Secrets Of A Gay Marine Porn Star

( 16 )

Overview

Yes, It All Really Happened Just Like This...
Here's the story of Rich Merritt-the good son, teacher's pet, Southern gentleman, model Christian student at Bob Jones University, Marine officer, and the not-so-anonymous poster boy for a New York Times Magazine article on gays in the military-whose complicated sexual past caused an international scandal when The Advocate "outed" him as "The Marine Who Did Gay Porn," putting his life in a tailspin. It's the compelling, poignant ...
See more details below
Paperback
$20.90
BN.com price
(Save 9%)$23.00 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $12.60   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   
Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.49
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$12.00 List Price

Overview

Yes, It All Really Happened Just Like This...
Here's the story of Rich Merritt-the good son, teacher's pet, Southern gentleman, model Christian student at Bob Jones University, Marine officer, and the not-so-anonymous poster boy for a New York Times Magazine article on gays in the military-whose complicated sexual past caused an international scandal when The Advocate "outed" him as "The Marine Who Did Gay Porn," putting his life in a tailspin. It's the compelling, poignant story of how a boy who never listened to pop music, never cursed, and didn't have his first drink until he was eighteen exploded into a life of drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, prostitution, and pornography. And above all, it's a triumphant story of self-forgiveness and identity, of a man who refused to allow himself to be defined by the standards of anyone else-gay or straight. Along the way, Rich Merritt writes with humor, compassion, insight and naked truth about:

What it's really like growing up behind the "Fortress of Fundamentalism" and how he ultimately came to despise their views

The harsh realities of military life under the "Don't ask, don't tell" Clinton policy

A real insider's experience of working in the male porn industry-the good, the bad, and the extremely hot

Why he chose not to reveal his porn past to the New York Times journalist

What it felt like to be the most notorious marine in the world and what it took to come through the fire
By turns harrowing and heartbreaking, angry and affirming, Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star is that rarest of memoirs-a fascinating slice of life that reads like the most absorbing fiction, but is all true.

Rich Merritt has written an Op-Ed column for the Navy Times. He has been profiled for The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and The Advocate. Stories about him have appeared in the London Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. He is now an attorney living in Atlanta. Readers can contact Rich via his Web site: www.richmerritt.com.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758209689
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Pages: 498
  • Sales rank: 938,416
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Read an Excerpt

SECRETS OF A GAY MARINE PORN STAR


By RICH MERRITT

KENSINGTON BOOKS

Copyright © 2005 Rich Merritt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7582-0968-1


Chapter One

The Marine Who Was Also a Porn Star

I didn't expect the article to be a story about me. I honestly didn't. I thought it was going to be a story about my friends, about this group of guys and how we all stuck together, and how we always tried to be there for each other.

The New York Times Magazine had assigned a young, freelance writer named Jennifer Egan to write about what day-to-day life was like for those of us in the military living under the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. About how we felt trapped in this kind of no man's land. The article would reveal how we were not necessarily a part of the military community because we were gay-there was always that distinction. Yet we were not completely part of the gay community either, because we were in the military. We were caught in the middle. But at least we had each other. That's how we all felt and that's what I hoped the story would convey.

In researching the story Jennifer contacted the Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLDN), an organization out of Washington which provides free legal services for anyone in the military facing an investigation, charges, or any problem with the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. Jennifer asked SLDN for assistance in locating military people who would be willing to talk about their experiences. Since southern California has a heavy concentration of military personnel, Jennifer decided to conduct some interviews in San Diego.

I was an active-duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, just north of San Diego, and had been writing op-ed pieces for the Navy Times. I had recently written this one piece which suggested that "Don't ask, don't tell" should be repealed. That caught the attention of SLDN. I had also been previously introduced to Tim Carter, the co-chair of the organization. Tim contacted me and said, "We're going to put a New York Times reporter, Jennifer Egan, in touch with you; is that okay?"

I said, "Sure." I thought it would be great to be part of a story that would reach so many readers.

"This journalist is looking for a model of the military," Carter added. "A poster child."

I wasn't exactly sure she'd find that representation in me but I thought there was a good chance she'd see that image in one of the people I planned to introduce her to. I was aware, however, that a "poster boy" was at least a part of who I was. At that time I had attained the rank of captain and I was a commanding officer, the most sought-after position in the Marine Corps. My assignment just before I became a battery commander had been a general's aide-de-camp, a very high-profile and demanding position that gave me a lot of connections I could use down the road when it came time for promotions and other selections. So the trustworthy, hardworking, reliable Marine was certainly one role I fit into.

The romantic homosexual in a loving relationship was another. I had already gone through my wild period, or so I thought. By now I had been with my partner, Brandon, for almost three years and I was trying very hard to make a committed relationship work.

