When I first moved to Los Angeles I took an acting class that I like to call the Porn Acting Class. While I appreciate the lessons I learned about my classmates’ personal grooming habits (including the recommendation for an excellent waxer who I still use to this day), it’s not entirely clear how simulating sex with one of my classmates was supposed to make me a better actor. I know how to fake an orgasm. What I don’t know is how to fake cry.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for the class. The only thing I knew is that the teacher had worked with lots of famous people, so naturally, I assumed I would be the next movie star birthed from this class. I handed over my $800 for four weeks of classes and proceeded to dream of the career in motion pictures I was embarking on. In hindsight, the fact that the class cost more than my rent probably should’ve dissuaded me, but I knew how to sign my name on a Visa receipt, which is how mature, adult women destined for greatness pay for everything.
At first, I was totally into the class. My fellow students seemed to be really talented and passionate about their art. I didn’t love that the class was two nights a week, but I figured I had to sacrifice some of my drinking time if I wanted to be successful. But then two of my female classmates performed a scene from Bound. It started off fine, but all of the sudden they were both naked and pretending to go down on each other. I looked around at my fellow classmates. Did no one else think this was strange? Apparently, they were jaded Hollywood actors who had seen it all before. And I do mean all. When the scene ended everyone applauded and the two actresses calmly put on bathrobes and proceeded to sit down in front of the teacher to receive feedback. I don’t remember if they received a good review or not. I was too traumatized by the fact that I’d paid $800 to see something I could’ve watched on Cinemax for free (thanks to my introductory cable package).
Over the following months I saw blow-jobs, anal sex, a scene about strippers where twelve of my classmates stood around naked and smoked cigarettes, and one truly unforgettable scene that included bondage. Initially, I assumed that my classmates had an exhibitionist streak about them, but then the teacher assigned me a scene from Nine ½ Weeks. For those of you who have never seen the aforementioned film, it stars Mickey Rourke (when he was still attractive) and Kim Basinger, and it mostly involves them having sex with produce. Needless to say, there isn’t a lot of dialogue. Unsure of how this was supposed to deepen my acting abilities, I asked the teacher to please elucidate exactly why he wanted me to perform the famous striptease scene. I explained that I did that kind of stuff all the time for the random strangers I picked up at bars, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing it in front of people I actually knew. I also pointed out that this was acting class, and that Crazy Girls was just a few miles up the road. Apparently, he didn’t appreciate my questioning his intentions, so he told me I was impertinent and untalented and that I was no longer welcome in his class. And then he had one of his favorite actresses (read: did a lot of naked scenes) escort me to the door.
I guess, in the end, I wasn’t passionate enough about my art to take off my clothes just because some old, horny dude told me it would make me a better actress. What can I say, I believe if you’re going to take your clothes off in front of more than one person, you should at least be getting dollar bills thrown at you.