comments_image Comments

What It's Like to Go From Harvard to Working as a Naked Camgirl

Once, I was a shy nonprofit drone. Now, I make money reading Anais Nin in the buff -- among other things.
 
 
Share
 

Last autumn I sat in a midtown cubicle sorting receipts for my boss’s monthly expense report. I had recently earned my master’s degree from Harvard and had accepted a coveted yet thankless entry-level position at a well-known philanthropic organization in New York City. My parents were proud of me, and I was proud that they were proud of me. Convinced that I was doing the “right thing,” I spent a year botching Excel spreadsheets and crying in office bathroom stalls.  This is the American middle-class 20-something’s dream, I told myself.

At best, I completed simple administrative tasks, such as printing paper and hoarding Post-its, with mild competence. I relished these peaceful moments, for the majority of the time I felt more like a 2-year-old filing estate taxes with crayons. At my annual employee review, my boss placed me on “Performance Probation,” citing at least five or six reasons why I could not be trusted with so much as a stapler. She added that in spite of my attempts to  reach outtouch base and other mildly suggestive office essentials, my communication skills were “not improving.”  Maybe I’m just dumb, I thought.  Maybe I really can’t communicate with people. Maybe I shouldn’t communicate at all.

Tell that to Marina, I now think, staring at the unlikely reflection of a smoky-eyed 25-year-old woman in my lipstick-strewn bathroom. Marina, my online alter ego on a popular adult webcamming site, is the new and improved “me.” She dazzles men with discussions of Indo-European languages while seducing them with her perky derriere, bending over before the camera to reach for her pen, with which she scrawls on a memo pad:  Dyno_Schlong. That username, one of over a hundred in her chat room, is simply too good to forget.

Upon first glance, the only semblance Marina bears to her office-dwelling predecessor is her penchant for Post-its, which now testify to a to-do list decidedly more perverse:

* Mail panties to Faroe Islands

* Send cucumber video to HuckleberrySin

Add Hitachi Magic Wand to Amazon wish list

And yet, as she poses in lacy white stockings – a gift from a virtual admirer – atop her squeaky Ikea armchair, the only thing that surprises her is how ordinary it all feels.

* * *

The afternoon that I was placed on Performance Probation, I left work early. Riding the N train back to Queens, I quietly wept upon the sympathetic cashmere shoulder of Ann Taylor and brainstormed responses to my imminent dismissal.  Should I go back to school? I wondered. No way – my aversion to scholarly discussion is so intense that I still wince whenever I see a round table – even the kind with an umbrella.  Another nonprofit job? A new set of directions to botch, a fresh cohort from which to alienate myself!  Motherhood? Now that’s a perfectly respectable excuse not to pursue a career! But who am I kidding? I hate kids.

For the first time, my intellect and perfectionist work ethic had failed me. Without these crutches, I had nothing. Except, perhaps, for my body. I remembered a conversation I had several months earlier with an acquaintance, whose ex-girlfriend, he claimed, made a decent living as a camgirl. “What exactly does a camgirl do?” I asked him, familiar with the phenomenon only through sidebar Internet advertisements claiming that Jessie19, conveniently located in my neighborhood, wanted to fuck, like,  tonight!!

“Well,” he said, “usually they just strip, tease and get themselves off in front of guys online in exchange for money and gifts. It’s super easy – most guys aren’t looking for some airbrushed Barbie. They want real, intelligent girls – like you.”

 
See more stories tagged with: