Working as a porn clerk for four years was a brilliant, outlandish adventure better than any Chuck Palahniuk novel. I watched sweet grannies try on sexy maid outfits in the dressing room; and newlywed couples traipse dreamily through the aisles in their wedding garb while selecting items for their honeymoon. I accepted countless soggy, butt-pocket dollars from truckers; made friends with porn stars, prostitutes, and the occasional police officer; and heard the sounds of a suburban dad getting serviced in the back room.
And I’ve resisted the urge to commit violence against too many 18-year-olds.
During my porn-clerking tenure, I learned a lot about customer service, human sexuality, and human psychology. Porn shops and adult boutiques are similar to banks and credit unions: all kinds of people, from all walks of life, step through the door on a daily basis. I've gained a lot of insights -- a deep knowledge of porn's customer base (just about every human being, at some time or another), empathy for the people working in adult shops, and a few rules of the road for the next time you stop in at a sex toy store, burlesque shop, or adult outfit anywhere, from coast to coast.