While others were free to parade around naked on the Internet, and even had my respect for it, I was intended for some higher, nobler cause – something that would make people gasp in a good way, and not out of horror.
But now, none of that mattered, as though losing face before a single human resources department was tantamount to being condemned by humanity as a whole.
Marina, my online alter ego on a popular adult webcamming site, is the new and improved “me.” She dazzles men with discussions of Indo-European languages while seducing them with her perky derriere, bending over before the camera to reach for her pen, with which she scrawls on a memo pad: The afternoon that I was placed on Performance Probation, I left work early.
Riding the N train back to Queens, I quietly wept upon the sympathetic cashmere shoulder of Ann Taylor and brainstormed responses to my imminent dismissal. I remembered a conversation I had several months earlier with an acquaintance, whose ex-girlfriend, he claimed, made a decent living as a camgirl. ” I asked him, familiar with the phenomenon only through sidebar Internet advertisements claiming that Jessie19, conveniently located in my neighborhood, wanted to fuck, like, “Well,” he said, “usually they just strip, tease and get themselves off in front of guys online in exchange for money and gifts.
The men I meet online rarely fall into the category of “anonymous assholes who have abandoned all social etiquette,” nor do they resemble the pasty, calculator-wristwatch-wearing forebears of chat rooms past.
“I’m not going to judge,” she assured me upon learning of my new activities, “But ? ” While it is true that my mother used to have to physically pry the threadbare notebooks and Vivaldi CDs out of my hands to get me to “go play” with the neighborhood kids, money changes everything.
For the first time, my intellect and perfectionist work ethic had failed me. It’s super easy – most guys aren’t looking for some airbrushed Barbie. I paused, looking down at my austere gray cardigan.
While I’m not unattractive, my waxen face, sturdy brown glasses and easily detectable baggage (both under-eye and emotional) hardly suggest that I’m someone you might want to see naked.
The first time that I logged on as “Marina,” I wore a tight black tank top and a comfortable pair of shorts, figuring that if the camming thing didn’t work out, I would at least be dressed for consolation pastries afterward. “Well, I came here because I hate my real job and wanted to see if this could be a viable financial alternative,” I said, tweaking my nipples a bit in hopes of resuscitating some of the erections I undoubtedly just lost.
But before I could even finish doubting myself, a swarm of users flooded my chat room, tipping liberally with “tokens,” the website’s local currency, and barraging me with questions. “How does it feel getting naked in front of hundreds of guys?