My friend in porn

Ok, so the title is slightly misleading.

It’s not meant to imply that porn is the friend; a crutch I rely on when I’m down or have certain urges.

No. What I mean is that I have a friend who works in the porn industry. A friend who now goes by the professional name of Lara Latex – her real world name forever lost to her thousands of fans on facebook and twitter.

We met at college. We were on the same course, though she was in the year above. We played on the same Volleyball team, had the same group of mates and went on the same nights out – though I think we both would have preferred to have been somewhere less commercial in the main.

Our friendship blossomed as her final year at college drew to a close. If the weather was nice, I’d actively seek her out to walk towards a tube station via her house, even though it added at least half an hour to my journey home. She was a great sounding board – someone who would happily (I think) listen for hours as I battled through the latest, teen-related angst issue that clouded my day.

We shared a great number of interests, happy times and even, it appeared, shared the same career aspirations – which for a time, she was the only one to fulfil.

And then it all changed.

I found out about “Lara’s” new vocation innocently enough – if you call using a scrambled cable box after far too many drinks, an innocent thing. Nothing can prepare you for the shock of seeing someone you know as a friend, in such an intimate – adult entertainment setting. I remember turning over so as to erase the memory, embarrassed that I was peering in to a part of her world that I wasn’t meant to. A quick text confirmed that it was definitely her, and yes – she was happy. Yet the fact that I didn’t know highlights how much the friendship had drifted.

We recently got back in touch via twitter. The thing about social media is that it not only allows you to reacquaint with those you have lost touch with, it also aids you in terms of reflection on a great number of things – to consider what you have, and even what might have been – should you want to go down that route. Talking to “Lara” made me realise how much distance – both physical and professional – there was now between us.

I doubt for one minute that if you had eavesdropped in on one of those walks home – you would ever have been able to predict the paths our lives would have taken to where you find us today. But is that not the fascinating aspect to the choices we can make within our lives? The fact that they are not pre-ordained; not set in stone – no matter what we may think as innocent youths; who assume their lives won’t alter and they’ll remain friends for a very long time.

Lives do change – ours changed for the better.

University originally took us apart, and although there were opportunities for the friendship to develop further – for whatever reason it never happened. Then a call at a bad time, a lost phone before the days of backing up and the new career choices affecting both our lives put distance and a lot of memories between us – ones we were never likely to share.

I’m not ashamed to admit that even though I’ve known of her career choice for a decade now, I still feel slightly prudish when I see some of her tweets or facebook entries. Offers of images uploaded for her fans, or requests to vote for her in an industry award – at one point I’d have been the first in line to give her my support, but that was in a sporting context or when she felt down after an exam. Following a link to a website organised by a TV channel too high in the listings for a married, father of one – is something I feel uneasy doing.

But then why should I feel that way? Some of her tweets, sent in real time situations, are nothing worse than you would see dramatised in the ITV programme, Belle de Jour. She is often mocking, playful, cutting – those same personality traits she displayed when younger; but this is not on a volleyball court, or walk home. This is a window in to the adult entertainment world. A world I am not part of; where my friend is not the person I knew.

For our world will always be those spring walks home, talking about tunes, clubbing, mates and a well executed B Quick for her to hit through the middle. It’s not that I want to go back there; for I am lucky – I can use social media to reflect and come out with a positive result. I may not have wanted to be sat behind a desk or to be on the wage I am now, but I just have to go home tonight to realise what I have to be thankful for. Reading “Lara’s” tweets about living a life between the UK and Budapest, building a successful career on both sides of the camera – it’s hard not to assume that she’s also happy with her lot as well.

Her professional world may be dramatically different to mine – yet work isn’t what makes us as people, even if most of the contacts on her social media pages are driven solely by her ability to entertain. Once we walk from our office, or off set, we’re still deep down the same people we were that made us friends. Which is why I can’t open her links, go to the websites she directs “me” to or not look upon her followers with a level of disdain – as if they have no right to virtually paw at her the way they do. It’s hard not to be prudish when you still have the memories of old, which were forged long before our lives changed.

I’m confident that should we get the chance to meet up again, have a few drinks and talk about our lives – now and then – that the old friendship will kick right back in; with no effort from either side. Though I do think I’d have to get sign off, in triplicate, that Amy was happy with me out on the town with a porn star; friend or not. I even timidly checked that she was ok with me befriending “Lara” on facebook – just in case any of her mates got the wrong idea, and called me out for being a “dirty old man” – for I’m not, and for whatever need to impress reason, it’s not how I want to be viewed.

If it’s possible to be a be a prude, to feel ever so slightly protective – yet ultimately proud of a friend, then that is what I feel for “Lara”. She’s forging a career for herself as a leading light in her industry, nominated for awards and has thousands hanging on her every facebook entry. I’d love that popularity – just don’t expect me to take my clothes off any time soon.

If however you are partial to the sort of material that “Lara” produces or performs in, and you don’t feel the need to check with the wife if this is ok, then please do access her material legally; do vote for her in her industry awards. Do even follow her on twitter – though chances are she’ll no doubt bore you with her love for Hercule Poirot; though I’m not entirely certain that dialogue is her biggest asset these days.

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