But almost three years later, visitors to Eevie's room still ask for the coffee stand. He replies in the group chat box: "i haven't been around all day but Sarah has been watching." I ask Eevie who Sarah is, and she says that's Boggers's wife.
The history of Eevie's camming career is collective, a mutual memory that builds and changes with the people she's connected to, and the stories Eevie told me were my first exposure to how personal and meaningful camming relationships can become. (Sarah's name has been changed for this article.) Boggers asks if Eevie has told me "their story." He explains over private message: "Eevie has been great, we liked her from the first time we saw her just a real genuine person not fake and all about the tokens and stuff.
And to further Bambi's emphasis on the community experience, there is a community among these viewers, too.
The men recognize each other in rooms, greet each other, and start friendships and feuds. If I do have some basic or random guest who's like, 'Show me your asshole,' these guys will be like, 'Get the fuck out of here.' It's a community of people jerking off to you, but they're also your homies.
"Everyone misses it." Eevie got her start camming by setting up her laptop inside the bikini barista drive-through espresso stand she was working at, which is apparently a novelty to people around the world. Like, 'Holy shit, there's a girl in her underwear in public.'" The rules have changed since then.
Earlier this year, an Oregon State University student was caught broadcasting from the school library, and now MFC no longer allows its models to cam in public.
("Eevie Lain" is her screen name.) Generally speaking, models get tipped via tokens (which translate to real cash) to masturbate on camera, but they can also create "topics" that aren't sexual at all.
Right now, Eevie's goal topic is taking off her dress, and most of the tips coming in are for her topic of drinking wine.
But this level of emotional investment is exactly where the appeal of webcams resides—it's not like any other kind of porn.
It's real, it's live, it's interactive, and it's relationship-based.
A cam session is usually hours long, and most of that is spent talking.
"Even when I was camming vigorously almost every day to raise money for my move, I would still only masturbate [on camera] maybe four times a month," said another cam model I met with who goes by the screen name Bambi. Especially if you're a medium-income cam girl, it's a lot more about the community...
Another described the models as "therapists who get naked." "I think the main appeal, for both models and members, is the instant connection," Dunne wrote in an e-mail. Camming is like love on tap, and as the community grows and evolves, it only becomes more nuanced and plentiful." o what's the money like?