• Wed, Dec 22 2010

Confessions of a Former Bible Belt Porn Store Clerk

Let me tell you about my life about a year ago.

My roommate and I –we’ll just call him “Frank”- were both porn store clerks.  We never worked the same shifts, so nightly we would get together at the bar, usually around midnight or 1 AM, and swap stories about “Da Life.”  We didn’t like advertising that we were “porn peddlers”– we lived in the middle of the Bible Belt- so we merely referred to our profession, in polite company, as “Da Life.”

We both worked for the same “Adult Novelty Stores”, owned by the same man, two of maybe half a dozen spread across Greensboro, North Carolina.  But our two stores were special in several respects.  For one, the staff was exclusively male, and save for two other staff members –an openly gay supervisor and a manager who was bisexual- most of our staff was very, um… white, and very straight, and a few were quite homophobic besides.  Beyond being the only other (open) bisexual on the staff, I was also the only one who wasn’t white.  (This will be important later.)

The story I remember best from Da Life was this time when Frank had just ended his shift and met me at the bar, per usual.  He spots me and walks over, and he’s already laughing as he begins recalling the events in his head, but he sits down across from me, puts his drink on the table, and he says: “Okay.  So I’m getting ready for shift change, and I’m checking the booths, right?”

(Frank really does talk like this, by the way.  He’s also very animated when he speaks.)

I nod.

“I head towards the back booths, and I hear this noise, like a guy moaning, but it doesn’t sound like any of the movies.  So I turn a corner, and one of the booths is open!”

(He emphasizes this but it’s hardly surprising. Guys leave the booth doors open all the time.  That’s why we have to go back there.  But I nod politely anyway.)

“This guy is on his knees, sucking another guy’s dick.  So immediately I’m like ‘Whoa, whoa, okay, guys, what the fuck, you gotta go.’”

At this point I’m laughing because I can imagine the look on Frank’s face.  Frank wasn’t homophobic, at all, but he did hate having to do this part of the job – as any rational person would.

“So the guy on his knees jumps and stands up and looks down at me, and he’s like, ‘I ain’t goin anywhere!  Whataya gonna do, faggot?’  And I’m already pissed, but I burst out laughing.”  Frank’s laughing even now.  “‘I’m a faggot?’ I said, ‘You just had another guy’s dick in your mouth!’”

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  • Christian

    Yeah, I hear you on that final thought, Ernesto. Nobody wants to spend their golden years as that guy. Oh, and on the subject of high-end porn’s focus on unattainable physical perfection, you should post a follow-up list of which comic book heroes you read most during your shifts…

  • Ernesto

    Huh, *there’s* an idea…

  • Sara

    I found this article interesting and fun to read. I am also an ex porn shop worker, though I am female (I’m also Puerto Rican lol).

    I worked at a porn shop for a little bit over a year and the thing that stuck out the most to me is the amount of people who came in and spilled their guts out in regards to their personal sexual experiences, fantasies and habits. I never asked for this information, but so many people were eager to share it.

    I stopped working at the shop back in 1994 and moved on to the phone sex business. I currently own a phone sex company and it’s basically part of our business to hear all of these stories.

    I find it interesting though, when I meet people in person (never clients, just people in general), the same thing happens. Once people find out I’m in the adult industry, they love to tell me all of their personal sexual experiences. I’m always polite about it. I listen and sometimes comment, but to be honest, I’m not interested. Sometimes it’s pretty annoying that people think that just because I’m in this line of work, I want to know every detail of their sexual lives. I don’t.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m open minded about these things, but it’s kinda the same thing as when you meet a doctor and all you can talk about are your medical problems. Give us a break! lol

    • Ernesto

      Yeah, totally. I mean in the sense that people were willing to spill their guts while I was at work, I was okay with it because it helped me make suggestions on what they should buy, but, outside of work, what you’re talking about is exactly the reason me and my roommate were generally coy about it. I didn’t want to become some sort of underground sex doctor. Just the same, I learned *way* too much about *way* too many people just because I essentially sat behind a glass counter filled with dildos and read comic books for a living. It’s cool to find out the person you’re dating is into something, not so cool when you hear it from the random guy or gal sitting next to you in the bar.

  • meranie

    Nice, Ernie! <3