America’s sweetheart had quite the Labor Day weekend. The nudes leaked of Jennifer Lawrence and a bevvy of lesser female stars and models grasped the hardons of most men around the world and still haven’t let go. The instant they exploded from 4Chan on Sunday, the geeks on Reddit created a subreddit devoted to an event so cataclysmic they dubbed it “The Fappening,” a portmanteau of ‘fapping,’ the post-Recession word for jerking off, and ‘happening.’
Has JLaw gone Kardashian on us? Not quite. This will only increase her exposure, so to speak, and her popularity with the demographic that Hollywood salivates over most. If the Lord of the Rings crowd wasn’t exactly storming the box office for Hunger Games before, they will now. Lawrence’s reps doth protest too much, running around online swatting naughty re-posters with cease-and-desist orders and empty threats; in reality, they are thrilled and gloating. The cash cow from whom they skim a percentage just got fatter. And stand back Edward Snowden! Bryan Hamade, the hacker who leaked the nudes, has been canonized overnight, his icon an inflated dickhead with a halo.
I’ve never been able to do naked selfies, much less nude pictures that someone else takes. Forget a sex tape, and doing outright porn is inconceivable. I’m too much of a pussy. Or, no, I don’t find it erotic or entertaining; if I did I wouldn’t be afraid, I’d dive right in. Or maybe it’s because I’m way too bourgeois at heart, despite my rough-around-the-edges appearance and demeanor.
Whenever I’m asked for a cock shot by some guy I’ve got dangling on the end of my fishing rod online, whom I will throw back into the ocean of web in a few minutes, all that much sooner for having asked for a cock shot to begin with and upsetting the DNA of Puritan ancestors swimming within me, I am reminded of Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk), who overnight trashed his standing as gay role model and activist when photos emerged of him getting skewered by a large pecker, bareback. Not that I care about my standing in the gay community, as Black does. But it was all so… tawdry, not at all red carpet golden statuette and gracious, righteous acceptance speech, followed by honorary degrees from illustrious institutions. I mean, there are pictures of Black out there with some guy’s shlong up his shitter, forever and ever. “And I’d like to thank Gus Van Sant and Sean Penn…”
Maybe if I were massively hung there would be James Killough cock shots galore. This is a possibility; I’m an incorrigible showoff. I’ve been drawing attention to myself since I was three and they scolded me with, “Because little boys don’t dress up as princesses, Jamie, so put the tiara down, please.” Causing that sort of outrage made me want Krazy Glue that crown to my head.
As I like to say, my dick is the only average thing about me. Still, even if it is a size issue, I’m not that badly endowed. And I know the trick of wide-angle lenses on phone cameras as well as anyone else. I can easily warp a couple of extra inches on there if I want.
It’s not like I haven’t been asked to do porn, average tallywacker and all; one porn director assured me he could make me look “eight or more.” And I’ve been asked in recent years, too, much more often than when I was younger, when I wasn’t asked at all. It’s the daddy thing: there’s a sizable market for buff mature men topping younger guys. And you can’t swing a cat without hitting a dozen porn models in this area of L.A., so they’re always on the prowl out there, howling for more content in the alleys. There’s another thing about me that attracts the pornmongers: my former partner, Jonathan Kemp, who as an in-demand life model in London has more paintings and drawings floating around of himself naked than he can count, once said that the first thing people think about when I walk in the room is sex. I’m usually thinking about my first few drinks and gearing up for Ping-Pong small talk with champion resolve, so sex is not the first thing on my mind at all when I walk in a room. So, yeah, I get asked to do porn every now and then, and even if I don’t accept for all the above reasons and more, it pleases me no end.
To wit, I had an amusing encounter at the gym a little while back with a muscle-bound redhead I was attracted to in a preliminary way, like when you’re looking for a new home and you pass a For Lease sign in front of an appealing house and you pause to snoop around, jot down the details. In this case, I paused long enough while leaving the gym one day to hold the door for him, smile and engage in a quick volley of Ping-Pong small talk. I got his name: Chris. They’re all called Chris, it seems.
A couple of weeks later, he stopped me in the weight room. “Hey! I was just thinking of you.”
“I just posted pictures of us.”
“Of the scene we did the other day.”
“Oh, um… I’m sorry. I do porn, and I thought… You look just like this guy I did a group scene with the other day. He did have a cap on, pulled down, though.”
“Nah. I’ve been asked to do porn, but I don’t think I have the dick for it.” Which is the last thing you should say to a professional porn bottom who wants to make like Dustin Lance Black with your imagined eight-incher up his bungus. But that was deliberate of me, I wanted to repel him: The moment he said, “I do porn,” a needle screeched across the record of my Puritan-descended mind, followed by a rumbling, industrial-strength flushing sound; he became covered in a layer of fetid slime, someone else’s trash left in the sun too long; his For Lease sign fell off the side of the house with a lame crunch. On I walked.
I’ve been told by people to whom I’ve related that anecdote that this was his way of coming on to me, sort of sex worker’s Ping-Pong small talk: “Hey! I’ve posted a pic of you — but I know it’s not you — cornholing me on Instagram! Wanna grab a salad at Bossa Nova sometime?” This being L.A., where you swing cats and hit porn models, he thought being paid to have sex on camera would make him more attractive; you’re nobody without at least a sex tape these days, after all. I had deceived him with my tattoos and piercings and the fact I make people think of sex when I walk in the room, apparently. The reality of me is quite different.
