In a large cylindrical cage, a tiny Asian dancer named April attempts to swing from a black plastic chain. But her red painted toes clumsily catch on the plush, pink carpeting, and she stumbles. As a result, her blond wig shifts to an extremely unnatural position. Flustered, she dangles the chain between her B-cup breasts, which are adorned solely with two fuzzy heart-shaped pasties.
Where, I ask, was your first kiss?
"In a playground," she says while adjusting the wig. "We were swinging on a swing set when my crush and I both stopped at the same time. He leaned over and kissed me. I was like 3."
Exxxotica Miami Beach
Just then, a hefty woman, riddled with cellulite and stuffed into a fishnet body suit, struts by. Nearby, balding, beer-keg-bellied men in stained shirts and women in their "working girl" best eat minipizzas in a makeshift food court while watching amateur porn on a movie screen.
We're all attending Exxxotica Miami Beach, the recently concluded largest adult entertainment consumer show on the East Coast. It's been held at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, exxxoticamiami.com) the past four years.
As April continues, um, swinging, I approach Suzanne, a blond sex-toy wholesaler with killer legs. She's in her mid-40s and walks around in a skin-tight fluorescent, tie-dyed, off-the-shoulder number à la Kelly Bundy. The skin around her squinty eyes appears to be swollen and the rest of her skin has the texture of a leather handbag.
She also received her first kiss in the schoolyard. "It was very romantic," she says with a smile that, due to a few (possibly recent) needle pricks, looks like it requires a great amount of effort. "It was behind a Dumpster. We kissed for hours. I was very smitten with him."
After some small talk, I stroll down the multiple lanes of booths filled with bargain-bin movie slingers, airbrush body painters, and a Bang Bus exhibit — where long lines of fans wait to snap photos with the stars next to the company's infamous white van. Finally, I stop in front of Taylor Wane, an aging porn star who hails from Newcastle, England. She's thin and has blond, Jessica Simpsonesque hair (who doesn't at this convention?). A wilting, red hibiscus flower is perched behind her right ear.
Wane appears to be at the end of a shift posing in a booth emblazoned with her name. It's littered with 8-by-10 pictures of her Photoshopped and buxom image on the cover of Busty Beauties magazine.
As she picks up her purse to leave, a guy with a disposable camera shouts her name and requests a specific pose. She drops her bag, turns around, grabs the hem of her copper-colored dress, and flashes her toned, G-stringed ass. Two other men stop to snap a picture as well.
"Taylor, do you remember your first kiss?" I ask while she's still bent over.
"Um, sure," she says, dropping her skirt, turning around, and surprising me with two wide, piercing blue eyes. "I was 10, and some random bloke just walked over and stuck his tongue in my mouth. I hadn't a clue what he was doing, so I punched him in the face."
The British are always so civilized and mild-mannered, aren't they?
"Was that Taylor Wane?" asks a 20-something model named Crystal. She wears a blue bikini, and a large tattoo of a dragon is inked on her chest. Her two-toned hair is pulled into pigtails, and she's nonchalantly licking a cherry lollipop that's the shape and size of a six-inch part of the male anatomy.
Apparently, Wane starred in the first porn Crystal ever watched. "She's such an inspiration," the tart says with a sparkle in her hazel eyes.
"Was your first kiss life-altering?" I ask Crystal, noticing that she is well on her way to snatching Taylor's title as "Duchess of DDs."
"Not really," she says with a sigh. "I was 12 and walking home with a neighbor. We were both chewing gum, and when we got to my front porch, he sort of attacked me with an aggressive kiss. I was so shocked, I choked on my gum. But we ended up dating for a few weeks anyway."
Why only a short while?
"I caught him making the same move on my other neighbor, Tony," she says. "And Tony wasn't a girl."
On the way to the VIP room, where I'm told there are pole dancers, two bars, and mattresses occupied by couples in various phases of extreme heavy petting, I run into Nina, a strawberry-blond Latina in a long, paisley maxidress that exposes her freckled shoulders.
She displays something called a Real Touch, which was designed by a NASA engineer to approximate the female nether regions and costs $150. As she instructs me to insert my two fingers into the pulsating device, I ask about her initial beso.
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"I was on my balcony back home in Puerto Rico with my cousin. We were talking about French kissing, and neither one of us knew exactly how it was done. So when we spotted an older neighborhood boy walking by, we told him to come upstairs to my room and kiss us. He did, kissing my cousin first and then me. It wasn't a magical experience or anything."
Well, no one likes getting sloppy seconds.
"The worst part was that he kissed really badly. It was like making out with a machine."
As I remove my digits from the Real Touch, I can honestly relate.