It isn’t sexy until somebody gets the meat farts

full-dana-adams

Major League Baseball season is going into full swing, which means if you’re tuning into the games you’ll more than likely be treated to at least a few commercials for erectile dysfunction medicines. In the last couple decades, they’ve become a ubiquitous part of pretty much any televised sporting event. After awhile, all those commercials start to blend into an endless fever dream of four-hour erection warnings and his-and-hers bathtubs. But I happen to have a personal favorite: the Viagra spot with a redheaded woman in a football jersey.

“Watching football together is great,” she purrs to the camera, tossing a football suggestively while lying in bed. “But I think women would agree, huddling with their man after the game is nice, too.”

It’s the Citizen Kane of limp penis ads, so recognized that Ben Stiller did an almost shot-for-shot remake in a Viagra spoof for The Tonight Show. Even Ryan Reynolds must be a fan; they hired the very same flame-haired actress from the original to co-star with him in a Viagra-themed Deadpool commercial.

That actress’ name is Dana Adams. She’s a 42-year-old model and actress living in Los Angeles, and she was surprisingly willing to talk to me. I say surprisingly because attractive women aren’t supposed to say “yes” when a stranger emails them and asks, “Can we talk about erections?”

I really did want to talk about erections. Specifically, whether being the most famous spokeswoman for a boner pill empire has ruined her sex life. It’s not an absurd theory. Think of how often the line between fiction and reality gets blurred. Sylvester Stallone used to walk around with a bodyguard because of Rocky fans trying to fight him. Couldn’t something similar happen to a Viagra model? She’s in the bedroom, getting frisky with a new boyfriend, and he suddenly remembers why she looks so familiar. And just like that, it’s all over.

DANA ADAMS: Wait, how do you mean?

PLAYBOY: Every time we see your face on TV, you’re telling us, “Half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction.”

[Laughs.] Oh my god.

It’s a Pavlov dog thing. Just the sound of your voice is a reminder, “Oh yeah, sometimes penises don’t work.”

So you’re asking, have I been with men who couldn’t get it up?

I am asking that, yes.

I honestly haven’t. I mean, not since the commercial. It’s happened in the past. I was talking to a girlfriend about this once, and she was like, “Please, like somebody has ever had a problem getting a hard-on with you.” And I’m like, “Yeah, multiple times. It’s called performance anxiety.”

Do you get recognized? Do people walk up to you in restaurants and say, “Hey, you’re the ED lady?”

All the time. Not long ago, a woman recognized me in a health club steam room. That was weird. We’re both naked, and she’s like, “Hey, you’re the girl on TV who talks about limp dicks.”

So people want to talk about erections with you?

A lot more than I thought they would. When I booked the commercial, my first thought was, this is great because you get paid double scale for sensitive subjects. I never thought that it’d be a window for strangers tell me things that are really none of my business. When the magazine print ad first came out, I went to a newspaper stand in New York to buy a copy, and the guy in the little booth started talking to me, and he was telling me a lot more about himself than I needed to know.

Did he think you were going to help him with his boner problem?

I guess so. I wanted to tell him, “Dude, I just modeled for this. I’m not a sales rep.”

*   *   *

What makes the football jersey Viagra commercial so compelling is that it tries to have a plot. Every other ED ad just throws out a few lame visual gags or sexual metaphors, but Dana and her jersey seem like characters in a longer narrative.

Here’s the unspoken storyline: The jersey woman is in a marriage that’s falling apart. The spark is gone and her husband doesn’t touch her anymore, so she comes up with a plan. Like a couple’s therapy exercise, she puts on a football jersey and watches the game with him, hoping that sharing his interests will lead to intimacy. But it doesn’t work.
You can hear the pleading in her voice. When she says “cuddling with him after the game is nice too,” the disappointment and frustration are just under the surface. What she’s really saying is, “I spent the whole weekend watching these goddamn games that are so precious to you, wearing this stupid jersey like it’s a Victoria Secret’s nightie, and now you’re just going to fall asleep? I need an erect penis, you selfish son of a bitch!”

*   *   *

 

[Laughs.] That’s what you got from it?

Yeah. You’re telling me that isn’t the subtext?

No, sorry, none of that was in the script. Honestly, those ads were just a matter of memorizing the lines, and saying it a zillion different ways. There wasn’t any character development.

Even just for yourself, as an actress?

I was too busy thinking about what to do with the football. At one point, I put the football down on its point, and the director was like, “No, no, no, the football can’t be up and down. Nothing can be up and down.”

Why? Were they worried it looked like you were giving the football a handie?

Kind of. Nothing could look erect. [Laughs.] We had to be very careful. Even your foot can’t be straight up.

What about the classic ED commercial pose? Every woman in every Viagra ad is lying on her stomach. Is that something you’re asked to do?

That’s in the script, yeah. Actually, if you want some character backstory, here’s what was really going on. We shot that commercial in Patagonia, in Argentina, which is known for their meat. During the lunch break, they brought in a barbecue the size of my car that was filled with meat. And I chowed down on it. I ate so much meat.

That’s a curious catering choice, given the commercial’s subject matter.

And then right after, they were like, “Okay, get on your stomach!” The moment I’m in bed, I can feel my stomach cramping up. I’m slipping into a food coma. I can feel all the meat gurgling inside me.

Wow. There is nothing less sexy than having the meat farts.

Tell me about it! And this is happening while I’m trying to look sexy.

That is so perfect. So you’re like, “Most men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfu-” [imitates a long, greasy fart.] Oooooooh, there it is.”

[Laughs.] No, no, it wasn’t that bad!

“Hey, is there a dead pig in here, or is that smell coming from me? Never mind, where was I? Erections!”

Stop it!

[This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in Playboy.]