“Often in my life, when I have really wanted something, I’ve made it up. Like, it’s all I’ve thought about, dreamed of, craved and believed. And then it becomes a reality.”
–Tracey Emin’s Strangeland.
Let me start with the facts. When I met Donna I was twenty-five years old. I had only slept with one man and had kissed five men at the most. I had never been with a woman and had not had sex in two years.
About a year and half into not having sex, I decided to watch porn. I asked my friend what website he recommended. I told him I would prefer feminist porn, and he suggested Kink.com. I began watching Kink and so began my first porn star crush.
I developed my first and only porn star crush on Princess Donna. I watched her videos and read her blog and imagined that one day we would meet and she would publicly disgrace me like she publicly disgraced models.
I felt ashamed about what I wanted. I felt so much shame. Shame made what I wanted seem sick and disgusting, like my desire was dark, dirty. But even with all that shame, the desire did not leave.
In my fantasies, when Donna fucked me in front of a crowd in a public place, I imagined I was not ashamed of my body or my sexuality. For the first time in my life, I was proud and she was proud of me and the crowd was cheering.
My porn star crush on Donna continued and so did my lack of dating and my lack of sex and when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I flew to San Francisco to spend time with my best friend, which wasn’t a well-thought-out plan.
My best friend was in love with his boyfriend and they spent their first Valentine’s day in the city and night in the bedroom. At night, his roommate was making dinner in the kitchen with his girlfriend, and I was alone, writing in the livingroom. I had to leave before I felt sorry for myself.
I pulled my short black hair in pigtails, put on dark eyeliner to make my light eyes seem lighter and wore my glasses. I decided to wear a bright red Orphan Annie dress because it was Valentine’s Day and bright red was allowed.
I put on a tweed jacket with brown elbow patches that my mom had bought me when we went to visit her family in Colombia. The coat would keep me warm, the coat made me appear less ridiculous in an Orphan Annie dress.
My sister had worn the Orphan Annie dress in her elementary school play. She was twelve years old then. My sister is twelve years older than me. When she first wore that bright red dress, I was in my mother’s womb.
Two days before, I had been with my sister at St. Joseph’s hospital in Burbank. My sister had been bleeding heavily for more than a month. She told me that when she was in the shower, clots the size of quarters fell out of her vagina. Two days before, during the ultrasound, I held my sister’s hand and stroked her long hair. My sister squeezed her eyes shut, she winced and moaned from the pain.
After I dressed, I left my best friend’s apartment and walked to 13th and Valencia Street. When I arrived, I saw my friend drinking at the bar and he happened to be with other friends and one of his friends was Princess Donna.
My friend was friends with Donna and he thought I would not know her. A group of us drank and chatted and I looked at her and looked at her. I waited until someone said her name so I would be sure it was in fact her.
It’s a strange thing when your porn star crush is sitting with your friend having a drink. You think, This can’t be happening. But that’s the thing. It was happening. It did happen. These things happen. Maybe not to everyone and not often, but sometimes and to a few.
Princess Donna had on a short black skirt and a tight black top. Her boobs were pushed up and spilling out. My friend left to get another drink, and I looked at her and smiled. I said, Oh. I paused and blushed. I said, I’m a huge fan of your work.
That was the best thing I could say. I had to say something and really, it didn’t matter what. The important part was that I said something to her, and she would know I knew her, liked her, and was happy to be sitting across from her.
She was sweet and encouraging. I told her about my writing and she told me about learning to play the piano and we talked about the normal everyday things. My friend said, By the end of the night, I predict you two will kiss, and I looked at her and looked at him and laughed awkwardly.
We went to a bar in the Castro. There was dance music and bright lights and couches. There were people who asked, Is that an Orphan Annie dress and I said Yes. I was wearing a huge backpack and hiding a small chihuahua inside it. The chihuahua was Donna’s friend’s dog.
It was easy sneaking the dog into the bar because I can get away with things. I look unsuspecting, I have a friendly face. People tell me all the time that I make them feel calm. I don’t try to make people feel calm, it just happens.
Inside the bar, the dog kept pointing out its snout from my backpack and I was trying to pet it, make it stay in my bag and feel better. At that point in the night, I looked like Hipster Orphan Annie with her chihuahua Sandy.
I found myself sitting on a couch with Princess Donna and we kissed. First, slowly and then we were making out. I sat on her lap with my legs wide apart and I looked at her face and remembered thinking she was the most beautiful woman I had ever met. I thought everything about her face–her eyes and her lips and her skin was perfect.
She looked at me with her big eyes and kissed me with her red, red lips. I wanted to touch her breasts but I had never touched anyone’s breasts but my own and they’re so small, they don’t count. I let my hands rest on my thighs and continued kissing her.
The employees turned away and Princess Donna grabbed my dress from the chest area with such force that she lifted me up from where I had been lying down. You are so hot, she said. I’d tear this dress off right now if I didn’t know it had family significance.
I had told her earlier that the dress belonged to my sister. I didn’t have to tell Donna about my sister’s hospital visit, I just told her it was my sister’s dress. She understood, she did not rip the dress off my body.
She pushed me back onto the couch, and with one hand, wrapped her fingers around my neck, lightly choking me. With her other hand, she continued to finger fuck me. I was lying there, with my legs spread apart for her, moaning her name and kissing her lips.
Then the employees came to kick us out and the lights turned on because last call was done and the bar was closing. We walked outside and she left in a cab. I remember her sitting in the back of the taxi, wearing her short black skirt. I remember her long legs and her big black purse on her lap. I remember the door shutting and then she was gone.
The next day I flew back home and my older brother picked me up from the Burbank airport. In San Francisco, it was chilly and cold, appropriate weather to wear a scarf. In Los Angeles, the weather was warm and sunny, too hot to wear a scarf but I wore one to hide the light bruises on my neck, the traces of her fingertips.
My brother drove me home. Home was my mom’s house and still is. I live with my mom who is beautiful and kind and big hearted, but she’s also afraid of a lot. If my mom knew my desires, she wouldn’t like me very much. Which is hard because I love her with everything I have to love another person.
When I was twenty-three, when I first moved back to Los Angeles, my sister, my mom and I were having dinner at a chain restaurant in Old Town Pasadena. My sister and my mom suspected I might be lesbian. My being lesbian came up because I wasn’t dating anyone and didn’t express any interest in dating.
My sister said, Mom, look. If she is, she is. We just have to accept her and love her for who she is. My mom became quiet, very quiet. She look devastated. She was about to cry. My sister turned to me and said, Look. Mom didn’t come to America for this shit. And it’s true. My mom didn’t come from Colombia to the States for who I’ve become.
When I arrived at my mother’s house, I shouted a brief hello to my mom and sister who were talking in the kitchen. I rushed down the stairs to get dressed for work. I was ashamed to be who I was not just at home but at work, too. I felt shame most places. Everywhere, really, and all the time.
Rumpus original art by Jason Novak.