But we all go to bed with our secrets. Let's face it, most of us are many personality types dwelling in one body, showing various sides of ourselves to different people as we see fit. I was aware that the Times was not digging for the sordid lives that many of us lead in one way or another. They were looking for the golden boy, the guy you always imagine when you hear about gay men in the military. So I thought, Fine, I'll present them with that image of myself.

At the time I did not realize just how expert I was at slipping on different masks. My background had trained me well for projecting whatever image was expected of me. My deep dark secret, the thing that would be considered part of my "sordid" hidden life (and the issue that would set in motion the unfathomable ordeal that would soon follow) was the fact that I had appeared in porn films four years earlier. Eight of them. As hard as it is to believe now, at the time I really didn't think that my brief fling with the porno industry was pertinent to the story because, as I said, I had no idea the story was going to focus on me. All I kept thinking about was, Finally someone is going to tell our story-what being gay in the military is like for us.

There was a precondition that the interviewees for the Times story were to be anonymous. Jennifer explained that the New York Times would not give us fake names, but that we could go by one initial. We could pick whatever letter we wanted. I decided to use my real initial. In the article I would be identified as "R."

I went down to Jennifer's hotel in Coronado to pick her up, and she and I bonded instantly. We had rapport. She's very quiet, somewhat timid, but a genuinely warm, receptive person. Plus, my longtime reserve had me longing to be forthcoming about so many things. I had so much inside of me, all these ideas and emotions bottled up about what living under this policy was like. I started spilling my guts out. Yet, the whole time I was talking to her, in the back of my head was the porn thing. I could almost hear an audible debate going on between my opposing selves. It was as if one part of me was saying, "I've been in porno movies." And the other was saying, "But don't tell her, because if you do, you won't be part of the Times story." That was the part that won out.

Soon after our interview, I set up a dinner for Jennifer to meet about twelve of my military friends at a house in San Diego. The fact that she witnessed firsthand how we were a support system for each other is what planted in my head that the story was going to be about all of us. I had no idea how much of the focus of the story would be on me and how much of her article would talk about my friends. I was completely unaware of what Jennifer would use or how I would be portrayed. Apparently that's pretty common in journalism-the subject or subjects of the story aren't briefed on the work-in-progress.

Maybe I should have picked up clues. As I'm writing this, things pop into my head: I recall that Jennifer came back a few weeks after the initial interviews and for the first time she brought up the issue of photographs. SLDN hadn't said anything about pictures. Later, when they found out, I could tell they were upset. Pictures would be too dangerous, they said. But at the beginning, they just said "cover story." I don't know how they could have thought this could be a cover story without photographs. But Jennifer asked, "What are we going to do about the pictures?"

Most of the people who had participated in the interview were not willing to have their picture taken, even with their faces hidden. I, on the other hand, said to Jennifer, "You're going to cover my face in the photo and call me 'R' in the article? Then, fine. Of course I want my picture taken." But only two other guys, another Marine officer and a Navy officer, agreed to a photo session.

A few weeks later photographer Matt Mahurin came out to take the pictures. We spent several hours with him. He took some off-duty photos of Brandon and me a few days later. But his first shots were of the three of us officers in uniform taken in Balboa Park. For the pictures of us in uniform, at one point he posed the three of us in a line, saluting. I instinctively felt it would make a fantastic photo and envisioned it on the cover.

The other Marine officer Matt photographed was my very good friend, who was nicknamed "Bossy." Bossy and I were both decked out in the full Marine dress blue uniform. Bossy, however, had forgotten his white gloves. Matt wanted a photograph with our gloves on, so I gave one glove to Bossy, put one on myself, and then Matt posed us close together side-by-side in a shot where only our gloved hands were visible.

Matt then said he had to get some solo shots of me, although he didn't say why. He came up with the idea that I should salute, and that that the salute should cover my face. He lay on the ground and took a shot directly up. I thought he was catching only my chest, shoulders, and head.

A homeless vet walked by our little group in the park. "Cap'n," he said, "your salute is all fucked up." He was right. My arm was deliberately canted so that my face would be completely covered. As salutes go, it was all fucked up.

"We know what we're doing," Bossy said dismissively. The vet mumbled something about being a retired master sergeant and never having seen such a fucked-up salute on an officer and walked away. We resumed the photo shoot before the sunlight disappeared.

Matt had read a rough draft of the article and during the session someone asked him what the story was about. "Well," he replied, "the story's about Rich and his friends."

That startled me. Oh my God, I thought, this story is about me? An eight-thousand-word article is a New York Times cover story about me!

