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Stoya on Ovarian Cysts and Dressing for Porn Awards

Modern medicine can offer me the ability to have my eggs frozen with a decent chance of turning one into a baby 20 years from now, but it can't help me stop the pain from ovarian cysts. With no happy ending in sight, I'm going to babble about the porn...
October 15, 2013, 5:45pm

I spent most of August and September bleeding in a menstrual kind of way. I’d bleed for a while, get two or three days off, and then bleed for another nine or ten. It sucked, but I’d been taking hormonal birth control pills since January and my body tends to react to them by bleeding profusely so I wasn't particularly surprised. I also felt like I had an angry badger living in my uterus that was stabbing me with a very sharp fork somewhere in the vicinity of my left ovary. Naturally, I went to a gynecologist.

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After asking for detailed vaginal records, the gynecologist ran some tests. My pap smear came back perfect, I was completely free of sexually transmitted infections, my thyroid was functioning as it should, and my liver and kidneys were perfectly healthy, but I did have a four-inch cyst on my left ovary and a bunch of little ones on my right ovary. That wasn't my first painful cyst experience, but it was the first one I had seen on ultrasound before it burst. To make matters worse, medical protocol in this situation is to just wait and see what happens. I like to avoid cutting things out of my body whenever possible, but I hoped that there’d be some kind of non-surgical option I could pursue while waiting.

I named the bigger cyst Agnes and the smaller ones Munchkinwaffles, as if it were a riot grrrl band living in my lower abdomen. Modern medicine can tell me if my ovaries are cancerous. It can offer me a uterine ablation—a procedure that basically cauterizes your uterine lining—to cut down on the amount of menstrual bleeding. It can even offer me the ability to have my eggs frozen with a decent chance of turning one into a baby 20 years from now. However, it can't help me stop the excruciating pain from ovarian cysts.

Since there’s no happy ending for my dilemma, I’m just going to babble on about the porn industry’s award show season, which kicked off this week and will continue through April. It’s a nice, frivolous distraction.

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The adult entertainment industry puts on a lot of awards shows, and some of them are even aired on cable. And they’re all filled with people taking pictures. Maybe some of the things I’ve learned from being trotted out in public and having the living daylights photographed out of me will be useful to you.

Wearing the same dress (or suit or outfit) to multiple heavily documented events is considered a no-no for some reason. But since I like playing dress up, I happily oblige. Buying eight fancy dresses a year can get really expensive so, along with vintage and secondhand shops, eBay is your friend.

A garment that has been altered to fit your body consistently looks better than a higher-end piece you bought straight off the rack, so learn how to sew or find a good tailor. I have a hard time justifying the purchase of casual clothing when I have a closet full of perfectly good garments—some of which I’ve worn to past events. It’s also the only feasible explanation as to why I’m chronically overdressed at the grocery store.

High-femme drag, which I am extremely partial to, frequently involves high heels. Inexplicably, a pair of stilettos that I find perfectly comfortable for running around in the city, become excruciatingly painful when I’m awkwardly standing in a crowded nightclub. I’ve heard that men’s formal shoes can cause a similar pinching sensation. Obviously you want to make sure that shoes fit properly before standing in them for long periods of time, but sometimes things just don’t work out that way. The trick is to drink just enough to not care how much your feet hurt. On a scale from stabbing toe pain to complete lack of nerve communication exists a sweet spot of detached awareness. If you get too drunk, stairs and slippery floors turn into death traps. Or at least a recipe for a skinned knee.

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If you are drinking, consider avoiding red wine. It has a tendency to give lips and teeth a purplish hue, which looks weird in pictures. It also has a tendency to stain clothing and amidst all the people bumping into you and air kissing each other, you might spill it on yourself.

Objects photographed with flash may look different than they appear in the mirror . So, before leaving your apartment, take a photo of yourself. Sometimes a dress that you thought was opaque turns out to be semi-transparent when it’s exposed to flash. And sometimes a satin bra can reflect light through your shirt. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having visible underwear or nipples in a picture, but I do want to know how risqué I’m going to look. Flash does weird things to makeup, too. Glitter can end up looking like dirt, and improperly blended foundation sticks out like a sore thumb.

Eyeshadow primer and fixative spray are very useful for keeping all that paint in place for eight or more hours. Most makeup companies make a special fixative spray but I’ve found that Aquanet has always worked fine for me. I usually bring makeup remover wipes in my purse so I can multi-task on the way home, and I consider those fifteen minutes spent removing layers of mascara and eyeliner better used for sleeping or having sex. Or both. What? You aren’t into playing dead when you bang?

@Stoya

More from Stoya:

Stoya on the Great Condom Debate Stoya on Ethics, Porn, and Workers' Rights

Stoya on Peeking Behind the Porn Curtain