Something about Ela Darling doesn’t make sense. For example, why is the former librarian showing us her vagina? Why do I catch the sylphlike and near-translucent nerd-magnet leaving a Burger King, when she should be on a Lillith Fair poster or modeling a new zodiac symbol?
“Librarians are certainly more interesting than people give us credit for,” she says. “One of my co-workers, whom you wouldn’t think was kinky, had 13 genital piercings and a size-zero plug in her clit. There was a lot of metal down there.”
Darling says that she didn’t so much land in porn as make her way here inevitably.
Born in California, Darling has also lived in Texas and Illinois. She modeled through college, where she earned a degree in library sciences. Then she moved to quaint Quincy, MA, and got a job as a medical services librarian in Whitman, a small town south of Boston (and due east of Brockton, where Marvin Hagler was from, but this has no bearing on our story).
(Unless it does.)
(But it doesn’t.)
“I started to go the standard route into porn, except for the fact that I was on the other side of the country,” she says. “First it was sexy non-nude photography, then nude, bondage modeling, then more fetish-oriented things.”
“Where did the fetish come from?” I ask.
“People just want to dominate me,” she says. “What the fuck?”
(She does bruise easily, and a clear bruise is like a popshot to a fetish fan.)
Darling chose her nom de porn from a combination of Zelda Fitzgerald’s nickname and Wendy Darling from “Peter Pan.” (Darling also credits a character from Young Adult fiction, but I’m not going to draw the traffic of people searching on that name).
Eventually the lure of making a living at porn, fueled by the attention of fans at nerd conventions like Blizzcon, where she worked as photobooth eye candy, compelled her to move with her husband, a photographer, to Los Angeles last summer.
“It’s incredibly liberating,” she says of her experience with porn thus far. “But there’s a misconception that girls in porn are escaping something.”
“Some definitely are,” I say.
“But some definitely are not,” she says. “And having had a career already, it’s easier to avoid the bad decisions that someone might make at 18.”
Examples of potentially bad decisions include “falling prey to doing what (I) don’t want to do, just for the money,” she says. “I don’t change the things I want to do for the sake of making money.”
She works either solo or with other women, including January Seraph, who calls her “brilliant and beautiful.” She has worked with the girls-only Girlfriends Films, Juicy Pink Box, and Kink.com’s Wired Pussy site.
And her onscreen liaisons do not include men.
“I don’t fuck boys,” she says, “but I wouldn’t want to fuck [other] boys.”
Instead, she sells them her socks at $150 a pair.
“You can buy the socks right off my feet,” she writes on her literate and light-hearted site, chock full of wholesome pictures. “I’ve worn them for… a lot of days without washing them. They’re filthy and smelly. I was on the verge of throwing them away until I decided that they might make someone’s day in a dirty, dirty way.”
I think of that Zelda Fitzgerald quote, and the fact that Ms. Darling is often tied up, and also that she reserves that special thing for just one lucky dude, and I am conflicted.
While I’m happy for the sacred institution of marriage, my heart is broken for the poor slobs who will never have a chance to get it on with a character from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
I’d hang myself if I weren’t so well-hanged already.