The astronaut reverie began to fade when Butders was ten years old. He had stumbled onto his big brother's cache of skin mags and pornographic videotapes. He was fascinated, watching the sex scenes over and over, telling all of his friends about Ultimate Lover starring porn legend Nina Hartley. The Frankenstein-meets-porn plot revolved around Hartley's quest to develop and use a "superstud" in her lab. It wasn't long before Butders dreamed of being a porn star himself.
Fast-forward eleven years. Butders's parents have separated and left the Jackson Heights neighborhood in which Butders grew up. After a few semesters of political science classes at Penn State, Butders has dropped out and moved to Miami to be closer to his mother in Coral Springs.
It is a weekday afternoon in early 2004. A 21-year-old Butders, sweat beading on his forehead, is going at it doggy-style with a brunette, her hands crumpling beige sheets in a low-ceiling South Beach apartment bedroom. The room is furnished with little more than a mattress and box spring, and the hospital-white walls are bare. Butders picks up the pace, and the Puerto Rican girl's practiced moans grow louder. It is sex scene number twentysomething or thirtysomething of Butders's budding porn career.
Just over five feet five inches tall, with short, curly black hair and a gleaming smile, Butders (the Uruguayan-American's screen name) has a cherubic face that makes getting into bars without an ID nearly impossible. A shadow of stubble shades his jutting jaw, and a thin gold necklace dangles above his pecs like a rope bridge over rock formations. His toned arms and wide chest products of regular visits to the gym and a regimen of muscle-boosting testosterone supplements glisten in the modest set's umbrella lights. The two-bedroom apartment where Butders sleeps and works is nearly spotless and smells of citrus air freshener. The refrigerator is full of bottled water and the cabinets are full of bags of potato chips. A hall closet is stocked with towels, condoms, anal beads, dildos, and lubricants tools of the trade.
Sitting on the living room couch, the girl's boyfriend can hear the bed banging against the wall. He can hear his girlfriend panting. The two had answered an ad to shoot a sex scene together, but the boyfriend wasn't up to the on-camera performance. So the cameraman "went to the bullpen," calling in Butders.
"Open up," the cameraman says calmly. Butders repositions himself so his right hand cups the brunette's left butt cheek and his left holds the right cheek, providing a better camera angle. The camera pays little attention to their faces, so Butders watches closeups of his eight-inch penis in and out, in and out on the playback monitor. In his head, he counts down the minute-and-a-half until the next position.
By the spring of 2004, Butders was making good money and living out his fantasy, but it was all beginning to feel routine, and doubt was creeping into his mind. Then Butders's 64-year-old father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. For about eight months, Butders stopped filming scenes. He worked as a food runner at Cafeteria in South Beach and spent time with his father, who was living out his final days together again with Butders's mother in Broward County. Still affectionate toward her ex-husband, Butders's mother had offered to care for him when she heard of his illness.
Grief-stricken and lost, Butders agonized over his porn career. Had he become some kind of lowlife, unredeemable in society's eyes? Would every girl he fell for leave him as others had when he told them about his job? Was he unworthy of being a father? He told his own father he was in porn. His dad didn't scold him, but Butders could tell he was disappointed.
"With me, they had high hopes," Butders says.
Butders had seen others in the business grapple with the questions that were haunting him. He had seen them give up on themselves, an attitude he's quick to characterize: "I'm a fucking scumbag. I'm shit. Oh yeah, what was I thinking more drugs." Butders chose another route. He would stay clean, keep his head on his shoulders, maintain perspective he wasn't doing anything illegal, wasn't hurting anyone. He would make a name for himself as a porn star. Then he would branch out to directing and producing scenes for mikeybutdersvod.com a Website he maintains with clips from scenes he has done for other sites eventually compiling the scenes in a DVD series and living off the royalties. If the scheme worked, he could retire in about ten years, get on with his life, raise children. In the meantime, he told himself, he'd keep his career a secret from the person with whom he spent every Sunday his mother. He would give up on finding love.