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Ali Davis on True Porn Clerk Stories

This probably is not something you’d want to view at work, but actress Ali Davis has been keeping a diary about her work as a clerk at an adult video store. Apparently she did musical improv in Chicago and her latest journal details her attempt to sell a film script in LA. She describes something called Porn Trance:

This is the odd, timeless zone that people go into when studying the boxes. Lone porn renters go into it immediately and resent being pulled out. Group renters never intend to go into the Porn Trance. They start out laughing together, pointing at the boxes and reading particularly ludicrous copy out loud. They are far too hip to really be interes… and then they see an orifice that really strikes them and one by one they get sucked in and the porn section is quiet again.

Couples do not go into Porn Trance. There has already been a great deal of negotiating in getting both parties down there together. If either partner gets even a tiny fraction more interested in a porn star body than the other, the delicate balance – and quite possibly the relationship – is destroyed.

We have two rooms of floor-to-ceiling boxes. People in the Porn Trance methodically look at every single one in their section. They don’t realize they’ve just rented new releases because they didn’t realize they’d moved around the entire circumference of the room. They don’t hear announcements over the Voice of God mike until you get drastic. (“YOU! In the red jacket! With the baseball cap! YOU! We’re closing! BRING UP YOUR MOVIES RIGHT NOW OR YOU DON’T GET TO RENT ANYTHING AT ALL!”) People literally spend hours in the Porn Trance. I see people look at box after box for two hours at a stretch all the time, and three hours is not uncommon. These are the same people that tell you they’re in a hurry when they hit the register.

I think finding the right video is such a primal, visceral thing that people really can’t think about time or comprehend verbal announcements the first time around. They’ve gone back down to the reptilian brain and it takes a few seconds for those higher lobes to kick back in. Or maybe, since to choose the right tape they have to sort of mentally masturbate to it, they have also mentally locked themselves in the bathroom and all other stimulus is just so much faint knocking. I don’t know. I haven’t asked.

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