We get a Snapchat a few minutes later from Boggers—it's a photo of middle-aged couple, the woman in a wheelchair, both smiling into the camera and waving, captioned "hi interviewer." "There's another couple I wound up getting really close to," Eevie tells me after I meet Boggers and Sarah.
They watched me, sometimes together and sometimes separate." When the couple finally got pregnant and received the results of the gender test, "They made a video of them opening the envelope together and sent it to me that day, and they named their little girl Eevie Juliet." It's not that crazy to imagine this kind of intimacy and fondness developing between long-distance friends over years—what's surprising is that these connections grew out of a form of sex work.
But this level of emotional investment is exactly where the appeal of webcams resides—it's not like any other kind of porn.
Most of her viewers right now are her "friends," who seem happy just to hang out, listen to her talk, and reminisce about their shared stories. "People still come into my room asking about the coffee stand," says Eevie.
"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.
Even women with moderately reliable camming incomes, like Bambi, can sometimes earn hundreds of dollars and other times nothing at all.
(The sites that host the rooms take a significant cut of the models' tips; MFC has one of the most generous policies, taking 40 percent.) It's especially hard to calculate income when you consider how infrequently successful cam girls work.
Eevie—like many of the models I spoke to for this article—broadcasts herself through the site My Free Cams, or MFC.
("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.
"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...