Friday, May 21, 2004

Conversation with my friend R, who is a call girl, while driving in the car…

"So I'm sending some guys to you," she said, "because I like being kinky but they're really wanting a level of dominance that I'm not comfortable with."
"Well, what do they want?"
"Oh, like peeing and stuff." She makes a shoo-ing gesture with her hands, as if to ward off even the mere idea of anyone peeing on her designer sheets. R takes her bed-linens very seriously.
I, on the other hand, play on a vinyl-covered table that gets wiped down after every session with an industrial disinfectant so powerful that the mere fumes of it are probably killing computer viruses on the PC in my office. Pee does not scare me – especially when I'm the one doing the peeing.
"Sounds fine to me," I said. "Have you been busy?"
"Yeah, and that's cool. Except there's this one guy who keeps calling me back lately and I don't want to see him again."
"Why not?"
She sighs and twists restlessly. "He can't come. I don't know what his problem is, he's not an old guy or anything. He's got a weird dick, it's sort of V-shaped."
I look at her. "V-shaped? You mean it's got a bend in it?"
"No, I mean, it's small at the tip, and then it gets wider and wider, and it's pretty wide at the base."
I think about this. "Oh, okay."
"There should really be a coffee-table book of photos of weird-shaped dicks, because there are some really weird-looking ones." R is wandering off on a tangent now, as she often does. I pull her back into the conversational stream.
"So the guy with the V-shaped dick can't get off?"
"No, and it's a pain in the ass when they don't come. You don't get closure."
I laugh, but I know what she means. "Well, if they're okay with it, I'm okay with it. But if they're all anxious and frustrated, then that's a bad note to finish a session on."
"Oh! I hate it! I mean, I feel sorry for him and stuff, but god, come on!" She's laughing a little as well – but still, R is still very passionate about her insistence on other people's orgasms. "It's like, I feel like a bad lay, it's terrible. And I know I'm not a bad lay, so what's the problem?"
"Well, I've fucked you and I think you're a good lay," I say. She grins at me. "And if he's calling you back he must think you're a good lay, too. So it's nothing to do with you - he's probably just got some kind of medical issue."
"I know. But I hate it when I feel like I haven't done my job well. It's like seeing them come is being Employee of the Month or something."
"You must be Employee of the Month a whole fucking lot then," I say, laughing.
She laughs too. "Yeah, my months go by pretty quick. Every time you turn around…"
To all my sweet, nasty regular boys who've called about getting appointments today (or yesterday, eep!): I'm so sorry I didn't get back to you, but I had no time available anyway. Some other time soon, I hope...
- Dashing off...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Note: This is just a rough draft of some thoughts I've had...I don't usually post unfinished stuff, but frankly, I'm too busy to write anything else!

Random and Disjointed Reflections On Being A Pretty Girl

The other day I parked in a pay lot downtown and went into a store that validates for that lot. I did my shopping, but when I left the store and was about to present my ticket to the lot attendant, I realized I had forgotten to get it stamped. Damn, I thought, I don't want to go all the way back in there now. So I fluffed out my hair a little and smiled winningly at the attendant and explained how silly I'd been, could he please let me slide this one time?
I felt his eyes flick over me, and he smiled back, almost ruefully. "Yeah, all right, go ahead", he said. We both knew - it was a Pretty Girl Moment.

Before we go any further, let me make a few things clear. I can't even try to codify the difference between words like "pretty", and "beautiful", and all the other terms used to describe the physical manifestation of feminine charm. And it's definitely not within my power to define exactly what any of those words encompass. Prettiness has been defined a thousand different ways ever since people first began putting words to their own particular feminine ideal. I know that if you asked any two random people to describe me, one of them would say I have the face that launched a thousand ships and the body of a goddess. And one of them would shrug and say, "Matisse? Yeah, she's nice-looking, I guess." You cannot measure what's in the eye of the beholder.

But the majority opinion seems to be that through both a lucky spin on the genetic roulette wheel, and a lot of diligent care and maintenance, I am a Pretty Girl. And as I move through the everyday world, that's made my life easier on thousands of different occasions. University administrators, traffic cops, doormen, job interviewers and employers, apartment managers, auto mechanics, waiters, taxi drivers, hotel clerks – these are just a few of the types of men who've overlooked small transgressions, given me extra perks, or somehow gone out of their way for me because I'm a Pretty Girl.

I'm not talking about my career as a sex worker, you understand. I gave those men nothing except my smile and wow-you-are-such-a-great-guy gratitude. And most of the time I was perfectly sincere – if someone gives me a break, especially when I know I don't necessarily deserve it, I am grateful to them. So I show them a picture of themselves in my eyes, surrounded by a rosy glow of Great-Guyness.

Pretty-Girl mojo doesn't always work, of course, even when you really try. Being a Pretty Girl is sometimes like having been given a gift card without knowing precisely how much credit has been loaded onto it. It gets you things, but you know that at any moment, the store clerk could shake their head at you and tell you that you've reached your limit and you're out of luck.

And there are times when being a Pretty Girl is a pain in the ass. When I'm pumping gas into my car at 2 am, for example, and a car full of drunken teenage guys pulls into the gas station, it's a serious inconvenience. There have been many moments in life when I really wished I was invisible, because the way I looked was drawing me attention I didn't want.

But I know that someday, I will become invisible, because I'll get old. Perhaps I'll find that I have Cool-Old-Lady mojo then, but I don't know. I do know I'm going to delay the whole process as long as I can, though. I was at the gym recently, running on the treadmill, and I saw former sex-symbol Raquel Welch being interviewed on TV. She's sixty-two, and damn, she still looks pretty good. If she can do it, I can do it, I thought, kicking up the speed another notch.

