Saturday, April 24, 2004

I keep looking at various pictures of this charming contraption and thinking, "I've got to get one of those made." I tried one out once at a leather conference a couple of years ago, and it's quite the experience. The even, constant pressure all over your body - it's like being underwater. And you really can't move, either. It's trippy.
So one of my projects over the next few months is to talk to a local latex clothes designer and see if she can get me the rubber required. Then it's just a matter of getting her and my carpenter together to fit it to a frame. A specialty toy, to be sure, but I have to surprise my boys on a regular basis or they'll get complacent.

Friday, April 23, 2004

I got an email from some unknown guy today, with a URL in it. The sender wrote, (sic)

will U please treet me lik this?

Now, I hate one-line emails anyway. If you're going to email me – and you want an answer - do it in a proper letter form and for god's sake, sign a name to it. It doesn't have to be your real name, but give me something to address you by.

So there's no way I'm going to bother with someone who has managed to cram that many mistakes into just seven simple words. But I was mildly curious about the link, so I went and looked at the page.

It's an ad for a Mistress who does phone dominance. And to say that her style is rather…different from mine - well, it's like saying that rapper Lil' Kim has a rather different musical style than, say, Norah Jones.

This is a clip from the page…

"Prepare to be brainwashed and conditioned to the point that your every move and every decision requires MY APPROVAL. Once I get in your head, there is no escape from the evil that is Mistress (name removed). Without Me, you are nothing! At least giving Me every dollar you have will give your life SOME meaning. you're a worthless LOSER, a sick perverted PIG and I plan to exploit your weaknesses to get what I WANT. If you have to work as a fry boy at a burger joint for a second job then you WILL if that's what I command. I CARE ABOUT GETTING ALL YOUR MONEY, I DO NOT CARE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU OR YOUR FAMILY!"

This certainly isn't the first time I've seen this kind of ad copy for dominatrixes. There must be a market for this attitude, or else they wouldn't be doing it. (The sender of this particular email does not seem to me like a client with the potential to be terribly lucrative, but hey, maybe I'm being a snob.)

And doing phone stuff is obviously different than in-person sessions. I can see where you'd have to amp up the attitude a bit.

But….Eeuuw. When I read that, I feel like I image vanilla people feel when they look at any BDSM text or imagery. It just seems so profoundly negative to me. I could not do a scene where I was really throwing that kind of energy at someone. I'm not that good an actress, and if there was ever someone I really felt that way about, I would not see him as a client. To me, if I truly had the attitude towards my clients that's portrayed in the ad copy above, I wouldn't feel any better about myself than I did about them. How could I?

I've done scenes - at the client's request - where I pretended to be angry, although I suspect I wouldn't always win an Oscar for my performance. What works best for me is if my client and I structure the role-play around something I can tap into some genuine personal anger about. One of my favorites: The strict Human Resources Director dealing with a male employee who's been sexually harassing his female co-workers. Even though I know it's a game, the concept of sexual harassment pisses me off, and I can focus that generalized outrage onto this nasty boy in front of me who's been groping his unwilling cubicle-mate.

By that logic, if you really wanted me to get pissed, I suppose wearing a John Ashcroft mask during the scene would be the way to go.

So, the "righteous indignation" style of anger? Mmm, yeah, I can get there, if someone asks. But sheer vitriolic acid? Nope.

Verbal humiliation play certainly has its place in BDSM…How many times have I called some bent-over boy a "dirty little slut" and watched him wriggle in mingled embarrassment and excitement? But just as there are physical lines you don't cross in BDSM, I think there are mental and emotional lines that shouldn't be crossed, too.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

This is from a site in the UK, the Sexual Freedom Coalition. I think it's a great piece. Some of the language is slightly different from terms we use in the the US, but I think the meaning is clear.

