“I do miss shooting, but I don’t miss performing” I said when she asked me if I missed producing adult movies.
“But you didn’t know that about me though, did you? That I was a performer as well?” I asked.
She shook her head no briefly, her eyes locked to mine and then she shook her head yes.
“How did you know about that. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, have I?”
“I read about it.” she answered quietly, sitting on my couch with her legs folded under her.
“The Internet” she said being honest but tight lipped.
“You’ve read my blog too?” I asked gently and she nodded that she had.
It was Sunday morning and Pandora had spent the night with me the night before. She’d done the same thing the previous and we’ve been seeing more and more of each other, finally making the time after not seeing each other for almost a month between our first date and our second. We took things slowly, but Veronica’s assumption that Pandora and I would be a good fit were well founded and I wasn’t ever worried that things weren’t moving fast enough because I felt like everything would happen when it was meant to. It was actually sort of nice to wait for that first kiss and that it didn’t lead instantly into sleeping together. Nothing ever happened just because it’s what you do on a date; everything happened in it’s own time and that was a welcomed departure from the zero to sixty pace of some of my past relationships.
Pandora knows that I work in adult entertainment, but she wasn’t aware of just how involved with it I’d been. I’d been waiting for the right moment for it to come up and I had some concerns that things might not be able to move forward once she knew. She’s a politicians daughter and she’s expressed before that she has to sometimes be conscientious of her actions because of the reflection that it might have on her mother. I knew before we could move forward we would have to have that talk, but the moment hadn’t presented itself until I made the awkward realization that she already knew.
“Do you have any questions?” I asked.
“Most people do” I said, having been down this road before.
I’d spent the better part of two weeks thinking that Emily had suddenly been reading my blog increasingly obsessively before putting together that visitor I thought was reading every night except those when Pandora and I were together. I went back through my analytic’s later that day and realized that while Emily had been back a handful of times, my assumption that it was her all those times was wrong. When I looked at them closer, it was very obviously two separate people reading every day and it was Pandora that was so thoroughly combing the pages and not Emily. I’d brought up something about the flowers that I’d written about here (Amidst The Flowers) and Pandora seemed to know what I was referring to even though we hadn’t discussed it. I decided then to ask, but I waited until the next day to see if the visitor I believed to be Emily would return and rule it out, but the next day a quick check confirmed what I suspected.
“Are you ok with everything?” I asked, wanting to make sure that she really was. She’d spent the night the night twice since she started reading, but it’s been my experience that sleeping with someone in adult entertainment isn’t the same as wanting to be a pornographers girlfriend.
She’d laid her head down in my lap and I ran my fingers gently through her soft black hair as she thought about it and searched for the right words.
“If things were to move forward I wouldn’t want you to resent me…” she said.
“Because you wouldn’t want me to perform any more?” I asked.
“Yes, I don’t want to stop you from doing something you want to do”
“It’s been years since the last time that I was in front of the camera and that’s not in my future.” I said.
This moment is always a conflict for me because I don’t regret my time in front of the camera. I won’t make excuses or ask for forgiveness and I’m not going to be ashamed of it. I know that it isn’t easy for people to swallow and I’ve had it ruin relationships in the past, but it is who I am and there isn’t any changing it. I have no intention of going back to performing, but I won’t sell myself out while trying to reassure someone either.
“Performing isn’t in my future, but are you ok with it being a part of my past?” I asked and she was quiet for what felt like ages before she nodded her head yes with less confidence than I would have liked.
I looked down at her studying her face. She has such a stunning smile, but it was nowhere to be seen as she stared out the window contemplating it all. Her long eyelashes fluttered and her eyes narrowed for a moment while she thought about it.
The morning took a turn that I hadn’t seen coming and it felt like some of the color had bled out of it between the time that we woke and when she headed home. It was early afternoon and I spent a few hours thinking everything over very carefully because I had an ache in my heart over the entire situation.
On one hand it saved me the conversation where I’d have to explain my history in adult and in that it brought some relief because she already knew. On the other hand, I hadn’t given her the access to my life or the links to this blog; she’d done a lot of deep research on her own and found it that way. I suppose I understand the precariousness of having a family in politics and perhaps I should have seen the research coming, but I value my privacy. Having been outed on more than one occasion in the past, having someone dissect my life was unsettling to me.
I also wasn’t sure if she was really going to be ok with it. The last person that I really seriously dated who’d never done any sort of sex work at all was Mina and it wasn’t until we were breaking up that she finally admitted she’d never been ok with it.
I sent her a text message after the sun went down and told her that was I was a bit shaken by the digging she’d done. I told her why and she admitted that she would have been mortified had it been the other way around. Pandora accessed my life, my past relationships and all sorts of details that I would have shared with over time and in the natural course of things, but the way that it came about was very one-sided and I told her how I felt.
“I’m just going to be forward and ask because I have a hard time reading between the lines at times. I hope it’s not the case, but if it is, I can understand: do you wish to no longer to speak to me?” she messaged. I told her that it wasn’t and she promised not to read again, letting me share what I want when I want.
I still felt disappointed though, because even as foolish as it sounds, I really liked the notion of things just unfolding naturally. We met through a mutual friend, took things slowly, had ‘regular’ dates and lives that didn’t really touch outside of Veronica and the time we spend with one another. There was attraction and chemistry and from the moment that I met her I felt like things made sense with her. There were no other people standing between us and no complications because we lived a million miles apart. She’s adventurous and beautiful and responsible and kind. We hang out on the couch watching television, laughing, kissing, holding hands, cuddling up together and we are very sexually compatible too. It felt like, for perhaps the first time in my adult life, I was making a good relationship choice for myself. I should take some comfort in the fact that she knows and is (for now) still seeing me, but knowing that she had read the better part of this blog still doesn’t sit well with me.
Pandora knows more about me from my blog than what I’ve told her in person, which is something that those of us in adult entertainment deal with often. She saw me naked on film before she saw me that way in the flesh. She knew that I’d enjoy putting my hand on her throat before I ever did it. She knows that I enjoy bondage and not because I told her so, but thanks to google. This isn’t the typical ‘boy meets girl’ story that I thought I had this time and I have to decide what to do with that.
I realized something else too: I was both relieved and disappointed to know that it wasn’t Emily reading all those times. I was hoping that maybe she was finally close to being able to talk to me and if nothing else I could have some closure with her, but I’ve also been unhappy with the fact that she reads this blog but won’t speak to me. She has one way access to what I’m doing seven months after we split up and I don’t like the feeling of that one bit; it’s tormented me and kept me up some nights, knowing she’d been here, knowing she was lingering like a ghost. She knows that I know too, which makes it even more haunting. It made it harder for me to move on and held me back in my writing. I need to cut that tie if she won’t.
I know that in writing a blog, you are putting yourself our there for people to find. However, like most people in adult entertainment or sex work, I separate my personal life and professional life. I use another name, one that I pulled out of the ether for the purpose of keeping this blog and I changed the names of others along the way as well. I often write in non-linear format and tell stories out-of-order, just to keep some semblance of privacy for myself and those mentioned. There are a handful of people who know me as both Ryan and by my given name, but those are rare exceptions that I like to think that I have some control over or say in. I like to think that I can choose who I let into what parts of my life, but in a digital forum, that’s a misguided notion. I know the few things that connect both sides of my life, the places you can find both names side by side and there is nothing I can do about that. Well, almost nothing…
I am at a crossroads.