I wonder a lot if other pretty girls are as aware of their Pretty Girl-ness and what it means, as I am. But it's hard to talk about this without feeling like you're coming off as some kind of Stepford Wife. So I've really only talked about with a few other women, close friends, who know that I really don't believe that my only value as a person is the way I look.

But I look at other women sometimes – women who, to be blunt about it, aren't pretty at all – and I feel slightly guilty. It's same kind of guilt I occasionally feel about being white, or coming from an upper-middle-class family, who could afford to send me to private schools and buy me a pony. I got something you didn't get.
And it doesn't seem like an easily rectifiable imbalance. I believe in self-improvement, but some things can't be changed - short of auditioning for shows like Extreme Makeover. What can they do but just live with it?

I also wonder exactly how my life would be different if I were exactly the same person on the inside, but I wasn't pretty on the outside. But I wouldn't be the same person, really, because who I am has been influenced by how people treat me, and how people treat me is influenced by how I look.

I think the bottom line is: I'm fascinated by power dynamics in general, and I think that the power of personal attractiveness is one of the most basic and undeniable examples of power dynamics I know.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

It's weird how business comes in cycles. During the last week of April and the first week of May, business was dead, dead, dead. My phone was so quiet I occasionally called it myself to make sure it was working properly. It was mildly annoying, but I've been doing this for too long to panic over a slow spell, so I just occupied myself writing, hanging out with Max, puttering around the house, et cetera.

Talk about the calm before the storm…I don't know whether every kinky guy in Seattle is on the same lust-cycle or what, but for the last two weeks, the phone will NOT stop ringing, I'm booked to the max for a week in advance – it's crazy, I tell ya.

My regular guys are pretty philosophical about not being able to get me on the phone, not being able to get an appointment easily. They've been through it before.
(And BTW, Frequent Flyers, if you've called me, and I haven't called you back – this is why. Hang in there.)

But new guys sometimes get ornery. This is one of the four hundred and sixteen phone calls I got today - when I wasn't in session, that is.

Ring ring!
Me: Hello?
Caller: Hi, I'd like to get an appointment.

Now this isn't rude or anything – but it's really not my favorite way for people to begin this conversation. I like it when people say, "Hi, my name's Bill, I was calling about your service." Or, "to get some information." The persnickety bitch in me – and she's a well-developed presence – is put off a bit by the presumption that I'd make an appointment with just anyone. There's a little dance to be done here, boys, so don't go jumping the gun. (I am such a high-maintenance girl, aren't I?)

Me: Okay – have we met before?
Caller: No, I'm from out of town.
Me: I see. What's your name?
Caller: (noticeable pause) John.
Me: Well, John, I would be happy to talk about a session with you, but you should know that my first available appointment would be late next week some time.
Caller: Next week?
Me: Yes.
Caller: That's not going to work for me, I'm only in town for a few days.

Where the hell were you three weeks ago, I think, but the point is moot now.

Me: Oh, too bad. Well, if you get back to Seattle some other time you can give me a call.
Caller: You don't have any time at all until next week? I was really looking for something tonight or tomorrow.
Me: No, I'm sorry. I have a very good regular clientele here in Seattle and I do stay quite busy.
Caller: Boy, I don't know how you're going to do much business if you're that busy.

This is such a moronic statement that I remain silent for about ten seconds, letting the stupidity of what he just said hang in the air.

Caller: I mean, much new business.
Me: (with a conspicuously patient sigh) As I said, John, why don't you call me some other time when you're in Seattle.
Caller: (ungraciously) Yeah, okay, bye.

Wow, I am so bummed I didn't get to meet that guy.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Odd Phone Call Of The Day

Ring ring!
Me: Hello?
Caller: (who sounds very much like a young black man) Are you guys hiring?

Now, I'll refrain from the tirade about bad phone manners – even though you'd think that someone who's looking for a job would be a little more conscious of the basic rules of civilization, like saying "hello" to someone when they answer the phone, rather than just snapping out a question.

And I'll refrain from sighing about the typical American poverty of language that makes this caller address a solitary female as if she were both plural and male.

But I'm not going to rant about any of that. Really.

I actually get a fair number of phone calls from people apparently looking for work. Usually, though, they're from women, not men. I think most of these callers are just working their way through every single number in the adult section of the papers, because I definitely don't have a "help wanted" ad anywhere. So I just say no, and they hang up. It's usually a quick process, if not precisely a genteel one.

As opposed to the carpet-bomb school of job-seekers, there are a handful of people who specifically want to work for me, Mistress Matisse. But those callers generally try to present themselves and their credentials more persuasively - so much so that it's sometimes hard to get them to accept my "No" without speaking a bit more loudly than I'd prefer. But I am quite firm on this point, because I once managed a small "sensual massage" business, and since then my feelings about managing other people in a sex work environment can be summed up in exactly two words: Never. Again.

I'm really not sure exactly what position this particular caller thinks I might be willing to hire him for. The blunt manner of his inquiry suggests that he thinks he doesn't need to explain himself, which is interesting. I do see ads for escort services looking for "drivers", so perhaps that's what he's imagining.

Of course, there are plenty of independent male escorts, and I'm sure there are also male-escort services, although I don't personally know of any locally. But I can't imagine why someone would call me looking for a job as a male escort.

I'm momentarily tempted to ask him precisely what type of job he's looking for, but I decide I'd probably regret getting into that conversation.
Me: No.
Click. He's gone. A small mystery destined to remain unsolved.