50 Tips for Prostitutes
Helpful hints to The Working Person…
By Jahnet de Light

1. Always observe the safe sex rules.
2. Decide on your boundaries and stick to them, no matter how much money is offered or how broke you are.
3. Remember being paranoid is almost as bad as the thing you are paranoid of.
4. As you’ll probably be working for a third of your life, it seems a real waste of YOUR life to spend it hating what you do.
5. The people who use professional sex services are the same people we meet in our own lives, including our mates.
6. YOU are in charge. No one makes you a victim unless, at a certain level, you allow them.
7. The sex business is a career. Very few who start give up at 25, or “just do it for a couple of years”.
8. If you don’t like the idea of this, find another lifestyle.
9. It isn’t all making money (profit) as there are lots of expenses and bills to be paid.
10. Beginners normally work for someone else, i.e. in saunas, brothels, drinking clubs, or for a pimp.
11. Working for yourself i.e. in a flat or running your own escort agency costs money and means responsibility.
12. The police are not out to get you, unless you’re really unlucky. It’s usually your own stupid behaviour that attracts attention and that’s one of the reasons for producing these guidelines.
13. Rich and successful people will rarely take you on for long.
14. Just because you live with someone, it doesn’t make them a pimp. There’s no difference between a whore supporting a mate and a shop girl supporting a mate.
15. A lot of the people who live with or support a person who beats them or forces them into sexwork, have a need for that kind of relationship.
16. Organised pimping is very different from living with a weak or poor partner.
17. As you get older, you discover other work options, i.e. mistress, madame or maid.
18. Prostitution attracts people who like to give, preferring to be financially independent and be the bread-winner. In other words, control freaks.
19. If you want, you can pay tax and be part of the white economy but, for this you must be organised, get an accountant or, better still, ask the help of an accountant who is a client.
20. Think of the sex business as a career, and utilise the profits you make.
21. Get out of the habit of the daily take. Think of yourself as a business. Start thinking weekly or preferably, monthly.
22. Try to pay yourself a weekly wage. If you employ someone, pay them weekly, and save the rest.
23. Remember there is no sick pay, no pension, so think ahead. You may get sick and you will get old.
24. If you have to lie to everyone around you, you must really ask yourself why you are doing it.
25. If you really hate your job or hate yourself doing it, give it up.
26. Be warned, the sex business is a really tough game and prostitution is the hardest part of it. It is not for everyone.
27. The fact that you can earn more money in one day that your mate can earn in one week, can seriously affect your relationship.
28. If you respect your client, your client will respect you.
29. If you think or treat your client as an animal, they may well behave as one.
30. Misdirected sexual energy often becomes anger.
31. If you piss your neighbours off, they will give you a hard time.
32. Having lots of men going in and out of your premises draws attention. If that’s how you must work, choose an area where no one will notice or nobody cares.
33. Remember it’s an offence for more than one person to work in a premises, so be really sensible if you’re crossing that line.
34. There’s no point in doing 50 men a week, it will make you want to get out after a couple of months and spend all your money on rubbish to cheer yourself up
35. Remember: ten men a week is 520 a year. This is a reasonable average.
36. Give yourself a sensible working week. If you work seven days a week, that’s all your time and you will burn out in a couple of years.
37. Look nice, smell nice, dress nice and you will feel nice.
38. Remember, being a slut is part of the fantasy. Start as yourself, play whatever part is wanted, then return to yourself. This will make your performance much more fun.
39. It’s all right to have fun and it’s all right to enjoy yourself.
40. It’s also all right to come.
41. Remember, you are always in control.
42. If things aren’t working out between you and a client forgets the money, stay calm and friendly.
43. There are good and bad escort agencies. Unfortunately, it’s trial and error from what you. choose. Most take one fee in hand. The going rate is about one third and for that, they should have checked out the telephone number before they give it to you. They should also expect you to call them on arriving and leaving the client. Leave the number and address of each visit at home with them, and a good friend.
44. Make sure you have a friend who knows what you do and will support you. In the end, you have yourself and your own strength: trust yourself and your inner feelings, as they will always protect you. See yourself as worthy, what you do as worthy, and let this be known to your friend/s too.
45. With escorting, know your boundaries and don’t drink too much.
46. If you try the clubs, remember it’s often five or six nights a week and you have to drink. The sex fee sounds lucrative but it’s not every night or even every week. You’ve got to get dressed up and often pawed by drunken men till 2 or 3am in the morning, for a small hostess fee. However, if you enjoy going out and drinking, this could be for you.
47. Clubs with a private membership are safer because the club has a record of the clients’ names and addresses.
48. Saunas usually want a massage diploma and they don’t encourage full sex.
49. Being on the street may seem the easiest way of being on the game but remember most of the hunting grounds are someone’s patch girl/boy-wise, pimp-wise, dealer-wise and police-wise.
50. Whichever way you choose, you will have to pay someone, somewhere (like all work). There are a lot of organisations around to help you, if you need it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Quick Professional Note: I have had a cancellation in my client schedule tomorrow. If you're one of the gentlemen I was forced to turn down for an appointment this week because there was no time left available, you're welcome to call back and try again...
Nostalgia Tripping on ITunes…

