It’s not every day that you accidentally find yourself in a porn studio. OK, so I hadn’t taken a wrong turn while looking for a parking meter and wound up on the set of Debbie Does Dallas. I occasionally work as a fine-art model. I knew that I was going to a studio to be photographed. I just hadn’t realized the photographer might do other things besides fine art.

The lobby itself didn’t look that different from a dentist’s office. It was tasteful, even. But as my eyes traveled around the waiting room, I gradually realized that the centerpiece—which I had at first mistaken for some South Sea memorabilia—was not actually a pillar of carved Tahitian lava but an eight-foot-tall papier-mâché penis.

Once I made that connection, I was all questions.

What kind of porn? How much of it? Can people come in with their own scripts, or do you write them for them? Do you ever have them just keep their clothes on?

The director, a seasoned professional, honored customer confidentiality and answered only the most basic questions. Yes, he makes porn. All kinds. Sometimes both. No, not really. And then he asked, “Would you like to fill out an application?”

I considered this for a moment. I had been photographed plenty of times without clothes, though mainly for art students, a few photographers doing studies of the male nude and illustrators of anatomy texts. Nothing really erotic. But you know, what the hell? Why not? How different could it be?

The application was rather easy and began the usual way. Name. Age. But the third question—“Do you eat cum?”—threw me for a loop. How do you mean? Like, habitually? Like, given the choice, would I use it on sliced turkey? I had to reflect on my dietary habits to give a thorough answer. There aren’t any foods that I avoid for spiritual or moral reasons or because they cause me to break out in hives, fevers or a sudden slackening of the body’s every sphincter. And I’ve been in the position of having spent an afternoon preparing a meal for a guest only to be told that they don’t eat gluten anymore.

My own policy is to say, “Yes, thank you,” when I’m offered the unusual. (Consequently, I’ve eaten some truly wretched things in the name of friendship.) I didn’t want to insult his hospitality. But on the other hand, being asked point-blank about my position regarding the ingestion of semen did seem somewhat prying.

I tried to remember everything I had eaten over the past week, but I wasn’t sure. If I were heterosexual or vegan, this would have been easier. I had bought a box of cereal the day before but didn’t check the list of ingredients. So ... maybe?

I wrote, “On occasion.”

After that came a grid of different activities. On the left side of the table was a list of actions, and then there were three subsequent columns on the right where you could check “Yes,” “Sometimes” or “Never.”

“Do you mean, are these things I like to do?” I asked. “Or would I be comfortable doing them on-camera?”

“Comfortable on-camera,” he said.

The first was kissing. It probably wouldn’t take much for me be willing to kiss someone on-camera. I’d even do it for laundry quarters. I checked “Yes.”

The second, “Oral,” was a bit more delicate. But then, I figured as long as the guy was polite, it would probably be fine, so I checked “Maybe.”

The third item deeply confused me. While I do enjoy a good Ella Fitzgerald tune, “scatting” still seemed out of place on this list. I’ve known guys who’ve grumbled, moaned, snarled and laughed in the sheets. For a time I even had a regular arrangement with an enthusiastic botanist whose startled hoots and jibberings put one in mind of a boat trip down the Amazon. But I’ve never known anyone in the excitement of sexual congress to break into a Cab Calloway–inspired vocal improvisation of nonsense syllables and staccato beeps, as much as I’d like to.

Unless this is something straight people do? Still, I feel like I would have at least heard about this. My neighbor can certainly be quite excitable. Even with the windows closed—hers and mine—she still comes through like a Wurlitzer. Her pulsating sighs, however, have never once morphed into a rhythmic bee-bop impromptu. Oh god, oh god, oh god-a-zee-dop-be-doo-be-da-ba-zeet-zeet-be-doooooh!

“What do you mean by scatting?” I asked.

The director suddenly became rather delicate, like a schoolteacher explaining the birds and the bees. “It’s um, well, uh ...”

“Is it a heterosexual thing?” I offered.

“No ... well, that is ... not specifically,” he said. “It’s ... a ... uh …,” he said, still searching for wherever he had to go. “It’s a ... a fecal…”

“Ah,” I said, “you mean shit play?” I slashed a big black X through “Never.”

From there, everything else was in the “Never” column. Then I signed my name at the bottom and left. There was a low table with a bowl of breath mints by the door. I grabbed one on my way out. I thought it was a nice touch, considering all the things a client might have just put into his mouth. Funny, the details you remember about a place.

Photo courtesy of thehankycode.