Now Safe For Work

Before I became a reporter, I worked in the porn industry. My participation was purely in post-production, though. I was the third-world monkey who got to sit through hours of white people having sex and transcribing what they were saying.

This was usually bad innuendos or pick-up lines too stupid to work (“Here is a box of pizza, my penis is hiding within”) but in the same way that people buy Playboy for the articles, people with hearing problems needed to know what porn stars say while they get it on. To get the subtle nuances of mid-thrust banter, I am sure.

As a hot-blooded single male in his 20s, this seemed like an ideal job, and a refreshing break from mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows we had been working on. Getting paid to watch porn is the grown-up equivalent of being hired as an ice-cream taster.

It was exciting the first few times, and I started thinking I could probably work in actual porn, given a party van or a pizza box with a convenient hole. I figured, hey, these are just regular guys and they are getting lucky with apparently random women who get into their vans just because. Besides, pump p-funk in your ears long enough, and you’ll start thinking real life is a porn movie.

I’d see a lady fixing a flat tire on Katipunan and I would wonder if she was for real or just lonely and looking for company. I stopped having pizzas delivered. It was a struggle to keep innuendos out of normal conversations, at the back of my mind, the bass slaps were waiting to give birth to a soundtrack.

There were times, though, when even my suspension of disbelief wasn’t enough. “Hang on,” I’d say, “that’s the school girl from the video yesterday. Why is she cavorting with a naked Lucifer? How is that even possible?” Or, “what the hell? Why would you insert your penis in a pizza box? Does that work?”

"It totally does, buddy!"*

And eventually, the novelty of watching two people (at least) get it on wore off. The company I worked for, long since bankrupt, told us to fast-forward through the actual sex since there was very little to transcribe. This seemed like a hassle at first, like going to a strip club to check out women’s fashion. After a while, though, getting to skip several minutes of film was a blessing (for my immortal Soul).

Things had become so predictable that it didn’t matter what the porn stars said anymore, you knew they would end up getting it on. “I eat babies for breakfast,” one guy might say and still end up naked in bed with a school girl/young mother/hitch hiker minutes later.

I wished I could fast-forward through the entire thing, sometimes. My heart would break whenever a documentary or reality show I was transcribing turned out to be an elaborate set-up for Non-Funny Pun No.3: An Even Less Funny Pun. When I stopped looking at the screen altogether, I knew it was time to go.

I told myself I needed to work in an industry that was not quite so smutty, where things are not predetermined, and where people spoke plainly, with no forced puns and hackneyed gimmicks. Failing that, I became a reporter covering politics.

"Meh. It's a living..."**

— 

*From “Big Sausage Pizza,” which is an actual thing. Your mileage may vary.

**Mr. Ron Jeremy Hyatt, professionally known as Ron Jeremy. He was voted No.1 on Adult Video News’s “Top 50 Porn Stars of All Time.” We never worked on a Ron Jeremy video.

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