has just had twins, than I was in watching anyone copulate. The truth is, and I’m not just saying this to sound prim, I’m really not interested in watching other people have sex. It’s like being really hungry and watching a video of someone else eating a pie. What’s the point? And besides, if the person on screen is less good-looking than you are, it’s kind of gross, and if they’re more good-looking, then you just start feeling insecure about your body. You can’t win. And I heard a terrible thing. Most women who work in porn are drug users, they’re all tranquillised while they’re working, so they don’t really have to think about what they’re doing. I can’t get over the fact that they are human beings. They look so plastic, yet there is a person in there. I saw an interview with Alexis Ford, the editor had given just a fraction of a second of her face before the interview, she’s so perky and flirty on camera, but in that brief moment, she looked bored and tired, like she was psyching herself up to put on a cheery act.”

In the end, Porsche-guy had been to shy to flirt with Annalika at the opening party. He spent the morning after trying not to look at her pictures, and saying what a nice girl she was. Gina half joking offered to set them up on a date. Come to think of it, he did have her contact details because they were in one of the files. I couldn’t help but wonder if he ever plucked up the courage to call her.

I should add here that when I caught up with Annalika a few months later she was trying to re-invent herself as a pop singer. “I’ve always loved music,” she explained, “it’s my dream, you have to follow your dreams.”

And then a month later I saw her on Facebook trying to promote herself as a modern-poet.

Ultimately, I don’t know what Annalika wanted to be. But I doubt she grew up wanting to be a sex-worker.

Image: Not Worth A Dime by Connie


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