I am such a nerd when it comes to music – I just don't keep up very well with the hot new stuff. Like Blanche Dubois, I must rely upon the kindness of stranger (and friends, too) for good recommendations.
Unless, of course, you roll back the years to the '80's...Because as mildly embarrassing as it is, I know '80's music. (Not that my taste in 80's music is so exalted, either. But at least I know the bands.)

See, I have this theory that the music that's popular when a person is an adolescent is permanently engraved into their consciousness. It will be the standard by which they judge all future music, and the sound of it will always have the power to evoke memories of the past – you know: Young Love! Carefree Days! What the fuck was I thinking with that haircut? Why did I go to Prom with that loser? The kinds of things that are probably much better to look back at than they were to actually experience. But isn't that what nostalgia is all about?

So I'm listening to memories today...

Twilight Zone, By Golden Earring
Games Without Frontiers, by Peter Gabriel
Eye In The Sky, by the Alan Parsons Project
Modern Love, by David Bowie
Poison Arrow, by ABC
Rock The Casbah, by The Clash
Relax, by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Fantasy, by Aldo Nova
Addicted To Love, by Robert Palmer
1999, by Prince
Smooth Operator, by Sade
And She Was, by the Talking Heads
Cars, by Gary Numan
Suddenly Last Summer, by The Motels

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Tiresome Phone Calls - Variety # 129-B

Ring ring!
Me: Hello?
Caller: Hi, do you do phone sessions?
Me: No, sorry, I don't.

Now, what he should have said was, "Okay, goodbye." But you already know it's not gonna be that easy, don't you?

Caller: Why not?
Me: (A pause, to indicate that I find this question somewhat less than polite.) Because I don't want to.
Caller: I'll pay you.
Me: No, I don't do phone sessions.
Caller: But I can't get to Seattle, so I really, really want to do a phone session with you.

Now, I have a very complex and highly scientific theory about people who, when confronted with a limit, respond by saying, "But, I really, really want you to." My theory is: they're buttheads.

Me: (very slowly) No, I don't do phone sessions. Goodbye.
I hang up.
Ten minutes pass.
Ring ring!
Me: Hello?
Caller: Um, I just called you a few minutes ago?

I am deeply suspicious.

Me: Yeeeees?
Caller: So, you only do in-person sessions?
Me: Yes, that's right.
Caller: So, if I came to Seattle we could do a session together?

I already think this guy is a twit, and I can't believe I'd be willing to book a session with him. But I generously give him another thirty seconds, to see if he'll be the one to disprove my theory.

Me: Well, we'd have to discuss that a bit. I'd have to make sure you and I were…compatible in our interests, as far as a session goes. What kinds of play are you looking for?
Caller: Yeah, yeah, right – we'd have talk about it. So, like, how about if we do it like this – how about if you sort of talk me through all the stuff you'd do to me in a session, and I'll sort of respond like I would if we were doing the session. Just so we can, y'know, see if we're compatible.
Me: Let me get this straight: you want me to describe, step-by-step, exactly what I'd do to you in a session, and you'll respond as if it were really happening?
Caller: Yeah, yeah.