On one hand, it was exhilarating. But now more than ever the porn thing was haunting me. I had an impulse to call Jennifer and tell her not to write about me. Obviously I didn't give in to that urge. Maybe it was ego. I had spent so much of my early life living up to the expectations of others and here, just maybe, now it was my turn. And it was a subject that I was passionate about, something that was pertinent to my life and thousands of others. I knew that it would help a lot of people-I was desperate to be a part of it.

A few weeks before the story appeared, the fact checker called and started asking questions. I was on the phone for almost an hour and I started to feel uneasy. Afterward I made a list of things that she had asked about. By the time I was finished I thought, "I'm toast!" There were key things I had told Jennifer that made me completely identifiable: General's aide. Commanding Officer. Captain. Southern California. From a Southern religious family. Had done overseas tour. Had been on ship. Initial "R." It wouldn't be difficult to connect the dots. Anyone who knew me and read these things, would know I was the "R" in the story.

The magazine was scheduled to come out, so to speak, on Gay Pride Day. I still had six weeks left on active duty after that. They wouldn't wait for me to be out to publish it because, obviously, the New York Times doesn't change its publication schedule for a personal issue that arises. I felt that I would be safe because I had submitted my resignation already. I knew the Marine Corps would rather just let it slide. They would rather just let me slip quietly out the door rather than make a big issue out of this. Yeah, the Times cover story was going to be a big deal, but it would be a much bigger deal if they came after me. I was counting on that.

Two weeks before the article appeared, I was in Los Angeles for an SLDN pool party/fund-raiser. At this party I met a freelance writer named Max Harrold. By now, there was a definite buzz in the air about the upcoming New York Times Magazine article. Max approached me, "This sounds really fascinating," he said. "When do you get out of the Marines?"

I told him that I'd be officially out in the fall. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head. "Can I do a story on you when you get out?" he asked eagerly. "We can reveal your identity and I'm pretty certain I can sell it to The Advocate or one of the other magazines." I liked the idea as long as I was safely out of the Marines. I agreed that as soon as I was officially out of the service, I would give him an interview.

As time grew closer to the date of publication of the New York Times story, my immediate concern was that the Marines would find out I was the "R" from the story while I was still in the service. I tried to talk myself out of my fears. I kept telling Brandon, "Oh, there's nothing to worry about. They don't say who I am." But, although I hadn't seen an advance copy and I had no idea what was going to be in there, I had a nagging feeling the Marines would find out who "R" was.

Saturday, June twenty-seventh fell during Gay Pride weekend in Los Angeles and I knew we'd be able to get an early copy of the Sunday New York Times there. As Brandon and I were driving up, I was well aware that it was already on the stands in big cities. I can't even describe the excitement. The anticipation. The fear. The anxiety. All of that.

We finally got up to LA and, without stopping, went directly to see my friend Tim Carter. The first thing Tim said is, "Rich, you're finished. You're history." He handed me a copy. The first surprise was the cover. There I was saluting-alone! All the while, I had been thinking they were going to use the photo of the three of us standing in a line.

Tim was beside himself. "Look, this is you!" he said immediately. He started talking about General McCorkle, the man I had been the aide to, "You don't think that he'll be able to look at this and see that it's the side of your head?"

I looked at the cover very closely. You couldn't see my face but you could see everything from my ear back. I thought I was unrecognizable. "No," I said to Tim. "I don't think you can tell that this is me. For one thing, I look six feet tall. I'm only five seven."

The illusion about my height wasn't the only abnormality in the photograph. At first I didn't notice the glaring defect. A friend and fellow Marine who was also quoted in the article called me the following day.

"You're wearing only one glove!" He exclaimed. "What were you thinking?!" He was right. I hadn't noticed it, but there I was ... a one-gloved Marine. I was out of uniform, the worst mistake a Marine can make. Well, almost. Fuck, I thought. I forgot to get the glove back from Bossy. Besides, I thought Matt was only taking the shot from the chest up! My ungloved left hand was visible. What was worse, my left thumb wasn't along my trouser seam as I had been trained for so many years to stand at the "position of attention." If it had been, my bare hand wouldn't have been visible. I had been concentrating so hard on covering my face with my right hand, I hadn't paid attention to my left.

But tonight I didn't notice the glove issue-I was too focused on the content of the story. I read it quickly and admitted, "Yeah, they're going to know it's me."

Jennifer started the article off by talking about me, later weaving in the other people. But she kept coming back to me, to my story. Still, I thought the piece was beautiful. I felt Jennifer had captured everything that we revealed to her. She had grasped the situation fully. There are a lot of issues about gays in the military that people don't think about. For example, she really understood the suffering of my friend, Jim.