I have taken my shirt off many times on cam with a prospective hookup, but only once have I exposed Ye Olde Dinger. It was with a middling indie rock musician I met on Realjock.com who is respected enough to earn a meager living from his craft and not have to have a ‘real job’, so more or less at my level of semi-public creative professional. He was conscious enough of his semi-public standing that he was extremely concerned about me possibly recording him taking out his erect membrum virile, so I took mine out first— I didn’t even hold it near the lens to make it bigger, I’m proud to say. He became aroused, grunted a lot, then squirmed and giggled, tried to build up courage to do it himself. He went off cam for a second to come back again without his head showing, and back and forth. But he never ended up doing it. It was such a pubescent-buddies-in-a-tree-house scenario, except not nearly as erotic or exciting. I ended up dating him for an entire lunch at a mediocre Thai restaurant within walking distance of my place. When I tried to kiss him afterwards, it was like a collision of bumper cars.
Prudishness about exposing your nudity on camera might indeed be a “beastly bourgeois babbity snob” thing, as Auntie Mame would put it. An attractive Ameropean woman my age, and from my same socio-cultural background, posted on Facebook today about how she would never be so “narcissistic” as to take nudes of herself in the first place. This is a barely oblique reprimand to Lawrence for having taken the pictures; she had it coming. Of course, the irony is the poster is also an avowed feminist, a militant vegan and all-sorts-of-rights activist. But heaven forbid you get your tits out for the boys!
The word ‘narcissist’ is abused as much as ‘literally’ these days. Lawrence isn’t being narcissistic at all; she isn’t delusional, and, while I don’t know her personally, she doesn’t appear to have any of the dangerously manipulative traits that a person with the disorder has. Having a justifiable amount of vanity and a healthy amount of self-confidence doesn’t make you a narcissist. Nor does taking selfies, clothed or nude.
However, it might not be a class issue, just a personal squeamishness. I know two other Ameropean women from the same background who have done their fair share of sexting and naked cam-to-cam with online and real-life lovers. And looking at Lawrence’s photos, that’s all they seem to me: private conversations with lovers using images.
The gaybros both on Reddit and my Facebook feed lamented that nobody has hacked Ryan Gosling or Jake Gyllenhall’s for pix of their privates; although, if any celeb still has pix that can be hacked after this weekend, he’s so asking for it that he’d might as well bypass the hacker and just leak them himself. It was those two male celebs specifically: They seem to be ideals in the gaybro world. (‘Gaybro’ is a new Reddit term for a non-scene Ghey who rejects mainstream neon rainbow-sparkle boom-boom wailing diva house-music gay culture. In other words, bros like me.)
I confess to being aroused by Lawrence’s images. On Sunday I tweeted, “Having seen some of these pix of JLaw, I have to say my sexuality has been slightly compromised. #Vixen #BadGay.” I identify as gay for the sake of clarity and because it’s the kind of sex I much prefer, but I am firmly bisexual; I frequently have pleasant dreams about having sex with gorgeous women, which are likely also symbolic of how I am feeling about my creative output at the time of the dream. I subscribe to both male and female “gone wild” subreddits, the forums where Redditors post naked pix of themselves, in either arousing or aroused states. Lawrence’s selfies are typical r/gonewild.
I’m all for both the fact Lawrence and other female celebs took those pictures and for those images being exposed for the pleasure of the world. If you don’t want them out there, or are in the least bit afraid of them getting out there, or might be in the least bit regretful if they do, then be like me and the Ameropean woman who called Lawrence a narcissist: Don’t take them to begin with.
In any event, I’ll bet Lawrence was embarrassed and remorseful about those pictures leaking for less time than it takes to pick herself up from a fall on the way to the Oscar podium. And right she is. Lawrence isn’t a Kardashian, never will be; in my mind, those reality-TV characters really are as slime covered as the porn model who propositioned me at the gym. Lawrence is supremely talented, and with the nude selfies has only proven herself as much the girl next door accidentally dressed in a Dior gown as she’s ever been; she sexts just like everyone else, tries to be sexy as much as anyone else, seeks approval from her lovers as much as anyone else. She doesn’t take her tits out or give head on a “hidden” camera for the publicity like a Kardashian; she doesn’t need it. She does it for her lover’s pleasure. There is zero damage to her reputation, none to her career, either; oddly, it’ll be even less than what Dustin Lance Black suffered.
The only outrage should be directed at hacker Bryan Hamade. But after the Murdock News International hacking scandals, after Snowden and the NSA, if you really want privacy, don’t do record anything, don’t post anything online, in your phone, in a cloud, behind multiple VPNs, whatever. You’re being disingenuous, your outrage at privacy being violated is ludicrous. This is why online anonymity is such a joke; even Hamade couldn’t hide himself for long and he’s a pro.
Just be yourself, be transparent. Clandestine is creepy. If you want to show your body to your lover without anyone else seeing, then get a room, and don’t switch on the camera to record yourselves having sex. The minute the camera records a single pixel of you, you’ve invited in a third party. It had might as well be three billion.
Update: The subreddit r/TheFappening has been taken down by Reddit. The irony that other potentially offensive subreddits, like r/picsofdeadkids, continue to operate is lost on no one. The power of celebrity over just being the survivor of another dead child…