“‘I’m a romantic. I love being in love and when I am, I give my mate my all….I enjoy opening doors for women, throwing my coat over a puddle, that sort of thing, that’s the way I’ve always felt with whomever I’m with.’”

Some people might have a hard time reconciling Rob Everett’s words with his 20-plus years in the adult film industry as a star and producer. Until recently, D.C. area activist and author Linda Alexander was one of those people. Her latest book, Dorothy From Kansas Meets the Wizard of X, is an account of Alexander’s coming to terms with Everett (stage-named Eric Edwards) as a guy who gets hard under stage lights—not some ogre who turns to stone at daybreak.

Alexander never much liked porno flicks. She describes the tapes that her ex-husband used to bring home as “lousy at best.” Nevertheless, she eventually did find something in the films to hold her interest. “Every now and then, though, there was one of them that seemed to have some sort of acting ability or characterization and so forth, and each and every time it never failed that this gentleman Eric Edwards had something to do with the film,” she says. “And if you looked at him, you wouldn’t in your wildest dreams think that he would be in that business.”

So Alexander began researching her book. She spent time with Everett and his young son in California, interviewed his associates, sat in on the production of one of his films, and even accompanied him to an adult-film awards ceremony. “I was just curious,” she admits. “What was a nice boy like this doing in a place like that?”

“He’s considered an aberration by the industry,” Alexander maintains. Dorothy paints an idealized picture of a sensitive small-town boy trying to survive in a business in which he doesn’t quite belong. She may have a point: Many of the people with whom Everett has worked regard him, Alexander says, as one of the more “classy” actors. And much of the book deals with his transition from actor to producer and his struggle to make more romantic, couples-oriented sex films.

What’s funny is that the same interviewees who commend Edwards’ sensitivity consider his efforts pretty worthless. Most agree that a viable and—more important—lucrative couples market doesn’t really exist. Alexander says, “If you’re going to have sexuality in a film, there’s got to be a point to it, not just sex for sex’s sake.”

But that’s just the sort of tape that sells.

Unlike her ex-husband and millions of others who actively rent skin flicks, Alexander wants some “artistic value” and Edwards-style romanticism in her pornography. From the sound of things, it seems as though Edwards might not be the only aberration. —Neil Drumming