Sure, there was the wonderland of his body: gym-sculpted, perpetually tanned and glowing. A body made beguiling by its distinct halves. Above the waist: smooth, taut, sharply defined. Below: thickets of dark hair covering his groin, legs and beef-meaty ass.
And his dick. A stout cock deserving the literotic term cudgel. Fully engorged, its circumference suggested death by suffocation, should it be lodged too deeply, for too long, in too avid a throat.
And yet it was Lex Baldwin's face that set him apart from the blond blur of early 90's gay sexbots.
Baldwin's face was classically swarthy. His countenance solemn, a look that signaled stern indifference. But indifference with a concession -- you could blow him. He'd give you that. Maybe.
With the bull-like flare of his nostrils, he appeared perpetually angry. The strong cleft of his upper lip exaggerated the downward turn of his mouth. A determined sulk that guaranteed no meat -- other than a steak -- would ever enter that pouty mouth.
His most compelling features were his eyes. Bedroom eyes that remained glaring and slightly disenchanted. Baldwin combined radioactive sex appeal with chilly nonchalance. Even during his most vigorous topping scenes, Baldwin's expression conveyed an air of boredom and disconnected distance. And in a twisted way, this made him all the hotter.
In 1991, Playgirl featured him in a huge pictorial extravaganza. His centerfold moment set off sly chuckles from gay porn devotees across the globe. We'd seen the real deal in action -- and he was "ours."
Colt Studio all but built a shrine to him, and Catalina snatched him up and worked him hard in the sequel to Jeff Stryker's career-making film Powertool. It was Lex's star vehicle, but Stryker did a small walk-through scene. A passing of the torch moment, where an established icon gestures a welcoming nod to the new up-and-coming stud for hire. So much promise, so much jism...
Such a big letdown.
By 1995, ambivalence overtook Baldwin's momentum. And then, later, towards the end of the 90s, a weird name change: he would then be known simply as "Talon." (OK, Mary.) Speculation ran high that Baldwin's brother, the indefatigable hetero porn star T.T. Boy, didn't approve of his younger brother's foray into queerville video. And so Talon's sudden jump into hetero-only porn.
Gone were the pay for gay days, the surly attitude, the decimated male buttholes.
Gone too was that face.
Frantic messages appeared on his fan sites:
"Damn, he used to be so hot, such a rugged-looking guy. Lex, if you are reading this, please, please I beg you, STOP WITH THE PLASTIC SURGERY!"
"Forget Talon! He should be going by the name Michael Jackson. That plastic surgery is just WRONG!!!"
"The new Lex looks like he's offspring of that Wildenstein woman in NY who had all the plastic surgery so she looks like a cat...scary."
The question on all of his fans' beleaguered minds: Why?
The site Awful Plastic Surgery seemed to have an answer:
Imagine, you're a sexy Latin man with a passing resemblance to Dr 90210, Dr Robert Rey, and you decide to pursue a 'career' in the gay porn industry. But then, your family gives you flack about doing gay porn.
So, you decide to have a ton of plastic surgery to change your facial appearance and then do straight porn, so that no one will recognize you... Your name must be Talon..., whose first foray into the adult industry was under the name 'Lex Baldwin'.
The above before and after photos are dick-wilting. And you don't need to be Joan Rivers to track the damage.
Baldwin's trademark nose is now one of those interchangeable Jackson family snoots. His eyes have been lifted into extreme "gay pop": that slightly surprised expression that -- so my straight friends claim -- is a dead giveaway, should their gaydar not be working. Baldwin's formerly masculine brow has been pulled so high his hairline is now wig-like. And then there are the unnervingly plump pink lips -- three words: Janice Dickinson Calamity.
The irony is sharp. In an attempt to distance himself from his homo past, Baldwin underwent a makeover so radical it left him with a permanent case of Gay Face. Proving, once again, within the bizarre theater of reality: What we resist, persists.
Plastic surgery never looks good on a man. It just doesn't. I've seen maybe two examples of really expert "work" done on a guy -- and the trick was that the evidence of aging wasn't wiped away -- just a slight dullness to the visage. Successful tweaking imparts a sort of freshness to the person, not the impression that a glacier has moved across his face.
For Baldwin, his surgery mishap confirms what was awry way back in the early 90s: No self-awareness. Sure, it was a character flaw that made his work in gay porn appear exciting; that sense that a straight guy was having sex with other guys because, well, he was so horny he'd fuck anything. But that was our version of the delusion. Baldwin's version wasn't that inspiring. He was just another confused guy trying to sort out his sexuality by doing porn. If, indeed, a process like that exists. (And I think it does.)
Lex's facial mutation was just another step in a misguided direction. More muddle. More artifice gone wrong.
I just hope his female co-stars find it sexy. I sure don't.