Continues...


Excerpted from SECRETS OF A GAY MARINE PORN STAR by RICH MERRITT Copyright © 2005 by Rich Merritt. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006

    Outstanding Read

    I found this book completely entrancing and compelling. To be a porn star while serving in the Marine Core. WOW! This book is an outstanding read for anyone gay.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2006

    An honest invitation to view onself with love and respect

    The tittle can be misleading, since the story contained in the pages of this magnificent book are much more that just about been gay, or a porn actor ( I wouldn't use the word 'star') or even a marin. It is about a journey called LIFE. Trough this pages, the author talk about himself and the world around him, one can only hope that these words are the work of fiction, but sadly, are not. It is a story on how one man is dealing with the crash that signifys to come to realize that no everything that we were told is true... or false. The self-reflection style could be even used as material for a personal retreat on self examination. Great style of writing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2005

    CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL

    Delicious! Excellent book! Even at 468 pages it could have been about 200 pages longer. Every page was interesting and well written and flowed flawlessly. I can¿t remember when I have gobbled up a book so fast. Rich Merritt goes out on a limb with such courage to expose himself. Growing up a Southern fundamentalist, being a closeted gay Marine, venturing into the porn industry, parties, alcohol, drugs, sex. This book covers it all. This is a man who has lived a daring, dangerous and fascinating life that most people can only imagine. But at the same time many people will relate in some way or another to every frustration, realization, joy and sorrow. In the current political and social climate in the country today it takes a lot of guts for someone to write a book like this. And I¿m glad Rich Merritt did it. I loved every minute of the journey!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2005

    Excellent story

    I recently purchased this book thinking I might relate to Mr. Merritt in someway. In fact after reading this book there is a little of everyone in it. Many people have experienced some of the trial and tribulations of not being accepted for something that they are, whether for being homosexual or for anything which to society is not acceptable. I highly recommend this book. It certainly shows how the author is touched by many different people and how those people affected his life. Thanks for writing this book I could definitely relate.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2005

    INSPIRATIONAL and INSIGHTFUL

    Being a gay man in the south, same area Rich grew up, I can relate to everything he went through. This book has been very inspirational to me to help me understand who I am and where I am going. Through my decernment of self discovery, I have learned that I dont have to hide who I really am.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    A Must Read for every gay person in America

    This is truly an excellent read. Every gay person in America will relate to some portion of the story. For those of us not in the military learning how much our ¿Brothers & Sisters¿ have to endure to keep us ALL free is overwhelming and we must all participate in the fight to lift ¿don¿t ask don¿t tell¿. But we all share the same experiences of the fundamentalist parts of self-discovery and coming out ¿ especially those of us in the South.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2005

    My Review of Secrets

    When I read this book I had no idea the impact it would have on me. Although I could not identify with the military part of Rich Merritt's life I could identify in all areas of his experiences with Bob Jones University. I am the gay son of an independant fundamental Baptist minister and Rich's very well written experiences brought back a flood of memories that I had cleverly tucked away. I found this book to be delightful to read. I know there are plenty of gay men with the same story (at least from the 'Christian' perspective) but finding it in print so eloquently and honestly written has been enthralling and therapeutic. Regardless of what anyone's story is I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    A book that is in high regarded of personal growth.

    A coming of age with God and self. A honest account of a growth of Christian man journey from self loathing to acceptance of self. A book that I could not put down. Read and grow...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Ok

    Cool nice

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2005

    A good read--and poignant

    This was definitely a 'good read' and something of a page-turner. The author tells a compelling story of his experiences. But the book is not just entertaining it is also a poignant account of one man's experience of discovering he is gay and dealing with that. While the writing could be a bit tighter and at times struck me as a bit self-indulgent, I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to be entertained/informed by his story and also to those who want a glimpse into some of the thought-processes that are a part of ¿coming out¿ and understanding what it means to be gay.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2005

    A poignant account of self discovery

    To say I related to this book would be an understatement. At times I had to check the cover to make sure I wasn¿t reading my own Memoir. I never went to a devout catholic school, I never served in the armed forces and as far as I know I have never worked in the porn industry. All this said Rich Merritt shares with his readers the trials and tribulations of life in all three of these difficult and at times excruciatingly harsh worlds. His story is both much needed and long overdue in today¿s society where homosexuals are still not considered completely equal. He touches on so many situations and issues that many of us have gone through and is living proof that there is a light at the end of the long desolate tunnel towards acceptance. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Rich¿s encounters through his innocent and at times devilish eyes. I thank you Rich for writing and sharing your story with both today¿s and future generations. You are truly a pioneer in more communities and social groups then you will ever know.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)