Image for post
Image for post
photo by Denali Winter

Porn Con Part 2: The Long Con

Hotel: $500
Ticket/booth for the con: $135
Banner: $50 design + $50 printed
Zines: $37 printed
DVDs: $200 printed
Prep: $40 manicure, $25 haircut
Lingerie to shoot in: $75
Gas: $150
Mucinex when I got sick: $20
Food when the banquet wasn’t enough: $20

The experience of being around fat femme women who hate other fat femme women: …incredibly emotionally expensive

***

The night before the con began had felt somewhat hopeful, even if the party hadn’t been my kind of atmosphere. There had been a lot of fans who came out for the meet-n-greet, and while I wasn’t feeling much like dancing, I did get a drink from one lovely fellow who wanted to talk Pokemon Go and politics, two of my favourite things. I certainly had a chilly reception from the PR person for the con, who apparently left the next day and was gone for the entire weekend… an interesting choice for the person managing the con’s social media, but hey, not my circus.

My denim vest queer gang of femmes decided to ditch the party to go to the Old Strip to check out the Gold Spike, an adult playground that even made me reconsider ageplay for a second. We got drunk and played with huge LEGO, giant Jenga, and Connect Four while listening to a live band accompanying karaoke on stage. It was basically like my heaven. We eventually took off to check out Glitter Gulch, which was sadly closed, and the Golden Nugget, where we played penny slots until the smoke made it impossible to see anymore. We crashed into bed, grateful that we had been able to move into an air conditioned room even closer to the pool. Things were looking up.

And then it was the con.

I showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed with my brand new banner, table dressing, handmade zines and laptop to screen some of my work. The one room set up with tables looked a bit small, but I figured with 70 performers slated to come and the booths being all sold out, it would fill up quickly. I discovered that we weren’t assigned tables, like at AVN, so it was a first-come, first-served kind of deal. I picked a table about halfway between the doors and the bar, figuring it was as good a place to set up shop as any.

I had never put up my banner before, and my fake nails that I had gotten for all the porn I expected to be doing made putting the damn thing together difficult. I struggled for about a half an hour, desperately texting my girlfriend to come help me, blinking back tears as I realized that I was still feeling pretty sick and this con was very likely going to be an expensive waste of my time. After all, I didn’t work with any of the “big boys” of the BBW adult industry, and at least some of the other models whispered about me in the backchannels — I was too political, too tattooed, too queer, too much.

I’m always too much. I was never particularly good at being “feminine” — sexy and sweet, friendly and flirty. Even when I’m dressed like a 5 year old’s birthday cupcake, I’m still too salty and bitter for some tastes. I’m not much for sugarcoating. It makes the adult industry, one where we all say it’s empowering for women but try to ignore that at the end of the day we still have to cater a lot to misogynist men (producers, distributors, co-stars and consumers), a challenge for someone like me.

Anyway. I got my table set up, finally figured my banner out, and scanned the room. Doors opened at noon. It was already past that, and yet ⅔ of the tables were still empty. I sighed, texted my girlfriend to bring me a beer, and settled in for what would end up being hours of watching my own porn. I took some time to read through the anti-Prop 60 pamphlets the Free Speech Coalition had sent my way to display at the booth, mastering my talking points on why porn fans should be rallying against this measure. I glanced around the room, feeling a bit like a nerd at a school dance, shy, unsure if anyone wanted to talk to me. Many of the other performers seemed to know each other already, and frankly I couldn’t remember who hated who anymore, so I retreated to my booth.

The fans, all 10 of them, were really solid, to be fair. In my experience, they asked for photos before they took them, they talked to me about my zine, and the adult industry, and I felt really seen and respected as a person. We talked extensively about Prop 60 and the dangers it would pose to the adult industry and those within it. I got to give out a ton of flyers and stickers and I felt really good about being able to talk about the important politics of porn.

Even so, I sold one book, one zine, and one photo. $60 total, which covered half my banner costs. Many of the other performers I spoke to had similar issues with fan engagement. One of my friends won a raffle because they were the only person who signed up. Performers outnumbered fans 4 to 1, and that’s with half the performers who were slated to have booths not showing up. Media coverage was spotty — as of today, Friday July 29, there’s nothing in the news about the con at all. The only thing with any coverage was the awards (more on that in part 3). Oh, and whatever my girlfriend ends up writing.

I tried really hard to stay positive. I really did. I offered suggestions for improvement for months before the event on how to make it feel good for the performers. I was reassured that there would be a ton of fans, that the drama would be minimal. Instead, I showed up to find that as models, we weren’t given any sort of schedule, everything was very ad hoc, and while we were being asked to show up to parties to entertain the fans, we couldn’t even drink beer for free. The VIP poker night was reported to lack air conditioning — great for the fact it was strip poker, but kind of awful for a group of fat people. Chub rub is real, you guys, and when most of the performers were there to shoot content, you can’t afford redness between the thighs.

The saving grace was the pool. Or, pools, really, as there were three of them. Had it not been for the pools, I think we would’ve just gone right back home. But there was something that felt like an actual vacation when I was floating on a giant donut with my girlfriend next to me. In retrospect, my favourite parts of the con were when I wasn’t doing things relating to the con. Had I just allowed myself to have a vacation, I would’ve had a much better time. I’m sure if I had been shooting, it would’ve been a much better time. But it felt like a strategy game I didn’t know the rules to.

All I wanted was fun, playful experiences with cute fat femmes. Instead, I found myself tiptoeing awkwardly between worrying about people misgendering my girlfriend, or not being sure how to take BBWs saying that they hated women, especially fat women, or navigating men trying to flirt with me. I found myself wavering. I felt incredibly thirsty, wanting to make out with someone new, to get fucked by someone cute and nice who would help me forget my ex boyfriend who didn’t want to touch me for most of our relationship. And yet I also felt sick from my cold, and suspicious, like everyone who approached me had an agenda and my best interests were not on that list. I kept getting snippets from the backchannel that made me wonder if any of the other women there even liked me. I wondered why I was even there.

I came into this weekend fully expecting to love my body, and left feeling both shriveled and bloated, like I was both a husk of who I thought I was and yet I was also taking up too much space. My boobs weren’t big enough. My body was bruised and battered from daily living. My hair was too butch, my thighs too thick, my feet too callused.

Being a BBW porn performer has taught me that as much as I fight against the idea of there being a “good” fat and a “bad” fat, those categories exist. I am bad fat. My breasts are not proportionate to my hips and ass. I don’t do feeder porn, or fetishize my fatness by weighing myself on camera — my eating disorder would have a field day with that kind of content. My belly is large, and round, and hangs over my pubic mound, so those who are into BBW porn don’t want me. Yet I am apparently too active and mobile to be considered a “good” SSBBW either. So while fans, and even other performers, might find me intriguing for my brain and my brand, I’m not exactly a hot commodity to be seen with.

Normally, that’s ok with me, but over the last couple months I’ve lost my home and my job. I’ve been left adrift, wondering about my purpose. I thought this con was going to help me reaffirm that I do have a community, and that I am desired, and worthy.

I found myself reaching for it, and finding that it had moved on to someone else.

if you like this, or my other writing, please support my Patreon with a monthly donation so I can keep writing!

Written by

Professional Bleeding Heart. Sick & Tired. Patronize me: http://t.co/RSd5cSVGE5 Image by @mayakern

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store