Oh, this is nice - we've gone from his offering to pay me to his feeble attempt at tricking me into doing it for free. Charming. My theory is confirmed, once again.

Me: (gritting my teeth) No, that is a phone session, and I told you I didn't do phone sessions. Goodbye and don't call me again.
I hang up.
Five minutes pass.
Ring ring!
Me: Hello?
Caller: Um, so I know you told me not to call you again, but I was wondering if you knew any other Mistresses who do phone sessions?

Monday, April 19, 2004

The Perils of Popularity

I was at a suspension-bondage class yesterday, but I was feeling lazy, though. So I went and sat at the back of the room and ate Tootsie Rolls out of the candy jar. And Monk of Twisted Monk came and sat down with me and we had a nice chat for a while.

 I've only seen him play once or twice, but he seems pretty good with his ropes. And he's also becoming more known in the community because makes his living by selling hemp rope for use in bondage.

It's funny, there are definite trends in BDSM play, at least among the community of kinky people that attend BDSM events. Seven years ago, I had never seen anyone doing Japanese-inspired rope bondage. Five years ago, I had seen it a few times, mostly being done by Max. (This was before we became involved.) Three years ago, I personally knew half a dozen "rope guys" – about three of whom lived in Seattle - and knew of another half dozen or so nationwide. Now, it's the hip way to play. Nothing against those who flog, pierce, whip, spank, whatever – but rope bondage is in vogue at the moment, and lots of people are doing it or want to do it. Rope bondage is in.

One could speculate on why this is so. It may just be that every fetish has its day, but I think there are other reasons as well. For example, rope bondage is a form of BDSM play that has a lot of flexibility. It can be mild, moderate or severe. Done well, it's esthetically pleasing. And suspension bondage – the flashiest, the most dangerous, and thus the sexiest form of rope bondage, can make both top and bottom feel a bit like glamorous circus performers.

This all being the case, I gave Monk a little unsolicited advice. "Since you are becoming known in the community as a rope top who does suspension," I said, "you will need to practice a certain skill, and that is - the art of the polite refusal."

Monk is, after all, the same guy who once said to me, "It's all about the rope. Chicks dig the rope." I believe him.

I continued. "I think women get more of a chance than men to practice tactfully declining…shall we say, intimate invitations? And I've seen tops get caught off guard, just because he's not so used to women he's just met making a real serious play for his attention. But it'll happen. You're going to get all kinds of women – and men, too – asking you to hang them up. And some of them – well, they just aren't going to be your type. So you should brush up on how to say 'no thank you' gracefully."

I was relating this story later to friends over dinner. One of them, who also a rope top, acknowledged the point, saying, "Yeah, and I'm not always so tactful about it." Now, I've never seen this guy be rude, but I pointed out the difference in the two situations. "You're not selling a product," I said. "Monk is. And the very people who are likely to want to buy his rope are also the people who are likely to want him to tie them up in it. He's a pleasant, friendly guy and that's going to help him in his business. But it also means that people are going to see him as accessible and so he's going to have to walk that line or risk offending some of his customers."

Can you tell that I relate to Monk's situation? While I'm not selling a tangible product like he is, I do want people to read my columns, and come to my workshops, and for those who are so inclined, I want them to be clients of mine. But I have to politely say 'no, thank you' to a lot of people who want more from me than that. Refusing someone's offer of something that's as personal and intimate as BDSM play takes delicacy, if one is not going offend. And offending people without considering the repercussions is a luxury you give up when you make your personal pleasure into your livelihood.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

This is an article by a woman who's a dominatrix in one of New York City's pro dom houses. I've never worked in such a place, but it's an interesting piece and I like her tone of voice.