BY M Baulch
I have always been a girl consumed with fantasies. After discovering the Palace Hotel in college on a walking tour with my freshman architecture history class, I imagined getting married there and losing my virginity on the imported Italian sheets of a luxury suite. It didn’t happen, but the next summer I accomplished the next best thing when my roommate dragged me to a charity polo match in Connecticut where I got wasted on free booze, met a cute undergrad from Yale, and took him back to the much beloved hotel.
Since then, I have dropped any pretensions of being an Uptown sophisticate and have embraced my inner-East Village cool, eschewing men in pastel polo shirts for Alex, my somewhat vain but adorable beer-drinking filmmaker boyfriend, who last month gave me a small digital camcorder as a present.
Not really one to walk around filming things, I left it sitting in the box until a few weeks ago when, after watching the cocktail swirling, man-eating characters on Cashmere Mafia discuss the finer points of a little video exhibitionism, I became convinced that sex tapes were the de rigueur activity of good-looking couples everywhere. (Or at least on TV.)
Alex was surprisingly a little hesitant about immortalizing our lovemaking for future generations (not including our future kids) to see, but I assured him our sex tape would be nothing short of amazing.
We were incredibly qualified. Alex, now an accomplished music video director, was a former a badass musician type who drummed in several punk bands in the early ’90s and never had any shortage of attention from hot women with studded belts and “Never Say Never” attitude.
I had been a child actress, featured in such direct to pay-per-view fare as Killing the Badge, a so-bad-it’s-funny, cop-killing, Blaxploitation film, in which I played not only one of the few white people in the movie, but one of only three characters not to be brutally killed.
Suffice it to say, if anyone was qualified to make a brilliant sex tape, it was us.
I studied the classics (Pamela and Tommy Lee) conceptualized the film setting (our apartment in the East Village for budgetary reasons) and went prop shopping with my friend Annabel at Babeland. After looking at the assorted whips, dildos, and vibrators, we decided on a slightly more subdued Bed, Bath & Beyond theme and went to stock up on red satin sheets and mood lighting.
The day of the big taping, I pondered my moves. Do I move my ass more? What exactly should I do with my hands when I’m on top? Punch them into the air? Grab Alex’s chest hair? I didn’t want to end up like that one awkward girl at every school dance who doesn’t realize she should have practiced beforehand in front of a mirror.
When I arrived home, Alex had already popped open a few Stellas and was replacing some bulbs in our studio with the amber colored ones I had picked up.
Waiting for him to finish, I poured myself a drink or two to loosen up. A half-hour later, I was a bit sloppy and convinced Alex was more interested in lighting a sexy scene than starring in one.
“C’mon Alex, lesss get going,” I slurred, as I stripped down to my lingerie of choice: a matching satin bra and panty set from Patricia Field that was equal parts sweet and trashy.
Lying spread-eagled on the bed and feeling buzzed and sexy, although not quite in control of my motor functions, I called Alex over. With any thoughts of light and shadows quickly vacating his mind, he jabbed the “record” button on the camera and jumped in.
After a few positions that seemed more feasible on a Twister mat than a bed, I couldn’t help stopping to review the footage, much to Alex’s chagrin.
“Oh, sweet Jesus,” I whispered as the first 30 seconds played back across the tiny viewfinder screen, but it didn’t get any better. My hair, the weird positions, Alex’s New England accent asking me if I wanted it hard—it was nothing like I had envisioned.
I stalked off to the bathroom to regroup and started to cry a little, upset that our first try at sexual immortality had gone so poorly.
“Babe?” Alex knocked on the door. “Don’t get upset…We can try it again,” he said, still wound up. (He would say anything to get me back in bed.)
But it didn’t work. Eventually, I slinked back out, put the camera away and crawled into bed, but I was disappointed.
Sure that I could do better, the following week I received an email about a free event at Babeland hosted by the legendary porn director Candida Royalle. The description read: “how to incorporate lights, costumes and dialogue into your everyday sex life and fuck like a porn star.” Perfect.
An extremely articulate and well-put together, 50-something woman, Candida looked as if she belonged sipping ice-tea at a Greenwich country club, not dissecting cum shots and wide angles.
A native New Yorker, she had been an adult film actress before starting her own production company in 1984 and pioneering the feminist porn genre, creating films that didn’t demean women, but portrayed them as the beautiful, pleasure-seeking seductresses they were.
As she talked about the process of filming love scenes, I scribbled down notes at her every suggestion.
“Get creative with the camera work,” she said. “Don’t just let it sit there on a tripod. Take it under the covers with you. Pose for each other. Have fun.”
Feeling encouraged, I couldn’t wait to go home and show Alex what I had learned. As soon as he walked into the door of the apartment, I ran over to hug him, confessing my realization that I had probably put too much pressure on us to be porn stars.
“You think?” he replied, smiling.
“Well, you do have a porn-star sized cock.”
“Oh really…” he said, before grabbing me and biting my bottom lip hard. As he changed out of his clothes, he broke into his infamous cock dance, a silly combination of pelvic thrusts and Herculean arm movements that made his penis fly into the air. It always made me laugh. Remembering Candida’s sage advice, I grabbed for the video camera.
“What are you doing with that?” he mock-yelled when he saw, but I motioned for him to keep going.
Instead of sweeping pans or special effects, I eventually placed the camera on the armoire at an angle I later realized cut our heads partially out of the frame. But it didn’t matter. That night we documented, not just two people having sex, but two imperfect people completely in love. The result was goofy, sometimes unintentionally funny, and totally us.