I started to keep my personal IM client open while I showed strangers my body, and he chatted with me the whole time, making comments about the little snippets I told him. I knew he was married, that his wife didn't know about his forays onto webcam pornography sites.
"This guy wants me to spray whipped cream in my ass," I'd type, and he'd say something back that would have me biting my lip while I worked, so the guy on the other end wouldn't see me cracking up for no apparent reason. We began texting each other, slowly at first and then ramping up to dozens of messages a day. But I still took my clothes off for him, watched him stroke himself as he listened to me whisper what I wanted to do to him.
I thought I'd damaged my lungs diving in Pattaya, and had to go to a Thai hospital at midnight, sobbing and unable to catch my breath; he instant messaged me while the medication took effect, calming me down until I could sleep.
It's sometimes said, with some truth, that nobody has friends in Los Angeles – there are only people you know, and people who want you to do something for them. He wanted to listen to little stories about my day, and he wanted to fuck me. He was shaggily attractive, disheveled, with a concentrated, thoughtful face and mop of brown hair, a college professor from Central Casting.
He groaned as he showed me his cock and I licked my lips, imagining it inside me. Neither of us had believed you could build love only online, without ever meeting, and yet, here we were.
As porn work goes, it was incredibly low maintenance.
I didn't have to shave my legs or wear high heels, or even put on lipstick; I didn't have to actually touch or talk to any of the guys who were watching me take my clothes off.
Right after the financial crisis hit at the beginning of 2009, Los Angeles was probably running at about 50% unemployment.
My friend Kate worked at Trader Joe's, and they received 300 applications for one job opening.
He hoarded the information I gave him; he was always careful never to say anything where the other guys could see. Rainier, about his weekend boat trips in altered states with his friends. He gave me a nickname in German, and asked about my mom.
One day, he finally clicked "Pay Now" and took me to a private room. He worried about what I ate, and suggested books I might like. We video chatted a couple of times; I saw his wry smile, his messy office.
The only people working regularly were the Mexican fruit pickers standing outside Home Depot, and even they would sometimes wait half a day before anyone drove by.