WWYD: Porn Star BF Asks Porn Star GF to Quit Work Because Love

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In the recent New York Times Style section trainwreck “Modern Love” column titled “For Kayden Kross, the Family Business Happens to Be Porn,” the author’s unasked question is, “Is my relationship terrible and are all of my recent professional choices wrong?” The answer, sorrowfully, is yes.

Kross, the column’s author, knows this, deep down, the way we all know that a burrito bowl is a smarter way to go than a burrito even as we ask for our Chipotle dressed up in its irresistibly sexy tortilla tuxedo.

How do I know she knows this? She tells us. She says, “I’d pledged I would never let a man compromise what I had worked so hard for.” She says, “My biggest fear was repeating the past: becoming a single mother, financially insolvent, halfway through a college degree and left to raise my future children alone.”

Yet here is what she does: She never finishes college. She meets a man through work. She then leaves work — a lucrative, successful porn career — because that man asks her to. She has a child with that man, now her fiancé. He continues to fuck women for money because it’s okay when he does it; she is occasionally allowed to fuck people for money, but only her fiancé or other women, whose genitals I guess don’t count as real. She raises his child, hoping he fulfills his promise to marry her.  

This is an epic tragedy, like “The Trojan Women.” Kross is smart, thoughtful, well intentioned, and apparently quite flexible, and yet she appears clueless about her rubbish choices. Reader, SHE IS US. We are all worse at managing our own romantic lives — and occasionally our professional choices — than Miley Cyrus is at getting dressed. 

In When Harry Met Sally …, a seminal text of our time, one character gently informs another, “Everyone thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor. But everyone couldn’t possibly have good taste and a sense of humor.” This is true x12 when it comes to making decisions that involve our hearts and our gonads. Why do you think the divorce rate is so high? Because our weddings aren’t splashy and elaborate enough? No. It’s because we do not ask our friends for advice, when we should.

If Kross had written to me in my advice-giving Aunt Acid guise, or to me here as a WWYD?, I would have told her, in the kindest possible way, that she had accidentally put Tab A (her head) in Slot B (her butt). Once again, we all do this, we are all in this together, clueless and in pain, like back up dancers in low-budget music videos. To break it down, though, here is what she did wrong:

#1, she agreed to date a guy she describes as “charming.” Charming is the red flag. It is better to date toilet paper, actual clumps of used toilet paper clogging up the U-bend.

Charming is mansplainers, politicians, pro athletes, actors, heads of start ups and other sociopaths, people who get away with whatever they want because we are all dazzled by their shininess and their Idris Elba voices. Anytime you go on an OK Cupid date and stumble home at 4:00 AM, high on life because [X] was so darn charmingre-read this Afterschool Special Buzzfeed essay. Or re-watch this video about what Disney Prince Charmings would be like in real life. Slap yourself a couple of times with a phone book and sober up.

#2, when he started getting moody and jealous because she had work to do, the same work that he knew she did because he did it too, that’s how they met, she didn’t say, “Go fuck yourself, you French-accented, emo, passive-aggressive, mopey, controlling, insecure fool with attachment problems. You’re probably just mad that I’m making more money than you are. Take your retrograde double-standards and shove ’em where the gerbils go.”

#3, she conceived and bore a child with that man, the grossly immature one, who is in no way legally bound to her. Stay with me: I know that also seems retrograde. Plenty of fantastic couples can produce an heir first and then tie the knot, or agree to eschew the cumbersome and often expensive knot-tying procedure altogether. As with so many things, it helps to have money. The more padded your bank account, the less you need to rely on the Styrofoam of government protections.

But if you are in a relatively precarious position — because you’re agreeing to break your once-in-a-lifetime contract, say, and that contract represents your livelihood, and your own single-mother won’t be able to help you if things go sour — why would you do it without a guarantee that the person for whom you are trading your career stability can’t simply walk away?

“D-U-M dumb,” my parents would say, the way they did when my 19-year-old babysitter shotgun-married her DC cop boyfriend with anger problems against the advice of everyone, even God. (The priest died in the middle of the wedding and after they brought on a relief preacher she still went through with it.)

The moral of this story, of every story, is that not marrying a douchebag — someone who throws your wedding invitations into the driveway and sets them on fire to punish you, say, or who passive-aggressively makes you quit your job — takes a village. Choose a couple of your wisest, kindest friends, siblings, coworkers, teammates, or mentors. Buy them a drink. Ask them what they think about your relationship, with the proviso that you will not hold their tactful honesty against them. Then reflect, really reflect, on their opinion before making huge, life-altering decisions about your career/body/prospects.

Or, if you’re too scared to do that, ask me.

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